Every full-moon retreat, Bodhinatha encourages the monks with a taste for wandering to go on an outing. Kauai is such a beautiful island and Gurudeva taught us to enjoy life and nature.
This retreat our troupe went to Anini beach, a paradisiac haven with a mirror-like ocean area protected by corals, with azure water and golden brown sand. On the way, they stopped to visit a new Buddhist shrine on the island. It is a small but beautiful spot with a tangible devonic presence. Tibetan Buddhism is so close to Hinduism.
A beautiful murti of Tara, Buddhist Goddess of compassion, was at the center of the shrine.
Our monks rolled the prayer wheels, offering Sanskrit mantras to be carried by the wind. Potriyan Sivanathan had a great time.
In a nearby house, someone heard us. A Lama appeared at the door to greet the monks. It was Venerable Lama Karma Rinchen, one of the Lamas who fled Tibet in the 1950s. He is the senior-most Tibetan Buddhist monk in Hawaii.
Lama Karma Rinchen was born in 1931 in Eastern Tibet. At the age of eleven he entered Palpung monastery to study basic meditation, Buddhist doctrine and astrology. At sixteen he entered the three year, three month retreat, practicing the Six Yogas of Naropa. At nineteen, he moved to Tsurphu monastery. At Tsurphu, Lama Rinchen pursued another year of intensive meditation and study, which was then followed by a period of learning in logic and debate at the Gelugpa monastery of Drepung.
In 1959 he fled Tibet, traveling to Sonada monastery in Darjeeling, India where he studied with Kalu Rinpoche. In 1961-64 Lama went to Dharamsala where he was one of two representatives for Eastern Tibet in the government-in-exile of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. He then returned to Sonada to help with the contstruction of the stupa and monastery there.
When this project was finished, Kalu Rinpoche assigned Lama Rinchen to become the Resident Lama of the Hawai`i Dharma Centers. Lama Rinchen arrived in HawaiÔi in 1977.
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Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.