LAst night J and I attended a special pot luck dinner hosted by a classmate. 10 monks from the Drepung Loseling monastery joined us at her home and shared a multi-phonic chant to the Medicine Buddha to bless our Ayurvedic studies and the success of our future practices for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Listening to and absorbing the deep vibrational tones of their chant I was transported, no longer sitting in a modern living room but in an ancient monastery surrounded not by ten but by hundreds of monks and the spirits of lineage holders standing behind them.
When the chant ended they spoke (via one monk who acted as interpreter) for a little while on the importance of intention in healing, echoing my Teacher's words that a practioner must be sattvic, pure of heart, and compassionate - qualities not confined to any one religion or spiritual tradition but available to all by choice and through self-study and practice.
Afterwards we shared a vegetarian feast of soups, roasted vegetables, brownies and chai and finally a classmate went outside beneath the stars to perform a traditional fire dance she learned as a child. The monks huddled together excitedly in front of the window to watch the circling, swirling patterns of flame and there were lots of smiles and "wows" followed by clapping and cheers when she was done.
I'm waiting for a classmate to share one more group photo with all of us. Until then...