Written by Skywalker
You’ve heard the saying, “the teacher arrives when the student is ready” or “the answer comes when you’re ready to hear it.” That was the experience of two of Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche’s students in Homer, Alaska on May 18, 2019, receiving teachings enriched with the energy of the full moon.
One student was wondering about the limited images and knowledge of the feminine buddhas and dakinis. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche’s morning teaching was a slide show of 25 female sacred beings, including individual women and groups such as the Five Wisdom Goddesses and the 21 Taras.
Rinpoche shared his insight and stories about female yidams, gurus, Dharma Protectors, and historical figures. One student admitted she’d done a practice with a protector unaware the protector was female.
Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Saraswati, Ekajati are names familiar to Vajrayana practitioners. In this class Rinpoche deepened our understanding and appreciation for the wealth of precious female guides and protectors.
You can find more information about Buddhist female buddhas and bodhisattvas here – http://lhamo.tripod.com/9deity.htm
In the afternoon, the reality of change and the suffering of attachment became clear. With gentleness, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche spoke of death and loss. He explained how we can reduce our suffering. Acceptance of constant change is the foundation to reduce suffering. Recognition of your attachments be it people, things, or ideas leads to reflection and examination on how fear of loss leads to suffering.
He also stressed that compassion is not just for human beings but you must feel and practice compassion for all sentient beings. Even ants suffer, let alone the animals humans kill to eat.
After the teaching, one of the students asked Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche and others to pray that she could find her dog. It had disappeared just the day before. Her dog was returned. She thanked everyone for their prayers but she thanked Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche for making her aware of her attachment to her dog.
She said, after acknowledging her fear of losing the collie she’d grown to love, she surrendered, to whatever would be. But she was all smiles that her pet was found and returned.
Learning continued after the scheduled classes and a potluck dinner. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche shared his life story, “The Nomad Lama,” with a slide show and his live narration.
Knowing everyone’s story begins with your Buddha nature, so does his story. It continues to tell not only the life of Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche but also a brief history of Buddhism in Tibet and specifically the Amdo region where he was born.
Through slides we met Rinpoche’s family, friends, and teachers. He explained his lineage and gave us a personal telling of the effect of China’s cultural revolution on the people in Tibet. With suspense, we walked with Rinpoche, then a young monk, walking from Tibet into Nepal.
This was the first time any of us heard how Rinpoche’s fate and fatigue protected him from the New York explosions in 2001. He explained why he left New York City but accepted Seattle. The last many slides show Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche’s sanghas around the world from Hanoi, Viet Nam to Boulder, Colorado, to Hawaii, and to Homer, Alaska.
Our nomad lama’s humble beginnings in the Amdo Valley of Tibet were a seed. That seed has grown into a great tree shading the halls and temples of sanghas around the world with the leaves of the Dharma teachings on wisdom and compassion.
This retreat visit ended with a small group joining Tulku Rinpoche at Mariner Park on the Homer Street. Beneath dark clouds and high winds, they held a string of prayer flags and statues as Rinpoche blessed the water and all of the animals in the water with mantras repeated by the group with him. When they finished, clouds parted to reveal a clear blue sky.
The evening concluded with a talk and meditation at Many Rivers. Tulku Rinpoche talked about compassion for all sentient beings. Regarding meditation, he stressed the importance of concentrating on being in the present moment. When meditating let go of the past or the future. He stressed to keep returning the mind to your breath and the present moment.
We are grateful for all the wisdom and knowledge Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche shares so freely. After Rinpoche left Homer, a beautiful rainbow graced Kachemak Bay.