This is (hopefully) the first post in a series. I attended the Spring Retreat from the “opening ceremony” until Wednesday June 9th – 12 days total. Now I am full… I could stop there, but I wrote so much in my journal, I will continue 🙂 What follows is a daily journal and stream-of-consciousness thoughts on the retreat. If you want specific details on who taught what, etc etc, go to http://www.drikungtmc.org
Here I am with Khenchen (Konchog Gyaltsen), an enlightened being. I do not feel worthy, but on a tea break I grabbed the opportunity for a photo op – in the past I always let them slide, so I figured, “I need to have a picture with a Buddha!” I mean why not? Khenchen is the lama whom I first took refuge with in 2006, along with taking the Bodhisattva vows with at the same time. Needless to say I feel a strong connection with him, even though he is quick to point out that he is not my root lama – rather he pointed me in the right direction.
5/28/10 – I decided to get up to Frederick, in spite of the flash flood warnings. Well, at least I knew what I was getting myself into. Thank you wisdom beings for helping through several walls of water, not to mention the lightening striking alongside the road – oh and for helping us avoid the section of highway that was underwater… Good Grief! Am I crazy?! Well, it is the precious Dharma and I did not want to be late!
I arrive and get greeted by a flock of men – Dharma practitioners (the best kind of guy). What a pleasant surprise – coming out of Charlottesville through the watery hell realms and into a beautiful sunset over Frederick, with Dharma friends. One of the main themes of this retreat (out of several) was that I stayed at a house with three other males. Considering I normally in the Dharma Duplex with three other women, that was a pleasant change of pace. Although Drupon would say otherwise – yes, let me digress for a moment.
Later in the retreat, I had the good fortune to offer a bodywork session at the Lama House after teachings. Therefore, I was talked into staying for dinner. At which time I mentioned I am noticing differences in male energy vs. female energy (nothing new here!), but Drupon said jokingly, “I think it is better to stay with women.” I did not know how to answer him, but it is always good to laugh! See the “Secret Teachings” post later on for more on this night.
The three of us guests sat down with the owner of the house and fleshed out what needed fixing and doing and we made a list. Good to be clear. Also good to be in the presence of builders and carpenters.
5/29/10 – Khenchen is teaching! Man I was excited! However, over the past few years, since first meeting Rinpoche, he has never opened up to me. What I mean is that I do not have a reason to be in close contact with him, and frankly it is a little intimidating – what do you say to an enlightened being? 🙂
Anyway, I was not expecting anything different from the past, meaning I was not expecting Khenchen to remember me, but when he walked in, I was the first person to greet him. And then he made my day – he wrapped me up in a big hug and said, “You made it! I’m glad you are here.” MY HEART SMILED LONG AND BROAD.
It seemed to me that Khenchen’s teachings, as the week progressed became more and more potent. He said some things which went directly to my heart, and on several occasions, I’m pretty sure he was tapping into my stream of consciousness and speaking words I needed to hear (specifically). He has done this in the past, although it might have been a coincidence.
On the first day, he stressed how only we can make ourselves happy, or we choose suffering. The Buddha, Bodhisattvas and others cannot help us without our putting in some effort. I loved his line about, “You have to put in effort to achieve effortlessness!” He also mentioned that the afflictions will not roll over, they do not age, they do not get sick and that if we put in a little effort and defeat them one day, they will regroup and come at us from a different angle. We have to stick with Dharma practice! Awesome! And it got better each day. Khenchen taught from his text, “Samsara and Nirvana: Two sides of the same hand.” This is available on the TMC website.
Khenpo Chophel taught in the afternoons, and I just love how intricately he can dissect one line from Lord Jigten Sumgon’s Gong Chik. Of course he is teaching from a commentary, but his eyes are closed the entire time he is talking – so I’m positive he has a crisp, precise memory and a heart full of wisdom. Yay!
Khenpo mentioned that the Buddha is not like a Christ or a God. Rather he is just awake to primordial awareness. The Buddha was not some great, incredible conqueror. He did not want to be worshipped, he has no agenda, he does not act out if people do not follow him. He does not mess with causality – only we can bring about the causes of our happiness and suffering.