Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people have done many hundreds of them now and if this is new to you, and you would like to see previous ones, please go to that gap.com Bat gap and look at the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers and is made freely available to anyone who wants to watch it. So if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Lama Tsültrim Allione, and each word in her name has a story behind it which we’ll be getting into. She is an author, an internationally known Buddhist teacher, and the founder and resident Lama of Tara mandala retreat center, Indigo Springs, Colorado. She is the author of women of wisdom and national bestseller, feeding your demons ancient wisdom for resolving inner conflict, which is now translated into 17 languages and her upcoming book wisdom rising journey into the mandala of the Empowered feminine. She was born in New England to an academic and publishing family traveled to India and her late teens, which we’ll be talking about. It’s quite an adventure, and in 1970, at the age of 22, was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. After four years living as a nun in the Himalayan Himalayan region, she returned her monastic vows married and raised a family of three children. She has a master’s degree in Buddhist studies women’s studies from Antioch University. Her writings and teachings come from her sublime Tibetan lamas as well as her experience as a Western woman and mother. She is known for her ability to translate the wisdom of the ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition into clear teachings that are relatable and relevant to Western audiences. Lama tsultrim continues to guide Tara Mantra as a resident Lama as well as 1000s of students around the world. She was named Buddhist Woman of the Year in 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. So it’s a little dry to read out prepared bio, but it gives you us an overview. And I particularly like to do that for people who might be listening to this as an audio podcast and may not have had a chance to read the description on the website. So welcome, Lama Tsültrim. Thank you for doing this.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Thank you. Nice to be with you.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So let’s start at the beginning. So called beginning. What ended what caused you to end up traveling to India when at such a young age?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Hmm. Well, my grandmother, my maternal grandmother had given me a book on Buddhism when I was 15 years old. She was quite extraordinary woman, the fifth woman to get a PhD from Harvard, Radcliffe, in philosophy. And so she was interested in Buddhist philosophy. And so that was a in a way seed experience for me that book, and I was always attracted to Asia, to Japan to anything but particularly to Tibet. And so when I went to college, I met a friend in my freshman year, we were both a little stranger than most of the people at the school. And so we were interested in each other. And her name is Victor sic. Hitchcock. You might know her from the films that she made when the iron bird flies.
Rick Archer: any relation to Alfred Hitchcock?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: No, I don’t think so. But anyway, her father was the consul general in Calcutta. That’s now Kolkata. And so I wasn’t ready to go with her to India. And it was in India that I saw my first Tibetan. We were actually working with Mother Teresa in the home for unwed mothers and abandoned baby niece and I were on the street one day in a rickshaw went by with a woman in it and a child and she said, that’s a Tibetan. And there was something about it that just directly and I was just looking and it was like it was kind of like a bell went off in my karmic history mind. And, and then we ended up going to Nepal where I actually met Tibetans and began to go to a Tibetan monastery every morning at dawn, and just sit in the monastery. And then after I’ve done that for about three weeks, they started serving me tea with the monks. And so that was, that was the beginning. And then I left Nepal and sort of escaped from the embassy and hitchhiked across India, northern India, with a Japanese traveler. And we landed in in Dharamsala. I mean we didn’t land they were where we were going there. That’s why we were traveling. So that was my second. Immersion, I guess you could say after Katmandu,
Rick Archer: and Dharamsala is where the Dalai Lama lives. Yeah, if people don’t know
Lama Tsültrim Allione: that, yeah. And, and that was 1967. And so they had the Dalai Lama had been there less than 10 years at that point, because he escaped from the Chinese invasion in 1959. And so it was really just just a these shacks, that were flattened cat kerosene cans, and sort of stuck together with bamboo. That was Dharamsala. Now, it’s thriving. Have you been there? No. Yeah, well, it’s a definite talent now with lots of hotel big hotels. So yeah. But at that time, it was really just a refugee community. And for me, what really struck me was the horrific, fake stories, they would tell me about watching their whole family be murdered in front of them, or their escape over the Himalayas, and so on, like really incredible trauma. But they, they had such a, a joke, boy, in them, that just didn’t make sense, considering what they’d been through. And so that joy I discovered came from the Dharma and their practice, and, and their devotion to the Dalai Lama, who is living, of course. So those two experiences first in Kathmandu, and then in Dharamsala was sort of the seed experiences for me.
Rick Archer: And then you went back to the west, right?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: For a while. Not so long. I went back i i came back overland from London, having met Trumper Rinpoche in Scotland, when before he came to the United States. And then, at that time, you could actually drive from London to Kaplan and do through through Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistan.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I interviewed this guy who was the leader of the Harry Krishna movement, he actually hitchhiked that whole route, and made it alive. You know, which these days you wouldn’t?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, yeah. It really was pretty safe. At that time. We were in a VW bus and had to get to new engines on the way. But it’s sort of extraordinary to even think about that right now. But then when I got back to Katmandu in December of 1969, I heard that His Holiness Karmapa was in Kathmandu, who said, sort of, you could say the second highest Lama under the Dalai Lama. And I had heard about him because of a sadhana that I had received from Trumper Rinpoche, in which he’s mentioned a lot. But my friend, Vicki, who had gone to India with earlier, had told me that she’d met him in in Sikkim room tech, which is a small Himalayan kingdom, north of Darjeeling, Calcutta. And she said, Oh, he’s really fat and he wears a gold watch. And so that immediately put him out of the running for potential gurus. In my mind. I don’t want a fat guru. And of course, if he has a gold watch, he couldn’t be spiritual. And so I was refusing to go see him and everyone else was, was going to see him and and basically blown away by his his presence and And so I eventually went, my friends convinced me and I went into a crowd, big Tibetan crowd at the top of this little mountain in the center of Katmandu, where there’s a stupa, which is a sort of relatively big, it’s like maybe three storeys high, with a white white sweater with a couple large white skirt coming out from it. And so he was there. And he was giving what’s called the Black Hat ceremony, which is a very ancient ceremony that he’s been doing for many lifetimes. And in it, he goes into Samadhi. And he does 108 recitations of the Mantra, or Mani Padme. Home. And, and since compassion and blessings out, while he’s holding this hat on his head, with his hand, because it said that the hat will fly away if he doesn’t hold it, because it was given to him by the dakinis, who are female embodiments of wisdom, not, in this case, not embodied as humans. But as kind of like Gandharvas are. Yeah, Luminous beings. And so
Rick Archer: whatever your question here masks? Yeah, I remember you telling a story, that in Buddhist legend, the Buddha was born from his mother’s armpit. Because, you know, it was too impure to be born, you know, the usual way. And, you know, that made me think, well, I guess you have to treat all these legends as myths, you know, because obviously, he wasn’t born from his mother’s armpit. So when you hear stories about, you know, all these different stories and legends and everything else, how literally do you take them?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: That’s a good question. Because there certainly are a lot of them. I do take many of them as legend or myth. But I’ve also happened to have witnessed in my own life, actual mirror miracles that I wouldn’t have that could happen. And so I also am open to the magic or that that mythic level of experience?
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good answer. I mean, we’ve all read Autobiography of a Yogi and, you know, kind of like, feel that. That a lot of that stuff, if not all that is possible. But I have a little bit of a skeptical attitude. Like, just today, somebody emailed me and said something about, you know, practice of yoga is going to make you immortal, you know, and I thought, okay, great, you know, show me some provable examples, you know, so this is sort of blend of skepticism and, and credibility, you know?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. openness. Yeah, I think I think that’s important. And, and yet, it’s also important to be open to the possibility of things that we in the West think couldn’t happen happening. Yeah. Because I think if we don’t hold that openness, we probably won’t encounter them.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And not only we in the West, but maybe we in this age, you know, maybe this age has gotten a little crude, and it’s not as conducive to these sorts of things happening as more ancient age might have been.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, so though, I’ve witnessed them in my lifetime. So
Rick Archer: tell us about some of these things. You’ve witnessed that you that was kind of a tantalizing go in there. What sort of things you start referring to?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well, I saw a llama put his hand imprint his hand into a rock, like it was butter. And I actually have the rock. Cool. And I had given him the rock so
Rick Archer: So you knew it didn’t have a handprint? Yeah.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, no, no, it didn’t. And, and the interesting thing about it was when when, when I I had given it to him, he was here at Armando and I had heard that he did this and I thought it would be a blessing to have a relic like that at tar mandola. And so I had given a rock to his sister who’s a non he’s a monk and and said, You know what river possibly imprint this as a blessing for a temple. She took it didn’t say anything, and in days went by and and then this certain day was, was here for maybe three weeks and just certain day where I was coming back from doing this practice and in This hidden meadow and autonomy gondola where we’re doing a certain fairly secret practice. And I thought I, that rock I gave was too small because it was only about that big. But it had this frame around it. And I thought that that would be perfect, you know, for like a thumbprint or something. And I thought, oh, but if I gave him a bigger rock, he would do his whole hand. And I was should, I should really, you know, I should get a bigger rock. And so I stopped and picked one up by the side of the road. And then when I got there, I gave it to his sister. And she said, No, it’s not a suspicious to change it now. You already requested it with this rock, so I let it go. And then, shall I tell the story about how it happened? Yeah,
Rick Archer: why not? Everybody’s gonna be like, frustrated if you don’t continue.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Okay? Yeah, anyway, so so we had lunch. And he was in a very altered state. At that time, we didn’t have any buildings at Tara monda, we’re just intense. As we were sitting outside the tent out to lunch with all the dirty dishes on the table and so on. And he and then he was in this kind of altered state where he was singing Dzogchen poetry. So she has the highest nature of mine teachings in Tibetan tradition. And he but it was all rhyming, and it was kind of like, how was he doing this, you know, is this was going on for like a half hour. And, and then I noticed he had a rock in his hand. And then he said, Go and get people with faith. And so I ran up to our outdoor kitchen and tried to figure out who had faith told them to come. And so they, maybe about 20 people came and, and then he had it in his hand. And he was kind of like, moving it back and forth. And then all of a sudden, he just went pet, which is seats, both sound and and then and then he looked at the rock, and sure enough that his thumb had gone into it, maybe about a quarter of an inch. And and then he looked at the back and you could see and you know what, like in the back where he would have held it with this finger. Yeah, it was kind of seared like it looked like the rock had been seared. It was lighter in color, but hadn’t gone in very far. And then he said, Oh, there was someone here with that with without faith. Because if everyone had had faith that would have gone in on both sides. And, and, and I thought that was really interesting, because it showed me the Demeter so the container for this to happen in required faith. And that’s kind of what we were talking about before, like to have that openness to the possibility of something unusual happening. And the other thing that was interesting about that was, he showed it to me, and he showed it to everybody there and bless them with it. And then he said, I want to keep it for a few days and put the blessings into it. And that was another interesting thing for me because I thought well, isn’t it already blessed? Isn’t that enough? But my understanding of blessings is it’s almost like a substance that can be put into an object. And, and then and then that object has blessing power. Sure. And so he did keep it for a few days. And and I still have it. And so that’s an example.
Rick Archer: Okay. That’s interesting. Do you have any idea what the mechanics of something like that would be? You know, I mean, on level of physics, it would be hard to explain, but, you know,
Lama Tsültrim Allione: yeah, that that’s an interesting question, because my son was a scientist at that time, on a PhD track and microbiology and not interested to, really in the Dharma. And he came to visit me right after this happened. And I showed it to him. And he knew scientifically what would have had to happen for that to happen. And it just blew his mind that, you know, knowing what would be required scientifically. And in that moment, his mind turned to the Dharma. And now he’s, he’s done four years of solitary retreat. He is a he’s on a PhD track in Buddhist philosophy now has an MA already and, and otherwise he would have been a scientist. And so that’s, yeah, it’s an Interesting question, How could that happen? And the other thing is, it doesn’t look like force, it looks kind of like, if you stuck your thumbprint into butter. Yeah. Like you can see the world, the worlds of the thumb. In it, you can
Rick Archer: actually see the thumbprint. Yeah. Oh, interesting. Wow. Well, you know, that comment I made a few minutes ago about, you know, maybe in past ages, this sort of thing was more likely. Some people say that the ambient level of consciousness in the world kind of suppresses the the possibilities that might otherwise be lively. And in a world in which the higher level of consciousness was prevailed, you know, most people, or many people would be capable of these kinds of things, and they would just be part of human ability, and we’d take them rather not matter of factly and not make a fuss about them. They would just kind of be, you know, we have all kinds of abilities that sort of be normal. Because they were probably
Lama Tsültrim Allione: yield, you know, I think that we do live, we live in a field of, of course, the field of nature and our environment. But also we live in the field have each other’s thoughts. Yeah. And each other’s minds. And, you know, we certainly see this in in a relationship with anybody, that the relationship with them, and at what level, you can communicate really depends so much on on the field at both of those people. Yeah. And so it’s kind of reminds me of the title of your program, the Buddha at the Gas at the gas pump, you know, like, Would you recognize the Buddha at the Gas Pump? If you met him there? And would he be able to communicate with you his wisdom? If if you weren’t open to that level of being?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, that’s all sort of implied in the title. You know, it’s just sort of extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances becoming more and more common in today’s world, at least hopefully, and and the implications that might have for the world. Yeah, yeah. Okay. So let’s get back to your story. So there you were coming home going overland in a VW bus? I’m sure it’s not something that you and I would want to do at our age, but it was the kind of thing we did when we were that age. But you ended up back in India. And then what happened?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well, then, I did go to see the Karmapas. I was Oh, yes. Right, telling you and experienced this black hat ceremony and and then what went sort of in the wave of humanity that was squishing their way to the front to get a blessing with him. And you sort of funneled into this doorway single doorway and so it ended up being one by one but it was a lots of pushing and jostling and being with the Tibetans and their big, you know, wool tubas and so on. Anyway, so I ended up in front of him and looked up and, and he smiled as an amazing smile, just like, like the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in my life. Still, now, I haven’t seen another smile like that. And then he said something to this Bhutanese Doctor Who was his Translator Editor didn’t say anything to me. And then I went on, you know, with, with the crowd. And, and then a few days later, I started having this feeling that there was something I was supposed to do. And it was to find my guru. But I was sure it wasn’t him because he was fat. And he had a gold watch. That disqualified him. But anyway, then I decided it with this yogi who was up at the mountain where the Karmapa was. And so he took me to his room. And you know, I was sort of asking him to be my teacher and, and then he took a picture of come up from the shrine, and he said, No, it’s him. This has come up as a guru. And so I, I thought, yeah, maybe I’m just being kind of limited in the way that I’ve dismissed him. And so then I opened as we were just talking about to that possibility of, of him being my teacher and eventually decided that I would request ordination as a nun. And so I went to him one morning and made that request, and he looked at me with this It says, Long, silent look. And I was looking back at him and it was like he was reading my whole karmic history. And then he nodded. And he said, Yes, Manuel, ordain you, but not here. I want to join you in Bodh Gaya under the Bodhi tree. And so
Rick Archer: is that where the Buddha got enlightened? Under that? Yes, yeah.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. And he was going there next. I don’t I don’t know why. Maybe he thought it would be more blessings there. But he was doing ordinations in Katmandu. In any case, or maybe he just wanted to see if I really wanted to get to do it enough to actually go there and so on. But anyway, I was ordained there on January fullmoon, of 1970. In Boga by His Holiness Karmapa. And forming reincarnate Lamas connected to him. Very intimate ceremony, very powerful, full. And then when I went out from the ceremony that Bhutanese Doctor congratulated me and there I was no hair, kind of wondering what I had done. And then he said, You know, so when his holidays first saw you there Shambu, he, he predicted this, he told me that you are going to be ordained and that you had been his disciple in many lifetimes. And so that was interesting thing, because it was, it was certainly not in my mind at that time, but he could see it. And he said, and you will benefit the Dharma, he predicted your benefit the Dharma in your life, which didn’t take material remote possibility. That’s great. But it didn’t seem possible at that time.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so you did years of rather intense practice, as I understand it, including like, long, silent retreats in Himalayan caves and stuff like that. Give us just a sort of an overview of what you’ve been through in terms of that kind of sadhana.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well, I lived in I lived in India and Nepal for about three, a three, four years. And I practiced in holy places and sacred places. So sometimes it was in isolation. in caves in the Himalayas, I was up at a cave at one point that was about 16,000 feet high. Yeah. Yeah, never really. It’s there for six weeks, and then I never really acclimated. But it was incredible place near near Mount Everest. So, places like that, and then a lot of times in huts like stone, little stone hut in the in the Himalayas. i i also practiced in Bodhgaya and Sarnath, and some of those sacred places. And my practice was combination of the traditional Tibetan preparatory practices called non DRO, which means that which goes before that which are quite rigorous, to to do, involving, for example, 100,000, full length prostrations and going pretty fast, it takes 20 minutes to do 100. And so you can imagine how long that takes
Rick Archer: you do 100 You can possibly do 100,000 consecutively.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: No, no, no, no, over a period of a month
Rick Archer: or something. Yeah. Great shape.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: I could do about 1000 a day out there. I got going, Yeah, some people can do more than that. But I decided just to do 1000 a day. So my practice was that and also Shama to practice, and being I was trained by by a mountain yo Ogee, in a progressive form of Shama into practice, which begins with quite simple practice of being with the breath and then gradually goes more toward nature of mind. Mind looking at mind, so it’s more
Rick Archer: inward kind of thing. Yeah, yeah. Do you feel that those physical things such as the 1000 prostrations 100,000 over the course of weeks, and you sometimes see these people going on pilgrimages where they prostrate their way all the way up to Mount Kailash or something, you know, over hundreds of miles? You feel that though was a really meritorious. I mean, over the course of your whole life now looking at all the things you’ve done and all the things you’ve seen, you feel like people really derive a lot of spiritual benefit from those.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: I still do prostrations every day. Okay. I, I like it. I mean, I’m not doing 1000 a day, more like 100 or, you know, sometimes less than that, depending on my time. But what I experienced with frustrations in particular, is a because you go all the way down, it’s almost like like a massage of your subtle body. As you go down and up, and, and it’s it is very strengthening, physically strengthening, plus, it’s tied to meditation. And I haven’t done that kind of practice, you know, and both guy have done it around the Bodhi tree. A full prostrations, you know, on the ground. But I think the people I’ve seen that are doing it are just glowing. I met people in Mount Kailash, we’re doing it and I think it’s very purifying, it’s strengthening and that devotion and so on. That is required is also is meritorious.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Must, takes tremendous determination and dedication to even do such a thing. It also seems to be symbolically that your I don’t know who to whom or what your prostrating but it seems like it must attenuate the ego somehow and cultural humility.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Exactly. That’s that say, it works with pride. And you’re in it’s a quite a complex visualization that you’re doing and you do. You’re not just throwing yourself on the ground. Okay? No, it’s very, so there’s a whole mind yoga with it, as well.
Rick Archer: So it might be something good for Donald Trump to take up and do every morning instead of watching Fox News.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: If only right?
Rick Archer: Okay, so I want to keep going with your story. But I don’t want to devote all our time to that, because your book is very interesting. And we want to talk about the points that it brings out in that. So you know, given the amount of time we have, and the overview that you must have in mind of the things you consider most important. Let’s budget our time. And, you know, kind of touch upon the most important aspects of your life story, but also save plenty of time for the things you bring out in your book. So how should we proceed with that in mind?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well maybe I could talk. You could ask me a little more questions about my life and the salient points. Sure, that relates to what has become this current book. Okay. Or what parts of my life you know, you know, something about it now you think would be interesting and useful to your listeners,
Rick Archer: or people might be wondering why you disrobed and how you ended up having children and all that stuff. And, as I understand it, disrobing is not that big a deal in the Tibetan tradition. It’s not like you’re sort of cursed and fallen, it sort of sounds like okay, you did your time in that, and maybe it’s time for a new phase.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, I mean, they do call you a fallen. But that was an interesting thing for me, was how, how would they approach me when I went to get my vows back. So just give a little background of why I decided to do that. I did actually love being a nun. And I was very happy. But I felt like, if I did that my whole life, I would start to be repressing aspects of my self, like my sexuality, and that that wouldn’t necessarily be healthy for me. And, you know, I’m not saying it’s, it’s not for everybody. I think some people are very suited to that, but I wasn’t really like someone who always wanted to be online. I just kind of ended up as at none with
Rick Archer: Karmapa it’s kind of a spur of the moment decision. Really?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Very, yes, I wasn’t a Buddhist at the time. But anyway, so that that was an aspect and the other thing was I came back to the West as a nun and I was literally the only Tibetan Buddhist nun in the entire Country, Tibetan or Western was the only one. And so that was very lonely because monasticism is really a group practice, you know, you have the support of the other monks and nuns and so on. And I had no support. And you know, I go into, you know, the supermarket kid and they’d asked me if I’d had brain surgery, because I was I Hari Krishna is just stood out in a way that maybe I didn’t really want to. It wasn’t like that in Asia, but when I got back here was like that. And so it wasn’t an easy decision. It really wasn’t it took me about six months to make the decision. But then I finally did and I returned my vows to come to room to some great llama with also a monk in Kashi June, which is in the Congo Valley in India, not far from Dharamsala. And he said, The dedicate the merit of your time as a nun, to benefit all beings, to the benefit of all beings. Instead of saying, You’re a bad girl, you know, you broke your vows. It’s like no, take all that positive energy, generate gender identity, offer it out, and then go on. And my, my actual teacher at that time, who it’s not amongst, so he couldn’t receive the bounce back but he he said, you know of Guru Rinpoche is 25 disciples and go, Rinpoche was the being who brought Buddhism to Tibet. of his 25 disciples, there are only a couple of monastics, and they impacted Tibet as practitioners. Till now, and so don’t feel like you can’t follow your path as a lay person. And so, I did some practices of purification practices, because I did break my vows. And then and then I, sometimes I’d say, I got pregnant five minutes. wasn’t quite that quick, but it was pretty fast. And I was pretty young and innocent in a way in terms of relationship and all that. And so anyway, within a year of having given back my vows, I was a mother. And then, within 17 months of that I was a mother again, and then eventually also had twins. And so my life completely shifted to from having fun in amount of time for meditation to basically having no time for myself at all. Never mind meditation, you know, hardly time to brush my teeth.
Rick Archer: As well, with Charlize Theron, I think it’s called Talia. It’s about what a burnout it is to be a mother. So you really went into the thick of it. Yeah, I remember hearing you say that, you know, there were times when you thought, oh my god, what have I done? You know, what have I taken on here? This is too much. And you had some regrets almost.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever regretted being a mother, but I don’t think any parent does at least none that I’ve known. But, but it certainly is much more than anyone thinks it’s going to be. And then having so many so soon, so quickly. I was very intense. But it was really important for me as a practitioner, actually, because I had to you know, bring the Buddha to the gas pump. But more like, you know, bring bring the Buddha to the kitchen sink or the or the diaper table or the middle of the night no sleep experience. Seven years i figured i seven years I didn’t have a full night’s sleep. And, and so that was an amazing kind of training ground for patience and generosity and all the power meters in a way that had I stayed and anon and lived in caves and so on. I wouldn’t have had that. I would have had something else, you know, would have been equally valuable, but I really feel like that helped me to understand others and to have more compassion for others. Going through that, it’s very humbling. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So without skipping anything really important, I want to be sure to get to have plenty of time to talk about the themes in your book. Is there anything else in here? Here? It is decades later, of course, and you raise the kids, one of your children died tragically? Well, let’s just divert into that for a second. One of them died from sudden infant death syndrome. And how did that I mean, she’s kind of trivial. I’ve tried to ask how it, how it affected you.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: It is important, it is important because it it led me to write my first book, hurt her death caused me to go into a kind of dissent, in which I really everything that I had sort of held on to seem to not be a support. And I felt I needed the stories of women, Buddhist women, and how did they deal with this kind of thing. And at that time, there were no stories with us women, their, you know, their story of, of Milarepa or, of course, the story of the Buddha who left his children child and went out the window in the middle of the night. You know, he didn’t stay there. Yeah. Maybe didn’t even pay child support. But anyway, so Chiara as death, made me seek the stories of women, the biographies of women, and that became my first book, and also became the way that I got interested in, in the stories of women and then women in general, I never even thought about it as, as the subject, but to write the book, I had to do research. And so I found out about the history of women in Buddhism, and more about just the history of women religion. And, and it raised my awareness, my consciousness, as we say, about women and gave me a tremendous appreciation of women and the feminine principle. And so in a way, that experience which you brought up was really seminal, in terms of, of this current book. And, and also a lot of what I’ve done in my life, in terms of, of women in the feminine.
Rick Archer: Yeah. You told the story about how when you were a nun, you had to you and the other nuns had to sort of sit behind all the male monks, and even even little five year olds who are all fidgety and not paying attention to what was going on, but you had to sit behind them, and then all the lay people had sat behind you and they weren’t really into what was going on. They were all chit chatting and having a party. Well. Yeah, it seems so sexist in terms? Yeah, I think
Lama Tsültrim Allione: it is. Yeah. And it is one of the bowels of the, of the nuns, to to be to sit behind the monks always.
Rick Archer: Yeah. There was a cool story about how you were riding in a car with a Buddhist teacher, you’ll notice name and you were haranguing him as you were going along about this, this inequity, between men and women and Buddhism, and, and his his Was it his sister in the back seat was like, yeah, yeah. And then that really brought about some big changes leg. Yeah. But that really set the ball rolling in terms of some significant change taking place.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, it was interesting, because he went back to Tibet. And this is the same Lama that imprinted his hand into the rock, by the way. And, and but anyway, yeah. And he made changes in Tibet and came back the next year and very happily, reported to me that he had created a college for women so that they could get the same level of degree that the, the male monk, yes. Could get, and it made a lot of similar changes.
Rick Archer: That’s great. I mean, you know, I mean, my impression is that there’s a lot of valuable stuff in the ancient traditions, but if we just accept it all blindly, we are going to perpetuate a lot of stuff that is not valuable. And so we really have to sort of pick and choose and reevaluate our assumptions and analyze these things and see if they really hold up, you know, because a lot of the stuff just might have been a bunch of crusty old men imposing their misogynist attitudes and establishing some tradition, which has no spiritual merit to it whatsoever.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, that’s. Yeah, that could be crusty young men to
Rick Archer: address the young man. Yeah. Struggling and straining and against that to which they are attracted.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yes. And making that making the women the problem?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Very good point. Yeah, I mean, yeah, there’s so many stories of monks being tempted by women and then blaming the women, like, you know, yeah, the women are the big temptress, you know, how about about their self discipline and discrimination?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. Yeah. And, and I don’t know if you remember the beginning of my book, but I talked about the split between spirit and matter. And traditions that emphasize transcendence, and a disembodied spiritual path, have traditionally associated women in nature with with the non spiritual. And so
Rick Archer: actually, I love that part of your book. And as soon as I started reading it, I thought, oh, boy, this is great. I had no idea what your book was going to be about. But I love that topic. And I think I’d like to talk with you about it for a little while, because I think it’s extremely important and relevant to the very continuation of the human race. Yes, yeah.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yes. I feel that way, too. Yeah,
Rick Archer: let’s let’s get into it. Yeah. So yeah, so spell it out for us, I could, I could elaborate, but you can do it better. And it’s your book. So, so kind of lay out the whole premise there.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well, historically, women in nature have been treated in a similar way. So at women have been respected, and nature has been respected, and vice versa. And so, in our patriarchal religions, which is pretty much every world religion that we have today, generally, women and nature have been considered an obstacle to the Divine, to the transcendent experience, which is disembodied. And, and women in nature have been considered obstacles on that path to that transcendent divine experience, and therefore denigrated, and, and considered to be lesser than in, in the religion. And so the result of that is that women in nature have been considered something that men should control, and use, and and attribute if they want to. And so what this has led us to, is the ecological situation that we’re in today, as well as the situation of via islands and harassment and abuse of women. And is it okay, if I talk about Trump?
Rick Archer: Of course. I mean, I’ll get some flack for it, but I don’t care.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Okay. Well, I mean, he’s just such a good example of this, I can’t resist. Because his, his attitude toward nature, and his attitude toward women, is the same as true. He, he, you see him pulling out of the Paris trade, climate accord see him? You know, yeah, I don’t even have to enumerate what he’s doing to the ecological situation in earth, and then what he’s doing to women. And so, you know, I’m not speaking politically, I’m speaking as an example of what I’m talking about. Whereas in historically, in religions, like in some of the Native American tribes, women, and nature were considered sacred, and, and Steve, and it was the women, the grandmothers, actually, who made the main decisions in the tribe. And then nature was always treated with great respect and called the mother. And so that’s a different experience. And within that, experience, both I see this in two traditions I’m fairly familiar with, which is the Native American tradition and also the bone traditions which are pretty good. As Tibetan traditions, there is a deep recognition of the reciprocal relationship between nature and human beings and the need to treat them as sacred and women as well. And I talked about that in my book, that story of Bertha grove.
Rick Archer: I don’t remember that one. But and people listening won’t have heard it. So go ahead.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. So when we moved to Colorado, to the 700 acres of land, where I live now, I wanted to make contact with the Native American people whose land it really was. And I had really synchronistically met a woman at a gathering in Texas, a couple of months before he moved here. And her name was Bertha Grove. And she’s a plant spirit healer, and a medicine woman in the Ute tribe. And so when I got here, I contacted her. And she came over to Tara mandala. And we started doing sweat lodges and praying for, you know, as to, you know, when we want permission to do what we’re doing, I want to be in accord with the spirits of this land, and so on. And, and I started studying with her. And she, she taught me about this, because she was studying herbal medicine with her. And when we go out to harvest herbs, she would say, you know, if you pick an herb herb, you take something, you have to take some hair out of your head, and offer it back to the earth, partly in exchange, but also because when you pull that out of your head, you feel it, and the earth feels when you take something from her body. And then, and then she’s said something else, which was also very significant in terms of what we’re talking about. He said, when you when you harvest medicine, you always ask permission. And then you don’t take the best plant, you don’t take the biggest flower or herb or whatever, you take the medium sized ones that are healthy, but you leave the biggest ones because that’s going to strengthen the future. And, and so she talked about this reciprocal, respectful relationship with nature, which if we have that, we would not be in the situation that we’re in, which is, as you know, really frightening what’s happening, and becoming more and more irreversible. So I say all that in terms of what we started talking about, of women and nature and and there’s different kinds of spirituality, one which is transcendent, and one in which the Divine is imminent, meaning in the body or in our life and in nature. And whenever there’s a feminine presence in religion, historically, the sacred is imminent, which is interesting. It’s in the body in, in the earth.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t think Christianity can be blamed exclusively. But, you know, Western society is largely built on a Christian tradition, Christian background, and, you know, Christianity burned was responsible for the burning of maybe 100,000 women at the stake, accused of witchcraft, because they happen to be herbalists are this or that. And, of course, many others of all genders, or both genders considered heretics, or something, were tortured and burned and killed. But, you know, in our modern materialistic society, in which most in which the predominant scientific paradigm is one of materialism, in which the physical world is thought to be dead, inert matter, yeah, you know, it’s very much a continuation of that sort of mindset, I believe. And, and as you say, if it’s dead, we can do whatever we want to it. It’s ours. For then, you know, we have dominion over the earth and so on and so forth. And it’s there for our pleasure for our sustenance for whatever. But if, but, but actually, I always like to say this, I’ll make this brief, that science says also, aside from its despite its materialistic attitude, revealed that there’s, if you look at it this way, Infinite Intelligence lively in every single particle of creation, a marvel of laws of nature, perform thinking the function of every atom, every molecule, every cell and everything. And so you know, if you think about what that intelligence really is, you can see, even through the window of science that the Divine is imminent and creation, you know, that it’s all just divine and display of divine intelligence. So there it is, you know, and and obviously, if you are abusing and misusing and that you are abusing the divine. And so, I mean, this is this understanding is a little bit new to me. But, you know, a lot of people say, What do you mean by the divine feminine and Summit, a few interviews back somebody, it really hit home, and I thought, well, obviously, the divine feminine is this sort of this omnipresence of intelligence in in all of creation. And if that were appreciated, then the kind of respectfulness that you were just referring to with that Native American herbalist could filter into all of our different sciences and economic endeavors, and so on. And we could really transform the world. That’s the end of my little well said. Get off my soapbox.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: That’s a beautiful image of the inherent aliveness and miraculousness of the phenomenal world. In Tibetan Buddhism, we talk about the phenomenal world as the radiance of the ground of being or the expression of the ground of being the ground of being is the Great Mother, which is pure potentiality without form, pure potentiality. And then, as that radii, as the ground expresses itself, it becomes radiance, and that radiance is, is our world, in the world, the the not only this earth, but the entire universe is the display of the Great Mother, which is the ground of being which is pure potentiality, which is emptiness. And so that, to me, that’s a beautiful way to see our world, you know, we maybe all of you who are listening now, or looking off, on could just look around where you are. And experience what you’re seeing as the play of your own mind. Or the display of, of Lumina. I siddhi that is a fold Ching, from the ground of being and that, that that’s such a different experience, then there’s me and then there’s other and me in that. Yeah. And even if that is alive, it’s still that to me. And so the experience of non duality and the display of the radiance of a being gives such a different feeling to material world that that you know, in many traditions would be considered not spirit.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it gives you a sort of a sense of sort of a gentle, compassionate approach to everything like you would no sooner harm something that is ordinarily considered to be external to yourself, then you would harm your own arm because the the environment, the world is no longer considered external to yourself.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, and even that word and Vironment. It’s like it’s saying that you’re the main thing and then there’s there your environment when actually you’re not the main thing. You’re, you’re a tiny fragment of the main thing.
Rick Archer: I don’t know if you remember that old margarine commercial where somebody was eating something and they thought it was butter, butter, and or no, it was Mother Nature. She was offered this thing, some some butter and then they said, No, this isn’t butter. It’s margarine. And then she she gets really mad. She says it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, and then she throws a lightning bolt or something. But you remember that, but um, no. It was back in the 60s Probably. But um, in any case, if the world is, if everything is the divine, if it’s all divine intelligence, if that which we have some consider to be dumb matter is really divine. Then how much tolerance does the divine have? I mean, a mother is tolerant to a certain extent of her children and that a certain point she has to do upon them. So, you know, what, what do you see as the sort of potential or, or even current disciplinary action that the Divine Feminine Mother Divine may take or maybe already taking with with those of us who are abusing her?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well, she’s already she’s already doing it with climate change. With, you know, hurricanes, winds that we’ve never seen before, and so on. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s not her kind of retribution, but it’s it’s a natural attempt to balance and trying to keep balance within an imbalanced world. And certainly, every no one’s immune to it. You know, even rich people are not going to be able to get away with it.
Rick Archer: They’re away from it islands are gonna get inundated.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, already are. So you know, that that kind of brings us to the theme of my book about fierce compassion, and the fierce feminine. Which is I speak about in the book, and I think that’s part of what this is, is fierce compassion of, of the natural world, which is this natural display of the ground of being. So what inspired me greatly was the women’s march in 2016. Was it seven teams day after 17? Yeah. Seeing Wow, 5 million women and their allies and male allies, and all kinds of gender allies rising up and being fierce, in a way that I haven’t seen for a long time. And yet, what I loved about what I saw, I mean, I’m in a very remote part of Colorado, so it wasn’t in the marches. But what I saw was a lot of humor, and happiness in those women, right, who were also being fierce, and non violence, and non aggression. So this idea that you can be fierce and hold your ground, stop complaining and do something about it. And, and yet, be embodying the feminine was beautiful to me, and incredible to see so many women standing up to that and yet having humor with the pink pussy hat. Yeah. And and that kind of that came out with a kind of slapped back to Trump said, and so I
Rick Archer: sent me a photo of the march in Berkeley, I believe it was a picture of a dog and it had this sign on his back who said, pussy grab protection dog?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, yeah,
Rick Archer: I’m sorry, I interrupted you. And you’re saying something about Trump?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, well, I was I was just saying, you know, that he called Hillary a nasty woman. Right? And then yeah. and turned it into an empowerment slogan. Like, never underestimate the power of an SD woman. And so the dakinis in the Tibetan tradition, which is what I write about in the book, are embodiment of that the fierce feminine and they are dancing and they’re considered the wisdom that Kenyans are considered equal to Buddhists. In in vagina, and yet, they’re female. And they’re, they’re dancing and they hold the hook knife and you raised right hand and, and so on, and
Rick Archer: usually stomping on some prostate man on the ground, you know, prostrate, lying there.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Well, it’s not a man. It’s ego or ego. Okay? Yeah, it’s trembling, trembling on the ego. Which could be either male or female. Yeah, but, but anyway, it’s a it’s a archetype, if you will. That has been dis allowed, and you were talking about the witches is such a fear of the fear of the feminine, that let’s burn her. Because those are mostly independent women or women that didn’t do what their husbands wanted them to do. Yeah. And so then they would like, she’s a witch. And, and there was a lot of repressed sexuality at that time to a lot. And, and so there was all that kind of twisted into that experience. So, but in any case, so So in my book, I teach about the mandala of the five dakinis, each of whom have different characteristics and our bodies have different kinds of wisdom. And so I wanted to just talk for a minute about the mandala if that’s okay, please. Because that’s something really, I think is a very important idea that is known to some extent, but in some ways, not deeply enough known, which is why I wrote the book to begin with. The Mandala is a is a template of wholeness. And normally I think we think of a cure. This is a, this is a mandala. Right. Right. And that’s a Tibetan mandala. But nowadays, pretty much anything that’s a circle with a center is you know, Mondal animal, mandala coloring books, and so on. But the mandala within the Tibetan tradition is actually it’s a structure, it’s three dimensional, and the practitioner, the meditator places themselves within that template. That is a circle with four quadrants and the center is also a place in the mandala, it’s not just a.in, the center that’s it’s a hole placed in the center. And so if we place our minds within the mandala as we do in a mandala meditation, and the fragmented parts of, of ourselves of our minds, are, are drawn in and then placed into that template of wholeness and transformed by that because of the symbolic power and meaning of each of those directions which the practitioner learns and knows. And so it’s different than mindfulness, which is bringing yourself in the present moment, very important. And a base for this kind of practice, does but but it’s imbued with symbolic meaning, you know, the East has a certain color and meaning and elements, so on all the way around the mandola. And so that experience of pulling in reining in our wild, wild minds, and then placing them within them on the left is three dimensional experience in which you are the dakini. And then the white deck in the middle, the way that Kenny symbolizing space and all pervading awareness, and then in the east is another one in South and so on. So when you You are her it’s not just like you’re in this symbolic structure, you’re you’re there as this fierce body men of wisdom and feminine power. And so when I saw them march, I thought, wow, what if all those women had the resource had the inner resource of a mandala actors of the five dakinis they would then have that to draw on for their activism for the changes that they’re trying to make. And, and this was sort of brought home to me, because there was a woman there who spoke up and just recently, I learned her name because it was 150 women and at the time, I didn’t know her name, but I told the story and, and then had found out who she was. And in any case, she she said she complained about politics her whole life. And she’d been very depressed and her marriage had been bad. And she, she had come to this to Kripalu where I taught this a year before and had been doing, pleasing her mind and the mandola for a year. And she said her entire life had changed. Her marriage had changed. And in a good sense, she wasn’t depressed anymore. And she felt so empowered that she was running for Congress.
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah, cool. They all mentioned someone named Virginia on a retreat in Bali who fell off a ladder and injured yourself rather badly or something and she practiced this to Kenny Manjula and
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Ingrid. Oh, was it? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yes. Yes, yes. And then, after this woman spoke, other women stood up and said, I have to give a testimonial to. And there was a woman who said she was an activist, I guess Pete, some people are professional activists. And but she had been feeling so drained, and just lost all their energy for it in this climate. But then she did the dakini modular practice. And she said, she felt like she had this huge well, to draw on for the energy of her activism. Yeah. And then just tell you one more, because these are different and significant, there was another woman there, who said that she had been born into an abusive family, and had been sexually abused as, as a girl, pretty severely. And she said, I honestly, can say that I had been miserable most of my life. And by doing this practice, is the first time that I felt that I can accept and love my female body, and feel empowered and, and actually feel happy to be a woman. And she said, This is extraordinary. If she wasn’t young, you know, she was maybe 45, or something. She’d never had this experience before. So this now, the book is going out to many people, you know, this has been something I’ve taught, you know, to, you know, I’ve been teaching it, but not exactly privately, but it’s not like a book that that goes out. And then many people have this tool, which I’m very excited about offering and I, you know, these these dakinis and Mondal and so on is really part of this Pashyanti tradition. 10, which is quite secret, and very precious, and so on. So I really thought about it a lot before, you know, publicizing the dakinis. But I’ve feel like it’s said that these are urgent times, like, we have to pull out the stops and offer what we can to help the situation and to change the situation in the world. And the decades are activists, and they get things done. And so it’s exciting for me, the thought of now that it’s in the book for him, and it will be in an audio book, too, that it will be able to reach and help not only women but also men. To change that. See,
Rick Archer: two questions. One is, I interviewed a woman a few months ago named Kavita Chauhan who’s a cardiologist and she also wrote a book about the kidneys more from the Hindu tradition. And I got the impression from her and from you that they aren’t just mythological figures, but are actual conscious beings who have some kind of off some kind of authority, some kind of logical exists, yeah, some actual existence who have who have a function in the universe and who have a powerful and profound influence. So there’s that let’s answer that part. Before I get into this ask the second one.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Do the dakinis have an ontological existence? Do
Rick Archer: they exist as much as you and I exist? Or as much as you know, anything? Right? Yeah, of course. But on a certain level, obviously, because we don’t see them walking around any place?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yes, well, I did think in the beginning, my practice that they didn’t really exist, that that dakinis and all these deities in the Tibetan Pantheon are more or less, like archetypes, you know, mythical architect. But then I’ve had some experiences in my life, which has shifted that where I have had experiences with them, which have led me to believe that they they do have an ontological or beyond my own beliefs. Existence. So I would say yes, yeah. And I don’t think you have to believe that, to be benefited by them. If you simply see them as an aspect of your own enlightened mind, and archetype that you can identify with and draw forth your own qualities, that’s fine. But if you asked me personally, I would say yes.
Rick Archer: Yeah. The way I like to think of it is, you know, if you find that to be a bit of a stretch, then take it as a hypothesis. Take everything as hypothesis that can be explored and maybe verified. Maybe not. But don’t just say no, such a thing couldn’t be There’s because you’re not being scientific for one and you’re not being open minded. But you know, my my understanding of things is that there’s a whole, we can say vertical dimension to life. And the things that we ordinarily see are just the, the crust on the surface or the tip of the iceberg. And there are all sorts of subtle realms with all sorts of impulses of intelligence, if you want to call them that, who are very instrumental in that whole process of creation.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, yeah. And as I said, I think it’s not only to take them as a possible hypothesis, but even if you take the merely as an archetype or a symbolic beings, that you would you would identify with to cultivate a certain aspect of your consciousness and of your being, then that’s fine. Yeah. You don’t need to believe in the dakinis. That’s really not necessary.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In fact, I would say that with any really valid spiritual practice, you don’t need to believe in anything, just, in fact, Buddha was famous for saying, you know, don’t believe something just because I said it, just, you know, test it in the light of your own experience and your own your own understanding. And it should really be an experiential investigation, not a matter of just blind faith. Second, part of my question was,
Lama Tsültrim Allione: where’s your second question? Yeah,
Rick Archer: it’s actually a second question, which is, can you learn this? This kini Mundo thing from your book? Or do you have to come and take a course someplace?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: No, it’s in the book. Okay. Which I didn’t. That was another it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s at the end, okay, this practice practice at the mandala of the five dakinis. And that was another decision I made. I do say in the book that really in the Tibetan tradition, can you should have the empowerment, the oral transmission, and then the explanation of a full mandala. But this is an introduction. It’s it’s a, it’s a experiential introduction that you can do from the book. There’s also audio downloads of the practice. And there will be an online course that will be ready in the end of June. And so there’s different ways that you can access this. But there’s also practices in the book as something that you might enjoy. Integration with the elements, the dakinis, are considered to be wisdom, manifestation of the elements. And so I talk about a practice, for example of sitting with water, you know, where do you where do you live? Iowa? I, okay, we have water. If you have water and lakes, I imagine
Rick Archer: and rivers, and lakes and rivers.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: So let’s say you go and sit by a by a river. And a little bit like Siddhartha did, and Herman has this book. Yeah, it’s a junior in high school or something, anyway, and you look at the water, and you listen to the sound of the water. And then you integrate with the water, meaning that there’s no separation between yourself and the river. You there’s no journey between your yourself and the river, you go into a state of oneness with the water. And so that’s a example of an integration with the elements practice itself. So with fire and so on, all of the elements in the chapters of the five that can use at the end, I offer those element meditations, which are not the decades you’re not believing in anything, you’re not visualizing anything. You’re You’re simply being with what is with the lake and the wind, and or
Rick Archer: the fire. And I presume these practices are as much for men as for women, right? They’re not just for women.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, definitely. I mean, in Tibet, the dakini Mondo is definitely equally or if not more practiced by men and women. Okay. I brought it out as a tool for women because of seeing the women’s marches and the feeling that women needed an inner sort of a sea of wholeness, from which to operate from which to to gain strength, but it’s, it’s equally, all of these practices are equally powerful and transformative for men and women.
Rick Archer: Let me ask you a question that came in from a listener Mark Peters in Santa Clara, California. And I’ll, I’ll add a little bit to his question. He said, What do you do to to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the pace of environmental degradation? If you could pointless slaves to one or two daily practices that might deepen the connection with the Great Mother, what would they be? And the part I want to add on is, let’s say you’re very busy as you were when you were raising your, your young children don’t have a lot of time. What kind of practice will keep Mark’s question in mind? But what kind of practice would you advocate that people are actually going to be able to do if they only have 1520 minutes 30 at the most a day to do some kind of practice that that will be gratifying enough and easy enough and to actually stick with it?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. Well, his question was connected to the degradation of the environment and those sort of devastation of that experience and the grief that we all feel and in some ways, the powerlessness that we all experience and I would say to mark, you can do the dakini monda. law practice in 10 minutes. It’s, it doesn’t need to be long, it can be longer than that, but it’s certain seed syllables and so on at once you learn them, you can do that. And what that will do is it will give you the inner power, I like the word empowerment i n in empowerment, so that we can have empowerment outside. And the other thing about the dakinis is they are activated activators. Could say they’re activists. And so I think that would give him as a resource to, to draw from, for activism. And it’s really easy to fall into a feeling of helplessness and depression in this. Yeah, what can we do. But another just quick story I’ll tell about Tibet. When the Chinese were coming into Tibet, there was a lama named John Doar J, and it was obvious what was going to happen. And he kept building Stupid, stupid, big, huge, maybe 1720 foot high, and they can be much higher, but he was building about that size stupid. And people said to him, why are you doing that they’re just going to come in and tear it all down. And he said, it doesn’t matter. I have to keep making progress and the good. And the merit of that, and the effort of that is going to have a positive effect, no matter what happens when it’s done. So I think that’s something to think about when we get depressed and feel like it doesn’t matter what I do is still like, it’s still happening is we still have to make progress in the good to make those actions those take those steps. Even if they’re small steps, and not get depressed and and feel helpless, but do something because the benefit, and the merit of that will remain even if it doesn’t have long lasting life like those stupids.
Rick Archer: I remember reading a list of points from Mother Teresa or somebody about, you know, how if you do this, this and this, people are gonna just knock it down, but do it anyway. You know, it’s just the doing of it that benefits you even if it doesn’t, isn’t appreciated, or it doesn’t last and the material right.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: And it does have an effect, you know, it does benefit others as well.
Rick Archer: It does. Yeah. Do you need to wrap it up? Do you have time for a few more questions? Some questions? I can do a few more. Okay, that was all jumped around a little bit, because these questions are not tightly related. But I’ll just like to ask a few. So this is Marie from Colorado, maybe you even know, Marie, she said I appreciate the conversation about the importance of taking care of the natural world. And it seems like dollars, and there’s one spiritual path that honors this deeply, though, I’m trying to reconcile this with a non dual view in which there are just the arising and dissolving phenomena within the ground of pure awareness, like waves arising and dissolving back into the ocean. Can you please comment?
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, so I would comment that you have to separate absolute truth and relative truth. So at an absolute level, from a Buddhist point of view, everything’s empty. In other there there’s no fundamental reality, once you really start to unpack any any anything, ourselves, me, or, or any kind of material things. So that’s the absolute truth. But at the relative level, for example, I have a body and I need to take care of my body. I try to keep it healthy, in order to be a benefit. And, and our world does exist at A relative level. And so it’s sort of like the difference between, let’s say you’re coming toward a red light, and you’re driving. If you stayed in the absolute point of view, you would just like, oh, that’s empty. That’s just it. That’s this luminous red light and this empty pole. All that it’s standing. I’ll just keep going. Smash. Yes, Nash. So it’s important. I think Absolute Truth is also really important. And to to be able to hold those two truths. This is mudra. And if you can see it, yes. And you see that oh, yeah. Oh,
Rick Archer: hang on, hold your hands up a little higher, like in front of you. Yeah. There we go. There’s almost like the yang symbol.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. So this is this one’s coming across like this, and this one’s coming up. And that would normally be held at your heart. And it’s the mudra of the two wheels of the Dharma. It’s called the Dharma Chakra. mudra. And it’s the it’s the top one is absolute truth. And the bottom one is relative truth. And they’re, and they’re there together. Yeah. To symbolize that we need to hold those two truths. Murray? That’s a good question.
Rick Archer: It is a good question. It’s important when it comes up a lot, actually. There are a lot of people who sort of, in some way I don’t know if it’s intellectually or irrationally experientially, I think often intellectually, take refuge in the Absolute Truth, and then just sort of become very detached from or dismissive of the relative. Yeah, I heard a story about a guy who, in India, American over there, who developed an infection on his leg, and kept ignoring it, because obviously, the leg is is an illusion, and almost got to the point where he had to have the leg amputated before he received medical treatment, you know, and he could have died. So you really have to sort of render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and take care of each thing on its own level. Yeah. So maybe this will be the last question. This is from Marcus from Philadelphia. How did you feel about being recognized as a Tulku? And you’re gonna have to tell us what a typical is, did the recognition cost the buttons to treat you differently as a Westerner and a teacher
Lama Tsültrim Allione: so telcos, a reincarnation, and this happened to me quite late in my life, when, in 2007, when I was in Tibet, and I had been guided to go to Tibet at that time, through a vision that I’d had in 2006, up mochi Clopton was an 11, Second Century woman teacher. And she had told me I needed to, I’ve been teaching her teachings for many years, but this was actually a visionary experience. And she said, You have to find my lineage and preserve it, and it’s urgent. And so I accidentally left retreat. It just the urgency of it was so intense. But my husband convinced me that it wasn’t a good idea, and we should plan this. And so so I went the next spring to Tibet, was recognized there at St. Ammachi. Clapton by the Lama there as an emanation of her. And when that happened. He he made me sit on his her throne, and I was like, no, not gonna sit there. And he was like, you have to. And then he, he later said, he had had a dream about me. Three days before I arrived with my group to visit this place of a white decade, he coming from the west, downing the Dama that was a drum that we use in her practice, loudly. And so anyway, I was I was recognized by him and then the same trip without by this other alum. And knowing what had happened in Tibet, another alum in Nepal, returned from this whole experience in Tibet, in which gave me her her relics, by the way, that Lama and told me to bring them here and I said, No, it should be in Tibet, and he said, I’ve seen so much thrown into that river is a river below by the Chinese, please take them. But in any case, another lawn that also recognized me he’d had a dream also and, and he wrote a recognition letter and then His Holiness Karmapa. The 17th Karmapa gave me the magic leptin empowerment. So I think I you know, treated it maybe a little bit differently. I think some people believe it some llamas believe it some maybe don’t The way that I experienced it, or the value of it, for me has been. It’s a funny thing to say, but to know what I know. And this was my immediate feeling when it happened. I was like, oh, all those things that I knew, but I didn’t allow myself to know, of memories that I had, and knowledge of these practices that she taught and
Rick Archer: you mean kind of past? Memories and knowledge? Yeah, yeah. He if I had kicking around in there, yeah.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah. And I would just find myself teaching these things and like, how do I know that? Yeah. And and dismissing it, you know, and so it allowed me to let those things in, in a different way. And, and my to know what I to know what I knew. Yeah. So it wasn’t like anything different. But it was some
Rick Archer: give me a little bit more confidence in that.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, it was interesting, because I was pretty old, you know, already when this happened. So I think, you know, I think Karmapa recognized me, at an early I didn’t know when he ordained me. But he never said who I was Exactly, yeah. And, you know, to me, it’s not like, kind of, like, Oh, I’m so great, you know, something like that, you know, it’s really not like that, it’s, it’s more like I have a very serious job. Which is is the restoration of her lineage, which has been sort of fragmented, and so on, and was an independent lineage. It so that’s my job, it’s actually always been my job, because that’s what I was doing for probably 20 years before I was recognized. So I’m working for her. That’s how I see it, like, working for her.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, if one believes in reincarnation, then it’s not too much of a stretch to think that, you know, that whole recognition might be true. Even the fact even the way you were drawn like a moth to the flame. Initially, you know, when you first went went to Nepal, it’s like, there definitely was some kind of resonance there, which didn’t come from your western education or anything. It was just like your destiny.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: And I and I basically never done anything else in my life, you know, I never became a Hindu for a while, or just just been that and also very specific with this particular lineage for a long time. But it really doesn’t matter. Also, I mean, this is again, that sort of absolute in level, like, who cares? You know, like, doesn’t matter. But anyway, that’s my answer to the question.
Rick Archer: It was a good question. And, I mean, I’m of the opinion that, you know, the divine expresses itself. And, I mean, just look at Nature’s again, there’s such a proliferation of an abundance of diversity and creativity, all the animals and the plants, and everything is just huge variety, in the way nature expresses. And I don’t see any reason why spirituality shouldn’t be similar. And that, you know, there’s a great variety of different expressions of that which are equally legitimate and relevant or appropriate to those who resonate with them. And know, which is kind of the premise of this show. I’m doing just talking to all these different people every week, and each one has an orientation and a story to tell. And they all seem fine to me. I mean, and you can’t necessarily be a dilettante and try them all because there’s not enough time in life. But you know, it’s a smorgasbord you pick up the things that really, you know, seem to taste good and go for it.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, and things that you have an affinity for, yeah. You notice this I have this Tibetan affinity everyone does have certain karmic affinities and can kind of build on past life. Development and, and, you know, do do our best in this life. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, you’re doing a good job in this one as far as I can see. I really appreciate what you’re doing. So you’re about to embark on a book tour. And you’re heading off to Kripalu, I think it’s Kabbalah in Massachusetts, to present your book was a rising journey into the model of the Empowered feminine, and we’re speaking in May of 2018. Now people may be watching this years from now, but they they can come to your website which I’ll which is what As What’s your website,
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Tara mandala, T A R a, m a n, d, a la.org. Okay. There’s also there’s a page for the book, which is wisdom rising book.com. That is the landing page for the book. And it has the trailer about the book and then other materials that connected to it. And then I’ll also be in New York City. But if you have new listeners, they’re in Boston, in Boston area in Washington, Key West Florida, and in LA, and Seattle, in the West Coast, Europe in the fall,
Rick Archer: well, let me just mention that there’s a page on batgap.com. And we’ll send your assistant information on how to register with this. But if people go there, I think it’s under the Resources menu. If you go there, and you type in your location, let’s say you’re in New York, you put that in, if it’s in New York, then you’ll see automatically, you’ll see listed any events by people that I am that I have interviewed that are close to you, and the events actually elicited by distance. So first, you’ll see in New York, then you might see in Connecticut, and then you might see Massachusetts, or whatever, just radiating outward from whatever zip code or location you put in. So I’ll send that info to your assistant, and maybe she can Great. She’ll fill all that in.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Yeah, that’s wonderful what you’re doing, you know, I think you’re able to reach so many people this way. And offer you know, not saying that any of the people that you interview have the ultimate truth, but offering all these different points of view that are hope, hopefully, authentic in themselves.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, we’re all doing what we can as The Beatles sang. And this is something I seem to be able to do that I enjoy. Yeah. So thanks so much for your time, and good luck with your book tour. And I’ll be putting up a page on batgap.com with links to your website and your books and a bunch of information about you. And so if people forget what you just said about your, you know, your website and all that stuff, they can just come there and then they can just follow those links. And as you said during this interview, there’s information on how to do the practices in the book, and there will also be some online courses and then you’re also going around and doing things in person so people can pick and choose whatever works for them.
Lama Tsültrim Allione: Okay, wonderful. Well,
Rick Archer: thank you so much llama deponents Right. So we didn’t get into the holly on a part but that had to do with an Italian husband. Liked Thank you. Good luck and thanks for all you’re doing