My purpose for this website is to share my ongoing inquiry into the rich and ancient tradition of Buddhist wisdom, and to find a way to connect with others who have a similar interest.
Although, at the request of my teacher, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, I began to travel and give dharma teachings in 2008, I see myself more as a student—always learning, fiercely probing, fascinated with the challenges of being human and the great potential for awakening. This kind of learning, of course, cannot happen in a vacuum, but requires an ongoing exchange between one’s inner and outer worlds. It seems in the contemporary world in which we live, a website may just be the most effective way to create this kind of communication and serve as an opportunity for both myself and others to have a bit of dialogue.
I often stop and think: “Who am I to teach this profound and vast tradition that has been passed down from teacher to student in an unbroken lineage from the time of the Buddha?” I don’t mean this in a self-effacing way, but rather as a way of being honest with myself as to where I am with my study and practice. I feel a sense of humility and awe in the face of these teachings. I can recognize my own limitations and also the vastness of my own potential, and I am grateful to see both.
This tradition has the most humorous and radical methods for those longing to do whatever it takes to live a healthy and compassionate life. It is a path for those who are not interested in self-deception or hiding from their habitual tendencies. It is for those who are interested in exposing their hidden faults to the light of their intelligence, which ends up being one of the most liberating aspects of this path.
It excites and sometimes concerns me to witness the timeless wisdom of the Buddhist tradition enter into the wild, cocky, and creative atmosphere of contemporary culture. In this age of spiritual materialism it is a strong tendency for all of us to use spirituality as a way to make ourselves comfortable. We tend to pick and choose aspects of our spiritual traditions that substantiate our ego, and reject the things that challenge our habitual reactive mind. I can’t image how such a path could be transformative and it sometimes makes me wonder if the dharma will withstand the test of time. Personally, I think that will depend upon whether those who practice it understand the wisdom aspect of these teachings, and maintain a spirit of open inquiry—which demands a mind willing to let go of the extremes of belief and doubt—a mind that longs for something much deeper, intelligent, and more daring.
So I confess, I do have a personal agenda here. As a Western contemporary female practitioner and teacher, I feel a personal allegiance to the teachings on emptiness and dependent origination, and want to do my part in preserving them. I have confidence that they are powerful teachings for our time. I want to use this website as a means for me to connect with others, to share my enthusiasm for these most precious teachings, and to learn. I hope you will join me in this venture...I predict it will be fun!
With gratitude and deep respect,
Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel