Posts tagged ‘Lamas’

Phakchok Rinpoche at RL

Phakchok Rinpoche

Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche is an enthusiastic and vibrant young lama–his teachings are direct, accessible, and always fresh, opening our minds in a playful and inspiring way. Rinpoche will be at Rigzdin Ling offering teachings and empowerment for two days in late January. 

Noble Wisdom of Passing Sutra (Daka Yeshe Do)
Monday through Wednesday—January 23rd–25th
10 am-1 pm; 3-6 pm

In this beautifully concise Mahayana sutra, that is merely a page long, Buddha Shakyamuni summarized the five indispensible key points that every Bodhisattva must cultivate and master before they pass beyond sorrow. These five points–impermanence, great compassion, freedom from reference points, non-existence, and Buddhahood–are universally applicable to any Buddhists on the sutra path of Mahayana and the tantric path of Vajrayana.

Two-day teaching fee $130, including lunch but not accommodations


Vajrasattva Empowerment
Wednesday night, January 25th, 7 pm 

In Tibetan Buddhism the Vajrasattva root tantra is called Dorje Gyan, or ‘Vajra Ornament’. Vajrasattva practices are common to all of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are used both to purify obscurations so that the Vajrayana student can progress through the preliminary purification practices through the stages of the path, and ultimately to a state of sublime buddhahood. Vajrasattva enables purification of any broken commitments and downfalls in terms of teachers, empowerments and teachings, and the sangha.

$25, plus your personal offering to Rinpoche

(No one will be turned away from the empowerment for lack of funds, but everyone should make an offering in order to generate positive interdependence.)

About Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche

Phakchok Rinpoche is the Supreme Head of the Taklung Kagyu lineage, the Abbot of a monastery in Chapagaon in the southern Kathmandu Valley, and the Head of Riwoche Monastery in Tibet’s Dokham region. Born in 1981 to Chokling Rinpoche and his wife Dechen Paldron, Phakchok Rinpoche is grandson of Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche and the eldest brother of the Yangsi Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Recognized by the Kagyu regents and ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he has studied with a number of great lamas, including Khyentse Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, Trulshik Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. An enthusiastic and vibrant young lama, his teachings are direct, accessible, and always fresh, opening our minds in a playful and inspiring way.

A Drop in the Ocean

Offering Tsok in front of the Tara at Dechen Ling,  click for slideshow

Lama Trinley at Tara Tsok

On this warm , smoky October afternoon my son Sam and I load non-perishable tsog, offered the previous weekend, into our pickup truck for the short drive down the street from the Gonpa to Community Sharing.

It has become part of Dechhen Ling’s yearly Tara Tsog to include bulk contributions toward the local food bank as part of our tsog offerings. Of the money people offer for buying  tsog, part is used to purchase these foods. And this year canned tuna, Spam, Velveeta, soups, cereals and granola bars—all bought in bulk—again joined the fancier tsog fare on the shrine tables.

Cottage Grove is like a lot of small communities, throughout the United States, that now experience what is officially called ”food insecurity”—what we know of as hunger. What was once just a fringe of people not quite getting by is now quite mainstream, with a surprising number of the official count of “homeless” being teens and children.

When we arrive at the food pantry, which is based in the old Cottage Grove Hospital, I am struck by the fact that the staging area for food is the old emergency room…now practically empty except for a huge palette of Dole banana boxes. Two volunteers are sorting some recent clothing donations and direct me to where we can unload the truck.

Meanwhile the Pantry Director walks up with a big smile on his face, saying something to the effect that we have answered his prayers. He tells us that they are very short on food and that of the three rooms that were full this time last year only one of them has a few shelves of goods left. When I ask him why—whether it is a lack of local donations—he says that the pipeline of food, which comes down from Portland via Food For Lane County, is basically not flowing. All the food banks in Oregon are short of supplies and meanwhile the demand has gone up.

As we unload our small offering—tiny in the face of the need—I think back on the pallets full of food at Costco and how generous so many of our sangha were in offering money to purchase tsog. And I remember the teachings that Chagdud Rinpoche would give on intention—how even the tiniest gift of food (he would give the example of a mouthful of food to a hungry bird) can have great impact if it is offered with the wish that by this generosity, all sentient beings gain freedom from their suffering and secure lasting happiness. He taught us that with good intention even a small gift can be expanded and offered in a big way.

Tsok Offerings

Lama Norbu spoke beautifully during the weekend about how Chagdud Rinpoche established this center, Dechhen Ling, as a field for merit; a place where people could practice the Dharma and through Red Tara practice, learn to be of benefit to others in the greatest possible way. As we place the cans and packages of food in shopping carts I can see how small the amounts are, in terms of an ordinary physical offering. The few cans of Spam, soups, and beans are barely a drop in the ocean of what is needed. But when viewed in terms of the not-so-ordinary context of their transformation through a weekend of strong Red Tara practice, maybe even the most mundane seeming bowl of ramen eaten by one hungry kid, might truly make a difference in that person’s life.

I don’t believe that food banks are going to solve the problem of hunger. But as Chagdud Rinpoche taught us, it is this concern for others, the mind’s movement toward wanting to help them, rather than turn away, that is so important. Maybe it is just a drop in the ocean. But even a drop of kindness can make a big difference in the ocean of someone else’s life.

by Lama Trinley

A Pilgrimage to California

Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, Summer and Amaya at Rigdzin Ling.

A Pilgrimage,   by Summer Adams

This July along with many South Americans I set out on a pilgrimage to North America, with the Padmasambhava Peace Institute as my main destination. Before attending the incredible event held there I had the good fortune to spend some days at Rigdzin Ling with Khadro. The heat of the California summer was such a relief, having left Khadro Ling in mid-winter. My daughter, Amaya, was able to run around in only a diaper and play with buckets of water outside. It was delightful seeing Khadro and all the activity there. She would often be in front of Tara House talking to the contractor, Lama Norbu driving the tractor and Lama Thubten heading upstairs to do the Gonla practice in Chagdud Rinpoche’s shrine room.

I had only visited Rigdzin Ling once before and I was very impressed with how secluded and beautiful it is. Visiting there I imagined Chagdud Rinpoche’s time before moving to Brazil. Thinking of him planning where to build, performing ceremonies, I imagined how his hand had held that same brass rail in Tara House that Amaya was now reaching up for.  It felt as though I could almost see him there now.

Chagdud Khadro at Rigdzin Ling

Rigdzin Ling was hosting the annual children’s camp. It was great seeing the dynamic and compassionate interaction of the Dharma teens and children. The Lamas and parents supported the activities of the children, while the children ran a wonderful camp. Some of them would arrive for lunch in fantastic costumes, and the dinning room had a lively atmosphere. The parents helped organize creative projects that included making tsa tsas. To support their tsa tsa project they requested the Buddha Akshobya empowerment from Khadro, which she happily gave them. Even the young children seemed very focused during most of the empowerment.

Also, the children did beautiful traditional drawings of auspicious symbols on the driveway (with help of parent and artist Glenn Sandvoss) to welcome Jigme Khyenste Rinpoche, who gave a teaching to the camp participants and others. Before he arrived the children had taken the volumes of the Kangyur down from the main shrine and Lama Padma carefully checked the order. Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche then taught about the history and meaning of the Kangyur at Khadro’s request.

Main entrance to Rigdzin Ling with auspicious symbols that the children drew. 

He mentioned in the teaching that to have the Kangyur there was like being in the presence of the Buddha. The wisdom of his words made that presence even stronger. Also, he spoke about the effort made by wisdom masters and great scholars to preserve these volumes and accomplish their translation from Pali to Tibetan. I wondered as he spoke if some of our young sangha members would become future translators.  Everyone felt blessed by the visit and Rinpoche’s kindness to make the long drive to Rigdzin Ling from San Fransisco. The following day he also traveled to PPI to attend the rare empowerments of the Apong Terton cycle that HH Sakya Trizin would bestow.

Arriving at PPI was like arriving at a huge family reunion. Jigme Tromge Rinpoche was radiant and completely available greeting all of us as participants arrived. I was so happy to have my baby there with us. Even though she probably won’t remember, later I will tell her that she met HH Sakya Trizin and received this precious cycle. Just the fact that this cycle was given in its entirety and attended by so many linage holders felt completely historic. A blessing for the whole Chagdud Gonpa Sangha! Jigme Rinpoche and the PPI sangha were so incredible kind to make the event possible.

Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche teaches the children at Rigdzin Ling, next to the stacked Kangyur volumes. 

Like a whirl wind as soon as the event finished many of the Lamas and participants packed up and set out on another long drive to Pema Odsel Ling to attend Dudjom empowerments being bestowed by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Even though many of us arrived after midnight the POL staff was kindly waiting to receive participants. Again the South American practioners were there in numbers and there was a strong sense of vajra family. Lama Sonam Tsering and the other Vajrayana Foundation lamas greeted us with great care and warmth. Although I was often running in and out of the main shrine after Amaya, outside was beautifully arranged with speakers, video screen and tents for shade.

Visiting these three locations left me a deep sense of rejoicing in the powerful blessings of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, our teachers and the strength of our sangha here and abroad.

Amrita, Jigme Rinpoche and Amaya in the PPI shrineroom. Photo: PPI’s archive.

Lama Tsering Interview

Lama Tsering Everest

During her recent teaching tour of Northern California, Lama Tsering was interviewed by Michele Happe on radio station KJFK Reno. She spoke about her early years with Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and went on to discuss the Three Yanas, Meditation and Karma. You can listen to the interview here and you can download it as a podcast from iTunes (Episode 20).  Thanks to Michele Happe for a great interview!

You can also listen to many of Lama Tsering’s teachings here and with iTunes.

Letter of Gratitude


The Chagdud Gonpa Spiritual Directorate would like to thank Jigme Tromge Rinpoche for his foresight and devoted efforts at inviting His Holiness, Sakya Tridzin to Padmasambhava Peace Institute in order to bestow the most sacred treasures of Apong Terton.

The Red Tara meditation practice of that cycle  holds together all of our Chagdud Gonpa sanghas, and made this confluence of His Holiness and Chagdud Gonpa a truly historic and deeply meaningful moment in time with far-reaching benefits, not only for our sangha, but for all beings everywhere. Being in the midst of so many of Chagdud Rinpoche’s disciples and sanghas, to say nothing of receiving these blessing along with Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, added to its preciousness and enduring inspiration. Our enthusiastic thanks to Jigme Tromge Rinpoche and his devoted sangha for creating this opportunity.

Furthermore, we are truly grateful to Jigme Rinpoche for his continual vision and efforts in maintaining the strength and integrity of Chagdud Rinpoche’s lineage of practice and teachings, not only at his seat at PPI, but at all the Chagdud Gonpa Centers and Practice Groups that he has visited over the years. As well, he is maintaining the integrity of our connections with our lineage holders and sanghas in India, Nepal and Tibet.

Jigme Rinpoche has put his whole heart and loving energy into preserving and enriching the lineage of Chagdud Rinpoche, serving the sanghas of Chagdud Gonpa with empowerments, teachings, and his insightful personal advice. Again, our gratitude goes out to Rinpoche with our aspirations for his long-life and the unhindered flourishing of his dharma activity.

Chagdud Gonpa Spiritual Directorate

Chagdud Khadro, Lama Padma Gyatso, Lama Tsering Everst, Lama Inga Zangmo, Gatsal Lama Jamie, Lama Norbu, Lama Dorje, John Swearingen

Three Taras at Rigdzin Ling

Lama Trinley, Lama Sherab, Lama Tsering
Three Taras at Rigdzin Ling

In the next six weeks Rigdzin Ling will be graced by the presence of three knowledgeable and inspiring female teachers. On Saturday, July 23th, Lama Trinley, a resident lama of Dechen Ling in Cottage Grove, Oregon, will offer a one-day teaching on the relation of dharma and family life. From Saturday, August 14th, through Sunday, August 28th, Lama Sherab, a resident lama at Khadro Ling in southern Brazil, will lead a retreat in shamatha meditation. On the following weekend, Saturday, September 3rd through Labor Day Monday, September 5th, Lama Tsering will lead a Red Tara ceremony. 

It is said that all manifestations of feminine wisdom are aspects of Tara, and each of these three lady lamas certainly expresses Tara’s wisdom in a special way. Lama Trinley is the mother of two teenage boys, a cancer survivor, and is a long-time practitioner respected for maintaining view and meditation in her mundane activities. Although she does not specifically teach Great Perfection and her words are always modest, her way of being is a teaching. She is a talented writer and a poetic observer. 

Lama Sherab is a living proof that if our faith in the sacred sources of refuge is deep and strong, we will certainly find our teacher no matter how remote the place of our birth. Born in the state of Amapá in the extreme north of Brazil–perhaps the only Brazilian in the sangha from that remote place–she met Chagdud Rinpoche and immediately connected to him as her teacher. Setting aside a career as a dentist, she served him constantly as a translator and assistant for eight years, until his death. Since then she has continued to serve, as a teacher, as a resident lama of Khadro Ling, and more recently, as the mentor of a young girl who Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche brought from the Amazon with the intention that she be trained. Lama Sherab without hesitation re-organized her activities to tutor the girl in both schoolwork and the dharma. 

Thorough in her study and practice of dharma, Lama Sherab has deeply integrated the shamatha methods of the Tromge Chenrazig cycle. Although the retreat require a traditional structure and a two-week duration, if we consider how many hours we meditate with wandering minds, how many deity practices we do without visualization–and perhaps how many lifetimes we have been practicing without full accomplishment–the two weeks invested in the retreat is obviously worthwhile! In January, Lama Sherab lead such a retreat for one month at Khadro Ling, and many of the participants had a moment of brilliant clarity when their visualization actually unfolded. 

As a third aspect of Tara, Lama Tsering Everest exemplifies Tara’s qualities of speech with her articulate, generous flow of teachings, her unusual turns of phrase, and her memorable examples. Chagdud Rinpoche saw her as the manifestation of a very old nun he encountered as he was leaving Tibet. “I’ll see you in the West!” the nun exclaimed. Afterwards Rinpoche wondered if the nun was a real person or a vision, but when he met Tsering in 1980, he knew that she was the fulfillment of the prophecy. 

The Red Tara ceremony she will lead on Labor Day Weekend is especially auspicious because a lovely, life-sized Tara statue that she purchased years ago for Chagdud Gonpa has come to reside at Rigdzin Ling and to grace the recently remodeled shrine room. Red Tara is at the very heart of the Chagdud Gonpa sangha, a subtle force of compassion and wisdom that pulsates through our lives and refines them. As Rigdzin Ling opens wide its doors, it is hoped that many of you will come through them.

…I journey in illusory display

A poem written by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche while in Switzerland:

For my students who need a short practice
This was written inSwitzerland,
A joyful place
Where spontaneous thrusts of rocks
Have created a natural and exalted throne;
Where snow mountains embellish the land
Like a magnificent garland.
Here all beings move about
Merrily and free.

The surging falls resound, “Lhang lhang!”
A canopy of clouds stores its treasure of water.
Everywhere blooms a colorful array of flowers,
And everywhere winged creatures sing and dance.
Truly this land is so filled with pleasures
It would be a worthy realm of gods.

I have no wings, but I still fly in the sky.
I have no magical power, yet like magic
I journey in illusory display,
Here and there, back and forth, in nine directions
Exploring the contents of my karma.

Chagdud Tulku

Written as a colophon for a Vajrasattva practice he gave to students who attended the teachings in Murren, Switzerland, July 1987.