Friday, June 26, 2009

KTD 10-Day Teachings/Dorm Life

After a looonnnggg trip by car to the Orlando airport and then by plane to the Newburgh airport and then by car again to KTD, my friend Jacqueline and I arrived yesterday for this year’s 10-day teachings, a continuation of Machik’s Complete Explanation taught by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.

Last night, Jacqueline and I were the only two people in the dorm, pictured above; tonight, the dorm is filling up and we have been working hard.

Everyone who stays at KTD is required to do a certain amount of karma yoga—work—each day, in return for the reasonable rates for room and board.

So today we have been working in the main shrine building, and the shrine room in particular—laying out cushions, setting up chairs, cleaning practice tables for the visiting monks, nuns, and dignitaries who will be here for the special day tomorrow.

Today was gray and rainy, but it gets warm moving things around and cleaning in the shrine room, so I asked if we could open the windows and front doors to get some air circulating. Yes. At one point, we looked up to see curling clouds of fog swooping up the steps and coming inside the building! I ran for my digital camera, hoping for a picture and remembering that enlightened beings are said sometimes to manifest as weather-related phenomena such as fog, but by the time I got back the doors had been closed against the incoming moisture.

Late in the afternoon, I asked to be relieved of our duties long enough for the two of us to sit in on Mahakala practice. Mahakala, the great dark protector of the Karma Kagyu lineage, is a powerful practice that uses two drums and two different kinds of horns. Practice was led by Khenpo Ugyen Tenzin, assisted by Lama Karma Drodul, with Lama David Bole from Florida and two of KTD’s resident nuns. What an amazing sound all those instruments made when played together! The two drums sound like two hearts beating. A highlight of the day.

I will say more about tonight’s teaching tomorrow, when I have my notes handy; I’m still getting the blogging organized from here.

And tomorrow is a big day—a birthday White Tara long life practice for His Holiness Karmapa in the morning, and a Guru Rinpoche empowerment in the afternoon. Teachings about Machik will resume on Sunday.

I also learned that this year’s 10-day teachings sold out relatively early, compared to past years. I think we are in for a wonderful 10 days.

Ooooo, one of my dorm mates just came in and said there is a big, beautiful thunderhead, filled with lightning, coming over the mountain now, and that people have been standing outside watching it while I have been sitting here blogging.

What was that about enlightened beings manifesting as weather? Hmmmm….

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