August 29, 2002

FIRST VAJRA VIDYA RETREAT IN CRESTONE

On July 17th, 2002 at the small Alamosa airport a 19-passenger jet landed. Coming off the plane were Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and seven other people (The translator two attendants and four students ) accompanying these two incredible teachers. Khenpo Karthar, Director of Karma Triyana Dharmachaka in Woodstock, escaped with Thrangu Rinpoche in 1959 and also spent 20 years teaching with Thrangu Rinpoche at Rumtek the seat of H.H. Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa. As we drove in caravan for an hour to the small town of Crestone, Colorado, we began the two-week visit, which included a nine-day Mahamudra retreat, a land consecration for the Vajra Vidya Retreat center, and visits to the Karmapa's Tashi Gomang Stupa.

As the 140 people who attended the retreat know, Crestone is a town that you have to visit to understand the remoteness of the place. When the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa visited Crestone in 1980, he said that this was a place where individuals could become siddhas and that he wanted a stupa built, a retreat center built, and a Tibetan medical center established. He also wanted Crestone to be a place where the ancient wisdom of Tibet would be preserved. The uniqueness of Crestone lies in its remote location, which may seem remarkable because the United States is known for its accessibility. Crestone instead is 50 miles from the nearest town and you have to have your own transportation, as there is no pubic transport. Once there, you are up against the high mountain peaks called the Sangria De Cristo Range (three of these peaks are over 14,000 feet high). Below is one of the largest mountain valleys in the US and this plane lies over the largest aquifer in North America. Its beauty is raw and breath-taking. In one of the talks that Thrangu Rinpoche gave, he pointed out that Crestone was near the Continental Divide and because the waters flowed in both directions that it was an auspicious place in the United States. He explained that in Tibet the most famous monasteries where located in such auspicious locations and that there was a significant reason for doing this.

Thrangu Rinpoche has always felt, as did the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, that Mahamudra meditation was the appropriate meditation for individuals in the West. The retreat teachings were on the King's Doha of Saraha., the shortest of the three Dohas. A Dakini manifesting as an arrow maker transmitted these teachings to Saraha. Transmissions of these teachings have continued up to this present time. The King's Doha is the shortest of Saraha's songs of realization. Next year Thrangu will complete the three songs by teaching the Queen's Doha, the medium length of the three. Rinpoche taught the longest, the People's Doha last year in Sarnath.

One of the high points of the retreat was going up to the consecration of the 35-acre retreat land with Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenpo Karthar. Also at the ceremony was Hanne Strong, president of the Manitou Foundations, who presented Rinpoche with the deed to the land. During the ceremony people looked up into the cloudless sky, where an auspicious crescent rainbow could clearly be seen against the bright sky. In describing why Crestone was particularly good for a retreat center, Thrangu Rinpoche explained that the meteoric signs that presented themselves during the consecration of the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center Land were approval and acknowledgment from the three jewels for this project. Combine the physical visual power of the Crestone location with the teachings of Thrangu Rinpoche and it was a match for a Himalayan experience.

The retreat was held in the only hotel in the area and was filled to capacity. The shrine room was inspiring with thankas of the Kagyu Lineage masters on the walls (on loan from the Summit Dharma Sangha) and a shrine set up by Rinpoche's monk Lobsang Dorje. The 140 participants fit comfortably in the large shine room and there was also a second shrine room for persons wanting to do ngondro practice. Despite Crestone's remoteness, most of the retreatants were in double occupancy rooms each with its own bathroom making the accommodations comfortable and convenient. As per Rinpoche's instructions, the program was a silent retreat. When asked why a silent retreat, Rinpoche explained that minimizing unnecessary talking was helpful in settling the mind so that the mind would not generate as many thoughts and that this allows for better meditation. Next year the staff will have an office to conduct business, in order to maximize silence for the retreatants.

As with all of Rinpoche's retreats, three deity practices were done: Chenrezig, Guru Rinpoche, White Tara, and morning and evening prayers. With ngondro practice, Deity Practice, and Mahamudra meditation the ground, path, and fruition aspects of practice were all made part of the retreat. Also at the program was a presentation of the preliminary design for the retreat center and explanation of the future plans for this practice environment. A fund raising brochure was distributed and in the next newsletter we will present all the information on the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center. There was tremendous positive response for this project evident by the commitment of physical and financial support. During the retreat alone we received $ 89,640 in actual donations and $ 20,300 in pledges. In addition three people pledged a sum of $ 200 per month. With everyone's help we could build a retreat center in a timely manner. It is hoped that the beginning response will continue and that we can raise the money quickly so as to be able to have the actual building in progress for Thrangu Rinpoche's second retreat in Crestone next summer.

If you want the 12 audio tape set of the teachings, you can order it from Namo Buddha Publications for $ 60.00. There is also a 12 video tape set which can be ordered for $ 120.00.


THE THIRD VAJRA VIDYA SEMINAR
Sarnath, India
February 24-March 12, 2003

TEACHING SUBJECTS:
February 24-28 POWA TRAINING: teachings and practice
March 3-12 "IN PRAISE OF THE DHARMADATU" -NAGARJUNA
COMMENTARY BY THE THIRD KARMAPA RANGJUNG DORJE

The seminar will include the following optional activities:

Group practice -silent meditation and sadhana practice.
Tibetan language class and translation class.
Group discussion
Some weekend events
Requested empowerments
Teaching: Monday to Friday ~ 10:00 -11:30 a.m.

Seminar Fees:
For the whole seminar: $100 U.S. (or IC rupee equivalent)
Powa Training: $40.00 U.S.
In Praise of the Dharmadatu -$60.00 U.S.
Accommodation at the Vajra Vidya Institute: $10 per day including meals and tea for double with common bathroom. Single rooms can be given on an early registration basis if there is enough room. There are some guesthouses in the area from approx. $4-$10 a day, excluding meals. For information on guesthouse: see Information on Sarnath

ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS NECESSARY FOR THOSE WANTING TO STAY AT THE VAJRA VIDYA INSTITUTE ONLY:
Please register with seminar coordinator, Gloria Jones (see contact information below).

REGISTRATION: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23,2002 AT THE VAJRA VIDYA INSTITUTE.
All fees are payable at that time. No advance deposits necessary. For pre-registration to stay at the Vajra Vidya Institute and for further information contact:
Gloria Jones, Seminar coordinator:
Phone: 977-1-472024 (Nepal)
Fax: 977-1-472529 (c/o Everest Communications)
E-mail: gloriaj@mail.com.np


RINPOCHE ESTABLISHES A THREE-YEAR RETREAT CENTER IN GERMANY

"Karma Thekchen Yi ong Ling" - A Place of Mahayana Buddhism in the Karma Kagyu Tradition where the Intentions of one´s Mind are spontaneously fulfilled. This is the name that H.H. the XVIIth Gyalwa Karmapa chose for the retreat center Halscheid. It is located near a village, in a remote area east of Köln(Cologne), among rolling hills and surrounded by woods - an oasis of silence and peace.

In 1986 the house was opened as a center for three-year retreats in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. From 1986 to 1990 the first retreat of this length took place, up to now the only one in Germany. Since then, the center has been used for shorter retreats and courses, to allow individuals and groups to meditate and study in this inspiring environment. In 1997, the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche accepted to become the spiritual director of Halscheid center.

Rinpoche is one of the most outstanding and learned teachers and meditation masters of the Karma Kagyu lineage and tutor to His Holiness Karmapa. He agreed to oversee future three-year retreats, to give the necessary empowerments and instructions. Lama Kunga Dorje, a fully qualified Tibetan meditation teacher, was appointed by Rinpoche to be in residence and to guide the retreatants. As soon as a group of 15 (max. 20) students have enrolled and are properly prepared the retreat will begin. Up to then there will be study courses and shorter retreats for groups and individuals to prepare for this profound practice. A three-year retreat is a most valuable opportunity to intensely familiarize oneself with the Dharma through a sequence of meditation methods - skilful means to realize Mahamudra, the nature of mind.

The next courses, recommended for retreat preparation, are:
Amitabha Retreat, July 12 - 21, 2002
Ngöndro Retreat, August 9 - 14, 2002 (both with Lama Kunga Dorje in Halscheid)
Lojong - Mind Training, Sept. 1-8 with Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche at the Kamalashila Institute ® ,
Kirchstr. 22A, 56729 Langenfeld,
Tel. 02655-93 90 40, Fax 93 90 41,
kamalashila@t-online.de, within that course:
Sept. 7, Vajrakilaya Initiation,
Sept. 8, Mahakala Initiation.

Thrangu Rinpoche is going to decide for either a traditional form of retreat- 3 years,3 months, and 3 days - or for a series of one-year or six-month long retreats. At the beginning of September 2002, there will be a meeting with Rinpoche and those interested in such a retreat - following Rinpoche´s course in Kamalashila Institute ® . The precise date is to be announced.

Approximate costs for the three-year retreat: 15,000 Euro.

Application and further information:
Karma Tekchen Yi Ong Ling · Meditations- und Klausurzentrum Halscheid
Auf dem Kuppen 7 · D-51570 Windeck · Tel. ++49 (0) 2292-7438 · Fax++49 (0)2292-6327
halscheid-retreat@web.de · www.halscheid-retreat.de or contact:
Dorothea Nett · c/o Tibetisch-buddhistisches Meditationszentrum
Friedensstr. 20 · D-69121 Heidelberg · Tel. ++49 (0) 6221-410495 · Fax ++49(0) 6221-473285
BudZentrHD@aol.com · www.kcccpl-HD.de


FINALLY, WE HAVE MOVED SO NAMO BUDDHA PUBLICATIONS HAS A NEW ADDRESS AND PHONE:

Namo Buddha Publications
P. O. Box 1083
Crestone, CO 81131
Phone: (719) 256-5367
Email: cjohnson@ix.netcom.com

Also the New Buddhadharma magazine from Shambhala Sun has a short teaching from Thrangu Rinpoche and Bodhi Magazine has Thrangu Rinpoche on the cover and a longer teaching on the Ganges Mahamudra in it.

Blessings in the Dharma, Clark and Pat

 

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