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Aspirations for degenerate times

Aspirations for degenerate times

Venerable Tsepal with Mudita the cat in her lap.

Venerable Tsepal shares her motivation for a recent Saturday morning meeting.

As Venerable Chodron advised in Friday night’s teaching, Mahayana practitioners make vast aspirations so that when we have an opportunity to help, there is no hesitation in our mind. Reflecting on this advice in light of current world events, these aspirations came to me this morning.

Venerable Tsepal sitting on the floor smiling at the cat Mudita who is in her lap.
Venerable Tsepal with Sravasti Abbey cat Mudita. (Photo by Sravasti Abbey)

May I become the supreme firefighter who easily quells the fire of hatred and anger for all sentient beings.

May I become a constant soothing rain of peace and contentment to heal the raging pandemic of greed and dissatisfaction.

May I become the quintessential skilled scientist who offers solutions to the external climate crisis, and also quells the inner climate crises of self-grasping and self-centeredness for every sentient being.

May I become an eloquent public speaker whose words soothe social conflict and unite opposing factions in peace and harmony.

May I develop the resources and capacity to provide meaningful employment for all sentient beings who need work, especially for minorities and marginalized groups of people.

So that all sentient beings have plentiful, nourishing and delicious food and drink, may I be the benevolent farmer, harvester, sorter, packager, transporter, and compassionate merchant or philanthropist who brings this about for all sentient beings.

May I always manifest as a caring, loving guide and friend to anyone weighed down by depression, discouragement, or crippling cynicism, especially young people.

May I be a stainless moral compass and example to inspire spiritual practitioners in the darkest days of degenerate times.

May I become a beacon of compassion and wisdom to serve and guide sentient beings in whatever way is most beneficial for them.

As Shantideva says in 3.11,

Without any sense of loss,
I shall give my body and resources
As well as my virtues of the three times
For the sake of accomplishing the welfare of all sentient beings.

Venerable Tenzin Tsepal

Venerable Tenzin Tsepal was first introduced to meditation in high school in the 1970s. While working as a dental hygienist in Seattle and hospital administration in Yakima, she practiced and attended retreats in the Vipassana tradition. In 1995, she found Dharma Friendship Foundation and teachings with Venerable Thubten Chodron. She attended the Life As A Western Buddhist Nun conference in India as a lay volunteer in 1996. Following a life-changing 3-month Vajrasattva retreat in 1998, Ven. Tsepal lived in Dharmsala, India for two years where she further explored the idea of monastic life. She received novice ordination as a Buddhist nun with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in March of 2001. After ordination, she was immersed in the full-time residential Buddhist Studies Program at Chenrezig Institute in Queensland, Australia, principally with Khensur Rinpoche and Geshe Tashi Tsering. As a qualified FPMT teacher, Ven. Tsepal was appointed the Western Teacher at Chenrezig Institute from 2004 to 2014, teaching the Discovering Buddhism series, tutoring for the general program and leading retreats. In 2015, she tutored three subjects for the FPMT Basic Program. Venerable Tsepal arrived at Sravasti Abbey in mid-January for the 2016 Winter Retreat. She joined the community in September 2016, and received Shiksamana training that October.

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