Heaven and Jampha, which means love, have had a divine encounter today.
The story of how I met Jhampa is very special to me. Several months or so ago, I had spent a sunny Saturday morning visiting the vintage market in Normal Heights, San Diego. I had just recently moved there and it was my first time exploring the area.
I guess you could call me Dorothy because as I I was tap dancing down the street in my new home I saw a sign – “Tibetan Gift Shop”.
Having a background in Mindfulness Meditation, a secular Tibetan Buddhist practice I thought “There really is no place like home!” For months I had been putting the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche into practice and fell in love with it. Not long after I began teaching and was searching for meditation bells to start and end my sessions. Could this be the place I find what i’ve been looking for?
I poked my head through the screen door to see if anyone was in there. A gentle and friendly voice motioned me to come in. Ancient relics touched every corner of the space. Golden singing bowls, fine Tibetan jewelry, and tea sets rested on the mahogany tables. The aroma of ancient books engulfed my senses. Captivated by the crisp finishes of each ancient Buddha statue, I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander before arriving fully.
As soon as I said hello he ushered me to have a seat. It was one of those encounters where instead of saying “Hello”, you have the urge to say “Nice to see you again” because you know in your soul that you have met this person in a previous lifetime. He was wearing a plaid shirt, a straw fedora and had the sweetest smile. Behind him were pictures of him hugging the Dalai Lama along with one of my now favorite quotes.
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama
He offered me tea and we started asking each other about our days which then turned into our lives. I had told him details about my recent trials which included my most recent trip with my mother, my longing for a purpose and my yoga. In all honesty, I was feeling lonelier in my life than ever before. I explained why I had moved to San Diego, to the area and all the other worries that waded through my consciousness. It was a miracle to have found a companion that I could confide in within moments of meeting.
By now maybe thirty minutes or so had passed by. After reading my astrological chart he started to show me around the shop. He swiveled his wheelchair from behind his desk and took me to one encasing of beautiful Buddhas. I was nervous to ask, but there was something inside of me that had for months been curious about chanting to the Buddha with Mala beads. Too nervous to sound naive, I instead asked about the meditation bells. He swiveled around again and picked up the perfect pair. Holding them up to my ears like the little boy in the Polar Express, he rang them saying “Like this. Listen.” Ding. Ding. Ding.
He put the bells in my hand. I immediately gained a new sense of certainty. “Jhampa, would you please tell me more about chanting with Mala beads? Are chants given to people or are they just something you find on your own?” He sensed the vulnerability in my voice and started over to the beads. He picked out a string of Turquoise beads and asked me if I knew about the Vajrasattava Buddha. I said no, but he picked out a statue for me and said “This is your Buddha. The Buddha of Karma. Come I will show you how to chant.” Before doing so, he blessed my beads and put them on me. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
Feeling the urge to give him something in return, I asked if he had eaten lunch. “He said no, let’s go. You like Thai food?” It just so happens to be my favorite I said! Walking next to him felt like I was with a Tibetan celebrity and he was one at the restaurant. “Hi Jhampa! The usual?” the waitress said. He ordered dumplings for him and his favorite, Salmon curry for me. I savored more than just a meal. Every moment was magic. In response to asking him about his craziest customer story, he told me how this homeless woman on drugs came in and started peeing on the carpet. I almost peed myself too!
We made our way back to the shop, which I came to find out was also his house. He gestured me in through the back door and showed me the kitchen, meditation room elaborately decorated with Tibetan astronomy, astrology, and medical astrology books. He gestured me to give him a hug and softly said “If you ever need a place to stay, I have an extra room. You can also come meditate whenever you want. Come back soon. We will meditate together.”
Jhampa means loving kindness. And that is exactly what he embodied.
Jhampa’s compassion, care and hospitality were healing for everyone. In his honor, I would like to offer you all a healing mantra that invokes the Medicine Buddha for the elimination of all types of suffering.
Instructions: Invite the Medicine Buddha into your mind’s eye (see image above). Once you have a vision of this Blue Buddha as if it were right there in the room with you sitting in front of you in the lotus position, make your request for healing. It can be of the elimination of any (physical or psychological) pain, disease, or illness. Once you have made the request, play the video below. While you are listening to the chant, imagine the Buddha at the center of your forehead pouring a healing blue light to every cell of your being. If you feel called to chant along, please see below.
TAYATA, OM BEKADZE BEKADZE
MAHA BEKADZE BEKADZE,
This is pronounced:
Tie-ya-tar, om beck-and-zay beck-and-zay
ma-ha beck-and-zay beck-and-zay
May you be love, receive love, and give love greatly.
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be at ease and free from suffering.
Prayer of the Day: Dearly Beloved, help me to heal all afflictions of the mind and body so that I may be in this world as everlasting love.