Celebration Diaries

Celebration Diaries

The Celebration Diaries share some insight for each day of the Celebration and people’s experience of the teachings.

One of the most important aspects of the Dharma Celebration meeting like-minded people from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas. Though this year’s Celebration is both in-person at the Temple, many more people are watching online. The diaries help us, wherever we are, connect with the in-person gathering and the blessed US World Peace Temple. 

Each day there will be photos and videos of the Celebration experience. If you would like to contribute your own videos, photos, and thoughts to the Celebration Diaries page. Simply e-mail your submissions to [email protected]

Friday, April 28th

One of our favorite events of the year began this past Friday. Kadampas from all over the Northeast descended upon the Temple for World Peace in Glen Spey for our annual Dharma Celebration.

On Friday night, Gen Samten opened the weekend with an exquisite teaching on the Four Immeasurables, a prayer we make to generate immeasurable love, compassion, joy and equanimity for all living beings. This prayer may be brief – just four lines – but it has the power to entirely change us. Through relying on it, we are given a method to step outside the cage of our limited, self-centered habitual ways of thinking, and instead, naturally cultivate the big mindset and reality of a bodhisattva, a being bound for enlightenment.

Gen Samten left us with a practice to begin incorporating the Four Immeasurables into our life right now. Rather than avoiding reading bad news or feeling overwhelmed by it, we can use the Four Immeasurables as a means to transform our mind from fear, anxiety, panic or overwhelm into a universal mind of love, compassion, joy or equanimity.  

The highlight of our weekend will be the empowerment of Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. The sadhana of the practice of Buddha Manjushri, Treasury of Wisdom, includes a lovely presentation of the Four Immeasurables prayer. Through practicing the prayer in the context of the sadhana, we will naturally draw closer to and eventually become the Wisdom Buddha, Manjushri.

With these big minds now generated, we’re ready to receive the Saturday empowerment and listen to the weekend’s teachings, so that we can deepen our experience and practice of Buddha Manjushri for the benefit of all.

Saturday, April 29th

It’s now Saturday of the Northeast Dharma Celebration. While the weather is far from April’s best, you’d never know from the general mood among the sangha. Wherever you look, there are big smiles, warm welcomes and hugs being doled out generously.    

Soon enough, we’re all inside the temple for the main event, the empowerment of Buddha Manjushri. It’s inspiring to see row upon row upon row filled with practitioners here to strengthen their connection to the Wisdom Buddha. Shortly after we begin, Kadam Morten encourages us to spend plenty of time over the next two days rejoicing. For starters:

– We are in Venerable Geshe-la’s emanation temple and gathering together like this is fulfilling one of his main wishes.
– Just by being part of this special event, we are helping to create the cause for Dharma to flourish throughout our region and beyond.
– Momentarily we’ll be receiving the empowerment and special blessings of Buddha Manjushri. These are not only rare, they are immeasurable in value and will bring lasting benefit to all of us in all of our lives.
– Through our connection to Manjushri, we accelerate our path to attaining his omniscient wisdom mind and actualizing our full enlightenment.

Rejoice! This really is no ordinary Saturday.

Because the instructions we’ll be receiving belong to Buddha’s tantric teachings, Kadam Morten reminds us how important it is that we first set a pure motivation. Together we make the strong determination to do for all living beings what the Buddhas are doing for us right now.

For the remainder of the empowerment, Kadam Morten talks extensively about mistaken appearance, also known as deceptive appearance, which is the source of all our problems. And eradicating mistaken appearance also just happens to be Buddha Manjushri’s specialty. Due to mistaken appearance, we perceive all phenomena, even our thoughts and ourself, as existing outside our mind, completely independent of our mind. Why is this such a problem? Believing things exist separate to the mind, we seek happiness from attractive objects and try to push away suffering which we perceive as intrinsic in unattractive things. As a consequence, we have devoted every last moment of our lives since beginningless time to seeking happiness where it isn’t to be found and then constantly encountering suffering over and over and over again.

The wonderful news is that the Buddhas are permanently free from mistaken appearance and they have the power to liberate us from it also. Through receiving their blessings and relying upon their teachings, Buddha Manjushri’s in particular, all phenomena will eventually stop appearing to us as if independent of our mind, outside our mind. This is the state of enlightenment. 


Sunday, April 30th

What is the best thing we can do to help our family, our friends, our colleagues, our community, our world?” Kadam Morten asked during the Northeast Dharma Celebration. While there are many ways we can give assistance to others, finally, it is through transcending our ordinary identity using the practice of self-generation that we can help all living beings in the most extraordinary way.
During this past weekend, close to 450 Kadampas in the Northeast region – in-person and online – gathered together to learn about the magical practice of self-generation. This special tantric methodology gives us the actual mechanics of how to switch our identity from an ordinary being to a Buddha. In essence we are learning how, on the basis of faith and correct imagination, we can accomplish the four complete purities – purifying our world, ourself, our enjoyments and our activities – and attain enlightenment very quickly.
Thanks to Venerable Geshe-la’s kindness, there’s no need to wait – we can engage in these methods right away. His emanation texts detail how we can attain a Buddha’s body and mind in this very life without changing any of our outer circumstances. What’s key is that we train in tantra in union with sutra by infusing the insights and motivations that we learn through Buddha’s lamrim teachings into our self-generation. If we do this, our tantric practice becomes very qualified.
While Venerable Geshela says these methods are the quick path, Kadam Morten reminded us that our success depends entirely upon the sincerity of our wish – we simply cannot become a Buddha while still wanting to remain ordinary. “We need to feel this is what I want more than anything else”. Thinking in this way, we are then able to give ourself over to these practices, marinating our mind in this transcendental wisdom.
What will life be like when we become a Buddha? Because enlightenment is an inner realization externally our life will carry on as normal. We will still be able to make breakfast and take our dog for a walk, but internally every action of body speech and mind we make will bring profound benefit to every single living being.
Thanks to everybody who attended this wonderful weekend. And thank you to our wonderful teachers, Gen Samten who gave the introduction, Gen Khedrub who led us in the morning meditations, and Kadam Morten who granted the empowerment and gave three truly exquisite teachings.
How wonderful that in just two months time we’ll have the opportunity to gather again at the Temple for World Peace in Glen Spey for the annual US Festival!

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