Thursday, February 8, 2007

Part 11: Happy New Year 2007!!

Let me share with you one incident that occured atBodhgaya, during my retreat with K. Lama ZopaRinpoche. While the rest of the world was celebratingthe New Year 2007 on eve night of 31 Dec 2006 (I think so) , Rinpoche was busyrescuing Saddam Hussein. He got news of his death by hanging and asked us to follow along him in reciting prayers for Saddam's liberation. We recited powerfulmantras and dedicated merits to Saddam Hussein. We didthat before Rinpoche proceeded with other teachings.When we practice the 4 immeasurable attitudes, we do not choose one being and ignore another. I am sure if it was Bush who died, we would have done the same prayers.

While there was sound of fireworks all around us and I could not help that sometimes my mind keep flying far away back to my home town, but I could excuse myself because this was my first time celebrating the New Year's eve away from my loved one and away from my home town. There was no celebration this year, no evening candlelight meal, no "crazy" crowd, no "mad" spraying, no deafening music and screams, etc. Instead there I was chanting, praying and meditation in the peaceful gompa, surrounded by brothers and sisters walking the same path to peace. Most important of all, we are in the midst of our great Guru teaching and leading us to Final Emamcipation. My mind was thinking that maybe it was unrealistic to expect Rinpiche to allow us to shout and celebrate the new year, but at the least Rinpoche was going to wish us Happy New Year. Big Fat Hope!! hahaha!!

There was no such wish because for Rinpoche and perhaps same for all Buddhas, this kind of worldly happiness in at best temporal and doesnot contribute to liberation of the mind. In fact, such New Year madness often results in more suffering like drunkenness, untowards accidents, and what's more appaling is resulting in more delusions and ignorance. Engaging AND INDULGING in such samsaric activities would merely sink us deeper into pain. Hence, it is Rinpoche's opinion, I think, that it is far better to engage in Lam Rim practice than wasting time even in wishing "Happy New Year!". I am reminded of Je Tsongkapa's verse that worldly happiness is "the door to every pain".

So, 12 midnight went by quite uneventfully. BUT if looking from point of spiritual development - it actually was the most eventful night I had ever experience. Rinpoche explained about the Triple Precious Gem and the Precepts, among other things. So that was the way we greeted and ursher in the 2007 New Year! HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007! May All Sentient Beings be Free from Suffering and Achieve Buddhahood!

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