By Dave Merrill
On Saturday January 27th, 2018, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche traveled to Portland, Oregon, to teach in that city for the first time. His event was organized by Tenzin Dadon from Tibet, and he gave a teaching on the Medicine Buddha practice to a small and enthusiastic group.
He taught that it is natural for all sentient beings to long for a healthy body and mind in order to have a happy life, and so a simple form of this practice is to perceive that everything that’s good for us is an aspect of the Medicine Buddha. We all like to breathe oxygen created by plants, benefit from plant-based medicines, drink pure water, and enjoy beautiful sunshine, so we can easily visualize all these outer beneficial elements as emanating from Medicine Buddha.
Of course if we have a lot of negative meditation, or negative mantras in our mind, we will not feel happy, so we need to recognize these as like a bad TV channel, and change the channel! Even if you repeat, “I’m a happy person, I’m a healthy person,” you can quickly start to feel better! So please start to notice which of your mind TV channels you keep coming back to! Why keep watching the ‘Sorrow’ Channel; why not watch the ‘Medicine Buddha’ channel? He taught the short Medicine Buddha practice of visualizing the Medicine Buddha and reciting his mantra, during which time you automatically delete unhappy feelings. This is similar to looking at a beautiful crystal; when you recognize its beauty and appreciate it, you simultaneously abandon negative feelings and emotions.
So please recognize Medicine Buddha in your heart, and then share this recognition with others.
On Sunday morning, January 28th, Rinpoche then visited the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association in Portland, where a Tibetan language and prayer class for children and their parents was being held. Rinpoche gave a short talk to this large group of children and parents about both the importance of learning Tibetan, while also learning Dharma in English. He pointed out that children today are immersed in speaking English, and that he has found that his young students can grasp his Dharma teachings in English very quickly. Rinpoche made some connections with the Cultural Center, and aspires to return there to teach periodically.
Lastly, Rinpoche went to visit Maitripa College, a Buddhist Graduate School founded by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Southeast Portland. He was greeted and shown around the beautiful facility by one of the school’s directors, Tiffany Patrella Blumenthal, and learned about their curriculum which includes scholarly study, meditation, and service. Again, the aspiration was shared by both Tiffany and Rinpoche that when he visits Portland in the future that he offer some teachings there.
This concluded Rinpoche’s first auspicious Dharma teaching trip to Portland, Oregon, where he successfully planted the seeds of future Dharma teachings to benefit that city and all beings.