“Rinpoche, I am in charge of an impossible task:
to express in words the gratitude,
the devotion and the aspirations of 70 people
whose hearts are more than filled with what they’ve received during this week.”
— Venerable Damchö, during the closing ceremony.
It’s time for the closing ceremony of the Green Tara Retreat. The retreat has been a heart opening experience for everyone, one that has inspired us to live in new and meaningful ways, with greater equanimity, and on behalf of all sentient beings. Each of its carefully planned activities came together in an extraordinary manner, like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces perfectly fit together as they are being assembled, but whose real dimension can only be fully appreciated once it is done, when the true value of its gifts start to reveal themselves.
This has been an invaluable experience. Without the blessings of HH the 17th Karmapa, the boundless love of our Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, the leadership of Venerable Damchö, the ongoing efforts of the nuns of the Dharmadatta Community, and the KTD staff, it would have been impossible to achieve. However, joined with the intentions of each of the participants, the conditions came together for this retreat so that it could be realized, filled with spiritual richness, and lessons for everyday life.
The ceremony began with Venerable Damchö’s expression of just how fortunate we truly are to have received these clear, precise and profound teachings. As participants we are left inspired to live up to the stature of the precious diamond that Rinpoche shared with us. We are encouraged to practice with enthusiasm, connecting with our true nature, and with the knowing that we are one with Green Tara. Venerable Damchö concluded by giving thanks to each person whose love and firm determination helped us to advance on the path by assisting us with understanding the richness of these teachings. She offered her heartfelt thanks to Lama Karma for his joy and enthusiasm; to Lama Lodro for sharing her gifts and beneficial attitude; to Lama Karuna and the KTD nuns for their generosity and support; and to all the KTD staff for their hard work and diligence. Thanks also went to Leslie Serna who spent much of the retreat at her computer, making the Dharma teachings accessible over the web so that many could benefit; and to Jigme, our Tibetan translator, whose great capacity and genuine desire to help, enabled us to access Rinpoche’s infinite wisdom. In the end we realize just how very fortunate we are.
Venerable Damchö then led the Mandala Offering Procession along with the nuns of the Dharmadatta Community, in which Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was offered the traditional representative elements of the mandala: the Buddha’s body, speech and mind; the bumpa or ritual vase; and the double dorje. The participants followed suit by offering Rinpoche their kathas and gifts of thanks. And as a gesture of his love, Rinpoche gave each of us a special picture of Tara. We feel blessed and welcomed into this beautiful dharma family with all its diversity.
Rinpoche concluded the ceremony by offering a dedication prayer. Each time he addresses us, we shiver in recognition of his infinite wisdom, knowing that he is the light that enables us to trust that we truly carry buddha nature. We will hold his teachings like a precious treasure in our hearts.
He shared with us that he had received instructions from HH the 16th Karmapa to build a monastery here in North America to be of benefit to all sentient beings. As a result of this retreat and witnessing the diversity among us as well as the transmission of the dharma into other languages, he expressed that it felt like a clear indication to him that indeed the Karmapa’s mission is being accomplished. Knowing that we are all a part of fulfilling these wishes fills him with great joy and inspiration. He also shared that the Karmapa asked him to prepare a suitable place for the three year retreat. At first he thought that this would be very difficult to achieve, however, the conditions came together and today many fortunate practitioners have been able to complete the three year retreat. This too fills him with great joy.
In the closing ceremony we too were filled up by this indescribable feeling. Sitting in the Gompa, we feel how fortunate we are to be here, to be able to use our precious human lives to practice dharma and to be of service to all sentient beings. After this experience, we are not the same. Something has changed inside of each one of us. Something beautiful is flourishing, our hearts are full and tears of joy abound. Everyone here has been a part of one family for the past ten days, sharing the best of what we have: our own hearts.
RETIRO DE TARA VERDE, KTD 2014
Writers / Escritores
Translator / Traductora
Editors / Editores
Photographs / Fotografías
Coordinators / Coordinadores
Ven. Tenzin Dapel