"The world we live in is getting smaller and peoples actions have tremendous impact. In the era in wich we live people cannot get away with cllinging to their beliefs. I dont have any personal attachment or clinging to being a Buddhist. We need to step outside the boundaries of Buddhism and really go out and share the benefits of our Buddhist practise with the rest of the world. " / HHG Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Spiritual Heritage

”The Water-Cloud Sangha”(Mahayana Buddhism/Zen)
Yasutani Roshi was born to a poor mother who was fortold by a nun that she was going to give birth to a priest. The nun gave her a bead from a rossary, and told her to swollow it. When the baby boy was born he had his hand clasped around the very same bead...This boy was first adopted to another family, and then sent away to a monastery at age five and again to another temple at age eleven. When he came in to a fight with an older boy he was again sent away. This time to a Soto Zen Temple.

Later he came to question this branch of zen buddhism as well as the Rinzai branch, and became known as a quite controversial and fiery person. And jet his training contributed to his synthesis of the practices and insights emphasized in Soto and Rinzai respectively.

Yasutani Roshi has become known and indirectly influenced many people through the book ”Three Pillars of Zen”, compiled by Phillip Kapleau, who was one of his diciples. Philip Kapleau founded the Rochester Zen Center in the US, where Bodhin Kjolhede-Roshi became his successor. A branch of centers, known as ”The Water-Cloud Sangha” branched out from these teachers around the world, including Stockholm Zen Center. This is where I started to practise in my early teens, and first came across the Prajna Paramita Hridaya ”The Heart Sutra”, as well as traditional sitting and walking meditation.

”The Saraswati Order”(Hatha Yoga)
The Goddess Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom, music and art. And chanting from the heart is one of the very strong practises emphasized within the everyday life of the Saraswati order.

The founder Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born in Tamil Nadu, India. Naturally inclined toward spiritual and religious practice, already as a child, he became one of the 20th centurys most highly regarded spiritual teachers. Part from being a medical doctor and a spiritual leader he also came to be an author of over 200 books on yoga and vedanta who established ”The Divine Life Society” and ”Sivananda Ashrams” in India.

He sent his close diciple Swami Vishnudevananda to the west where he in turn established Hatha Yoga and Sivananda Ashrams. Swami Vishnudevananda is considered one of the greatest and most dynamic yogis of modern times. Not only did he live the philosophy and practice of yoga he learned from his great master, he also passed it on to his own students so that everyone would have the opportunity to reach the goal of self-realization.

Ive been trained under the guidence of several Sivananda Yoga teachers, as well as been a long term karma yogi at several of the Sivanada Ashrams around the world. From these experiences chanting and devotional music grow in to an even stronger part of my own practise. And it has ever since been a part of my teaching style.

”The Thai Forest Tradition” (Theravada Buddhism)
This tradition uses remote areas, preferably wilderness and forest dwellings as training grounds, and are considered orthodox, conservative and ascetic. The Venerable thai meditation master Ajahn Chah came to be the main teacher of prominent practioners such as Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Brahmavamso and Jack Kornfield, who have paved way for modern time Buddhism in the west. I first met this tradition in 2005 at the Amaravati Monastery in England, where I came to spend time during repeated visits for a number of years. In particular with the wise and inspiring nuns sangha. It was also there that I sat my first ”Rains Retreat”. (3 month retreat).

”The Karma Kagyu tradition” (Vajrayana Buddhism)
A Tibetan branch of Buddhism, refered to as the prescious practise lineage, established by Ven.Gampopa Sönam Rinchen, spiritual heir of prominent Tibetan and Indian Yogis. He was a handsome medical doctor and monk who became one of the formost diciples of the highly regarded singing yogi Jetsun Milarepa. Gampopas presence in this time and universe had been prophesied by the Buddha Shakyamuni, and can be read about in several of the sutras.

One of Gampopas greatest diciples was the 1th Gyalwang Karmapa; Dusum Khyenpa, who was trained in the Kadampa tradition. He became the first of 21 incarnations to carry out the awakened activity of the Karmapas as the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

My main teacher; the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was born to a family of nomads in Tibet in 1985 under auspicious circumstances. He showed to be a very loving and compassionate boy, a tulku, and was found by a search party of high Tibetan Lamas at age seven (7). Recognized as the 17th incarnation of the Karmapas he was brought to his seat; the Tsurphu Monastery, founded by the first Karmapa. At the turn of the last century he made a miraculous escape over the mountains to India, where he has been reciding ever since.

I had the good fortune to meet the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa through a wonder of causes and conditions coming together in Bodhgaya India in 2006. An encounter which left a profound imprint in me. I went back to see him in early 2009, and took temporary monastic ordination the same year under the guidence of VV Thrangu Rinpoche and Ani Pema Chodrön. This was followed by a novice ordination at Palpung Sherabling Monastery, in Bir India with Kenting Tai Situpa Rinpoche in 2010, where I was already a student. The years following that Ive been recieving formal training as a nun from the Tibetan masters in India and Nepal.

Ive practised, studied and taught based on Buddhist and Yoga traditions over the past 30 years. Listed here is a brief description of the lineages to which I refer to as my main spiritual heritage.

Its with a deep bow and heartfelt appreciation to all my teachers, mentors and students that I walk the pathless path.  /Ven. Karma Chimey Lhatso