Held at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre
In the very first gathering in the gompa for the 1st term of year three of The Complete Path (TCP), we offered the Sixteen Arhat Puja. Praying for the long life of all the great masters, may they remain teaching the Dharma and may the Dharma flourish. To dedicate all this merit to all beings for their happiness, liberation and enlightenment.
This concluding year of TCP in Australia is on the vast and foundational teachings on Ngöndro. Here are some excerpts from the eight-day study program.
How to reflect about Refuge:
Khenpo-la explained the benefits of taking Refuge.
Teachings on taking vows:
Khenpo-la gave refuge and bodhicitta transmissions to participants and explained in detail the importance of cultivating bodhicitta mind - the genuine, heartfelt and driving motivation to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings - for Mahyahana (and Vajrayana) practitioners. Put simply, without bodhicitta, Buddhahood is not achievable, and you’ve got to feel it - it can’t be dry and intellectual, it must be juicy, warm and real. The heart must be engaged. All sentient beings - including those really challenging ones - are needed to develop, refine and beautify our mind and heart by practising loving-kindness and Great compassion to generate conventional bodhicitta (both wishing and engaging) and eventually realise Absolute bodhicitta (from the first bhumi onwards). It’s tough, yes, but the samsaric mind is tougher and harder because it’s endless. Bodhicitta is needed at the beginning (to enter the path), in the middle (to stay on the path) and at the end (to share the path by benefiting others).
Motivation excerpts on taking refuge during the teachings:
We focused on the reasons, practices and benefits of performing Vajrasattva practice as part of uncommon Ngöndro practice. Khenpo-la explained the symbolism of the father and mother Vajrasattva (clarity and empty aspect) and the common and uncommon visualisations to perform. Khenpo-la recommended students to say the mantra daily (minimum of 21 times) in order to gradually cleanse our mind streams which have been accumulating all manners of habits since beginningless time. Khenpo-la also explained the meaning of the 100-syllable mantra which is extraordinarily beautiful, profound and heartfelt.
Suzi’s farewell in service to Khenpo-la:
We all gathered to celebrated Suzi Walker who has overseen looking after food for all Dharma retreats for 17 years with Khenpo-la. She has been like a Dharma mum to all of us and has worked tirelessly to make sure we get fed both nourishing food mentally and physically!
A group of us after the exam prepared and performed a live recording of a song dedicated to Suzi called “An Ode to Suzi” to celebrate the love we all share for her. It was written by Russell to the tune of the Australian folk song called “old man emu”, so much fun was had by all.
The group photo of the Complete Path students from Year 3 at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre was positioned under the glorious presence of Mount Gulaga. Thank you to Dean for his beautiful photos during the entire week, as well as some additional images from Khenpo-la, and other students.
Message from Khenpo la:
“The eight days of the Complete Path program were filled with richness and warmth. I encourage all students to share what you learnt with others and embody the knowledge and practise we did together. See you all in September. Thank you everyone.”