Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"Even your dreams will be happy"

Perhaps the coldest morning yet turned into a beautiful sunny day as His Holiness continued his teachings. The crowds were larger today than yesterday, perhaps with many late arrivals.

Getting to Bodhgaya is apparently very difficult as the thick overnight fog is causing extensive delays on the train lines into Gaya, the nearest station. There is a small airport in Gaya, really just a strip, that flies one flight a day to Bangkok and one every couple of days to Chenai.

After His Holiness’ teachings, Lama Zopa Rinpoche led a candlelight march around the Mahabodhi Stupa in support of creating a vegetarian-only zone in Bodhgaya, it was attended by what seemed to be a couple of thousand people and co-led by Richard Gere, who created quite a stir in town when he emerged from the car with Lama Zopa at the march’s starting point.

Hollywood star power, even here in Dharma-land.

After tonight I have just two more nights in Bodhgaya before I travel to Delhi on the overnight train, which departs Gaya close to midnight on Jan. 9th after His Holiness concludes his teachings that morning with a Long Life Empowerment for all in attendance. I have accomplished what I came for and will be ready to go.

During today’s teachings, His Holiness again addressed the Tibetans, and especially the monastics. It remains so precious to be able to listen to his words and tone as he speaks not to the citizens of the world, or non-Buddhists, as is so often the case when we hear his soundbites, but to his people.

Today’s teachings covered many different topics, His Holiness was quite expository, and he included an extensive discussion of the Noble Eightfold Path, the “leisures” of precious human rebirth, the minds of the Sept. 11 terrorists, and some Lam-rim teachings.

Some of today’s messages, again, many of them practical and for the benefit of his beloved monastic students:

“In Mongolia, the Dharma is being destroyed by those who do not take it seriously.”

“In the past, many people took Tibetan Buddhism to be our custom, but now there is much necessary study taking place.”

“For us Tibetans, our identity is linked to Buddhism.”

“For someone who is a Buddhist, there is no way you can be unsure about taking refuge in the Three Jewels.”

“On the ultimate level, there is, of course, no such thing as attainment or cessation.”

“It is best to wake up early in the morning, and when reciting prayers, think about the meaning, not just the words.”

“Right speech includes not being a hypocrite, but tough love, speaking harshly, is OK . . . in the long run it will help the person although it may be a little difficult at first.”

“A true Muslim cannot harm sentient beings, cannot cause bloodshed.”

“I’m just a simple monk, following the Buddha. I always check myself, it is important for you to do likewise.”

“We live in exile, we must be very careful, it is as if we are in a blizzard, we must be very careful.”

“If you live honestly, even in your dreams you will be happy.”

“It is much easier to practice religion with eyes and ears, and much harder to practice religion that has to do with the development of the mind.”

“Contemplate this (the beauty of Dharma) again and again with the highest joy.”

“If you disregard Dharma and say that everything is empty, this is a harmful, nihilistic view.”

“Lama Tsong Khapa really took great pains to deal with the difficult points of the classical texts, showing his scholarly knowledge and detailed reasoning.”

“Our life of leisure (to practice Dharma) is more precious than a wish-granting jewel.”

“If we wish to help people we should delight them, so they become receptive to what we have to offer.”

“When it comes to your Dharma practice, do not put your rope in the hands of others.”

During the afternoon teaching His Holiness had the place in a laughing uproar as he called upon the lay people in the crowd to relieve the monks in serving tea. Many did and he poked fun at them as they did so. He just sat and cackled in that familiar way, and the monks followed his lead. It was a riot and really served to make all feel even more together.

Personally, today’s teachings had an ease about them, a relaxation . . . every now and then a slight transformation of consciousness, a certain feel . . . to be sitting in a field in India -- in this place -- taking direct teachings from the Buddha . . . is this all a dream we dreamed so many lifetimes long ago?

Stopping the finger now, thanks for reading.