Category Archives: Tibetan Buddhism

Cyber Shedra


I received this email today that may be of interest to the serious student of the dharma:

Namdroling, Montana and Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche are happy to again offer the distance learning program, Cyber Shedra.  Cyber Shedra was established by Namdroling Montana and Khenpo Norgay in 2004 in order to help serious Dharma students receive pure Buddhist teachings.

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity for students whose lives are mingled with the world and worldly responsibilities.  A uniqueness of this program is that you study from your computer when and where it is convenient for you.

Who teaches these sessions?

The teachings are given by Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche from the Palyul Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  Participants have the opportunity to receive teachings from and communicate questions to master Buddhist teacher Khenpo Norgay via email and the web.  Lessons, assignments, practice instructions, and written question and answer sessions are incorporated into the program.

For those who are interested, definitions of Tibetan/Sanskrit terms found in Session 1 lessons are also available. Please check our website for a biography of:  Khenpo-la.

How long is each session?

Each session progresses over an eight-month period (October to May).  The fall sessions begin anytime between today’s date and November 7, 2017.  Your start date will depend on when we receive your registration.

How do I register?

You may register any time between now and November 7, 2017.  We request that you take the sessions in sequence.  A student should take Session 1 before taking Session 2, and take Sessions 1 and 2 before taking Session 3, etc.

(If you plan to register but cannot send your fee until November 7, you may send us an email at cyshedra@namdrolingmt.org and we will begin sending your class materials in October.)

More details:

Shedra is a Tibetan word meaning “place of teaching” that refers to the traditional educational program in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries among all four schools of Buddhism.  Shedra participants may be ordained or lay  students who attend these high-level courses in the Buddhist Philosophical University and upon completion one becomes a Khenpo or professor of Buddhism.

A general curriculum that is normally offered (from wiki):

Nyingma Lineage

The shedra at Namdroling Monastery (in Bylakuppe, India) includes specific phases of study with particular texts used in each phase.  Commentaries by Ju Mipham or Khenpo Shenga may be used with each text.  The phases and texts include:

  • First year
    • Training on the prātimokṣa, bodhisattva, and samaya vows using Treatise Ascertaining the Three Vows by Pema Wangyal
    • Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra by Shantideva
    • Grammar, Poetry, and History
  • Second through fifth years
    • Psychology using Abhidharmakosha by Vasubandhu, Abhidharmasamuccaya by Asanga, and Pramanavarttika by Dharmakirti
    • Madhyamaka philosophy texts including Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Chatuhshataka-shastrakarika (The Four Hundred Verses on the Middle Way) of Aryadeva, Madhyamakāvatāra, and Madhyamakalankara
  • Upper phase
    • Yogacara philosophy using the five treatises of Maitreya via Asanga, including Gyulama (Mahayanottaratantrashastra or Ratnagotravibhāga), Abhisamayalankara, Mahāyāna-sūtrālamkāra-kārikā, Madhyānta-vibhāga-kārikā (Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes) and Dharma-dharmatā-vibhāga (Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being)
    • Additional study on the vows and monastic discipline
  • Tantra phase for two or three years
    • Specific tantras like the Guhyagarbha tantra
    • Dzogchen commentaries like Yonten Dzod by Jigme Lingpa, Rangdrol Korsum (Trilogy of Self Liberation), and Ngelso Korsum (Trilogy of Resting)
    • Additional study on the eight precepts of practice and related topics

If you are interested…a complete description of the program and how it is run, a biography of Khenpo Tenzin Norgay, and a link to registration can be found here:

Cyber Shedra Montana

Contact Us:

For questions please contact: cyshedra@namdrolingmt.org

Tashi Delek,
Neo
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Yangthang Rinpoche Parinirvana


Venerable Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche was the immediate reincarnation of Dhomang Terchen, Dorje Dechen Lingpa.  He was the revealer of many treasure practices.  As one of the inconceivable great treasure revealers from Eastern Tibet, Dhomang Terchen was highly regarded by the greatest lamas and tertons of his time.

YTR-India

He revealed thirteen volumes during his life, which included treasures found in the earth, in lakes, in rocks, and in space, as well as pure vision treasures.  He is well known as the emanation of the great Vimalamitra, as well as Terton Lhatsun Namkha Jigmed.  Therefore, it is no surprise that his revelations also included many astonishing secret substances and materials necessary for the future propagation of Vajrayana practice.

Biography:

From PathToBuddha website:

In 1959, when the Communist Chinese invaded Tibet, Yangthang Rinpoche fled Dhomang.  He was later captured by the Chinese and imprisoned for 22 years.  He helped many fellow prisoners who could not bear the hardship to die peacefully by performing Phowa and transferring their consciousness to the Pure Land.

Though he witnessed and experienced much torture, he bears no resentment to his captors, only compassion.  In fact, he became a spiritual advisor to some of the guards.  When people express sympathy about his imprisonment, Rinpoche says that because of Dharma, his mind was more free in prison than worldly people experience in the best of circumstances.

“Because of Dharma, my mind was more free in prison than worldly people experience in the best of circumstances.” — Yangthang Rinpoche

Following the death of Mao Tse Tung he was released.  He returned to Dhomang to find his monastery completely dismantled.  He then obtained permission to go to Sikkim.  As a simple yogi he traveled back and forth to Nepal and Bhutan, receiving transmissions and empowerments from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and His Holiness Dodrupchen Rinpoche.

Parinirvana:

Yangthang passed into parinirvana last year on October 15th, 2016.  So, as part of Vajrayana tradition, students and close disciples plan on doing tsok (ganachakra feasts) on the 14th day of eight month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar.  The parinirvana date for this year falls on:

2017: October 4th

Stupa:

From Yangthang’s FB page:

The “sung-jug” for the two Relic Stupas of Yangthang Rinpoche has been completed smoothly today, the auspicious Guru Rinpoche Day, at Yangthang Rinpoche’s residence in Yuksom, Sikkim.

The sacred relic of Yangthang Rinpoche, along with his bone relics, and many other holy substance have been successfully offered inside Yangthang Rinpoche’s Relic Stupa (Kutung Chorten).

Benefits:

It is said that performing the Ganachakra feast on the anniversary of the Guru’s parinirvana day will bring immeasurable benefits and negative karma accumulated over many aeons will be extinguished. 

The Tantra of the Protector Crow states:

“One who holds ceremonies during the anniversaries of the lama’s passing will attain the irreversible state and after death will be reborn in the realm of Khachod dakinis.”

YANGTHANG-JULY1024f10def

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Building Stupas


The Importance of Stupas

from the Padmasambhava website:stupas representation

The benefits of building stupas were spoken of by the buddha in the Noble Amazing Sutra:

Ananda! Any devoted noble sons and daughters who fill this entire three-thousand-fold universe with the seven precious metals and make offerings to all the stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners, and arhats—as well as all the sangha members in the four directions—do not accumulate as much merit as someone who makes a stupa to the Tathagata—the Subduer, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the One Who Entered Mahaparinirvana— that is even the size of a churura seed, with a central column the size of a needle, an umbrella the size of a juniper leaf, and filled with grain-sized statues and mustard seed-sized relics.

Moreover, in the Analyzing Activity Sutra, the Buddha said to the brahmin son Netso:

Whoever builds the Stupa of the Tathagata will gain the eighteen benefits. These are: (1) to be born in a royal family, (2) with perfect features (3) and a beautiful body; (4) who everybody loves to see (5) and looks to as a leader; (6) with fame expanding in the ten directions, (7) beautiful cheering sounds, (8) and praised with beautiful verses; (9) very detached from the world (10) and honored by gods (11) and humans; (12) very wealthy, (13) with a long life (14) and as healthy and strong as a vajra; (15) possessing the major marks (16) and minor marks; (17) born in the upper realms; (18) and soon to enter the supreme enlightened state.

Boudhanath Stupa Stunning Buddhist stupa of Tibetan in Nepal-3

In the Noble Lotus Sutra, the Buddha said:

Whoever makes a stupa out of stones, agarwood, or sandalwood; or whoever makes a stupa with joy out of medicinal wood or even out of plain wood, earth, brick, and so on; or whoever makes a stupa by just using heaps of earth in some remote area while thinking of the Buddha; or even children who make a stupa while playing games with sand while thinking of the Victorious One; or whoever draws forms (of the Buddha)—they will all reach enlightenment.

The Manjushrimitra Root Tantra states:

(Those who want) to purify their negativities should make a stupa with their own hands—it will cleanse even the worst five obscurations. If they make 100,000 stupas, they will become a universal monarch among all the vidyadharas. Whoever contacts such a stupa will develop great wisdom and long life, and even if they die, they will be reborn in the higher realms in a royal clan, and they will never go to the lower realms. When born, their intelligence will be like a blazing sun, their intellect will become stable, and they will remember past lives. Thus it is said.

Moreover, the Noble Stainless Beams of Light Sutra states:

Noble sons and daughters! Whoever circumambulates or make offerings to a stupa will be blessed by Tathagatas, move to the supreme enlightened state through a non-returning path, and purify all of their karmic obscurations. Even if the shadow of a stupa touches birds, animals, deer, or whomever, they will not be reborn in the lower realms.

Thus, in the sutras and tantras the Buddha taught extensively about the benefits of building stupas, as well as the benefits to those who support and make contact with stupas.

A big Tibetan Buddhist chorten found just south of Ganze, Tibet (China).

Creating Virtue:

You can begin by clicking here to donate to the 100,000 Stupas Around the World project by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Building stupas helps develop so much peace and happiness for numberless sentient beings.  As a result, wars, disease, and desire will all be pacified.  Instead of feeling hopeless, people will gain courage. — Lama Zopa Rinpoche

offerings3

 

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Benefits of the Festival of the Tenth Day


Taken in part from the Lotsawa House website:

guru rinpoche

On each one of these successive tenth day festivals, the specific benefits of observing the practice follow in this order:

In the sixth month, all kinds of illness, döns, and obstructors are pacified, and lifespan, merit and prosperity are increased.

In the twelfth month, happiness and sharpness of mind are accelerated and confidence increases, so that humans and non-humans are brought under your power.

In the first month, power, position and wealth will grow, and earth-lords and guardians obey you like servants.

In the second month, harm and damage caused by the lord of death and the eight classes of gods and spirits are pacified, discipline is purified, and unlimited wisdom blazes.

In the third month, you are untouched by harm from inauspicious conjunctions of planets and stars, and from enemies and thieves. At home and abroad, auspiciousness, peace and goodness increase everywhere.

In the fourth month, you will be immune to harm from earth-lords, nāgas and nyens, and dharmapālas and guardians will accomplish whatever activity you have entrusted to them.

In the fifth month, all harm from obstacles, enemies and döns is pacified, and the objects of your wishes are brought under your control.

In the seventh month, chronic ailments, weaknesses of the immune system and the like are purified, the body is healthy, the mind is happy, your entourage and wealth increase, and your aspirations are fulfilled.

In the eighth month, obstacles of the year, month, day and time, as well as evil signs and the like, are all pacified, and any decline in wangthang or lungta is restored.

In the ninth month, sickness and döns caused by the eight classes and jungpo demons, untimely death and fatal accidents all are pacified, serious curses are eliminated, you are freed from sorcery and psychic attacks, and your own body becomes vajra.

In the tenth month, wrongs and downfalls of the three vows such as disrespecting sacred objects, and breakages and impairments of samaya are all healed, and your mind stream is purified.

In the eleventh month, sudden misfortune, such as untimely death, will not occur, and as soon as we transfer from this life, we are born in the pure land of Lotus Light before Guru Rinpoche himself.

Not only are the benefits of observing the tenth day absolutely limitless, but for concentrating on the various practices of gathering merit and making prayers, these occasions are praised as extraordinarily special.

Composed by Jikdral Yeshe Dorje, Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche

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Kilaya Drupchen


Kilaya Retreat 2017

Padmakilaya & Vajrakilaya 

with Lama Padma Gyatso

Feb 20th – 26th

Padmakilaya Empowerment: February 20th
Padmakilaya Practice: February 21st – 23rd
Vajrakilaya Practice: February 24th – 26th


Kilaya rituals are traditionally practiced during the final lunar month of the Tibetan calendar to dispel obstacles before the coming year begins (Losar). Rigdzin Ling will practice three days of Padgyal Lingpa’s terma of Padmakilaya, followed by three days of H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche’s terma of Vajrakilaya, The Razor That Destroys at a Touch. 

Padmakilaya is a revelation of the great terton, Padgyal Lingpa, who initially transmitted it directly to Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. It became the wrathful guru practice that Rinpoche practiced exclusively for decades. It was then passed on to Tulku Sang-Ngag Rinpoche who bestowed it several times at Rigdzin Ling, authorizing Lama Padma to uphold and propagate it.

For those who wish to attend this retreat but have not received the empowerment for Vajrakilaya, there will be a blessing-permission given on the first day of the Vajrakilaya practice.

If you are unable to attend the event but would like to participate,
we encourage you to offer butterlamps and tsog

Dedications will be read during the event.

Click here for more information.

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Pilgrimage to Tibet


pilgrimage

Message from Dechen Yeshe Wangmo:

Dear Sangha,

Today, on Dudjom Rinpoche’s 30th Parinirvana Anniversary, I’m happy to announce my July 2017 Pilgrimage to Tibet! This year, we’re returning to Lhasa, Tsogyal Latso and Samye but then we’re venturing west to Everest, Kailash and Lake Manasarovar!

Everything’s in place for a sacred 19-days in Tibet for 12 pilgrims, including myself and Dechen Chodon, pilgrimage manager and trip leader.

Everything’s on the website at www.sangha-journeys.com

Everything’s ready to assist you in making this journey if it’s right for you!

Where are we going?
Lhasa (Jokhang, Ramoche, Potala, Lukhang), Tsetang Tsechu Stupa, Samye, Tsogyal Latso, Yamdrok Turquoise Lake, Gyanste Kubum Stupa, Shalu, Rong Puk, Mt. Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kailash (3-day circumambulation), Manasarovar Lake and Guge Kingdom!

Don’t delay. There’s early bird pricing!

Head-on over to the website and let us know if we can be of assistance

Tashi Delek!
Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo
PS: Don’t miss the Full Itinerary —detailed descriptions and photos to enjoy!

 

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Virtual Stupa Walk


The summer of 2015, in upstate New York, the Migyur Dorje Stupa was finally completed at our retreat center.

I uploaded a new video to YouTube and now you can listen and meditate while visualizing yourself doing Korwa (circumambulations) around the stupa to generate a limitless supply of merit.

Benefits:

Guru Rinpoche states:

If there is a man who offered melody music to the great stupa, shall be able to propagate the sound of dharma throughout the ten directions.  If there is a man who offered drum and melody sounds, shall obtain vast wisdom and prosperity.  If there is a man who offer the sound of bell, shall obtain a soft and harmonious voice, which is the voice of brahma.” — The Legend of Maha Buddha Stupa

From the book “Crystal Mirror 12” by author Elizabeth Cook states:

  1. Whoever offers prayers finds immediate fulfillment of his wishes for both himself and others.
  2. Whoever offers flowers to the Great Stupa obtains ease and contentment, prosperity and health.
  3. Whoever offers incense achieves pure action.
  4. Whoever offers lamps has the darkness of unknowing illuminated.
  5. Whoever offers perfume is freed from anxiety and suffering.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama states:

“It has long been the tradition that wherever the teachings of the Buddhas have been revered and practiced, communities of followers have built reliquary monuments known in Sanskrit as stupas and as chörtens in Tibetan.

And wherever they have been built, they have been regarded as sacred, for like religious images and scriptures, they represent aspects of enlightenment.”

The Sutra On The Merit of Bathing The Buddha states:

At that time, the World Honored One uttered these verses:

After my death
You will be able to honor my relics
Some will build stupas
Or images of the Tathágata.
At the place of the image or stupa,
One who anoints that spot of ground
With various incenses and flowers Scattering them over its surface
Uses pure, beautifully scented water
To pour onto the body of this image,
Offers it various flavorful drinks and foods,
Fully maintaining it with oblations,
Eulogizes the virtue of the Tathágata,
Which is endlessly difficult to conceive;
Through the wisdom of skillful means and the supernatural power of the Buddha
Such a one will quickly reach the other shore of Nirvana.
He will obtain the diamond body
Complete with the thirty-two marks of a great person
And the eighty minor signs of excellence.

Video:

Artist: Caitlin – Laxmi’s Dream
Song: Om Mani Padme Hum (track 5)

Video Produced with CyberLink PowerDirector 13:

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Lama Dance


“When a powerful yogi performs the lama dance, he can directly affect the body, speech, and mind of the viewers. All sentient beings have buddha nature, but it is hidden by obscurations. The lama dance is a way to purify these obscurations. Through the samadhi of the three vajras, the expressions of the body, speech, and mind of the deity purify the dancer’s mental continuum.

Just by seeing the Karmapa perform the Lama dance, one can attain the vajra body — Gyaltsap Rinpoche.

If the spectators, imagining and meditating on themselves as the deity, are also able to view it not as ordinary experience but as an expression of the deity, they will receive the blessings of the wisdom deities—it is no different than if the deities themselves actually came. Seeing the dance implants the seed of liberation within the viewer’s being.

According to the Hevajra tantra, the dance eliminates the outer and inner obstacles of the dancers themselves as well as those of the spectators. The dancer gains influence over the world because all that appears and exists is sealed with the stamp of the deity.

It is also said that one will easily accomplish the recitation of the deity’s mantra.”

Summer Retreat:

I posted three different Lama Dances on my Youtube channel.  The one below is the third and final Lama Dance at the Palyul Summer Retreat back in 2015. This one is known as the ‘Deer Dance’.

When we watch these lama dances then SEEDS of enlightenment are planted within one’s mind-stream. Obstacles are also “cut-through” and positive spiritual blessings are spread throughout the environment.

In the beginning of the video, you hear our teacher, Khenchen Tsewang giving a short commentary. He is sitting next to Dragmar Tulku on his left and Mugsang Tulku on the right. Also in the audience are the other “Heart Sons”: His Holiness Karma Khuchen Rinpoche and Gyangkhang Rinpoche.

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Stupa Restoration


News-Flash
December 2016

From the Chagdud Gompa Foundation email:

The Stupa Restoration project continued with great progress in 2016, its eighth summer. We’re narrowing in on the completion of five of these Eight Great Stupas with our enthusiastic crew and volunteers. By the end of summer in 2017, we plan to complete stupa two, the Stupa of Heaped Lotuses, stupa three, the Stupa of Many Doors, and stupa four, the Stupa of Miracles, as well as begin the masonry work on stupa eight, the Parinirvana Stupa.

“If offerings are made to stupas on behalf of the sick, troubled, or deceased, these individuals will benefit wherever they are. Life can be extended, effects of harmful actions purified, obstacles pacified, and positive qualities enriched. Such blessings do not diminish over time.”  — H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, an expert in stupa creation, said of stupas: “The oldest of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s students were getting on in years, and had arthritis in their fingers. Yet they couldn’t wait to get to the [stupa] work site. They’d run out there and help in any way they could, scooping up concrete with their bare hands and plastering it on because they were so happy to take part in the work.

We are delighted to announce that through the commitment and generosity of several donors, we have a matching fund of $4,000. This means that every dollar donated up to $4000 will be matched and the project will then have $8,000.

One of the interesting features of stupas is that it’s hard to feel possessive of them. They don’t exist for any other reason except to benefit. With other projects, there may be some vested interest. But a stupa is just a stupa. It’s not something you can personally profit by. It’s a representation of enlightened mind, sitting there, waiting for beings to see, touch, or remember it. In Tibet a lot of the stupas were built at crossroads on high mountain passes, places where nobody would ever go except on their way somewhere else.

“If one participates in a stupa’s construction or honors the completed stupa with an altruistic resolve to benefit all beings, then the blessings are such that the Buddha himself could not describe them.” —  Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche

Tibetans knew that no matter what stupas looked like on the outside, they contained incredible blessings. Just to see them was a blessing. To touch them was a blessing.To hear the sound of the wind blowing around them was a blessing. And that was why they built them–for the blessings, just the blessings.”

Many people visit and are struck by the beauty of Rigdzin Ling, the stupas and the Guru Rinpoche statue and fountain. Whether or not they realize it, they are all touched by powerful blessings, the fruit of Chagdud Rinpoche’s vast intention to benefit beings. Since stupas are the very expression of enlightenment itself, they continuously convey these blessings to all beings. To make any connection with stupas is to make a connection to enlightenment. The merit of this draws one closer to one’s own awakening.

How amazing it is that we have the good fortune to be able to participate in perpetuating Rinpoche’s vision here at Rigdzin Ling. We deeply rejoice that the participation and dedication of hundreds of volunteers and donors, past and present, have made this possible.

Join us! We invite you to participate in this meritorious project by contributing financially and/or by volunteering your time and energy next spring and summer.

Donate to the Stupa Restoration Fund

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Solitary Realizers


I came across this very nice commentary by Chogyam Trungpa.  Trungpa Rinpoche, was one of the great mahasiddhas of the last century (1939-1987) that condensed the essence of many Buddhist teachings in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.  The topic of solitary realizers, otherwise known as pratyekabuddhas, can be a big eye-opener to those that love to study bits and pieces from every religion. 

Beach-Yoga

Since we’ve had so many yogis, authors and charlatans set forth an unprecedented amount of wrong views (in modern times) while simultaneously lacking heartfelt compassion and responsible behavior, this particular commentary can help us differentiate who is an authentic teacher.  

Chogyam Trungpa writes:

“Pratyekabuddhas are referred to as either parrots or rhinoceroses.  That is to say, there is no happy medium of any kind.  In these two approaches, either the person is very sociable or else very individualistic.  But the general tendency of pratyekabuddhas is that only a few are sociable, a lot of them seem to be antisocial people. 

We could relate that with ourselves.  Some people would like to just retreat and go back to their own environment.  They do not want to relate at all with the energy level of the world or the society that exists around them.  Pratyekabuddhayana types of people are arrogant, in the sense that they prefer not to seek a personal teacher or an individual guide.

And also such people could be said to have very little desire, so therefore they are not particularly keen on socializing.  And also they are highly intelligent and intellectual in some sense they do actually discover some sense of reality or some sense of liberation.  So the general assumption of such people, or their general approach to life is the sense that they have their own resources already and that they can do better without anybody’s help.

A pratyekabuddha is intelligent enough to work with his own resources but at the same time he is very arrogant.  He does not want to relate with anybody above and he does not want to be under anybody’s directions.  He would like to search for himself.  It is kind of the selfmade person approach.  So pratyekabuddhas are very individualistic.  Quite possibly such a person would appreciate nature and poetry, and such a person might appreciate hardship, and industrious work.  He or she probably does not like any kind of religion.  He would like to search in his own way, by his own means, basically.  So that is the pratyekabuddha type of person.

 I’m sure you are aware that we have such people within our community.  And such people are always very resourceful and very knowledgeable from the level of how to tie a shoelace efficiently up to how to survive in the wilderness.  They are very intellectual and from that point of view very functional and efficient.  But at the same time they do not particularly want to relate with any hierarchy or organized discipline of any sort.

Such a person might find that entering a meditation hall is somewhat revolting.  ‘Freedom can be discovered from tying one’s own shoelace.  We don’t need this kind of institutionalized setup’ — that would be the logic of such a person.  So that type of person is arrogant in some sense.  But there is nothing that you can do to put that person on the spot because such a person has less tendency to neurosis.

There is the neurosis of his own arrogance, but apart from that there is very little notion of a need for entertainment or any sense of confusion.  Usually we have to talk to somebody to try to untangle our confusion or because we need some kind of companionship.  But in this case, the whole thing is not based on that.”

Click here for the rest of the commentary: CTR Pratyekabuddhas

Good luck on your Quest!
Neo

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