The sound of compassion and wisdom
I was determined to find in person the tingsha cymbals I need for my Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes. Surprisingly I also found The Venerable Bhakha. I saw him since the moment I parked my car. The old man caught my attention. Something very special about him immediately made me smile.
He was accompanied by 6 more people, all were standing in the back of the Tibetan store located in Adams St. in San Diego. I smiled to all and asked if the shop was closed. I understood that this family of tibetans had an appointment with Mr. Love, the owner of the shop. I decided to follow them. One by one, we entered the house from the back, first into the kitchen and finally into the shop itself.
After witnessing everyone's greetings, I repeated the words I heard in Tibetan, like trying to camouflage myself into the little pilgrimage. I was caught, so I introduced my self to the merchant, to whom I previously talked on the phone. He pointed with his hand where the cymbals where displayed. I started walking towards the glass cabinet. A woman, the daughter of the man, I thought, kindly offered to help me with the selection.
There were only two choices of cymbals. I played both and asked her about the ones that were encrypted and sounded better to my taste. The lady read the mantra: "Om Mani Padme Hum". I have been always curious about mantras so I asked the meaning. "This is the mantra of compassion and wisdom," she explained.
The woman found me a little pouch to carry them. I started walking towards Mr. Love who was in his wheelchair talking to the old man. I waited until they had a pause in their conversation to be able to interrupt and pay.
I feel a lot of respect and admiration for elders in general, so I asked the lady who that old man was and how old. She said he was their teacher and he was 80 years old.
"The teacher!" I exclaimed. I looked at him, The Venerable Bhakha, seated on the chair, who said the mantra with his soft voice: "Om Mani Padme Hum". "Repeat, repeat" he said to me. I touched his foot, this gesture indicates respecting the age, experience, achievements and wisdom of the person. We had a short conversation about our countries and he turned to the merchant and asked him a question in Tibetan. After the merchant nodded, the venerable teacher handed me a beautiful bracelet with beads he picked from a few others he was holding in his hand.
This jewel old man is a holder of the Tibetan lineage of Rigdzin Pema Lingpa, one of the Five Great Kingly Tertons (Treasure Revealers) of the Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma tradition and he is the founder of Vairotsana.org.
Om. (Aum) The spiritual power and the presence of the absolute, jewel in the lotus, the spirit of enlightenment. The bodhicitta, the enlightened being who has vowed to remain in the world until all beings are enlightened, liberated from the Six Realms or six words of: the devas, the asuras, the hungry ghosts, the hell realm, the animal, and the human. Humans are believed to be the only ones that can get liberated from samsara, the wheel of birth and death.
Before I left the shop I asked permission to hug The Master. He granted it.
I hugged him as a gesture of appreciation and gratitude for his presence. I imagined he has been an inspiration for many students who follow the Buddhist teachings.
And here I am, with my cymbals, my little pouch, a bracelet and a hug from the Great Master. May the sound of my cymbals bring compassion and wisdom to me, to my family, to this community and to the whole planet.
"Om Mani Padme Hum".
I believe in the power of words. Let our actions speak for us.