Wanting You Here

Dec 20th

After a couple of weeks in Orissa, I find myself now and again wishing lots of western sangha were here. For new and old students this environment provides a tremendous vantage point on how the dharma is being transmitted to the West. For more senior practitioners in particular there is a lot to be learned about the practices we already do. I can’t tell you how fascinating it is to watch the transmission termas, pure visions and so on. The Sakyong likened this to a TV program presenting all the greatest hits. It really is starting to feel like that.

Even without understanding much of the Tibetan, the changes of symbolism in each empowerment have started to fall into some kind of flow. If there is a string of abhishekas from a particular terton one starts to get the flavor of that teacher’s style. Some termas go right into the main sections of the empowerments without much delay, while others will emphasize the preliminaries for quite a while. Some abhishekas will have extensive explanations of the main section’s meanings and visualizations, but the icons used will be quite spare. Some transmissions will have repeated emphasis on pointing out the fruitional formless meditative state, while others will have long presentations of pictures of visualized deities. During the last abhisheka today there were four choppons helping each other rapidly pass icons to His Eminence for nearly half an hour.

The background noises to today’s empowerments were much louder than usual, and for the third of four days we’d watched various toddlers wander unchaperoned to the front of the huge hall. After closing Namkha Drimed Rinpoche took some time to talk to people about being quiet during the transmissions and being more careful with their kids. His Eminence explained how the best way to attend teachings is to be like an empty upright pot being filled to the brim. He went on to describe the consequences of being inattentive, and so forth. He then went on to address the parents. He said that has travelled in the West and he observed that if a child can’t be handled in a teaching, the child is taken out of the room. I found this poignant as East and West seem to have a lot to teach one another. I was suprised Namkha Drimed Rinpoche brought this particular point up.

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