After seeing and conversing with Abraham, now what?
I drove to the Garchen Buddhist Institute in Chino Valley, AZ! I had booked a four-day stay there a few weeks back and thought it would be a great way to continue my spiritual adventure. It would also be a great way to look inside. I had been skipping my daily meditation and so it was a time to catch up on that and regroup.
Upon arrival, I went straight to the office to check-in. It turned out that very few people are here this week since, in a few days, a big teaching will take place and so the crowds will be coming in later. It was a surprise when the resident Ani told me Garchen Rinpoche himself was here. She also told me I could join him and the Lamas for the Smoke Ceremony the next day. I was elated. I had no idea I was going to see Garchen Rinpoche this time around. In the book “Inhale, Exhale, Repeat”, I recount my experience taking Refuge with Rinpoche here at the Institute in 2014.
I was apparently very tired. I had started my day very early and drove for hours first from Palm Desert to Phoenix and then here. I literally crashed in bed early that evening. I woke up around 7:30 am just in time to get myself ready for the Smoke Ceremony. I was excited. I walked over to the Lama House and walked in. Only 5 people were there. After introducing myself, I sat down. In a few minutes, Garchen Rinpoche came in. I stood up and eventually after saying hi to everyone else (and touching their heads), he came towards me and graciously touched my head with his head.
We all then proceeded to sit down around the dining table and the ceremony started. It was beautiful. I love hearing the Tibetan language and so the prayers reverberated inside me. It lasted about a half-hour. At the end, Garchen Rinpoche gave a few of us a braided bracelet and we left. I was exhilarated and blessed to be able to talk to Abraham on one day and then be in the presence of Garchen Rinpoche the next day.
The blessings continued though since, at 2 pm, Rinpoche was leading the White Tara Ceremony at the temple. It went on for two hours but towards the end, my mind felt even clearer. I walked outside and was blasted by strong winds and the shining sun. I was taking my time around the temple looking at the view but eventually decided to head towards my dorm. It was then that I bumped into Garchen Rinpoche again and was able to walk with him for a few minutes before turning into my dorm. I guess I will see him again tomorrow morning for yet another Smoke Ceremony. I am looking forward to participating in it once more.
May all being be happy and they may be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
- To learn more about Garchen Rinpoche himself, please visit his wikipedia page
- Click: The Garchen Buddhist Institute, to learn more about the institute itself, schedule of events, how to get here, and how to reserve your staying.
- There are lots of amazing videos of Rinpoche on YouTube. Here is an example:
Or, you can check out the amazing documentary “The Yogis of Tibet” (the reason I first found out about Rinpoche and the Institute here in Arizona):