Catherine is a writer from France and is loving her first Festival experience.
A drawing of Manjushri Temple. I found it on the ground while I was walking to the dining room. I imagine this door crowned by the wheel of Dharma and two deers like the Gate of Heruka’s Temple. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for this door to open. In the landscape surrounding the Temple I can see one small rabbit and a tiny squirrel. That’s where I am. Standing at this door next to them.
You have certainly heard many amazing stories recalling how many people have discovered Dharma. My story is one amongst many, nevertheless every time I remember it, I can feel again my initial emotions and sense of amazement.
I am a writer. That’s my job. It’s a different life. Difficult and very blessed. When I started writing my last novel in 2006, I was in France for a couple of years. I rented a little house in the forest and maybe because many artists had already rented it before me, it seemed rich and inspiring. I started writing the novel after a couple of days, without effort. My job took me back to Australia but the novel wasn’t finished. Far from being finished… I could see that my publisher was getting impatient. Panic struck. To put an end to that long story I needed desperately to find some ideas. During a spiritual crisis my main character who is in quest of the real meaning of life disembarks on the West Coast of India after encountering many obstacles. I thought it would be good if he entered a spiritual path. Yes. But which one? I grew up as a Christian, like many people of my generation. In some way I thought that my character could do better and become a … Buddhist. Why? Don’t ask me why. This came from nowhere. From the empty space. From what we call inspiration. A few days later I walked into a hairdresser’s salon. On the counter I saw some leaflets advertising meditation and Buddhism. I thought the only way I could write about Buddhism would be to attend Buddhist teachings. Which I did. I didn’t want to just drop a name because Buddhism is trendy. Cool. Fashionable. No. No way! I wanted to write sincerely about it. The classes just started in my area. I attended it. That was a revelation. Lia was teaching. Lia is the kindest teacher I ever had. I heard in her class words I had been waiting to hear. I think I had waited my whole life to hear those words.
And here I am, three years later, attending the Summer Festival, elated to get the Heruka Empowerment which didn’t mean much to me two years ago. Tantra was synonymous with difficult teachings I would never be able to understand. That wasn’t for me. Only for advanced practitioners more devoted than I am to get enlightened! And suddenly the idea to get enlightened myself crossed my mind through the power of imagination. Suddenly the idea that I have entered Heruka’s Mandala became a glimpse of the extraordinary world waiting for me, for all of us. Just through the power of imagination. The very thing I have done my whole life. Imagining. Transforming. Transforming my daily life into words. Transforming pain into a work of art. Having a superior vision of my life and of other people’s lives. And now being able to share my spiritual journey in a more profound way. Transforming my ordinary life into an extraordinary life. Just through the power of faith, reliance and imagination!