Southern Dharma Celebration

Adventures of a Meditator, Episodes #7 and #8

Susan Hills Nelson lives in Columbia, SC, and works as an attorney for Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough. She has also been attending Ganden Kadampa Buddhist Center for about four years. In this week’s episode, she discusses her experience at the Southern Dharma Celebration in Atlanta, Georgia.

Southern Dharma Celebration

Do you see me? Hint: I’m wearing a pink jacket and a green scarf.

March 31, 2014 8 weeks of daily meditation, minus 2 days. This weekend I went to the Southern Dharma Celebration in Atlanta, Georgia.  I was so happy to see that many of my Ganden Center sangha peeps made it to Georgia for the event. The Southern Dharma Celebration is like a family reunion, but without the family drama.  NKT practitioners from around the southeast come together and we party Buddhist style, which is to say lots of meditations and teachings and prayers and food.  We see old friends and make new ones and learn lots of Dharma in the process.  And pretty much everyone is kind and patient and happy to be there, even when waiting in line for the bathroom.

It is very much like dropping into a pure land for a weekend vacation. This weekend, those of us present for the Southern Dharma Celebration received a Green Tara empowerment from Gen Jampa.  Just being able to write those words makes me feel pretty darn privileged.

“What’s an Empowerment, Susan?”Southern Dharma Celebration

Well, since you asked… An empowerment is a special blessing from a particular Buddha.  Green Tara is a female Buddha, an awesome female Buddha.  She is called “the Rescuer,” and she is swift like the wind.  She is beautiful inside and out, and she is also extremely powerful.  She is the ultimate female super hero with the best super power ever, the power to bless people’s minds and make them happy all the time.  Basically, she is all that I ever want to become, and then some. Gen Jampa gave us extremely practical instructions about how to rely on Green Tara in our daily lives, and how to transform our mundane daily experiences into opportunities for spiritual growth.

One of my favorite practice pointers from the weekend was “we cannot transform what we cannot accept.”  Ha!  Noted. I came away from the weekend thinking, I must become a sincere — but not serious — Dharma practitioner.  Not just a morning meditator or a nighttime meditator, but an all-day long meditator.  I must integrate the thoughts I have on my meditation cushion into my daily life.  I must become more patient, more giving, apply more effort, practice more concentration, and request more wisdom.  And I must let myself have fun in the process.  Otherwise, gaining spiritual realizations will feel like the painful path of self-flagellation as opposed to the Joyful Path of Good Fortune.   And that is definitely not going to inspire me to come to the Center as often as I can.  😉 SHN

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