Teaching with Lama Migmar 5/2/10

Today I was lucky once again, to receive a teaching from Lama Migmar. Like the last teaching/ empowerment, this was all about Green Tara.

I showed up early this time to help set up. Lama Migmar was coming from a retreat on Nantucket and did not have all of his supplies, so I was asked to bring some Buddha’s. I brought both of the altar Buddha’s I have. Both were used for the ceremony on the altar put together by Lama. This was very meaningful to me, while they are simple statues, they will mean much more to me in the future on my home altar.

The teaching began a couple minutes behind schedule, but Lama started his recitations to prepare for the teaching as we all meditated to create goodwill and intention for the teaching to come.

Lama spoke of many things, mostly mainstay things in the Tibetan tradition– compassion, happiness and creating positive karma. One thing he did talk about that made a whole hell of alot of sense, and hopefully it comes out right, is this.

He talked a bit about shrines/ altars, offerings and giving. He said how in Tibet and other Himalayan countries, most people have shrines. People bestow very rich items on these shrines, some paint the Buddha’s with gold leaf and such. They do this out of respect but not for that reason alone. It is also believed that offering the Buddha shrines these items it helps to rid oneself of attachment.

Lama compared this type of giving to giving something to someone who might need something. Like offering food or money to a homeless person. While our intention is true, and the food and or money will help the person, being human our ego is always looking for recognition. By giving to someone in need, we want our name somehow attached to the act.

He likened the idea to say a rich celebrity who maybe offers x amount of his wealth to impoverished nations. This celebrity then goes about, flaunting the fact he gave that money and how good of a man he is. This is very prideful and harmful to oneself. By offering something to a shrine or monument, we aren’t expecting anything in return.

Of course none of this means to stop giving and helping other sentient beings that are suffering, that is from where we draw much of our aspirations for this path. But, from what I understood is not to be prideful of our good deeds.

There was much more to the teaching, and I probably lost a bit in translation here. During the empowerment I caught a whiff of something, not sure what it was but I felt surrounded. Not in a sinister way, but embraced almost. I couldn’t make things out too well, I did see leaves and a branch, a few shadowy impressions as well. While the experience was neat, it was fleeting and minus typing this up I had nearly forgotten about it.

After the empowerment there was a small Q&A session. Things began to wind down some more and as things wrapped up I stepped up, butterflies in my stomach and all, and offered a khata to Lama. Not only to thank him but with every intention to let him know I would take his teachings to heart and do my best to put them into action. As tradition goes, I handed it to him, he placed it onto his forehead and than placed it over my head onto my shoulders.

Afterward I spoke with Lama Migmar one on one for a bit. I asked him some questions and he gave me some advice. I also plan to visit him soon in Cambridge so he can properly instruct me on some tings.

I am very grateful to Diane from Kind Yoga for setting this up again And also am grateful to Lame Migmar for taking the time to travel and teach us Cape folk.


  1. Hi Nate.

    Have you written a post on the tradition and context in which you practice? I’d be interested in reading one. It may be that such a post exists and I can’t find it!



  2. I have not yet man… I may very well post about it though. I have many posts about being an unaffiliated Buddhist and feeling that I didn’t need a teacher. That was all before I met Lama Migmar a year or so ago. Have received two empowerments and teachings with him in that year and have realized just how important it is to have a guide. So yeah… maybe I should write something up, thanks for the push!!

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