December 15, 2001

Dear Folks,

A LETTER OF INVITATION BY THRANGU RINPOCHE

Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,

Once again I am very happy to announce that we have the very auspicious and fortunate opportunity to host His Holiness The 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Thinley Dorje in our monastery at Sarnath, Varanasi, India from January 1 - 9, 2002.

I am considering requesting His Holiness to bestow a Long life initiation and to perform a Sugawati (Dedication) Puja for those who are deceased, which is going to hold on 5th and 6th of January of 2002. Therefore, I would like to invite all Dharma Brothers and Sisters who would like to share this opportunity and also visit the Sarnath Stupa, the holy site where the Lord Buddha turned the first Wheel of Dharma.

Yours in the Dharma,
Thrangu Rinpoche
 Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery

UPDATE ON THE VAJRA VIDYA RETREAT CENTER IN CRESTONE, COLORADO

VAJRA VIDYA RETREAT CENTER
Under the Auspicious of Thrangu Rinpoche
Crestone, Colorado

"Over the years many of my students and disciples have expressed a wish to do extensive practice. Up until now I have only been able to say, 'That is very good. Please go and do that at home.' I have not been able to provide proper facilities for them to do a retreat. Over the years I have thought about having some kind of place where students could come and practice for three years, if they couldn't do three years than for three months or one month or even a few weeks. There has not been anything until now. Now things are about to change.

There is a place called Crestone in the southern part of Colorado where land has been obtained. This place seems to be quite good for a retreat center. This is in process of taking place right now. Therefore those of you who have an interest to do retreat in the future could think about this place. It would be good to go there and do practice in retreat.

Also if you can find it in yourself to make this happen, it would be excellent both for yourself and for others. I as well as other teachers will go and teach there inviting many different kinds of practitioners to come and use this place. If you can help make it happen, I would be very pleased. So please keep this in mind."

-- Thrangu Rinpoche Maine 2001
 

Following are clips from past bulletins. There is also exciting news about the on going process of the retreat center and the retreat program with Thrangu Rinpoche in the summer on 2002.

NEWSLETTER 10-8-01

Here is a special announcement: Thrangu Rinpoche has been donated land in Crestone, CO where Rinpoche is going to build a retreat center, his first in the US.

After the teaching in the Idllywild program in July of this year, Thrangu Rinpoche went to Crestone. Crestone is a small town in Southern Colorado where a number of contemplative communities reside. There Rinpoche visited the stupa of His Holiness Karmapa. He performed a lasang for the stupa against the backdrop of the extraordinary Sangra De Christo Mountains. The Stupa was built by local students under the guidance of Khenpo Kartar and Bardo Tulku at the request of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. Thrangu Rinpoche gave a teaching that night at the Tibetan Project House and the next morning he visited a 21-acre piece of land below the stupa, which was offered to him for the building of a retreat center. Rinpoche liked the land and while he was still at the beginning edge of the land he said that an auspicious site for the retreat center lay further up. He pointed to a place on the map and two of his monks with other students walked further up the mountain with video camera in hand and they found the actual meadow that Rinpoche had pointed to on the map.

Thrangu Rinpoche requested two of his students, Clark and Pat Johnson, to oversee the project, to secure the land and to begin the fund raising campaign that will allow the fruition of a retreat center to be built in Crestone, CO. They were able to obtain preliminary approval for the land and met with Rinpoche in Maine at the Vajra Vidya Retreat program and details of how to proceed were discussed.

Thrangu Rinpoche gave the retreat center its name. It will be called the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center.

This project comes at a time when Rinpoche's teachings are flourishing worldwide. This blessing is increasing the aspiration to practice and realize the profound meaning of Thrangu Rinpoche's teaching.

Two sets of plans were acquired; one based on the Gampo Abbey retreat center and the other on the Karma Ling retreat center. These as well as a third option of a prefab construction will be analyzed for the cost of construction as well as the appropriateness to the topography of the land.

An account for the Retreat Center has been set up under Thrangu Rinpoche's non-profit organization the Namo Buddha Seminar established in 1989. The fund is called the "Vajra Vidya Retreat Center." The fund-raising campaign has begun and the first contribution was from Rinpoche himself, since he has always wanted to have a place to
recommend to his students.

Anyone interested in any phase of this project is encouraged to contact Clark Johnson. There will be many needs from the actual donations to every phase of construction. One important area will be fund-raising, grant writing, and personal contacts. Any and all help will bring this Retreat Center into being so that it will become
another one of Thrangu Rinpoche's beacons of the Buddha Dharma.

NEWSLETTER 10-25-01

We have established a committee of 12 people in the Denver/Boulder area who have committed to working on this auspicious project. On board are attorneys, an environmental attorney, fund-raisers, business people, and others who are working on designs and environmental concerns. We also have "satellite members" who live in Kansas, California, Maine, and other places who also want to help. Trying to emulate Rinpoche, we hope to build this with the intention of the greater Mahayana. By utilizing the Internet we hope to bring as many people as want to take part in this vision. For example, we have an architect who is in California who will guide us on the design plans.

We had the land surveyed and found that the land granted is 35 acres (not the 21 acres originally thought). Thrangu Rinpoche without even looking at the land pointed to the map and told us where a good site would be. We found that meadow and indeed it is beautiful almost flat with beautiful vistas and is positioned well for privacy.

The land borders an excellent road, with water, sewer, electricity, and phone connections available. We have submitted a request to the county board for an easement that would make the road to the center shorter, easier, and less costly.

When Thrangu Rinpoche was asked what design he wanted, he was quite flexible and suggested that we look at the retreat plans of Gampo Abbey in Canada and Karma Ling in Woodstock. We have since received the architectural plans to these two retreat centers and are still doing a lot of research into this area.

Thrangu Rinpoche has told us that he will be sending two nuns and one Khenpo to the retreat center to do teaching on the practices and they will serve as the support staff for the retreatants. Clark Johnson and possibly a few others on the committee will go to the Saraha program in India in February of 2002. At that time more definite information will be gathered from Thrangu Rinpoche concerning what design he thinks is most appropriate and what kinds of retreats will be done in the center. We will continue to update you on all new information.

NEWSLETTER 12-1-01

Thrangu Rinpoche is excited about having a place for students to do retreats. To highlight this project he has committed himself to coming to Crestone, Colorado from July 19th to July 28th, 2002 to give a teaching retreat. Another committee has already been established for the retreat program and we have already been able to secure facilities for a program that will allow between 100 to 150 participants. During this program with Thrangu Rinpoche we will be visiting the retreat land and Thrangu Rinpoche will be talking about and will be giving instructions on the actual building of the retreat center. We are encouraging all persons interested in Crestone to come to this program
if they possibly can.

If you are interested in registering for this eight-day program, email
Clark Johnson at cjohnson@ix.netcom.com.
We will also soon be announcing the topic on which Rinpoche will be teaching.

SENDING DONATIONS

We are already receiving donations even before we launch the fund raising campaign and this is very encouraging.

Donations made before the end of this year will be tax deductible and there is a non-profit fund already set up for the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center. All moneys in this fund will go directly towards building the retreat center. All persons on the committee and auxiliary committee have volunteered their time and so the project will have no overhead costs. Accounting procedures will be used so persons donating money can see what their money has built.

Checks should be made out to the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center and please enclose your address so a tax letter receipt will be sent to you.

Clark and Pat Johnson will be moving to Crestone Colorado in late March where Namo Buddha Publications will also relocate. In one of our meetings with a foundation member we were told that a Tibetan Crematorium as well as a Nunnery would be built in Crestone in the near future by another lama. As we stood looking out at the vast
expanse from Thrangu Rinpoche's land it was clear that his vision as well as the 16th Galwa Karmapa foresaw this location as a place of great future importance. We look forward to sharing with everyone the creation of a fruition based practice environment.

With Many Blessing in the Dharma and the Practice Lineage.

Vajra Vidya Retreat Center
Clark Johnson
Namo Buddha Publications
1390 Kalmia Avenue
Boulder, CO 80304-1813
Phone (303) 449-6608
Fax (303) 440-0882
Email: cjohnson@ix.netcom.com

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