Sharing the Buddha’s Teachings, with Lama Karma Chötso
1. Please share what you do in 10-15 words:
I teach the philosophy and practice of Buddhadharma from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition’s Kagyu lineage.
2. Why do you do what you do?
I teach the philosophies of the Buddha because they include many skillful ways to engender compassion. Compassion is a component of our lives that needs to be expressed toward others and experienced by oneself. The practices of Tibetan Buddhism tremendously benefitted my life, so I share the teachings with the aspiration that they bring benefit to others.
3. What are you currently fascinated by in your work?
I’m consistently inspired by the freshness of every encounter with anyone attending a teaching or practicing the Dharma. The exchange of insights is particularly interesting and important because the sharing brings the Dharma home to everyone.
4. How did you come to your path? Any aha moments or key teachers?
The key to my path was Kalu Rinpoche. I experienced my mind, my thoughts, and my life in a completely different way after spending a short period of time with him. He seemed to embody the enlightened mind and I immediately decided I wanted to do the same.
5. What book(s) did you like reading this year?
I read The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Penguin Classics), which is the first complete translation of that text. The introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is excellent. I also appreciated discovering Anyen Rinpoche’s book Dying With Confidence, which is very helpful when working with the terminally ill.
6. If you’ve taught at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat before, what is one surprising thing about the experience for you?
At first, of course, one is delighted by the physical beauty of the ashram and then happy to experience the compassionate staff. I was also surprised the first time I stayed that there was no coffee, which turned out to be a blessing. The vegetarian food was excellent and I felt better when I departed than I had when I arrived.
Lama Karma Chötso is a Buddhist nun and has been practicing within the Kagyu lineage for more than 35 years. She is the resident teacher of the Open Awareness Buddhist Center in Miami, and she practices as a meditator, teacher, writer, singer, and painter. Her sangha has built four Tibetan stupas at the Lama Residence in South Florida, and she is now helping in the building of a stupa for her sangha in Peru.