A Blessed Place

Just below Toronto’s Space Needle, the iconic CN Tower, Kadampas from all over the world, close to 2500 of us, streamed into the Convention Centre for the beginning of the International Fall Festival 2016. The large conference room had been transformed into a beautiful meditation hall, and the room was packed for Gen-la Khyenrab’s introductory talk. Four massive video screens hung from the ceilings so that everyone felt very connected to Gen-la during his gently incisive and compelling teaching.

Gen-la welcomed us all with a message from Venerable Geshe-la encouraging us to maintain a happy mind through out the Festival by listening, contemplating and meditating on the teachings. Gen-la said, I suggest we all do this as a sublime offering to our Spiritual Guide. The key is to forget our problems and focus on Dharma. However due to our uncontrolled desire for the fulfillment of our wishes we forget to do this! Gen-la suggested the antidote to this laziness of attachment: meditate on death, so that we seek pure happiness through Dharma. We still enjoy things, he said, but with wisdom so that our enjoyment is integrated with Dharma.

Gen-la then gave a brief introduction to the three principal minds taught in sutra: renunciation, bodhichitta, and emptiness. With his no-fuss manner and his clear and confident (and funny!) presentation, Gen-la makes the truth of the Dharma seem so self-evident. As he said, when we recognize the truth of suffering, that all samsara is suffering, we simply lose interest in samsara. It’s not a struggle to do so. It’s just wisdom.

During the bodhichitta section, Gen-la quoted from the New Eight Step to Happiness, that ‘the more we think about emanations (of Buddhas), the more we begin to think that everyone is an emanation.’

Sitting near the back in that long conference room, I looked at Gen-la emanating on the screens in front of me. Physically far away, but due to the kindness of modern technology, right there in front of me! Similarly if we regard everyone as an emanation of the Buddhas, that special view will bring the Buddhas close to us, right into our hearts. Surrounded by several thousand sincere practitioners, now is the time to train in this pure view. And tomorrow the empowerment begins for real.