Friday, May 18, 2012
A Lot of Dharma Bloomin' in San Diego!
I may have told you that I got to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak at the University of San Diego recently, always a huge pleasure. He just fills the heart.
My bookclub just finished reading his newest book, "Beyond Religion". It was very good, very healing, and had lots of guidance about how to learn to catch negative emotions as they arise before they do any harm to ourselves or others. His main focus now seems to be education; if we can pass on real, humane values to our children, then the world has a chance. He is very optimistic.
He seems so relaxed and happy. As an elder, he seems to be relaxing in his true nature, aware of all the problems in the world, but able to rest now. I can't help but think that letting go of his governmental responsibilities was a good move for him, not that I can judge. But he deserves to rest and now he can continue to inspire us.
Here's a link to "Beyond Religion".
And this week my Dharma group got to host a lecture and book signing by Tsoknyi Rinpoche. I'd heard about him and know people who had heard him teach, but I'd never seen him live. He is so young (yet old enough to have a twenty-year-old daughter) but sooooo wise. And he has the cleverest, silliest, wackiest joke style of any lama I've seen. They all have a good sense of humor, but his is downright off-beat. He even said it was "edgy". He had the audience laughing from their bellies. Guffawing. I was slapping my seat mate and crying. That's how funny he was.
But at the same time, if you looked closely at this short, slightly rounded lama, you could see the lineage of his masters sitting with him — in him. Such a wise, deep, and loving presence. I really found it to be healing. Lots of stress and patterns can be let go of when sitting with these accomplished meditators, as their light spreads into the hearts of those who listen.
His new book, "Open Heart, Open Mind", is proving to be very immediate, very personal, and full of the energy of his public talk. He speaks about unknotting the parts of us that are stuck in negative patterns, like fear. His example of his own battle with fear of heights and his compassionate conquering of it was very inspiring. I highly recommend the book.
I'm not a big Dharma book reader. In my spare time I read lighter, more entertaining books. But these two books are both backed by study and practice, yet light. There is no feeling of intellectual Buddhism in them. For this reason, they work well for people like me who feel very busy and like to relax when they read.
What has come to me after seeing these two masters and reading their books this month, is an awareness of how stressed out we tend to become in this culture. And it limits how good we can feel and blocks us from feeling good with and towards others. Part of this has always been built into our lives, perhaps from the beginning of time, but part of it is, I think, resulting from the economic and political-cultural stresses of the past decade. Since 9/11 we have felt under siege and unsafe. And in 2008 we lost another kind of feeling of security; economic. We've all dealt as well as we could with this— many of us have lost our homes, jobs, and belongings. But all of us, collectively, have been scarred.
Following the advice of these great teachers can really help us, and help me, bounce back into our natural good humor and health.
That was a lot to say in one blog entry! I guess I'm saving up all my thoughts and doing twice a month blog-drops. I hope you understand and enjoy some little bit of what I'm writing.
Namaste, may you be well!