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So I just complete a two day “retreat” on Avalokitesvara or Chenrezig in Tibetan. Chenrezig is the manifestation of Buddha Shakyamuni’s compassion or put another way, Chenrezig is a Buddha of Compassion himself. Chenrezig means to see all beings equally, without bias. I’m going to add that I suspect he views all beings with unsurpassable compassion as well.
This retreat took place at Tashi Choeling Buddhist Center in Charlottesville, Va. This center is south of town on a fun-named road called Fiddlesticks Lane. Fitting I think that we seek to peel apart our deluded perception (to see the true nature of reality) at Fiddlesticks. Anyway, Khenpo Nawang Dorje is the resident monk at Tashi Choeling. He is a skilled and knowledgeable teacher, able to answer all of our questions and give teachings via a translator.
The format for this retreat was to teach on the meaning of the six syllable mantra on Friday night. The mantra is Om Mani Pemme Hum (in Tibetan) it is slightly different in Sanskrit – Om Mani Padme Hung. Each syllable has to do with Chenrezig’s cleansing one of the realms of samsara – the hell realms, the hungry ghost realms, the animal realms, etc. He cleanses the afflictive emotions of each realm (supposedly). And each time we chant the mantra with devotion, another Chenrezig is created, going out into the world to offer healing and compassion to all beings.
Saturday was a full day – Jai Nang (permission blessing ceremony) or brief empowerment / initiation; then Khenpo la taught on the text we would practice that afternoon. After lunch we did practice and then we did a Dharma protectors practice – very potent. I loved it! I needed a nap afterwards, which was perfect.
Then Sunday we did an hour of the sadhana practice (a text for practicing Dharma) and then offered a feast to the wisdom beings or we had a “Dharma party” to use Khenpo’s words. The blessed feast is called a Tsok. Then that was the completion of the weekend. I am glad I attended. After working for nearly 18 months straight, I had been missing many Dharma teachings. For me, I have a strong connection with the Dharma, and it is sort of my medicine. If my mind stream is getting toxic or clouded over, a Dharma teaching is all I need to imprint on virtuous teachers and cleanse my mind stream. Ahhh…
Thank you for reading! And may all beings know themselves to have all that they need and rest in that. By the way, you can visit Tashi Choeling’s website at http://www.tcbci.org