The daily sadhana provided a focus exactly at a time when I was adrift with my own attempts at dharma practice. The word ‘sadhana’ is Sanskrit and has been variously translated into English as, ‘practice, effort, discipline, effective means of accomplishment’ and several other terms. A sadhana is essentially a spiritual practice. One who performs sadhana is sometimes referred to as a ‘sadhaka’.
The spiritual crisis I mentioned in part 4 began to dissipate. I realized that yes indeed, Buddhadharma is pure, the various transmission lineages are pure, yet this does not mean that all Buddhists (including monks and Lamas) have been completely without kleshas (afflictions/obscurations). This is, of course, now blatantly obvious to me. It should have been back then too considering my understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the nature of samsara, yet my own kleshas were getting in the way.
I acted on the message I received in 2007 (i.e. ‘Go to the Gelug Temple’) in response to my prayers to H. H. Penam Rinpoche when I was experiencing a spiritual crisis after learning about the history between the Gelug and Jonang lineages that occurred back in the 17th century. Yet again, through the kindness and wisdom of this great Lama whom I have never met in person, I was skillfully guided on a path that led me towards more fully engaging in Dharma practice.
After visiting Dorje Ling Buddhist Center, attending several Green Tara pujas and receiving teachings from Khenpo Ngawang Dorjee (as described in part 3), I ceased going to the center for a time. There were issues with scheduling due to my job that conflicted with attending classes and/or other events. Yet I tried to process what I had already learned, to continue studying on my own, and to begin to make some effort toward Dharma practice.
It was due to the kindness of H.H. Penam Rinpoche that a dharma-gate was opened to me. As like any gate or door, its usefulness often includes having to walk through it. I read about certain feats that Yogis, Saints, Lamas and other rare beings can perform, and while I held open the possibility of such things, there was always a question in my mind of whether these were merely tales to inspire or if they could literally and actually be true. Now I know.
I ended part 1 of this intro series – after a very brief and incomplete background of some of the places I’ve been in regards to my spiritual path – with a question,
‘Where am I now?’
To better answer this question requires some further details about my past, and specifically, about my connection to the Dharma.
Since this is my first post on a new blog I thought it might be helpful to offer a bit of a background of who I am and how a wild, rebellious and sometimes hard-headed boy like me eventually came to embrace the Dharma in a serious way.