Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche’s recent visit to Evanston was full and magical. Around 140 people were treated to two days of wonderful, intensive teachings providing an overview of the entire Buddhist path, infused with both great wisdom and great humor. In addition, Rinpoche had meetings with many students and the community, gave practice transmissions, and provided guidance for the development of both Ösel Ling and the Heartwood Center, where the teachings were held.
Rinpoche also took time to name the two houses Ösel Ling owns. The house at 1814 Dempster—previously referred to as “the teacher’s house” —is now Minling House. Our new building at 1807 Dempster—used for student housing during Rinpoche’s program—is now Tara House.
The teachings, as well as the way Rinpoche embodies them herself, remind us that we can aspire to actually attain the fruition of enlightened mind. At the same time, that it is important to avoid the arrogance of believing we are further along than we are. Through understanding the nine yanas, we are encouraged to to continuously and carefully examine our intention in order to know which of the vast treasure of teachings and practices available through the Buddha Dharma will best help us work with the obstacles we are encountering at any particular time. These are excellent teachings for us all to study and contemplate for a long time to come.
The Ösel Ling community worked tirelessly in July and early August to prepare for the visit. Together we cleaned up the yards and made gardens at both of the Ösel Ling Houses. We cleaned Tara House, then gathered donated furniture and prepared it so 11 out-of-towners could stay during the weekend. The upstairs apartment at Minling House was transformed into a wonderful space for Rinpoche to stay. In the Skylight room at Heartwood, banners were made and hung along with thangkas, a throne was covered in brocades, flowers were arranged, a beautiful shrine was constructed. Magically, the event space became a magnificent shrine room.
Over the weekend itself so many members served as volunteers. Everyone stepped into easily into their roles and performed them as if they had thorough intensive training. Throughout all the preparations and the weekend, the attitude was one of cheerfulness, harmony and supporting one another. It was wonderful to see. In so many ways, Rinpoche’s visit provides a great launching pad for Ösel Ling’s activities in the coming year and beyond.