Nearly 2000 Kadampa Buddhists from all over the world gathered at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre today for the beginning of the 2010 Spring Festival. For many it was like returning home, home to a place of refuge, a place of extraordinary beauty and home to the first Kadampa Temple. For others it is the first time they have been to an NKT Festival and yet for everyone, the same opportunity has arisen, the potential for an immeasurable amount of positive energy and good fortune to ripen.
General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU, Gen-la Dekyong welcomed the large gathering of people filling the entire Kadampa Temple for the 2010 Spring Festival.
As an introduction to the empowerment of Arya Tara, Gen-la encouraged us to think about our precious human life and to recognise what an extraordinary opportunity we have to change our mind and ultimately the world that appears to us.
Gen-la emphasised that each of us need to take responsibility for our own spiritual development and that improvements come not only from from learning Dharma but most importantly from practising Dharma.
By questioning our motivation and continually cultivating positive minds we can progress from an ordinary being to an enlightened being, like Buddha Tara.
Quote of the day
"With so much freedom, we need to ask ourself what is the most meaningful way to use our life."
Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully
I feel that this is my spiritual home and meeting up with everyone is like being part of an extended family.
I have come to Festivals at Manjushri since 2003 and it will be different this year without Venerable Geshe-la here but I have come to the Spring Festival for the teachings. I love the teachings.
Vivi, Chenrezig Kadampa Buddhist Centre, Lancaster UK
On the second day of the Spring Festival, Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU, Gen-la Kunsang captured the essence of Gen-la Dekyong's introductory talk by reminding us that, everyday, we need to be even more determined than the day before to use our life for spiritual development. She reflected on Gen-la Dekyong's encouragement and emphasised the point, that now it is our turn. It is our turn and our time to encourage ourselves.
Gen-la Kunsang then guided a meditation from Joyful Path of Good Fortune on our precious human life.
In the following meditation session, Gen-la Kunsang encouraged us to use our precious human life to achieve the three attainments: liberation from lower rebirth, liberation from samsaric rebirth and the final goal, the attainment of full enlightenment.
Gen-la Dekyong granted the empowerment of Arya Tara today and began by explaining who Arya Tara is and how she functions to help us. Gen-la shared with us that Tara is a female Buddha who is the manifestation of the wind element of all the Buddhas and that is why she appears green.
Inner winds have a special relationship with minds; our minds can function only by working together with the inner winds. Gen-la explained that if we have impure winds, we have impure minds and if we have pure winds we have pure minds.
Finally, Gen-la encouraged us to remember Tara always and access her blessings continuously to benefit ourselves, our family and all living beings.
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA - Green Tara's Mantra
Quote of the Day
Developing the wish to take the essence of this precious human life is said to be the key that unlocks the door of Dharma. It is also said to be our best friend because it influences us powerfully to use our life in the best way.
Tara is refuge to me. When I need help, there is certainty in my mind that I'll turn to her and she'll be there. When I engaged in a Tara retreat I realized how constant her presence is - just like the wind that blows outside, Tara is always around us. - Jo, UK
The day began with a meditation guided by Gen-la Kunsang. Gen-la explained to us that we need to develop faith in Arya Tara for our practice to be successful.
In the first teaching, Gen-la Dekyong shared the meaning of the new sadhana, The Yoga of Enlightened Mother Arya Tara. She explained that the instructions in the sadhana were from Venerable Geshe-la’s heart and included both sutra and tantra teachings. By applying effort to practise the yoga of Enlightened Mother Arya Tara self-generation sadhana we will become just like Buddha Tara.
Gen-la explained that the sadhana is divided into 2 sections – the preliminaries and the actual practice. This teaching she taught on the second part of the practice, the actual self generation. Self generation depends upon our understanding and experience of emptiness. Gen-la reminded us what Venerable Geshe-la has told us many times, that the things we normally see do not exist.
Gen-la emphasised the importance and the power of our imagination given that everything comes from the mind. Reading from Transform Your Life, Gen-la revealed that all inner creations and all Dharma realizations including enlightenment, permanent inner peace, arise in dependence upon our imagination.
In the afternoon’s teaching, Gen-la explained that the preliminary practices are also divided into two – refuge and generating the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of others and Guru Yoga. Gen-la encouraged us to seek freedom from suffering that is not temporary. She said we are continually optimistic and that we’ll never find happiness outside ourself.
We were incredibly fortunate to receive an extensive commentary on Guru Yoga as by practising it we receive inspiration, accumulate good fortune and purify our mind. These are three essential practices for progressing along the spiritual path.
Quote of the Day
“Although we spend our lives searching for happiness in samsara, moving from friend to friend and from place to place, we shall never find true happiness.”
Buddha is Dorje Shugden. I like Dorje Shugden. I love the fire around him. And his hat and sword. And I like Tara.
- Leonardo, France (Age 3)
On the last day of the 2010 Spring Festival, Gen-la Dekyong gave an extraordinary teaching on karma to help motivate us to engage in the powerful practice, the Yoga of Enlightened Mother Arya Tara.
Gen-la began by clarifying the difference between the two Tara sadhanas. She explained that the Liberation from Sorrow sadhana is a practice we can do engage in as a community and that the Yoga of Enlightened Mother Arya Tara sadhana is a private practice everyone can engage in once they have received the Tara empowerment.
In the teaching, Gen-la illuminated a point that is contained in all of Venerable Geshe-la's books, to bring Dharma into our daily life. She encouraged us to 'live a life of Lamrim'. We can accomplish this by engaging in Guru Yoga not only in formal meditation but in all our daily activities. Gen-la shared with us that if we improve our belief in karma then the teachings of Guru Yoga will jump off the pages and into our heart.
In order to improve our belief in karma, Gen-la said we need to observe and investigate pleasant and unpleasant feelings so that we realise they come from within our own mind. We need to train in this way until we gain conviction that happiness comes from the mind.
Finally, Gen-la reminded us that we have the opportunity to gather as a Sangha community at Kadampa Festivals and study pure Dharma due to Venerable Geshe-la's kindness. She suggested we repay Venerable Geshe-la's kindness by putting Dharma into practise.
Quote of the Day
Circumstances or other people have no power to make us feel bad; the most they can do is trigger the potentials for painful feelings that already exist within our own mind.
This year's Spring Festival was more than I expected. Gen-la Dekyong's teachings were directly from the heart, it felt like Venerable Geshe-la was teaching through Gen-la Dekyong.
Ralph, KMC Canada
July 23 – August 7
Week 1 with Gen-la Kunsang
Empowerment of Amitayus & Commentary to Eight Steps to Happiness
Week 2 with Gen-la Dekyong
Empowerment & Commentary to the Practice of Great Mother Prajnaparamita
October 22 - 29
With Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
The Official Opening of the Kadampa Buddhist Temple at KMC Brazil. The Empowerment and Commentary to the practice of Je Tsongkhapa, and the blessing transmission of Modern Buddhism: The Path of Compassion and Wisdom
The Festival will begin on Friday October 22 with a special Wishfulfilling Jewel puja with tsog offering led by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, marking the Official Opening of the Kadampa Buddhist Temple at KMC Brazil.
© 2010 The New Kadampa Tradition - International Kadampa Buddhist Union. All rights reserved worldwide.