a brief post about a fine day at the Kalachakra in Washington D.C. with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
After witnessing some of the lower self behaviors in my peers at the Kalachakra event yesterday… today was blissful, bustling and brilliant!
Woke up early. Felt the usual buzzing energy as my nervous system gears up immediately. Ugh! Good ole Loong disorder 🙂 Checked in with the I Ching – to practice Dharma or to practice self care by sleeping in. It came back with “Do just enough and not more.” I wanted clarity. It said “rest down, don’t push.” No problem, went back to sleep.
Yesterday was pre-empowerment, so I thought a little about those things before falling back asleep. Realized I did not actually require kusha grass to have auspicious dreams, not that I had anything special.
Ate breakfast, walked to metro, thankfully not too hot. But still sweating upon arrival at terminal. Uh oh – I might stink. Metro to downtown, Chinatown stop. Called friend, had lunch with friends – some old and others new. Was introduced to some incredibly delicious Chinese food at the Full Kee restaurant in Chinatown – but the chicken and egg plant (cooked in a fish sauce) turned me off; one out of seven dishes is not bad. Luckily I had already eaten a lion’s share. Outside restaurant, started speaking with someone I had never met, in this lifetime. We exchanged “where are you in life” stories and found out we are both Biodynamic Craniosacral therapists! Wow!
She heard that I graduated in psychology from UVa and she suggested I look into somatic psychology at UC Santa Barbara – a school I had considered previously. Terrific! Got back to the Verizon Center where the festivities were being held. Somehow no lines, despite it being soon til His Holiness would start. Nice!
Bag searched. Metal objects out. Walk through metal detector, no problem. Ticket scanned, I’m in! Crowds not too bad today, but one gentleman in a suit beckons us all to keep moving. I sit down in my usual seat – 400 L, way up high in the stands. I hear a more-and-more-familiar “Kah-bee, hey Kah-bee.” Wait a minute? That could be my name being said with that standard Asian accent where certain languages don’t have the “Ker” sound. Sure enough!
My friends Samduk, Nawang and Tsering were sitting very close by. I move to sit near them and discover they have the tix for those empty seats and other friends were not arriving until later. Two kids at the moment, a boisterous little Aries who is four years old named (pronounced) “Tse-pai” and a bumbling, brash seven year old named (pr.) “Tai-nam”. Their names are important because I would spend the next six hours with these families.
Got to catch up a little before teachings started. It’s so funny how I have to come up here to DC to slow down and actually catch up with friends from Charlottesville… ugh! I need to be more social down there!
His Holiness the Dalai Lama came in the Arena with a man in a curious red skull cap, who was dressed in black with red trimmings. Then I saw the big silver cross hanging down his robe front – oh. It was the Arch Bishop of Washington D.C. HHDL and he reminisced a little and talked about the benefits of interfaith dialogue. It was precious when the Dalai Lama presented him with a Buddha statue and said, “for you, the Buddha is just thinker and philosopher. That’s all.” Amazing! Did the Arch Bishop realize how special that statue might be? (Or how much anyone in the audience might pay to acquire it? Joke joke!)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a little empowerment. Nothing special.
Then we were informed that the schedule had been changed around. No surprise there. The mandala viewing would now be tonight as they wanted to get His Holiness as much rest as possible. Good call! So we would be dismissed by sections to come down and view the SUBLIME mandala. Unfortunately I realized that I and my Tibetan friends were sitting in the top of the arena, meaning it might be hours before we could view it. Well that was a good assumption.
We decided to go out and eat, then come back to view the mandala, considering they said it could be a couple hours… Decent Thai food. But more important than that, I got to spend time with Tibetans in a familial setting. I love how their culture is so much different from ours, despite these Tibetans living and working amongst the rest of us in Charlottesville. When two of the kids started fighting, all eyes went to them, with compassionate hearts. When one child started crying, everyone tried to comfort him. I secretly hoped it was okay that I was, in addition to participating in the dinner conversation, studying their reactions when different situations arose. They’d probably think, “what’s the point of that?” They are so in the moment – how refreshing! In Tibetan, the words “Thug Je” basically mean Noble Heart, or Compassion and “Thug Je Chen po” means Great Compassion. This phrase basically sums up what I love about Tibetan culture and people.
Back to the Arena. Somehow we slipped in a side door, no security(?). I asked Tse-pai if she wanted to ride on my shoulders, that was fun. Plus it kept her out of trouble. She is very fiery, so I think some of her joie-de-vivre may have rubbed off – I definitely need to get in touch with the fiery four year old part of myself! Anyway, we eventually bump into friends of theirs who are from, no other than, Charlottesville by way of none other than, California. Okay – not only am I seeing old friends up here from my home town, but I am meeting new ones… How bizarre! 🙂
I meet a PhD. student from UVa, his wife and two children. Then he introduces me to his friend, a monk from India who is originally from Long Beach California. California seems to be on my subtle mind?
We gradually get to stand in line to view the mandala. I play with Konchog – a one and a half year old toddler. Yay! The mandala is incredible, there is plexiglass up on the sides and we are moved through pretty quick. I touch my prayer beads to several shrines, seeking blessings.
Tse-pai rides on my shoulders again as I help my friends keep track of her. Hard to lose her when I am 6 feet 3 inches tall to begin with… 🙂 He has to get their stroller. She watches the kids. I say my farewells and head back to metro. Ticket in machine. Hop on yellow line. Eight stops later, I’m in Alexandria. Walk to my sister’s beautiful home. Check in with my generous, creative brother-in-law. Here I am.
So what did I learn from today? I love spending time with joyful children, I may need to look into school in California, and I love to network. I could just be high from seeing so many living Buddhas. Oh well, off to bed to rise afresh.