Happy New Year! Wow – 2011. As you are probably aware, I was in a brief little retreat for New Year’s Day, so my 1/1/11 was not as celebratory as others. Although we had a very potent blessing ceremony conferred.
There is a theory that goes something like this:
If one goes to retreat and finds their transition to the retreat regimen to be joyful and easier, that indicates that one’s normal, everyday lifestyle is in alignment with the Dharma and full of mindful awareness, etc. If one goes to retreat and feels like jumping out of their skin (getting away from the retreat premises) and observes incredible resistance arising, well that might mean, among other things, that their ordinary lifestyle is not in alignment with meditative stabilization.
Well let me tell you… for a couple days on retreat, I was not a happy camper. Much resistance and irritation arose within my stream of awareness. This could be due to a number of influences: I had been working 40 – 50 hours a week for the three months up to this point, and I had run around connecting with family before heading up to retreat. So the pace of my life was too fast, for 90 days straight, and it was difficult to do full days of rest and practice during that time. But at least I improved my finances 🙂
Getting to retreat, the schedule was something like this (for me):
– wake up and slowly move toward leaving to go up to TMC (between 8 and 9 am)
– arrive at TMC a few minutes after the teachings had begun (I needed this restful time and pace!)
– Khenpo Tsultrim taught on an incredibly potent text – “The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones: The Practice of View, Meditation and Action; A Discourse Virtuous in the Beginning, Middle and End.” He taught from 9 am to 12 noon. I will include a post about these transformative teachings.
– from 2 to 5 pm, Khenpo Chophel would lead, along with the other lamas, ManiDrupchen-like chanting (plodding, gradual chanting of the Mani mantra)
– then from 6 to 8 pm, further chanting of the Mani Mantra
On Saturday, Drupon Thinley Ningpo (Nyingpo) gave an extensive and exhaustive empowerment in the King Songtsen Gampo Royal Lineage tradition of the Great Noble Heart Chenrezig. This was the same empowerment that we had received the previous two years from Traga Rinpoche and then Khenpo Tsultrim. However, Drupon went into depth on each aspect and it took about six hours total, including his brief introductory teachings. Later he gave brief teachings on the significance of the Mani Mantra.
Starting at 7 pm on Saturday, we began all night chanting, taking shifts like the previous years. We would conclude chanting at 7 am on Sunday. Then at 10 am we did a smoke (sang) offering and then did Lama Chopa and offered a Tsok feast. I will include details of each.