A group of us have recently just completed a mini retreat prescribed by our dear Guru, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche to clear inner and outer obstacles. Although it was a very short and small retreat, it was still a great blessing to be able to sit amongst sincere dharma brothers and sisters as we focus our minds and invoked upon the fierce compassionate lion face dakini – Singdongma.
I actually did not know much about Singdongma except for the fact that her practice is extremely efficacious for averting spirit harm or black magic, and that Rinpoche used to prescribe Her practice or puja to people with such problems. It was not until Rinpoche explained to us her manifestation which arises from all the negative karma that we’ve created for ourselves and for others. Hence Her fierce roaring lion face, showing vajra anger towards these negative karma of ours.
Rinpoche explained to us how we should visualise Her in great detail; She is as gigantic as a mountain… dancing and trampling on all our negative karma. Her hair has sparks like there’s electric current passing through every strand, it sizzles. Her pores exude wisdom flames and burns away our negative karma and obstacles. The knife she holds is use to cut away our ego, anger and attachments that we created, causing so much suffering for ourselves. We can then visualise billions of tiny Singdongmas coming out from her body, from her every pore, blessing us and everyone. Her mantra is like thunder roaring in all ten directions dispelling all obstacles. With Rinpoche’s clear and powerful explanation, Singdongma came to life. This was just a small part of the teaching Rinpoche gave us.
Rinpoche taught us how we should behave, sit, meditate, how we should focus and cut the noise out of heads. There are two main things we, at our level, should focus on;
1) block out the noise and distractions that arises
2) focus on the mantra we are chanting
and to go another step further we could do the visualisations of Singdongma.
The retreat has been a great blessed experience, and indeed I am, we are so very VERY very lucky to have H.E. Tsem Rinpoche as our Guru. Anyone in their right frame of mind would not discard such a rare precious, sacred, treasure of having a Guru like Rinpoche.
Rinpoche’s compassion is really beyond ordinary… not only did Rinpoche build Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) so that we can “comfortably” do whatever little Dharma we can to collect some merits. But Rinpoche also advices us on a personal and spiritual level, helping us clear and purify our negative karma. Whether it is an instruction to clean, sweep, plant, cook, write, or go into retreats, in actuality everything is a practice or a retreat if we treat it like one as Rinpoche has taught us, as it’s all about our “perception” in the end.
Rinpoche does not stop there, for those who are fortunate enough to be living closely with the Guru, who trusts, surrenders and follows the Guru’s instructions; hence the Guru is able to bestow more wisdom to the student(s). So on top of building a very peaceful, beautiful, comfortable spiritual environment, KFR for us to engage in retreats, Rinpoce gives us direct teachings to help us during our retreat. Any teaching from Rinpoche is so extremely precious these days as Rinpoche does not give teachings like before. So it is literally Dharma served on a silver platter for us… what more could any sane person ask for? What more could any student expect… except to feel extremely grateful, extremely fortunate to be where we are at this moment. I am definitely grateful to allowed to participate in this retreat. All I know it could not be ‘random’ and should be taken for granted.
When you are near the lama, the lama can give instructions. When you carry it out day by day happily, you can see the changes in your mind. Important is not to neglect any instructions and update politely. Part of awareness training. Do not see any instructions as too low, too simple, too hard or cannot-JUST DO IT… Kyabje Pabongka stayed near His Lama in retreat and received instructions nearly daily. Due to this close proximity to the Lama and instructions, Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche was able to develop and gain high realizations and then became the great lama and lineage holder he became… His Lama was ‘low ranking’ and simple yet conferred blessings onto Kyabje Pabongka nevertheless because Kyabje Pabongka was very devoted… ~ Tsem Rinpoche
After our retreat ended, Rinpoche instructed us to clean Lord Genzey’s chapel. We are to visualise that the chapel is our mind and we are cleaning all the dirt which represents our mental obscurations that blocks us while chanting Vajrasattva or 35 Confessional Buddhas’ mantra.
Kechara Forest Retreat was envisioned and built by Rinpoche for those who are spiritually inclined to study the dharma, practice, go into retreats, gain realisations, teach dharma, and spread the dharma to the world… so if I can contribute to even one drop of this massive merit ocean, I would indeed considered my precious human life worth having and living. Thank you Rinpoche for your instructions, advices and most importantly the precious teachings during this retreat. No way would I be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for Rinpoche.
As Rinpoche mentioned; “we should feel sad after retreat, because we got to get back to samsara”. I look forward to many more retreats to come in Kechara Forest Retreat, what better way to lead a life than with one that connects us to our divine nature.
Close proximity to the lama with good motivation and good attitude can propel a sincere student to great spiritual attainments. Even if we are not physically close but applying the dharma of the lama wholeheartedly will bring transformations… ~ Tsem Rinpoche