A Day of Bliss, Thenthuk and Samatha Meditation

Yesterday, Lama Migmar once again conducted a teaching here on Cape Cod. Previously, he had come to do empowerments (Green Tara) before, and the usual audience for those were not even close to the amount of folks that turned out this time. The empowerment maybe had 30-40 folks, there were at least 50-60 this time, or at least it seemed that way. I think the reason for this is, this was just a meditation class, the people there didn’t feel like they were being “turned into” something, if you know what I mean.

The meditation he taught was śamatha, which translates loosely to calm abiding. It can also be compared to a certain extent to Vipassana insight meditation. He had us go through 5 stages, each stage being a short meditation. With each stage he explained the thought process and what our minds were doing.

He compared each stage to degrees of water. The first stage being like a waterfall, the waterfall consisting of droplets of water, and our mind being quite scattered. This continued on, from a spring that has bubbles coming forth to an ocean that has waves. His explanations were so profoundly clear, and he gave us all a very good foundation to go back to when we’ve become lost.

Part of the reason he had 5 different sessions as well is he explained how it is ok to take breaks. You don’t have to be a power meditator and sit for 2 solid hours, sometimes it can be more effective to break it up, give your mind some time to reflect on each session.

After the teaching, I was wrapping up and was ready to head home. I was asked by Diane, who runs the yoga studio that hosted Lama Migmar, to bring him home to Boston. I was very humbled to be asked this, and was excited to have a little more time with Lama (although he slept most of the way home). I had to go home and swap vehicles though, the one I had was more of an around the town type. So we headed back to my house to do the swap.

We got to my place and I invited Lama in for a moment while we waited for my wife to get back with the other car. My daughter needed to be picked up at her moms, only a few minutes away. At first this had me a bit panicked, but Lama said he would stay at the house as long as it only took a few minutes. So off I went, hoping to be back soon enough before my wife came home an was surprised to see a Lama sitting in the living-room, but she beat me home. While she was a bit surprised, she was not shocked to find him there as I mentioned I was bringing him to Boston. Anyway, they spoke briefly, and I’m glad my wife had the opportunity to meet him.

Off we went, and like I mentioned, he slept a good amount of the time. Which should not have come as to much of a shock with the schedule he keeps. We did talk for a bit though and he asked me about my practice. I told him that while I feel Tibetan Buddhism is the right path for me, he compared how I was going about things to shopping. He said you can go round and round, filling your basket with this and that, but sooner or later you are going to have to make a decision and buy. He dozed off and I contemplated what he said, still absorbing it but I know what I need to do for myself, and instead of following all sorts of path’s, stumbling from this to that, it’s time to dedicate myself to one. More on that later….

When we reached Boston he had me bring him to his brothers house instead of his apartment which is near his center. I was looking forward to seeing the center, as I’d never been there before, but was pleasantly surprised by what was in store for us at his brothers. I was invited in and was asked to sit at the kitchen table to share in a meal with Lama.

We were given a bowl each of Thenthuk, a traditional Tibetan soup eaten more often during the cold months as it is very hearty and warm. There was a smaller bowl that contained some home made spicy stuff (sorry I didn’t get the name). Being someone who enjoys hot and spicy stuff I was game for it. Lama placed a dollop in my bowl and I swished it around. Wooo, it had some kick, but very flavorful. We were also given some salad, sweet potato and some melon for afterward.

I could not have imagined being given the opportunity to share in all of this, and am still a bit “blissed out” by the events of yesterday. I want to thank Diane of Kind Yoga in Hyannis not only for hosting Lama Migmar once again, but for asking me to bring him home. It was an experience I will never forget.

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