I haven’t felt right posting about (what I consider to be) my trips, daily life, thoughts. I’m digesting all that is going on in this world.
And while I’ve been questioning the recent events of pure hatred, I realized it was the perfect time to share my experience at Samye Ling, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland.
Samye Ling was founded 50 years ago by Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as the first Tibetan Buddhist center in the West I’ve studied Chögyam Trungpa’s teachings and writings (he was crazy, but profound). I learned more about Akong when I was there & our group was privileged enough to get a private Q&A meeting with Akong’s brother, Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, the current Abbot. Trungpa, Akong, and Yeshe crossed the Himalayan mountains together from Tibet into India in 1959. The monastery is home to over 60 people today, both laypeople and monastics.
I went as part of my yoga program, but spent the time to unplug and be with nature.
Samye Ling reminded me of an old, rundown amusement park. There were bright statues and ratty peace flags everywhere. But somehow this added to its charm.
There were messages of peace all around–you were constantly reminded this was a place of happiness and love.
The prayer wheels were continually spinning, sending prayers out into the world.
I went to the chanting prayer sessions and meditation sessions held by the monks. We ate our breakfast (oats and toast and peanut butter) in silence. Lights out and quiet time was at 10.
Actually, the routine at Samye Ling mirrored what I try to establish in daily life: waking with the sunrise, an early morning walk, giving thanks for all my blessings, and early to bed. And lots of peanut butter. It was simple.
A couple of the Buddhist mantras I have grown to love (and these mantras were written all over the grounds of the monastery):
Om mani padme hum – this is a mantra invoking and awakening compassion
Om tare tuttare ture swaha – a mantra to the goddess Tara (below) that helps all who suffer and represents compassion in action; increases friendliness and tolerance and shows us that Tara is within us all
What I’ve come to realize is that there are so many different religions in the world, but meaningful reminders of gratitude, compassion for others, and thanks for life should be universal.
One of the activities we did at Samye Ling was a walking meditation. Whenever we passed someone we looked them in the eye and said in our head “may I be happy, may you be happy.” It helped to remind us that we are all interdependent.
I’ve started doing this on my walks to work and I think in some small way it’s spreading compassionate and happy intentions out…when we need it most.
Today I am fortunate to have woken up.
I am alive, I have a precious human life.
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use all my energies to develop myself,
to expand my heart out to others,
to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind thoughts toward others.
I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
-Dalai Lama, A Precious Human Life