#8 – August 2014 Newsletter

In this edition:

Report on Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s Summer Teaching Tour
Shedra News: Khenchen Pema Sherab gives Oral Transmission
English and Chinese Language Classes at Shechen, Nepal
New Torma Book
Yarne “Summer Rains” Retreat 2014
Additional News

Report on Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s Summer Teaching Tour

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s Summer Teaching TourThis summer, Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche traveled abroad to teach in Europe, Mexico, and Canada. The tour began in late June in Croatia where Rinpoche visited the Shechen Centre and taught the annual Croatia Shechen Seminar. This gradual course of study, initiated by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, requires an ongoing practice commitment from the students. His visit also included public teachings. Yangsi Rinpoche then traveled to Brussels, Belgium, to give teachings and an empowerment at Orgyen Kunzang Choling. In France, Rinpoche taught at Nyima Dzong, Lerab Ling, and for the Association du Centre d’Études de Chanteloube in Dordogne.

At the invitation of the Buddhist Community Centre UK (BCCUK), Rinpoche traveled to England to inaugurate their new center in Aldershod. He also bestowed the Rangjung Pema Nyingthik empowerment to over 1500 people. Matthieu Ricard accompanied Rinpoche throughout most of the tour, and they both gave public talks at the new center and at Rigpa in London.

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s Summer Teaching TourFrom there, Rinpoche visited Mexico where he gave teachings and empowerments at a four-day Shechen retreat, our two Shechen centers, and at public venues. The students and the two Shechen teachers who lead our centers in Mexico warmly welcomed him and Matthieu. At the final stage of his teaching tour, Rinpoche bestowed teachings and empowerments at the beautiful Riwoche Temple in Toronto Canada, hosted by Lama Sonam Tobgyal Rinpoche.  He also visited the Riwoche retreat land and inaugurated the new Peyul Center in Toronto.

Almost all the teachings and empowerments bestowed by Rinpoche were from the terma tradition of the previous Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and, in many cases, given for the first time in some of these countries. The events were sold out and Rinpoche’s very direct and compassionate teachings deeply touched the hearts and minds of the students. Rinpoche also got the opportunity to meet privately with groups of students throughout the visits, including those of his predecessor. We would like to thank the hosts at each of the centers for their perfect hospitality and for helping to make Rinpoche’s teachings widely available.

Shedra News: Khenchen Pema Sherab gives Oral Transmission

Pema Sherab gives Oral TransmissionShechen’s Philosophical College (Shedra) was honored to host Khenchen Pema Sherab who bestowed the oral transmission (lung) for the collected writings of Rongzom Mahapandita (1012-1088) also known as Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo (Wyl. rong zom chos kyi bzang po; Skt. Dharmabhadra. Rongzompa was one of the earliest masters of the Nyingma School whose writings include “Entering the Ways of the Great Vehicle” and “Establishing Appearances as Divine”.

Both these seminal treatises of the Nyingma tradition are studied in great detail in the final years of the shedra. It was a great blessing and inspiration for the monks of Shechen to be able to receive these teachings especially from Khenpo Pema Sherab who was a very close disciple of the previous Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

English and Chinese Language Classes at Shechen Monastery, Nepal

English and Chinese Language Classes at Shechen NepalThis year, following the advice of Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, Shechen Monastery has added three new language teachers. As interest in the Buddha-dharma continues to spread in the West and in Chinese- language countries, the aim is to equip our khenpos and lopons to be able to teach in other languages.

The Chinese-language teacher, Po Fu, sponsored by the Taiwan based online Buddhist TV company, SGNLTV, will teach for three months. We hope that this will become an annual program. Shechen’s new English program is offering beginner, intermediate, and advanced English classes to the shedra graduates. It also will provide teacher training for our current English teachers.

We are grateful to Deborah Lockwood, a highly qualified and experienced ESL (English as a Second language) teacher from the USA, who has volunteered to teach the students for four months during her sabbatical. She will also train elementary school teacher, Sonam Tashi, and the Shedra English teacher, Tsering Ngudrup.

We asked Deborah about her approach to the ES, and what she hopes to achieve in the months ahead:

Leadership Management Workshop“My goal for the program is to fuse Eastern and Western methodologies and develop a comprehensive English program that allows students to progress easily from elementary to advanced levels of English using both ‘integrated’ and ‘separate’ skills approaches. I am training the teachers in western methodologies that integrate all 4 language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

“At Shechen, I am focusing more on interactive and communicative methods typically used in the West. I believe a fusion of eastern and western methodologies will lead to better English and social communication skills that will help the monks communicate better in English and function efficiently in practical matters.  I hope to create a middle ground between modern teaching methods and traditional rote memorization techniques for both formal written English and informal everyday colloquial English.  For the future, I envision having native teachers conduct the ESL classes year round and have Western teachers visit once a year to lead three-week intensives to ensure the continual fusion of western and eastern methodologies.”

Please contact us if you are qualified and interested in helping or supporting this effort: shechen @sprynet.com

New Torma Book

New Torma BookShechen Publications has produced a book on tormas (hand-molded forms used in ceremonies) written and compiled by Jigme Wangchuk, our previous chant master, and Lopon Ang Babu, a graduate of the Tsering Art School. The book describes and depicts the tormas from the Shechen tradition, which has evolved its own style of torma-making, based on the Mindroling Tradition. Shechen Monastery was honored that Khenchen Pema Sherab could preside over the book launch on 24th July in the main temple in Nepal.

Yarne “Summer Rains” Retreat 2014

Summer RainsThe monks and nuns of Shechen Monasteries and Nunnery all participate in the annual monastic “summer rains retreat” (Tib. yarne) which will be held this year from 10th August to 24th September (the 15th day of the 6th month to the 30th day of the 7th month in the Tibetan lunar calendar). This is the first year that the Yarne was performed by the Shechen nuns in Bhutan. 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.  Please click this link to read more on this practice.

Contributions can be made through the Shechen website for food and offerings for Yarne. Please click this link for particular offerings that are traditionally made during this time.

Additional News

  • *Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche is still in extended retreat in Bhutan.
  • *In the late spring, the Shechen Urgyen Chozong nuns in Bhutan performed the annual drupchen in Satsam Chorten presided over by Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche.
  • *The Shechen three-year retreats in Nepal and Bhutan are going well and the retreatants are receiving teachings as needed.
  • *We would like to welcome Juanita Evans to the board of Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship. Her experience and dedication will be a great help as we move forward.
  • *If you are a Facebook user, become a friend of the “Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship” and “Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche” pages and enjoy wonderful photographs, videos, and news and spread the word!
  • *Our sponsorship program ($250/annual or $20/month) supports the vision and activities of Rabjam Rinpoche and Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche. Please Donate.