Transcript/History Hi. My name is Christopher and I am a father. I have two boys. I have Ronan and Teague. I'm married, I have a regular job. I am a currently I am a corporate instructional designer and I do that 40 to 50 hours a week. And then on my free time, I'm a lay minister with the Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship. I'm the founding sensei there, and I am from a kind of a newer tradition called the Bright Dawn Way [...]
Hi. My name is Cynthia McCormick. I'm 69. I'm divorced. I was married for 27 years and I have three children and three grandchildren. What was coming to my mind as we sat down right here, as I was thinking of the day when I was sitting in my house, I was married and I was sitting in in the little corner where that I had set up for me, where I had my spiritual books piled up, you know, and my my [...]
I would go to bookstores and actually the first book a guy recommended to me was, um, Sex, Spirituality and Ecology by Ken Wilber. And it's a thick, rough going read, right? But I dove into it and it just kind of really opened me up and I thought, okay, I'm going to go further. And I started reading other stuff of his and of course he talks about Buddhism and the relative and the absolute and, you know, these kind of things in there. And one thing led to another. I picked up a book by showing him Trungpa, uh, spiritual materialism, I think it was. And I read two or three of his others, uh, and then I found a book by Sylvia and became the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and which is written in even more plain English than Trump was even.
And it was a very difficult year for me because I came upon this what I now know it as existential kind of this this urgency or angst, not knowing where I was headed, what I was going to do, having an expensive degree, which I was not going to use and I knew I wasn’t my parents were, to put it mildly, less than than happy about any of that. And what is this, this Eastern stuff you’re starting to talk about some. So I was really pretty lost and it was a difficult time for me. And I had an epiphany that big because of my propensities with the cars and women and drugs and whatever else it was that I wouldn’t survive, that I would I would be driving a very nice car, but I would I will wrap myself around a pole or whatever. And I and I just couldn’t do it. There was nothing in me that allowed me to move forward in that direction. So a friend of mine, an ex-girlfriend, invited me and some others to go out to Naropa Institute for Ram Dass. And I had looked at the book in my in my dormitory be here now and you know the book the famous book from Ram Dass and I had didn’t have a clue what would be here now men but there was a certain internal shift that said I have to I have to learn what this this means. And I went went out to Naropa Institute in 1974.
And I was known for talking people down from bad trips and things of that nature. And he said, Oh, I don’t do that anymore. I just do Zen. Okay, well, that’s interesting. What’s that all about? And so I said, Well, I’m going this weekend. Why don’t you come with me? So that weekend I went with him to the temple on Halsted Street near Fullerton, on the North side of Chicago. I met Matsuoka Roshi, who became my teacher, so I sort of backed into that. Like everything else, I think I’d read maybe a book on Zen or to not not much.
But I went to this bookstore, I got there and I was soaking wet with sweat, and I went to the bathroom and I’m standing in the stall and I’m take off my clothes and I’m flapping my clothes trying to dry them off, you know, and and I was like, God, this is just not a way to live, you know? And and the reason I was going to this, bookstores, I love books, but also they had a Starbucks and I was going to get my Frappuccino and my chocolate chip cookie, you know, and as I came out of the bathroom and headed for that Starbucks there, as I passed by an end cap of books, and there was this white cover book with a slice of an orange on it, and it just said, savor mindful eating, mindful living. And I don’t know why that caught my attention. I don’t know why I even bothered picking it up. And, you know, I don’t know. But I picked up that book and I saw it was by this Buddhist monk and a Harvard nutritionist.
Biography My experience with Tibetan Buddhism as both a student and teacher has been truly life changing. I have been drawn to the Himalayan region of the world since I was a small child, and realizing that the path I was on wasn't working , more than 20 odd years ago, I started to study the Buddhadharma in earnest. Having been both a student and teacher of the Dharma has led to many experiences on both a spiritual and personal level that I [...]
My one year old son came running up to me, Daddy, Daddy! He put his arms around my leg and he hugged my leg and this probably isn’t what happened, but this is what I remember. I kind of shook him off because I was busy. I’m important. I got stuff to do right, plugged it out, went to the office, and then I went off to Brazil and sometime later this came back to me like a ton of bricks. Oh, my goodness. What happened there? And I realized, you know, with a little reflection that I was missing what really mattered in life. So actually, I started listening to a series of lectures on classical music, and Bach dedicated every manuscript he wrote, including the practice pieces for his kids to Jesus Christ, studied, listened to medieval polyphonic masses, and somehow or other they would just hit me.
And when I arrived in India in 1971, I went up to the Himalayas and did a trek from outside of Katmandu to the base camp of Mount Everest. And during that trek, I there were no hotel walls or roads, just paths and the Tibetan villages. And so one could either stay in the home of a Tibetan family and you could sleep on the floor and share their food, or you could stay in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. And so that's where I first got introduced to Buddhism was on that trek to the base camp of Mount Everest.
And so it’s fit well with my traditional, the way I had been before I found Buddhism, which was as an agnostic or atheist. So this there wasn’t any conflict between those different philosophies of life. The other part of Buddhism that I was extremely attracted to is that it was besides the fact that it gave you a pathway, a curriculum, it was very laid out to achieve this wisdom and this peace that comes from that.
Alejandro is a Senior Teacher of The 3 Doors, an international organization founded by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche with the goal of transforming lives through meditation, and since 1995, he has been teaching meditation classes and Tibetan Yoga (Tsa Lung & Trul Khor) workshops nationally and internationally under the auspices of Ligmincha International.