On day one of the 2009 Spring Festival, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso welcomed Kadampas from all over the world and shared instructions on the three aspects of love. Geshe-la explained how a warm heart and a feeling of closeness to all living beings, like a mother has for her children, gives us the ability to maintain a happy and peaceful mind all the time. In order to develop this virtuous mind, firstly we must generate affectionate love – compassion for all living beings, then our wish for all living beings to experience pure happiness will come naturally.
Geshe-la said it is not difficult to accomplish this powerful and meritorious mental action if we learn, train and apply effort. Finally, Geshe-la encouraged us to distribute wisdom throughout the world by sharing our understanding and experience of Dharma with all living beings.
“By meditating on love for just one moment we accumulate more merit than we do by offering food to all living beings three times every day.”
In Precious Garland of Advice for the King – Nagarjuna
On the second day of the Festival Gen Kelsang Ananda led a guided meditation on affectionate love and reminded us that our spiritual path to enlightenment totally depends on others.
Mid morning, Deputy Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU, Gen-la Kelsang Khyenrab reviewed Venerable Geshe-la’s teachings from the previous day and emphasised how important it is to recognise that the source of our compassion is all living beings and that without Dharma wisdom we don’t know how to make ourselves and others happy.
Venerable Geshe-la granted the Blessing Empowerment of Buddha Maitreya today. Geshe-la explained that Buddha Maitreya is the manifestation of the realization of loving kindness of all Buddhas and that if we rely on him with faith we will receive special care in this life and future lives. Geshe-la encouraged us, just as Maitreya encouraged Asanga, that with effort we can accomplish anything. Through the great kindness of our Spiritual Guide we have created special causes to develop a loving heart, solve our own and other’s problems and accomplish all the stages of the path to enlightenment, empowering us to become true Kadampas.
“With effort we can accomplish anything”
The day began with Gen Kelsang Ananda leading a meditation on the beautiful and powerful practice of wishing love – the greatest virtuous action we can engage in.
Venerable Geshe-la gave a commentary to the practice of Buddha Maitreya, training in self-generation and bestowed upon us the essential instructions needed to accomplish all the stages of the path to enlightement. Geshe-la emphasised the importance of listening to Buddha’s teachings continuously in order to achieve our aim and said “Just as we need breakfast everyday so too do we need to fill our mind with wisdom everyday”. With a mind of wisdom we can become extraordinary beings just like Buddha Maitreya.
Gen-la Khyenrab gave a review of Geshe-la’s teaching and impressed upon us that the meditation on emptiness is essential preparation for self generation practice.
"Festivals are a time for me to connect with Kadampa Buddhists from all over the world and to catch up with good friends but most importantly to receive teachings from my teacher, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. This Festival is particularly special because it's Geshe-la's last Spring Festival and the first time that he will grant the Empowerment of Buddha Maitreya."
Israel, Heruka Centre
"When I first heard last year that the Buddha Maitreya Empowerment was being given I had an instinctive feeling that I had to along because I felt a connection and I thought that any teachings on love and kindness was at the heart of Buddhism. I also wanted to receive the Empowerment and teachings directly from Geshe-la. This is my first time to Manjushri and there is a special feeling here, the grounds and priory are magnificent and in my experience it's the most beautiful Temple I've ever seen."
Kylie, Mahasiddha Buddhist Centre
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“Being under the influence of wrong views, you do not realise the ultimate nature of things therefore investigate correct meanings”
Advice from Atisha’s heart
Venerable Geshe-la continued to share with us the profound instructions on the Yoga of Buddha Maitreya. Today we received essential instructions on the preliminary practices that will support our training in self-generation. Geshe-la explained the importance of taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and that if we keep this promise we are inside Buddhism. With the protection and love of Buddha Maitreya we now have the ability to begin, make progress on and complete the Buddhist path to enlightenment.
We are so fortunate that we have found Kadam Dharma and can lead a meaningful life filled with loving kindness. May everyone attain supreme happiness. To our Holy Spiritual Guide – thank you.
"I can't get over how beautiful this place is, I'm from the desert in the South West of the United States and here there is an abundance and variety of trees, plants, flowers and vines adoring these gorgeous buildings. It's breathtaking and it's incredible to know it's a vehicle for flourishing Dharma. "
David Craft, KMC New Mexico
"I made a decision a few years ago to go to every festival with Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso as I don't want to miss any of his teachings. It's a lovely opportunity to see Dharma friends from around the world and feel as if you're part of the big community, especially as I'm from Perth where we are quite isolated."
Jess Commander, Dharmapala Buddhist Centre, Perth
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“Apply effort to shine the sun of our faith continually on the snow mountain of our Spiritual Guide, Buddha Maitreya, and make strong requests to gain the realizations of generation stage and non dual profundity and clarity then through this the blessing water of all the Buddha’s of the ten directions will flow down and we will receive on our very subtle body a special power to transform into an enlightened body and upon our very subtle mind the special power to transform into an enlightened mind.”