A couple weeks ago, hundreds of Kadampa practitioners gathered from all over the US at the beautiful temple in upstate New York for 5 days. We listened to teachings, engaged in meditation, prayers and retreat together, connected with old friends and made lots of new ones.
The teachings were on universal compassion - a concept that often can seem way out of our scope of comprehension, let alone achievability. Each of the four dynamic festival teachers offered fresh insights based on their own extensive experience and practice. Even for those of us who have heard these teachings many times before, they just hit in a different way. We gain some new perspective. Our confidence grows. Universal compassion is the answer to my own and others' problems. We think "I want to do this, I can do this, I will do this!"
One of the most meaningful parts of Festival is spending time with other members of our national spiritual community. Our shared interest in spiritual practice gives us a profound connection to every other person there - whether lay or ordained, young or old, new or experienced. We get involved in deep or lighthearted Dharma discussions. We volunteer side-by-side, serving coffee, cleaning the kitchen, or working in the bookshop. We make meaningful lasting friendships.
Our Kadampa festivals are like compassion in action. We gather not just for ourselves - we do it for others. We listen, contemplate, meditate. We connect with our spiritual friends. We fill up with amazing inspiring energy. And each one of us takes that inspiration home to continue to work toward our collective goal - lasting happiness and permanent freedom from suffering for each and every living being.
It's not too late to get a Festival experience this year! Summer Festival is just a couple weeks away at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Center in the UK. And Fall Festival is in early October at KMC Spain. If you can't make it in person, you can join online. And make a wish to go in person in 2024!