#9 – November 2014 Newsletter

In this edition:

Teachers’ News: Update on KYR’s Summer Teaching Tour
Consecration of New Shechen Monastery in Phobjika, Bhutan
Calendar of Events for Winter/Spring
Shechen Eco Group Update
Shechen’s Emergency Response Preparations
Tsering Art School: Preserving the Sacred Arts

Teachers’ News: Update on KYR’s Summer Teaching Tour

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s Summer Teaching TourShechen Rabjam Rinpoche is well and continuing the long retreat he began in 2013 in Bhutan.

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s summer teachings in Europe, Mexico, and Canada were joyfully received by the hosts and students at the centers he visited this summer. Rinpoche expressed his appreciation towards his hosts and the way the Dharma is being authentically established in their centers.

Rinpoche returned to Bhutan in August and gave a talk at the Royal Thimpu College organized by the Shechen Society and gave an interview that was broadcast on Bhutan Television. He presided over the annual drupchen ceremony at Kichu monastery. After the ceremonies he consecrated a new monastery donated to Shechen by the Queen Mother of Bhutan. (see next article below)

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche visits Mugu, Nepal

In October, upon invitation by the local communities, Rinpoche went to Mugu, a remote region of North-Western Nepal bordering Tibet, to bestow the Chime Phagma’i Nyingthik empowerment and consecrate a new monastery.

In November, Rinpoche returned to Bhutan to attend a Vajrakilaya drupchen in Bumtang, before going to India to teach the annual Shechen seminar in Bodhgaya (restricted).  Rinpoche will also go to Sankasia for a few days at the end of January to attend ceremonies bestowed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and visit the Shechen stupa in this sacred place. He will then return to Nepal in early February to preside over the annual drupchens.

Consecration of New Shechen Monastery in Phobjika, Bhutan

Consecration of new Shechen Monastery in Phobjika, BhutanOut of her immense devotion, Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother of Bhutan, Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, has donated a small temple located in the beautiful valley of Phobjikha, in central Bhutan.

This extraordinarily blessed land is one of the eight sacred places of the great 14th century master Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam, and is known as the “eight ling abodes” (“ling” means sanctuary, land or temple). Many of the monks and teachers of Shechen Monastery in Nepal traveled to Bhutan to participate in the ceremonies. Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche performed the consecration and bestowed long life ceremonies for Her Majesty. The empowerments were attended by thousands of people. Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family were present as well as monks and lay people. We rejoice and thank Her Majesty for her constant support of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s enlightened activities.

Calendar of Events for Winter/Spring

Please click on this link to download a PDF of the annual drupchen ceremonies and other events in the coming winter/spring in Bodhgaya and Nepal.

Shechen Eco Group Update

Shechen Eco GroupHow to handle waste is a major problem throughout Nepal and many third world countries. Education and creative solutions have to fill the gap created by poor government infrastructure.

The Shechen Eco Group Nepal was founded in November 2011 with the blessings of the Shechen Rabjam and Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoches. Under the leadership of Lopon Tsering Rawal, is an active team of 50 monks. Their mission is to engage in environmentally-friendly activity within the monastery, through effective waste removal, power and natural resources management, general cleanliness and hygiene. They are responsible for raising awareness on environmental issues through education. The monastery is located in a high earthquake risk area. As a team they are managing the monastery’s garden, water, electricity, and waste management, including the disposal of tormas and sacred texts and reducing plastic waste during Tsok offering ceremonies. Their other main activity is earthquake and emergency training and preparation.

Lopon Tsering Rawal and Ngawang Sherab explained to Shechen E-News what the eco-group has been doing over the past year and their vision into the future:

“Our main success has been to implement effective management of the garbage area, waste disposal and separation of recyclable waste. We now have one monk in charge and a team of monks to separate the waste that has not been properly separated in the bins. The recycling merchants and the garbage trucks come to collect the recyclable waste and garbage. We have video presentations to raise the awareness of the monks and staff as to the importance of waste reduction and separation,

We have recently focused on improving the composting of food waste. We invited an expert to teach a team of monks and the gardeners about better management of compost and the science and theory behind it. This was enthusiastically received and we have seen an improvement since then. We have also established a vegetable garden. One of the most rewarding changes has been the bonds that we have formed with our new team of gardeners, who we work with together as part of our team. They are also enthusiastically embracing the vision we are trying to implement. I am grateful to all my fellow monks who have supported these projects.”

Shechen’s Emergency Response Preparations

Shechen’s Emergency Response PreparationsAnother aspect of Shechen’s Eco Group’s activity is to help the monastery be prepared as well as possible in the case of an emergency. The essence of the message is that everyone has to learn how to respond in the event of an emergency such as a major earthquake, and be ready for it. Shechen has nearly 400 monks, from young children to teenagers, adults and the elderly, and other staff, teachers and workers. Emergency planning is a concern for all of them.

In 2013 two groups of monks completed the Nepal Red Cross first aid training programs. Nearly 50 have passed the basic 2-week training and another 2-week advanced training on basic life support and trauma relief was passed by 15 monks. Those trained now have responsibility to share their knowledge with their fellow monks and lamas, and make sure there are plans in place to protect everyone as well as possible. About 40 monks also completed the AFAT, Advanced First Aider Training sponsored by Karuna-Shechen late last year. This training is continuing with small groups of monks year by year. In July this year, new fire extinguishers were installed throughout the monastery along with training in their use.

Shechen is currently preparing an overall comprehensive proposal of disaster management and training for the monastery in connection with Karuna-Shechen’s program.

Tsering Art School: Preserving the Sacred Arts

Tsering Art School: Preserving the Sacred ArtsThe Shechen Institute of Traditional Tibetan Art, “Tsering Art School”, was established by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche in 1996, and is housed on the grounds of Shechen Monastery in Nepal. The aim of the school is to contribute to the preservation and continuation of authentic Himalayan Buddhist Arts, in particular thangka painting.

The principal and painting master is Konchog Lhadrepa. At the age of 16, Konchog was sent by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche to study the Karma Gadri style of painting, which originated in Eastern Tibet. The students are trained in this style for six years under the guidance of some of the school’s senior graduate artists. Konchog-la now mostly works with a group of graduate artists in the Rabsel Thangka Studio, fulfilling commissions for the monastery and elsewhere.

Konchog composed a book for thangka painters called “The Path to Liberation” which was first published in 2005 with the second edition printed this year. This book provides the main theoretical curriculum for the school, providing the students and other Buddhist artists with a graded path grounded in relating their art-practice with their spiritual practice. An English version of this book is also to be published in the future.

A new three-year postgraduate course was introduced in 2013, enabling the graduate artists to deepen their studies in the Buddha-dharma and their art practice.

Tsering Art School: Preserving the Sacred ArtsThis year, at the request of Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, a beautifully painted new sign, incorporating the logo of the school, was painted on the side of the building by some of the most talented graduate artists. We congratulate these artists on creating a magnificent illusion of real thangka brocade!

The school also oversees the monastery’s incense manufacture that is for sale in the art shop. In addition the school also produces a beautiful art calendar, highlighting the work of the students and graduate artists.

To purchase incense, the 2015 art calendar or other products, or to enquire about sponsoring a student or studying at the school, please contact the art school: tsering.art@shechen.org.

Other Links

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.