In the wonderful morning talk, Gen-la Jampa spoke about cherishing others, compassion and developing bodhichitta. And he continued with the theme of overcoming distraction.
‘Our love for others must be reflected in how we live our life.’ In general, he said, ‘we can transform ordinary activities but we need to check, are we thinking ‘may I be happy’ or are we thinking ‘may others be happy.’ ‘Distracting activities leave us with nothing.’ He encouraged us to integrate more Dharma activities into our life, to reach for a Dharma book rather than to spend too much time staring at ‘glowing screens.’ ‘Improving our inner peace is not a selfish job.’ ‘If we cherish all living beings we will naturally take care of ourself’, we will naturally wish to lead a healthy life that sustains our Dharma practice.
The Festival is the perfect place to experience both the happiness that comes from engaging in lots of Dharma activities, as well the power of transforming ordinary activities through cherishing others. Volunteering, taking on some responsibility for caring for others, is an essential part of Festival life. Serving food or coffees, cleaning, cooking, washing up, stewarding – at Festivals these actions are manifestly done on behalf of others, not just the other Festival participants, but on behalf of all living beings to whom this Festival is dedicated. The merit generated in the mind is palpable. And it’s joyful! As one friend said, ‘Just finished washing up the pots for lunch … always good fun!’
Of course, through meditating together, listening to teachings, preparing offerings, cleaning the temple, quietly contemplating Dharma in the woods or on the beach, and, everywhere, practicing giving Dharma through discussing, it becomes clear that the more we integrate actual Dharma activities into our life, the more joy, harmony and meaning we experience, the more we feel ourself progressing towards our goal. As stated in the object of meditation: ‘If I become an Enlightened Being, I myself become the source of happiness and refuge for all living beings. For this reason I must attain Enlightenment!’
After Gen-la Jampa’s concluding teaching on ultimate bodhichitta, we made special prayers for the long life of our Spiritual Guide, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, and then we celebrated with Wishfulfilling Jewel in the evening. Tomorrow, we begin retreat.