By Desmond Hosford
Shantideva Meditation Center and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism around the world are in the midst of celebrating Monlam, also known as the Great Prayer Festival. As Venerable Thubten Chodron explains, the meaning of the Tibetan “monlam” extends beyond “prayer” and has the connotation of “setting an aspiration.” During this festive time, I am reflecting on the aspiration that I set daily when taking refuge: “May I attain buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings.”
How can I become a buddha? It’s not something that I can achieve on my own, but I have the amazing good fortune to be a member of the Shantideva family, which offers me countless opportunities for cultivating the good qualities, many of which I never knew I have, that lead to buddhahood. Thanks to this generosity, I and those around me have seen positive changes in my life. I’m less stressed, more patient, compassionate, and kinder with others and myself. This improvement comes from the joy of practicing the Dharma.
We rejoice constantly at Shantideva! The boundless compassion and exuberance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, our Spiritual Director, who sees the good in all beings, energizes everything we do. In the elation of pujas and practices, the enthusiasm of our teachers and classes, and the inclusive sense of belonging and purpose with which we offer service together, there’s a unique laughter, light, warmth, and welcome at the Center.
Shantideva has helped me to make sense of my life while developing more inner stability and peace of mind. I no longer worry as much about the future because I know that I’m always creating the positive potential that will help me to fulfill my life’s purpose and reach my absolute goal. We can all become buddhas, and it’s impossible to express my gratitude to everyone at Shantideva for their constant inspiration and support as we travel the way together. May our community always flourish in harmony as we strive to help all sentient beings achieve their greatest potential: ultimate peace and supreme happiness!
Desmond Hosford: “Life for me revolves around the Dharma and my dog, Ollie, as I do my best to follow the instructions of my precious teachers. My background includes activism in animal rights and veganism, PhDs in French and musicology, teaching, writing, editing, and performing.”