Urgyen Machik : Pete Potts
Like my fellow IPBC ministers, I was ordained in the Tibetan Nyingma lineage in 2016 by my teacher, Nima Janet Taylor, after many years of study and practice. A German Lutheran from Iowa by birth and upbringing, I examined a variety of spiritual traditions before coming home to my Buddhist path.
Lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety/panic played no small part in leading me to a serious pursuit of peace of mind in the form of a steady meditation practice, which has been incredibly effective in drastically reducing the severity and frequency. I’ve attended a number of retreats, including a 10-day Vipassana sit, which have been like springboards for practice and insight.
I have worked as a provider of grief support to families experiencing sudden unexpected infant loss. I have also trained in spiritual care and chaplaincy at KU Medical Center, with certification through the College of Pastoral Education and Psychotherapy — an unforgettable experience that made a deep impact on me. And I head up the Inner Peace Prison Dharma program, which leads meditations and discussions for Buddhist prisoners in Kansas and Missouri prisons and jails.
About My Dharma Name
When I took my Bodhisattva vows, I was given the Dharma name Machik, after Machig Labdron, the first female Buddhist lineage holder in Tibet. Among other things, she taught: “Go to the places that scare you. Help those you think you cannot help.” It’s something I aspire to do, and connects me to her wise teachings across the span of a thousand years.
About My Perspective
- The way of the Bodhisattva is ideal: to awaken yourself in order to go forth into the world to be of benefit to all beings. If you don’t, at some point, get up and go out, what are you practicing for?
- Meditation can be like practicing your scales – it’s important to have a solid grounding in the foundations so that it comes naturally when performing a concerto. We don’t meditate to become great meditators. We meditate so that our lives are beautiful symphonies.
- I believe a whole-hearted Buddhist practice here on the plains of the American prairie is every bit as genuine and authentic as one in any other part of the world. True Dharma seeds bloom in nurturing soil, tended by human hearts and hands.
- A healthy sense of humor and a few swear words never hurt anybody’s journey.