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Funny & Amazing Dharma Snippets

How Much His Holiness Cares

The sister-in-law of a student, who lives in outback Australia, recently suffered an incredible loss with the death of her 7 year old child. Although not a Buddhist, one of the things she did was to write to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At first she was just going to e-mail him, but she got on the net and found his address and wrote him a letter. A few weeks later she received a reply — His holiness had personally written back to her and signed the letter himself.

Geshe-la at His Holiness’ Melbourne Teachings...

How wonderful to recognise so many members and friends of Langri Tangpa Centre at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Melbourne. Our very own Geshe Tashi Tsering was there as well, being a model student, sitting so respectfully and attentively through the many hours of teachings. He was seated on the stage along with the other lamas from around Australia and New Zealand, and many monks and nuns from different traditions. At the end of the three day teachings, after the last session, His Holiness went out of his way and straight to Geshe-la to say a special hello. Geshe-la, bent over double (almost triple) in humility, while His Holiness laughed, said a few words and gently held Geshe-la’s hands.

Oops…

We recently got an email saying: “I have come across your site and liked it very much. I suppose that our visitors belong to the same social group and my site could be useful for your audience so I suggest to exchange our links.” The site? Motorcycle Travel Stories!

The Ultimate Excuse...

Overheard while Eddie was avoiding getting out of bed in the morning “There is no arising, no abiding and no cessation. Gone away….zzzzzz”

Our happy treasurer...

Gunter Lillie, our dedicated and persevering treasurer e-mailed us recently: “Our 1999 outstanding deposit was according to our auditors $1.37 larger then I had calculated. Needless to say, I am pleased. Cheers Gunter”. He later assured us that it was, in fact their error, not his!

How many Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb?

Theravada: One, but it takes forever and they insist they can only change their own light bulb. Mahayana: infinite number, but they refuse to change their own bulbs until all other bulbs have been changed. Vajrayana: none, equating the darkness with emptiness they stay on their cushions expecting any minute to experience the “bulbless void”. Zen: Bulb? what bulb? Chop bulb, carry water.

Miffi Raves About the Sutra of Golden Light

It's the best read I have had in years! In fact, I was moved to read it out loud, standing up, shouting and waving my arms about, because it is just so dramatic. (I pretended to be Buddha manifesting as Nick Cave to get into the spirit of it). I especially liked the chapter on the Four Great Kings, and the tigress and the prince ‘consumed by impermanence’.

Tales from the BSP at Chenrezig Institute

Those confused at the BSP sometimes felt themselves to be proponents of the mind boggled school. This school has only 2 tenets: everything Geshe-la and Lama Zopa Rinpoche says we accept as inherently true, and whatever the other schools say the Buddha says, we also accept, but this is not our primary focus. Refutation is not a skill required. There are 3 Paths in this school, and occasionally we also find a garden path.

New take on Aussie icon

We took Ven. Yangdzom to see the Harlem Gospel Choir. They introduced a certain song like this: “It’s about a man who has renounced everything. He has no house, no car, no need of family and is completely happy. All he has is his sleeping bag, and he wanders around, completely content wherever he finds himself.” The song? Waltzing Matilda!

End of year sleep deprivation

The last half of 2000 was a rattling roller-coaster of a ride for Miffi. In just one month, apart from learning to cook for over 20 at our weekend courses, her first driving lesson, the acquisition of a piano accordion, and beginning a 3 month computer course, Miffi lead her very first meditation classes. Miffi put Rinpoche’s advice (on how we can help the centres) to ‘sleep less’ into practice, but was so tired she nearly fell asleep leading meditation class!

The Miraculous Cheese…

On a Friday not long before Geshe-la left for Tibet, Miffi was at computer school, and Eddie was left to hold the fort, clean the house and cook the dinner for Geshe-la and the sangha. He had everything under control except for the special ‘secret’ ingredient that makes the soup perfect — cream cheese. But with no way to contact Miffi, no time to go to the shop, and the driver out of range, there was nothing to be done. When Geshe-la arrived, he made a detour through the kitchen on the way to his room, and quietly slipped a package of cream cheese into Eddie’s hands.

Geshe-la Gives His Own Present Away

When it came time to present Geshe-la with his gift at our end-of-year party, he gave it straight back with never a thought for himself, saying “Langri Tangpa needs it more than me. Raffle it and raise money for the centre!” Michael Bouwman then gave Geshe-la the money offering from LTC students for Geshe-la to take to his monks at Sera Monastery in India, saying with his customary bashfulness “and you can’t give this back Geshe-la, because it isn’t yours!” Geshe-la screwed up his face (like he does with money) but accepted the donation.

An Excellent Solution From Else Shepard

Six Norwegians moved in next door.to a couple of LTC members. The neighbours were making lots of noise, up until 4am most nights. So they invited them all to dinner. She cooked three times too much food and they ate the lot. “Everyone had a great time”. Then one of the Norwegians thought a little and asked “are we making too much noise?” She answered “up until 11pm, not at all; after 11pm way too much.” Since then she says “they watch when we turn out our bedroom light and then quieten down”.

Blessed by the Stupas

Towards the end of the week my eye was caught by a beautiful glint and sparkle from the other side of the gompa. It was coming from the jewel encrusted stupas donated for the Maitreya statue. They were gold, quite small and lined up on a table. I went over to get a better look. The moment I saw them up close I couldn’t stop smiling. In those few minutes the teachings somehow came into reality, and settled into my system with a profound sense of realisation. A feeling of bliss washed over me. After being touched on the head by these precious holy relics, hard-core cynical punk that I may be, I actually felt subdued, almost blissed-out in fact. Before he left the gompa Rinpoche explained just who we were being blessed by. My god, what a divine shopping list! Relics of Pabongka Rinpoche, three pieces of bone from Atisha, His Holiness’ hair, Shakyamuni Buddha relics from His Holiness, and some donated by a museum in Burma, Lama Tsong Khapa relics, a Buddha’s blood relic, Lama Yeshe’s tooth, and some bones of Geshe Chekawa. Crikey!

Considerate Confusion...

An earnest meditator explained why he left meditation class early “ I had such a racket in my head that I didn’t want to disturb anybody.” Back to Top Clare and the monks... Clare Isitt from International Office came to visit the centre and we took her to see the Shaolin Kung Fu Monks, where, I kid you not, one monk threw a needle right through a pane of glass and burst the balloon taped to the other side!

Ven. Roger and Eddie Share a Cerebral Joke...

During Rinpoche’s visit Ven. Roger took the opportunity to have a rest in the translator room. He must have had a great time looking through all Eddie’s books, for just they were all leaving he asked if he could borrow The Mind and It’s Functions by Geshe Rabten –a rare and much sought after book. Eddie said “sure”, and in the confusion of everyone leaving, he forgot to mention that it actually belonged to Ven. Yeshe Khadro (who was actually standing right there with a quizzical look on her face!) A few weeks later we get an email from Ven. Roger saying sorry, I did a bad thing -I accidentally stole the book, but will be sending it back ASAP! Then a few weeks after this, a package arrives from Ven. Roger, but upon tearing it open, what do we find, but two Australian crime novels!

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