Sitting cross legged at the Main Temple, home to the Dali Lama and what seems like thousands of Buddhist monks, nuns and devotee’s; I sit with an erect spine, close my eyes and take it all in. The thought “Is this really happening? Am I really here?” I was tempted to ask the lady next to me to pinch me but then again I wouldn’t want to wake up from this beautiful reality. The chanting through the clear speakers is a beautiful female Asian voice which fills our ears with beautiful mantra repetition. Our minds, our hearts are purified as the temple and us all prepare in anticipation for his holiness. The colourful temple is clean, open and vast. Protected by security checks all our cameras, electronics and other devices are left outside before entering, leaving only ourselves with our notebooks and or radio’s for teachings in various language interpretations. The smell of fresh green moss and incense encapsulate my senses. I realize I don’t have a radio, I was told it would be provided and have now been told that is no longer the case; I trust and ask that one come to me. I look around and am taken back by the delicate scripture on the yellow tan walls that look like ancient art. Beauty surrounds me with hung flowers stringed in decor, Buddha wall fabrics in the most colourful flags. A handsome multi-tiered alter with Buddha steal statutes look similar to Hindu deity worship. The largest main Buddha looks almost animated with a gold body, bright mustard robe, blue traditional beaded round hair, long ears, eyes at 1/2 gaze signifying a deep meditational state. The feng-shui here is amazing. Although there are sections surrounding the alter it still feels open. Geometric shapes, small carved glass and wood huts with candles, all set the stage for the tourists of all nationalities. The most visible are the monks and nuns with shaved heads in the most perfect robust red robes that blood itself would be envious of its deep richness of colour. The energy is uplifted, yet there are some not willing to move an inch from their cushion to accommodate, including monks!!! All space is occupied and I can’t believe my seat is this close to where the Dali Lama will be entering and seated for his teaching. Suddenly an excited disturbance takes wave in the crowd and all rise to their feet to welcome his presence. Moving my head right to left and on tippy toes I get a great glance at that warm smile and bright eyes. At first glance you are filled with an inner peace that you can tell is shared and radiates from him. Instantly you are a friend to his humble nature. I look around and see many people prostrate to his holiness by lifting their palms in prayer pose and lunging to the ground face down, flat bodied and lifting back up to what looks almost like a yogic sun salutation. You can see how much he means to these people. Some worship him, some adore, some proud to walk next to him. Like a simple monk turned king, accepting his role he walks to his seat at the alter, sends a blessing to the crowd and is quick to begin. Disappointed I sit and listen to the phonetic sounds of Tibetan language and know instantly there is no point in being here if I can not understand. As flow would have it yet again, the kind tourist girls next to me extend their head phone sharing an ear with me and there I was listening in English, grateful yet again to these beautiful French young women (who I discovered are truly my sisters) for their generosity and grateful to the source of life for being a part of this great event.
One thing is certain, I am spiritual not religious. I see God divine in all people and religions, I just go direct; but I am always curious and open to the wisdom that is scattered in ourselves and in world religions. There is a beauty to Buddhism. The love of divine knowledge and wisdom, the unending search and attainment for enlightenment. True Buddha-hood for all, for the betterment of all. I can’t begin to summarize 3 days of profound teachings from this wise master but I can highlight the main points and lines that have been seeded into my soul and will forever blossom in my heart and mind.
* His Holiness promoted secularism to encompass the harmony of billions of people who need to live together.
* God is infinite Love, Ishwara the permanent cause
* Karma is the root of ignorance, (even as simple as one choice we choose we have the karma or consequences of that which lead to the next moment)
* Mind is contaminated, clear the light of mind, meditate on emptiness, quantum physics all point to all that is, truth is emptiness, the opposite side to all things is emptiness.
* Make it a habit to work selflessly for others in generosity, it is only your morals and virtue you take with you after death.
* It is our attachment to things and people that become the objective and root of suffering, remove the attachment, remove the suffering.
* Do your own investigation don’t take any text or teaching as truth, find your own truth by contemplation and meditation.
I am so glad I went in with no expectations so all I received felt like a gain. I love how the Dali Lama is a promoter of science, quantum physics, love, compassion, meditation and contemplation with debate. Being here in Dharmshala, McLeod Ganj it is a total immersion in Buddhism, Tibet and all that surrounds the Dali Lama. It’s different here than the other places I have discovered in India. It feels safe, secluded and peaceful. Although there is a clear sense of activism here to free Tibet, its people and some lost refugees from the Chinese regime. I was lucky enough to meet up with a youth group that shared a documentary to describe the events and positions of both administrations. Where it stands today is, the Dali Lama wishes not for independence from the Chinese he believes being a part of China will bring economic prosperity in a changing physical world. But is seems to the Chinese he threatens the foundation of Chinese Communism so they vilify him and stick to the mindset that he wants independence. The Chinese say that they are open to meaningful talks but their actions show otherwise. It seems also that other countries around the world are hesitant to stand up for Tibet as China is a powerful nation. In my thoughts and prayers among millions, I send out the intention and hope that one day the Chinese will embrace Tibet, Buddhism and the Dali Lama as an asset to their republic, so that they can unite and help one another be the best they can be, together as one.
After the teachings the village of McLeod Ganj felt like a full cup to an empty bowl. The buzz and humm of the 7 street village went back to its natural balance without the heavy tourism. Being this high up in the mountains, lifts my soul like no other place I have visited. On one of my runs in the morning I discovered a beautiful waterfall about 2km from the main village. I had an amazing meditation there and finished with a chai at the most cutest little shop. This waterfall I could tell was used by all, for tourists, for monks to wash clothes, for the cows to drink and to recharge on all levels. Another highlight was the cooking class I took with my new found friends, I learned to make “Momo’s” traditional Tibetan perogies! Although I would say the best part of my stay here in Dharmshala has been the people I have met, the new relationships I have gained and the most perfect zen atmosphere I have rested in thus far in my trip. In the line up of registration for the 3 day Dali Lama course I met some nuns who were kind enough to share their stories and experiences. I mentioned how I too am on a spiritual journey here and would love the opportunity to be around and spend time in the most holiest of places and be with holy minded individuals, I asked if I too can join them at their nunnery and they accepted (AM I LUCKY OR WHAT!) So here I am at the most beautiful grounds in a valley surrounded by the mountains in an International Buddhist nunnery with such lovely women, called ‘Thosamling.’ This is a nuns study and training centre who also provides courses, projects of betterment and a retreat facility. My room is so beautiful I had to post a picture, it is perfectly positioned for meditational practice. The view is inspiring, the organic food is really good. Although I am only here for a few nights, I feel like I can spend a lifetime here in happiness and peace. The morning Kong rings at 5:45am for meditation in the beautiful inspirational temple, followed by prayers in Tibetan by the nuns. There is a book that has the prayers in English to understand what they are saying and praying for but I just sat in lotus pose, eyes closed and listened to the beauty and magic in there harmonic devotion. Regardless if you can understand the meaning, their voices convey an understanding of true divine devotion. Such beautiful song in prayer. Something about their female voices resounding in this lovely temple gives me goosebumps of divine awareness. I feel that I am blessed to have entered Buddhist vibration, it is all encompassing. Here and now I share in this zen vibration, in this moment Buddhism has become me.
To Learn more visit www.thosamling.com
Google “free Tibet” or “Tibet & Dali Lama documentaries”