An “almost” week of teachings….

Posted on November 27, 2009


I didn’t keep to the my complete week of listening to, reflecting upon or jotting down notes based on the online dharma teachings I would “study”, but maybe I can say, I got close?!

But maybe, during these times, close is not enough!?!?!?

The week isn’t completely  done, but I know the upcoming weekend will begin to fill with “work” WORK.  So, I’ll bring a close to my quick dip in the dharma pool of online teachings, featuring specifically some talks by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, whom I lightheartedly call, Loco Lama!

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Tonight is Thanksgiving Day 2009 and the winter of 2009 is right around the corner.  Reminiscing a couple of years back, I recall the winter of 2007 was when I first encountered the teachings of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche online.  I think I was lead to the website of online dharma talks (both on Youtube and mp3, wmv files) via watching the trailer to “Dharma Princess.” I don’t clearly remember however how I navigated towards this clip given Youtube’s vast storehouse.  Would I have known to type in “Dharma Princess” as a search term?  Unlikely.  And I don’t recall why I even continued to click and download or listen after watching the “Dharma Princess” clip, but somehow, I did.  The “unconvetionality” of the story was what drew me in I think.  May I say THANK YOU at this moment though to the wonders of new media and technology, that I would, through Youtube and websites and such, have the chance to connect to a body of practice and dharma community clear across the other side of the world from my little spot here in San Diego, California, USA to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  THANKS to the technology team at Kechara House!

In looking back at the clips I chose for this “week,” I think one of the consistent tones of the dharma talks is Rinpoche’s in-yo’-ego-face fearlessness to deliver “real talk” when it comes to dharma  praktis.  Coming from the US, where dharma has already experienced the process of commodication and commercialization, I found it refreshing to hear a dharma teacher (amongst many others out there I’m sure) who told me things I didn’t necessarily “want to hear” or “think” was something a “holy, saintly, spiritual” person “should say” to me, a “wanna be” spiritual person.

It makes me think about when Thich Nhat Hanh sometimes asks the pointed question about whether or not we want to be “part-time Buddhist.”  I feel like Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s teachings definitely jump out at me with a disarming edginess to them.  And Thay’s teachings, in contrast, are disarming in their gentleness and softness.  (Fiercely or soft-spoken, either way, I must transform!!!)  And somehow, I’ve grown a liking to this mode of teaching actually because he calls things out and takes on the co-opting nature of my self-cherishing mind before it takes me too far into my delusions.  A wake up call.  A shot of truth.  Not only looking at the medicine, but taking it!

My own lil’ hypothesis, if I might even attempt to assert a point of view, is “Buddhism” in the US, in its mainstream presentation, seems to be more concerned with meditation as only a relax and bliss out experience as opposed to doing the deep and dirty work of confronting selfishness and unexamined, unmindful habits.  Transformation at the base, says Thay.  Transformation is the ultimate offering, adds Rinpoche.  (This description of Buddhism in the US is of course not the only expression of dharma practice in the United States.  There are genuine communities of practice for sure, taking refuge and practicing to experience the fruit of inner and outer freedom.)

Sometimes, the spiritual marketplace of the US represents Zen, Yoga, Buddhism, Tantra, Meditation as an exotic escape, a retreat, a getaway from everyday life’s stresses versus actually confronting the causes and mind states within and without that perpetuate moments of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.  All of this to say that I think the body of Dharma teachings that I like (or more accurately, NEED) is the one that fearlessly calls things out and asserts TRUTH & CLARITY moment to moment.  The dharma that bites! (…how appropriate the tagline for Kechara Media & Publications, the publishing division of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s work.)


…to be continued, hopefully 😉

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