Monday, February 15, 2010

I am happy to say I survived this last week.  It was really something - four speaking engagements and two parties. It started at the Unitarian Universalist Center with a talk on Buddhist Mind Training last Sunday.  Then I gave an introduction to Buddhism at the Avenue Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.  (I basically gave the same talk at both places. ) On Thursday, I met with a group of chaplaincy students at St. Paul's Hospital.  Finally, yesterday, I met with the Unitarian youth group, again at the U.U. Center. So it has been a busy week.   I also held a birthday party for my mother on Saturday, and, since yesterday was the lunar new year, I attended a Losar party.

The Losar party was special because I had the chance to spend some time with Ilse Guenther, wife of Buddhist studies pioneer Herbert Guenther.  At ninety years old Mrs. Guenther is healthy and active.  She's currently engaged in translating some of her husbands published works from English to German.   This party also included the entire Tibetan population of Saskatoon - all three of them.

I was a bit sad not to be at Namdroling for Losar.  It has always been my favorite place to celebrate the new year.  This year though, it would have been heartbreaking to be there on the first new year after the passing of our Lama.  It would have been lonely too, since a large part of our monastery population is still in Bodhgaya receiving the Kama empowerments.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Oh yeah that blog thingy, I knew I was forgetting something.

A month ago, I finished writing my sixth year exams.  I wrote two exams on Abhisamayalankarakarika by Maitreya, one on Haribhadra's commentary and the other on Paltrul Rinpoche's commentary. I also wrote an exam on the third chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramanavartika, with Mipham's commentary, one on the last two chapters of Dudjom's history, and one on Dharmadharmatavibhakarika by Maitreya, with Mipham's commentary.

If I had to pick a favorite subject for this year it would be Dharmadharmatavibhagakarika also known as chos dang chos nyid rnam 'byed. It focuses on the nature of samsara and nirvana as awareness. It is available in English as Distinguishing  Phenomena and Pure Being.  This translation is pretty good, but there are a few things I would change (spelling mistakes in the Tibetan on facing pages, for example).

This year (unless I happened to have failed my exams) I'll be starting seventh year, the first of three years focusing on tantra.  Last year I took special care to get the transmissions and permissions necessary to read Luminous Essence, Dharmachakra's English translation of Miphams spyi don 'do gsal snying po.  I'm also listening to Khenchen Namdrol's lectures on mp3.

Hmm... all this makes me sound quite studious.  Friends, that is simply not the case.  I'm home in Canada at the moment.  Dharma study and practice are indeed a part of each day.  The rest of the time I've been enjoying the amazing foods of home, playing MarioKart Wii, connecting with old friends and making new ones, and watching House MD.