Through the precious wisdom transmitted by the Buddha, through the blessings of Tara and the guidance of all the masters who have brought us the Dharma, and in particular, through the guidance of Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, we will provide a reliable and consistent source of support for the awakening minds of our members and all others who wish to participate through means of group meditations, teachings, study, and fellowship within the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. We will conduct and support philanthropic services for the benefit of all beings.
For me, when I think of the beginning of GBLT, my mind goes to the auspicious moment when I met Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. It was October 1992, in Bloomington, Indiana. Rinpoche was a "visiting lama from Toronto" where he has a Dharma Center, Gaden Choling. He had come to give initiations and teachings to a group of us who were studying and practicing together in Bloomington. I experienced his kindness and his strong devotion to Dharma and hoped I would be fortunate enough to receive more teachings from him in the future.
Wishes have power! The next year he returned to Indiana, again in October, and this time he stayed with my family and me for ten days, and gave many initiations and teachings in our farmhouse which was 40 miles south of Bloomington.
It was at this time he explained to me that he was building a retreat house in Nelson, British Columbia, and he strongly suggested that we move there, or near there. It was not a big leap of imagination for us to consider a move west, since living in the mountains had always been our dream. After being so strongly affected by Rinpoche we felt very committed to living nearer to him, and starting a life in which Dharma could be the central focus. In less than eight months we had sold our farm, moved to Moscow, Idaho and were traveling north to Canada on a regular basis to help Rinpoche build his house on a mountainside near Nelson. It was June 1994.
Skip to March, 1996. Rinpoche and Geshe Kalden were in retreat at Rinpoche's nearly finished house in Nelson. Pat Murphy was the person who was responsible for providing the two meditators with food, laundry services and other worldly concerns while they were in retreat.
During this time I received a cryptic telephone message from Pat: "Rinpoche has had a dream." I remember it was late, my arms were still filled with papers, notebooks, and purse—I had just walked in the door from a long workday. "I don't know the details, Sara, and I hate leaving this on your machine—Rinpoche says he'll explain it to you when he comes out of retreat. But right now, he wants you to do 100,000 Tara mantras because there could be some obscurations." That was the message.
OM TARE TUTARE TURE SOHA began to flow from my mouth and heart before the message machine blinked off. Throughout that month and the next, I counted mantras. Sometimes I thought Rinpoche was compassionately helping me to avert disaster. (The ego likes to think that way.) Most times I tried not to speculate but to just do the mantras. When I could hold this attitude, I felt strong love, gratitude and devotion for all the gurus and Buddhas, my heart and mind were blessed with the wisdom of Rinpoche and Tara. When I could hold my awareness, life crackled with the energy of their presence.
When Rinpoche and Geshe Kalden came out of retreat, there was a big celebration complete with guru puja and potluck dinner. The moment when we could talk finally manifested the next evening. I sat on the floor in front of Rinpoche. He asked if I had finished the mantras, and I reported that I had. He nodded seriously and said, "Would you like to hear my dream?" Now I nodded seriously. I remember that I began to tremble a little.
This is the way I remember his words:
"I was in a place like Tibet. Not the mountains, but the rolling land in the high plains. [Although Rinpoche had not been to Moscow at this time, I had shown him pictures of the Palouse area around Moscow and he had thought that it resembled the high plains of Tibet.] I was sitting on a big rock. You were in front of me, and you were surrounded by American people who I do not know. Then a green lady came." I remember blurting out, "Tara?" He nodded seriously again. "She said, 'Now is the time for this woman to start a center for this lama.'"
I don't remember much more from that conversation except that I felt very, very happy. The next day as I was leaving to go back to Moscow, Rinpoche handed me a piece of paper with the words: GOLDEN BLUE LOTUS TARA MEDITATION CENTER. He also gave me a rolled-up poster. He said, "Here is the beginning of our center." It was a gorgeous representation of a thanka of Green Tara. It was the one I had seen hanging over his altar at various times during the preceding years. It looks very much like Tara with Rinpoche's eyes. It is now framed and it is the central thanka on the altar at GBLT.
The next few months, a small group of us meditated in my tiny, one-bedroom apartment and I worried about, fussed over and ultimately built an acceptable (if not quite square) teaching seat for Rinpoche to sit on when he gave teachings in Moscow.
At last Rinpoche actually arrived in Moscow for his first visit on Thursday, July 19th, 1996. Three friends from Nelson had come along with Rinpoche and a friend of mine from Indiana was here visiting at that time. Rinpoche asked that we all sit together and meditate in my apartment. He said it would be a blessing for our new center. We sat around the dining room table and practiced Green Tara sadhana together for quite a long time. We did many, many Tara mantras together. It was a lovely moment in our center's birth. The very air became light and sweet and the birds outside came to the trees by the window and they sang along with us as we said mantra. Rinpoche smiled.
When we were finished Rinpoche nodded his head energetically and smiled broadly, "This has the potential to be a very good center." Rinpoche stayed in my apartment for three nights. My friends and I stayed in the apartment across the driveway. From my window I could see the light offerings on my altar where Rinpoche was meditating. They didn't go out until very early each morning.
During his initial stay in Moscow he gave a public talk at the Community Center entitled "Introduction to Buddhism". The talk was well attended and there was a warmth in the room that is hard to describe. It was easy to see that there was a wonderful, open and loving interchange quickly developing between Zasep Tulku Rinpoche and Moscow, Idaho!
The following day Golden Blue Lotus Tara had its first official teaching from its spiritual leader, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. Sitting on his brand new "Moscow teaching seat", he kindly gave a full day's teaching on Samatha Breathing to an appreciative group of about 30 students. Golden Blue Lotus Tara Meditation Center was born!
OM TARE TUTARE TURE SOHA!
Website admin: Nathan Foster.