New Beginnings: Cultivating the Heart of Compassion at Tsegyalgar East
As part of Tsegyalgar East’s ongoing Demystifying Santi Maha Sangha program based on The Precious Vase by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, a group of us gathered at the yellow schoolhouse on Sunday, Dec. 13, for a day-long of "Bodhisattva Practices" meditations which are part of the Mahayana path (& also the Santi Maha Sangha Base). Together Lynn Newdome led us in practices of Tonglen - "Sending and Taking, " reflections on "The Four Immeasurables" (Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy, & Equanimity), and began contemplations on the "Two Absences of an Independent Entity" (two-fold emptiness).
The day’s schedule allowed for sharing both morning and afternoon teas, a round (in this case square) table lunch together, along with two meaningful discussions between practice sessions. In particular, the discussions offered a deep and thoughtful sharing of participant reflections in the context of the training. Present were people from various occupations who spoke about how they integrated these profound practices into their daily and work life.
To me what seemed somewhat remarkable was the opportunity for practitioners ranging from old long-timers to newer and younger practitioners to share their experiences in a respectful and deep way. Lynn was especially sklllful in emphasizing the four immeasurables as having to do with the intention of Bodhicitta and the actualization stage culminating in tonglen and the paramitas.
To foster a sense of Bodhiocitta in action, so to speak, we all engaged in a brief period of collaboration with our geko Jeremy to take on small tasks. To further emphasize this process, Jeremy read several beautful quotes from a poster he made with a photo of a lotus he took at Khandroling pond.
Following the all day practice session, we met again for our last Session 2 class on Monday evening which culminated with a mock open book exam (with wine and cake) where we were each assigned a topic to talk about from our own experience. Session Three (see below) is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 11, 2016. Each session has six weekly evening classes and an all day practice of the SMS requirements we studied earlier. Session Three Content from The Precious Vase will include:
"The Views of Sutra & Tantra" (based on chapter 5)