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The Diamond Mountain Blog

This is an unofficial blog of news and info from Diamond Mountain University and Retreat Center which was founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lamas.

Monday, January 17, 2011

 Dear Reader,

     I'm sitting outside my man Johneo's trailer in Bowie.  He is off in Safford for the evening and I am here using his Internet connection.  My headlamp is set on "Red Light" for night vision.  The total and heavy quiet that is Bowie Arizona is occasionally interrupted by the humming of trucks from the interstate (actually, you always hear the interstate but forget that you are hearing it for long expanses of time) and the earth ending rumble and siren of the trains.  The train goes by every half hour or so.  I blog to you as a man in the dark in the American desert.  I thought I'd start with a short note to the families of some of the retreatants I'm in touch with:  Bliss asked me for her blender.  Ben and Kendra want coconut yogurt and rice pasta.  That's about it.  They are very quiet and seem to be happy.  I miss them.

     We are two weeks into the three year retreat at DMU.  The last two Wednesdays have gone off very smooth.  We have delivered everything the retreatants needed and some of what they wanted.  No complaints yet.  We drive into the retreat valley like silent desert warriors.  Perched on the back of four wheel drive vehicles, eyes locked on the cabin we are headed to.  We do not speak so as to keep the integrity of the silence the retreatants are trying to create. I will say that many of the homes lost water for a week.  We had a hard freeze and many water lines were not insulated from the tank to the house.  So people were dipping into their tanks with buckets for a while.  No one complained too much.   It is deeply quiet in the valley.  Bowie is very quiet.  My mind fights this quiet.  But there is nothing for it.  I may as well meditate or study dharma or do yoga for the love of Pete.  That's why I'm out here after all.   This has always been the issue with me. I'm sitting on a treasure pile beyond my wildest imagination and I have yet to dive in.  I suppose that's why I want to care take for a year.  It will take me that long to get bored enough to do my practice.  

     Diamond Mountain proper is slowly becoming a community rather than a school.  I view this as a natural yet, for me, sort of sad process.  I used to live in a small community in Virginia.  I was prince of hippie communards.   I had thought myself free of that lifestyle.  It turns out that my karma has not run it's course.  Another community rises in my reality.  I won't go into the things that I don't like about small community life.  But I see the seeds for it planted daily.  Woe to the board of directors!  Woe to the confused hippie camper!  Woe to the old timer seeing hard work wash away by the never ending tide of new people with new ideas! Woe!  It really won't be that bad but it's fun for me to get dramatic once and a while.  

   All I can say is that life is transitioning and it feels odd.  The quiet, the friends in retreat, the friends returned home far away from DMU.  There are new people at the campground, to be sure.  But I find myself utterly unable to connect with them at this time.  It is because they are not my friends and teachers who I've grown so close to these last three years.  We did not stay up after the late Bok Jimpa class together huddled in a tent learning even more dharma then we could process.  We did not make and serve refreshments to the late Tantra class.  We didn't sit in Sacred Classics Translator class laughing with Geshe-hla and working our minds till they hurt, we didn't debate under the stars, eat Jeromes pancakes, travel to the Tucson Spiritual Partner talks, We didn't serve each other enough. Or not yet enough, at least.  To the new people, I'm sorry.  I suppose I'm grieving in some way.  There's been so much life that I need some time to digest it all.  It's not you, it's me.  I'll open up and be more sociable.  You are my new teachers and I'll try to see you that way.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Day One

I write to you now after a three day rest. Four days ago we got our last certificate of occupancy and then put every one into retreat. I can barely put the thoughts together and try to talk about that day. We all went to the temple in the evening with Geshe-hla and lama Christie. After the lama's spoke we all started saying good bye. Or we said see you in three years. We cried a lot. We confessed a lot of love for each other. The room was filled with an emotional energy I had not experienced before. For me it was a mix of Joy, relief, bitter sweet love, the agony of loss,
and excitement. The air was thick with it, you could wade though it. We walked through the room searching for one another like relatives at Ellis Island. Once we found the other there was a desire to not let go of them. To go with them. In many of our meditations we imagine the Lama in our hearts. That night I wanted to go into the hearts of my friends and live there. To not be apart from them. And that is what we on the outside of the retreat are bidden to do. We have to find a way to be with them while they are not with us. To reach them in a different way.
In the temple I found my friend and teacher, Kendra. I wish you could know Kendra, if you don't already. I sat next to her and it seemed that everyone else in the room was standing up at that moment. Their legs created a leg forest around us giving us a sort of privacy. She asked me to keep in touch with her family which is an honor for me. Her sister just had a baby and I had met her not long ago when she was pregnant. I had been holding it together up until Kendra hugged me. I see and feel that Kendra is a very pure person. Her love is very palpable to me. She and Ben, her hubby, are a big reason that I stayed at Diamond Mountain. I told her this but now, I think I would also say more. I would say "Kendra, you helped save my life from meaninglessness." And I would cry more because it feels good. I feel closer to you when I cry and you're not here.

May every person see their hearts dream come true. May we see that the dreams of others
are the same as ours and strive to help them reach it.