In his Introduction to the International Spring Festival 2015, Gen-la Khyenrab declared “the Festival is the best way to find out what’s happening in the Kadampa world.” How true. Journeying to the Festival on the train from Manchester to Ulverston, I found myself in conversation with Kadampa practitioners and teachers from the USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, and even the UK! As we enthused about our flourishing Centers and Dharma activities, it was clear the Festival was already unfolding right here on the train … and that it truly is international!
Arriving at the Festival grounds, it is wonderful to see the golden vajras of the Temple and behind them the spires of Conishead Priory, home of Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre. Here we are in the mother centre of the New Kadampa Tradition, our spiritual home, where Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso gave so many of his teachings.
While we have been busy travelling here, many people have been busy preparing for our arrival. Immediately we are greeted by stewards and friendly registrars, directed to the dining tent where servers hand us the food prepared by the cooks. Later we deliver the plates to the washing up crew, Temple stewards guide us to our seats etc. etc. We are truly in the web of kindness of our International Sangha, everyone altogether serving each other. With people from so many different countries gathering together, it’s clear how important and powerful are these International Festivals. Simply by attending our mind is lifted to not just an appreciation of, but an actual experience of ‘Kadampa world’ … and hence to an understanding that the good karma and virtue we create here will literally be felt around the world.
In his evening teaching, in our Kadampa Temple for World Peace, Gen-la Khyenrab skilfully encouraged us to meditate on death, renunciation and bodhichitta. People from all over the world, together in our World Peace temple, developing the wish to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings in all worlds…. Big minds and powerful actions indeed! And this is just the first day.