All sound is the sound of mantra: 17-year cicadas June 2

The 17-year cicadas, last seen here in 1996, are not having an easy time of it.  After waiting 17 years underground to emerge for their brief, glorious moment in the sunlight and air, they were delayed by a long, cool spring. When they finally started to come out during the two-week Saka Dawa nyungne retreat in May, a blast of cold weather halted them in their tracks. But at last, in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave this week, they are emerging in numbers, and their eerie hum grows louder every day. As of today, we can hear them throughout the monastery grounds.

All sound is the sound of mantra: cicadas June 2, 2013

(High sound volume recommended)

cicada and begonia June 2 2013

The constant hum of the cicadas reminds me of this meditation instruction from Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche:

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Back to the World, The World of Nature |

All sound is the sound of mantra: frog chorus and ballet

At Mapleknoll Marsh, the trick to spotting frogs is to eavesdrop a bit at the entry, then make your way in slow motion onto the boardwalk just to where you can survey the water surface. Yesterday morning I spotted nine frogs, though quite a few splashes and shrieks informed me that my presence was detected by many others. I have found that while most frogs dive underwater before I’m even close, others seem impervious to my presence, even if I go out of my way to get their attention. Two tiny videos below: in the first one, a chorus of green frogs (high twang) and bullfrogs (deep rrrrr) from the marsh entrance; in the second, the camera movement is me trying to get some action.

Mapleknoll Marsh frog chorus

Mapleknoll Marsh frog ballet

(High volume setting recommended.)

Frogs on logs in Mapleknoll Marsh, first heat wave, May 30, 2013

 

Share on Facebook
Posted in The World of Nature |

Five minutes from the monastery

Unlike the rest of Bowdoin Park, Mapleknoll Marsh, which is tucked into its northeastern corner, seems to be largely–if not entirely–unmaintained. The boardwalk is sound but fraying, and tall reeds encroach upon it and even grow up through the boards. Very few visitors seem to find it, though I did encounter a birdwatcher recently, and on another occasion a young couple shrieking with delight as they teased a frog with a dried reed. (The frog, apparently thinking the movement of the reed indicated food, kept jumping and trying to bite it)

Mapleknoll Marsh 2013

 

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Back to the World, The World of Nature |

All sound is the sound of mantra: Saka Dawa 2013

These short videos are from Mapleknoll Marsh, a tiny pond in Bowdoin Park a mere five-minute walk from the end of the KTC driveway along Sheafe Road. The videos were made in late spring during Saka Dawa, the most sacred month of our Buddhist calendar, during which Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have been born, attained enlightenment, and passed into nirvana, many centuries ago. As I write this, we have just passed the full moon of Saka Dawa, the culmination of the month’s magnfication of merit, and we still have two weeks to go before the new moon, when it gives way to the next Tibetan month.

In the videos, redwing blackbirds, a variety of frogs, Sheafe Road traffic, and even, faintly, the bells of Mount Alvernia (our Franciscan Monastery neighbor), along with various unidentified participants, join in the chorus of mani’s celebrating this sacred time.

Pond, bullfrog

Reeds, redwing

Redwing, Mount Alvernia (faint)

Exit

(High sound volume is recommended.)

Share on Facebook
Posted in Back to the World, The World of Nature | Tagged , |

Tai Situ Rinpoche’s streaming body of light

A few weekends ago, during a broadcast of Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche’s live-streamed seminars from India on The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, as I watched Rinpoche teach from the wide screen atop his throne, I was struck by two things: 1) how much it felt like being in the same room with him–in his warm, engaging, awe-inspiring presence–as many of us have been many times; and 2) that in this case, he was teaching in the KTC shrine room in a veritable body of light–directly from his seat in India, yet unmistakably with us in every way except the physical. I wonder if this is what it is like to see the Samboghakaya?

TSR OPL April 2013

 

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Uncategorized |

Weathering the rapids

People I meet almost invariably remark, sometimes with a hint of wistfulness, how quiet and peaceful it must be to live at a Buddhist monastery. Not at all, I assure them—on the contrary!

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Back to the World, Life at the monastery | Tagged , , , |

In a Nutshell

Lama Norlha Rinpoche often reminds us that the best advice he got from his first root lama in Tibet was, “Always remember impermanence.”

Continue reading this post.

Share on Facebook
Posted in Uncategorized |

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

One way to measure how our study, contemplation and meditation are working for us is by checking in with the eight worldly concerns. When any of these rear up in our mindstream, we can feel the grip of samsara and–if we can bring awareness to our state of mind–maybe we can use it as an opportunity to remind ourselves to let go a little bit. Each time we do this, we wear away a little bit of our habitual pattern of attachment and aversion.

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Dharma Pep Talks | Tagged |

Where Mahayana and Vajrayana Meet

KTC Monastery was graced with a visit last Saturday, September 15, from Master Hai Tao, a master of Mahayana Buddhism from Taiwan. He came to meet Lama Norlha Rinpoche and to see the Maitreya Center, our new monastery building currently under construction.

The Maitreya Center is unique in that it incorporates both a traditional Vajrayana and a traditional Mahayana shrine room. The construction of the building’s exterior is nearly complete, while the inside is framed out just enough that the dimensions of the respective shrine rooms are visible. A shrine had been set up in each of these spaces, overflowing with offerings and adorned with pictures of Buddhas. Master Hai Tao and his entourage toured the Maitreya Center with Rinpoche and paid homage at each of the shrines. It was a very touching moment of pure devotion shared across cultures and traditions.

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Dharma Pep Talks | Tagged , , , , |

OM MANI PEME HUNG

This morning Pema Chödrön’s Facebook page shared a quote from her book, No Time to Lose: “The next time you go out in the world, you might try this practice: directing your attention to people—in their cars, on the sidewalk, talking on their cell phones—just wish for them all to be happy and well.

Continue reading

Share on Facebook
Posted in Back to the World | Tagged , , |