by Angela Clark
Have you ever been to a transmission before? Do you even know what a transmission is? Until this past Saturday my answer to both those questions was “no.”
It was a bit of a last minute decision on my part to go to someone’s living room and sit for a transmission. Now if you DO know what a transmission is, you will chuckle at the next bit because I sat down and pulled out my paper & pen – ready to write down whatever inspired me based on what the teacher was saying (the teacher in this case was Geshe Tenzin Yeshe of the Bon Tibetan Buddhism lineage).
He spoke to us briefly, told us we would get through the first chapter of the Dzogchen Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu and how it was important to hear the words of the text from beginning to end. After that, he began to read… In another language… Faster than one can fall…
Turns our a ‘transmission’ is exactly that, a teacher transmitting ancient text & words to eager ears of students and is one of the ways the teachings are passed on. Think of the energetic quality that chanting OM (AUM) has on you, the vibration of the sounds in the body. It’s vibratory! It took me two hours before I put my notebook away (having written nothing), entranced by words I could not translate nor understand. But, isn’t it interesting that even in moments like that – completely not knowing – you are still in a ‘gaining’ situation.
So moved I was, I cried. Here before a small group of eager students (just everyday people looking for balance in a world continuously spinning) was Geshe Tenzin Yeshe. He became a monk at 18 and has been teaching the sacred texts of this lineage of Tibetan Buddhism ever since, offering guidance and instruction to anyone who asks, and transmissions of texts not often given. How lucky I felt to be there in his presence although I had no idea what he was reading us. After he finished the chapter, he looked at us and said, “So that’s it, the first Chapter. Yes. So meditate. Just meditate.”
Of course Angela – it’s so simple. But simple is not easy. Anyone who as ever taken Basics knows that!
Khenpo La (as his devoted students referred to him) elaborated, using the emotion of anger as an example. He spoke of how when we see anger arise we should look at it and question it; “What is this anger? What does it feel like?” He explained that when we see a negative emotion and start to dissect it (my words) if we break it down, then it will have less power. Many traditions call these ‘negative emotions poisons,’ and so if those emotions are the poisons then meditation is the remedy. And as my teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche always says, if you were ill and someone gave you a remedy to make you feel better – wouldn’t you take it everyday?
As the students thanked Khenpo La for giving this transmission, there were many tears. This was Khenpo La’s last gathering in the US, before going back to Europe and then Tibet. His lineage leaders promoted him to reside over the few monasteries they have in Tibet, in order to share these same teachings with the people of Tibet. Khenpo La knows the scrutiny he will be under and the lack of communication with students with whom he’s developed strong bonds. As students expressed their concerns through their tears, Khenpo La sat there with confidence and assurance that everything will be okay.
Simple is not easy…