by Lisa Tully
Sitting in the temple the day before the teachings begin. I have come to claim a spot to sit for the duration of the three days. I have come to take pictures since I won’t be able to later.
I have come to find where the bathrooms are!
What I unexpectedly find is a sense of contentment and calm just being there.
It’s the energy coming from the sacred space itself. I find I’m in a meditative state just sitting on the bench that I’ve found. It’s off to the right of the main teaching hall.
I’ve claimed a piece of it with my name on a scrap piece of paper and some tape offered to me by a kind stranger.
It feels good here.
There are a lot of logistical things that need to happen to attend a teaching (getting yourself to Dharamsala, registering at the security office, reading up on the etiquette, learning what can and can’t go through security), but none of that matters once you arrive.
Because “arrive” is exactly what you do.
You arrive to the present moment. You arrive to an open heart and mind. You arrive to a state of centeredness that you seem to share with the thousands of other people in the room.
It just happens. The first morning I arrive with my radio for the translation and my bowl and mug for the butter tea and lunch of rice and dal. I’m flooded with a sense of happiness.
There is no where I’d rather be.
I arrive early and the people watching is deeply moving. Many do their prostrations and recite the common mantra of “Om Mani Padme Hum” while doing kora around the inner temple.
There is a shift in the crowd as His Holiness begins to make his way through the hall and into the main temple.
Everyone stands, everyone is silent, and everyone gets happier.
He comes around the corner into view. My first glimpse of him he is reaching out to take someone’s hand in greeting.
Tears instantly well up in my eyes. I have no thoughts.
I feel only gratitude and happiness. I remember what a friend once told me: just to see him is to be blessed. I make eye contact with the monk standing beside me. He sees my tears and simply nods as if to say, “Yes, I know.”
I take notes during the teaching. Even though the text is a basic one, some parts feel like advanced Buddhist philosophy to me.
But there is so much patience in his teaching. So much humility as well. At one point he talks about how previous Dalai Lama’s were known to have prophetic visions but that he himself had never had any.
He then jokes:
“I like to say that maybe I don’t have visions like the others, but I’m the most famous Dalai Lama!”
And as he laughs his joy spreads through the crowd like a ripple in a pond for his laughter is so infectious.
Each day as the teaching ends I sit and talk with one of the monks sitting near me. At first I try to process with him, clarify points from the teaching.
He stops me saying:
“Let what comes, come. Don’t force it. You will take away what you were meant to take away.”
After that reminder, we just sit on our bench each day, silently watching everyone file downstairs for lunch. No words are needed beyond “Good-bye” and “See you in the morning.”
Our joint meditation is the perfect end to a profound experience.
Would like to experience this magic yourself? Join us on our next spiritual trip to Dharamsala, India. We will make sure you have a wonderful, safe and profound time in India with the Dalai Lama and his community. Click here for information.
by Lisa Tully
A blindfolded monk jumps from the roof of one building to another. A woman chants for an hour before sucking a man’s kidney stone from his body using only her breath and a hollow tube.
Diseases are cured, lame animals are mended and futures are predicted all by human mediums channeling divine spirits.
Is this possible? Is it real? How are these miracles performed? These are all questions you will grapple with when you visit Ladakh on our Mystics of Ladakh Tour.
What are Oracles?
Since ancient times, in both eastern and western traditions, Oracles have been consulted for advice and problem solving; both for day-to-day issues as well as future prophesies. On a basic level, these are people able to give wise counsel to the community and provide sound judgment in difficult times.
In Tibetan culture there is another layer to these wise and revered people. These Kuten, which literally translates as “the physical basis” and means that they are the physical vessel, are endowed with mystical qualities.
They use these qualities to channel the Oracle, or divine spirit, through trance. The Kuten serve as a bridge between our world and the spiritual world. For centuries this was the primary way that people communicated with their God and deities.
For example when the Dalai Lama was fleeing the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 he consulted his Oracle for the time of departure and the route to take. And he managed to escape safely to India. Still to this day the Tibetan government in exile have a state Oracle that they regularly consult.
This practice of consulting Oracles may feel strange as you encounter it for the first time. This ancient art has been largely lost to all but a few cultures. During the Matho Nagrang festival, Oracles come before the community in a trance state.
What happens at the winter festival of the Oracles?
As the festival begins, the monks have shed their yellow and maroon robes for vibrant colorful costumes made of silk that flow as they dance. The masks they wear during the dance represent the gods and goddess that the people of community worship and pray to.
For the devotee, it is a holy sight to behold the patron saints as they twirl and chant. After two days of this preparation, the Oracles are brought among the people. They enter already in a trance state and are blindfolded as well.
They have spent one month in seclusion preparing for this time and purifying themselves. They perform unbelievable feats of acrobatics and impossible feats to demonstrate how strongly the divine spirit is with them. The spirit protects the vessel from harm as these miracles are performed.
Then it is time for the community to come forward and make their requests of the Oracles. Some will ask for blessings, others for cures for diseases.
Many will ask about their futures and life has in store for them. Instantaneous healings are performed and rituals are conducted to help those with obstacles to remove.
What will it be like for you to experience this first hand?
The mystery and sense of awe one has at being in proximity to these other worldly spirits is powerful and if open to the magic, can change your perceptions miracles and communication with The Divine. Prepare to open your eyes wide and your mind even farther as you experience this ancient tradition.
For you will be challenged by what you see; your old patterns and beliefs will spend a great deal of time looking for “the trick” and attempting to rationalize how what you’ve just seen isn’t mystical but has a very rational explanation.
Push yourself to look beyond your conditioning and experience what the devotee experiences; a brief moment to connect with the spiritual and receive healing from a divine being. And know in your heart of hearts that it is no accident that you have found yourself submersed in this ancient world.
For some reason the spirits wanted you to travel to the ancient land of Ladakh and experience these wonders – and only you can discover that reason through being open in the moment and taking time for honest reflection in the weeks and months that follow.
For our tours are not just a temporary break from the norm, they are an opening into your future, which we believe deserves to be the best it can be. Taking time to do sacred journeys always brings rewards and having the courage to jump into them is your first step.
Breathe deep into your heart and ask is this my time? And if that feeling of bliss arises then know the world of spirit is saying yes…
To learn more about our upcoming Mystics of Ladakh tour click here.
Curious to explore it a bit more? To get a real feel for the Oracle magic watch this enchanting video of the Matho Nagrang festival that awaits you should you decide to join our sacred quest into this forgotten world
The woman who leads our Dalai Lama India Meditation tours, Lisa Tully, told me that she must be crazy. In about a month from now, she is going to jump out of an airplane. She has a good reason to do this — to help her friends at a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Delhi, India.
The temple serves hundreds of monks who stay there when they are on their way to Dharamsala, to attend teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But the temple is in a sad state of disrepair, so Lisa has established a campaign to help fix it up.
In order to raise donations, Lisa has made arrangements to go skydiving for charity. Even though she is so afraid of heights that she does not like to look out windows of tall buildings, she is determined to help repair Tara Temple.
The repair work will be managed by the temple’s monks, who will hire local people to do the work. Any funds which may be left over will be donated to lhasocialwork.org, a charity that also works to help Tibetan refugees living in Dharamsala.
Lisa has made a short video that shows the conditions at the Tara Temple now, and illustrate why it needs repairs. You can view it at: http://youtu.be/EU3MHfjrwqo
To get more information about Lisa’s campaign and to make a donation, please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/freetibet
And finally, to see the itinerary of the Dalai Lama Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Tour that Lisa leads along with two monks, please click here.read more
The team that hosts our Dalai Lama tours in India’s Himalayan foothills has a new member. Originally these tours were led by just Lisa Tully and Lama Buga. Lisa – after quitting her job in the corporate world – founded these tours and her reasons were two fold. The first being that after spending time in Dharamsala, India where she witnessed first hand the plight of the Tibetan refugee community based there, a desire to help them grew within her fast and strong. Secondly, the impact this sacred place and heartfelt people had on her personally was so magical that she wanted to share the experience with as many people as possible from what Lisa calls “the spiritually starved West.”
Lama Buga has been a Tibetan monk since he was six years old. Having lived in both Delhi and Dharamsala for many years, and being a dear friend of Lisa’s, he was the natural choice to help her host her Tibetan Buddhist meditation tours. His insider knowledge and local contacts both within and outside the local monastery ensure that the people who come on these tours get into the local ancient culture immediately.
Over time Lisa began to study all the monks she knew to see if any of them had something unique to bring to the tour offering, and that was when she decided to approach Lama Kalden for his kind assistance. Not only does Lama Kalden have a very good command of the English language, he also has a sense of humour to beat the band. As a result he has proven to be an entertaining host who can communicate about the local customs and ways that has participants laughing just like the Buddha himself. Kalden also has been a monk for many years and comes all the way up from his monastery in South India to help ensure that participants have a memorable experience in India.
Anyone who is seeking a truly authentic Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat will find they are in good hands with Lisa and her two lamas.
Please click for the Tibetan Path in India Tour and Retreat web page.read more
Our latest tour offering includes a trip to Dharamsala India to attend teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is something that is quite difficult for most westerners to arrange, but the host of this tour, Lisa Tully, has inside help. Her friend, Buga, is a Tibetan Buddhist monk who lives in McLeod Ganj, where HHDL also resides.
Lama Buga Tire also spent two years at the Buddhist meditation center that is the location for the second part of this unique tour, a 10-day silent retreat at the Tushita Meditation Centre in McLeod Ganj.
Lisa is originally from Ireland, but she currently lives in London, England. A yoga and meditation enthusiast, Lisa describes the motivation for her programs as “helping her Western brothers and sisters become free from spiritual poverty” by immersing them in the Tibetan Buddhist lifestyle”
The dates for this program are October 27 through November 7, 2011. To see the full itinerary please visit: Dalai Lama India Meditation Tour on the Body Mind Spirit Journeys main website.read more