This is the second entry from my fieldwork diary. The original date is 05.03.2010.
Verse 18 from the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva:
"Though you lack what you need and are constantly disparaged,
Afflicted by dangerous sickness and spirits,
Without discouragement take on the misdeeds
And the pain of all living beings -
This is the practice of a Bodhisattva."
I wrote this verse down into my fieldwork diary the minute I sat down onto a spot on the floor and received the precepts that came along with a small yellow book. According to our lama, this little yellow book containing the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva is an excellent guide for psychological self-help and mental self-improvement. I have yet to read it all and fully comprehend it. But as much as I've read so far, it seems to hold a lot of wisdom and practical advice.
Drupon Sangyas usually makes a speech before we begin our practice. And I feel like I should preserve his teachings and knowledge in my fieldwork diary.
So I wrote down the following:
"Karma means cause and effect. Disbelief in this law will create suffering (when you're ignorant about the impact of the consequences your actions can have). But if you believe in karma and understand the law of cause and effect, it will be easier for you to avoid bad things.
If you do something with good intentions, you will have positive results. When you are kind towards other people, you will receive kindness in return. And likewise, if you are bad towards other people, the negativity will also come back to you.
Compassion is when you help someone in distress. Bad karma is created when you become envious of another's fortune. Patience leads to enlightenment.
You create negative energy by letting anger consume you and make you argue. It's important to stay balanced.
Although the Tibetan people are poor in the material and the financial sense, spiritually they are the richest on Earth.
Everyone has Buddha-nature and the ability to be compassionate. Compassion is the highest virtue.
We need compassion and we need to practice more loving kindness when we suffer mentally. We shouldn't choose and pick people when we give love. And neither should we choose between nations and races. All people need love. Love should be spread universally. One must have love for everybody, not just for your mother, father, sibling, friend or partner, and we should focus on their good traits instead of bad.
Your love should be like the sun - the symbol of universal love in your heart, warm and loving, providing light for everybody on this planet."
*Important side note: These diary entries do not reflect every word the teacher said, and there may be some mistakes or misunderstandings, for which I am sorry and accept responsibility. In a few instances, I have interjected my own interpretation or explanation.
With that, he finished his speech, and together with the lama everybody did the Compassion & Purification Practice in the Tibetan language. Each verse was followed up with a translation in Estonian, loudly spoken altogether.
OM MANI PADME HUM - the mantra of Avalokiteshvara/Chenrezig.
I grabbed my fieldwork diary and studied the items on the altar, ready to describe the environment. Drupon Sangyas, as helpful as ever, told me that there are always 5 statues on the altar: Avalokiteshvara, Vadjrasattva, the Medicine Buddha, Green Tara and Buddha Shakyamuni. There was also one Mahakala statue in the room and thangkas of Avalokiteshvara, Padmasambhava, Green Tara, White Tara and Jigten Sumgön hanging on the wall.
The water offerings in vases, the flowers, the incense and candles were for the different buddhas. This tradition has survived for approxmiately 2000-3000 years.
*At that time, I didn't understand a lot of it. I had trouble writing all of this down because I wasn't sure how you spell these names and words, so I just had to go back and edit. I have a better understanding of Tibetan Buddhist symbolism now.