Dinner with a Buddha

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Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Zealot » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:36 pm

I was recently blessed to have the opportunity to meet Garchen Rinpoche as currently I am living at his sangha, The Garchen Institute in AZ. The experience was one of a kind; let me tell you about it.

When he arrived with his group of assistants and monks, a group of us sangha members were there with white scarf offerings to greet him. With obvious joy he greeted us one by one with enormous affection: hugs, smiles, handshakes, and of course draping the scarfs around our necks and around Drupon Rinche Dorjee's hair tuft (this made me laugh). When he greeted me with a handshake and a hug, he commented on the coldness of my hands with silly, loving compassion (seriously, they're like 20 degrees colder than the rest of my body) that immediately put me at ease.

After this greeting I was standing outside of the house not really knowing what to do and his translator (Garchen only speaks Tibetan as far as I know), Ina, invited me inside the lama house. Stepping inside and taking off my shoes, H.E. immediately told me to sit down at the dinner table where he was going through some mail and doing other perfunctionary household things. So of course I sat.

Trying to remain unobtrusive, I slowly took in my surroundings. His assistants were beginning to make dinner, playing on their iPads, doing work on the computer, and Rinpoche was continually happy making silly faces and seemed to be doing about the same thing I was, except of course for the prayer wheel next to him on the table which never stopped spinning the entire hour and a half I was there (what mindfulness!). Eventually he asked, with the help of Drupon Rinche Dorjee, where I was from, if I'd been there before, and since I hadn't, that I should stay for dinner to welcome me to the place. So of course I stayed.

Apparently, because it's a cultural thing here, they eat meat here, so the dumpling-like soup had beef in it, which I hadn't ate for about seven years, and it also had onions in it, which I was allergic to. However, at the end of the night, my stomach couldn't have been more content. Before the meal, H.E. make a smoke offering which he pushed a clip of papers (I have no idea where they appeared from) in front of me so I could attempt to follow along while he chanted. Fortunately, though I could never find the verse he was on, there were translations, so some of the beautiful meaning wasn't fully lost on me.

Throughout the little time I spent there, he continually gave me things. First, a beautiful mala that smelled amazing (he made me smell it before he put it on my wrist); then, a bag of pecans; and finally, a yellow t-shirt. I also asked what practice would be most beneficial to work on to which he replied the Thirty Seven Bodhisattva Practices. I have little doubt that if I had stayed any longer, I'd probably have more gifts in my possession. The air simple teemed with love, generosity, and acceptance; I couldn't have been happier.

When the meal ended, there was no dilly-dallying. Garchen Rinpoche and a group of his assistance got up and left the house on apparent urgent business. The moment was over. I gathered my new belongings, offering to help clean up (which was continually denied), thanked everyone again profusely, put on my shoes, and returned to my work-study room feeling light and extremely happy.

That, my friends, is what it's like to dine with a living Buddha. There was not a moment of lapse of mindfulness, love, generosity, or acceptance. What blessed people we are to have masters like he teaching the profound Dharma.

Thank you for reading my story; I hope it brightened your day as it has my week.

:namaste:
"My life for Aiur!" - Protoss Zealot
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:30 pm

Sounds to me like you found yourself a teacher! :twothumbsup:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:07 pm

I rejoice in your merits to meet such a qualified virtuous friend, a lamp on the path :namaste:
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Zealot » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:37 am

I will be working during the winter teachings here, but I will have the opportunity to listen to them while I work fortunately. However, as much as I'd love to have Garchen Rinpoche as my formal teacher, I don't think that it's really a possibility. So I'm trying to be content just being around him and soaking up as much goodness as possible. Once I return home, however, the plan is to move, and I'm set on finding a teacher and lineage to receive transmissions from and living nearby.
"My life for Aiur!" - Protoss Zealot
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:02 am

Garchen Rinpoche is remarkable.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby windsweptliberty » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:52 am

Wow! Wonderful! :twothumbsup:
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby relay » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:01 am

Great post!
"We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.”
~Chögyam Trungpa
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Punya » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:00 pm

This is a beautiful story Zealot. Thank you for sharing. :smile:
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Yudron » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:22 pm

I love posts like this because they are so fresh and present. Our journey is a lived-though one, that involves new sounds and sights and even emotions. There is an old saying in Dzogchen that we should be like a small child looking inside a temple. I think one of the advantages to being Western converts to Buddhism is that it is all new to us, especially at first, and we meet the experience with wonder and few preconceptions. So, we are like small children looking inside a temple!
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Re: Dinner with a Buddha

Postby Zealot » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:51 pm

Thank you for all the kind words; it brings joy to my heart to hear that I've spread some small amount of benefit!
Yudron wrote:I love posts like this because they are so fresh and present. Our journey is a lived-though one, that involves new sounds and sights and even emotions. There is an old saying in Dzogchen that we should be like a small child looking inside a temple. I think one of the advantages to being Western converts to Buddhism is that it is all new to us, especially at first, and we meet the experience with wonder and few preconceptions. So, we are like small children looking inside a temple!

This particularly resonates with me. I had never been to a temple or met anyone I've considered a master before this experience. Though many people I have spoken to here speak of a complete change in atmosphere whenever they're in HE's presence, I simply feel like a small child around someone important: I want to be on my best behavior. The same is true with the temple. It's like I instinctively know it's important, so I treat everything in there with the utmost respect. It makes me feel like a small child often.

Thank you for sharing Yudron! Many blessings everyone!

:namaste:
"My life for Aiur!" - Protoss Zealot
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