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Buddhist master enthralls devotees
Leader counsels rapt audience to 'cut off root' of self-attachment

The Dallas Morning News 1st September 2001

Photo of Bodhnath Stupa near Kathmandu, NepalGARLAND – Lid Juarez found something four years ago that transformed his life. The 70-year-old Dallas man has lost 25 pounds, and chronic problems with indigestion and arthritis are gone. He said the hassles of day-to-day life no longer bother him, and he feels at peace 24 hours a day.

"I am responsible for my own self," said the convert to Buddhism, whose study and practice have brought him a new life force, he said. "Through meditation every day, my life stays on the right track."

Mr. Juarez and others like him gathered last week at the Vietnamese Community Center in Garland to receive blessings and empowerment from one of the most respected and revered Buddhist leaders in the world: Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche. The 69-year-old is the retired Supreme Head of the Nyingmapa, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Most Buddhists consider face-to-face time with teachers all-important, and the rapt attention received by the Rinpoche, which means "teacher," showed his followers' intense devotion.

Each time he arrived at the community center, he was surrounded by about a dozen young monks who travel and study with him. The monks played horns and carried incense holders. All were draped in colorful robes of orange, yellow and red, and the Rinpoche slowly hoisted himself, with the aid of the monks, onto a colorful platform.

"The experiences of happiness and suffering do not just arrive out of nowhere," he said, his words translated into English by one of the monks. "They arise out of your good or negative actions. ... Generating loving kindness and compassion is the only path on how to liberate oneself from suffering."

The Rinpoche told the quiet audience that all humans need to "cut off the root" of self-attachment and act as a loving parent to all other beings, including humans, animals and even the smallest insect.

"We are all equally the same," he said, referring to humans and all creatures, big and small.

The only enemy in the world today is our own "afflicted minds," he said. "With meditation and practice, we subdue our negative emotions, which are our inner enemy," he said.

If we subdue our afflicted minds, and fill ourselves instead with love and compassion, then "the external world cannot do anything harmful to us," he said.

Tifany Henderson of Plano, an audience member, said she began her quest to adopt Buddhism a few months ago.

"It's hard being a Buddhist in corporate America," said Ms. Henderson, who is a quality-assurance analyst at a telecommunications company. "No matter what happens at work, I try to stay calm and centered. I incorporate Buddhist teachings at work a little more each day, and I encounter less stress every day."

America could use the benefits of Buddhism, she said.

"We could all use more peace and less stress," she said. She meditates twice a day – 20 minutes to an hour in the morning and at night.

Even on vacation recently with her extended family, she went to the corner of her hotel room, asked her family to talk quietly, and meditated.

"It's gotten to the point now where I don't miss meditation," she said. "Wherever I am or whatever I'm doing, I do find a time and place."

Bill Clements of Arlington, an acupuncturist, became a Buddhist three years ago. His in-laws, Robert and Elizabeth Umana of Dallas, who were out of town last week, allowed the Rinpoche and his monks to stay at their home. He firmly believes that the home will be blessed by the Rinpoche's presence.

"There are many subtle realms of existence that are accessible through quiet meditation, chanting, prayer beads and so on," Mr. Clements said. "These are catalysts to help us get to those subtle realms and free ourselves of pain and suffering."

The Rinpoche, born in Tibet in 1932, is considered to be the incarnation of Vimalamitra, one of the founders of Tibetan Buddhism 1,300 years ago. The Rinpoche was named the 11th throne holder in a Tibetan monastery. He is the founder of the Palyul Namdroling Monastery in southern India, where he lives when not traveling around the world.

He visited Dallas for a week, conducting workshops for Buddhists in the North Texas area. His visit was sponsored by the Longchenpa Institute, an Allen-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting Nyingmapa Buddhism.


Updated: 1-9-2001

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