The Lake District showed off today with the most glorious sunny warm weather.
On this postcard perfect day, Buddhists from all over the world relaxed and recharged and thousands more began to arrive for the second week of the Summer Festival.
Many wandered out into the beautiful Cumbrian countryside with packed lunches whilst others descended on the town of Ulverston. It was a leisurely day and an adventure for hundreds who attended the first week of the Festival. Meanwhile Manjushri KMC was a hive of activity with teams of volunteers preparing to welcome an additional 2000 people for the second week of the Festival.
A highlight was the ritual set up of a blissful shrine created for the Empowerment of Heruka and Vajrayogini with shades of blue, crystals, flowers and many other beautiful offerings.
By the late afternoon Conishead Priory had transformed into a family reunion of epic proportions as the largest Festival in recent years came alive with laughter echoing from every corner of the Priory. Even people who have come along for the first time are swept along by the energy and delight of the place.
General Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition, Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong welcomed everyone in her introduction and said “there is room here for everybody!”
She also said, “please feel Manjushri KMC is your spiritual home”.
This is truly what so many people feel and why so many come back year after year.
As the teaching began everyone was delighted as Gen-la gave us a message from Venerable Geshe-la. Venerable Geshe-la thanked everybody for joining our spiritual holiday. Our precious Spiritual Guide said, “This spiritual holiday gives you the opportunity to listen to and practise the holy Dharma of Highest Yoga Tantra through which you will fulfil your temporary and ultimate aims, there is no greater meaning than this. Please encourage yourself, to sincerely practise the common paths, training in renunciation, the supreme good heart of Bodhichitta and the correct view of emptiness and the uncommon paths training in generation stage and completion stage of Heruka and Varjayogini.”.
Gen-la taught on the Three Principal Paths as preparation for the Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment. She emphasised the wisdom of forward thinking – in particular planning for our own future lives. She said we should not be satisfied with temporary happiness but instead aim for pure happiness for ourselves and develop the ability to protect all living beings from suffering. Empowered with this wisdom and compassion, only then will we strive to realise emptiness and become a Buddha. Gen-la said that Buddha teaches us that all phenomena are merely imputed and that this view will free us from all suffering. Gen-la’s introduction was a powerful and engaging start to the Festival. Next stop, Dakini Land!