The perfect start to the day: a simple meditation on the breath, guided by Kadam Bridget, that allows us all to settle deeply into a peaceful experience at our heart. After all the travelling and sorting out accommodations etc it is just the ticket.
It is a beautiful clear, sunny day here in the Lake District and Gen-la Kunsang begins the teachings on The Treasure Vase of Kadam Dharma by sharing with us a message from Geshe-la:
“During these five days you will especially enjoy the precious nectar of Kadam Lamrim. How fortunate you are. May I become like you.”
We are all stunned. Did Geshe-la just say May I become just like you? Gen-la reads the message again and gives us her analysis that Geshe-la is letting us know that to have the opportunity to receive and practice Kadam Lamrim in such an easy accessible manner is unprecedented. Our conditions are better than those Geshe-la had in Tibet. How fortunate we are!!
She encourages us to contemplate this message throughout the day, to keep reflecting on Kadam Dharma as precious nectar, a treasure vase, a jewel, and to recognise that it has the power to fulfil our deepest wishes for freedom and lasting happiness, so that we develop a strong wish to practice and take it deeply to heart.
In the afternoon class, Gen-la Kunsang continues to expound on this theme. She explains how effort in our practice depends upon this wish. This wish in turn depends upon faith, especially the faith of relying upon our Spiritual Guide as being the same nature as Buddha Shakyamuni. She quotes from Modern Buddhism: Faith in Buddha is our spiritual life. Because we view our Spiritual Guide as the same as Buddha, she says, faith in our Spiritual Guide is our spiritual life and pervades every aspect of it.
As we walk around the Festival grounds enjoying the extraordinary kindnesses that Venerable Geshe-la has given us – the temple, books, teachings, teachers, sangha, Manjushri KMC, this wonderful Festival, the precious nectar of Kadam Lamrim – it is easy to see how faith in our Spiritual Guide pervades our spiritual life and to feel fortunate and blessed. We are so lucky even Geshe-la says he wants to become like us! How fortunate we are!