#15 – August 2016 Newsletter
Quick links in this edition:
Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche News
In April Rabjam Rinpoche completed the retreat that he began in 2013 in Bhutan. Various drubchens and ceremonies followed its conclusion. Rinpoche is in excellent health and is very happy that he was able to take this time for extended retreat practice. Every year he plans to do a 3-6 month retreat.
In May, Rinpoche traveled to London to deliver the keynote speech for A Celebration of Vajrayana Buddhism Coming to the West. This event marked 50 years since Chime Rinpoche first came to England. Chime Rinpoche was one of the first incarnate lamas (tulkus) to come to the West, initially sharing a small apartment with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Akong Rinpoche in Oxford in 1965. He later became a British citizen and has lived in Britain ever since.
He worked tirelessly over these past five decades spreading the Dharma to Western students. For 16 years, he was also the curator of the Tibetan Language Collection at the British Library in London. He was a key student of the previous Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who was his uncle. In London, Rabjam Rinpoche was able to spend precious time with his beloved relative and meet many of his British students.
Shechen Khenpo Tsewang, Buddhist Chaplin to the Nepalese Ghurka Army, arranged for Rabjam Rinpoche to visit the large Nepalese lay community who live and work in the UK. Rinpoche gave a longevity empowerment of White Tara at their beautiful new temple with over 2,000 people attending and seeking Rinpoche’s blessing. While he was there, Rinpoche visited many homes and families. It was a joyous and fulfilling time.
After his trip to the UK, Rinpoche visited Nepal to survey the damage from the earthquake and consult on the restoration efforts. The monastic and lay communities were delighted to see him, and he offered valuable practical and spiritual advice to his monks. He toured the Shechen School classrooms, inaugurated its computer lab, and meet with all the young monks. Rinpoche also bestowed an empowerment and gave practice instructions to the retreatants at Shechen’s Pema Oseling Retreat Centre in Namo Buddha.
Rinpoche spent the summer in Bhutan with Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche. He has agreed to teach at the Shechen Seminars in Bodhgaya and Croatia in 2016 and 2017 as well as attend the drupchens in Nepal next spring. It is wonderful to see our teacher again and be in his powerful presence. We pray for his long life and continued Dharma activity.
Summer Rains Retreat (Yarne)
The annual Summer Rains Retreat is from August 18th to October 1st this year. The practice stems from the Indian custom established by the Buddha in the Vinaya Sutra. At that time the retreat was three months long and done during the summer monsoon.
This retreat is observed at Shechen Nepal and, since 2014, by the Shechen nuns in Bhutan. Due to the ongoing renovations to the main temple in Nepal, the ceremonies are being conducted in the dining hall.
Contributions can be made here for food and offerings for Yarne. If donating by PayPal, please note under “purpose” or “notes” that your donation is for Yarne. If you’d like to allocate your donation to any particular offerings, please make note of that as well.
First Teacher Training Program
The first Teacher Training Program hosted by Shechen Monastery in Nepal was held from July 11-16, in the Shedra hall. Six instructors came from the Sherig Lekhung (education department) of the Tibetan Government in India. There were thirty participants consisting of graduate khenpos and lopons. This is the first time modern educational training methods have been taught within the monastic education system.
This time the training mainly emphasized primary school education, explaining methods for teaching children aged from 5–18. Subjects included the psychology of children, methods of teaching, how to teach from a text, lesson planning, grammar, disciplinary methods and drills for the improvement of communication skills.
The monastery has future plans to also host programs for teaching higher education. The program is divided into different academic levels, so the next programs will be planned accordingly. The training was very enthusiastically received. One of the participants, Tulku Rigzin Chogdrup, shared his experience, saying:
“I really appreciated the Teacher training program. We are not only teachers for adults; a teacher’s responsibility is to teach people of any age. So, now I hope I can gradually start teaching other levels after that experience. We learned about psychology of a child from the ages of 5-11 and I also understood that we can’t just offer the subject matter on a plate to the student; we must learn to know how to offer and teach any given material. And I also learned the tactics of how a student learns and how the teacher should express and explain the subject according to the students’ potentials and capabilities. I hope there will be further training for other age levels. If possible, not only host teacher training but also host student training programs, which will have a great impact on the society of the monastery.”
Shechen Secondary School Expands
Progress is being made every day in upgrading the Shechen Upper Secondary School. Recently, with the support of one of our sponsors we were able to equip a few classrooms with computers. Computer classes have already begun.
With the integration of secular studies and earning a degree with monastic studies, we will build a strong community of monks who, in the future, will be able to teach in other languages and run the monastery efficiently.
Space at the monastery is at a premium and the school is overcrowded. However, with some ingenuity and a gift from a new donor, we were able to build two additional classrooms!
Additional funds are needed to furnish the new classrooms and to buy a new washing machine for the 150 little monks. The washing machine is a crucial tool for good health and sanitation.
Can you help by funding one or more of these items?
• Jumbo washing machine $450
• One desk $104 x 10
• One bench (wood) $62 x 10
• A table and chair for the teachers $68 x 3
• Two large white boards (used as blackboards) $47.
Total funds needed for the classrooms: $1,914.
Please help us so classes can begin! Sponsor a chair, or a desk, or the whiteboards! Donate Now. Thank you.
Two Books by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Shambhala Publications has published two formerly restricted books by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. These new editions provide a wonderful opportunity to read these teachings that were edited and transcribed from his 1987 teachings in the USA.
Primordial Purity The path of trekcho is the way of directly and thoroughly cutting through the misconceptions of samsara to lay bare the primordial purity of the nature of mind. This powerful practice is illuminated by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in his commentary on an essential text based on the atiyoga dzogchen instructions of the outstanding nineteenth-century master Patrul Rinpoche.
Pure Appearance focuses on the generation and completion stages of tantra that work with the pure form aspect of enlightenment. In this short but densely packed teaching, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche explains the structure of the tantric path and how its stages are put into practice, in terms that apply generally across the spectrum of deity practices.
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Monastery Restoration Update Coming Soon…
For continuing news please regularly visit our website where you can sponsor a monk or nun, donate to one of our projects, request prayers and find new information and photos. Current photos and news can also be found on our Facebook page.