Smiles, hugs and laughter abound as once again the International Kadampa family gathers at our mother centre, Manjushri KMC, for our Summer Festival. This year, 2017, there is a special poignant perspective. We are celebrating 40 years of kindness of our Venerable Spiritual Guide Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
As Gen Rabten says in the evening’s introduction to the Festival, ‘Literally everywhere we look we see the manifestations of Venerable Geshe-la’s kindness. The temple, the statues, the Sangha, Manjushri Centre itself, the books, the Festival, the practitioners….’
What an immense cause of celebration and rejoicing! This appreciation and rejoicing will no doubt be setting the tone for the entire festival.
Gen Rabten said, Think of the energy Geshe-la has invested so as to provide us with everything we need for our path to Enlightenment. What gives someone that energy? Clearly Venerable Geshe-la sees in us what we don’t see: how great our capacity for happiness is, and our capacity to give happiness to others!
He said the Gen-la’s, the main festival teachers, would be sowing, through their teachings, the seeds in our mind for that potential for happiness to come to fruition and he then asked the question: What soil will those seeds be planted in? Gen Rabten then proceeded, with clarity and humour, to explain the six preparatory practices whereby we prepare our mind to receive Dharma so that we actually gain results.
As we exit the Temple, there are more hugs and greetings, as old friends meet up, and new friends are introduced. It’s a Festival, a celebration … but not an ordinary celebration … a celebration of Dharma, of a shared path to Enlightenment, and an opportunity to do something of real benefit to the world by bringing about a profound change in our hearts. And a celebration of the kindness of the Teacher who has given us this opportunity. How fortunate we are to be here!