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.
After experiencing the vision of H. H. Penam Rinpoche (as described in part 2), I began to study Vajrayana as much as I could. I wanted to attain – at minimum – a broad understanding of the history, philosophy and practices of this unique spiritual path. I felt that I received the vision not because I am someone special or advanced, but rather because it took something that spectacular to rouse my curiosity towards the Dharma. In any case, that is the effect it had on me.
After about 3 years of personal study, I decided to visit Dorje Ling. I checked their online calendar of events and saw that they offer a Green Tara puja every Sunday morning open to the public. So in May of 2005 I showed up at the doorstep of Dorje Ling for the first time. The monks were extremely friendly. They greeted me and showed me the beautiful temple. I was also introduced to Khenpo Ngawang Dorjee who at that time was the resident Khenpo for the center. The Green Tara puja was wonderful and inspired me to start chanting the mantra of this particular Buddha as part of my daily practice.
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA
That same year I had the good fortune of receiving teachings from Khenpo Ngawang Dorjee. The first set of teachings was on bodhicitta. The second set of teachings was on rangtong and zhentong (two forms of emptiness). I was also present for the celebration of Saga Dawa in which Khenpo Ngawang and the other monks chanted the ‘King of Prayers‘ (The Aspiration of Samantabhadra). Khenpo Ngawang also offered teachings on this prayer as well as on the significance of Saga Dawa.
I am ever grateful to Khenpo Ngawang Dorjee, my first Dharma teacher, whose Root Lama, I learned, is H. H. Penam Rinpoche.
Continued in part 4…