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News and Inspiration from Ligmincha Institute
Volume 5, Number 4
April 7, 2005
For easy reading, we recommend that you print out "The Voice of Clear
"Recognize the Nature of Grasping Mind" - an edited excerpt from oral
teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, 2003.
"More on Loosening the Grip of Grasping Mind" - excerpts from the
writings of three Buddhist masters.
Ligmincha Institute's upcoming 2005 retreats and a series of free
public talks.
"Practicing Trul Khor" - edited excerpts from oral teachings given by
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche during Ligmincha's Eighth Annual Summer
Retreat, 2000.
New items at Ligmincha's Bookstore: Tapes, Prayers, Books on
Dzogchen, Children's Books and Ritual Items.
"RECOGNIZE THE NATURE OF GRASPING MIND" - an edited excerpt from
oral teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, 2003
Somehow, it seems, we've developed a dilemma. We feel empty,
incomplete, or that we cannot find enjoyment, that we cannot fully be
ourselves. Feeling that way, the urge arises to grasp at what is
outside of us. We feel that it's only through having certain things,
or through having certain relationships, that our life will be
complete, that we will have everything we need, that we will be real.
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We have that attitude throughout our upbringing. You look forward to
going to high school, and once you're in high school, then you are
looking forward to going to college. And, it has to be this certain
college or that college. And then when you go to college, your focus
is all about getting into a university afterward for higher
education. Then, once you get to the university, your focus is all
about getting a job. And then, when you have a job, it's all about
getting a better job and buying a house. And, when you buy a house,
you dream about having a better house. In a general sense, we all
engage ourselves in this way.
If, when you were about to have your 80th birthday, someone were to
offer you an extension on your life, and they asked, "How long an
extension would you like?," imagine what your answer would
be. "Long! Very long! I need 80 more years, please." "Okay, we can
give you 80 years, but we want to know exactly what you're going to
do in those 80 years. Do you want to repeat the same exact things
that you have done in these last 80 years? Or, would you want to try
something new?" The answers will be varied.
That same pattern of grasping goes on not only throughout life, but
also through our dreams and after death. In the bardo, when a light
appears, you think, "What is this light?" And then you respond, "Oh,
it's beautiful." That means, "I need it." Or, you go in the
opposite direction: "Oh, I don't like it," or "I don't want it,"
or "I'm afraid of it." It's as if there's no way of simply letting
it be and feeling complete in the experience as it is. Basically,
whatever arises in the bardo is only your self-manifestation. Just
be. Don't be afraid. Don't grasp. There is nothing substantial
there. Just be yourself. That's the realization, the achievement
that you can have.
Somehow, this notion of living fully in the moment, regardless of
whatever arises - we just don't experience it! In a way, it seems
that we want to suffer, therefore we are always looking for the next
cause for our suffering. And we will always find one, that's a
guarantee - a samsaric guarantee.
writings of three Buddhist teachers.
From "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying," by Sogyal Rinpoche:
The intention behind grasping may not in itself be bad; there's
nothing wrong with the desire to be happy, but what we grasp on to is
by nature ungraspable. The Tibetans say you cannot wash the same
dirty hand twice in the same running river, and, "No matter how much
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you squeeze a handful of sand, you will never get oil out of it."
Taking impermanence truly to heart is to be slowly freed from the
idea of grasping, from our flawed and destructive view of permanence,
from the false passion for security on which we have built
everything. Slowly it dawns on us that all the heartache we have
been through from grasping at the ungraspable was, in the deepest
sense, unnecessary. At the beginning this too may be painful to
accept, because it seems so unfamiliar. But as we reflect, and go on
reflecting, our hearts and minds go through a gradual
transformation. Letting go begins to feel more natural, and becomes
easier and easier. It may take a long time for the extent of our
foolishness to sink in, but the more we reflect, the more we develop
the view of letting go; it is then that a shift takes place in our
way of looking at everything.
From "Living With the Devil," by Stephen Batchelor:
Progress along the Buddhist path to awakening is said to
be "obstructed" by the devil of compulsions. A compulsion is any
mental or emotional state that, on breaking into consciousness,
disturbs and captivates us. Whether inflamed by anger or inflated by
pride, we feel ill at ease and hemmed in. A compulsion encloses us
within its boundaries. When overwhelmed by depression, not only are
we inwardly sunk in despair but whatever we see, hear, and touch is
Shantideva compares compulsions to "bands of thieves" who lie in wait
for an opportunity to invade us and "steal the treasures" of our
minds. As soon as there is a lapse in self-awareness, a compulsive
thought or image is liable to erupt, triggering a torrent of longing
or despair that leaves us rattled and bewilderedΣ.
Compulsions obstruct the path by monopolizing consciousness. The
hypnotic fascination they exert prevents us from attending to
anything else. We behave like a rabbit dazzled by the headlights of
a car. Not only do compulsions make us lose sight of our goal, they
inwardly paralyze us. To escape their grip does not entail
suppressing them but creating a space in which we are freed to let
them go and they are freed to disappear. "As soon as I know the mind
is distorted," says Shantideva, "I should remain as steady as a
log." Without condoning or condemning what is breaking into
consciousness, calmly note that an emotionally charged complex of
phrases and images has erupted. You do not have to think of it
as "me" or "mine." Having arisen of its own accord, it will pass
away of its own accord. Given the space to do so, a compulsion frees
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From "The Wisdom of No Escape," by Pema Chodron:
Holding on to beliefs limits our experience of life. That doesn't
mean that beliefs or ideas or thinking is a problem; the stubborn
attitude of having to have things be a particular way, grasping on to
our beliefs and thoughts, all these cause the problems. To put it
simply, using your belief system this way creates a situation in
which you choose to be blind instead of being able to see, to be deaf
instead of being able to hear, to be dead rather than alive, asleep
rather than awakeΣ.
For us, as people sitting here meditating, as people wanting to live
a good, full, unrestricted, adventurous, real kind of life, there is
concrete instruction that we can follow, which is the one that we
have been following all along in meditation: See what is.
Acknowledge it without judging it as right or wrong. Let it go and
come back to the present moment. Whatever comes up, see what is
without calling it right or wrong. Acknowledge it. See it clearly
without judgment and let it go. Come back to the present moment.
From now until the moment of your death, you could do this. As a way
of becoming more compassionate toward yourself and toward others, as
a way of becoming less dogmatic, prejudiced, determined to have your
own way, absolutely sure that you're right and the other person is
wrong, as a way to develop a sense of humor about the whole thing, to
lighten it up, open it up, you could do this. You could also begin
to notice whenever you find yourself blaming others or justifying
yourself. If you spent the rest of your life just noticing that and
letting it be a way to uncover the silliness of the human condition -
the tragic yet comic drama that we all continually buy into - you
could develop a lot of wisdom and lot of kindness as well as a great
sense of humor.
Batchelor, Stephen. "Living With the Devil." New York: Riverhead
Books, 2004.
Chodron, Pema. "The Wisdom of No Escape." Boston: Shambhala
Publications, Inc., 1991.
Sogyal Rinpoche. "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying." Edited by
Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey. San Francisco:
HarperSanFrancisco, 1992. Available from Ligmincha's Bookstore.
Visit, or call toll-free (866) 522-5269. (In
the Charlottesville area, call (434) 220-0060.)
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Dear Sangha,
There is a lot happening at Ligmincha Institute in the next few
months. Please visit the links below to find out more about the
retreats at our Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Nelson County, Va.,
as well as the free public talks by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, miniretreats,
and ongoing practices at Ligmincha Institute in
Charlottesville, Va. For additional information about any of these
retreats or to register, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 434-977-
APRIL-JULY RETREATS at our Serenity Ridge retreat center
ANNUAL SPRING RETREAT with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, APRIL 20-24
DZOGCHEN RETREAT with Ponlop Thinley Nyima Rinpoche, MAY 11-15
TRUL KHOR (TIBETAN YOGA) RETREATS with Alejandro Chaoul-Reich, MAY 18-
SUMMER RETREAT with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, JULY 3-23
MARCH - AUGUST 2005 HIGHLIGHTS at Ligmincha Institute in
To see the full schedule, visit:
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will be offering an unprecedented
series of six free public talks at Ligmincha in 2005, on selected
Wednesday evenings beginning April 6.
There is something new in the format that will be welcomed by
newcomers and experienced students alike. This year, each of the six
talks will be immediately followed by a series of Thursday evening
practice sessions led by experienced practitioners, so that people
attending the talk will have an immediate opportunity to put
Rinpoche's teachings into practice. Each series of practices in
turn will conclude with a weekend mini-retreat at Ligmincha, as an
opportunity for more intensive practice; with the next scheduled free
public talk by Rinpoche following immediately thereafter.
The first talk, on April 6 from 7-8:30 p.m., will be: "Entering the
Mandala: Connecting with space, light, and the four immeasurables"
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(an introduction to the mandala of the Bon Mother Tantra and to the
Three Syllables Practice).
Follow-up practice sessions will take place each Thursday from April
7 through May 5, 7-8 p.m., and will conclude with a mini-retreat on
Saturday, May 7.
Future public talks by Rinpoche are:
May 11: Purifying the Obstacles to Enlightenment
June 22: Harnessing the Prana
Sept. 7: Opening the Chakras
Oct. 5: Tapping In to Joy
Nov. 9: Discovering the Light Within
This series is now taking place on Wednesday evenings at Ligmincha
from 7-8:15 p.m. (date of final session to be determined)
Tuesday evenings, 7-8 p.m. (ongoing): Meditation practices of Tsa
Lung and Calm Abiding (Zhine)
Wednesday evenings, 7-8 p.m. (ongoing): Practice of the Short Sadhana
of the Ma Gyud (Mother Tantra)
"PRACTICING TRUL KHOR (TIBETAN YOGA)" - edited excerpts from oral
teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche during Ligmincha's
Eighth Annual Summer Retreat, July 2000.
"Trul khor" refers to physical yoga. Alejandro Chaoul-Reich is going
to lead an intensive trul khor training, and I strongly recommend it
to those of you who are interested in physical movement or who do
yoga. As we are learning, these practices are directly related to
the teachings and transmissions we have received. There is a direct
connection, which makes it so powerful.
Each of the different groups of trul khor exercises is based on the
five natural elements of earth, water, fire, air and space. Similar
to other forms of physical yoga, Trul Khor is also very much about
body posture, physical movement, opening the flow of vital energy,
and clearing disturbing emotions. The exercises are very well
thought out and a wonderful support for meditation practice.
Everything we do that keeps our body in one type of position for a
long period of time - whether while sitting, walking or working - has
an energetic effect on us. Sometimes we don't pay much attention
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to our posture. When we take a weekend off and go to a yoga center,
we pay attention, but the rest of the time we don't. In any given
moment, just look around you and see how people are sitting. Just do
a very general analysis. What does each posture represent? Is it a
happy posture, a doubtful posture, a posture of reinforcement?
Immediately you can see that some postures are hopeful; some are
doubtful; some are just holding on. In a way, it is very hard to
keep your body in a posture that is not related with some emotion or
energetic pattern in yourself. Maybe the emotion or type of energy
is not clearly identifiable, but there is something there.
Zen and Tibetan monasteries often require assuming certain types of
postures that are supportive of meditation practice. For example,
there is a posture in which contemplation is supported, alertness is
supported, and agitation is avoided. It may be hard to feel the
difference when you are doing it, but sitting cross-legged generates
and retains heat for the practice. Sitting on a chair might for sure
be better for the knees - many lamas suffer as a result of sitting
cross-legged for long periods of time. But generally speaking, the
cross-legged position is very supportive for the practice. Tilting
the neck slightly down helps to prevent thoughts. It is very
interesting, right? Sometimes you may feel tilting your neck makes a
difference, sometimes you feel that no matter what you do, your
thoughts still come! The position of your body is important; it
affects not only your practice, but also your health and
psychological well-being.
REMINDER: There will be two Trul Khor (Tibetan Yoga) retreats offered
this May 18-22, 2005, with Alejandro Chaoul-Reich. "Tsa Lung Trul
Khor: Introduction to Harmony of Body, Breath and Mind" is an
introductory retreat open to all. "Tsa Lung Trul Khor I: Beginning
the Training" is open only to those who have attended either the "Tsa
Lung Trul Khor: Introduction to Harmony of Body, Breath and Mind"
course in November 2004, or any previous Trul Khor Part 1.
You can find additional details about this retreat at
To see photographs of the new items at Ligmincha Institute's
Bookstore, and for order information please go to, click on "search by category," then click
on "New Items."
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Audiocassette Tape:
Dreaming and Dying: The Parallel Process, a talk by Tenzin Wangyal
Rinpoche ($10)
The Prayer of the Intermediate State: The Precious Garland ($10)
Prayer for Spreading the Bon Teachings - Ten Gye Mon Lam ($5)
Books on Dzogchen:
Carefree Dignity, by Tsoknyi Rinpoche ($18)
Dzogchen Essentials, compiled and edited by Marcia Vinder Schmidt
Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, by His Holiness the
Dalai Lama ($18.95)
Fearless Simplicity, by Tsoknyi Rinpoche ($22)
Traveling Between the Worlds, by Hillary Webb ($15.95)
Children's Books:
A Snowlion's Lesson, by Norbu Kharitsang ($6.50)
Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas, by Naomi Rose ($16.95)
Where Is Tibet, by Gina Halpern ($12.95)
Ritual Items:
Abalone Shell With Wood Stand ($12)
Butterlamp (small $16, large $28)
Bon Healing Incense ($3)
Mala Counters, Bone ($8)
Mandala Set, Gilt or Silverplate ($58)
Mandala Set, Copper ($74)
Prayer Wheel, Table-Top (small $20, large $35)
"A" Pendant on Silver Chain ($24)
"A" Pendant, Large ($40)
Mandala of Yeshe Walmo ($20)
"Rigpa," calligraphy by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche ($3)
"Tigle Nyag Chig," calligraphy by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche ($3)
To order any of these items, contact: Sue Davis at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or by phone 434-220-0060, toll-free 866-
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The Voice of Clear Light is a free, e-mail publication of Ligmincha Institute. Your suggestions and
contributions to the Voice of Clear Light are welcome. To contact us, simply reply to this message and
your email will reach the VOCL editor.
Anyone may subscribe to the VOCL by sending a blank e-mail to
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For more information about Ligmincha Institute, the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, or retreats at
Serenity Ridge or our regional centers, please contact us:
Ligmincha Institute
313 2nd St. SE Suite #207
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-977-6161 fax 434-977-7020
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For books, tapes and transcripts of teachings by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche as well as other books and items
supportive to Bon and Buddhist practice, please visit the Ligmincha's Online Store at or contact the Ligmincha Store at 434-220-0060
or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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