Posts tagged ‘Teachings’

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

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.


“At all times, again and again, we should make vast prayers for the sake of all beings.
When falling asleep, we should think, “May all beings achieve the absolute state”;
when waking up, “May all beings obtain the body of the Buddha”;
when putting on clothes, “May all beings have modesty and a sense of shame”;
when lighting a fire, “May all beings burn the wood of disturbing emotions”;
when eating, “May all beings eat the food of concentration”;
when opening a door, “May all beings open the door to the city of liberation”;
when  going outside, “May I set out on the path to free all beings”;
when walking uphill, “May I go to free beings from the lower realms”;
when seeing happiness, “May all beings achieve the happiness of Buddhahood”
when seeing suffering, “May the suffering of all beings be pacified.”

—Khyentse Rinpoche

Who we really are….

“Discovering Who We Really Are”
…..a  video from Sogyal Rinpoche

[short extract]
“What we really need to do is arrive at a fundamental acceptance of impermanence. Even though they are continually changing and unreliable, we believe that we are thoughts, emotions, and stories. However, the only thing that is constant, unchanging, and reliable, is the clarity of our mind stream. Whether we are happy or sad, the cognizant quality of pure consciousness is with us throughout our lives, and continues until enlightenment. In spite of the fact that the world is so decadent and difficult, and that our lives can be so complex, if we have discovered the inner freedom of the mind, we ourselves can be simple and uncomplicated, and maintain a carefree dignity.”

A Letter from Rinpoche

The following is an excerpt of a letter from Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche to the sangha that appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of The Wind Horse.

My life has been very quiet lately, without the usual outer events to provide a focus for my inner reflections. Rather, my reflections spark momentarily in the sky of my mind, and then disappear.

Still underneath this spaciousness, I find currents of deep disquiet over what is evolving in the world. We seem to be living in the presence of an invisible razor-sharp sword whose blade could suddenly slice through existence as we know it. As practitioners, we should neither deny its presence, nor yield to anxiety and fear, but rather use it to whet the precision of our choices, the keenness of our skillful means.

Specifically I urge you to pray strongly to Guru Padmasambhava, who promised that to those who supplicate him he would come like a father to his children, especially in the darkest of times. He foresaw and prophesied everything. Also, pray to Arya Tara, the passion and wisdom to alleviate the great fears of beings trapped in cyclic existence. Pray that the hard-heartedness and righteous anger that are so prevalent soften, and that moral discipline, patience, and virtue hold sway.

Each of you has accepted a level of commitment in your individual dharma practice. Strengthen it! Each of you has a connection to the lama or senior student who guides your sangha. Nurture it!  Each of you abides, by fortunate karma and brilliant choice, within the interdependent web of our sangha. Uphold your position as a practitioner and support that of others!

Most important, each of you has become an heir to the treasures of Guru Rinpoche and Red Tara, my precious lineage legacies to you. I strongly encourage you to make excellent use of these jewels, for the benefit of all beings,

In the dharma,
the Chagdudpa