The lama is coming..
Our village has come to learn that the lama has accepted our request and will visit the village soon. Despite my previous concerns with the rituals that needed to be done in order to properly ask a lama to visit and teach, I am very intrigued to listen to the lama’s teachings.
I was talking with a classmate of mine on the excitement regarding this news! He told me about his experience when the lama came to visit Dharamsala, the town he came from prior to moving here. The lama gave teachings on the tales of the jataka. Jataka are the stories — or the tales — of the multiple births, and the life stories of the Buddha. The teachings took over two hours to give, at the main Tibetan temple. This took place back in march of this year, and now my classmate is fortunate enough to hear the lama’s teachings once again.
There were already a lot of tasks our village needed to do to properly invite the lama to visit, but now my community must work to assemble the traditional offerings and preparations that come along with the lama visiting. Since I have some resources in scholarship, I’ve decided to contribute some of that in order to make and gather the dharma texts. These dharma texts will be given to the lama when he firsts arrives, and is part of the five offerings: body, speech, mind, quality and activity. Five monks give the lama these offerings, which are supported by a special scarf and a five coloured cord. The colours represent the five Buddha families. These offerings are essential for the lama to continue to teach the dharma without any problems.
Our village is relatively small, that resides about less than 1000 people. Therefore, most people know eachother and all work together for a common goal. Just like we did to prepare for the arrival of the lama. Because it is not a big village, it is very religious… Not very much Western world influenced. My uncles good friend’s daughter is practicing to become a nun. She has a lot of devotion to our tradition, and I find it very bold that she is choosing such a powerful lifestyle. As my uncle and I discussed her decision, he started to tell me about the era when the first women became nuns (bhikkhuni). Apparently, way back then, women really did not have a voice and becoming a nun, and being gifted, like a famous nun Patacara, gave them the right to express themselves and have a sense of authority in their community. Similarly, now a days, nuns and monks do not have much of a distinction between them, when it comes to preaching, teaching, or other activities, like officiating ceremonies. However, the Buddha made rules for the monastic orders in the Vinaya, and nuns have about twice as many rules as do monks. This inferiority to the monks, in regards of their rules, are trying to be changed, but may not be so dreadful, since there are still women who are deciding to become bhikkunis.