Root Guru: The Dalai Lama/ Part 4 of My Story
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
It was through the enthusiastic guidance of Olivia Robertson that I began in the early '90s to make
a serious study of the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and in particular, the books written by His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, who quickly became a teacher of special significance to me. For some reason, the culture, iconography, sound, and feel of Tibetan Buddhism struck a very deep chord in my heart, and it was Olivia's idea that perhaps I was tuning in to the memory of a previous incarnation in Tibet...perhaps as a Tibetan monk?
Loreon Vigné and Paul Ramses once again played a role in helping me to seek possible past life associations with Tibet and her rich spiritual traditions, which to me felt very strong, very natural. Paul took me through a past life regression in which he felt he pinpointed a life I had lived in Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet. Regardless of whether or not there is some truth to this, I was quite determined to study the Dharma or teachings of the Buddha as they had been transplanted in Tibet, for I felt that the Tibetans had preserved a very advanced system of meditation and insight into the true nature of the mind and that their unique tradition of identifiable reincarnation was a breakthrough in the comprehension of how the human non-physical condition operated.
Throughout the 90's I continued to study the books of the Dalai Lama, attending meditation classes and rituals at a local San Diego Buddhist temple. All the while I maintained communion with the Goddess Isis through Her work in the Temple and Fellowship of Isis and practiced the ancient Egyptian religion in accordance with my own studies and inner guidance. My feeling during this decade was that I was being guided through a series of initiations and transformations, during which my mind and consciousness were being expanded beyond the limitations I had imposed on myself during my years of study with The Ammonite Foundation. I had (and have) no regrets concerning my level of involvement with the Ammonites, however, now that I can look back on this period of my spiritual studies with fresh eyes, I see that religion and spirituality should never be something we feel obligated to, nor should we close our minds to other avenues of enlightenment. The Ammonites tended towards fundamentalism and restriction in their practice of ancient Egyptian spirituality, and fundamentalism, no matter what name you give it or how you dress it up to make it look pretty, is simply another form of stifling the freedom of the human psyche to question, challenge and expand its awareness of itself.
There are always noble-sounding excuses given by religious fundamentalists for their doctrine and dogma. It's traditional. It's for our own good. This is God's infallible, inerrant Word. This is how it's always been. This is the right way. In the end, fundamentalism is about mind control and the operation of social and political power, it has absolutely nothing to do with the human spirit or the quest for Truth. Truth is limitless. It inspires faith of its own accord, without the need for restrictions or absolutism. The human conscience has no need for fundamentalism in the realm of the Soul. The Soul finds its own way home, and it is drawn to its Sources naturally, as a child to its mother.
One of the very great experiences of my life thus far occurred on the days of October 12-14 1999, when I attended by invitation of The Office of Tibet The Path of Liberation Teachings in Pasadena California, being offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This was my first encounter with the Dalai Lama, a man whose spiritual vision for global peace and disarmament, whose Buddhist teachings on non-violence and inner transformation had profoundly changed my life. Sitting very near to His Holiness, I had the opportunity to observe at close range the expressions and character of Tibet's exiled political and spiritual leader. I knew that he was a man of singular vision and wisdom, unsurpassed training in meditation and Buddhist theology, and a tireless spokesman for human rights on the world stage, but what I had not been prepared for was his innate humility, openness and direct concern for all those with whom he came into contact. From the most senior Lama from Tibet's most prestigious monastery, down to the person seated far away in the nosebleed section of the vast auditorium, the Dalai Lama made a genuine effort to acknowledge everyone he could, and to share with them his warmth and loving-kindness.
Another thing that drew me into the Dalai Lama's magnetic personality was the fact that he was the only religious leader I had ever encountered who actually wanted people to remain true to their own religious convictions and spiritual principles, whether or not they were in accord with his own. The Dalai Lama spoke to us about the importance of people becoming the very best practitioners of their own religious ideals, not converting to Buddhism in order to do that...unless the Buddhist doctrine was naturally in accordance with their desires and principles. The Dalai Lama does not believe in conversion or dogmatic preaching, but in living by example according to the best qualities inherent in a person's religious beliefs.
In June of 2000, I was once again invited by The Office of Tibet of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to participate in a week-long teaching-intensive being offered by the Dalai Lama, during which His Holiness would be performing, for those who applied and were serious about receiving them, initiations into the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the White and Green Taras. On Thursday, June 29, 2000, I was initiated into the practice of the White and Green Taras, with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama acting as Root Guru.