Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done over 500 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look at the past interviews menu. Yeah, I didn’t do my name. I always do that. My name is Rick Archer. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. And so if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Cynthia Jurs. Cynthia is a Tibetan Buddhist Lama and a Dharma Acharya in the Order of Interbeing of Zen master, take not Han, whose source of refuge and spiritual inspiration is Mother Earth, Gaia, the 1990s She made a life changing pilgrimage to meet the hermit and meditation master Kushok monk then Charak Rinpoche 106 year old Lama living in a remote cave in the power from whom she received the practice of the earth treasure vases basis versus I guess they do have their way. When she asked him, What can we do to bring healing and protection to the earth? For 30 years, Cynthia has been building a global community committed to planetary healing and collective awakening in partnership with elders and activists around the world. Cynthia teaches an innovative blend of engaged Buddhism and sacred activism through the treasure the earth treasure vase global healing project, the open way Sangha in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the International Gaia mandola community through her nonprofit Alliance for the Earth. Cynthia has worked with former combatants and the women who stopped a war in Liberia, West Africa to build peace, teaching mindfulness and CO founding the peace alliance for conflict transformation. Cindy’s book summoned by the Earth is forthcoming. So welcome, Cynthia. Good to have you.
Cynthia Jurs: Thanks for having me, Rick. It’s great to be here.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, we’ll have a good conversation. So the 800 pound gorilla in the rim these days is the Coronavirus pandemic, as we’re recording this, it’s still gaining momentum around the country. And a lot of people are sort of reading different types of significance into it. And I’m wondering what you might have to say about
Cynthia Jurs: it. Yeah, it is an 800 pound gorilla. It’s even just being here with that, as our context makes me feel almost on the verge of tears. It’s just so powerful. Such a powerful teacher and I, I pretty quickly began to call Corona virus, karuna virus,
Rick Archer: which means kindness. Well, it
Cynthia Jurs: means compassion, passion Sant Sanskrit, right. And it just feels to me like, this is the great teaching of this particular moment. That is, you know, with this, this virus that is crossing all political boundaries, and every kind of boundary we can possibly think of, and coming into the lives of everyone everywhere, all around the entire planet. The opportunity here is really to come into an experience of compassion and, and respond from a place that is so much larger than our little selves. You know, it’s I’m a little bit at a loss for words, actually, because it’s so it’s so huge, you know, I actually did a an eaching reading this morning. And, and what what came was that it’s a time to let go of the of the old structures to let the old structures dissolve so that the new can emerge and obviously, the structures that we’ve been living within all the structures are being affected by this little virus that the Earth herself has unleashed. I mean, there’s there’s such incredible wisdom in it on one level, but the the terrifying suffering that is also accompanying it is heartbreaking, you know, but if we, if we are asking for and we are to bring balance back into the web of life, then Big changes are needed. And this is bringing about all of those big changes. So, the other part of it that has been very vivid to me is this whole notion of stopping. And being asked by all the powers that be to stop and go home, come back to ourselves in tick, not Hans language, coming back to ourselves. And stopping is actually the first step in creating an opening to something else, you know, if we want to transform, if we want to have any possibility of waking up, whatever that means. We have to be willing to stop and face ourselves and come into an experience of being.
Rick Archer: Yeah, which was many of us have been doing intentionally for decades. Now, it’s kind of a crash course. I think for many people, you know?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, speaking of tech, not Han, you probably have heard this many times. But I was actually there when he said it, which was this whole idea of the next Buddha, being a sangha. So the idea that we’re in the process of a collective awakening, that that it’s no longer the time of the individual really. And so we’re all in this together.
Rick Archer: Yeah, no. And of course, spiritual and new agey type people have been speaking for a long time about a collective awakening that seems to be just over the next horizon. And on this show, I’ve often said, Well, I just have a feeling this thing is coming. I just don’t know how you know, and when it does, or in or for it to come, there’s going to have to be a huge restructuring a lot of because there’s so many things that dominate our economy, and politics and industry and everything else that really have no place in a more enlightened world. So how are those things going to be reef transformed or replaced or something? There could be a lot of tumult when, when this actually happens? I certainly don’t think the end of it because if everyone were to wake up healthy tomorrow, it would be back to business as usual. And so perhaps this thing has lessons yet to teach us?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, yeah, and I think the last thing we want is to go back to the way that it was a this is an amazing opening, amazing opportunity for us collectively to, to stop and in the stopping to look deeply at what’s working and what’s not working. And we can’t even see it, if we’re continuing to go on and on and on our same old ways. And we’re where as collectively, we’re so habituated, and conditioned to just operating in that same away, it’s very hard to break through those habits, those patterns. And so an opportunity like this is providing a way for us to actually do that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. One metaphor, which has come to my mind is that of a trim tab, you know, what a trim tab is,
Cynthia Jurs: I sort of do on the on a boat. Yeah, the boats rudder or
Rick Archer: planes rudder, it’s a little thing that kind of helps the move the bigger thing. So there’s a lot of force pushing against the rudder or an airplane on a plane or a boat, and it’d be hard to move. But this trim tab sort of moves out in the opposite direction, it creates a force that pushes the rudder the way they want it to go. And, you know, the big rudder, in my opinion, is climate change. And in terms of the potential devastation, it could result in and we’re ignoring pretty much, you know, to we’re not doing the stuff that we need to do so urgently, according to all the experts. So perhaps this is a trim tab or a small thing by comparison, even though it’s not trivial. That will at the end of it, we might think, well, we got through that now, what other disasters might be looming on the horizon that we’re not paying enough attention to. Oh, yeah. Climate change. Let’s do something we better do something. Now. We’ve learned our lesson about a stitch in time saves nine.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It is. I don’t know how small of a thing This is I mean, I think it’s intimately connected with climate change and the imbalance within all systems of the planet, you know, resulting in our immune system, having a breakdown, and having the release of this new virus upon us, that we we have to look at the imbalances in the world that we’ve created. And, and, you know, even to the point of jobs and, and everything that’s also coming to a screeching halt some of these jobs, you know, maybe when people stop long enough to take a look, they’re going to realize is that really what I want to be doing? Is that is that really contributing to a better world? And that’s certainly a prayer and another prayer is really, you know, with a loss of life, you know, that, that these these lives that are being sacrificed are, are not in vain, you know, that, that there is the potential for the loved ones around those whose lives are being lost. To look even more deeply at at at why this is happening. And and what how we go on from here. In in new ways.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good point. Okay, well, maybe we’ll come back to this. I don’t know if I have anything more to say about at the moment. But it’s something that we’re all thinking about a lot. And hopefully, we’re not just living in fear. There was a great line I heard remember that. I don’t know if you watch many movies. But there’s that movie Bridge of Spies that had Tom Hanks in it. And there was a guy who won I think he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I don’t remember his name. But there was one point at which he and Tom Hanks were sitting, talking. And the the guy is going to be executed for having been caught as a spy. And he’s sitting there casually smoking a cigarette. And Tom saying Hank says we don’t seem to be worried why aren’t Shouldn’t you? Why should you be worried you might get executed? And you know, maybe you should be worried? And he said, The guy says, Would that help? You know? You know, so, yeah, I think that fear is helpful in this circumstance. Well, you can be extremely conscientious and doing all the right things, and yet not experiencing experiencing iota of fear.
Cynthia Jurs: Right, fear is the mind killer, right from Dune, that that’s another another line. And I had an experience once, when I took one of the earth treasure vases to Mali, the first country in Africa, I went there, guided by a dream. And I had a dream that told me that the pathway to peace in Africa was through the Dogan, people in Mali. And I took the first treasure bass for Africa to this doggone elder. And it was amazing life experience, and asked for his blessing. And he did a divination about the whole practice and everything and, and at the end of the whole time, well, I felt like I was just sitting in the presence of such a beautiful, wise being. And I said to him, what was on my heart at the time, I said, what, what about this urgency that I feel about the world situation? You know, how, at the time I was just possessed, and of course, I guess I still am, but I was possessed with the assignment that I had been given. And I felt this sense of extreme urgency to get these little clay pots in the ground. And he turned any looked at me and he said, urgency. We don’t really have that here. You know, and my mind just stopped, everything fell away, and I realized how useless it is to be caught up by that sense of urgency. And the same about fear, you know, it doesn’t help. And I think that’s also part of this, this stopping, you know, it’s, of course, the situation is urgent, we are in a very dire situation and every way we can possibly think of and yet, when we allow ourselves to be governed by that sense of, oh my god, urgent, urgent, urgent, or, you know, fear, fear, fear. We just go around and around and around and keep on perpetuating the same old problems. So it’s, it’s when we stop and take a breath, and, you know, let things just settle even for A moment when we begin to have the possibility of a little glimpse of something else, you know?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And the funny thing is you can be in a situation, which might appear to demand urgency, and in which you have, you’re playing a very dynamic, important role. And yet, subjectively, you can be, you know, not only not feeling fear, but also not feeling any sense of urgency, in other words, just going with the flow, and yet, you know, really focusing and doing something about the situation.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, and that’s, that is, I think, what happens when we fully enter the present moment, when we’re, when we’re just right here. With all of ourselves, we’re able to respond clearly, and, and skillfully to whatever is going on. And, and so that’s an art. And it’s a practice to get to that place. And, and it can be done like that, if we if we are willing to just stop and show up.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So established in being perform action, as it says. So getting ahead of ourselves a little bit, as you’ve mentioned, taking Earth treasure phases to Africa, and we haven’t really explained what they are yet. So let’s talk about your whole path with this. Like, we can even take it a bit chronologically if you’d like, like, you ended up getting this assignment in the in the mountains of Nepal. But what were you doing in the mountains in the park? I mean, what led up to you, you know, having this encounter with 106 year old monk?
Cynthia Jurs: Hmm. Well, I was, I was already pretty deeply involved in Buddhism about this was 1990, when I met the 106 year old Lama. I’ve been practicing with him since the 80s. So tick, not Han was my kind of Route teacher. And but I had a very deep interest in Tibetan Buddhism as well. And so it’s kind of following them teachers. Tick not Han is is from Vietnam. He’s a Zen teacher. Yeah. But his his form of Zen is kind of a slightly more of a pasta ish, then then very strict Japanese en, for example. But I love tick non Han, because of his teachings of what he calls engaged Buddhism, which really speaks to me, that whole notion that, you know, we can have these wonderful experiences on our cushion. But if we’re not actually taking it out into the world, and contributing, then what good is it? You know, so that is something that I took to heart when I met him originally, and I love about his teachings. I also love his teachings for their simplicity. And so anyway, I had been practicing with him and also taking more and more of an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. And I knew someone who, who, who wanted to go meet this old Lama who lived in the cave and had heard about him. And when I heard about him, myself, I asked if I could go along. And, and so I was given permission to go along. But it was one of those kind of like, I have to go, I have to go on this trip. And so but I don’t know if that’s enough background, there’s tons of other background, I
Rick Archer: mean, I think, is significant. I mean, you know, sometimes we go way back to like, what got you involved or interested in spirituality in the first place. And sometimes people have interesting answers to that. And others say they really just kind of stumbled into it or felt that way when they were kid. And then they got mixed up as a teenager and then kind of rediscovered it when they were a little older and know that there’s all sorts of stories like that.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, yeah. Well, anyway, so maybe it’ll weave in because there’s other things I could say. But okay. But in any case, yeah, I was, I was walking up the path to this very remote cave in the high mountains of Nepal. And I kind of like realized all of a sudden, oh, this is sort of a unique opportunities, Cynthia, you’re actually going to meet the old wise man in the cave would be what are you going to ask him? You know, and, and then and then I was realizing that I should, I should really have a question that is not just for myself, but for all of us because not everybody’s going to have such an opportunity and and I should make the most of it. So I stumbled along the path You know, continue to stumble along the path and and contemplating what what in the world I would ask him. And what came to me, finally, was my my deepest question, which was what can we do to bring healing and protection to the earth. And at the time, this was, as I said, 1990. I don’t know if you remember the the film that came out about the Kogi people called the elder brothers warning message from the heart of the world,
Rick Archer: I either watched it or read enough about it to get what they’re saying, but go ahead and tell ya,
Cynthia Jurs: well, there was a book also, besides the film by the filmmaker, about their message, and these are people many of your listeners probably already know about the Kogi but they consider themselves to be the elder brothers and sisters of the whole earth, you know, that are their purpose is to maintain balance and harmony in what they consider the heart of the world, which is the mountains of the of Colombia. And so they have a very interesting, you know, worldview. And many of their leaders elders, are taken into darkness for the first many number of years of their lives and are trained as visionaries. And anyway, they they came out, they had chosen to separate themselves from the whole rest of the world, in order to maintain their their, the, their way of being culture, their culture, and they came out to deliver this message because things were getting so out of balance. So that message got to me and was one of one of the wake up calls that I received. Another wake up call that I received came through my great friend and mentor, Joanna Macy, who at the time back then was very focused on Nuclear Guardianship. And the whole idea that the the radioactive waste that is produced from the production of nuclear weapons, and other such things, is poisoning, excuse me, poisoning the fabric of the web of life in ways that we can’t see and also live for extremely long periods of time, hundreds of 1000s of years, hundreds of 1000s of years. And so I live in New Mexico,
Rick Archer: we’re strong them in rotten 55 gallon drums in some places, you know, that erode, corroding and,
Cynthia Jurs: well, yes, exactly. And, and at that time, living here in New Mexico, across the Rio Grande Valley from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is the birthplace of the atomic bomb, we were we were trying to stop the waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which is where they store radioactive waste underground in salt caverns near Carlsbad, which is a major tourist site with these caverns. And Joanna was talking about the need to wake up to these substances, and how do we care for them over these long, long periods of time into the future, and how they will be impacting the Earth and all all of life. And we lost the fight against quip, the waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and, and that was pretty devastating, you know, to, to come to terms with like, what, what this means for us, all and for future generations. And so anyway, I was grappling with these things as I was walking up the path. And so that was part of my motivation and asking the question, what do we do to bring healing and protection to the earth, not just sort of in a vague way, but in relationship to things like radioactive waste, and, and then since then, that being 1990, you know, things have unfolded, unfortunately, even more in in going out of balance. So But anyway, I had the, the opportunity to ask this question of the old Lama. And I lived with him for a couple of weeks, before I had the chance to talk to him. And finally, one day, the moment arose, and he asked me, you know, about what life was like here and stuff he’d never, you know, never been anywhere else other than where he was from. And so when I asked him that question, he he said, even just one person can bring benefit to the whole area around where they live, he said a bit you, you need to get these Earth treasure vases and you need to put them in the ground and they will do that work. And my rational mind kind of went, right, how’s a little clay pot filled with prayers and symbolic offerings and buried in the earth going to deal with the kinds of things that we have to confront.
Rick Archer: I have one right there.
Cynthia Jurs: I do. So this is this is decorated a little bit. It’s all decorated. So this is what I call the the mama vessel. It’s the last of the original treasure vases that I was given at the time. And then later, I received a second generation that are about half this size. And so you can see under the silks that it’s a clay pot, maybe I’ll maybe I’ll undo it. And
Rick Archer: this is an ancient tradition, isn’t it? I mean, you’re not the first person to do that thing to bury these things. But it’s ancient Tibetan practice.
Cynthia Jurs: Yes, this is a what’s called a terma. It’s a it’s a practice that goes back to the eighth century, it was brought into brought brought forward by Guru Rinpoche Padma Sun bhava as a remedy to restore balance and harmony to the earth, and to the all the living systems in the area where one of these is buried. And so they’re filled with. I mean, the Tibetans fill them with very specific offerings and prayers and consecrate them. And in our case, because they had to travel, how halfway around the world to get to us, the lamas we’re concerned about. You know, then once there’s, they’re filled and sealed, which normally the monks in the monasteries would do all of that. And we might, you know, it’s not like a big upfront and center practice that is done a lot and or that we would do
Rick Archer: to customers without having it Oh, no,
Cynthia Jurs: so. So anyway, because of the sort of importance of what I was pointing to around what these needed to address in our times, the Lama has decided to gather all these sacred substances and relics and medicines, and mix it into the clay, oh, and then make the pots and consecrate them, and give them to us to fill and seal and bury, which is really unusual. Because normally, as I say, they have very specific ways they would do all of this, but because they consecrated them with all of these sacred substances and stuff, it was kind of like, basically what they said was just put them in the ground, they’ll do the work, you know, and again, my rational mind was sort of going, Really, how is that possible? How is that really going to make such a difference? But the other part of me thought, Well, okay, you know, this is what’s coming to me, this is the answer that I was given to my question. So I need to do this. And and so what was what’s so interesting to me about it is that these these little holy vessels, they are really like living beings, once they start to get filled, they take on so much energy, so much intention. So because what happens is that people pour their hearts into this little vessel, no matter what culture or spiritual tradition, or, you know, where they’re coming from, I have been all around the whole planet with this practice, and been very surprised actually, that everywhere I go, people go, Oh, yes, they can they understand. And so what happens is people pour their their deepest love, their deepest caring about the place that they they care about into a little pot, and the pot takes on all of that, that energy. And in, I said at the beginning, this is a term of practice. Termas are teachings that are given. You know, maybe they come forward, way back when, but they they sort of lied dormant until such time as they’re really needed. And then they arise again, and so this practice is one of those and clearly, this practice is made for these times that we’re living in now. And I As if the way in which we were given this practice to fill and seal and bury them ourselves has actually brought the term to life in a way that other lineages, please forgive me for saying this, but other lineages, and there are many others that are carrying out this practice as well may not have had quite the same kind of an experience, because it’s all being it is all been done for them, by the mob by the monks. And so what’s happened here is that, for example, when I took a vase to Africa, to Liberia, and the people, they’re engaged with it, which is the whole story, if we have time for I’d love to share but half time, yeah, so So when, when people from different cultures, you know, engage with it and make their own offerings, they’re often things, they put things inside, that the llamas never would have put, but that are meaningful, deeply meaningful in those cultures and communities. And so then it carries it, I just, it just carries so much more meaning and awaken something in each each person who is involved. And there have been 1000s and 1000s. Now, all around the whole planet. So
Rick Archer: 1000s of people, people involved, yeah, not 1000s of parts, but 1000s of people
Cynthia Jurs: know, 1000s of people, and there will be 70 locations when we’re done. And we have, we have 14 left to dedicate. So but but it has brought it to life anyway, maybe that’s enough on all of that for the moment.
Rick Archer: That’s good. In the course of this conversation, I’ll have you tell us some of the places that you’ve buried them. And some of the more memorable stories that there’s a documentary I watched of you, in Africa with an aborigine woman doing one there. And I heard your story about Africa, we’ll have you tell that for the viewers also. Okay. Yeah. Nice to talk to. And so, over these, you know, you said that initially, you’re kind of skeptical, like, you know, how could this have an effect? And now you’re convinced that it does, I believe? What is your understanding? Now, it must have refined a lot over the years of the actual mechanics through which these things could have an effect here do have an effect?
Cynthia Jurs: You know, I, I don’t know how to answer that question. You know, I don’t I honestly, can’t say I don’t, I don’t really engage too much in magical thinking, even though you
Rick Archer: know, it’s kind of a magical universe. So you know, it? Well, yeah. But,
Cynthia Jurs: you know, I don’t, I don’t know, a lot. I just know that things happen around these little vessels, when people make their most heartfelt offerings. And they get in touch with what they love and care about. And they pour that out. First of all, it’s kind of alchemical. And it combines, it combines with all the other offerings, all the other prayers that have been made. And there’s a meditation that we do, that is a visualization also, that facilitates the practice. But I think really bottom line is that people come into an experience of actually being a vessel themselves. And so, over the years, while these little clay pots have been, you know, the reason for my own intense motivation to bring the healing and the protection to the earth that is called for and the renewal and to engage with communities all over the planet, in all kinds of ways. In the end, what is most important is that we realize that we are each a holy vessel, as as Joanna Macy was the first to point out we are each a holy vessel, and we are each filled with so much beauty and goodness and, and, and and compassion speaking of Karuna. You know, the compassion that is our greatest gift as human beings to offer into the world. And when we can Next with that, we’re unstoppable. You know, and that is the beauty, you know, and that is that is the gift. So, I think there have been many, many, many things that have happened with these little clay pots and and some are tangible, and many of them are quite intangible. But it doesn’t mean they’re not having an effect. Oh, yeah,
Rick Archer: I hadn’t heard of these until I saw you speak at the sand conference last October. But I don’t know, it’s it’s not a big leap of rationality occur faith, for me to think that this could have an effect. I mean, I’m kind of comfortable with the idea that objects can be imbued with some kind of subtle influence. And probably everybody’s heard of that Japanese researcher with the water how, you know, with the thoughts he thinks, or the music he plays, or whatever, imbues the water with some kind of quality, you know, either coherent or incoherent, beautiful or ugly. And they’re, they’re icons or temples in India, which people have been pouring their devotion into for 1000s of years, which I haven’t actually visited any of them. But I have friends who have who say, it’s really powerful, you know, when you get in the presence of that thing? Because, and so I can, you know, I can think of these things as being like little transmitters that you’ve been planting around the world. Exactly. Yeah. Which, which kind of you can imagine a visualize the earth with like, little transmitters all over the place, beaming out, and yeah, and we’re also transmitters, of course. But, yeah, why not have varying kinds of transmitters? You know?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, yeah. Yeah. And I think we need, we need all the help we can get so so, you know, why not? That was where I went with it is like, Okay, well, my rational mind might not understand this. But why not? You know, let’s, let’s try it. Let’s see what happens. And the more I did it, well, it took me quite a few years actually have them sitting in my closet before I realized, okay, I have these, I better do something with them. I was very overwhelmed by the assignment when I received it, and it was like, Oh, my God, no, I can’t, I can’t do that. But then the, you know, the earth started, really basically screaming and forest fires and all the droughts and everything else going on. And, and finally, it was like, well, we have to pull these out and start working with them. And then, and then amazing things started happening. And I think one of the keys in working with a practice like this, is that we have to get out of our own way. And maybe this is true. Across the board, you know, that we think that we know what to do, or where to go, or how to fix whatever it is. And I’ll tell you, in my own experience, every time I thought that I knew anything at all about these, I would usually get stopped in my tracks, and then I would have to just open again, you know, like to, to the whole notion of being the vessel, and, in a sense, empty my own agenda, and allow for something so much larger to guide the process. And, you know, that was true, people often say, Well, how did you decide where to take them. And it was not a process of, of conceptual thinking, you know, it would, I would have an idea, or we have a sangha here, and we would meet and we would practice with these. And I, again, would think I had the idea of where one should go. And and then something else would happen. Or it would just come about in such different ways. You know, and, and I would, it’s a little bit like the Lord of the Rings with my precious, you know, and people can get very attached to these because they’re power objects, actually, you know, and then it gives me self importance. But that’s not, that’s not what we’re doing here. You know, that is not at all what we’re doing here we are practicing to release our attachment to a sense of self and offer ourselves into something so much larger. And when we do then that’s where the magic can happen.
Rick Archer: Ah, yeah, I was just gonna say, speaking again of Lord of the Rings, you know, Frodo didn’t really want to leave the Shire. He was all comfy, comfy and cozy and he had his little routines there. And he didn’t, he hated the notion of big scary adventures. So it’s kind of like you the pots in the closet. You know, it’s like, you had to kind of go Yeah. Work up your courage and gumption before getting out there and doing it.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, that’s right. Where that really were where the sort of rubber met the road was, when I realized I had to go to Africa. And I’m, in the beginning of this whole thing. I, I gave a lot of them to other people to take people who came forward and said, Well, what about a vase for such and such or such and such? And it would be like, yeah, that’s, that’s great. Here, you do it. Because I was so you know, overwhelmed. But eventually I realized, this is this is this is what I need to do this what I’m born to do, and and I took it up in earnest. And when I went to Africa, is when I had to really face the suffering of the world in a way that I never had before. And
Rick Archer: it’s helped the whole Africa story. That was a good one. Well,
Cynthia Jurs: there’s there’s two, several African stories on there’s there’s Liberia, and which is where we started. And then there’s Congo. And both of them were very important. Liberia, it was just recovering from a really brutal civil war. And that country had had elected the first woman president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it was the women who stopped the war in Liberia about two. That’s interesting. Well, it is interesting, because it’s a model. The war was going on for for a very long time. 13 years. And finally, the the women had had enough and Muslim and Christian women joined together, which is quite unusual. And they started going out on the street and demonstrating peacefully, to stop the war. And there’s actually a really good film called Pray the Devil Back to Hell about this, the women’s peace movement and the ending of the war in Liberia. Anyway, I came in after the war had ended through an organization called the everyday Gandhi’s. And they were doing peacebuilding work to, in a way ceremonially recover from the war with elders. And in the north of Liberia, where was the worst fought area of the war. And I was invited to bring a treasure vase there. I didn’t even know where Liberia was. Actually, it’s a small country in between Ghana and Sierra Leone, and Guinea. And anyway, I, I, I went there. And I had I had brought the treasure bass into a ceremony with a lot of Liberians in this group everyday, Gandhi’s, and here in the US, and then they had poured their prayers into that vase. And when it came back to me, I realized, okay, you know, this is this is where we’re going in Africa. I it took me about a year to raise the money and get together the journey to go there. And on my way, I went and met this doggone elder I told you about a little bit ago. And and then I went on to Liberia, from Mali. And I traveled up into this northern part of the country, which is where the war was particularly bad, and met a whole community of people who were very captivated by the notion of this treasure base. And in order to, to know whether the vase would be accepted, they had to ask the ancestors, whether they should, you know, allow it to be buried there. And so the women went into a ceremonial dance, drumming and dancing. And eventually, one of the ancestors came through one of the women and said, Yes, this is a very important thing, and you should do it. And, you know, like, I’ve traveled all this way, I’m on the edge of my seat going, well, you know, if they say, it’s not such a great idea, then you know, I gotta go home. And I don’t I don’t go anywhere with an agenda of what people should do, because, you know, it’s just an offering. But in any case, they said yes. And then elders from three countries came together around this, this treasure vase because everyone had been so affected by the war. And there’s three countries Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia who all share a border in that in that region. And people came from all three countries to pour their hearts into this little clay pot. And there were traditional ceremonies done and sacrifice of animal to eat together and, and dances and everything. And then eventually it was time to, for the ceremony with the vase. And there were probably 500 people in a large gymnasium, who came together and made offerings and prayers into the base. And it went on the ceremony went on for hours and hours and hours. And, and people didn’t leave, you know, they were they were their young little kids and old people and everything in between, and the mayor and all the dignitaries and the elders from all the different tribes, and, you know, everyone,
Cynthia Jurs: it was just amazing. And, and then, and then there was the burial in the village that had been the village of the chief, who was the ancestor that had given permission for this. And when the vase was, was buried, there was a small group of us who were there for the burial. And that the elders that were there turned to me after it went in the ground and said, well, now what, you know, this was really important to us. We need to remember these prayers. And I, you know, it’s like, it’s not for me to say what happens anywhere, because this is their land, and this is their community and culture. And so I, I kind of like, threw it back on them. And there’s a was a gentleman who I had got to know, who was actually one of the he was a rebel general in the war. And he commanded 30,000 troops in that part of Liberia, and, you know, child soldiers and everything. And when he and I met, for the first time, he asked me to teach him how to meditate. And I couldn’t believe he was serious because of his history. And he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He pursued me it for like, a few years before I relented to actually go, okay, yes, I’ll work with you. So Beth Wilson is his name. And Beth Wilson had the idea to build a peace hut, which is a traditional round structure in that part of Africa, where people gathered to pray and to resolve conflict and to come together and reconcile differences. And so they decided they wanted to build a piece hut in that, in that part of where the treasure base was buried. And so we raised the money, and they built the piece hut, and and then I went back for the dedication of the piece hut. And at the end of that, the people in the village said, Well, this is all great. The treasure vase is great. Yeah, we like that the pyside is great. But what we really need is water, we need fresh, clean water. And we’re all getting sick because of the water is so dirty, and we have to walk many miles and it’s all the women who have to do that. And, and so then we left and went back and raised money for them to dig a well. And now, Beth Wilson was the one to oversee the digging of the well in the community and bring life back into the land. So now we have over these last 10 years built five peace huts in five conflict prone regions of Liberia and five wells. And there are they are all in in regions where there’s still a lot of conflict. Liberia is not a stable place. It was for a while, but it’s not anymore. And but but Berthelsen is an example of someone whose life has been completely transformed by all of this and he went from being you know, a trained killer, rebel leader and on military commander to a soldier of peace who is
Rick Archer: no longer a military man.
Cynthia Jurs: No, no, no, he, when the war ended, all of the combatants had to lay down their weapons. And so he was out of work when I met him. And when the everyday Gandhi’s met him and he didn’t know what to do like so many all of these guys Super traumatized, carrying a lot of PTSD and a lot of shame, and being rejected, rejected by their families in their communities for what they did. And not no way to put rice on the table. So he was on his way to volunteer as a as a what do you call them? You know, mercenary? Yeah, thank you in another country. And that’s when he met the everyday Gandhi’s. And they invited him to become a peace builder. And he accepted. And so he did this 180 degree turn around. And then he met me and began to meditate. And the meditation that I taught him was the practice of mindfulness in the way of tick, not Han, tick, not Hans teachings being extremely helpful for people coming out of war. I mean, Vietnam being a former war zone, tech, not Han, not most a lot about peace building. And so the healing that has happened for Beth Wilson, through the practice of mindfulness has been utterly phenomenal to witness. And he’s now he and a couple of other people that are on this team had founded the peace alliance for conflict transformation in Liberia, are really leaders in bringing awareness to the violence and the instability that’s still going on there and teaching people about peace. Is it yourself?
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s kind of like you think, okay, maybe maybe this is all a consequence of the earth treasure vase that was buried, you know, and it’s just playing out in a different way than you might. And, you know, visualize when you first think about it, it’s not like everybody in the vicinity gets a little bit more peaceful, but it’s set into motion this chain of events, you know, which has had a big impact.
Cynthia Jurs: It has no doubt, yes, it has. The other place that was very powerful in Africa, is Congo. And I, I was sort of in a in a place in my life, at that time, when I was going over to Africa, that I would be kind of like going out having these powerful adventures, and then coming back and being in retreat here in this in this space for months at a time and then practicing deeply, and then going back out and doing another treasure base, and I would look at the map of the world while I was, you know, on retreat in this deep meditative space, you know, and, and I would, I would say, okay, where now and, and I would, when I was going to Africa, I would I would look at the continent, and I would, I would kind of like go like this and point at the map, and I have a floor. Yeah. And I would, I would look into it, and it would be Congo, and it would be just the heart of Africa. And I would I would go Congo and I would read this over and over again. I would go I don’t want to go to Congo. You know, isn’t that isn’t that like the worst place in the world you can go. And, and, and, and so I would sort of brush it aside. And then I would go back and the same thing would happen over and over. And, and then I met Dr. Dennis McQuaig. A who is the doctor that won the Nobel Peace Prize. Finally, Eve Enzler, the founder of V Day, and 1 Billion Rising, brought him in a way to to us. He’s the doctor in Congo that has specialized in sewing up the bodies of women who have been brutally raped. And Congo being considered it’s a terrible title, but the rape capital of the world. It’s a place that no one wants to talk about. It’s a place where the genocide that happened in Rwanda, US has now spilled over into Congo and continues, 4 million people have died. It’s a place where the most minerals on Earth can be found including coltan, which is the mineral that fuels all of our cell phone technology and computer technology and is in great demand and all being done without any kind of proper controls, monitoring, you know. So, Congo Congo was a place that when I learned about what was happening there, felt like I had to take a treasure base there and because of my own personal experience of of rape, I was very much called to one wanting to address that issue, both in women and in relationship to the earth because there’s actually no separation. Our bodies are the earth. And the Earth is our bodies and how we treat women, and how women are raped in every family, in every country, and every culture around the whole earth is a reflection of how we treat Mother Earth
Rick Archer: same mentality applied to just on a different scale or in a different way.
Cynthia Jurs: Right. Yeah, so I was pretty compelled to take a treasure phase to Congo. And I didn’t know how I could possibly do it. And long story short, I ended up just going on my own. And I met a woman by the name of Naima nama Damo, who I got to know through a wonderful organization called World pulse. And she was a correspondent at the time with World pulse. She’s from Eastern Congo, she, she has become a great leader herself. But when I met her, she was just starting out, and she welcomed me and she took me everywhere. And she, she brought me into many, many situations where the treasure base could be received. And we also did media training programs for women, teaching them how to share their voices with the world and be heard and to stand up for change in Congo. And and then we took the treasure base to the pygmy people, who are the indigenous people of that part of the world, one of the oldest cultures on Earth. And it was my my prayer and request that we bring the vase after doing many ceremonies with with all of these mainly women, but not only women, to the the pygmy leaders, who are the people of the forest, Congo being a country that has the second largest rainforest in the world outside of Brazil. So so important to the health of the whole planet. And and so we had a really wonderful reception with this pygmy community, who allowed us to come in and bring the treasure bass and actually have a husband, that pygmy husband over there who was kind enough to present me with such a great welcome and opening. It was just a wonderful, wonderful being. Anyway, the vase was buried away.
Rick Archer: You said that he was your husband, but no, you’re not saying he’s
Cynthia Jurs: not my real. No, it was it.
Rick Archer: He’s like your blood brother or something.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, he’s my he’s my just darling. Beloved, you know, but it was funny because when we arrived, I was given gifts. And they prepared the most amazing meal for us I’ve ever eaten in my life. They’re all hunter gatherers. So they everything was gathered wild. And and Naima and, and her husband, Danny, and several others were with us, including a pygmy leader from Rwanda, who accompanied us and we were all gathered around, and they gave us this beautiful meal. And then they brought out these gifts. And one of the gifts was a woven mat, a sleeping mat. And, and so this gentleman demonstrated that the mat is also where, you know, husband and wife sleep together. And, and everybody he was giving it to me, and so everybody was just giggling and laughing so much because of the implications. So that’s how he became my husband. So anyway, we we did a beautiful ceremony there. And when we were, we were driving from from the village where we were staying to the village where the vase was to be buried in the forest. It was beautiful. Because I was sitting with Naima in the front seat of her car, her husband was driving. And we looked at each other and we realized, okay, this is the moment when we’re going now to bury the vase. And we nodded at each other, and kind of went, right. Okay, we’re here. And I looked up, and flying right in front of the car, was a white dove, appeared in front of the vehicle and flew in front of us as we drove into this village, and this is a very Christian country. And so to have the Holy Spirit appear in that way, in that moment, was really a big sign that we were, you know, we were There we were, we were we were right there. And then the experience of burying the treasure base in the forest with those people was was a highlight you know of my life. And out of that came many things out of that whole experience came many things Naima, this woman I was with founded something called Hero women rising. She she now directs a international NGO that supports women in Congo to find their voices. And much I could say about her. She’s she’s a really a global leader. And that was very gratifying to help launch her in a way and to see these women being able to transform their lives. And then the other thing that happened was that the women’s Earth and Climate Action Network began a tree planting initiative through Hiro women rising in eastern Congo, and many women, many, many women now in that part of Congo are planting trees to restore the forest, which has been greatly reduced over the last number of years. And, you know, when I was in the process of introducing the treasure base, to the the pygmy people in the forest, at that moment, I had one of those whole earth flags that I used as an altar cloth, and I held it up and I pointed, you know, I said, this is America, and this is Congo, and, and your trees are providing oxygen that we breathe in America. And they didn’t know that. Nobody, nobody and there were hundreds of people there. Nobody knew that before. And even even Naima, who is a highly educated woman in her country, didn’t really quite realize the connection. And So Naima took that ball and ran with it. And that started this whole tree planting program in Congo that continues to this day. So there’s another tangible example of something that can happen from from, from a little clay pot filled with prayers.
Rick Archer: It’s cool. I mean, some people might say, well, the pot itself isn’t having an influence. But the fact that you go and plant it there sets the ball rolling in terms of all these, the relationships and interactions, but I think both can be true, you know, the pot is sort of like a physical emissary for getting something going. But at the same time, it itself has an influence, that if you were planting, if you went there, and just, I don’t know, planted a six pack of Coca Cola or something, he wouldn’t have the same effect that it has a kind of a deep significance that actually materializes as something quite profoundly. I imagine that these are some of the more dramatic stories. And there are probably some that didn’t know. weren’t that earth shaking? But but these are cool.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, each one. So different story everywhere I went, and and it continues, because now we have a second generation of, of treasure vases going out through people who are learning the practice themselves and taking the vases where they need to go. Yeah, each one of them has. You know, it has a powerful force behind it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Let me just pause for a second and say to Dan, that I think he’s sending these chats to me. But he needs to send them in through the group discussion that that we have Dan, Larry, and Cynthia in those three, and then I will see them. But if you send him just to my Skype thing, I’m not seeing him because I’m connected to Cynthia right now. So, question. Yeah, just two questions so far. So as I hear, you can read it, if you want to read otherwise, then I think Dan will send them to me properly in a minute. Otherwise, I’ll have you read him. So in terms of picking out places, I mean, do you kind of, you know, follow the world situation a little bit and think, oh, is this like, for instance, the other day, after I was already listening to your previous interviews and recordings, I saw this article about how there’s this huge ice shelf in Antarctica. And it’s getting more and more unstable. And if it were to slide into the ocean, it would raise sea levels, about five feet, you know, around whole world. I was thinking geez, I wonder if Cynthia should present her Base In Antarctica, you know?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, actually, we have one dedicated to Antarctica. Oh, good. It’s, it’s on my altar.
Rick Archer: Okay. Yeah. Yeah, there’s some summer. Yeah, there’s not ours.
Cynthia Jurs: Right. Jeff Vander Clute is As an associate of mine and colleague, and he has taken on the stewardship of that treasure vase to Antarctica, and he’s very called to wanting to take a vase there. So it’s, it’s something that he’s looking for the best way to go there and get there, and when and how and all of that, of course, it’s a place in the world that is a bit challenging to get to, but feels like, yeah, a treasure base is very much needed there. And we’re, we’re with these last, vases are vases that we’re distributing. We’re really looking, there’s a council of us now, not just me, but a whole council of folks who many of whom have stewarded treasure bases themselves now. And so know what that experience is of taking one somewhere, which is very demanding. We’re looking deeply at the whole earth, you know, and where we’ve been with the practice and where we haven’t been and how we might fill in some of the missing pieces so that it really is embracing the whole earth.
Rick Archer: From what from I’ve heard you tick off the list of places where you’ve been, it sounds like some of them might be restorative or healing, you’ve been to places like Hiroshima. And like you’re just telling us about Liberia and others might be sort of more sacred places where you just want to have perhaps, a profound influence like the source of the Rio Grande River or the you know, the mouth of it, we’re in enters the Gulf of Mexico, places that you feel were somehow strategically significant. Well,
Cynthia Jurs: sources of rivers are traditionally very
Rick Archer: good sources, the Ganges, you went to Gangotri sources,
Cynthia Jurs: source of the Ganges source of the Amazon source of the Rio Grande. So yeah, because they say that the flow of the river carries the prayers, the whole length of the river. So that’s why sources of rivers are very good, you know, the, the base of a mighty tree is a very good place. And one of the treasure bases that’s being dedicated right now is going into the Amazon with tree sisters, the organization founded by Claire Dubois, and she is CO stewarding that treasure vase with us into a part of the Amazon that is still very intact, and where tree Sisters is now initiating a new tree planting program. So
Rick Archer: for those listening, I had declared it on the program a couple of weeks ago. So if you’d like to listen to that, you’ll find it on that. Yeah.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s a little bit challenging now with the Coronavirus stopping us in our tracks from traveling. So we’re, you know, listening for how these remaining vases will, will get where they need to go. But they’re, you know, I completely trust that that will happen one way or another, I’m stewarding one myself to Greece. This is you know, each one as I say has a very different energy or purpose, the Treasurer base for Greece is going as an offering it near Delphi, Delphi being the place where the Oracle of Gaia was, you know, received by the priestesses. Pre patriarchy. And so to go there and to make this offering to, to her, you know, and to really pray for the healing of the oppression that came about with the patriarchal system that has been governing the world for so long.
Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s, let’s shift to that topic, I heard you say in one talk, the elect to think of the Buddha as a woman. And another comment you made regarding Buddhism is that although you know, you have quite an involved Buddhist background, it’s hard for you to even think of yourself as a Buddhist anymore. And what I thought you meant by that was that you become more universal, and so you don’t quite fit into any cubby hole. But let’s talk a bit about patriarchy. We talked a bit about that with quite a bit about that with Claire a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve also interviewed nearby star about that topic quite a bit. And so tell us what you have to say about that shift that needs to take place in the balance between the masculine and feminine energies in the world?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, it’s a huge, huge topic, huge, huge chunk of time. Yeah, no, but But thank you, because this is kind of at the core, you know, as I’ve gone around the world, with these treasure vases into cultures and communities all around the planet, there’s a few core wounds, that are needing healing, in order to reestablish balance in the world, for us to move forward in a way that is in harmony. And one of those core wounds is the is the oppression of, of the feminine. And so, at that, at that place, in, in, in at this, at the heart of what is calling for healing is this relationship between the masculine and the feminine. And the vase, you know, is a very interesting symbol, because it’s very womb like, right, and you remove the opening, and you place in these offerings, and so it’s a very much already right there, the masculine and the feminine, coming together, joining with, with this intention for healing, and balance and harmony, and then this is then a hole is dug into the body of the earth, and this is placed into it as an offering. And then it is covered like a seed and placed there for all the time, you know, and so the the practice is very much symbolically about that balance and that coming together and that, that joining. But for me, I, I mean, I’ve been, I’ve been involved with the Buddhist teachings, and many, many Buddhist teachers for the bulk of my adult life. And it is a very patriarchal system, like many of the world religions. And the notion of the of the guru, especially in Tibetan Buddhism, is problematic, actually. And there is such a power differential, when you have a teacher who is assuming the position of guru, and you are basically told to believe that that person, that human person is omniscient and infallible, and a an embodiment of Buddha, the Buddha, you know, or whatever lineage or tradition you’re coming from, that the spiritual enlightened being that we revere, and if we, if we see that that person as having faults, then we are going to Bosher a hell, you know,
Rick Archer: can you imagine yourself sitting up on a couch and wanting everybody in front of you to view you as perfect and infallible and faultless? I mean, where would your head have to be at to actually even allow that?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, yeah, and
Rick Archer: I suppose it’s built into the tradition, but I would not in any way,
Cynthia Jurs: ya know, it’s it’s not, it’s not a very healthy system in these days in these times. Let’s put it that way.
Rick Archer: Well, I don’t know if this is a relevant question from from Thomas and Greenfield. How much instability in Liberia and the Congo is caused by the ongoing US drone program?
Cynthia Jurs: I have no idea. But yeah,
Rick Archer: I mean, I mean, I don’t see. Sure. I mean, the US and other countries have been messing with a lot of these content way back to the British and Dutch and French colonies in a lot of these places, you know, and disrupting there, that we actually can make something out of this question, because ever since colonial times, we Western cultures have been disrupting indigenous cultures, and destroying their ways of life and forcing them to, you know, abandon their heritage and their traditions and even their language and, you know, exploiting all the resources they can find. And there’s just been tremendous damage to the cultural integrity of the world. And I think that’s one of the things that needs to be healed. I think perhaps what you’re helping to heal with, with what you’re doing, but it’s you know, we were talking earlier about what would have to change for a more enlightened society to come into being, I think that’s one of the things that will have to change is the some kind of I don’t know about material reparations, I think in many cases that would be called for, but that some kind of spiritual reparations, you know, for the damage that has been done to these, it’s really disrupted the natural laws of the planet.
Cynthia Jurs: Right, and I was talking about some core wounds that I’ve identified, that need healing for balance to be restored in the world. And, and another one is, the, the terrible oppression of indigenous people, and how, you know, how that has been carried out, all around the whole world. And, and is, is really, a big part of what needs to be addressed in these times, and I think, thankfully, is being addressed in these times. You know, it’s, it’s all in relationship to the earth, and what I was where I was going to go with the comments around the patriarchy. And in particular, in my case, with the guru and the, the system of, of the way in which many lineages of Buddhism are transmitted, requiring things of us that don’t feel very healthy to me, especially as a woman, because there is a lot of abuse, and in particular, sexual abuse, and you know, just all kinds of ways in which those inequalities are not dealt with. What happened for me is that when I had to face some of these issues in my own teachers, and in my own family, I almost threw the baby out with the bathwater, I love the Buddhist teachings, you know, but I was very disillusioned for a long time. And I’ve gradually had to kind of make my way back to what is this for me. And what I came to thanks to these little clay pots actually, is that the earth is the most beautiful embodiment of what we call the Three Jewels in Buddhism, the Buddha, the teacher, the, the Dharma, the teachings, and the Sangha, the community, and all three of those are embodied, so perfectly in the living Earth, as a as an example, as a, as a teacher, you know, and as a, as an as an embodiment of the teachings, the interconnected web of life interbeing you know, this whole, incredible, global, vast, diverse community of life, living and breathing on within the body of Gaia. So, so that has become, for me, as I say, my source of refuge, my inspiration, my spiritual source, is this living Earth. And it feels to me, like, this is a moment that we’re living in where we are all being asked to come into a relationship of great respect for the living Earth as the source of everything. And, and, and because women are, you know, so intimately connected to life, in such particular ways, we have and of course, there is such an imbalance with the patriarchal you know, control over every living system of the earth and the using and abusing of, of all that has been given. It is time you know, for this kind of rebalancing to happen. So, my, my dharma is that, and when I, when I was writing my book, which is called summoned by the Earth, and tells many of these stories and and teachings and things that have come to me along the way. I was, I was reflecting on how at the moment of, of the Buddha’s enlightenment, there was this gesture to touch the earth to summon the earth to witness this awakening, which I find very profound because it’s the only story of some kind of spiritual awakening where the earth was invoked. As as the witness that is that vast, always present.
Cynthia Jurs: Being that is, is the ground upon on which we, we, we stand, we sit, we, we sleep, we do everything. So, anyway, I was kind of reflecting on that whole story and, and writing about it and it came to me to write. It just came to me to rewrite the story of the Buddha, as a woman, and I had never, I had never, it’s not really a very big part of my book, but it’s there. And I never really thought about it because I just accepted Oh, well, you know, the Buddha, the Buddhist, the Buddha, and it’s not big issue to me, I love men, you know, it’s not I don’t try it, we can’t make these big separations here. But when I reframed the story, as if the Buddha were a woman, suddenly, I felt very liberated, you know, like I had, I could identify with that experience more personally. And it wasn’t, I didn’t have to go through a big shift, because the Buddha is this figure, you know, that I’m told to relate to in a certain way. And suddenly, it all just kind of relaxed. So I, I like to think of the Buddha as, as a in a feminine form. I have practice, Tara, for many, many years, Tara is a great ally. And over the years, Tara, actually began to sort of evolve into an embodiment of Gaia. And it’s been an another great revelation to work with a, quote unquote, deity practice, which of course, you have to know that the deities that we imagine and visualize in the Tibetan tradition are simply aspects of our own true nature. They’re not something outside that we have to believe in, separate from us. We’re there. So that’s, it’s a skillful way of bringing that energy into ourselves. So what’s come to me is a practice of Gaia, Tara Gaia, that allows people to identify and form a relationship to Gaia. And it wasn’t actually. So I’m jumping around a bit, I realized, but a couple in 2018, I went back to Nepal. After about, I don’t know how long it had been maybe 20 years since I had been there. And I went back to the cave, where I met the 106 year old Lama, and I there was his daughter, who is now in her 80s, and lives in that cave. And she has lived there since she was 19. She served her father, and basically has lived in retreat her entire life, and she hadn’t left the cave for 30 years. So we went back to see her and bring a treasure base, we actually brought one of the little treasure bases there. And we also visited the monastery that was destroyed by the earthquake in 2014. That was his root temple, and is now the, the seat of the Lama that took me to meet Chara Rinpoche in the first place. And that Lama made the treasure vases, and has been my spiritual friend for many years in all of this. And when we went to that, that monastery, we also brought a treasure base there. And at that time, he enthroned me as the Lama and I was completely monastery, that of that, that monastery and the lineage there, yeah. And he put one of those point of red hats on my head and and told me that I was Allama No, and I was completely shocked, because having gone through this whole process of reckoning within my own life and my relationship to the Dharma, as it is traditionally taught, and coming to, you know, some different ideas about it, to have this come to me was something that I I wasn’t sure how I could hold it. You know, and, and then when we went up to see the, the daughter of the, the old, wise woman in the cave, she, she she then did a ceremony to pass on the whole lineage to me which
Cynthia Jurs: I could I am, I’m feeling the emotion of it right now. You know, it was such a blessing, such a beautiful blessing. But I was also conflicted. Still, and I still am because I didn’t earn it in the traditional way. And I don’t really want it in the traditional way. And yet, you know, here it is. And, and, and actually, the same thing happened for me with tech, not Han, I didn’t want to become a teacher, I didn’t want to sit on a, you know, a seat and have that responsibility. You know, like, I just want to sit in a circle and be with people you have as much wisdom as anybody else. You know, the, it’s like Buddha at the Gas Pump, right? Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, I was struggling with all of this very deeply. And on the last day of the trek coming down off the mountain, it had rained, and it was slippery. And I turned my ankle. And I fell. And I fell over the edge of a very, very steep mountainside. And there was actually nothing between where the trail was, and the river 1000s of feet down below. It was a very steep very, there was nothing on I went as soon as I went over the edge, I left my body and I started to tumble. I hit the ground, and then I was tumbling and I came to as I was rolling head over heels down the mountain. And I could see out of the corner of my eyes, there was nothing to grab on to nothing to stop my fall. And I went to I said to myself, Oh, Cynthia, you are falling head over heels down this mountain and there’s nothing stopping you. And I left my body again and I continued to tumble. And then all of a sudden I came to this screeching halt on the side of this mountain. And I was like spreadeagled on the side of the mountain. Having no idea how I came to a stop. And, and I, you know, kind of like came to check my body. My trekking poles my my backpack was on my head, right water bottle. My, you know, like, Am I alive? Do I have broken bones? Can I stand Am I Am I okay, and I was banged up, but I was okay. And I didn’t have any broken bones. I had sprains but I had no broken bones. And I was not paralyzed. And I was not dead at the bottom of the mountain. What stopped
Rick Archer: you? Was there a little plateau or ledge or something? No, no, you’re on a steep incline. You just stopped.
Cynthia Jurs: I stopped. And so that was the big puzzlement. Like, what the fuck? You know? How did this happen? What was it and later Lama tsultrim said, Oh, well, it must have been Tara, you know, must have Tara stopped you Buddha stopped you. You know. And, and in that moment
Rick Archer: where you would love my soul to him at the time.
Cynthia Jurs: Lama tsultrim is the name of the Lama in Nepal.
Rick Archer: Radha whom I’ve interviewed I thought maybe Yeah,
Cynthia Jurs: okay. Yeah. No, lama tsultrim le ONi is off Dharma sister and great friend. But this is a different lamas. Okay. So yes, he was he was on this trip. And but he but I was walking alone. So this whole thing happened completely alone. And I was there was none of my group was around. I fell over, nobody even knew I fell over. And when I went to stand, the trail was way up there. And it was very steep and very slippery. And I was very scared that I would fall actually fall all the way if I didn’t know how in the world I was going to get up to to that trail. And I started yelling for help. And a Sherpa Porter that was passing by way up there heard me and threw me a rope with a rock on it that I actually caught and grabbed on to and then Then he pulled me up in came down and actually helped me from behind because I could get a foothold it was so so steep. So that’s how I got up. And then I had to walk another two hours. I caught up some of my group caught up to me and helped me back. But um, anyway, long story short, I I finally got back. It wasn’t actually until I got home because I still had a couple had to recover and the group had to leave and then I was in Nepal and I couldn’t even walk and you know, it was like,
Rick Archer: You’re you actually twisted or injured your ankle, right? Yeah, yeah.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah. No, it was a very swollen and, and and stuff. So there was you know, it wasn’t I’m terrible, but it was an issue. So anyway, I was grappling with all of this. And it wasn’t until I was home later. Coming to terms with everything that I realized how it was that I stopped on that path, and I realized that it was the earth that stopped me, the earth,
Rick Archer: like this spirit of Gaia or whatever,
Cynthia Jurs: yeah. And I, when it came to me, I felt it. Like I felt what it was like, I remembered what it was like to be lying on that, that hillside, that steep hillside, and I literally felt as if the Earth had me, you know, had me at my back, and was saying, You’re not, you’re not going down that mountain. No, you’re with me. I’ve got you, you’re with me. And so it took that, to finally bring home that I, the earth is my greatest teacher, the Earth is the source of all the best teachings. The earth is the the the diverse community of which we are each apart within the web of life. And this is, this is the times that we’re living in, are calling for us to remember this and to wake up within it. So this is kind of, for me anyway, a new evolutionary turn of the wheel of the Dharma in these times.
Rick Archer: That’s great, what a story. Everything you’ve just said. And this this whole topic of patriarchy versus matriarchy seems to me that the whole culture, our whole culture, the science, the whole scientific world, has this sort of physicalist materialist paradigm at its foundation. And you know, that the earth is stuff, it’s dead, it’s not conscious, it’s inert. And we are been titled, basically do whatever we want with it, you know, it’s ours to enjoy to, to, what’s the word to take advantage of this a fancy word, or to rape, you could even say, and, sure, good. Whereas the the flip, the opposite of that is, the Earth is conscious, it’s intelligent. Now, they don’t know the earth. I mean, all material creation, is intelligence is imbued with divinity. It’s, you know, it’s responsive, it you know, it’s capable of saving us for falling down a mountainside, because they’re their impulses of intelligence within nature that can actually intercede in human affairs. And they’ll do so advantageously if we cooperate with them, but they will oppose us if we violate them. Kind of like there’s a first in the Rigveda that says something the riches seek out him who is awake, and by riches are meant sort of impulses of intelligence, we can say that help to orchestrate creation. And if one is awake, then it’s then you have the, you know, the wind in your sails that you’re back at you along and everything you do, if, if one is not awake, or both Christ and the Gita say this, that, you know, who knows the self, that the self is his greatest friend, he does not it behaves with enmity like a foe, you know, whatever you don’t know, will destroy you. Now, I’m the one who’s rambling on. But in any case, there’s the sort of opposite perspectives and, and so this whole thing about waking up to a more feminine perspective is a matter of shifting from this earth is is a dead object perspective to Earth is a living being the material creation is a living being and needs to be respected as such, and not just exploited and abused. Because our doing that it has blowback, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s our own doom if we continue that direction.
Cynthia Jurs: That’s right. That’s right. So how do we form a relationship with the Earth as a living being that is available to us because we are a part of her? We we are not separate. Each and every one of us is is is a little part of the whole?
Rick Archer: Yeah, we’re like cells in a body and if the cells are sick, the body is
Cynthia Jurs: sick. Exactly. So, so re connected, remembering that you know, and this is why it’s so important that we elevate the indigenous people because they’ve never forgotten this. And they know how to, to, to cultivate that relationship. So, so one of the things I’ve learned through taking the treasure vases out into the world, as this, you know, most precious offering that I could possibly imagine in these times is the whole notion of making offerings. And how, when we, when we end and you probably know this through your own experience in the Hindu tradition, because, you know, they’re always making offering flowers and an incense and, and, and candles and light and, and sweets, and, you know, all of them, you make offerings.
Rick Archer: I used to be a TM teacher, I must have done 1000s of pages in which I was making offerings in the teaching people and so
Cynthia Jurs: I figured you were a TM teacher, because you live in Fairfield, Iowa. Yeah, I’m not. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, anymore. But did that? Yeah, no,
Cynthia Jurs: no, no. Um, yeah. So I’m making offerings. And what happens when we make an offering is that we, we invite a relationship to the spirit world, or to, to the deity or to the, the, the source of life, you know, the place that we love, that we the waters, that we want to continue to flow clean, you know, the trees that we want to grow the forests, the, the rivers, the mountains, that the oceans, you know, our own little piece of land, the unseen beings that are here, if we invite them, and if we call on them, and if we don’t, they’re not. But if we and in the same way, that we humans have abused the earth and taken so much from, you know, the web of life, at our, at our now own expense, unconsciously thinking that we had the right to just take and take and take and take and destroy that attitude is also it can also also manifest in our relationship to prayer. Like, we think that we can just, you know, ask for what we want, and get it you know,
Rick Archer: as I know, best what we want, yeah, we should have,
Cynthia Jurs: and if you if you want to make a relationship to the subtle realm, you know, you really have to make an offering, you have to, you have to give something, it’s like any relationship, you want to have a good relationship with your spouse, you know, it helps every now and then to bring her flowers for example, or, you know, cook dinner or take out the garbage or do something as an offering to bring forth that reciprocity and balance. So, we forgotten how to do that, we need to remember how to do that. And so, you know, even little ways you know, you take your your your, your your leftovers, you know, and you offer it out onto the land, or you take a little a little wine and you pour libation or you you light a candle, and you you acknowledge the light in the world. And you give thanks, no. Or you go to a special spot, I always encourage people to find your spot outside and go there and put your hands on the ground and talk to the earth. Have a conversation invite a relationship with nature. Because nature we are part of nature. And and we need to remember that that connection.
Rick Archer: Well anyway, and that in addition to doing all the kinds of things you just said which are sort of outer oriented in a way, you know, pouring a libation here and doing this there, that we counterbalance that with a way of going deep within if we can find such a way so that we swing back and forth from you know, tapping into the source and then then infusing The, the energy and intelligence we’ve, we’ve absorbed there into the outer world.
Cynthia Jurs: Exactly. And that source within, you know, that is our greatest offering, you know, I give my life to this, and I and when I can stop all that external busyness and and take a breath and come back, you know, then then I can connect with that, that source that is so much larger. And that becomes the fuel for the compassion to blossom in the world and to be offered in whatever way is called for in the moment, you know, somebody comes to the door, or somebody calls or, you know, the, yeah, the virus.
Rick Archer: I’ve often I often think of that line in the 23rd Psalm, you know, my cup runneth over. And to me, that means, you know, you, you become so full inside that you you naturally overflow. And if you’re not fully inside, if they’re sort of a positive, if you’re, if you’re empty, in a spiritual sense, then you can go running around trying to do stuff, but it doesn’t really help. It’s like somebody trying to be a lifeguard who hasn’t learned how to swim. Which is not to say that we should become self centered, and me, me, me, and all it’s all about my meditation and my routine and all that stuff, and the heck with everybody else, there needs to be this kind of balance, kind of a thing. Yeah. In fact, I was just talking to an old friend today. And I was telling you about this group of people who are living a sort of a monastic life and friend of mine is in that group. And he was saying that people gotten really nutty, there are people who think the earth is flat, and they all sit at the same lunch table, and discuss, you know, that kind of idea, all these strange conspiracy theories. And I said to my friend, you know, these people have been meditating for decades, how can they think that way, and he said, they’re out of balance, you know, there’s just too much sort of inner focus without any outer giving, or integration in the real world. And the mind can just go off into lala land, when you don’t counterbalance it, and integrate it.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And, and in fact, you know, we talk a lot about relative and absolute truth, in in the Dharma and spiritual teachings, and there is such a tendency to get, you know, sort of all expanded into that absolute realm. And then, you know, the, the relative is, is happening, the relative suffering, the relative issues and problems, and we’re told not to get too caught up in all of that. But, you know, for me, I feel as if, well, that’s exactly the point. You know, as long as we have those issues and problems. We’re not we don’t really have a hope of enlightenment, because those things are happening. Right?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you’re alive for reason. This is one thing that my friend Tim freak, talks about a lot. That, you know, we didn’t just come into life to get out of it, as quickly as possible, became into it to learn and grow. And perhaps that’s what God Himself, St. Teresa of Avila said, it appears that God Himself is on the journey. So it’s not like the whole universe is an accident, and we’re trying to get it over with as soon as possible. It’s, it’s here as an evolutionary tool. And that involves taking it seriously and not dismissing it as mere Maya.
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And more and more, you know, this is, this is the great opportunity, you know, the crisis and opportunity to be embodied in this in this precious life, and to connect with others to in service of life.
Rick Archer: And service can be such a great evolutionary practice. I mean, seva you know, it’s just, it’s in every tradition, I think. And I think when rom das went to see Neem Karoli Baba for the first time, and, and, you know, he said, Well, what should I do? And he said, you know, feed people and, you know, he ended up getting on this mission to cure to help with blindness, he and Ashley brilliant, over there in India, and, and actually brilliant was responsible for eradicating smallpox and he was also a Neem Karoli Baba disciple. So this kind of service thing is not just sort of, it’s not just sort of, I don’t know. It has deep spiritual significance. And it’s not just the right thing to do. It’s it’s kind of, if you’re really concerned about growth and evolution for yourself even it’s, it’s an excellent tool, as it sort of helps to be an antidote to selfishness when you when you behave selflessly.
Cynthia Jurs: It there One of the greatest teachers for sure, yeah. And it’s it connects to this whole idea of notion that, you know, what is your offering? You know, what, what is your offering? What is your purpose, and your gift, each of us has a unique gift to give in our lives of why, why we’re here. And some of us, you know, have these big, big lives and some of us have smaller lives, but none of it is less or more important than the other. And, and so the practice of service. You know, Andrew Harvey wrote about in his book, The hope he wrote about, what is it that wakes you up at three o’clock in the morning that you care about that you love,
Rick Archer: usually never have to pay? Actually,
Cynthia Jurs: I know. There’s that too. You’re saying that you know what I mean? Yeah, you know that, that thing that presses on you? And many of us are so busy, we don’t even know what that is. But maybe in this time of stopping, we can begin to get a little glimpse of that, you know, and what is it that concerns us? What is it that we care about? That we want to help? And and you know, then that becomes your service?
Rick Archer: Yeah, like you said, it doesn’t have to be a big Earth traveling mission. Like I was listening to a panel discussion, you did it sound with Charles Eisenstein, and others in Charles was talking about, you know, this couple in the town where he lives, who adopt, who adopted this child who no one else would adopt. And they’re just pouring their love into that child. And Charles was just emphasizing that he thought that was just as great form of services, anything anybody is doing. They don’t even know if they’re going to get the keep the child, but they’re just pouring everything they’ve got into this child and making a big difference in that child’s life. One life. Yeah, exactly. You know, the story of the The Old Man and the starfish. Oh, to
Cynthia Jurs: remember it. I remember, I remember hearing Tommy walking
Rick Archer: down the beach, and old man and a boy. And they’re all these 1000s of starfish that are stranded on the sand because the tide went out or something. And so and they’re going to die drying up in the sun. So as they’re walking every now and then the old man would reach down, pick one up and throw it back into the water. And after a while, the boy said, you know, I mean, there’s so many of them. What What possible difference can you make that the old man reaches down, picks up another one throws it in the water and said, I made a difference to that one?
Cynthia Jurs: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you got to start somewhere. Yeah. I start with what’s right in front of you.
Rick Archer: Uh huh. Same with clear with your tree sisters thing. It’s like there’s so many trees dying every day over in a single day more trees die than she’s managed to plant in nine or 10 years. And we’ve talked about this, but it’s the very effort that has significance that that sort of, actually, it may seem small on on in terms of if you’re counting trees, but the the effort that you make, has somehow has this catalytic effect, I think in collective consciousness ends up being much larger exponentially, then then you would think it would.
Cynthia Jurs: Exactly, exactly and, and I think we, we do ourselves a disservice to get too caught up in. Okay, how much time do we have to turn this around? Yeah. Right. Because then we’re sort of locked into a system that keeps on perpetuating the problem. And the opportunity here is to kind of like, take that breath, and return to the source within, for lack of better word. And, and to allow for that little aha moment to come. Where something different can happen. And that little that place is is a place where where miracles live, that is a place where nature can feel where life can unfold in, in, in relationship to the sun and the moon in the stars. You know, where we can contact what we love and what we care about. And, and offer it
Rick Archer: nice. Um, a question came in from Stacey in Portland, Oregon. Stacey asks, Can anyone learn and facilitate your tradition? And in addition to that question, I want to add something to it. You can answer them both together and that is, you know, What do you hope to accomplish now in the coming years? And how can people help you accomplish it? And at the same time, learn and facilitate your tradition?
Cynthia Jurs: Well, I’m not sure how I feel about this, your tradition thing, my tradition. I hope it’s all of our, you know, all of our tradition, all of our all of our opportunity to serve life on Earth in these times the Great. Well, you know, Joanna Macy talks about the great turning, I was just gonna say, the great healing. This is the work of our times. And so I’m about to put out a new website called Gaia mandola global healing community. It’s like Gaia. Montilla dotnet, it’s hopefully going to be live. Next week, we’ll put up in a long time, long time coming, put up like your page, there will be a number of offerings, there’s a that you can participate in to get more involved. And we do a Full Moon Meditation every month that is connected to the earth treasure bass practice, and keeps that Zoom or something. So it’s on from anywhere from anywhere. Yeah. And we have, like 3000 people participating now. Okay, so of course, not everybody gets on to the live call, but they get the recording. So it’s a pretty vast global network now. And there’s this feeling that the mandala as I call it, the locations where all the treasure vases have been buried is this kind of mandala and that it’s almost like coming alive itself now as a whole. Because there’s enough prayers and offerings in those little What did you call them in the beginning the little, the little vases, visitors got a little transmitters? Yeah, they’re out there doing their work. And every full moon we activate them through the meditation. And then meanwhile, there’s more treasure vases going out through people stewarding the vases, and there’s still more yet to come. So
Rick Archer: when you do meditations, do you always this the locations where the things have been planted? Yes, we listened to one of those. And it was impressive, it was kind of neat, because I was listening along walking through the woods. And, and my awareness kind of went all over the earth, as you mentioned, all these different places. And I can imagine 3000 people doing that. And, you know, it’s like everybody sort of zooming in on all these little things all over. I know,
Cynthia Jurs: I just got goosebumps as you were talking. And it is it’s super powerful. And it’s it’s also very healing and it’s very uplifting and inspiring. So in spite of all the horrible suffering that’s going on in the world, in all these different locations and places and ways in which we’re, you know, dying like flies. You know, there is this practice, that is an anchor in the midst of it. So that’s a way to begin. I’m teaching Tara Gaia. Again, I’ve taught it once only once. It’s just coming out into the world. I’ve taught it once and I have now have a monthly practice group. What is also on Zoom, Tara Gaia, what practice what do you do? Oh, it’s a it’s a vase Rihanna inspired deity practice that arose from a practice of Torah, but has evolved into a practice of Gaia. That is a visualization and a mantra recitation. That is, is something that I am teaching now. I don’t know how really else to say it. It’s a practice that you do. You recite. So it’s a kind of liturgy, like, they call it a sadhana. So it’s, it’s recited and visualized, and then you do a mantra recitation, and then there’s a period of just resting in the experience of, of, of that of Gaia, of being inseparable from her, and forming a spiritual relationship to Gaia. And so I’ll be teaching that and a weekend retreat on Zoom In July, and November. And then if you receive the teachings, then you can come into the practice group that happens on a monthly basis. So we cultivate the practice together, and then people do it also on their own, you know, as a practice, I’m now doing a weekly practice group as of the age of Karuna. In mindfulness practice, every Monday, Monday mindfulness meditation, so as a way to cultivate our calm abiding and clarity within the context of the crisis that we’re in, in the world.
Rick Archer: So those are a few look for all these things is it all on your website,
Cynthia Jurs: it’s mostly all on my website, you can get involved at Earth treasure vase.org, and then click the Get Involved button and get in touch that way. And then you can, we can take it from there. So that’s kind of before this other other website is finished, that’s the place to go is Earth treasure base.org and sign up for the newsletter. And that comes out every in relationship to the Full Moon Meditation. So I send it out the week before the full moon, letting people know when the next meditation is and what the focus is. And then some of these other things. I’m also teaching a seven week course starting the end of April call. It’s, it’s called Gaia calling, and the subtitle is being a vessel for global healing and collective awakening. And I’m teaching that with my beloved Full Moon co host, David nickel, who wrote a book called subtle activism, and has another beautiful community called Earth rising. And David, somebody you might like to interview right now. Yeah, he’s, he’s a good guy. So David and I are teaching that course together. It’s called Gaia calling. We’re doing an introductory call about that course on April 11. And I’d love for people to come on to that and learn more. So those are a few things and ways of, of getting involved. So there’s also stewarding faces learning the practice. Yeah. Viewer says on and on.
Rick Archer: Yeah, if you want to send me an email, like listing all these little things, and I could even put them in the, in your bio on that gap. And here’s some of the things Cynthia does ABCD I can link them to the places they would need to go to find out more.
Cynthia Jurs: Perfect. I’ll do that. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for asking.
Rick Archer: Yeah, thanks. It’s been an enjoyable week for me listening to many hours of talking about stuff. And all kinds of fascinating things in in today’s talk. You said some things I hadn’t heard any of the other ones like falling down that mountain. I hadn’t heard you say that. That was pretty wild. Yeah, that
Cynthia Jurs: was quite a quite a moment. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve written about that in my book,
Rick Archer: which will be out soon. Well, we’ll
Cynthia Jurs: I just sent the I have an agent who’s just sent the proposal out to publishers, the books written, but the the proposal is now circulating. So light a candle. I’d love I’d love it to come out sooner than later. It’s very timely.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, thanks so much for all you’re doing. Probably when I say that you think he will thank me Thank, you know, the the mean, the power by which I’m able to do all this. Yeah, that’s how it goes. It’s right. It’s it’s nice to be an instrument. You know, Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Cynthia Jurs: Indeed. And and what’s the feminine of Lord lady?
Rick Archer: Lady, ma’am? Yeah, yeah. Anyway, I appreciate it. And it’s been great getting to know you better. And I’m sure many people will, you know, be getting in touch and getting involved in the things that you’ve, you have to offer.
Cynthia Jurs: Thank you. Yeah, please, please, people who are hearing this, please feel free to get in touch with me at Earth treasure base.org. And I’d be happy to, you know, help in any way facilitate your own path of global healing and collective awakening in these times. So I’m here for that.
Rick Archer: Good. Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you to those who’ve been listening or watching. Most of you know, this is an ongoing series. So every week we have another one. And there’s an upcoming interviews menu on bat gap comm where you can see what we’ve got scheduled. And, of course, our past interviews menu where you can explore the ones we’ve already done. So thanks for being with us. And thanks again. Cynthia. Hope to thank you all come out of our little cocoons. We’ll see each other again one of these days.
Cynthia Jurs: That would be great. Okay, you’ll be well
Rick Archer: take care. Yeah, be careful. Wash your hands. Yeah, don’t get your face. Yeah. Hard to do. I think the Tyrannosaurus Rex right. And he said, Oh, I did that just touch my face. Anthony Fauci going. But the dresser is Rex. You don’t have these little tiny arms and he was he was like this great big dinosaur roaring, he said, I’m never gonna die because I can’t touch my face.
Cynthia Jurs: All right. Okay, well, we’ll do the best we can.
Rick Archer: Yep. Thanks. Yep. Okay. Thanks, everybody. We’ll see you next week.