Precious Life: Precious Teacher

Lately when people ask, “How are you?” instead of responding with “good,” I say, “fortunate.” I thought about this. Just “good”, when either I am doing well or not, doesn’t truly represent my present state. I am though, fortunate. Fortunate to live where I do, to be in loving relationships, to have the health I have, to have access to such vast inner and outer resources. I am fortunate to have encountered such a teacher as the Venerable Geshe Sopa at Deer Park. In my recent book, I offer 11 core principles of the zero point agreement, one which is … Continue reading

Good-bye In This Context

It was a week ago that the Venerable Geshe Sopa took his last breath. I have not had a chance to make it to Deer Park to join in with others to chant and pray. In my heart I say good-bye to Geshe-la “in this context.” I am sad that such a beautiful teacher has left us, and grateful for all the teachings I received and for all the teachings and guidance he left for the whole of humanity. He will be missed in this context. This is how I say good-bye to those in my life, “Good-bye in this … Continue reading

Promise Me This

  This is the third piece in the Venerable Geshe Lhundup Sopa’s introductory teachings, the “lessons before the lessons.” We are still on the verse taken from Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend.     “Whosoever was negligent previously But later became attentive and careful, Shines forth like the moon freed from clouds, Just like Nanda, Angulimala, Ajustastru, and Udayana.”                                            –Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend, Verse 14 (Leslie Kawanura)  After his teaching, I offer up a commentary, some spiritual journaling prompts, … Continue reading

A Skeptic Awakening at the Foot of One Sage

I consider myself a willing skeptic at the feet of many sages and yoginis. I am willing to explore and to reach for meaning while being given spiritual instruction. During various teachings, rituals and empowerments that I attended over the years at Deer Park in Oregon Wisconsin, I was deeply inspired by the Venerable Geshe Lhundub Sopa’s introductory teachings. I admit that these “lessons before the lessons” often held more meaning for me than the primary teachings. I was able then, and now, to use these teachings in a more practiced way, integrating them into my daily life. After hearing … Continue reading

Pivotal Moments: Use Them or Lose Them

An active life is strewn with them – pivotal moments that are crucial to the forward movement of life. These moments don’t make life meaningful on there own, ­––we make life more meaningful with them. Perhaps the best story that demonstrates a pivotal moment is my encounter with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1995. I enjoy viewing my life in reflection of such moments especially when I am discouraged or feeling reluctant to stick with my spiritual and creative path. It is one moment that helped me to keep moving forward and to trust the efforts I put into … Continue reading

Tell Wally : Breaking the Cycle of Isolation

Jangtse Choje Rinpoche at a recent teaching at Deer Park in Oregon Wisconsin said, “The actual refuge is the dharma.” He went on to say that the Buddha is the founder of the Dharma (teachings) and the sangha (circle/teachers) supports the Dharma. It is skillful means to have our journey focused on the dharma — the teachings. But even the teachings are best understood through the support of a qualified teacher and a supportive community•. Continue reading

Tornado Warnings, Shinyata and the Blue Heron

“It feels real to me Julie.” “I know. But it’s not. If it were real it would be true for everyone all the time,” I said. “I do get a peek at what’s on the other side,” he reminded himself. “What’s there?,” I asked. “Love, . . . Is that real?” “As real as you and I sitting here.”                                     ­­–A conversation with a client, he was referring to the obstructions of fear and depression that surround him. One of my intentions for attending the teachings this month at Deer Park was to expose myself to the wisdom of … Continue reading

The Blessing of The Guru

  “Just look along the road, and tell me if you can see either of them.” “I see nobody on the road,” said Alice. “I only wish I had such eyes,” said the King remarked in a fretful tone. “To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too! Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!” ­Lewis Carol, Alice in Wonderland Something happened to me on my way to enlightenment . . . I had already written 3 ½ pages in response to my second week at Deer Park (too much probably for … Continue reading

Dharma and the Turtle

I hear jam jars “popping” their successful sealing while I sit and consider what to write about on my first week of teachings at Deer Park. I just finished my second batch of black raspberry jam from this year’s abundant crop. Also made banana-black raspberry bread and blueberry-raspberry pie. And there are still many berries waiting to be picked.  A loud “pop” again is heard and I am brought back to this moment – what to share about my first week at Deer Park? On a personal level I feel much gratitude being able to take these teachings and from … Continue reading