You get it just by arriving and standing in these grounds.
That night, Gen Jampa, the most magical monk you've ever met, gave the introduction to the IKBU-NKT US Festival 2014. He spoke of how this place is a home for those walking the path. A place to come in, sit down and connect with enlightened mind. A representation of mandala designs, enlightened eyes suggesting the world beyond samsara. This world lies deep in our own minds, if only we can learn to access it.
I had the great fortune to spend the festival staying at the offsite home of Joann and her husband David, both accomplished artists who live a life of absolute artistry. They have a labriynth in their garden and all around hang bells that David builds, sending sound into the wind. It's a house close to lakes and deep in nature where every morning the sun brought rays of brilliant peach light to illuminate the walls of my room.
For five days, I sank into enlightened teachings. It was all around me in the hundreds of Kadampas who came from all ends of the country to hear some of the most realized teachers discuss this thing called peace and how we can develop it. I met this community of mind-trainers over lunch and dinner, after meditations and walking the grounds. There were the astonishing teachings of Gen-la Dekyong. The festival was structured around the empowerment of Je Tsongkapa, the 14th century Buddhist teacher in Tibet who unified the teachings of Sutra and Tantra and caused an entire generation (and many subsequent generations) of Buddhists to practice the path with immense practicality. It revealed the great genius of my own teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who has taken these ancient teachings with their deep, deep wisdom and presented them again in a modern way that this time has spread all around the world.
My job now is to keep this peace coming, by picking up the design plans and starting to build that temple deep within. By rising each morning and spending the time to harness my mind to the stake of positivity. To use mindfulness to pull me away from stress and worry, to realign with wisdom and love and to learn to stay there, moment by moment. In that space, we find home. Buddha nature. Our extraordinary potential.
Photo credit: Whoever the kind soul is who took photos at the US Festival, I hope you don't mind me pasting your work here! Thank you.