I called my good friend John at 5:30 yesterday to see if he wanted to join me on an impromptu dharma adventure. There was a teaching at 6:30 that evening in San Rafael, just a few minutes away from our respective homes. John, demonstrating that he is an even lazier Buddhist than myself, said he hadn’t left the house all day, hadn’t shaved or showered and had no plans to do so despite my entreaties. We ended up chatting for another half an hour or so, until it was almost too late for me to get to the teaching on time.
The rain was blowing sideways on the San Rafael bridge and increasing in strength by the minute. I knew vaguely where I was going, which entailed going right through the stop light laden downtown San Rafael. I missed every light. Every single one. By the time I got in the general vicinity of the dharma center, it was raining so hard I couldn’t see the addresses. I pulled into three different driveways before I finally found the correct one.
I dashed through the rain to the storefront that housed the Sukhasiddha Foundation. The class had already begun but despite the drama in getting there I was only a few minutes late. The walls of the gompa were covered with many beautiful tangkas, and the shrine was covered with the familiar offering bowls and tormas. There were many pictures of Tibetan monks on the wall. The room looked a bit empty with only 10 students there.
The teacher, Lama Dondrop Drolma, a young ordained woman was at the front of the room. She had a gentle manner, and unlike some teachers I have seen, she seemed very humble, and perhaps even a bit shy. I wouldn’t say she was charismatic, but she seemed trust worthy.
The guided meditation was really lovely, and went beyond mere breathing or mindfulness, to a contemplation of the nature of the mind. The teaching was an introduction to bodhicitta, material I am very familiar with. Unlike the NKT where the Tibetan aspect of the lineage is played down, this teacher included Tibetan and Saskrit origins of common terms. Her teaching was very clear and let the material itself inspire us rather than a lot of stories and analogies.
For me, the material was a little elementary. I want to feel challenged, to be shown a different facet of the dharma jewel. I’ll check out another class or two, and maybe attend a puja. There may be a connection there. We’ll see. The quest continues.