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March 2016

One day in the Dalai Lama’s shoes by Stéphanie

The Dalai Lama

23 March 2016

Would you like to spend one day in the Dalai Lama’s shoes? His Holiness is often travelling in India and across the world. His daily habits change when he moves from one place to another, according to his schedule and obligations. However, when he is at home, in Dharamsala, he is faithful to a particular routine. How does a typical day look like in the Dalai Lama’s life? Let’s see! Morning softness : listening to yourself and the world Despite his busy schedule the Dalai Lama is an early riser and tries to go to sleep before 8pm. Today, at nine o’clock, it’s been already five hours that you are awake.   Wake up at 3am and after taking a shower spend the first four hours of your day praying and meditating on the roots of compassion, on what kind of positive thing you could bring to the world, to others. Do not forget to meditate on your condition as a human being condition: mentally prepare your death. You can then take a little morning walk. If it rains, be prepared: use a treadmill. For breakfast served at 5.30am you can drink some tea, eat hot porridge, tsampa (roasted barley powder) and bread with preserves. Concerned by the difference between information and wisdom, His Holiness tries to connect daily life facts and ancient wisdom in order to have a better comprehension of this world’s mysteries. In the same way, as a disciple and student of Life, during the breakfast listen to the BBC World News in English. Food for the mind : Meditation, Readings and Sweet Tooth After breakfast, from 6 to 9am, go further in your inner-exploration: continue your meditation and prayers.   From nine o’clock, the great internal journey takes another shape. Take time to study Buddhists texts and various commentaries written by various Buddhist masters. Enthralled by your readings, you did not notice that it is already 11.30am : time for lunch! Whereas the Dalai Lama is not necessarily vegetarian when he is away from home, he is certainly vegetarian in Dharamsala. Taking it into account, you will have to refrain yourself from going to the butcher or the fishmonger today. A small piece of advice : try to taste the Thali. This Indo-Nepali specialty is a real delight. An afternoon in good company : Sharing and Transmission From 12am to 3.30pm, let’s go to the office to […]

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Shanti Deva, the king of Bodhissatvas by Tashi

Prayer Book

11 March 2016

Revered as king of the Bodhissatvas-Shanti Deva lived in 8th century AD. His poetic and philosophical teaching on the Bodhissatva and its life (Bodhicaryavatara) have captivated hearts of millions of people across the world. Equivalent to Muslims’ Quran or Christians’ Bible, his book is also one of the daily inspirational prayer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Infinite rays of happiness and compassion, Bodhicitta-an evergreen mind Bodhicitta is an appealing blissful state of mind where compassion is boundless radiating happiness and pure wisdom to whoever it connects. And for Bodhissatvas, friend or foe is a same being whose sheer pursuit in its life is to seek happiness, pleasure, name, fame and every bit of comfort. As such Bodhissatvas are neither gladdened by the praise from their friends nor are they saddened by the defamation from their foes. They are the spiritual practitioners who strive to maintain a compassionate attitude for all beings.  The veil of Bodhissatvas-a shield of humility A typical tradition in Mahayana Buddhism is that the Bodhissatvas often veil their profound insights by disguising themselves in an idiotic appearance or by resorting to bizarre activities, they shield themselves from falling into the pitfall of mundane fame. From Tilopa working as an oil maker to Milarepa wandering as a homeless beggar, from Naropa giving up his throne of scholar to Drukpa Kunley famous for his insanity. Every now and then the unusual tales of the heroes of Bodhissatvas echoed in the Himalayan kingdom time after time. “Busukhu” Shanti Deva the lazy bone of Nalanda University   At Nalanda University in 8th century A.D, Shanti Deva was nicknamed “Busukhu” by his colleagues simply meaning three actions; eating, sleeping and defecating. Except for the eyes of few, no one really knew he had transcended all the worldly illusions and had realized the ultimate nature of every phenomena. But in his monastic community, he was known as a “Lazy Bone” and a filthy burden tagged to be dump out at the earliest note of breach. In fact he was doing nothing outwardly except for the three very tasks he had been executing everyday. He never let anybody know his profound realizations. Until when he was subjected to mockery by his companions to give teaching in front of a big gathering hoping he would embarrass himself and thereby expel him from the monastery. But to everybody’s surprise, he gave one of the most reflective teaching […]

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Insights into the Stok Guru Tsechu monastic festival by Tashi

stok oracle

04 March 2016

Stok Guru Tsechu is a very unique monastic festival that takes place in the sacred land of Ladakh. Apart from the famous mask dance, its highlight is the awaited oracles’ prediction for the coming year. Guru Rinpoche’s birthday and the Winter Festival The Stok Guru Tsechu Festival is held in the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, the holy prayer month. It is celebrated in accordance with Guru Rinpoche’s (Padmasambhava) birthday which falls on the 9th and 10th day of the first Tibetan month.Next year 2017,winter Shamanic festival will be held on 6th to 7th March 2017 and 24th and 25th February in the year 2018. Stok village, where the festival takes place, offers the great view down the valley on the mighty Indus river and the majestic snow-capped Stok Kangri Mountain (6,153m above sea level). Every now and then one gets easily delighted by the festive vibes that the locals emanate in their colourful attire. The day of spiritual gathering and meeting of spiritual masters The monasteries have served as a source of spiritual tutelage in Ladakh for hundreds of years. Every Ladakhi monastery stores centuries-old Buddhist scripts: kagyur (108 texts of Buddhist canons) and tengyur (235 commentaries texts). Monks and nuns residing in monasteries are taught, guided and looked after by an incarnated lama, the head of the monastery. The festival is a platform where villagers take the opportunity to serve their spiritual masters and the monastery in its turn entertains its long-bearing benefactors through a colourful Cham or mask dance. The villagers are introduced to different manifestations of Tantric Buddhas through the means of religious dance performed by the monks who are in turn disguised in sacred costumes, ornaments and huge masks resembling different Buddhas. Cham dance of Laughing Buddha, Mahakala and more Once all the preparations have been done, the series of cham begins. In the morning session starts with the dance of Hashang and Hathuk. Hashang has a bald head, pot belly and a big smile on his face, and he is escorted by his twelve children that all look like him. Hashang or the Laughing Buddha in China is considered the main benefactor of all the Buddhas who will descend to earth to preach the Dharma. The dance of Hashang is followed by the dance of Mahakala, the wrathful form of Buddha of Compassion, who wears a fierce mask topped with skulls. Then, Namse […]

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