News and Inspiration From Ligmincha Institute
Volume 5, Number 1
January 8, 2005
For easy reading, we recommend that you print out "The Voice of Clear
Revised focus for the Spring and Summer Retreats at Serenity Ridge
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
"Prana and Your Practice" - edited excerpts from the written and oral
teachings of Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
"Advice on Posture and Gaze During Meditation" - selected excerpts
from the writings of Bon and Buddhist Masters.
Update on the Chamma Ling Retreat Center - Transforming Dreams Into
Dear Sangha,
Please note that there has been a modification to the topics for the
2005 spring and summer retreats with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
During the spring retreat, Rinpoche will now give an in-depth
teaching and practice retreat exclusively on the Healing Practice of
Sidpa Gyalmo and the summer retreat will now focus on the Meditation
of the Six Lokas for all three weeks.
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Complete descriptions for both retreats follow.
ANNUAL SPRING RETREAT, April 20-24, 2005
The Healing Power of the Water Element in the Bon Buddhist Tradition
of Tibet.
Join Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche at Serenity Ridge this spring when he
offers a special healing experience for students, health care
professionals, and anyone currently encountering illness. During the
retreat Rinpoche will focus on the Healing Practice of Sidpai Gyalmo
and include additional teachings on the healing attributes of the
water element.
Rinpoche will guide this meditation and healing ritual that
concentrates on the compassion of the fully enlightened protector of
Bon, Yeshe Walmo, the principal emanation of Sidpai Gyalmo. The
stream of transmission of this energetic healing practice originated
with Yeshe Walmo herself. It was transmitted from master to master
and eventually to Yongdzin Rinpoche in Northern Tibet, and from him
to Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
The healing waters produced during the meditation are considered to
be a powerful remedy for the physical illnesses arising in modern
times. In addition to our practicing together with Tenzin Rinpoche
and receiving the healing waters during the retreat, we will receive
transmission from Rinpoche and supplementary teachings to allow
continued practice in our daily lives.
Retreat cost (includes meals):
$400 received by March 16; $450 received by April 6; $500 received
after April 6.
Transformation Through Body, Breath and Mind
Through the power of the Meditation of the Six Lokas one relates to
the emotional afflictions associated with each of the six realms of
cyclic existence and purifies them in one's own life. These
afflictions are the six destructive emotions that are the obstacles
to enlightenment: anger, greed, ignorance, jealousy, pride, and
pleasurable distraction.
During this retreat Tenzin Rinpoche will explain how physical
movements, the breath, mantra, imagery, and the base of contemplation
deeply purify the seeds of our karmic patterns and support the
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healing that comes from resting in one's true nature, the source
of all joy and happiness.
Tenzin Rinpoche welcomes everyone to be with him at Serenity Ridge
this summer when he offers commentary, practice instructions, and
transmission of the Meditation of the Six Lokas based on Bon dzogchen
texts from the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu. Rinpoche will also perform
refuge and bodhisattva vow ceremonies during the second week of this
enlightening and healing three-week retreat. One may attend one,
two, or all three weeks of the summer retreat.
Retreat cost PER WEEK (includes meals):
$450 received by May 18; $500 received by June 8; $550 received
after June 8.
Retreats are held at Serenity Ridge, our retreat center in rural
Nelson County, Va. Serenity Ridge is located atop a hill with views
of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Space is limited; early registration is encouraged for both
retreats. On-site dormitory housing and tenting are available.
Contact Ligmincha Institute at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (434) 977-6161.
From Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book "Healing With Form, Energy,
and Light":
"The Tibetan word for the vital energy is lung, but I will use the
widely known Sanskrit word, prana. Prana is the energy that powers
and is the substance of all things material and immaterial. It is
the fundamental energy from which all things arise, the energy of the
kunzhi, the basis of existence. At its most subtle level it is
undifferentiated, non-localized, and non-dual. Its first
discrimination is into the five pure lights of the elements, which
are too subtle for us to perceive with our ordinary minds. However,
we can sense prana directly at the grosser levels in the air we
breathe. We can also sense its flow in our bodies. It is at this
level, in which prana can be felt both in its movement and its
effects, that we work in tantra. We become sensitive to and develop
the flow of prana using mind, imagination, breathing, posture, and
movement. By guiding the grosser manifestations of prana, we can
affect more subtle levels. As our sensitivity increases, we can
directly experience prana in subtler dimensions."
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A few edited excerpts from oral teachings given by Geshe Tenzin
Wangyal Rinpoche:
Prana is very important to our practice in its ability to purify or
refine our clarity of mind. We all are familiar with how the mind can
constantly change from clear to unclear. What is it in our experience
that creates this lack of clarity? And what is it that makes the
mind really clear, without doubt, without impurities? Strictly
speaking, this is the job of the prana. The prana can either
separate us from our clarity of mind, or enhance our meditation
The reason why we sit in a specific meditation posture is only so the
prana will be free to move in the right direction. If you want to
move the prana upward so that clear meditative visions will arise,
you have to sit upright. However, if you want to develop zhine or
calm abiding concentration practice, you want to have your body more
relaxed with a downward gaze, so that the mind has more of a resting
nature. Basically, the position of the body and the gaze of the eye
help direct both the mind and the prana.
The more we look at all the different Eastern spiritual traditions,
the more clear and obvious it becomes that prana is a fundamental
aspect of the practice, especially related to the teachings of tantra
and dzogchen. Chi gong, tai chi, different forms of yoga ˆ all
directly related to one's chi, or prana. These practices lead one to
reconnect or reinforce or transform in some way, and they all are
doing so through skilled use of prana. Sometimes these practices may
place more emphasis on developing one's physical body and one's
health, but more often the purpose of working with prana is to
develop more subtle, meditative experiences.
In the text there are five pranas referred to as "precious ones."
These five are upward-moving prana, life-force prana, fire-like
prana, pervasive prana and downward-moving prana. These pranas are
indeed precious! Without them, without an understanding of them, and
without the practices that work with them, there is no way to achieve
enlightenment. There is no way! In ancient times, prana was
called "windhorse." Prana is the horse that transports one from
samsara to nirvana. It is the horse that transports one from a weak
place to the strongest place within oneself. It is the horse that
transports one from poor health to the healthiest place in oneself.
These pranas are basically a means of transport and of
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Various parts of our body are associated with different pranic
forces. Each form of prana contains an element of mind. And that
element of mind can develop in a positive or in a negative
direction. Depending on the flow of prana, you can have higher or
lower experiences of the mind, a healthy or unhealthy body, and
healthy or unhealthy energy. Basically, the flow of wind is what
makes everything happen. Some winds flow upward, some downward, some
are pervading, some are opening. Prana has a movement, a rhythm. The
movement and its direction define the quality of experience. In the
end, the way prana flows or does not flow always depends on one's
[Editor's Note: To learn more about prana and related practices such
as the Nine Breathings of Purification and the Tsa Lung exercises,
see Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book "Healing With Form, Energy and
Light." Published by Snow Lion Publications in 2003, it is available
from Ligmincha's Bookstore. Visit, or call
toll-free (866) 522-5269. (In the Charlottesville area, call (434)
From "Healing With Form, Energy and Light" by Tenzin Wangyal
"The posture is taught in terms of five points. The first is to
cross the legs to keep the pranic energy circulating back to the
trunk of the body, to the secret chakra. This promotes the
generation of subtle internal heat. The second is to fold the hands
in the position of equipoise, one upon the other in the lap. In our
tradition both hands are palm up, the left hand resting on top of the
right. The hands are tucked against the low belly, at the level of
the chakra, four finger-widths below the navel. Like the crossed
legs, this keeps the energy from being dispersed. The third is to
keep the spine straight, not hyper-extended or rigid or slumped or
bent. This keeps the channels, particularly the three main ones,
straight and open so that the prana can flow smoothly and easily.
The fourth is to pull the jaw slightly down and in, which lengthens
the back of the neck and helps quiet thought. The fifth point is to
keep the chest open, which aids breathing and helps open the heart
From "Turning the Mind Into an Ally," by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche:
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"There are many statues and paintings of the Buddha in meditation
posture. These beautifully illustrate how the posture is designed to
allow natural strength and groundedness with some kind of openness
and dignity. By taking an upright sitting posture, we enable the
body to relax and the mind to be awake. You can use different
postures for meditation, but under ordinary circumstances, sitting on
either a cushion or a chair is best. If you're unable to sit, it is
possible to do this technique while walking or standing or even lying
down. However, the most efficient posture for this practice is
"When you sit down, take a balance, grounded posture to allow the
energy in the center of your body to move freely. If you're on a
cushion, sit with your legs loosely crossed. If you're in a chair,
keep your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the floor. Imagine
that a string attached to the top of your head is pulling you
upright. Let your organs, muscles, and bones settle around your
erect spine, like a coat falling around a hanger. Your vertebrae
should feel as though they are stacked like gold coins, allowing for
the natural curvature of the spine."
From "Luminous Mind," by Kalu Rinpoche:
"The body provides important assistance to the practice of meditation
in general and samatha in particular, because mind and body are
clearly related and interdependent. The posture facilitates
meditation, although it is not absolutely indispensable. Ultimately,
we can meditate in any position, but posture is important when we are
starting out. Good physical posture fosters correct positioning of
the mind. The body has different subtle channels within which the
winds or subtle energies circulate. These animate our thoughts and
states of consciousness. With a straight posture, the channels are
also straight and the winds can circulate freely, causing the mind to
come naturally to a state of equilibrium and rest."
From "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying," by Sogyal Rinpoche:
"In the Dzogchen teachings it is said that your View and your posture
should be like a mountain. Your View is the summation of your whole
understanding and insight into the nature of mind, which you bring to
your meditation. So your View translates into and inspires your
posture, expressing the core of your being in the way you sit.
"Sit, then, as if you were a mountain, with all the unshakable,
steadfast majesty of a mountain. A mountain is completely natural
and at ease with itself, however strong the winds that batter it,
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however thick the dark clouds that swirl around its peak. Sitting
like a mountain, let your mind rise and fly and soar.
"The most essential point of this posture is to keep the back
straight, like 'an arrow' or 'a pile of golden coins.' The 'inner
energy' or prana will then flow easily through the subtle channels of
the body, and your mind will find its true state of rest. Don't
force anything. The lower part of the spine has a natural curve; it
should be relaxed but upright. Your head should be balanced
comfortably on your neck. It is your shoulders and the upper part of
your torso that carry the strength and grace of the posture, and they
should be held in strong poise, but without any tension."
Kalu Rinpoche. "Luminous Mind." Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1997.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. "Turning the Mind Into an Ally." New
York: Riverhead Books, 2003.
Sogyal Rinpoche. "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying." Edited by
Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey. San Francisco:
HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. "Healing With Form, Energy and
Light." Edited by Mark Dahlby. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2002.
EDITOR'S NOTE: All of these excellent books are available from
Ligmincha's Bookstore. Visit, or call
toll-free (866) 522-5269. (In the Charlottesville area, call (434)
EDITOR'S NOTE: During this past fall retreat, Tenzin Wangyal
Rinpoche spoke about the Chamma Ling Retreat Center in Colorado,
encouraging everyone to come visit and to learn more about it, as
well as to participate in its development. Here is a brief edited
excerpt from his comments:
I want to let everyone know about Chamma Ling and to introduce you
all to our vision of this special place. We all know what Chamma Ling
means, right? It is the place of Sherab Chamma, the Wisdom, Loving
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Mother, now in Colorado. I know many of you have already been there
and seen this beautiful land. For three years now, I have been going
there once a year to teach. Our plan is to build the Chamma Ling
Retreat Center as a setting for practice, especially for smaller
groups and individuals and for longer-term retreats. This makes it
different from the Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, where we will
continue to have many larger retreats and to host many teachers, with
more of a focus on learning and training.
The project is moving along wonderfully. Everyone in our worldwide
sangha who is ready for long retreats will have a place at Chamma
Ling. We know it is very difficult to do longer retreats in one's
own home. That's where we build our lives in samsara, so it's very
difficult to build our nirvana there as well! I feel very strongly,
and I think everyone here agrees, that it will be great to be able to
take a break from our lives and go to this great new place.
And more from the latest brochure about Chamma Ling:
It has long been the dream of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche to provide
practitioners a secluded site for long-term retreats. Chamma Ling,
Land of the Loving Mother, is the manifestation of that dream and
will be built by and for the support of our community of
practitioners. Through our dedication we will manifest 12 retreat
cabins, a house for our lamas, and a small teaching hall all
connected by a beautiful system of trails winding through the
spectacular mountain wilderness. This retreat center will provide
our many sanghas a space for personal retreats, a space to discover
what lies within us, a space to reveal within ourselves our own true
The solitude of the mountains and the powerful energy of this ancient
pilgrimage site are the perfect supports for many types of retreat
and practice. For those working with the elements, there could be no
better place to deeply connect with earth, water, fire, wind and the
all-pervading space that is so clear in these high mountains. The
deep, crystal-like mountain sky is an amazing support for the
dzogchen practices of sky and sun gazing. Some cabins will also be
outfitted and supplied to support long-term dark retreats. Those
exploring the causal vehicle will find a ground ripe for connecting
to the spirits of mountains, streams, trees and sky, as the Native
Americans have done here for centuries. Whatever your practice, the
deep solitude and clear energy of Chamma Ling will be the perfect
support. Our goal is to provide simple and affordable cabins for
practitioners to dive deep into their practices for a few weeks, a
few months, or perhaps a few years.
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Chamma Ling of Crestone will provide Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche with a
place for his own personal retreats, empowering the space with his
presence and blessings. Rinpoche will also give final instructions
and blessings, then put individual practitioners into retreat at
least once each year. If Tenzin Rinpoche is not present during your
retreat we will have a monk or senior practitioner resident at Chamma
Ling to assist retreatants if questions arise related to practice.
Our initial goal is to complete four cabins by September 2005. We
plan to start construction this spring. After our normally scheduled
teaching retreat in September, Tenzin Rinpoche will stay a few extra
days and give personal instruction to the first set of practitioners
to go into retreat in the first cabins at Chamma Ling. Only initial
benefactors will be eligible to apply for this unique, once in a
lifetime opportunity.
As we prepare to begin construction of this unique retreat facility
in the wilderness of the Sangre de Christo mountains, we are offering
several ways for you to support Tenzin Rinpoche's vision. Since
our goal is to give people a place for personal retreat, we will
reward personal generosity with time in our retreat cabins.
1)The Foundation to the Path: Five months in a retreat cabin at the
time of your choosing, with no restriction on how soon the time must
be used. $1000.
2)The Middle Way: Thirteen months use of a retreat cabin at any time
in your life. $2500.
3)The Path of Vision: You gain the use of a cabin for one month each
year for the rest of your life. $5000.
4)The Crystal Mountain: For your generosity, a cabin will be made
available for up to two months each year, at intervals of your
choice, for the rest of your life. $10,000.
Our cabins will be available for rentals to all practitioners, but
benefactors will have first choice for time in the cabins. Weekly
and monthly cabin rental rates are bound to increase over time, but
benefactors will have "locked in" at the lowest available rates.
BOARD: Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, John Jackson, Margaret Freund, Khedup
COUNCIL: Kent Magner, Eyahanna Magner, Elisabeth DesMarais, Andrea
Heckman, Raven Lee, Jane Goe, Peter May.
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If you would like to consider pledging and would like more
information, please contact one of these folks:
Ken Okuno This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Christina Bell This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Alaina Speraw This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Also, there is a slight change in the Chamma Ling website: Visit the website to learn and
see more!
And plan now for the retreat at Crestone to be held Sept. 22-25, 2005
on "Tibetan Yogas of Dreaming and Dying" with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
Many thanks to the Board and Council Members of Chamma Ling for their
vision and their work in making the Chamma Ling Retreat Center a
The Voice of Clear Light is a free, e-mail publication of Ligmincha Institute. Your suggestions and
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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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Mon, Oct 3, 2005 11:57 AM
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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
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