This is a continuation of the previous post, where I give a fictitious rendition, inspired by the real events from a day at the Tibetan Meditation Center, where the Winter Retreat was held.
SATURDAY EVENING 1/1/11
Mical felt like he was on cloud nine after the empowerment. He was charged up and very little, if anything could bring him down. He was so wound up that he was worried about getting even more “high” from all the chatter and conversations which had sprung up as everyone waited for dinner to be prepared. So he retired downstairs where he found a copy of an incredibly inspiring book about the extraordinary accounts of enlightenment stories and other tales from high Tibetan lamas. It was called “The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane.” And he started reading its many exceptional tales.
After dinner, everyone who would be participating in the all night chanting was gathered together and told how things would unfold. There would be a group chanting the first shift from 7 to 11 pm, then another group would chant from 11 pm to 3 am and finally a third group would chant the Sun up from 3 am to 7 am. Mical was informed that he was one of the Sunny 3 to 7 am group members. “Oh no! As wound up as I am now, I might not get to sleep before 11 pm! Oh boy!?!” He thought to himself.
He went downstairs again and recommenced reading his new found treasure. He read a section about Neten Choling Rinpoche’s enlightenment, how he had been really sick on the day of an initiation ceremony and the Great Khyentse Rinpoche, his teacher, was giving the initiation. Khyentse Rinpoche apparently clarivoyant, performed the ceremony and when it came time to put the blessing vase on Neten Choling Rinpoche’s head, he also kicked his student in the gut. Neten Choling Rinpoche let go of what the book claimed was a long, magnificent fart and of course, in the shrine room this is something to be ashamed of. So he was embarrassed and ashamed. Then Khyentse Rinpoche yelled at him, “That’s it!!” Neten Choling Rinpoche, for a split second was stripped of his conceptual chatter, realized the innate nature of his mind, and he awakened.
Now one does not read a story like this everyday. And along with the immense charge Mical was holding, he started to laugh at the book. Then Alex, who had been studying nearby, came over, on his way to bed. Alex asked, “what’s so funny?” Mical told him what he was laughing at.
Alex said, “oh yeah! The crazy stories around here are amazing. Like Khenpo’s story earlier about the yeti sitting on the rabbit hole.” Earlier in the week, Khenpo had indeed given an analogy involving marmots (rabbits) and a yeti and for some reason, Mical thought this was even funnier. He giggled and giggled, unable to stop himself. Alex asked again but finally gave up and lay down.
Mical calmed down and put the book aside to try to get some rest before his chanting shift if he could swing it.
Sure enough… He lay down at 7 pm to try to force his body to rest. He lay there for what felt like hours, going through the usual techniques for making himself pass out – a body-scan meditation, the four thoughts that turn the mind toward enlightenment, slowing down his breath… “It’s NO Use!” He knew that he had lay there for at least a few hours when he sat up and saw a clock across the room. “7:52 – Oh Dear God!!!”
“What?!? Oh no!” Well no use lying around getting frustrated at temporal anomalies. Mical went upstairs and joined in the chanting with the first group. “Oooh oooh oh maaa aaaahh aaah aahh aahnii eee eeeee eeee eeeeeme peai aaaiiii aaaaiiiii aaaiiii ayyyy aaayyyyy hhhuuunnng shriiiiiihhh…” This was the plodding-paced chant of Om Mani Padme Hung Hrih.
He chanted with the group until 11 pm, occasionally getting up for tea and to go to the kitchen to bring back goodies for the chanters. At one point, people returned who had been cooking the Tsok at another house, so there were more people in the kitchen than in the shrine room. Mical picked up a plate of cookies to take back to the shrine room. Ashoka, one of the humorous board members of the center said, “Oh now where do you think you are going with those?” Mical just grinned and continued into the shrine room to offer them first to the lamas and then the four or five lay chanters.
He returned with the nearly empty plate to the kitchen and realized he had not gotten a cookie yet. So he set the plate on the table, which had six late-night practitioners sitting around it and then he said, “oops! I better take on for myself…”
To which Marjory exclaimed, “Oh no! How many of those have you had?!” Mical grinned more. Actually he had not had one yet.
Finally 11 pm rolled around and he left along with the first group when they were replaced.