Once I made the hard decision to leave the center, my second home for almost a decade, many new doors opened.
First, I discovered that I was not alone. Many of my friends, and more important, my teachers had already left as well.
I got in touch with my Mexican friend/teacher, who had also left, and he invited me to travel to Mexico City to meet and receive teaching from the incredible 14th Shamar Rinpoche (https://shamarpa.org/), arguably the most influential teacher of the Karma Kagyu Lineage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma_Kagyu) of Tibetan Buddhism.
Of course, I happily made the journey.
Upon seeing Shamar Rinpoche, I knew.
He conducted himself in an impeccable manner. He was soft, pleasant, and just emanated wisdom and compassion, a living Buddha.
When I received his teachings and blessings (lungs), the deal was sealed; I had found my Master.
Apart from the unbelievable teachings, I got a chance to speak with him, and he agreed to allow me to open a center in El Salvador based on his teachings and, more importantly, his view and approach to Buddhism.
What he proposed was all I thought Buddhism should be, so I flew back to El Salvador with a couple of books, many, many notes, and a very clear idea of what I had to do.
In this retreat, my Mexican teacher and friend also decided that he was ready to structure his classes into a well organized and extremely thorough center of Buddhist education. At his point in time, the internet allowed me to receive a formal Buddhist formation on-line.
When I returned home, our center’s members were: my wife, her sister, and her husband.
We were four very happy and motivated Buddhists; we had found what we considered to be a healthy approach to Buddhism.
We began meeting regularly to practice and study and, all of a sudden, more people began to show up and join us.
To fulfill my commitment to Rinpoche, I dove headfirst to my Buddhist education. I took an 18-month course on Buddhist Psychology (three times); I studied Buddhist Thanatology, Buddhist History and Thought, Buddhist Mindfulness, and Buddhist Tantra. In Mexico, they teased me by telling me that if they decided to give a course in Buddhist sewing and arts and crafts, they could count on me to be the first to enroll.
Meanwhile, in El Salvador, our center was growing exponentially, we began hosting Lamas and teachers, received many wonderful initiations, and our practice was becoming more and more deep, serious and formal.
About this time, members started calling me their teacher, which I considered a great honor.
In Buddhism, there is no course you can take that will accredit you as a Buddhist teacher; it is up to the people you are training to decide, considering how you are guiding them, if you are a teacher or not.
Anyone can fill up walls with academic diplomas and can attend thousands of teaching and retreats, but it will always be one’s ability to make sense of the teachings and pass them on in a way that resonates with local customs, as well as to make the best effort to portray a well-balanced way of life in accord with the teachings, that will eventually lead one to be called and considered a Teacher. http://www.facebook.com/centrohimalayasv
Another important aspect of my formation that is important that you know is that I also teach secular mindfulness.
Having had the opportunity of seeing first-hand the many benefits of meditation and how it does change lives, I started looking into how to better teach it in a country that made up mainly of non-studious and non-practicing Catholics. I knew that, even though I consider that Buddhism can, to some extent, be practiced along with any other faith, I knew that it would never be widely accepted.
I decided to jump in the Mindfulness movement, got certified as a Mindfulness Teacher, and studied Neuroscience, Neuroanatomy, Positive Psychology, the Science of Happiness, and even Physics. Once I felt I had a grasp on how the cognitive process of the brain works and how meditation can physically and psychologically help individuals lead better lives, I decided to open Mindfulness El Salvador and began teaching meditation.
Through my online courses and local teaching sessions, I’ve taught over 15,000 people how to meditate. https://www.udemy.com/course/mindfulness-meditation-for-real-life/
Back to my Buddhist formation, along with the growth of our center, the electronic version of my book began selling more and more, and the fact that I now had about seven years of hosting very respected Lamas and teachers on our center, had over a decade of experience in teaching and people seemed to enjoy the way I teach, I decided to throw away my first draft and go along with my normal, down-to-earth way of teaching and try a different approach to my writing.
So, give me your patience, and I will give you my humble interpretation of what I have learned in all these years of listening to all these wonderful beings that have been my teachers. Give me your time, and I´ll give you Buddhism for all..