Last week we were looking at ‘constructs’ – the way in which our minds filter what we see around us to build up our impression of the world. Changing our constructs changes our world. When constructs are broken – when a situation does not fit with the way you anticipate the world, you are “caught with your constructs down”.
The talk by the Tibetan monk on Saturday was somewhat like that. The Tibetan system – called the ‘Diamond Vehicle’ is very different from our comfortable old Theravada. Talk of magical empowerments and unbroken mantra transmissions from the Buddha through past teachers to the present boosting our benefit from certain mantra’s 1000 fold run counter to the Theravada constructs.
It is a long morning with only one person speaking, especially with the necessary interruptions for translation, but the Hall was comfortable, and the atmosphere respectful. The Dhamma talk seemed to range across a broad band of topics, going into none of them in any real depth – a brief flyover ’emptiness’ and the three forms of Dukkha – both topics we covered in talks at Baan Aree so hopefully all our own group were traversing comfortable ground …
The Chanting was well received, and the purification ritual with the oats and visualisation technique seemed to be appreciated, though I was eating lunch at that point – thankfully much more than just rolled oats. Even though not understanding the rituals, or the use of special ’empowered’ mantras, I got the impression that Geshe Tenzin Zopa is a great monk. He was clearly well versed in theory, and the rituals, in a way that belies his mere 32 years. His age however, needs to be taken in context; he was studying with his own teacher in a cave in the Himalayas when he was only 6 years old. In fact, I would have much liked to hear a lot more about that. Maybe next time. I’d also have liked to know more about how these mantras work, how to understand them in terms of meditation practise and their psychological effects rather than just assurances that they will bring great health/wealth/calm etc… boosted as they are by the ‘unbroken transmission’. Perhaps my Buddhist constructs, are too far entrenched, but it is always nice to get a fresh and alternate view on things.
Will posted a number of links if anyone would like to investigate further.