The weekend teaching in Seattle was what I imagine a retreat in a pureland to be like. Everyone seemed natural, happy and at ease and the surroundings were beautiful. Best of all, everyday mental distractions were quieted as we all listened with great excitement and anticipation to the wisdom teachings of the Buddha.
The Paramount Theatre was packed with people of many different nationalities, age groups and walks of life and yet, everyone shared the same purpose. By the grace of our great lineage masters and good fortune, we were given the opportunity to come together as one heart to hear the teachings and receive the blessings of His Holiness the XVII Karmapa.
His Holiness left us with much to contemplate on both a global and personal level. On a global level, he emphasized the importance of paying attention to the opportunity that exists in the 21st century to either help or harm each other. He said it’s especially important at this point in time to allow the natural calamities of the world to produce a depth of compassion that penetrates our heart, and motivates us to help others in need.
He spoke with great eloquence about cultivating compassion and the importance of not isolating ourselves in this high tech age to avoid the dangers of creating a society of self-cherishing individuals. He reminded us again and again of how our own happiness and fulfillment depends on the happiness of others.
Throughout his teachings, he talked about how the world is getting smaller and smaller because of technological advances, and therefore humanity needs to actively seek out the common ground in all traditions. He said we no longer can afford to cling to our identities as Buddhists or cling to any of our views, but instead we need to focus on the harmonious aspects of all traditions so together we can be of benefit to the world at large and those in need.
He shared many personal stories about his family, childhood and daily life experiences. His openness and willingness to share of himself was deeply touching and his sense of humor kept everyone laughing. By the end of the teachings, all hearts were overflowing with joy.
May we take these blessed teachings to heart for the benefit of all beings and in service of His Holiness’ Aspiration for the World.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Natural, Happy and at Ease
Diane from Portland, Oregon writes: