it seems daniel and i have gone from what i thought was the most chill place on earth (McLeod Ganj) to a beautiful and totally relaxing height (Triun) to an even more chill place (Tso Pema), and now to perhaps an even more chill spot (Bir). We were travelling with the Tulane group, and the director Neil was paying for our accomodations and transportation, so we haven't spent much money. Now in Bir we have managed to be the guests of the Neten Chokling Rinpoche('s wife) so are staying and eating free here as well.
In about an hour we are heading over to their house to meet and greet their family, I'm very excited and am wearing my new Punjabi style full length korta, which looks pretty sharp I must admit. Their son is a 4year old reincarnated lama, so hopefully we can play with him a bit.
The rest of His Holiness' teachings were great, he continued to get into more and more detail about the different Buddhist philisophical schools' veiw on emptiness and the two truths, there were also review sessions in english every day so it was a great opportunity to get a slight intellectual understanding of what wisdom is. i don't have time to condense what he said, hopefully i'll come back to it in the future.
Tso Pema was amazing, a little lake that is sacred to Sikhs Hindus and Buddhists. Everyone there was very kind, it had the most open vibe of anywhere I've been in India. There are many monks and nuns in longterm meditation up above the lake. We were able to meet their teacher, Lama Wangdor, who gave us a beautiful teaching cutting to the essence of the point of meditation, which is seeing the basic empty but luminous and knowing nature of the mind, free from elaborations of thought, concepts, feelings and even conditions. What the existentialists like to call pure being, and I could tell when looking into his eyes that this jolly man was experiencing it all the time as he talked and laughed to us, because his glimpse had an infectious quality to it.
However, referring to what the Dalai Lama said, even this 'mere cognigtion' or the luminous nature of the mind (also called 'clear light,' which the mystics love to talk about) does not exist intrinsically/independently as the ultimate nature of the mind, because according to their highest school of philosophy, nothing exist intrinsically/inherently/independently. Everything exists in dependence on something else (causes and conditions), both nominally (through naming) or in opposition to something else (dark/light), or through the basic independent nature of all life.
not only is no man an island, but no phenomena mentally or physically exists upon itself. when this is understood in an experiential way, loving kindness and compassion spontaneously arise as a natural effect of relaxing the noose of self grasping.
Neil Guidry, the leader of the Tulane Social Work masters students Daniel and I have been travelling with (www.lhainfo.org) gave a beautiful explanation of the three major movements in Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana) in terms of social work. Our ultimate aim is to become the Diamond Vehicle social worker, where we automatically know the effortless way to help others, because we are resting at ease in the infinite nature of the mind, which like the earth element gives support to whoever dwells upon it just because that is the nature of earth.