|Tibetan Master Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche|
Yangthang Rinpoche embodies a lifetime of spiritual development and service. He was held in a Chinese prison for many years. Prisoners were forbidden to pray or meditate on pain of torture and death. It is said that Yangthang Rinpoche lay next to a different Tibetan every evening and whispered the Dharma teachings in their ear.
In Alameda, he followed a schedule that most octagenarians could not duplicate. He got up on his teaching seat at 6am, and got off it at 6 or 7pm, with only one break-- for lunch.
Meditators at his level of development have control over their bodies and minds. I suppose that for those who have never had any contact with authentic spiritual teachers, this may seem astonishing, but really, it is the least astonishing aspect of the influence and effect teachers like that have upon us beings who are still in the formative stages of development. Once I arrive in this kind of gathering, and sit in the presence of a teacher like Yangthang Rinpoche, I find it hard to leave and return to my ordinary life. But of course I do return to it, to my habits, projects, friends, home and garden, all of which are the expressions of innate openness and light.
|The Lagoon in Alameda|
My friend Diane and I stayed in the Coral Reef Motel, and our living room faced the lagoon. We walked from the motel to Orgyen Dorje Den, the Buddhist center where the teachings were held. Alameda has a big Asian population and that gives the place its particular flavor.
I enjoyed the warmth, the beautiful gardens that front many of the houses, walking on the beach, window shopping and visiting the wonderful natural foods market. It was a nice respite from my home in southern Oregon.
Cause for celebration! I find more and more evidence of positive aging in the media and in the flow of everyday life. Two weeks ago, I attended a fundraising dinner for the Rogue Valley Chorale. Lyn Sjoland, now in his 80s, is retiring as its director after a 40 year career. Sjoland is such a warm, humorous and vivid presence -- he is a wonderful example of how to age in a happy, fulfilled way. Vision and purpose are key elements to successful aging. Sjoland certainly has managed to demonstrate that. It was touching to see how many lives he has enriched with the musical programs and ensembles he created.
On the nonagenarian front, I read another article about a 90-year old yoga practitioner. Her name is Phyllis Sues. Here's her take on aging.
"I started my own fashion label at 50, became a musician and learned Italian and French in my 70s, took tango and trapeze at 80 and walked into my first yoga class at 85. So, if you think you're old, think again!" You can read Phyllis Sues story here
Here's a few other items from my recent Elder Beat explorations.