Crucible of Compassion

September 24, 2023

Blazing Wisdom Institute offered a program in Ithaca, NY on the weekend of March 8th – 10th 2013 on the subject of bodhicitta, the mind/heart of enlightenment. The program was made possible by Linda Parks, who hosted Tulku Sherab Dorje and his family in her home, and almost singlehandedly planned and managed the event.

We were at the Foundation of Light, a wonderful ecumenical spiritual practice center, which welcomed us with open arms. Friday evening's public talk drew the interest of forty five people, including a local psychotherapist who spent a season with Tulku Sherdor in the Experiment in International Living program in Nepal in the fall of 1981, but hadn't met him since. (Tulku Sherdor told me he recalls how the two of them used to ride their rented bicycles through the quiet, early dawn Kathmandu streets each weekday morning, from their host families' homes near Swayambunath to the school building near Gonesh Mandir across town.)

Twenty-eight people stayed through the entire program, which ended just before lunch on Sunday. The teachings centered around tools and techniques that are applicable in our day-to-day lives to cultivate all of the levels of bodhicitta. These tools can be brought to bear upon the current moment of our lives, to work with whatever we must face. In short, we explored how to become better human beings for real, and what is required to make that happen.

As Tulku Sherdor pointed during the teaching, to say that we suffer our own selfishness is not a moral judgment. It is a pragmatic, field-tested truth, prompting us to effect a reorientation of our perspective. To grow fully as human beings, our view of things must become more and more consistent with the way things actually are, which is open-ended interdependence.

We explored exercises for practicing the four immeasurables, including a guided meditation of Tonglen, and looked deeply at the six paramitas. Fifteen people were inspired to take the Bodhisattva vow in a ceremony conducted on Sunday morning, the 10th of March, an auspicious day to cultivate a heart of thoroughgoing peace, as it marked the anniversary of the uprising in Lhasa in 1959.

May our study and practice of the teachings always recall and be inspired by the sacrifices of those who made it possible for us to hear the Dharma. For more information and to gain access to the recordings, please email [email protected]

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