Medicine Buddha playfulness

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I recently attended a Sunday morning Medicine Buddha practice.  I might not be writing about it, except for several suprising instances / experiences.  Khenpo Choepel was the Vajramaster – the person (lama) leading the ceremony.  Typically, the teachers, especially when they are teaching, sit on a raised platform, commonly referred to as a throne – there are multiple reasons for this, some of which go back thousands of years to Buddhism and Tantric practice in ancient India, but I would say that teachers sit in higher positions due to the preciousness of what they are offering.  [Hearing a quality Dharma teaching is a rare, precious opportunity which relatively few get to engage in with ease.  And the teachers do not sit on thrones when they are not teaching Dharma.]

Charlottesville people at the TMC with Khenpo
Charlottesville people at the TMC with Khenpo

Anyway, the reason I am writing about this, is that Khenpo Choepel came into the shrine room, where dozens of us were already present for the upcoming ceremony.  However, despite being the Vajramaster, he would not sit on the throne.  This was most unusual to me, until, soon thereafter, who should walk in but Khenchen Rinpoche!  Talk about a surprise and an incredible blessing!?!  Then understanding began to bloom in my mind (very slowly) – as Khenpo and Khenchen commenced to engage in a brief humility contest.  Khenpo would not sit on the throne, and of course, neither would Khenchen (who is technically a higher lama but was not leading the ceremony).  Khenchen then sat down right where he was standing, much to our chagrin – for a high lama to sit on the [dirty] floor is very disturbing (especially in Asian cultures).  There were several friendly attempts to get him to stand back up, but he would not until a pad and cushion were prepared for him near us, in a lower position than the Vajramaster.  So, I think it was a tie – both Khenpo, sitting on his normal side seat and Khenchen, sitting on a decorative rug proved to be exceptionally humble!

horsing around outside of TMC with Khenpo
horsing around outside of TMC with Khenpo

A few of us, myself included, very serendipitously, sat close to Khenchen, and his sense of humor and an attitude of appropriate, infinite playfulness definitely shown through.  Amazing!  To shed some light on what I mean, at the end of the ceremony, Tsok food was passed around.  Khenchen did not seem to have a napkin and the large pile came around to me, so of course I offered him one.  He shook his head no.

Thinking he may not have understood what I meant, I tried again, and this time, he said, “No need.”  And then he proceeded to pantomime licking his hands clean!  It was perfectly zapchen and poignantly timed – it directly shattered my “Oh I have to get this right around this high lama” attitude.

Khenchen was serendipitously at the center because Spring Retreat was starting a week later and he had arrived early.  Wow – I was very pleasantly surprised.  Khenchen is one of my heart teachers – I first took refuge and Bodhisattva vows with him.  MMMMmmmmmm…

Oh – also the TMC was recently painted.  Doesn’t it look great?

How do I describe what it is to be a worthy astrologer?

Composite of an Outer Planet
Composite of an Outer Planet

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At the risk of sounding less than humble and possibly even brash and bold, I am writing this post.  What is it that makes a good astrologer?  I have been doing a number of charts recently, now that I am on hiatus from school, and I derive real pleasure from (seemingly) being of benefit to others, answering questions and articulating abstractions which clients are just beginning to become aware of, and in seeing how much I have grown over the past couple of years.  So, just to be safe, as Mercury is retrograde, and Uranus is crossing my Natal Sun (basically re-wiring my circuitry), forgive me wisdom beings if I am being arrogant.

Here are some of the ingredients that go into my blend of Spiritual Astrology: toss in a thorough astrological background, excellent teachers and years spent pouring over many dozens of books in Western Astrology; then blend a dedicated, semi-consistent Tibetan Buddhist practice; throw in heaps of bodywork classes and experience giving and receiving hundreds of sessions; dash in several peace-building modalities and workshops; ideally, you want to season with plenty of time spent playing and resting down and finding alignment through simple somatic exercises and being in nature; and of course, most importantly, attend and allow Tibetan Lamas to touch your heart, to show you how to let go just a little bit more and how to rest in equanimity.  This might seem like a tall order…

And it is.  I am not saying I hold all of this together all the time – because I do not!  Ha Ha!  That’ll be the day.  However, I have had incredible teachers and mentors and I am not afraid to tackle psycho-spiritual challenges – both within and without.  And did I mention I still have much work to do!

What do I recommend?  Well, first, get a session with me, Kirby Moore, Spiritual Astrologer, but, as one of the great philosophers says, (Nietzsche), “only a fool is ruled by [their] stars.”  What this means is, live your life!  Enjoy, play, romp, dance, sing, meditate, eat delicious food, spend time with your family (if appropriate*), work a little and laugh!  Do not look at your chart daily, or even weekly (monthly is okay).  Be aware of your mental state when you read your horoscope – notice any stories which you may be repeating to yourself about how your situation is doomed.  Be aware that some things will always be better.  Take a deep breath.

I recommend receiving an astrology interpretation once or twice a year, not more.  Do not look at your chart on-line more than once a month.  Instead, breathe deeply, mindfully, fully.  Spend time with that friend who you just can’t seem to find the time to fit into your schedule!  Quiet your mind, in whatever manner is best for you and allow the Universe to fill your chest, your lungs, your heart.  Take the time to determine what it is your heart is yearning for, and then go for it!  (Appropriately of course, and gradually if needed.)

Oh – and of course I would recommend going through a self care workshop, which I just happen to lead.  Learn how to take care of yourself and be kind.  I currently lead workshops in Charlottesville, Virginia, but if you would like to get a group going in your neck of the woods, feel free to ask me about this.  It is my intention to practice right livelihood, right speech and to be in right relationship.  Sincerely, with peace.

* Unfortunately, tragically, and on the rare occasion that, if your family causes you harm, consistently, then think twice about spending time with them.  With this exception pending, perhaps it is best to branch out and embrace a new community.  As always, I would recommend speaking with someone you trust and consider to be wise about this issue.

Thanks for reading!


Drupon at Stupa in Frederick Maryland
Drupon at Stupa in Frederick Maryland

As I have been prepping for my last final exam, I have had thoughts of ease and lightening up.  I also just received a network chiropractice session earlier (might or might not be correlated).  <Updated 3/26/10 – Life is a dance of expansion and contraction, ease and challenge, stretching and resting down.  I am still doing these things.>

We are human beings, as the Metta prayer says, “I offer myself love, with all my frailties, vulnerability and beauty.”  There is only so much we can change in a given week, or a given month, or even in a year.  Slowly, slowly, only with patience, acceptance and gentle-loving-kindness, can we shift significant psycho-spiritual patterns.  Like one of my teachers says, “Change is like water dripping on a rock.  It takes time and patience.”

Take inventory of yourself – where are you?  What do you want to accomplish this year?  Where have you come from?  Be realistic!  If necessary, speak with someone who has been treading down a transformative and kind path for some time.   Allow yourself time to integrate, time to settle and time to let that which needs to come to the surface to do so.  Spend some time in nature.  Take a nap.  Be kind.  Please.

Drupon’s teachings in Charlottesville and Va Beach

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

I had the blessing of being present for Drupon’s teachings in Charlottesville and the Tidewater area on two separate weekends.

Drupon and Ramanan in C'ville
Drupon and Ramanan in C'ville

Drupon taught on the preliminary practices for the most part, however, in Charlottesville he also gave the Bodhisattva vows and the Mahakala empowerment.

As the event organizer, I am always surprised when the lama or teacher asks me what I want them to teach.  I think to myself – “I am not worthy!  Why are you asking me?”  But seriously, I am happy to make a request – the teacher knows what they will actually teach on when they sit in front of the audience.

Drupon taught on taking refuge and the four thoughts that turn the mind – very sound, quality, fundamental teachings which are mandatory for anyone looking to progress toward Buddhahood.  Then in Va Beach, he taught on refuge practice and Mahamudra – the great seal.  I would say more about this profound practice, but I know so little about it that I would swiftly insert my foot, directly into my mouth.  I have heard, that in order to move toward realizing Mahamudra, one must stabilize their meditation through calm abiding.

After having organized the Mahakala weekend in C’ville, I was exhausted, to be frank.  So I went to Va Beach and rested a little, walked on the beach, listened to blessed and extremely fortunate teachings and I also stayed in a gorgeous shrine room – they sure knew how to take care of us.  The Sangha of Va Beach – Ratnashri Circle – are very generous, kind and connected – what a great example!  Here is a picture of the bay from the house where I stayed – sunrise over Portsmouth.

Sunrise over Portsmouth Virginia
Sunrise over Portsmouth Virginia

Astrological News

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I am reflecting here, on how my life is shifting recently.  Astrologically, several events have occurred in my personal chart.  I am going to share my thoughts on having Jupiter in my 7th house for the first time in eleven years, along with my reaction to having Uranus cross (conjunct) my natal Sun – possibly a once in a lifetime event, unless I live another 84 years…  Hmmm.

Nature Laughs in Flowers! - a quote
Nature Laughs in Flowers! – a quote

So, first I want to mention that I practice frequency-based, choice-centered Spiritual Astrology and I offer interpretations professionally, along with teaching classes.  The reason I mention this, is that I do not want people reading my experience of these aspects and projecting my experience onto their lives.  I maintain a daily meditation practice, where I usually sit around and day dream for 30 minutes, in addition to maintaining a daily practice of loving-kindness to self, which goes a little ways toward reducing my negative karma.  Therefore, what I am about to share is my experience, speaking from my frequency, wherever that may be.  If someone else experiences these astrological phenomena, their situation is guaranteed to be different!  If you have any questions about this, schedule an appointment with me.

With that said, Jupiter has been in my 7th house now for about six weeks now.  Traditionally the 7th house rules intimate relationships and especially marriage.  Whereas the 1st house is the self – the body, the motivation, the drive, the 1st house is self-oriented where the 7th house is other-oriented (our romantic partner).  The 7th house is a desire for union, in whatever form that takes, as well as an easier time of compromise and accepting others.  Over the time Jupiter has been in my 7th, I have been much more social and my attitude has gradually improved.  And, for me, what is most important, is that I am having multiple meetings with remarkable young women!  Hey hey!

I have been more inclined to do things with people, whereas in the past I was a home body – I would have rather been reading or studying than going out and mixing it up.  For me, it takes a lot of energy to be around large groups of people – and even small groups if the dynamic is not right.  Therefore, for me to be more social is saying something.  Also, I have had a slight attitude of existential questioning for the past few years, and this shadowy veil seems to be lifting.  It is very slight, but some days I legitimately rest in equanimity, clear and open to what is.  Of course, it is a slow process and there is much I could improve upon – especially regarding stabilizing this experience.  <revision on 2/3/10 – I still have a ton to work on, and if I do not sit daily, there is a mental fogginess that I cannot seem to shake.>

Some of the above could have been a reflection or mirrored by Uranus crossing my Natal Sun.  This potentially explosive aspect only happens once (or in the extremely rare case of centenarians, twice) in a lifetime and for me, I am still “in it.”  Luckily it seems like I have passed the crest or the critical mass.  But I certainly know when that was occurring.  I felt nervous and anxious for about four days, off and on, although, if I did the practices my Tibetan lamas recommended I responded well.  I believe that having a daily meditation practice allows us to appropriately detach from our emotions and our body’s natural reactions and conditioned patterns and we can just sit back, objectively observing with curiosity and amazement and wonder!  <revision 2/3/10 – I was not “out of the thick of this aspect” as I thought… Uranus goes retrograde so I am just now completing this long change-filled process.  More on this in a future post.>

About some of my teachers

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It feels like it has been over a month since I last posted here.  I have been busy with school and especially with organizing this upcoming Mahakala weekend with Drupon Thinley Ningpo.  The Sangha (Buddhist group) I am a part of also updated our contact lists which I was an integral part of, so along with school and teaching my class, I have had very little spare time.  However, here is a post on some of my teachers.  I thank my karma every day for every opportunity to study and practice Dharma and especially to attend these qualified teachers.

Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen giving a precious pill to Drupon
Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen giving a precious pill to Drupon

I took refuge from Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen in 2006.  I attended the TMC’s Spring Retreat – I met Khenchen, Drupon Thinley Ningpo and Khenpo Tsultrim along with the many modest (yet profound) practitioners who attended along side.  Khenchen might be best known for his work with Gampopa’s book, the Jewel Ornament of Liberation.  During this retreat, Khenchen covered several chapters of it.  Hearing it from him, I was so fortunate to come to the understanding that Buddhahood is possible in one lifetime – not just something vague and abstract – with diligent practice here and now, we can become Buddhas (- Wow!).  <Revised 3/26/10 – I have little to no wisdom when it comes to this process – but I became aware of the actual possibility of Buddhahood in a lifetime.>  Rinpoche, through the incredible text, spelled out the steps required (not that I am any closer to doing so).

I have attended multiple teachings by the Drupon, Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin, Khenpo Choephel and other qualified, respected teachers.  I have a hypothesis which I need to test a little more before coming to any conclusions.  It is this – more often than not, a Lama has a specific name for a reason.  For instance, Khenpo Tsultrim teaches and emphasizes moral ethics quite often in the topics and texts he chooses to teach.  And, his name, Tsultrim, means ethical behavior or discipline.  I would say the same holds true for Khenchen – Gyaltsen means victory banner.  Khenchen is very modest and soft spoken, but his wisdom and compassion are incredibly vivid even if he is in a crowd and profound – providing a model for living and practicing the Dharma.  I would say his spreading the Dharma with wisdom and compassion is a victory banner for the rest of us, a shining example of what a lifetime of Dharma practice can achieve.

Khenpo Chophel
Khenpo Chophel

Khenpo Tsultrim (see previous post for a picture) and the Drupon have been in the U.S. since 2001, so their English is pretty good.  In fact, Khenpo teaches in English quite often.  It is such a great blessing to have teachers who are pursuing and enthusiastic about speaking the native language.  (I think it might be more difficult for older Lamas to learn a new language well.)  Khenpo Choephel has studied with some of the great masters of Tibet, having been the Umze, or chant leader of the Drigung Til monastery in Tibet.  As Umze, he has memorized hundreds of texts and practices, leading rituals along with the daily prayers.  His gentle, unassuming presence and his profound, humble wisdom are very evident despite his just starting out with the English language.  He arrived in the U.S. in late 2007.  I believe that when he learns English well, he will have incredible results in reaching people and promoting the Dharma.  He is already doing a lot – Khenpo Choephel led us this past Winter in conducting the Mani Drupchen retreat.

When I asked Khenchen about my various psychological patterns (some of which I would do without if I could), every answer was the same.  For instance, “I have a tendency to be pleasing and to be overly sensitive to other’s needs and energy, what can I do about this?”  He said, “practice Dharma.”  I asked him several questions, in a similar vein and this was his answer to every one of them – “practice Dharma.”  So I leave you with the answer to how does one free themselves from suffering?  “Just practice Dharma.”  Of course, in order to do this appropriately, it helps to have a qualified teacher.

This was hastily written by M. Kirby Moore, March of 2009.

the Zendo in white, Khenpo in C’ville, spring break, cactus blossoms

Outside Zendo, a little hut under cover
Outside Zendo, a little hut under cover

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  Please feel free to visit my website at to support his blogging efforts.  Thank you!

Today we got our first major (few inches) snow of the season and of course I had to take pictures of the Zendo under its cozy white blanket of frosty powder.  I have several fun pictures of it.

I had members of the Zen Sangha over recently, or I should say, up, to a potluck.  It was good to get to know them better and connect with other Buddhists in C’ville.  I think I will host one of these per month, in my home above the Zendo.

Oh- and I am turning 30 soon!  Wow – it kind of boggles my mind to hear this.  However, I have gone through my Saturn return quite well – all the little bits and pieces that were in need of maturing are coming together nicely.  <revised 2/2/10 – I still have a ton to work on!>  My current plans, which are always subject to impermanence and change, are to do some hiking this summer, continue to see clients and students, maintain my practice and then graduate in December of 2009.  I intend to do a neat Zapchen Where is the Zendo?

retreat in one year – I need to get more clients and save up some $$.

Also, Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin recently came to Charlottesville and taught on several topics – including Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend, Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen’s new text on Prohibitions and Permissions, and a brief Guru Yoga.  Terry Barrett helped to translate and we are ever so grateful for both of their presence and hard work.  They accomplished much in the way of translations – they have been aspiring to complete multiple projects and they did so!  Hooray!

Khenpo teaching in Ch'ville (at Tara's Den)
Khenpo teaching in Ch’ville (at Tara’s Den)

I am currently on spring break, so maybe I can write a few posts this week.  I am doing a little bit of work, a bit of relaxation, and I am enjoying reading about Tibetan Medicine in my spare time.  I recently started teaching a class on kindness to self – tools for relaxing, refreshing and practicing quality self-care.  It is exciting.  In about a month, I plan to teach more astrology as I am encountering many people who have interest.

I am having fun in my Drama (intro to acting) and Environmental Science (Virginia’s environments) classes.  It is great to move energy for a change at UVa – previously I have been entirely too cranial with academic work.  It is a pleasant shift.  As for Envi Sci, it is very fascinating to learn about the large scale impermanence of the planet – they speak of rivers moving, shifting, transforming and pirating other streams.  The tectonic plates and mountains come and go.  Whoa – impermanence is everywhere!  How can we keep ourselves so distracted from it?

Finally, my Christmas cactus bloomed like you would not believe in January!  It was gorgeous, so much so, I think I took 20 or 30 pictures of it.  Hopefully this picture does it justice.

My heavenly Christmas cactus
My heavenly Christmas cactus

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Happy Lo Sar (Tibetan New Year)!

Prayer flags at the Tibetan Meditation Center, Maryland
Prayer flags at the Tibetan Meditation Center, Maryland

Happy New Year, people who practice Tibetan Buddhism celebrate a new Lunar calendar while they mourn those Tibetans who stood up for their faith and their truth and were killed.  I find it fascinating how the Tibetans commemorate their country-folk by not celebrating, although this makes sense.  For instance, if my beloved family members were suffering in prison, I would feel very sad about celebrating and partying.  This year, there is to be no singing, no dancing on what is normally one of the most festive days of the year for Tibetans.  Could you imagine what this would be like for the U.S.?  We do not celebrate enough as it is, to be saddened by yet another day – woof!  Actually I need to realize I can not possibly put myself in the shoes of someone whose people has suffered as much as the Tibetans (and others) have.  And as an American, I must recollect the atrocities my government has visited upon Native peoples…  Om Mani Padme Hung Hrih

For me, I am realizing the benefit of silence.  I keep reading, that if we discuss and share the secrets of our experiences or realizations, then they dissolve and fizzle, not to be regained with ease.  And then I keep inappropriately and zealously sharing dreams and insights.  Wow – I need to stop.

Tashi Delek Pun Tsum Tsog!

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For books that I recommend, including books on Tibetan Culture and Buddhism, visit or click on the link to the right —–> to support my blogging and Dharma activities. Thanks for reading!

A discovery

Guru Rinpoche - Ladakh, India
Guru Rinpoche – Ladakh, India

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  You can visit Kirby’s website at to purchase Astrology interpretations and bodywork sessions.  This will support Kirby’s blogging and Dharma activities.  Thank you!

News Flash: Kirby is molting, a bit early perhaps

I have been receiving more bodywork recently than I have had the privilege in previous times.  Included within this caring touch is massage, and the woman who does my massages recently commented that we were “discovering secret treasures.”  She said this in response to finding muscles on my body that were extremely tight – almost to the point of unbearable pain when palpated.

I have been lying around quite a bit recently – I do not mean this with any negative connotation – napping and integrating are extremely important.  I have come to the conclusion that merely going to class full time at the University of Virginia is something to be proud of.  At the same time, I have been a little less than kind, beating myself up for spending so much down time, doing less meditation practice than usual and not quite studying everything I feel is necessary to maintain those aforementioned classes.  It is okay – no longer any reason to beat myself up!  Good job Kirby, well done.

I do a practice called Zapchen – created by Julie Henderson, PhD. – see the website for more info.  This is a lovely, relaxing series of exercises for lightening the mood, pulsing restrictions in the body, coaxing openness in a stabilized manner, resting in alignment and coming down out of the head and into the body.  Julie also does work with the I-Ching and she interpreted her version of this beneficial book.  It was with the help of this resource that I recently made a discovery of my own – all the down time, napping, lying in the Sun and resting on my amethyst bio-mat has been because I am in the process of molting.  “Help I’m molting!”

Actually, in all seriousness, I am looking forward to observing what my new skin will look like, at some point.  And on a different subject, of Astrology…

Currently, there is some static in the astrological sky – Uranus and Saturn are opposing, causing quite a bit of confusion and injuries of connective tissue to name a couple of issues, Mercury just came out of Retrograde, so we are recalibrating our brains and communication skills, Venus is slowing down to go into Retrograde, which could mean our likes and dislikes and our needs in relationships are shifting.  All of this plus the Sun, Mercury, Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter are all in Aquarius and Pluto is just starting to get used to being in Capricorn.  Whoa!  I need to lighten up with myself – just do what I can and let go, just continue to practice kindness and compassion to self, nurturing the inner shifts and insights.

May all be happy and free of suffering!  Om Mani Padme Hung Hri

3/26/10 – an update.  I was going to do an entire separate post about this, still might.  But guess what?  I am still molting.  Funny thing these vast, foundational transformations.  Birth trauma is being unwound, my limiting beliefs are coming up to be re-evaluated, old, tight wounds are being pulsed and stroked; I am moving toward awakeness at a snail’s pace.  Hooray!

There are not that many books on deep transformations of body, mind and heart. However, for books that I recommend on this subject and more, including books on Tibetan Buddhism, visit or click on the link to the right —–> to support my blogging and Dharma activities. Thanks for reading!

Mani Drupchen complete

Kirby on fellow pilgrim's laps in Ladakh, India
Kirby on fellow pilgrim’s laps in Ladakh, India

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  You can visit to support Kirby’s blogging efforts.  Thank you!

Hello again,

Back from attending Garchen Rinpoche – wow, what a being.  I think he embodies spontaneous, liberated, spacious heart – words don’t come close.  Hmm.  Well, I am a bit more grounded as a result – had the blessing of another Bodhicitta pill, as he says, (and I paraphrase) Bodhicitta is the warmth that we need to melt the ice of self grasping.

So, I think I am wrapping up the Mani Drupchen, finally.  I have a few more thoughts and considerations, but I think they will wait.  For now, here are my thoughts on how the military and Tibetan Buddhism might be similar.

Overall, there is a deep fundamental difference between say, the Army and attaining Buddhahood, however, there are some uncanny surface parallels. Apparently, not that I have conducted much research on this, Robert Thurman believes this topic to be a valid theory, considering the Buddha had been raised as a military leader when he was Prince Siddhartha.

Here is what I discovered as I sat on my cushion and pondered (distracted from meditation):

In the military there is a hierarchy among ranks and in a spiritual tradition there is also a hierarchy among lamas – maybe they know who has attained which realizations. The Retreat Master, who is sometimes known as the disciplinarian could be reflected in a Drill Sergeant role (just very compassionate and lovingly-kind beneath the crusty, rough exterior). There was quite a regimented schedule at this retreat – especially with chanting through the night – the night shifts of mantra recitation greatly reminded me of night watch in the army. In Tibetan Buddhism there are preliminary practices that one must do before taking on a tantric deity practice, these preliminary practices could be viewed as slowly advancing through the ranks – there are various “schools” one has to complete before becoming eligible for higher ranks. And in another manner, the stages of the path could be viewed similarly – for instance, the stage of accumulation, the stage of one taste, the stage of no more meditation, etc. With advancement through the “ranks,” one gains more responsibility and occasionally the little things in life get easier – for instance some of the high lamas, abbots, lineage holders, retreat masters, might be relieved from needing to prepare food.

A friend pointed out, when I mentioned this theory, that the lamas might be the officers, the monks could be seen as the enlisted personnel and the lay people (us) might be seen as the tax payers (basically watching and typically not having a clue about what is going on, at least on the subtle levels).

Thanks for reading and perhaps I will see you at the next Mani Drupchen.

For books that I recommend, including books on Tibetan Buddhist retreats and intensives – like the Mani Drupchen, visit or click on the link to the right —–> to support my blogging and Dharma activities. Thanks for reading!