In 1977 I attended a Conference called "Become the Buddha" in San Francisco. At the time even though I liked the sentiment I wondered about the usefulness of the statement in some ways. My son was then 4 years old and he accompanied me, and my parents to this conference then in San Francisco at the Scottish Rights Masonic Temple that was put on by a group that rented the Temple for this purpose. It was one of the most amazing 4 or 5 days I have ever spent. At one point my son at age 4 sat down and seemingly automatically without coaching sat down in the Buddha pose and everyone remarked at the perfect pose he sat in without being coached by anyone. I knew right then that this was going to be a very remarkable spiritual conference. So when the teacher started giving the Sanskrit version of Buddhist mantras to Tara, Padmasambhava etc. remarkable things started happening for many people present. One of the things I had never experienced before in a group was that people started going into the void. I had heard this talked about before but the experience was like you would be there and the spiritual energies would get so powerful you would be gone. But it wasn't at all like in church where people go to sleep. No. This was different where all sense of time was lost. So, when you came back you knew you had been gone to a very different peaceful sort of place where both time and space didn't exist. And universally people knew something really wonderful was happening to them in their lives.
So, I don't know if it was the place, the teacher, the group, the astrology, or what it was. However, this 4 or 5 days changed everyone's lives in a very good way. I found myself after this starting to understand Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism more and moving towards a place where within 3 years I started meeting Tibetan Lamas in the U.S. in California and Oregon, and eventually in 1985 and 1986 I and my son and two step kids and new wife and I all went to India and Nepal and were initiated along with 500,000 others (10,000) westerners, into the Kalachakra Initiation. We met Tibetans who had walked for 6 months out of Tibet to get this initiation knowing they would never be allowed back by the Chinese. So, people did almost anything to receive this initiation by the Dalai Lama, from all over India, Nepal and Tibet and in the case of westerners from Europe, North and South America, Japan, Australia etc.
Yesterday was a very difficult day for my son. He started out tired without enough sleep, and tried to drive straight through for a College class that would have been on Monday. However, going out hiway 46 to Interstate 5 his car overheated and he realized he couldn't make it over the grade from Stanton on over to Lost Hills and Interstate 5. So, the restaurant there gave him a 5 gallon empty plastic milk carton to fill with water to see if he could get to Paso Robles and get some antifreeze and a new thermostat to fix his car. So, off he went trying to get his car to someplace with gas stations and mechanics as where he was it was mostly open land and farms and ranches, he made a mistake and the radiator cap blew off and blew antifreeze all over him. Luckily, he has good reflexes and it didn't get into his eyes and scald them. However, he said some blew into his mouth so he was spitting out antifreeze as it is poisonous. So, since I'm more mechanically minded that he is in regard to cars whereas he can fix any computer or even build me a really great custom one and just recently last month got his BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) I set out from the Bay Area to see if I could help before he accidentally destroyed his engine by trying to nurse it without enough antifreeze in it.
At a certain point he realized after getting a hold of a new thermostat that it was too big a job for him to easily replace it. Besides, he didn't have the right tools in his car for that. So, I mostly went to where he was to rent a hotel room and to brainstorm a useful solution. Then, because he was really distraught he and his wife had a disagreement over the phone. So things got progressively worse as the day progressed. When I got to him he was pretty upset about his car and the problems his wife and he were now having. I realized that he was having what I used to call a "Hell" day from just one too many problems surfacing at the same time which makes one feel a lot like they are on a battlefield. So he didn't sleep much last night and got up and looked up Tibetan Buddhism on the internet and looked up anger and compassion.
What he told me this morning after losing his sleep between 3 and 5 am was that when he looked up anger was that what is usually needed is patience both with oneself and others. He said that releasing one's anger through verbal or physical violence only usually created more problems for everyone. I was impressed with this point of view. I told him that one of the reasons that I have a good life now was that I had decided around 1980 that Compassion, kindness and patience towards all life in the universe was the superior path for me and that everything good in my life ever since came from that decision. From that decision came my taking Ahimsa Vows (a vow not to kill or harm anything). (What this really means is that self defense exists but that one is disciplined and not killing things unless there is no other practical useful choice ever).
I was very happy my son had also come to this very advanced social and spiritual point of view. It is incredibly powerful in the good it brings into not only to the one's life that makes this choice but also in the good it brings into everyone that is related to them or knows them or who even has any kind of contact with them. It is incredibly powerful in a very good way for all life everywhere.
So, I was very proud of my son in coming through an extreme adversity day to this enlightened conclusion about his life.
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