I thought I would have written sooner, but it has been a very full program and the time is flying…..
On the second day of Rinpoche’s teachings, he gave us instructions on shamatha and vipassyana. He encouraged us to rely on the instructions in both the booklet “Boundless Awakening” and the book “The Path to Awakening”. Bodhi Path teachers Lama Jampa, Tsony, Dawa, Rachel, Pamela and I have had the opportunity to share and support one another. This a rare occurrence as we are all involved in our own activities. It is helpful and inspiring to see how each one manifests Dharma activity according to their own style and abilities and in partnership with all of you who show up to help.
On the third day of the program, we all went up to the new Buddha Pavilion to celebrate and consecrate its completion. Rinpoche told us the story of how he ordered the statue from Burma where the metal crafting is particularly refined and beautiful. He said that this Buddha statue is the “crown jewel” of the Natural Bridge Bodhi Path center and the way it is situated on the high point of the property is radiating blessings out to the world. We ended the ceremony with Rinpoche handing all of us small blessed Chenrezig statues.
Later that evening, we had our annual party featuring the Bodhi Band singing old and new songs. New entries are always welcome and there were some great ones again this year by Sharon, Matt and Sanford. Soon you will be able to go to YouTube and watch a video of the Bodhi Path Band singing Sandford Garner and Khenpo Tsering’s hit song, “That’s the Way, the Madhyamika Way”. The party was a bit smaller than previous years but it was just as enthusiastic and enjoyable.
Monday was the Bodhi Path Meeting for all the folks who help out at the various centers to meet each other and the assistants and share information. It is so inspiring to hear about the expanding activities going on at all the centers. I asked that the minutes of the meeting be sent along to us in Pasadena so that I can relay the news to all of you. There are so many folks here from Latin America as well . The Bodhi Path center in Mexico meets 4 nights per week and stream teachings from Mexico City to other Latin countries and Miami. Eduardo, the resident teacher, has unstoppable energy and it is contagious!
We were free on Monday evening and all of Tuesday up until Tsony’s retreat at 7 pm. A few of us Californians went for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway where the views on either side are spectacular. We did a bit of shopping and got back to the center by 4 pm when Tsony and I had a meeting to discuss the retreat.
The title of the retreat is The Union of Compassion and Emptiness. We are doing the Chenrezig practice 3 x’s per day spending 30–45 minutes accumulating the mantra. Kimberly from Chicago is here. She is the one who is manages the Mani Face Book Page and keeps track of the numbers of mantras being accumulated throughout the world. We are up to 33 million or so. Our goal, being 100 million, now has a new end date of next Losar. So keep going everybody!
I am leading the Q & A after lunch and also the following ½ hour of movement meditation. Today we walked around the stupa continuing the mantra.
We will have a few more days of retreat and then all go our separate ways. There are so many wonderful friends, old and new. Tonight, I will be interviewing Jay and Carol with a view of writing an article for next year’s “The Path”. I am interested in finding out all I can about how this wonderful center here in Natural Bridge has come into being.
They are the ones who made it happen and lived the history of it’s birth. It is a story I think we would all love to know.
Need I say, I am having a wonderful time and wish you all were here. Let’s plan it for next year! Sending you love and wishes……