It has been a very long time since I had a dream with Geshe-la. I met with him in my dreams last night and wanted to write it down before I forget (which I have done before and regretted).
It was some time in the future and I was able to go to a festival (something I haven’t been able to do in awhile). I was arriving late for some sort of big meeting with lots of people. Geshe-la was not heading the meeting but was in the audience in the back row on the side and had been speaking with people before the meeting started. When I walked in he saw me and I saw him and I very much wanted to meet with him but didn’t expect to be able to. He nonetheless left his chair and went into the walkway behind the back row so he could speak with me. I then got down and tried to do a mandala offering, but couldn’t remember the words nor get my fingers to do the right mudra. I started becoming flustered. He then tried to patiently explain to me how to do my fingers and say the words as if I was some beginner who didn’t know and who had never done it before. I then became very attached to what he thinks of me and bothered by him thinking I was a beginner, like my pride had been wounded. Wanting to make sure he knew I knew what I was doing, I then said, “I know how to do it, I am just very nervous.”
He then said, “come with me” and we went back into a study/office that in the building which I understood to be where he normally works. There was a little sign on the desk that said “20 minutes” which I understood was how long he was going to meet with me (something I have never had the karma to do). He then started to get tea ready, but said, “actually, let’s go for a walk.” We then went out, but even though he was very old he was like a tri-athlete. He was running really fast in a park/track area and there was no way I nor anyone else could keep up with him, he was also climbing through trees like a seasoned climber. I could basically just watch and I remember thinking, “it is important to exercise and stay physically in shape.” I then knew I was about to wake up but thought I was going to fall back asleep and continue with the meeting when I did so I thought to myself, “I should remember what happened.” I then woke up, it was still the middle of the night, so I tried to fall back asleep to get back in the dream. I debated with myself whether I should just get up and write what happened or try fall back asleep. I eventually fell back asleep, didn’t go back in the dream, but work up periodically between then and now each time trying to remember what happened and thinking I have to write it down when I get up.
It happens that people have dreams with Geshe-la. I believe any dream we have with Geshe-la in it he is actually there and he is giving us a message. Sometimes people ask others, “what do you think this dream means?” as if there is an objective meaning or code to interpreting dreams. I personally think a dream means whatever we understand it to mean. Nobody else can tell us what our dreams mean, rather they “mean” what Geshe-la blesses our mind to understand them to mean. However, I don’t think there is any fault in sharing our dreams with others because then when they hear about our dream perhaps Geshe-la will bless their mind and they too will receive some message that they need to hear. Perhaps not, but perhaps so. For this reason, I share my dreams unless I understand I am not supposed to for some reason.
So what does my dream mean to me? It seems there are several lessons. First, it has been too long since I have been able to make it to some big event. Second, we should always want to meet with Geshe-la, but not have any expectation of being able to do so. These are the conditions in which the karma for a meeting can ripen. Third, even though he is always busy helping many people, he nonetheless goes out of his way to take time to be with each one of us. Fourth, we should not get flustered when we are with our spiritual father, rather we should relax and be happy. Fifth, we shouldn’t feel threatened by our teachers considering us to be a beginner, rather we should embrace this attitude even if we have been practicing for a very long time. Sixth, we should not be attached to what our teachers think of us nor develop pride in our Dharma knowledge or experience. Seventh, even if Geshe-la is not leading the event, he is always there working for us in the background. Eighth, we should not narrowly think of our Dharma training as just teachings or formal practice, but that it also includes seemingly mundane things like making tea and going for walks. Ninth, appearances are deceptive, even though Geshe-la appeared to be very old he was full of vitality and energy and was running laps around everybody. Tenth, as we get older it becomes increasingly important that we remain physically active and to stay in good shape. Eleventh, our time with Geshe-la can end at any moment and we need to have a strong wish to meet with him again. Twelfth, we never know when will be our last encounter with Geshe-la and we will never see him again. I thought I was going to go back into the dream and see him again but I never did. Lastly, I did, however, keep remembering that I have to remember all the messages he had given me, which I think in a broader sense is the most important meaning of my dream of them all.