Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Last night I dreamed of the Venerable Geshe Thupten Phelgye. You may remember that he and I met back in July for a ceremony on Mount Spokane dedicated to world peace.

In my dream, I visited Geshe-la at a monastery, perhaps in India or Tibet, amid the vivid colors of prayer flags and green trees. When I first saw him, he sat meditating on a distant hill, surrounded by orphans and the outcasts of society. As I approached, he opened his eyes and smiled. He then welcomed me and grasped my hand with both hands.

Geshe-la led the way toward the monastery, stopping frequently to introduce me to the children and other people. Their faces inspired me because of their simple and genuine kindness.

We visited a courtyard inside the monastery, and Geshe-la welcomed me to sit and converse a while. “Tell me,” he said, “What brings you here?”

“Master Phelgye,” I said, “It would seem I have drawn the two cards of misfortune and anxiety. What should I do to change my luck?”

He paused and considered my question with care. Finally he spoke, “In Buddhist philosophy, all things are temporary, so even sadness and misfortune must one day disappear. But sometimes we can help the process.”

He extended his hand and said, “Let me see the cards.”

The two cards of anxiety and misfortune reminded me of playing cards with dark lettering and depictions of human grief. Geshe-la studied the cards and said, “When misfortune befalls us, sometimes we can reverse the flow of energy. Sometimes we can replace misfortune with auspiciousness.” He then placed the cards in an incense bowl and lit them on fire, causing smoke to rise upwards in a backward spiral. Geshe-la then extended his hands and created a forward spiral. I watched him with intense concentration, then my hands became his hands, and I was the one changing the flow of the energy spiral. I found myself humming a Spokane song and smiling.

I awoke feeling peaceful and happy.

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