When we allow the ego to stand between us and generating bodhicitta, we have created what my Root Guru calls, “karmic spaces”.
Sure, it’s risky to genuinely care about all sentient beings with a full and open heart. You run the risk of experiencing feelings that might hurt… disappointments that might sting… but with practice, it becomes easier to accept those things as they arise, because only when you have opened your heart, as only a Mother can, and accept all beings as entrusted to your tender care, can you truly know the kind of love… peace… and wholeness that is bourne out of Bodhicitta – the Mind of Enlightenment.
Ma Jaya taught, “We know we can use positive intent to visualize happiness and bring it towards us. However, intent becomes a karmic space when the ego gets between the thought and the action.”
Twenty-one years ago, I had my photo taken at Kashi Ashram. It was taken just after the conclusion of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati’s weekly darśana (live public teaching). Just 20 minutes earlier, Ma gave me my Dharma name, Gurudas.
We were fortunate that on the Friday, although Ma was actually holding a “closed darśana” for the residents of Kashi, Hanuman Kurt, Ganga-das and I were permitted to attend. We sat there, in the Dattatreya Temple, singing and chanting some familiar and some unfamiliar Hindu bhajans, and then began to chant the Hanuman Chalisa, followed by a bhajan to the Mother. Suddenly, someone said, “She’s coming!” and everyone stood, as Ma entered the Temple, escorted by her attendants.
Ma taught with a clarity and presence that immediately let one realise that they were in the presence of the archetypal Mother. And as she began with a guided meditation, I began to hear as clearly as the day he said it, the words of my first monastic Teacher, Lama Thubten Yeshe, telling me I would have one greater teacher after he left his body, and that teacher would be my true Tsawa Lama.
The past twenty-one years were filled with good times and rough times. But there was always Ma… consistently there… letting the chaos unfold, and then watching it dissipate.
She was there, at the Names Project Memorial Quilt, when we added my late partner’s panel. She was there, when I was told by the doctors that I might not make it out of the hospital, after the third bout with pneumocystis. When I shattered my arm, in a Parkinson’s related accident, a month after the Gandhi Award ceremony, she was there, doing pujas for me, and she told me that she would be there when I was ready to come home.
She would encourage me each time another of my books were published. During my last phone conversation with Ma, she would tease me, asking “When are you going to build a Buddhist monastery at Kashi, so that I can get my hands on my Buddhist monks and get them into shape?”
Many things changed over the years at Kashi, and in all of our lives… but one thing remained constant, and that was the Guru’s love for her spiritual children. It was a love that would get me through all the men and women dying in my arms over the past 18 years… It was a love that helped me carry the frail body of my beloved Dean up and down the stairs, as he battled cancer, in 2005… and which comforted me, when he died as a result of homophobia in the healthcare system.
None of our lives will ever be the same, and will be immeasurably richer for having sat at Her Lotus Feet, even for so short a time. And Her beautiful legacy lives on in each of us, as she now sits upon the dais prepared for her in our hearts… where the Guru lives on.