Dear KMC Colorado community,
In these unusual times, one thing that can be quite unhelpful is spending too much time watching bad news on TV or social media. If we find our anxiety, depression, irritation, or sense of powerlessness are increasing as the weeks and months go by, this could mean that we are consuming life’s appearances passively, not working with them actively (and overly grasping at divisive political views doesn’t really help us train our minds, lol).
If you’ve been coming to Buddhist meditation classes for a while now, you’ll know that we’re in the business of training our minds. And this is because all of us are creating our reality with our thoughts. We can choose to take advantage and charge of that process, so that rather than fall victim to negative or deluded thoughts that make us feel worse and worse, we can use every appearance and experience actively to create compassion, love, or wisdom.
In Venerable Geshe-la’s most recent message to everyone at the US Spring Festival, on June 22nd, he said:
“There is not much reason to worry. With respect to the difficult situations that are appearing to us, we do not know whether they are good or bad. So, we should make our own life peaceful and happy through putting Dharma into practice. This is our job. We can solve our problems through the practice of Dharma. Everything is uncertain. This is samsara’s nature of impure life. So we ourself should be an example. We can solve our problems, we should maintain a peaceful and happy mind all the time through putting Dharma into practice.”
One reason we don’t know whether these difficult situations are good or bad is because everything depends on the mind, everything is empty of existing from its own side, objectively. Suffering, for example, can be immensely helpful, not harmful, if we use it to increase our renunciation or compassion.
So for example, when we see people doing or saying things we don’t like, rather than falling for the blame game and becoming upset or angry, we can remember that they are not their delusions, that they are being controlled by their delusions. In this way we can do the internal work of developing compassion for everyone concerned, and this will lead to sustained patient, skillful, and joyful actions on others’ behalf.
Which brings me to the main reason I’m writing …
It is also a REALLY good idea to switch channels from Samsara TV to Buddhist TV whenever we can! We have been doing our best to keep you meaningfully entertained, including a powerful and timely series of classes with Alex, a Spanish class with Hugo, and new moonlight meditations with Doug.
And this Summer gives us an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the International Summer Festival along with thousands of Buddhist meditators from all over the world … (more info here). During the 2-week period, we will still show two classes a week on Wednesdays and Sundays -- but we are actually hoping that the vast majority of you will be able to join the Festival.
Now is the time to be proactive and creative! Our world is not as solid as it appears, rather more like an illusion or a dream. Our thoughts are infinitely flexible and we can vastly improve our reality. During this Festival we will find out about Tantra, which is known as the quick path to enlightenment because it uses this wisdom and imagination to rapidly purify our body, mind, self, and world.
he sessions are available now for 4 whole weeks, giving each of us the chance to create our own schedule depending on how much time we have, and whether we are able to do one week or both weeks. (For myself, I am going to try and set this up with advance scheduling, allowing also for the time difference, so that I don’t drift, get distracted, and forget to tune in!) I might even do some sessions outside in a quiet spot. Do let Pagma or Alex know if you need any practical help with registering, and remember you can always reach out to me at [email protected]
To conclude, instead of screaming at the TV this summer, I really hope you’ll spend any spare time imbibing the blissful medicine nectar of Dharma! You will feel so much better, I promise! You will feel so inspired and happy – to be honest, I think that’s practically guaranteed if you join in. It is worth remembering too that our mental actions or intentions are hundreds of times more powerful than our verbal and physical actions -- they determine all our actions, and it is intentionality that creates our experiences, creates our world. This means that attending the Festival and working with your minds will help you to become a source of strength for others as well, which is going to be very useful as we head into an uncertain Fall. Now is the time to become a Bodhisattva for our family, friends, community, society, and everyone in the world.
Much love and prayers,
My own feeling is that this will be a one-time opportunity – Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments are given every other year at international Festivals in the UK or elsewhere (occasionally in the US); and after the pandemic will most likely only be available once again in person. So if you have any sense that you’d like to receive them at some point, please don’t miss this chance.
(If you have time for two weeks of Festival this Summer, Dorje Shugden empowerment and teachings are being offered during the first week.)
Much love and prayers,