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.