Greetings from Bodhi Path headquarters in Natural Bridge, Virginia!
This is a place of natural beauty situated in the lovely Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountain ranges. I am attending the 6th annual teaching program of Shamar Rinpoche with a 100 or so other folks from all over the US and some coming from several countries in Europe and from as far away as Darjeeling, India. The topic is “Compassion Meets Emptiness”. It is wonderful to be with Rinpoche and receive his teachings, see old friends and new from all the different Bodhi Path Centers, and come together with the other Bodhi Path teachers and assistants who all work so tirelessly to support the Dharma and Rinpoche’s activity in the West.
I arrived here on Thursday night several hours later than expected due an east coast storm that had me and many others bumped or delayed on our journeys. I was greeted at the Roanoke airport by Marc Junkunc. Boy was I happy to see him! Having arisen at 2 am, I was glad to get back to Willow Cabin where I am staying with Rachel and Pamela, Dharma sisters and fellow Bodhi Path teachers. Friday morning we all assembled in the beautiful 7 year old Meditation Hall offered and built by local Bodhi Pather Peter Sils to receive teachings from Shamar Rinpoche who looks rested and in good health.
Rinpoche began by tracing the origins of the Vajrayana teachings and the difference between tantric and Mahayana methods. He also said that it was Buddha who discovered Vipasyana meditation. All that had been known up until that time was Shiné meditation. He went on to give detailed explanations of the practice of Chenrezig and then we all did the practice together. Saturday Rinpoche will teach on Shine Lhaktong, Mahamudra. Sunday morning there will be a consecration ceremony up at the new Buddha Pavilion. The assistants have passed out a draft of guidelines for all Bodhi Path, start-ups, groups and centers and by definition we are a center! News to me….But I am thrilled to know it!
Hot lunches are being catered by the Southern Inn, a local Lexington establishment, and are delicious. They are served in a tent on a lawn outside of the Meditation Hall. I was given a complimentary Bodhi Path T-shirt. After lunch I had a meeting with Chris Fang, an assistant, Dawa, Santa Barbara’s resident teacher, and Christine and Clarissa from SLO. The meeting was to discuss having a collaborative regional teaching in Santa Barbara with Trinlay Rinpoche at the end of the year. It was a fruitful meeting but nothing has been decided yet.
The day ended up with a trip to Kroger’s, a local supermarket, to buy groceries and then back to the tent and Meditation hall for pizza and a Dharma movie, Fierce Light. The writer and director is named Velcrow Ripper. More later……Wish you all were here with me! I’ll will send some photos soon.
Here’s a link to Fierce Light’s homage: www.fiercelight.org