International Kadampa Festival Summer 2004 ~ A Global Family
 

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They came from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, Russia, Iceland, America, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brasil, South Africa, and almost every European country — 40 countries in all.

For some it was their first Festival while others could count their previous visits in double figures — but beginner or advanced, young or old, lay or ordained, everyone partook of the magic of the occasion and came together as one global family united by a common view, intention, and practice.

Everywhere there were joyful faces and excited tones as people reunited with old friends and everyone made new ones.

The conversations were animated but focused as friends and strangers alike discussed the teachings and guided each other to a deeper understanding.

A striking feature of the Festival was the large number of ordained Sangha present. There are now over 400 Kadampa monks and nuns around the world, and most of them were at the Festival.

As Geshe-la left the ordination ceremony at the beginning of the Festival, he gestured to the assembled monks and nuns and proclaimed, "How wonderful! A Temple full of Sangha!"

There were also a hundred children accompanying their parents. They were treated to a festival within a festival.

Perhaps the most enduring memory of the Festival, though, will be of the resounding peels of laughter that seemed to fill every corner — the sound of Dharma!