The key to happiness is love and compassion, a monk at the Gaden KhachoeShing Monastery said. The monk, Arja Rinpoche, led more than 30 people in a Buddhism lesson and meditation session Wednesday night.
The Essential Buddhism classes are free and open to people of every faith, and no previous knowledge is required.
The session opened with chanting, and those who did not know the prayers by heart could read along. Later, Rinpoche shared and explained Buddhist teachings.
He spoke about kindness and said every human being should be viewed as a relative.
“We have to think of all sentient beings as our mothers,” he said.
Rinpoche said everyone seeks happiness, and treating all of humankind lovingly can help people attain that happiness. People must help those in need, but the help should be pure, Rinpoche said. Nothing should be expected in return.
“Buddhist teaching is very complicated, very profound,” Rinpoche said.
He said he tries to use analogies from daily life to help make the lessons simple.
He said his wish is that in December, at the end of the course, students will be able to teach those lessons. He hopes they share their experiences with others.
One of the students, Karl Wuthrich, said he has been coming to the monastery for three years.
He said he was addicted to drugs and alcohol before he started practicing Buddhism.
“Once upon a time, I was a very unhappy person,” Wuthrich said.
He was at his lowest point when he thought of the Dalai Lama, he said. He began studying Buddhism, and his life changed.
“It was like getting struck by lightning,” he said.
He now attends class almost every week. He said he encourages loved ones to join him in hopes that they find the same kind of joy that saved him.
At the end of each course, Rinpoche leads the students in periods of meditation.
The original intent of the class was to teach students about different kinds of meditation, he said. The goal of the practice is to shut off the five senses and to mirror the tranquility that comes with sleep.
To achieve this, students must strive for mindfulness and alertness, Rinpoche said. He said people should check in and remind themselves to ignore the outside world and look inward.
“Let the mind stay calm,” he said.
Videos of each class are recorded and posted on the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center’s website.
“Once we have compassion and a sense of love, no matter who is our enemy and who is our friend, we will have love,” Rinpoche said.
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