Santa Monica Dharma

10 Oct


Just a couple days ago, I was with Rinpoche, Pastor Moh Mei, Pastor Jean Ai, Pastor Niral, William and Jean Mei and we were cruising towards West Hollywood. It was late and so the only thing that was still opened was this rainbow bookstore on Santa Monica. After browsing, shopping and taking touristy pictures, we gathered at this bus stop (pictured below) to talk to Rinpoche.

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Here was where Rinpoche gave a little Dharma sharing right at this bus stop in the deepest heart of Samsara – West Hollywood. On this street filled with tourists, prostitutes, drag queens, hustlers, drunkards and club-goers was where Rinpoche told us to pray. He told us to pray that we go on ‘pilgrimage’ to such places as these, where there is no sign of spirituality and that we generate a powerful Bodhichitta motivation in such places. He told us that we should aspire to develop such a ‘high’ motivation in the deepest end of Samsara and not to go on pilgrimage only to powerful holy places to do this.

Then, Rinpoche said we should also aspire to be reborn in the deepest parts of Samsara and not be affected by it like an unstained lotus. We should generate the aspiration to be reborn in such places where subtle and perverse suffering is prevalent in order to benefit to many beings that are trapped there. He adds later that we should never be afraid to make such an aspiration because that is part of our practice to develop real and spontaneous compassion for others. He said that there are no Buddhas that have arisen from making aspirations to be reborn in comfortable and luxurious circumstances. All Buddhas have made similarly selfless aspirations in the past.


Rinpoche said that by making such an aspiration, we do no necessarily take rebirth there but we develop the cause to have such a mind that will benefit others. And when we do take rebirth in such places, we will not be affected by the distractions and the sufferings of such a rebirth. Rinpoche told a story of a previous Gaden Tripa who always prayed very strongly to Maitreya to be reborn in the lower realms in order to benefit the beings there. When he was at his death bed, he was said to have beheld a vision of Maitreya and his attendants reported that he exclaimed “Oh no! I am going to Gaden heaven.” This great master was thoroughly disappointed as he had developed a strong and real wish to reborn in a lower realm instead.

At the end, we recited a few Migtsemas and generated a powerful aspiration according to Rinpoche’s advice at this bus stop along with the recitation of a few dedication verses.

2 Responses to “Santa Monica Dharma”

  1. Li Kim Phng October 10, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    It is indeed truly and deeply compassionate to think and aspire to be this way. Personally I could not imagine being submerged in the deepest darkness of samsara and not be affected by all the sufferings and “pleasures”. But I’m sure if I keep this aspiration in mind I will develop the sincere aspiration to return to this samsara, not be attached to its drama and live to relief the sufferings. I actually have that beautiful opportunity in my dharma career to start practising.

  2. Keng Tan October 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    thanks for sharing Pastor David.

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