A Different Way for This Future Generation
A Report of Osel’s US Tour
A Different Way for This Future Generation
“We are bombarded by distractions, and it’s part of the design of the system – we always need to be doing something so that we don’t understand who we are, the mechanics, the science of our mind.”
“If you’re humble, you wouldn’t let the negative destructive emotions come in. For example, if you’re humble, you would never get angry.”
“We can learn about ourselves by observing the outside world, and every moment is an opportunity to learn.”
“How we learn to love ourselves is by appreciating who we are, by understanding our potential, what we can do, the power of who we are, how far we can go.”
“If we had compassion for ourselves, we would have compassion for everybody else.”
“Everything around us has been started and created by the mind. It all started as a thought. That’s how powerful thoughts are. So, that’s why to be aware of our thoughts, to be in control of our thoughts, is so important.”
“I don’t want to create followers, I want to create leaders.”
"You possess the path within yourself.”
“Your well-being will be linked to the universe, linked to karma and linked to the human mind.”
"The more you think about yourself, the more you are going to suffer. If you think about the person next to you more than yourself, all you have is happiness.”
"With each step, each thought, we are creating a whole new universe. Look into someone’s eyes and behold the window to their soul, the galaxy, the universe. That is us, that is you, that is me.”
“Every moment is magic, and we are all living the same moment! We are all connected. Thank you for being who YOU are! One Love."
Tenzin Osel Hita has had a dream since his young adulthood. This dream includes the creation of intentional ecovillage communities fostering a sustainable lifestyle where community living is valued and practiced.
At a talk at FPMT’s Land of Medicine Buddha last year, Osel shared some of his vision. A spark was ignited. Executive director, Mer Stafford, offered LMB, an environmentally conscious meditation and retreat center in 108 acres of redwoods at the foot of the Santa Cruz mountains in California, as the host site for Osel to pilot some of his signature concepts. A four-day event was planned for August, auspiciously starting on the day that Lord Buddha’s first teaching is celebrated, August 4.
Other Buddhist centers in California and Florida also invited Osel. The tour was organized by Jacie Keeley, secretary to the late Lama Thubten Yeshe. In May, out of the blue, Osel invited Jacie to join him as his coordinator and secretary. “This was remarkable,” said Jacie. “We had interacted on only three previous occasions. He said I could take as long as I needed to make my decision, but, of course, I responded immediately and told him my commitment is lifetime to lifetime.”
Osel arrived in the States late July. He caught up with old friends and met with Mer and the team and LMB staff.
Jacie Keeley: “…I told him my commitment is lifetime to lifetime.”
PLENTY OF BIG LOVE
Hearing about the annual Wise Heart Family Camp at nearby Vajrapani Institute on July 26, Osel decided to pay a visit, arriving just in time for the closing ceremony and the children’s own song, written with George Galt, about bringing compassion to the world sung to the melody of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Osel gave a short talk and answered wonderful questions from the children.
The camps – this year’s was the twenty-sixth – were developed around Lama Yeshe’s vision of Universal Education.
On August 3, Osel was back at Vajrapani to give a talk at a day-long event designed mainly for young people called “Reconnecting with Your Authentic Nature and Healing into Wholeness.” Thirty-two people participated in the full day with an additional thirteen close community members and staff attending the talk with Osel at 2:30pm.
According to Heidi Oehler, Vajrapani Institute’s executive director, “Faces were beaming, and hearts were opened. Osel speaks deeply from the heart. He is very transparent and doesn’t shy away from sharing his authentic experience and truth. This deeply inspired those in the crowd, and everyone was so grateful for the amazing courage Osel manifests in sharing his message and heart with everyone he touches.”
On August 4, Osel returned to Vajrapani, this time to celebrate their annual Big Love Day. A hundred thirty people came for lunch and Osel’s talk in the afternoon. Before returning to LMB for the beginning of his Being Your True Nature event, he visited Lama Yeshe’s cremation stupa. Heidi was pleased. “It was a very sweet day and the energy of others with Osel felt connected and harmonious.”
“Our One Big Love retreat was like a cradle of protection and safe space for developing my heart to be more wholesome.”
Amanda Russell, Portland, Oregon
“Faces were beaming, and hearts were opened. Osel speaks deeply from the heart. He is very transparent and doesn’t shy away from sharing his authentic experience and truth.”
BEING YOUR TRUE NATURE
The first session was that evening. Osel called the event “Being Your True Nature: A Being Experience and Habit Alignment” and wanted it to be a balance of personal reflection and renewal through nature connection, meditation, Dharma talks, body movement and healthy eating. The focus was to be on connecting the person with their true nature and innate wisdom so that ultimately each can be of greater benefit to the whole, or what Osel calls “collective consciousness.”
Thirty-three people ranging from their mid-20s to their mid-80s, coming from Oregon, Boston, Florida, Chicago, Maui and even as far away as Aruba in the Caribbean joined a host of Californians.
The retreat was life-changing, said Lisa Skrzynecki from nearby Los Gatos. “It was like no other.” Osel’s unique experiential learning style became apparent at the first session. After the initial motivation and prayers, Osel invited everyone to break from their rows and form a circle and to share who they were and their reason for coming.
One had to be part of the whole experience; there were no drop-ins. Laura Greenwood from Maui felt that this boundary “provided a sense of safeness and protection where trust could easily grow. Osel and his team’s love, compassion and concern for the well-being of everyone created a loving vibration where everyone felt at ease to open their hearts to one another.”
Osel created a sense of community in which experiences unfolded. Gratefulness and awareness and examining reactive emotions were constant themes.
The events took place largely in the natural world and included nature walks, “forest bathing,” kayaking, paddle boarding, spontaneous beach teachings and qi gong. Hans Timpner from Aruba felt that this allowed everyone to get teachings at “every possibility.” There were, he said, teachings about “all sorts of traditional subjects in a new coat, a new style, a new language, a new taste. Rarely a Tibetan word was mentioned or a traditional Dharma term, all was young, vibrant and fresh.” It was “exactly what I needed,” Hans said.
During what Osel called joy movement at the beach, some braved the Californian waters, others sat with new friends to discuss while a large group gathered around Osel for a spontaneous talk. At one point, Osel suggested everyone take a stone to the water to bless the creatures of the sea. Right behind him a shark, and not a small one, breached. Locals said they had been going to the beach for thirty years but never seen this happen.
Back among the redwoods at the center, members of Osel’s team gave formal Dharma teachings. English monk and translator, Ven. Steve Carlier, talked about karma. Lisa said it was what she needed to hear. “I had been in a spiral of blame and rumination of events that ‘happened’ to me.” Ven. Steve reminded them, she said, that we could just change our mind: ‘it’s easy, but it’s not easy.’ I had an epiphany in the session. I just changed my mind and it was life changing. I feel lighter now.”
Therapist Karuna Cayton compared Western therapy with Eastern thought and Jon Landaw led a teaching and meditation on the Buddhist concept of emptiness. Anna Landaw, the daughter of Jon, assisted Osel by facilitating group work in a modern way. Yoga teacher Wendy Cook’s skill and compassion were appreciated, and her classes formed an essential part of the four-day experience. For Gene Richeson from Pescadero, California, it was his very first-time doing yoga. “Much to my delight, I truly enjoyed the experience.”
Finally, Chef Mike Ditch wowed Being Experience participants with active and tasty vegan food demos. Everyone left with new, healthy and unique recipes to make at home, all part of our Habit Alignment.
Several participants had little or no background in Buddhism but were at ease, with an open curiosity. Lori Hernandez from Yucca Valley, California, said that the retreat opened her eyes and heart “to a deeper understanding of Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist but find the teachings very helpful in day to day living.” She felt that Osel has “a unique way of relating each talk to practical application of understanding our minds by observing thoughts. I feel very grateful to have been able to share this experience with everyone there.”
For Jennifer Pearce of nearby Aptos, the Being Experience was “truly magical.” Amanda Russel of Portland said that she learned from the others there “how to be more comfortable in my own skin.” Amanda, a trained massage therapist, kindly donated her professional skills to the Being Experience participants.
At the end, Osel offered everyone a blessed mala and requested everyone to “please plant a tree within a year.” Lisa feels that, like those trees, she too “will continue to grow.”
PEOPLE TRANSFORM IN OSEL’S PRESENCE
At the special request of Harvey Horrocks, a student of Lama Yeshe, Osel graciously accepted a last-minute invitation of Kim Winn, director of FPMT’s center in Campbell, near San Jose, Ocean of Compassion Buddhist Center.
“People were intrigued by this young reincarnation of a Tibetan Lama,” said Urs von Matt, center manager and video recording artist/coordinator. “He showed such humility, answering their questions about his lineage and his place in the Buddhist world. He hugged everyone and made them feel so welcome.”
The event was livestreamed on Facebook and attracted more than 6,000 people worldwide.
August 11, Sunday, was the last talk Osel gave in California. He spoke to a sold-out house at Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco. As in Campbell, Osel chose to open the floor to questions right from the start versus sticking to a theme. The audience responded well to this format.
Many students of Lama Yeshe were in the audience including Judy Weitzner, Amala Judith Hunt, former monk Chodak, Pam and Karuna Cayton, Harvey Horrocks and Lennie Kronisch.
Judy was very pleased to see Osel in San Francisco: “I think he has found his own unique way of offering the teachings based on his experience as a monk and his experiences in the samsaric world where most of us reside. I witnessed a few of the people present transform in his presence. People are deeply touched by him.”
Streamed live on Facebook, there have been over 7,000 views and nearly 100 shares.
A TASTE OF BUDDHISM IN MIAMI
Mid-August Osel flew across country to Florida at the invitation of Maria Cersosimo, coordinator of the FPMT Study Group in Miami, Namdrol Ling. “It was a total success!” said Maria. Seventy-five people registered for the talk, “a record for our little group.” The majority were non-Buddhists.
Maria felt that Osel’s message was sincere and straightforward. He talked about Buddhist values, the importance of a daily meditation practice and gave simple tips for a happier life.
“His joyful and humorous energy kept the crowd hooked – even the kids!” she said.
Knowing Osel’s love of drumming, she and her family hosted a party before the event, inviting percussionists to join some sixty friends. “It was a beautiful night in steamy Miami in August, the full moon adding an extra magic.”
Everyone enjoyed meeting Osel, Maria said. “And seeing how authentic and humble he is, many friends decided to attend his talk on the next day.”
One of Namdrol Ling’s students, Cynthia Zak, invited Osel to record a podcast, in Spanish, “Plant a Garden in Your Mind,” for Yomu, a system that combines meditation, yoga and emotional intelligence. (yomu.love)
Cynthia says the podcast “aims to give listeners tools to cultivate a more peaceful and calm state of being. The audience is mostly parents and teachers that use Yomu’s exercises and techniques for mindfulness in their daily lives.”
INNER CREATIVITY: HOW TO OVERCOME ATTACHMENT
Osel’s last stop on his tour was at Thubten Kunga Ling in Deerfield Beach, Florida, a center started in the 1990s by Jacie Keeley. Osel had designed a unique course with a new title, “Inner Creativity, How to Overcome Attachment.” He asked the resident teacher, American nun Ven. Tendron, to start the students off with a meditation on interdependence and emptiness. When Osel arrived an hour and a half later, he said he noticed how centered, focused, and prepared the students were.
It was a sellout crowd of more than a hundred, many from out of town: Washington DC, North Carolina, and other parts of Florida, including students of Lama Yeshe from the 1970s.
“Students loved his humor,” said center director Nicole Zito, “the way he addressed spiritual bypass, his simple way of sharing life’s lessons, the quotes of Bob Marley and Bruce Lee! We love Osel’s idea of creating Eco villages, permaculture, integrating meditation workshops, Tibetan medicine, getting back to our roots and reconnecting with Mother earth and fellow beings.”
Osel himself felt that he delivered “the best talk of my life” at the center. “You have not seen the last of me!”
For Nicole, “this was one of the most meaningful and beneficial days of my life.”
WARRIORS OF CLEAR LIGHT
Jacie feels that during this inaugural tour of the United States, Osel demonstrated that he is not just another new age teacher. “He is sincerely and genuinely touching, moving, and inspiring hearts and minds.” His multidimensional style is both “active and intensely personal. It is universal. It is One Big Love.”
“My wish is for Osel to live a long and healthy life. I pray that he continues to share with the world and that we all, through the example of his growth as a human being dealing honestly with the trials of the mind, become – as Osel himself puts it – warriors of clear light!”