The Fourth Annual Million Mani Retreat began Saturday, May 12 at KTD.
The previous evening, Lama Kathy Wesley gave a short teaching about the basics of Buddhism, and a short description of the practice of Chenrezig.
In the audience at the Friday night teaching, a group of local high school students were getting ready for a charity trip to Laos. The small group of students was very enthusiastic about learning about Buddhism, and their adult advisor said that after the lecture they stayed up late talking about Buddhist teachings and philosophy.
On Saturday, the first day of the retreat, the shrine room was buzzing. About 16 people, some from the local area and some from out of town, participated in the retreat.
In the afternoon session, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche joined the group for several hours chanting the preparation for the Chenrezig empowerment Saturday evening.
During the day, groups of visitors floated in and out of the shrine room. Along with the tourists was a highly regarded teacher from India, along with a small group of his students. After the late afternoon session, the teacher visited with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche in his room.
On Saturday evening, the mantra sessions were suspended, and Rinpoche gave the Chenrezig empowerment to a group of about 60 people.
During the empowerment, translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso, Rinpoche described Chenrezig as being the source of emanation for all of the enlightened ones. Through the activity of compassion, the enlightened mind gives rise to various forms of awakened beings,Rinpoche said, and all trace their origins back to Chenrezig .
After being blessed in this way, the participants felt more ready than ever to take on the practice of the next four days of this five-day retreat.
May all beings benefit!