Forum Posts

(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Nov 13, 2022
In Subtle Body & Therapeutic
One thing I did to embody the dakini of the tigress was attend a painting class where I actually produced something for myself. This was an in-person class, not an online one. Here is what I made: To really see the storm and the snowbank, you have to stand back a bit and just let it speak to you. I'm glad I did this for myself in a creative way without judgement, out of my comfort zone, and into embodying the dakini where it decided to show up for my own good. I'm really proud of this completed expression that allowed my subtle mind to come forward.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Nov 05, 2022
In In the Charnel Grounds
In the last Subtle Body Training class, Khandro-la asked us to be like tigers as we progress into our week. Fierce and courageous, "Where does the tiger live in you," she asked. Before ending, the well-known Shakyamuni Buddha tiger story was cited, but there is another one that I thought of first -- that of the Wisdom Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, and I want to share her tigress story because Yeshe Tsogyal is an emanation of Vajrayogini and the form body of [pre] Machig Labdron. Yeshe Tsogyal was my origin Buddha before I even heard the story of Shakyamuni, which is others' Buddha origin story. The Dakinis found me first. Another book I read before finding Dakini's Whisper was 'The Life and Visions of Yeshe Tsogyal: The Autobiography of the Great Wisdom Queen', which holds a different perspective on Yeshe Tsogyal's life than that in the book 'Sky Dancer'. Once again bounding through the pages of underlines and tabs -- after I brushed the dust off the cover, the words hit me differently than the first time I read them. In 'Chapter Two: The Princess's Voyages to the Land of Oddiyana', we find Yeshe Tsogyal navigating her way through the great Chimpu charnel ground where she solidifies what defines her: utilizing the means of kindness and nonreactivity when working with every obstacle. Sounds like the underpinnings of Cho to me ... We meet Yeshe Tsogyal in the middle of her twelve year stay when she joins a white-colored womxn who, appearing at daybreak, knocks on Yeshe Tsogyal's door of the Secret Wisdom Cave with her crystal staff. This womxn tells Yeshe Tsogyal that Yeshe Tsogyal doesn't have authentic faith and to find authentic faith, the two must journey together into this womxn's white land. The white-colored womxn takes Yeshe Tsogyal by the hand and shows her places where humans are killing themselves as offerings, where hungry ghosts scrambled for forms of liberation, and finally to a place that feels like a very familiar home [to me] and where the tigress comes to meet us -- it's called The Land of Dakinis and Furies, where the chiefs among them eat flesh and drink blood. Yeshe Tsogyal hadn't noticed yet that at this palace gate when she asked to enter, the two large Dakinis carrying corpses denied her entry because she was unwilling to bravely do what was asked of her (which was to carry one hundred corpses over the threshold) ... but when the white-colored womxn asked to enter, a blue Dakini with red eyes appears and opens the door for both her and Yeshe Tsogyal to enter freely (without carrying any corpses). If the reader knows what they've stepped into with Yeshe Tsogyal and the white-colored womxn, one is awed to be the third party now standing in front of the great bliss union of emptiness and what is spontaneously born from that union. It didn't escape me that this gated place is the center of the open mandala inside the tetrahedron shaped palace of Vajrayogini's mysterious origin, and those flesh eaters are the retinue of Dakinis with Troma Nakmo at the gate of the central channel. It's said in some Vajrayogini commentaries that She is white in the Sambhogakaya and red in the Nirmanakaya. And so, it should come as no surprise that as we three ascend to the upper level of the palace while walking past victory banners made of human skins with supporting beams made of hewed skulls, that the Dakinis at the top of the palace greet the white-colored womxn as [their] Chief named Lives in Peace and who is Vajrayogini Herself! At this point, Holy Vajrayogini sends Yeshe Tsogyal [and us] back to her own place saying, "There is a bounty [there] of amazing spiritual attainment left to gain." And I'll level with you here -- if Vajrayogini said that to me, I'd have reacted with the same panic and tantrum as Yeshe Tsogyal did -- "I can't go there and manage on my own! Won't you come with me?" To which Lives in Peace replies, "I don't have time to go with you. I have to stay here and protect the lives of these adepts who uphold their tantric bonds. Leave here bravely; go and don't doubt yourself." (p. 136) Once outside the palace gate, Yeshe Tsogyal walks through a red land, where the water is the color of blood and bones cover every inch, fires blaze from the mountain peaks and where suns and moons rain from the sky. I again imagine myself as Yeshe Tsogyal dejected and not even concerned with the deluge of suns and moons around her. When suddenly, she finds herself at another gate that's again guarded by two similar large Dakinis as before. But this time, they ask Yeshe Tsogyal to go out and kill a tigress and her cubs bringing them back as the means to enter this city. If there was ever a time to push back, this was the point of the story to do it and that's exactly what Yeshe Tsogyal did! In fact, she offered her own flesh to these gatekeeper Dakinis instead of that of a tigress and her cubs! .. but no, that's not gonna work this time. Turning away from the gates, Yeshe Tsogyal knew she had failed at her attempt at spiritual attainment during this journey and yet, she was still there in the charnel ground wandering around and not back in her cave .. so that means there's still a chance! Figuring out the solution after searching countless days and nights, Yeshe Tsogyal thought, "If I venture into the jungle, perhaps I can find a dead tigress and her cubs." (p. 138) In the jungle, Yeshe Tsogyal comes upon a mother tigress and her eighteen cubs. The cubs were small and hungry because there was no milk left to give from their mother, who was skin and bones herself. All were close to death. Yeshe Tsogyal felt unbearable compassion and made an aspiration prayer for their survival as she cut off pieces of her body and fed them to the dying tigress and her cubs. Near death herself now, Yeshe Tsogyal didn't care if she lived or died and only wanted to ensure the survival of this tigress and her cubs. The tigress moved by unbearable compassion as well, nursed Yeshe Tsogyal back from the brink of death and helped return Yeshe Tsogyal back to her former whole state. Upon being completely healed, Yeshe Tsogyal promises the tigress she won't die and in return, the tigress shows Yeshe Tsogyal the corpse of a dead tigress found further into the jungle. Yeshe Tsogyal cuts off the head of the dead tigress' corpse and throwing it onto her back, goes back to the city gates with bravery. Okay, so there's the tigress story for SBT homework, but there's more to this ... Once inside the city gates, Yeshe Tsogyal is lead by a red womxn to a feast table where the guests had human bodies with animal heads all eating together merrily. Completely mentally and emotionally messed up by this mish-mash of insanity, Yeshe Tsogyal is told she is perceiving things impurely because -- in fact -- all the guests were dakinis and heroes, and that the reason Yeshe Tsogyal is perceiving things impurely is because her channels and energies are not aligned. To show Yeshe Tsogyal how to do that, the red womxn tells Yeshe Tsogyal her past life story as Sole Goddess Fire Light followed by instructions on how to meditate on circulating energies within the central channel. Completely awed in following how to align her channels, Yeshe Tsogyal found the energies were cleared with the pure perception arising thus introducing clear light, and Yeshe Tsogyal could then bravely continue on toward the eastern side of the palace. There in the east, Yeshe Tsogyal found the twenty-one vase empowerments; in the south, she found the eleven longevity empowerments; in the west, she found the supreme illusion empowerment for the all-encompassing matrix of dakinis; and in the north, she found the major empowerment of awareness holders -- the empowerment of the fourfold joy of great bliss. Also in the north, the red womxn who was still Yeshe Tsogyal's companion also received the major empowerment of the awareness holders. Crossing over into the center of the palace, both Yeshe Tsogyal and the red womxn witnessed the Union of Great Bliss swirling and dancing around Vajrayogini who was gazing upwards holding a skullcup of blood and a curved knife. The crystal-like dancing swirl of this awareness holder conferred on Yeshe Tsogyal and the red womxn the unsurpassable four empowerments of the awareness holders. The red womxn then said to Yeshe Tsogyal, "It has been twelve months [in your part] of the charnel ground and it is time for you to return. There, you will find many more great spiritual awakenings." And with that, Yeshe Tsogyal was handed a skullcup wrapped in green silk -- it would never run dry of food or drink, and it would take Yeshe Tsogyal safely back to her retreat cave. Once back there, Yeshe Tsogyal continued to bravely with triumphant nondual compassion meet Her obstacles head on for the sake of all sentient beings. What have we learned from this female Buddha story of Yeshe Tsogyal and the Tigress in the Great Charnel Ground of Samye Chimpu? The tigress and Yeshe Tsogyal had a cyclic bond in that, had Yeshe Tsogyal died, the tigress would have been devastated with grief -- just as Yeshe Tsogyal would have been had the tigress died. Both females nourished the cubs with blood and milk and likewise, we pray to Vajrayogini to nourish us with Her blessings. Yeshe Tsogyal, like us, after continuous trial and error that lead to more and more suffering, finally grasped the spiritual attainment concept she was meant to within Chimpa charnel ground -- which was utilizing the means of kindness and nonreactivity when working with every obstacle. There is no delineation between guru, hungry ghosts, animals, or cannibal Dakinis -- we are all the same and of the same whole. We are shown that even a Buddha was once where we find ourselves and through Her example, we have the bravery and confidence to stay on this path because it simply makes sense -- let alone works! I believe this story was the manifested phenomena of Yeshe Tsogyal and even if it wasn't, what a beautiful meditative guru yoga experience she had within her Secret Wisdom Cave. Yeshe Tsogyal met Vajrayogini and was taken into Her care, she was blessed by the Five Dakinis, found another level of spiritual attainment to humbly teach us, bravely traced back the source of her suffering and of her bliss, created the practice of Cho which would be expanded in a future lifetime as Machig Labdron, learned what the subtle body was and how it is the pathway to liberation, and ultimately, Yeshe Tsogyal with the Wisdom Mind of Vajrayogini lovingly reaches back out to us to say, "Take my hand. I've done this before and it sucks, but it can be overcome. Allow me to show you ..." Yeshe Tsogyal's Past-Lifetime Prayer as Sole Goddess Fire Light: "I undertake this pure offering through blessings of the truth of the all-embracing expanse, beyond center and bounds, and through the immeasurable nondual compassion of infinite buddhas. I will make these pure offerings and undertake inexhaustible positive acts to cultivate the highest stores of goodness for the sake of all beings, with none left out. May I, together with every being, reach unsurpassable, spontaneous bliss."
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Oct 31, 2022
In 21st Century Experiences
One year ago today was the most important day of my life when I received the Vajrayogini Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerment from Khandro-la. I realize that sounds cliché, but it's the truth and a good one at that -- my life has changed drastically simply because I was able to kneel at her feet. In offering, I want to share a part of a prayer I wrote to honor my Holy Female Mother Lineage that is dedicated to Khandro-la: "Homage to you, Choying Khandro, humble Teacher and great Master of the Ear-Whispered Lineage, who joyously dances within the subtle body of Tronak with her damaru and bell, and who is a Tantrika in the wilderness of the three worlds cared for by the Five Dakinis. You are a clear light to pilgrims on the path searching for the face of Vajrayogini in this world. Blessed one -- O blessed one, please grant me your blessing." A la la, with love, Khandro-la @Dakinis Whisper. Thank you for taking me under your care as you have done with patience and fortitude.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Oct 29, 2022
In Subtle Body & Therapeutic
Subtle Body Series VIII focuses on the "magic dance" of the dakini and the Dakini along the outline from Khandro-la @Dakinis Whisper that shows us how to move magically within the frame of guru yoga. Based on references from the book by Thinley Norbu entitled Magic Dance: The Display of the Self-Nature of the Five Wisdom Dakinis, Khandro-la elaborates how phenomena is expressed through our course dance and ultimately within our subtlest self. I've had that same book collecting dust on my bookcase since I read it before I found Khandro-la and so, after pulling it back out other then just to swipe a quote from it, it's a fresh read -- even with all my underlining and tabs. I recall when I read the book that it was fascinating and I was *just about there* in understanding what it all meant, but I couldn't grasp it (whatever *it* was). I rather enjoyed the end chapters on meditation practice, isolation, and art, but again, the perspective of those things through the dance of dakini wasn't taking shape for me yet. I shelved it and didn't realize it had cracked the code to the next karmic level I was about to level up to: enter Dakini's Whisper and now, I grasp *it*. Completely? .. no, but that's why I'm a dedicated student to SBT. Now, as I've been going through the book reading why I underlined this or that to study for this series, I've come upon the chapter called 'Magic and the Mysterious' (p. 61). I want to share most of the last page of that chapter aligning with Khandro-la's handout she gave us to follow: ""[Vajrayogini's] Wisdom Mind is pure and mysterious. It protects us because it is ultimately uncatchable and secret and so cannot be penetrated by the temporary worldly mysterious." "If we can recognize our own mysterious secret wisdom essence, which is the same from the beginning as [Vajrayogini's] mysterious secret wisdom essence, then enlightenment is no longer mysterious to us because, inseparable from [Her], we are the mysterious." "The earthquake cannot harm the mysterious sky no matter how much its powerful shaking overturns and destroys. The ocean cannot harm the mysterious sky no matter how much its turbulent waves flood and destroy. The fire cannot harm the mysterious sky no matter how much its angry flames burn and destroy. The hurricane cannot harm the mysterious sky no matter how much its violent winds blow and destroy."" I am so grateful for the sincere kindness and deep love Khandro-la shows us through her talent of teaching. Truly, there is no way I would have eclipsed the practice of guru yoga with the dance of the mysterious mind -- our dakini mind. My prayers have begun to reflect an urgency of doing what is necessary in samsara -- to be with it and not of it -- in order to keep my sacred sadhana practice along with my studies and meditation until the end of this lifetime. I cannot imagine a life without waking up to a class or teaching, without having Khandro-la's voice available to me through videos and text, or without Vajrayogini reflected back toward me. May I always find myself in the same great charnel ground as my heart teacher and guru, Khandro-la, to dance together like swans, monkeys, tigers, and any other form sentient beings require of us! *Interesting factoid: on p. 33 the opening quote beginning the chapter called 'Lineage' is from Milarepa, referencing our own -- "The teaching of the whispered lineage is the Dakini's breath."
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Oct 03, 2022
In Subtle Body & Therapeutic
I cannot express the feeling I had when I realized what was happening within my subtle body and channels during the last class of Series VII: Dakini Twilight Language .. but I'll try to. So there I was in the presence of four Dakinis, when I realized we had all done this before together - the dancing, the laughing, the silent unspoken understanding that we were once again in our sacred circle increasing the pure energy around us, breathing the same air as the demons we secretly brought along to class with us, fiercely loving the flow of our course body in whatever way it moved according to our subtle body's needs. Within that space of my bedroom and of her living room and in her den, we blended the outer, inner, and secret parts of ourselves together without trying or from course of action - it just manifested .. my heart space physically felt a deep pang of ecstatic bliss that pushed tears to form and a sacred noise to exit my mouth, and my bedroom turned into the mandala that is the grain of sand within this corner of whichever of the great Eight Charnel Grounds I have claimed. I stood holding that for as long as I could before the prana stirred and I began to dance again. All I could think of over and over was that Khandro-la was right! .. she has told us that it will all come together someday, and it did. It did! Although, I have felt this physical feeling before and not in the same enjoyment context - the last time I felt this feeling it was a deep sadness that woke me from a nightmare and within that splinter of reality I don't know why I was so sad, but my heart space physically felt a deep pang of [what I thought was sadness] that pushed tears to form and a sacred noise to exit my mouth. I've had this happen to me three times since the death of my father and alone in the darkness, I try to retrace the steps of my dream but to no avail. The physical feeling of unknown grief and loss reflected the exact physical feeling of spontaneous bliss and happiness from class, and so, again, Khandro-la was right .. the outer, inner, and secret charnel grounds, messengers, dakini, and everything else is the equanimity we ask for on this path and without it there's no point in walking it. It all just is - the good, the bad, and the inescapable [ https://www.dakiniswhisper.com/dakinis-corner-blog/in-the-charnel-grounds/the-good-the-bad-the-inescapable/dl-6eee1e48-a135-4a3b-b6ce-4b6535221efb?origin=notification&postId=62157108ad51c20017acd5a9&commentId=6eee1e48-a135-4a3b-b6ce-4b6535221efb ]. The deep gratitude I feel for having found @Dakinis Whisper Khandro-la through confidence in my own karmic path elicits the same feeling within my course and subtle bodies as when I have laid in the dark with unanswered questions, and just as when I have danced within the sacred circle. It feels satisfying and empowering to be mirroring the dance and play of other Dakinis in this world just as a pigeon would with its friends in the park .. for we are all choosing to be on this same path together here, now, and in this lifetime. I cannot believe my good fortune to have found Khandro-la! It is my prayer that I may transmute this physical feeling of grief and of bliss into any way I can to help another sentient being in this world. May I have fierce compassion for myself and for others as we navigate the outer, inner, and secret charnel grounds we carry. May I be of service to others knowing that they are hurting too, and may we find only what Vajrayogini knows we need. May I mirror the dharma of my teacher, and may I be the face of a Dakini in this world to any sentient being that needs to see Her face.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Sep 29, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
@Dakinis Whisper Khandro-la, I was studying Completion Stage in Pabongkha Rinpoche's book of commentary on Vajrayogini's Sadhana and in it, he extensively explains the Nine Mixings. In that section, he references The Six Yogas of Naropa and in going back over those six I found myself asking a Cho related question. The question is about the Yoga of Consciousness Transference and Forceful Projection. When I read that, I continually ask myself if that just isn't Cho practice with a different title. I understand that specific yoga is about "jumping bodies", but is it a human body the consciousness is transferred to or is it the action dakini that we become in the sambhogakaya? The Six Yogas of Naropa all serve as a basis for the Nine Mixings and in the Self-Generation Stage of Taking the Path of the Dharmakaya/Taking the Bardo as the Path of Sambhogakaya/Taking Rebirth as the Path of Nirmanakaya and so, I'm wondering too how the Yoga of Consciousness Transference and Forceful Projection is used in Completion Stage if not in a Cho context. Thank you. A la la.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Jul 12, 2022
In Meeting the Dakini!
My fervent daily prayer: May all females everywhere plagued by sufferings created by patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism, obtain an ocean of happiness and joy by virtue of my merits. May no female suffer from those who think females inferior and unworthy merely due to her gender. For as long as space remains, for as long as men and women remain, until then may I too remain to dispel the miseries of women! - paraphrased from Adele Tomlin of Dakini Translations and Publications, a dear friend of mine, written in December 2020
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Jun 29, 2022
In 21st Century Experiences
How do we practitioners define a "perfect day"? .. because if life is supposed to be met with equanimity, then they all are perfect off the cushion, right? Right. Yesterday, was my "perfect day" and I want to share it: I'm not going to mince words when I admit that June has been a wild month for me with the personal revelations during the month-long retreat we just ended, during which catching the COVID "cold" had me taking stock out in Kleenex, and watching our world crash and burn made me want to disassociate from it all. My days have revolved around making sure my two baby cats are well taken care of, that the shades are down at the right time as to not let the hot sun in, watching for emails from Khandro-la and Co. to take me into my next project, meditating with mantra counting, and honestly, trying not to allow the noisy neighbors drive my actions to extremes. Yesterday started out with me laying in bed catching up on my social media apps while my cats sunned themselves, and as I began to get up, I was already over stimulated with noise and by my own coughing. The realization hit that I had to head out to an appointment too coupled with grocery shopping in the heat after battling downtown traffic .. I was already done before my feet hit the floor. My heart center hurt and I went to my cushion in tears. I told Vajrayogini I didn't want to be kind today, and that I didn't want to have compassion for anyone either. "Why can everyone else take up space that intrudes on my own, and why do I have to participate in this shitty world," I asked Her. My anxiety level was that of a scared, hunted animal in that moment. So what did I do after I screamed at Her and ripped my guts out? .. I practiced my mental health therapy - ACT [Acceptance and Commitment Therapy] by using the "both and" mindset - "I don't want to do this and I'm going to do it anyway." And so, I stood up and through tears and barred teeth did tonglen just as Khandro-la taught me to do. I dug deep into my subtle body and got on my hands and knees to release the billowing clouds of blackness that were choking me by "vomiting", just as Khandro-la taught me to do too. There was no thinking mind, just simple faith that Vajrayogini had heard me. I felt different after that and my day went well, complete with searing neck pain, sweaty parts of my body I won't mention, a migraine from the impending thunderstorm that was rolling in, and other annoyances .. yet somehow, it all just "was" and it all just was "perfect". I've cried and gnashed my teeth on my cushion before, but something clicked inside me yesterday that is akin to the deepest bonding I've ever felt before - I now trust myself through Vajrayogini's eyes.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Jun 01, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Khandro-la, in the last Palden Lhamo Tea Offering you asked us if we had an Indigenous Peoples drum to play. I wondered: is our damaru not okay for this practice? And if not, why wouldn't our damaru work for Palden Lhamo? I'm looking into Indigenous Peoples drums now - here in Wisconsin I have the humble privilege to be surrounded by many tribes and their culture and so, I've been thinking of heading to northern Wisconsin on a day trip to find the perfect one. And last, do you suggest we get a set of symbols as well? Thank you, Khandro-la!
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
May 24, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Today, the red string I received at the Vajrayogini Empowerment broke. I admit to a pang of sadness in my chest as it twisted off my wrist into my other hand. I've heard from practitioners in other lineages that when this happens it reminds us of impermanence, or that it signifies the completion of a karmic cycle. What is the view in our lineage, if there is one at all, behind a red string from an empowerment finally giving up its last thread? .. and, what do we do with it when it can no longer be worn? Thank you, Khandro-la!
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
May 10, 2022
In 21st Century Experiences
Here is the statue of Palden Lhamo I received from Nepal last week. My main alter was the last thing to be completed after my move and I was waiting on Her arrival. I always get a kick out of the table I use for my alter - an antique library table my father found at a courthouse where he grew up. The table was used in my parent's home and I grew up being yelled at to, "Use a coaster!" It even has ink stains on it from where the ink well sat and the spray of ink is a reminder of the age of the piece because it was a quill feather pen. Somewhere, I hope people are turning over in their graves knowing it's used for tantric practice now! Anyway, since She has arrived my space feels .. not just protected, but full and yet spacious. Behind her are stained glass leaves in a bud vase my father gave me a long time ago too. I didn't realize he resounds in many of the items I have - even down to the pottery tea pot that belonged to him which I use for this practice. I could go on, but some things are best left unspoken and held inside my heart. EMAHO!
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
May 09, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Khandro-la, in a recent teaching you mentioned that in the future, there will be no need to practice tantra because everyone is not living in degenerate times. I've continued to land on the same question rumbling around in my mind since that teaching, which is: If there is no tantric practice then that means we [tantric practitioners, bodhisattvas] have essentially succeeded at beings being awakened and in a liberated state where there is no need for tantric practice. It's almost like this answer is so simple, but I just cannot land on it. I cannot imagine a plain of existence without meeting Vajrayogini and being a tantric practitioner. Does that then mean I've only existed in degenerate times? Thank you in advance! A la la.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 30, 2022
In Meeting the Dakini!
It's been an impactful last two months for me and in this last week, I have seen the clearing beyond the woodline and have made a B-line towards it. I can talk at you all day about the rough feelings, the awkward asks for help, the anxiety that had settled into my chest, and even the cusp of a mid-life crisis I've seen the glimpse of at the edge of this charnel ground. The look of not exhaustion, but of sheer annoyance has etched itself onto my face as my wild hair and dirty feet continue to carry me to the edge of this ashline. I further imagine myself beating my damaru as the hollow reminder that I asked for this obstacle. Missing a weekend teaching to be with family, I rolled up the driveway and walked in the door. Annoyed. Sour. The noises of laughter and chopping of vegetables only brought out, "I'm going to the Temple," in me. I couldn't even give a greeting in the state I was in. I walked out the back patio door and down the short trail to the back stupa area of Deer Park. My routine is to walk two and a half times around it, stepping out of that round to go up into the Kalachakra Temple, and when I'm done there, I complete the rest of my three rounds to head back up the trail to the house. On repeat, I chant Vajrayogini's mantra and in the temple, I kneel before Her tapestry and tear my heart out. But that day, there I was ... ... newly kneeling when I saw it - a mouse at the foot of HHDL's picture, which is in front of Vajrayogini. "If there's ever a place to die ... you did good, little one." I was going to leave it until I was done and then take it outside, when suddenly it started making noises! I crawled over to it and this little thing must have been just older than a baby because it had fur and claws, but with its eyes still closed and its mouth making little sucking sounds. I went to the other shrine area in the temple and found a roll of paper towel to pick this baby up with. Outside it was so cold and windy, and with how the baby was acting I knew it was stunned and needed care - so I couldn't just set it down to figure the world out itself. Had I done that, I believe that would have been negligent and so, it and me went around the stupa three times while I chanted Vajrayogini's mantra aloud for this little one to hear. I petted its head while I walked back up the trail to the house. There, in a container with more paper towel, sunflower seeds, and a cap of water we sat together on the patio steps. It opened its eyes to look at me as I spoke to it and petted its head some more. After a bit, I found a place sheltered from the wind, though in the sunshine, under a shrub to set this little one in the comfort and security of the container. Sometime shortly after that, when it had gained enough strength and fortitude, it was no longer in the container when I went out to check on it. I knew the little mouse left on its own accord because nothing else was disturbed around where the container was, nor was anything within the container, and the water was still in the cap. I walked back in the house now ready to join the world myself. Did you hear that? .. a wee mouse cracked my heart open.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 30, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Khandro-la, in the Vajrayogini Long-Sadhana you added in the Tea Offering to Vajrayogini .. I am so grateful to have that. Will you please share the traditional, suggested, and lineage specific offering for this practice? I saw elsewhere in the text a mixture of red sandalwood paste with beer was mentioned, but wasn't sure if that was also for this offering. Other offerings for Guardians and Protectors include alcohol, but we only use black tea for our Tea Offering to Palden Lhamo. And so, I ask for your guidance! Thank you!
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 26, 2022
In Meeting the Dakini!
Before my father died, he gave me a portrait of St. Francis of Assisi. It's a dark painting both in essence and color, with only the light revealing half of St. Francis' face, the skull, and outlines of the monk's robe. My father found this artwork behind construction paper in the office of a Jesuit nun who was living at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She did not like looking at [the essence of darkness] and so, she covered it; when it was discovered by my father, she gave it very willingly to him. It hung in my parents' home for years and years, and the contemplation of St. Francis on another saint's skull always fascinated me because I was always taught to fear death in the Christian faith. Moving into a new home isn't something I do often and I say that with a lot of trepidation, so I've been pausing on where to hang St. Francis - if at all - here on my new walls. But The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi crossed my path a few days ago rewritten by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and it moved me from fear and loss back into a place I can thrive from again: THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI (with additions from Lama Zopa Rinpoche in brackets) Lord [Buddha], make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, unity. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is error, truth. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is sadness, joy. Where there is darkness, light. O divine master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled [happiness for the ego] as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying [having practiced] that we are born to eternal life [from happiness to happiness up to full enlightenment]. May all beings effortlessly attain the transcendent blissful state of omniscient Buddhahood.
A Vajrayogini Tsok Prayer Offering content media
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 22, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Khandro-la, you mentioned a book on Tsongkhapa's commentary on Naropa's Six Yogas. I was only able to find one that fit that bill and wanted to ask you about it before I bought it. Here is the link: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1559392347/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A30UH7RV1UCIV3&psc=1 If you would be willing to make a different suggestion and point me towards that if the one above isn't a good choice, I would greatly appreciate the direction! A la la.
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 12, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Khandro-la, will you please share the Palden Lhamo mantra song that you played in SBT and for our Tea Offering? I looked on YouTube, but couldn't find it .. so I thought then that maybe if you shared the artist, that would lead me in the right direction! Thank you!
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 03, 2022
In Ask Khandro-la
Khandro-la, will you please explain which days are determined as Personal Tsok Days and as Vajrayogini Cho Tsok days by the Moon's phase? I believe it's the 25th day of the lunar calendar for Vajrayogini Cho Tsok, but how do I determine our Personal Tsok Day? Thank you!
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Apr 03, 2022
In 21st Century Experiences
I'm moving homes in two days. I hate moving and not for the obvious reasons, but because of the mental coordination that comes with a panic disorder, inner adult temper tantrums fueled by anxiety, and simple worry that makes me question my self-grasping nature. I have realized this move is the first one that I've been able to use these "bad" traits for "good", lending them to lead the way into precise focus and skilled action. Living my practice off the cushion as Khandro-la teaches is going pretty well, though I'm painfully recognizing what I'm avoiding: my meditation room. I'll regularly stand in its doorway holding my tea refusing to start packing it because it makes me emotional to leave a space I have blossomed in; I don't become attached to much in this lifetime, so this is really difficult for me. The decision to move was very sudden and necessary, full of blessings and others' kindnesses along the way, so from the worldly context nothing is "wrong" and even from a charnel ground point of view, nothing is "wrong". Yet here I am, grasping onto a space that was my cave - the one I'd crawl to in tears, the place that held me while I grew with my heart teacher, the first space I allowed myself to be vulnerable in. Vajrayogini has taken my pleas in prayer to bring the obstacles onto the path, and Vajra Dakini is Her skillful method for this time in my life. Tomorrow is the last day I have where I can pack before the moving starts, and I've decided to make the whole of tomorrow the day to pack up my meditation room. I'll sit on my cushion with my coffee in the morning like I usually do and it will be the last time I will do that in its four walls. Just like now, I'll let the tears of grief out and dig deep for the faith of what is to come. I imagine this isn't the first time I've done this .. I imagine a past lifetime where the rock face shifted, forcing me out with my cushion in one hand and a statue of Vajrayogini in the other to wander the mountains for another home. This time is no different for this wandering yogini, I guess. I wonder if I cried then too. And there is the focus coming back ... the courage through the tightness of my chest, the fierceness through the lump in my throat, the thanksgiving that I am still practicing my personal dharma, the pride that I am Vajrayogini's body, speech, and mind ... that there but for the grace of Her go I into this new part of the charnel ground.
Context of a Yogini content media
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo
Mar 21, 2022
In 21st Century Experiences
After my morning routine and with other daily stuff squared away, I throw out my yoga mat in my living room and hit my compiled vinyasa playlist to flow to. Vinyasa is about breath and the movement that comes with that breath .. and the next and then the next. And more so for me, is the embodiment of my feelings I need to feel to flow through the rest of my day in a healthy way - whether there be none to compartmentalize or if the day feels really heavy - I need my time on this mat just as I do on my cushion. We can't feel our feelings in our head [or mind] and so to move me in the cultivation of my off-the-cushion-yoga-mat-practice, I use music to elicit and move the feelings that need to be found. Yoga has also become more important to me over the past year since Khandro-la has taught us that our subtle body is an integral part of our tantric path, and the continuation of her subtle body teachings require more than one class a week to integrate (for me at least). My playlist updated over the weekend to host a song entitled 'This Little Light of Mine' by Will Sampson & Message to Bears. I almost skipped it to start my practice because the old gross feelings of my Christian upbringing were starting to surface .. the memory of little Kate standing in a group of kids singing this song in a church basement while all of us held up our pointer fingers made my chest catch. Being thrust into that religion wasn't my choice, but I decided to be equanimous about this and play it anyway - it was a good song to start with and hey, maybe I needed to figure out why little Kate decided to make an appearance on this Monday morning. Well ... Left hand on my heart, eyes closed holding the tears, standing on my mat, breathing into my lower gate, and hearing Khandro-la's voice remind me to laugh at appearances, I realized that this song little Kate sang with such gusto was actually the most beautiful Bodhisattva song a child could have learned. Khandro-la spoke yesterday in her teachings about the spark we all carry and dare I say that hearing this rendition of my childhood created deeper faith in myself that I've been on this path from the very start. I came with this spark and I'll leave this world as that spark - this little light of mine, and just as we are called as tantric practitioners to be a lamp for others in this world I'm going to let mine shine as brightly as I can. Happy Monday, little Kate. "This Little Light Of Mine" This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Every day, every day, every day, every way, Gonna let my little light shine. Light that shines is the light of love, Hides the darkness from above, Shines on me and it shines on you, Shows you what the power of love can do. Shine my light both bright and clear, Shine my light both far and near, In every dark corner that I find, Let my little light shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Monday gave me the gift of love, Tuesday peace came from above, Wednesday told me to have more faith, Thursday gave me a little more grace, Friday told me to watch and pray, Saturday told me just what to say, Sunday gave me the power divine To let my little light shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Shine, shine, shine, shine, shine.
This Little Light of Mine content media
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(TK) Kate Thalacker | Dechen Wangmo

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