#4 – August 2013 Newsletter
In this edition:
- Teachers’ News
- Yangtang Rinpoche to give empowerments at Shechen Monastery
- News from the nuns in Bhutan
- Shechen monks graduate from Emory Science Program in Dharamsala
- Yarne Summer Rains Retreat
- With Your Help-Special Projects Update
- New book by Matthieu Ricard
After teaching at the Shechen Center in Croatia in May, Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche traveled to South India to join the cremation ceremonies for HH Penor Rinpoche. He then returned to Bhutan to continue his studies with his tutor, Khenpo Yeshe Gyaltsen, and also spend some time in retreat. He will return to Nepal in October to attend the empowerments given by Yangtang Rinpoche.
Rabjam Rinpoche, the abbot of Shechen Monasteries has entered an extended retreat. He had aspired to do retreat for the last few years, and it shows his confidence in the young Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche and the monks, nuns, and staff of Shechen that he has chosen to begin this year. All of us will work together to help continue his activities and the vision of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Yangtang Rinpoche to Give Empowerments at Shechen Monastery
Shechen Monastery is honored to announce that Ven. Yangtang Rinpoche will be bestowing the Namcho (gnams chos) series of empowerments at Shechen Monastery in Nepal. Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and Rigdzin Pema Rinpoche requested the empowerments for Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche when they met Yangtang Rinpoche in Bodhgaya in January.
Venerable Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche is an emanation of the great Vimalamitra and the immediate incarnation of the Terton Dorje Dechen Lingpa. He is a main lineage holder in the Nyingma Tradition and is widely recognized for the quality and depth of his realization, the power of his attainment, and the purity of his transmissions. Born in Sikkim, he returned to his monastery in Tibet when he was recognized as the reincarnation of a terton from Dhomang.
In 1959 he was captured and imprisoned for 22 years by the Chinese Communists. Since his release in the 1980’s he has rebuilt Dhomang Monastery in Tibet. Although Rinpoche is now over 80 years old, he is tireless in his efforts to benefit living beings and propagate the Dharma and he travels the world giving teachings and empowerments to thousands of disciples. He is one of the greatest masters of this century.
The Namcho (gNams Chos) cycle is a mind treasure revealed by the Terton Migyur Dorje (1645-1667) who was a disciple of the great Karma Kagyu lama Karma Chakme. It is the most important cycle of treasure teachings that he revealed in his life. For more information on the biography of Namcho Mingyur Dorje and the Namcho cycle: http://www.treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Namcho-Mingyur-Dorje/9190
The empowerments will begin on the 18th or 24th October and are expected to last about 3 weeks. Please check this website again for any date changes. Please Note: Registration is needed for special seating. Please write to email@example.com to register.
News from the Nuns in Bhutan
Many of the nuns were in India receiving the Mipham empowerments in the spring and are now back studying in their shedra (college).
The second group of three-year retreatants, consisting of six nuns, have completed their retreat in Shechen Orgyen Chozong Nunnery in Bhutan. Some repairs and expansion will be needed to prepare the retreat center for the next batch of long-term meditators.
We are looking for a qualified ESL teacher for the nunnery for this year. If you are interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Khenpo Shelnang and Lopon Palden Wangchuk from Shechen Monastery were two of forty-six Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns to be part of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI), which is bringing comprehensive science education to Tibetan monastics. Khenpo Shelnang and Lopon Palden Wangchuk joined the other students in Dharamsala this year for the last year of the five-year Summer Course in Science Studies culminating in their graduation in June 2013. In this program the monks learn the basics of mathematics, biology, neuroscience and physics. The graduates are taking their new-found scientific knowledge back to their monasteries to help teach science to other monks and nuns.
Yarne Summer Rains Retreat
The monks and nuns of Shechen Monasteries and Nunnery all participate in the annual monastic “summer rains retreat” (Tib. yarne) which are being held this year from 22nd July to 5th September.
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 held during the summer monsoon. The summer retreat in India was a practical response to the monsoon weather. It was also considered not appropriate to travel with the increased likelihood of walking on insects during the rains.
At Shechen Monastery the Tibetan version of one and a half months is practiced. The first day begins with the “Yarne-len” which is the oath-taking ceremony for this retreat (Varsika). During this time none of the monks leave the monastery grounds and they observe other special vows and restrictions. The regular twice-daily group prayers continue as usual, as well as engaging in specific prayers and meditations for this time.
During yarne, the monks eat their morning and evening meals from the traditionally shaped begging bowl in the main temple. Many monks take vows not to eat at night in accordance with this Shravakayana tradition. The usual Vajrayana practices such as group tsok and other practices that are normally conducted on the 10th, 25th and 29th of the lunar calendar are not practiced during this time.
With Your Help: Special Projects Update
In the nunnery and monasteries, a number of special projects are underway this year, due to the generosity of our donors – large and small -who have made donations through the Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship. Most notably, the small Eight Stupas in Nepal that were built by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche have been repaired and repainted, as they had developed large cracks. The Tara Temple statues are being re-gilded and the temple renovated, and the road from the Tsering Art School building to the front of the monastery has been paved. This is a great help especially during the monsoon season, when previously it would get washed out and very muddy.
Again, through the generous help of donors, three libraries are being created: in the shedra (college) in Nepal for the use of its students; in the nunnery in Bhutan where the nuns can study English, Tibetan, and philosophy; and in the elementary school which is stocked with picture books on science, history, animals as well as books for learning English and other subjects. The number of young monks in Shechen Elementary School (lobdra) has increased to over 100. Additional toilets and showers are being built to accommodate them. This year they have a new English teacher, Tashi Sonam, an experienced Tibetan layman, and the children are delighted to have these structured classes.
We are so grateful to our many donors who make these special projects possible. Through your donations offered on the web and of course your annual sponsorship we are able to keep the quality of education and health high at Shechen. We hope you will continue to support our activities through a monthly or one time gift and our sponsorship program. Thank you for caring.
New book by Matthieu Ricard: “On the Path to Elightenment”
Matthieu Ricard has over the years collected his own most favorite excerpts to illustrate and motivate us in his new book, On the Path to Enlightenment: Heart Advice from the Great Teachers.
Inspired by his teacher, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, over the years Ricard selected and translated some of the most essential instructions from the eight traditions of Tibetan Buddhism for this anthology. The selected teachings address such topics as the nature of the mind; the foundations of refuge and the generation of compassion; view, meditation, and action; and how to work with obstacles and progress on the path.
Shechen Monastery offers an online prayer request service, please go to this link for more information or to request prayers
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