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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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lake Tahoe

I just got back from four days in the Lake Tahoe area. I went there to see my buddy Steve and two friends, Mira and Jarrett. Steve was my 'boss' during a couple of the building projects we did in the retreat valley. He, Johneo, and I got past that 'boss' thing real fast and became good friends. I went to Steve's home in a little town over the pass from Tahoe. It was green there. Water flowed in irrigation ditches through open green fields. Huge pine trees shaded the little town. Tahoe was similar. It was so peaceful and beautiful. The mountains on all sides made me feel very protected. Also, the economy there is not so bad as in Southern Arizona. People were happy and business' were open. "Amazing", I thought, "There's work here." Living as I do, I had figured that the rest of the country was just like Bowie. Yes, I need to get out more.
I want to share some of what happened to me on that trip but it is difficult. You don't know the characters involved in the way I do. And there were so many. People I hardly knew or knew not at all were very kind to me. They went out of their way to help me. Every thing I needed on the trip was given to me. It was shocking in a good way.
I want to talk about mental seeds, sometimes called karma. I do not fully understand this concept but I am running experiments. Being out here serving the retreat is one of these experiments. One of my teachers said that you can know what type of mental seeds you have planted in the past by examining the present relationships you have with the people in your life. Are you getting along with people? Are other's trying to hurt or bother you? I had an experience in Tahoe that is bringing this to mind. I got to reconnect with a person in Tahoe that I haven't been around since retreat began. I liked this person. I got a good feeling around them. We had a good friendship. In Tahoe, I noticed that our relationship had changed. I now LOVED this person. And the feeling was mutual. Perhaps the other person always felt this way, I don't know. What astounded me was how clear and strong it was. It was as if, by no effort of my own, love for this person came to live solidly in my heart. I could say, "A seed for loving you ripened in my heart." When I was younger, I think I loved for not so good reasons. I usually expected something specific from the other person. It was about what they could give me. The thing that astounds me about this new Love for my friend is the quality of purity of the affection. It's like we see each other for what we are and want to help each other and just, how to say, revel in the others company.
Why I mention this in the context of mental seeds is because it is an experience that took roots in the past. I want to have friends that I love strongly. I did not have so many in the past or I was always far away from them. From a very young age I was curious, in particular, about how Jesus loved people. I heard that he loved everybody. He loved children. He loved lepers and hookers and his enemies. He loved the world. I wanted to know what that felt like. So I could say that this desire has been a seed in my heart for a long time. How could Jesus offer his other cheek to someone who just slugged him in the face? He could do it because he loved everyone like they were his very close and old friend. He loved them desperately and would give them anything they needed to help them grow. This natural and effortless break through I had with my friend in Tahoe has made this clear. I had thoughts like "I will move to where they live and help them with their life projects." This is a remarkable state of mind for me considering how I've felt about my future life after this year of care taking is done. I had been thinking "No more helping people. Time to help myself." But I see that Love does not live in that place. I can take care of myself and help and love my friends. Tahoe helped me refocus on that. The love of my friends there woke me up.
In retreat news, many of the care takers took a little picnic and hike down near Indian Bread park at the end of Happy Camp road off of Apache pass today. Elisha is back on the land for a little while. She and baby Priya and Grandma Tahiya came down bringing Ven. Chandra and Tiana. Denis is back for a bit and he came with one of the Israeli visitors. Heather, Suzie, and I came up from Bowie. There was a little water in the rock pots and we saw such wonders as water bugs and frogs around these little oasis'. There is a very real cave up there with it's own dark pool and mysterious depths. I saw a flash of an animal back in there which gave me a start. It was a very beautiful day. We are all very lucky to be alive.


Blogger Jerry said...

Not much of a religious person but I do believe in staying in the game and the random nature of the universe can create some pretty cool stuff if you keep trying.Sounds like the building of the retreats might end up being of more value than the retreats themselves...

September 26, 2011 2:29 PM  

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