An Experience of Devotion at Tsogyal Latso by Genevieve Legacy

 
Devotion is considered one of the main methods in tantric Buddhism. It leads one to total surrender, which leads to letting go of obsessive grasping to oneself and dualistic concepts. In a sense, devotion can be regarded as an ecstatic, heart-oriented path that’s dynamic and amazingly transformative.
— The Life and Visions of Yeshe Tsogyal, The Autobiography of the Great Wisdom Queen; Reflections on Yeshe Tsogyal; Our Incalculable Debt to Yeshe Tsogyal, Anam Thubten Rinpoche, Page 12

September is an ideal month to visit central Tibet. The weather is moderate—mild during the day, cool at night and the oxygen content of the air in Lhasa is around the its annual high—a rich 66.3%. True to form, when I traveled to Tibet on pilgrimage with Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo in September 2015, our itinerary began in Lhasa and the weather was totally agreeable. After taking two days to acclimate, hydrate and visits to the Potala, the Jokhang and the Barkhor, we traveled south, to spend three days at Tsogyal Latso.

The afternoon I first visited Yeshe Tsogyal’s breast milk springs was partly cloudy, windy, warm and desert dry. Dark thunderheads loomed on the horizon, contrasted by startling white cumulus and patches of indigo blue sky. Like the Tibetan woman with a large green jug slung across her back, I dipped my empty bottle into the flowing water, tipped it upright as it filled, lifted it from the spring and took a long, cool drink of something like liquid clarity.

 Yeshe Tsogyal Breast Milk Spring at Tsogyal Latso

Yeshe Tsogyal Breast Milk Spring at Tsogyal Latso

 After taking a few photos, I settled in, sitting cross-legged on ground beside the oblong bed of the spring. The faded green, red and white prayer flags the nuns had hung from a small tree, waved slowly in the wind. When the sun made an appearance, the light was piercing and brilliant—a perfect reflection of the sky overhead would suddenly appear in the water. Resting there, between mirror images of above and below, I felt more truly and deeply content than I’ve ever felt in my life.  

As a student of several wonderful teachers, Anam Thubten Rinpoche’s quote on the path of devotion resonates on many levels. The sense of peace, joy and well-being that comes from simply remembering a teacher, the inspiration of being in their presence and receiving teachings, the blessing of practice and advice that sustains in ways I cannot explain—there’s no doubt that the path of devotion is powerful and heart-opening.   

 Genevieve Legacy, 2015 at Tsogyal Latso

Genevieve Legacy, 2015 at Tsogyal Latso