THRANGU RINPOCHE VISITS NORTH AMERICA
Rinpoche has completed his trip to North America and is now back in Varnisai India. If centers have stories of Rinpoche's visit to their center and would like to share them; we would like to hear.
In Seattle, Rinpoche held an extensive 10-day retreat on the Medicine Buddha. The practice material is available from Namo Buddha Publications. A number of students had to be turned away because of a lack of space. Lama Tashi prepared the tapes of this retreat and they are available for $ 50.00. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Attendance was high at this program and the limited space made it necessary to close enrollment early.
THRANGU RINPOCHE IN NEW MEXICO
Rinpoche's teachings in New Mexico took a full week of traveling from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to Ouesta, which is about 30 miles from the Colorado line.
A varied group of practitioners live in the state and although they have different root teachers they seem to be dedicated to the essence of the Dharma. They come together to sponsor visiting teachers. It was heartening to be welcomed in such a friendly manner and to witness cooperation without territoriality. There were students of Thrangu Rinpoche's who came from California, Arizona and Colorado and so the sense of family seemed spacious as well as joyfully unlimited.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico Rinpoche gave the Milarepa empowerment and then he traveled back to the Santa Fe where he taught the practice of Amitaba inside the inspiring stupa. This stupa holds about 40 people inside and another 20 to 30 people outside. (Photo on left is of Rinpoche giving this empowerment). Rinpoche then went to Taos where he consecrated two smaller stupas in the mountains outside of Taos. Coming back from a small stupa built on the foothill west of Taos (see photo on right) we stopped at a bridge, which spanned the Rio Grande River which lay 800 feet below. A photo of this stupa and a picture of Rinpoche on the bridge will appear on the paperback book of Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, which is Namo Buddha Publications' next published book.
After the consecration during the day, that night Rinpoche gave an amazing teaching on the entire path of Buddhism including a pithy explanation on emptiness. The teaching was given in a little over an hour and was held in a large community hall in Taos, New Mexico. The event was notable because of the large number of non-Buddhists and their positive reception to such a comprehensive and profound teaching. The next day we went to the little town of Questa to the third stupa built in what seemed like a continuum of blessings leading to the finished Karmapa Stupa built in Crestone Colorado which as the crow flies is probably only 50 miles from the Questa Stupa. The consecration was resonate with the sound of Dharma as the monks blew the horns that are the background of most Tibetan monasteries.
POINTING OUT THE DHARMAKAYA IN BOULDER
Rinpoche then traveled to Boulder and taught on Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, a text by the ninth Karmapa, on Mahamudra meditation. Previously, this text had been considered to be "restricted" or "secret." But when Thrangu Rinpoche was asked about why this teaching was now being openly taught he replied, "In the past this text has been held closely and taught to a very small group of people as a precaution. It was felt that there would be some danger, that those who had yet to give rise to any kind of experience or realization, -if they had this sort of vocabulary and body of techniques as a resource could easily fool other people. There is a phrase we have and it is called "carrying the view in your mouth." With that kind of pretense, you could easily deceive other people and harm them because it would make it difficult for them to take up the practice well and derive some development from it. It seems to me that in the present situation that there is not much need to worry about this. Anyone can sit and practice the text of shamatha and vipashyana meditation and if they are able to do so, then that will help to make their lives more meaningful and, in any case, there is nothing to cause any real harm. As I mentioned when I began teaching this text here, there is no real danger in taking up these practices. And there is considerable benefit in doing so. For that reason, at this point I don't see any reason for not teaching it quite widely and in the future I intend to continue proceeding in this way. I think it could be helpful to people."
Because of Rinpoche's exhaustive schedule, his students in Boulder took him up into the mountains for a picnic at Lilly Lake. Rinpoche did a lhasang, had lunch, took a little nap, and then walked around the lake. We then took him up to Trail Ridge, at his request. This is at 12,000 feet and above timberline. Rinpoche requested to see Trail Ridge because he had been there before and had enjoyed being there, perhaps because of its similarity to Tibet. It was certainly a perfect place to do his long life prayer. (See photo).
RINPOCHE AT SARNATH
On October 30, 1999 Thrangu Rinpoche will dedicate the opening of his monastic college in Varanasi India. Pat Johnson will be taking a set of over 70 audiotapes. These teachings of Rinpoche's took place across the world and have been collected by Namo Buddha Publications for over twelve years.
Rinpoche hopes to have monks transcribe the Tibetan portion of these tapes. A complete set will reside in three locations Nepal, India and The US.
Varanasi is where the Buddha gave his first teaching in the Deer Park. Rinpoche is planning on having the Dalai Lama consecrate the monastic college later in November and has a unique plan to making this college open to all sects of Tibetan Buddhism. In fact, Rinpoche will offer a ritual debate between 25 scholars from each of the four sects (Kagyu, Sakya, Nyingma, and Gelugpa) following the consecration. The College is named VajraVidya and we hope to hear about the opening when the students who are going return.
To view Thrangu Rinpoche's Teaching Schedule for 2000 (click here)
POINTING OUT THE DHARMAKAYA
This is a scan of the cover of Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, which is the newest book from Namo Buddha Publications. The teachings were given at Lake Loon in May of 1996 with Yeshe Gampso translating. The book is 95 pages long and costs $ 10.00. You can order this by e-mailing me.
Finally, we have revised the Spiritual Biography of Rechungpa and need to find a line drawing of Rechungpa for the cover. If you have one, please contact me. Also if you want to add a brief article on Rinpoche's visit to your center, send it to me and I'll put it in the next newsletter.
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