Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International
Two minute meditations

Rishikesh, February 17, 2014

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

It has been a long, cold winter in Rishikesh--not like the remote woods of Siberia or Minnesota but cold enough. Swami Veda has been in Delhi for some weeks.

Usually mid-February in Rishikesh is the bursting of spring. The profusion of flowers held this promise. Yet after many overcast days and hard rains, the night before last brought pounding hailstones that all but picked up the house and shook it and stripped the flowers all around us leaving stems that looked burned and broken. The farmers tell us that the fruits and vegetables were badly beaten by the hailstorm as well.

Today however brought a messenger of deep and irrefutable spring. Lama Doboom Tulku, a friend of Swami Veda, arrived at SRSG with Chungkey, his secretary. Born in Kham in Eastern Tibet, Lama Doboom Tulku came to India in 1959. It was his birthday today!

We eagerly awaited his arrival and showered flower petals over him as priests chanted blessings while he blessed us with his unassuming and compassionate gaze. I distinctly recall standing in the back of the crowd, trying not to impose myself on his presence. Then he came straight up to me and took my hands in a gesture of maitri.

Since it was his birthday, I made special almond candy to offer with organic ghee and ghur from Piyusha’s farm by the Yamuna River. Her family blesses and thanks the land in the morning and in the evening with mantras and herbs offered to a Vedic fire. They also follow the Rudolph Steiner method of farming. I did not want to intrude on the lama so I just offered the sweet almonds mentally to him and to all gurus of all times and places (and to people in nearby offices)

Lama Doboom Tulku wrote a profound article for Speaking Tree (one of many) entitled Get Inspired by the Moon.  He tells us:

The moon like Boddhichitta is so called because it is the stage of gaining strength increasingly. In a specific tradition of practice, there is a technique of giving and taking precepts.

This reminded me of a quote Michael Kissener discussed during the 2013 Kalyana Mitra retreat here.

Train yourself in receiving and giving, and do this by riding the breath.
— from The Seven Points of Mind Training by Lord Atisha

In Get Inspired by the Moon, Lama Doboom Tulku makes some important points about training oneself in receiving and giving with the vehicle of the breath. He writes:

The practice of giving and taking is also done through breathing. Inhale by imagining all the negative energies entering into you in the form of black substances and transform them into positive energy. Then, exhale by imagining all that moon-like positive energy passing to all beings you can think of, in a form of light cool white substance. Try to breathe intentionally or mindfully instead of breathing mechanically or automatically. Rumi says, "We may be human beings but we're strangers to breath. We have to burn the self inside us to ashes; only then will we know breath". I am convinced that this is a practice doable by anybody who is interested. Breathing deeply is a universal practice; we don’t have to associate it with any religion or ritual.

This article also touched upon the very auspicious kalachakra, the Wheel of Time.

It happened that I had an appointment to tutor a young Indian girl here in French as her French exam was to take place the following day. I told her of the distinguished visitor who had just arrived. Before looking at our usual French-English vocabulary page online, I said “Just one minute” and was typing in his name on Google. I thought I would just briefly head for a page online that might tell me more about this lama, though this was hardly our first meeting.

This very wise daughter of Surendra and Mamta knows me well, and sensing that I wanted to go in a different direction, said “I will just study my French vocabulary for a few minutes. I have enough words to study in my notebook. No need to look up French words online.”

So I landed on his article Be Inspired by the Moon. It was a short article yet it contained a lot. When the word Kalachakra leapt off the page, I was very excited and told my young associate that I thought Swami Veda had a thangka of the kalachakra.

Being the astute observer, she said “Isn’t that a kalachakra right there?” She was looking at the small replica of kalachakra on a postcard in my room. Then I told her of my encounter with a kalachakra once when my own child was young.

Once many years ago, I did the 7-hour drive from where I lived in the redwood forests to San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum in Golden Gate Park. I had not known that it was a most unusual day there, that several lamas were disassembling the highly sacred and spectacular kalachakra mandala of colored sand (perhaps ground gemstones) that they had placed there some days earlier. Special prayers were chanted as each gateway of heaven and its sacred, secret guardians were swept away, perhaps back into Its, His, Her origins. Watching this was an extraordinary experience.

I put aside Lama Doboom Tulku’s Speaking Tree “Moon” article and asked my guest if she felt ready for her exam. She said that she did. Two other native French speakers had tutored her and now she was going to go home and paint a picture. Then she would study her French some more.

After she left, I stepped outside to greet Zia from London, a longtime student of Vedanta and meditation and a dear friend of the ashram. She had a friend with her.

“What is your name?” I asked.

“Naina,” she said, and I asked the meaning of her name.

“Eyes,” she said. “When I was born my father was quite taken with my eyes and that became my name.”

Years ago, Swami Veda recited a passage from a Hindi poem. It was about a man who had been all but devoured by a lion, very little left of him but the thoughts of his guru.  A crow circled overhead and the man called out “Crow! Crow! Take these eyes for berries but first please fly over the eyes of my guru so that these eyes can make one more pass over his countenance.”

Yes, I have been missing Swami Veda. I know. It is ill advised to be attached to the physical form of one’s teacher. It is far more desirable to find that communion in the still depths of meditation. But my practice wavers. So I look outside myself for the reality which belongs to another domain. This reminds me of a Sufi saying I once heard:

Before you love, learn to walk over snow leaving no footprints.

17th February, 2014

[Pictures courtesy of Dr. Prabhu]



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