Meeting Sakya Trizin
In August of 2016 I had the opportunity to join Sakya Trizin's teachings at Helsinki, Finland. Sakya Trizin is the head of the Sakya school of Tibetan buddhism which is one of the four main schools of tantric buddhism of Tibet. You can find information about him by googling.
As such a high profile representer of vajrayana buddhism was in town I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to go and see if my analysis of him with the Open Heart Bhumi Model was correct or mistaken. In this episode of Bhumi Study Series, I've mapped him as 9th bhumi (9/13) which makes him a mature bodhisattva. Mapping for the mentioned series has been done solely on the basis of his photography.
Sakya Trizin taught at Helsinki on four separate days. The teachings covered the very basics of mahayana buddhism such as preciousness and transitoriness of human life, need for dharma practice and so on. The lectures were preceded by prayers and sutras read in Tibetan and other languages. The venue was a classy one which they had decorated with the regalia of a traditional Tibetan buddhist temple. ”Tibetans sure can put up a show”, Alan Wallace said.
I seldom join events that are highly religious and glad in particular cultural attire. And it always surprises me. This time as well. The same thing happens to me everytime I go to these grandiose churches in central Europe. ”Wow... What a setting... How did they come up this!? It must have taken them a full day to build the whole thing up. Now, let's see what they teach!”
I joined Sakya Trizin's sessions on two separate days, for 3 hours at a time. On the second occasion I also had the chance to stand just 2-3 meters of him for about 2 minutes when he was on his way to the throne.
The moment he came in, I clearly felt that he still is 9th bhumi, as myself. However, he is a mature 9th bhumi while myself am a newly hatched. This being the case, his presence had no effect of clarification or elevation to my mind which always happens in the company of a person who is spiritual more advanced than you are. That didn't happen, the conclusion being that the OHBM worked once again. I have also tested my bhumi analysis in the physical company of Amma, the Hugging Saint whom I have rated as 13th bhumi, fully enlightened buddha. So far, after publishing the model I have not met other teachers whom I have rated.
I'd like to mention one particular thing about this and other buddhist events, in regards to mahasiddha bhumis.
What happened at this event was that when buddhist sutras and prayers, along with prayers to Buddha Shakyamuni and the Three Jewels (buddha, dharma and sangha) were read, instantly there was a high spiritual charge in the room of the mahasiddha bhumis. It lasted for the time when these prayers were read, both before and after the lengthy lectures given by Sakya Trizin.
I once witnessed the same thing happen at a zen buddhist retreat where a zen-teacher conducted a ceremony of giving the so called lay percepts to a couple of practitioners. The charge was so beautiful, so fresh and full for the duration of the ceremony. Shakyamuni's presence was palpable. After the ceremony I asked the zen-teacher if he was aware of this subtle charge. He honestly answered he was not.
To me personally, from one perspective it was interesting to go and be in the presence of this archbishop of Tibetan buddhism who is largely regarded as a living buddha. We don't get such opportunities often here up north. On the other hand, with all love and respect, it was boring as hell. 2½ hour long lectures on the absolute basics of buddhism where you keep hearing the same exalted things over and over, well, made me sleepy and bored.
I've witnessed exactly the same type of dharma events in Finland several times, taught by several rinpoches, during the last two decades. I can't help thinking how it is possible people do not demand to be taught something more visceral, something more real and less religious. Perhaps it's just me but I have hard time understanding why people are not taught pragmatically. I've never been a fan of ancient religions especially if they are said to get one fully enlightened. Perhaps people who join these events have no need to know. Perhaps they are not confused in existential sense, they way I used to be. If this is the case then the teachings offered might be exactly what they need. And I'm just an angry fool let down by my own frustrations.
Anyway, there is a long way from prayers recited in completely foreign language (Tibetan) to experiential understanding the principles behind it. Therefore I doubt people ”get it”, get awakened or enlightened this way. For sure, there is some benefit and transformation from doing such practices in the way they were taught, which is wonderful, but I often wonder the purpose and effect of the whole thing. I feel these traditional schools of Tibetan buddhism are like ancient dinosaurs brought to modern environment.
Nonetheless, I wish all the best to anyone involved.
- Kim Katami, 22.8.2016
Open Heart, www.openheart.fi