This is a snapshot of my schedule for the month of September; it has been quite busy. As you can see, every day I have various obligations. For the past few months, I attempted to go on a silent retreat. When the Buddha went to Bodhigaya for 6 years, he meditated there not for himself but for the welfare sentient beings. Following this example, the purpose of retreat is truly for the benefit of others, this is why it is so important to regularly go on retreat. This idea is sometimes difficult for people to understand because it seems that the meditator goes on retreat for solely his or her own benefit, but this is not completely true.
We posted signs outside the door of the Manjushri Dharma Center and informed the community via the weekly newsletter that I was on retreat. People seemed to disregard this, and many still reached out by telephone, calling and texting, or came to the Dharma Center in person to see me. I understand this; in these trying times, people need guidance, and they seek refuge and support. They don’t know what to do and that is why they come.
When we say we are busy, the important thing is what you are busy with and why. One should be engaged in meaningful pursuits. I feel that being busy helping other sentient beings is certainly meaningful and a good type of busy.
As you can see in my calendar, each day is marked with different commitments, such as calling or meeting with students, holding teachings, etc. It may not be clear to you because it is written in Tibetan. When I checked over my calendar and reflected at the end of the month, I took a very close look, and found that by seeking the betterment of the welfare of other sentient beings, I made good use of my time and did not waste time on meaningless pursuits. I told myself this is a very good use of my time!
This pandemic has made me quite busy. I am so happy to take on these responsibilities because, especially now, people need it. Whenever people request me, I give advice, pray for others, send my energy to people, whatever I can do. When people get sick or die, I often receive phone calls and text messages.
Many people who have met me know that I hold Amitabha Puja; Buddha Amitabha is regarded as very helpful for the next life, so students request transference of consciousness, or phowa, and prayers for rebirth in the Amitabha Pureland, Sukhavati or Dewachen. Thus, I endeavor to meet these requests in whatever capacity that I can. For this I have dedicated much time. The time dedicated to helping people brings me great happiness and I consider it a great opportunity to help those in need as much as I can. Even if I am not a Bodhisattva, I follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama; He follows the path of the Bodhisattva, and for this I carry on this work.
Written by Khenpo Karten Rinpoche posted to the MDC Facebook on Oct. 1, 2020.