Song from Seven Circles

Seven Circles Retreat

Up early each day – meditation, chanting, Feldenkrais, and napping

Om Mani Padme Hung

Overcoming many obstacles, we gather here in Seven Circles for retreat

The gong is a tattle tale – it told on you

Oh, Ngondro, you cracked me wide open

The strong arms of the chant lift me, my sangha, brothers and sisters hold me

Buddha Nature prevails

Love, kindness, discipline, perseverance, awareness, and insight

Chanting and rolling dharma bundles

An oriole shoots by…enlightenment

Noble silence, noble speech

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ho

Sweat rolls down my back as I dive into the linoleum

Gasping for breath, walking among the giant trees with my friends

Making offerings at Big Baldy

Mt. Meru insight prayers

By the circle of tall trees

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, ribbit, ribbit

We grew like hairs on Big Baldy

Reversing time – finding the present moment – going backwards

High Ngondro, starring Cary Grant me your blessings

Trying hard not to break noble silence – epic fail

Who are the three families and do they have anything to do with the five families?

Fail, fail again, fail better

Hope you fail better soon!

Surrendering concepts in devotion, to the teacher who teaches devotion, to the teacher I take refuge

Beloved sons and daughters of the Kagyu lineage – nevertheless you might feel like a stepchild

Gurgle, gurgle, ribbit, ribbit

Rooster, cow, chicken

Om Svasti Shamar Rinpoche – we follow you

You are all masters, just open your eyes – I can’t – it’s too bright!

Would it help to put on sunglasses?

What are we supposed to be doing?

Just stay awake

A road to Badger, feeling anxious

Seeking Buddha – oh, he’s already here

Let the mantras roll

Now my life has become fruitful

I heard about the five colors of emanating light, I need four more flashlights

Breakfast, lunch, dinner – grateful for the earth, grateful for the hands

Nevertheless she cooks

My heart does a gentle dance with time – mine asks to cut in

From the country road, Maria brings wildflowers to the altar

Take me home country road……

Bodhi Path Poem – June 2017  Seven Circles Retreat Center – Composed by the refugees

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Bodhisattva Ninja Turtle

Not for Happiness

Not for Happiness

I noticed a friend last night at our meditation group reading this book at the break. It was a book I had given him a few months ago. Another friend, who I had also given a copy to, also noticed and a short discussion began about the book. I loved the book. For me, a good kick in the ass when needed. For my friends, a little bit of a demanding read. The title itself shatters whatever grand illusions we have of a spiritual practice. Not for Happiness. Happiness seekers need not apply. But as my teacher said last night, relative happiness. Conditioned happiness. So, for awakening, for enlightenment, for the benefit of beings, should be, I believe, our motivation. Our intention. It is mine for sure. And still a work in progress. My teacher Shamar Rinpoche, a great master who we lost last year, said this to me many years ago when he noticed my urgency in wanting results from practice, “Be like the tortoise, not the rabbit.” I have cherished that teaching ever since. It continually reminds me that it is not necessarily speed, but consistent determination that will benefit us on the path. I also realized this morning that Rinpoche was advising me in the ways of a bodhisattva.

Shantideva says,

“For those who wish to go across the water,
 May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.”

Even a turtle.

Sarva Mangalam

Bodhisattva Ninja Turtle

Bodhisattva Ninja Turtle

Using Habit Against Itself 

Each step may seem to take forever, but no matter how uninspired you feel, continue to follow your practice schedule precisely and consistently. This is how we can use our greatest enemy, habit, against itself.

– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, “Tortoise Steps”

Shamar Rinpoche saves the lobsters

A lama walks into a seafood store… The wise and beloved Tibetan Buddhist, Shamar Rinpoche (1952-2014), makes his first visit to a New England Seafood store (in 1999). Watch him interact with a veteran Massachusetts fishmonger.

Ruminations of Rinpoche – Group Poem from the Annual Program in Natural Bridge.

Shamar Rinpoche - Photo Courtesy Tokpa Korlo

Shamar Rinpoche – Photo Courtesy Tokpa Korlo

Dear friends,

I am sharing this spectacular group poem that was birthed during the four day Annual Program in Natural Bridge.

In Honor of Shamar Rinpoche, each person was invited to write one line about Rinpoche.
Many did, and then it was fashioned into this poem

Enjoy the Bodhicitta that was flowing all week.

Ruminations of Rinpoche
Manifestor of the rainbow light
Your voice is the whisper of wind in the trees
the warmth of the sun, your smile
A cloud floats with bright clear light across blue sky and melts into its own clarity again
Understand the nature of change—dispel the delusion of perception and conception. This is
Dewachen!
Able to obliterate any concept in a single moment
painting with clouds and rainbows
A bird in the sky sees everything and leaves no trace
Unbound Unsurpassed Unforgettable
Oh Bhagawan Ho
My Guru, my glorious Guru
Rinpoche, I bow with deep gratitude for your many blessings
May we take your sudden disappearance, the ultimate teaching of impermanence to heart!
I wish I’d asked you to stay
Your mind, my mind, may there be no separation. Limitlessly vast, spacious, clear
Great blessing, Gentle bliss
Right here, right now
Unbound. Unparalleled. Unborn
Thank you Rinpoche for the methods, strength, and compassion to practice
Sharing your loving essence
Precious jewel of great joy
Thinking of compassion I will stand right behind you
You gave us our teachers, who helped us begin to understand
that you were the supreme teacher
Thank you for everything Sharmapa, including the wonderful blessings!
Through your blessings my heart became a fully opened lotus
Who’d have thought the harmonica could be such a potent tool of the Dharma?
I see your smiling face everyday
In a heartbeat, your Buddha smile was on my lips
Smiling, his eyes, my eyes, meeting…
A warm handshake with a genuine smile
Give love! Share love! Just relax
With a snap of your fingers you rescued us from a meaningless life
You sat before us on a simple cushion and said: “Look at your mind”
A revolutionary Mahamudra master with the presence of a warm, giant cat
I prayed to the light and to goodness for direction
Rinpoche answered…by being Rinpoche!
My heart, my heart
How precious was seeing you in Mexico and receiving your teachings and blessings
or looking up to you on the balcony, from the garden downstairs
The independence of me is my destiny
Everything you said or did was an offer to learn. Thank you Rinpoche
Although your physical presence was not known to me, your radiant energy continues to be
A new chapter in my life has opened, filled with countless treasures to be discovered
We have known each other for many lifetimes
We will know each other for many more
Freedom is the best!
In an instant!
Love, joy and peace is available when the mind stops—they are not emotions
Joyful activity Delightful presence
Thank you for your talks about children, talking to children, and being with my children
We miss you until your return
By the power invested in all of us, may we experience Mahamudra with ultimate ease
Exhausted by concepts is not enlightenment—think it through until the end
You showed me my mind—what a nonconcept
Thank you. Merits gathered under the sun always reflect the sun’s brilliance
So full of everything we could ever need
Pure joy, like a donut peach
Anywhere. Anytime.
Thank you for founding Bodhi Path
Rinpoche you are blessing us through the Bodhi Path Sangha
The Eagle has landed
and all we have now are memories in this collective dream
OK, I’ll behave myself

With Love-
the Bodhi Path Community

The Fully-loaded Lama

Shamarpa and me - Buena Park 2011

Shamarpa and me – Buena Park 2011

How do I begin to describe the Shamarpa? I leave this question as it is. So it may resonate within our being. I know we can all relate to this question. How do you describe Shamar Rinpoche.

I found Bodhi Path Pasadena in 2005 and began a lifelong friendship and commitment to study and implementing the Buddha’s precious teachings. I quickly took refuge only a few months later, with Dilyag Sabchu Rinpoche. Early the following year I met the Red Hat Lama, Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche. I was in awe and somewhat on shaky ground. Rinpoche seemed amused by my appearance and inquired where I was from. I told him I was from Peru and he proceeded in asking me if I had heard they had just discovered the smallest man in the world there? He seemed very interested and genuine. I was hooked.

Throughout the following years I attended mostly all of Rinpoche’s visits to California and also traveled to Natural Bridge for his annual teachings. I remember having such a warm feeling in my heart when he began to recognize me and remembered my name. Silly confirmation perhaps, of not wanting to be left behind by this great Bodhisattva. My teacher, Khaydroup, said to me once, “Don’t worry, he remembers everyone.” Later on there was no question of this. My meetings with Rinpoche were always a joy. Sometimes brief, sometimes extended. I always felt that Rinpoche was completely authentic when I was around him. No nonsense. He would ask about my practice and even gave a thumbs up when I shared the completion of ngondro. I thought that was cute.

A couple of memories I have about encounters with Rinpoche? Well, first that I remember that Rinpoche didn’t seem to like prostrating to him when we were in his presence. A form of bowing that one performs, laying one’s body completely on the floor in reverence.  I remember I tried to always remember his dislike, but sincerely wished to pay my respects to my teacher and a Dharma King. But I worked with this and brought it to the path. I remember one time after seeing him and not prostrating that I didn’t feel good and I promised myself never to let a moment go by when I can prostrate to my Guru. The next time I saw Rinpoche in Menlo Park I remembered this promise as I waited in line to approach him and traditionally offer him a scarf. But again, my mind was so busy, yes, no, yes, no? I resolved to do just one long short prostration and visualize limitless prostrations in one, using the Bodhisattva ideal of big, big, view. So as I approached Rinpoche, I did one long prostration, and as I arose waiting to hear his admonishment for doing this, I was met with the most brilliant smile and warmth. He seemed to have seen what was in my mind and heart. I know he did. He could see everything.

Another time when I met him I shared that I had attended a teaching by a Dzogchen Master. I told Rinpoche I had received an Ati Yoga instruction and had been doing this along with the practices he had given us. Rinpoche said that it was good to get the blessing but that I should not mix. He seemed very determined to get this across to me. I said I would follow his advice and proceeded and let others approach him. Towards the end of the event as the remaining people approached him, I was nearby having a conversation with Lama Jampa. At the conclusion I bid farewell to Lama Jampa and moved to the exit. As I walked past Rinpoche’s seat, he reached out and grabbed my hand, while he was in conversation with a person offering a scarf. He pulled me close, looked at me and said, “Do not seek esoteric teachings.” I can still feel his grasp of my hand. I said, “Ok Rinpoche” and headed home. The event displayed to me how much Rinpoche cared about me, us. I felt great love and devotion.

I will miss my precious teacher very much. But I feel well equipped for the journey ahead. Cheers to the fully-loaded lama. Shamarpa Khyenno!

Love & devotion,
cesar

Shamar Rinpoche: The Final Flame

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 2.45.02 PM

http://youtu.be/B1_Pc_q0_yM

Two weeks before his passing, Shamar Rinpoche gave his last recorded interview in Dhagpo Kagyu Ling on 27 May, 2014.
Later that night, in the car on his way to dinner, he sang the Amitabha Dewachen prayer into an iphone – because he said we were all singing it wrong. After weeks of waiting, the Kudung of Shamar Rinpoche is finally allowed to enter Nepal. It is greeted at the airport by hundreds, and the streets of Kathmandu are overflowing by the thousands.

Message from HH 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje

His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje

Dearest dharma friends

I am speaking to you as one of many spiritual friends, standing shoulder to shoulder with you in these times, and in all times.

Since the passing in this life of His Holiness Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche on the 11th of June, I have been overwhelmed by your devotion. In my life, I have never seen such devotion. I wish you to know that your efforts are completely meritorious.

Part of the practice of compassion is to place yourself in the position of others. When I put myself in your situation, I can see how difficult this period must have been for you. Not only the sacrifices many of you have made – in terms of time, energy, leaving work, and perhaps more importantly, your families – but mourning the loss of our great teacher Shamar Rinpoche.

For those of you who wished to be present with the kudung of Shamar Rinpoche, but have been unable to do so, I have only my appreciation and prayers to offer you.

I see a great unity. This unity I speak of is not worldly or political in nature, but a unity of our hearts. Our hearts are deeply connected, and your devotion has helped reveal this connection.

Therefore, I wish to thank you from the depth of my heart and request that you continue with your prayers, and know that I will be praying with you in these times, and in all times.

Thank you.

Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, New Delhi, 30 July 2014

https://soundcloud.com/karmapa/appreciation

 

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