News and Inspiration from Ligmincha Institute
Volume 6, Number 4
April 4, 2006
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IN THIS ISSUE:
An interview with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Anne Carolyn Klein
on their just-released book, “Unbounded Wholeness,” published by Oxford
“The Ten Paramitas: The Keys to Awakening” – a series focusing on the
practice of each of the 10 paramitas or perfections, the means of
transcending the limits of one’s karmic tendencies.
“Sang Chod – An Ancient Ritual for Modern Life” by John Jackson
Sangha Sharing – “Postcards sent from sangha at the Stupa Consecration”
The Latest on Chamma Ling Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado
New Items at Ligmincha’s Bookstore
AN INTERVIEW WITH GESHE TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE AND ANNE CAROLYN KLEIN
ON THEIR JUST-RELEASED BOOK, “UNBOUNDED WHOLENESS,” PUBLISHED BY OXFORD
We are very pleased to announce the publication of the book “Unbounded
Wholeness,” by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Anne Carolyn Klein,
Ph.D. “Unbounded Wholeness” is a translation and commentary on the
unique Bon dzogchen text “Authenticity of Open Awareness.” As Rinpoche
and Anne Klein mention in the interview below, this text offers a
distinctive perspective unifying a systematic methodology of logic with
the experiential understanding of dzogchen. Because of its complex
nature, the authors' translation and study of this text took 11 years
Question: Why did you choose to translate this particular text?
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: When I was growing up at Menri Monastery
in Dolanji, India, we studied a great deal of philosophy and logic in
the dialectic school as well as the practices and experiences of
dzogchen. Often there could be quite a gap between the theoretical
teachings on logic and the experiential practices of dzogchen.
Sometimes the two systems did not fit very well together at all.
This particular text, "Authenticity of Open Awareness," beautifully
unifies the two systems by using logic to establish the authenticity of
the statements of dzogchen. I love this text. I spent many hours
studying it with Yongdzin Rinpoche and other scholars when I was
growing up. I always thought it would be wonderful to do further work
with this text. When I first came to the United States and met Anne
Klein, I mentioned to her that I thought this would be a good text to
translate. Anne was very enthusiastic, and we decided to work together
to translate it. This text is very complex and Anne was particularly
suited to translate it because of her knowledge of the theoretical and
sutric aspects of Tibetan Buddhism.
Anne Klein: There were personal, contemplative, and intellectual
considerations in the choice of text. First of all I had just met
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche when he described this text to me, and looked
forward to the opportunity to work with him and with Lopon Tenzin
Namdak Rinpoche. Second, I have always been interested in how different
systems understand the way that the intellect interweaves with other
kinds of knowing, especially contemplative knowing, in the process of
meditation. I feel this is one way to get a richer picture of the way
contemplative practice can serve to integrate all our human capacity
for different kinds of knowing. And finally, I was fascinated by the
subject matter. My first books, “Knowledge and Liberation” and
“Knowing, Naming and Negation,” use Geluk sutra sources to describe the
ways in which the intellect is a crucial part of practice, part of the
path to direct perception. This book has a different view, it is
interested in the limits of the intellect while at the same time
engaging it vigorously in the course of its own debates.
Question: Can you tell us a little about the translation process?
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: The translation process was quite long
because this text is very complex in its logic and meaning. In some
cases we had to create translations for words and concepts for which
there were no accurate English equivalents. Other words and concepts
needed to be compared and contrasted within the context of other tenet
systems as well. This all took time. We had to change the translation
again and again in order to finalize it; even so it is very difficult
to say that a translation is ever final. Anne and I worked very hard,
at various times spending hours, weeks and months together. I am so
pleased that finally the translation is being published.
Anne Klein: Translation is a multi-tiered process. Many terms either
have no exact equivalent in English or have a different semantic range
— are broader or narrower in meaning — than the words they are meant to
translate. So a translation never feels “complete” - you are always
searching for a better turn of phrase, a more graceful rendering, one
that resonates with the feeling as well as the cognitive content.
Tenzin Rinpoche and I spent nearly a year, under the auspices of a
National Endowment for the Humanities grant, completing and reviewing
the first draft of the translation; his teaching on it was my real
introduction to the text. Our first draft held most of the meaning, but
many questions remained and much refinement was still needed. It is
difficult to make word choices or appreciate the line or argument
without deeply understanding the meaning, and this text has many ideas
that are subtle indeed. I went on to ask many questions of Yongdzin
Rinpoche; his insights and patient responses were crucial in shaping
much of the commentary in the text. I also consulted Western scholars
on various points, and the translation went through at least three if
not four or more drafts before it became what we are publishing today.
I especially enjoyed working with the poetry, exploring a balance
between literal and poetic renditions. Tenzin Rinpoche was very
generous in giving me space to explore this and answering my questions
along the way.
Question: What distinguishes this text from other dzogchen texts?
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: Many cycles of dzogchen texts, such as
the Zhang Zhung Nyam Gyu, focus almost exclusively on the experiential
aspects of dzogchen; there is not much emphasis on theory, logic or
interpretation. Those texts were written using symbols, metaphors, and
images, and give a much more direct explanation of dzogchen. In
contrast, "Authenticity of Open Awareness" uses a systematic
methodology of logic. It always seeks to establish that dzogchen and
the lower eight tenet systems are clearly different by using theory and
logic. As I said earlier, this text has dzogchen and logic balanced
Anne Klein: Ahh ... this is quite a distinctive dzogchen text. For one
thing, it carefully investigates the limits of intellectual knowing,
while at the same time clearly honoring the need for intellectual
understanding, since this is a text filled with debate and other
intellectual challenges. Unlike any other work we are aware of, it
tries to incorporate a discussion of the classic Buddhist category of
valid or authentic knowledge (Tib. tshad ma) into its discussion of the
rig pa so famous in dzogchen. This is a very unusual crosscurrent. It’s
also unusual for the way it marries poetic reflection with reasoned
debate. It was a breakthrough for me when I realized I needed to
reflect on this as a piece of literature, not only as information about
dzogchen and the Bon tradition. The poetry has a very significant role
to play — in some ways its placement in the text models the
relationship between intellectual and more close-to-the-bone spiritual
understanding. Sometimes the debate goes back and forth, question and
rebuttal, and then without actually settling the issue intellectually,
a new kind of space opens and a piece of poetry simply resolves it. I
think practice works like this also.
Question: Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: I would like to thank Anne Klein who did
such wonderful work on this especially complex text. I am very happy
to have had this opportunity for us to work together. I am also very
thankful to Anne because it was she who originally invited me to teach
in this country through Rice University and since then all of my dharma
activities and teachings have flourished in the United States. I also
want to thank my teacher Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche and all
the scholars and monks who were available each time we needed
additional clarification or explanation. I hope that this book will
bring a great deal of benefit to those who read it. It is my wish that
it will help them to develop knowledge, understanding, experience, and
become an important cause and part of their liberation.
Anne Klein: I’d add that the particularly colorful colophon to the text
harkens back to the 8th century and Bon’s struggles as well as triumphs
at that time. Therefore the book includes two chapters of discussion of
Bon history, these follow five chapters exploring the philosophical.
Historically as well as philosophically, there is a search for
authenticity. What really happened? What can really be known? These are
profound and excellent questions, and the book, and all the teachings
we received which support our understanding of the book, suggest that
such questions can only be fully opened in a state of unbounded
wholeness, a realization that includes all perspectives and is bound by
“Unbounded Wholeness: Bon Dzogchen and the Logic of the Nonconceptual”
by Anne Carolyn Klein and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is available from
Ligmincha’s Bookstore. 384 pages, $25. Please visit:
“THE TEN PARAMITAS: THE KEYS TO AWAKENING” – a series focusing on the
practice of each of the 10 paramitas or perfections, the means of
transcending the limits of one’s karmic tendencies.
Fully mastering these 10 virtues may take many lifetimes, but even the
act of turning one’s awareness toward practicing them can have a
transformative effect on one’s attitude and on one’s relations with
The Ten Perfections or Ten Paramitas
Generosity - jin pa (sbyin pa)
Moral discipline or ethical behavior - tsul trim
Patience - zo pa (bzod pa)
Diligence or vigor - ton dru (btson ‘grus)
Meditation or concentration - sam ten (bsam gtan)
Strength, power, or capacity - tob (stobs)
Compassion - nying je (snying rje)
Aspiration - mon lam (smon lam)
Skillful means/dedication - ngo wa (bsngo ba)
Wisdom - she rab (shes rab)
“PATIENCE” - An edited excerpt from oral teachings given by Khenpo
Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, the abbot of Triten Norbutse Monastery in
Nepal, November 2005:
The third paramita is patience, which is very important for every
practice. It doesn’t just mean that you have to be patient with your
enemy who may very well be about to hit you, although that is also
important. He may actually hit you, and it may hurt right then, but by
not hitting back, great benefit will come later. If you do hit back,
then more and more anger results. But if you stay patient, then
although he may hit you several times, he cannot carry on endlessly.
After a while of developing the perfection of patience, you will find
great joy in maintaining this quality.
Most important is your patience toward any kind of meditation practice,
because great patience is needed for practice to be successful. If we
feel our practice is boring, or that it is not developing, then we need
to work through this kind of feeling. It is not necessary to give up
so early or to complain. Keep doing practice patiently and things will
develop slowly, slowly.
There is also a kind of patience involved with our losing our fear of
emptiness. Sometimes when we speak of emptiness, or sometimes when we
keep to our meditation in the natural state, then fear may arise. We
have a feeling that something is wrong. “Am I doing this correctly or
not? Maybe if I keep doing this ...” We can become frightened for a
variety of reasons. So you must be brave and be patient about this.
There is also a patience that allows for your facing any kind of
suffering. While helping others, it lets you feel ready to face any
kind of suffering in yourself in order to develop a successful
practice. You are ready to face temporary minor suffering. If we are
going to a solitary place for a personal retreat, usually we will have
worries about this or that, and in fact all of these worries are fears
that one has to have patience for, and be ready to face. “Whatever the
circumstances, I am determined to do this practice.” This is patience.
So, for any kind of practice you do, patience is absolutely necessary.
EXCERPTS ON PATIENCE FROM THE WRITINGS OF BUDDHIST MASTERS
From “Luminous Mind” by Kalu Rinpoche:
Patience is the ability to endure, through faith, compassion, or
understanding emptiness, all the suffering and misfortunes we might
encounter, whatever their cause. These might be inflicted on us
directly or indirectly, by beings who err because of dualistic illusory
appearances, by ignorant beings bound by the notion of ego, by our own
minds overpowered by afflictions, or by interruptions or obstacles
opposing our Dharma practice.
From “The Essence of Buddhism” by Traleg Kyabgon:
The next paramita is patience (kshanti), which is seen as the antidote
to anger, frustration, resentment, hostility, and the like. An
impatient mind becomes a victim of these emotions. As Shantideva says
in the Boddhisattvacharyavatara: “When one adopts an attitude tinged
with the sting of malevolence, the mind does not experience peace.
Since one does not find joy and happiness, one becomes sleepless and
restless.” If there is hatred in the mind so that it is dominated by
feelings of resentment and anger, then it becomes restless, and as
Shantideva says, we cannot even sleep properly.
From “A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night” by His Holiness the
As a destructive force there is nothing as strong as anger. An instant
of anger can destroy all the positive actions accumulated over
thousands of kalpas through the practice of generosity, making
offerings to the buddhas, keeping discipline, and so on. Indeed, there
is no fault as serious as anger.
Patience, on the other hand, as a discipline that neutralizes and
prevents us from succumbing to anger, is unrivaled. Through it, the
suffering we endure from the heat of the negative emotions is relieved.
It is therefore of the utmost importance that we resolve to practice
patience, gaining inspiration through reflecting on its advantages and
on the terrible effects of anger.
From “The Heart of the Buddha” by Chogyam Trungpa:
The paramita of patience is the willingness to work with our own
emotions through the practice of meditation. This in turn allows us to
begin to work peacefully with others. Usually we don’t want to work
with aggressive people because we feel they will not give us an easy
time. They are a threat to our unbodhisattvalike mentality of looking
for pleasure and security. And when we encounter somebody who wrongs
us, we harbor tremendous resentment and refuse to forgive him. Our
tendency is always to view such aggressive people, rather than our
attitude of holding back, as the problem. But the paramita of patience
means not returning threats, anger, attacks, or insults.
From “The Infinite Life” by Robert Thurman:
The more you master the practice of patience, the more you will be able
to live under its protection in your daily life. The better protected
you are by it, protected primarily from your true inner enemy of anger,
the more powerfully you will be able to perform selfless and heroic
deeds for the sake of yours and others’ ongoing positive evolution.
Kalu Rinpoche. “Luminous Mind.” Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1997.
Traleg Kyabgon. “The Essence of Buddhism.” Boston: Shambhala
Publications Inc., 2001
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of
Night.” Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc., 1994.
Chogyam Trungpa. “The Heart of the Buddha.” Edited by Judith Lief.
Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc., 1991.
Robert Thurman. “The Infinite Life.” New York: Riverhead Books, 2004.
“SANG CHOD – AN ANCIENT RITUAL FOR MODERN LIFE”
By John Jackson
Sang (Tibetan: smoke offering) – The ritual practice of burning
fragrant cedar boughs as an offering to the buddhas, bodhisattvas,
lineage protectors and nature spirits in order to remove obstacles and
increase life force.
If you talk to an anthropologist about the practice and origins of Sang
Chod you will learn that rituals of making smoke offerings to nature
spirits are common in many cultures around the world. It is easy to
understand the human desire to relate to the forces of nature and offer
something in return for the blessings we receive from our environment.
Even easier to comprehend is the desire to placate the forces of nature
so that we may more readily go about our ordinary activities. While we
may feel more insulated from nature in our modern times than did our
forefathers who lived by the plow and herd, recent storms and natural
disasters drive home our continuing interdependence with nature.
Natural forces can be incredibly powerful and overwhelming, dwarfing
human activities and accomplishments. Simply becoming aware of their
vast potential can change our perspective of our role in the world, and
can open the door to relating to nature in a more respectful and
Most indigenous cultures accept that the natural world is alive with
many forms of spirits. Nature spirits are said to inhabit mountains,
streams, trees, rocks, plants, and even the earth that we till. Some
spirits guard power places, such as a holy pilgrimage site; others
might exist as the overarching spirit of a plant or animal; while
others may simply inhabit the greater environment. Each spirit has a
personality, and just like humans, will vary in habits and tendencies.
Some may be very helpful, while others can be quite irritated by human
activities. It is traditionally believed in many cultures that one can
unwittingly incur the wrath of nature spirits by polluting a stream,
disturbing the earth, wantonly cutting trees, or performing other,
similarly disrespectful activities. In many ways these beliefs have
provided a way for humans to remain in harmony with their natural
surroundings, never going so far as to destroy the delicate balance of
the world in which they live.
At its surface, the Tibetan practice of Sang Chod is about making
offerings to the spirits of nature as a way to stay in their good
graces, so that our transgressions do not lead to the accidents,
illnesses, or other misfortunes that spirits can cause. It can be seen
as a great feast given in thanks, for within the clouds of smoke the
practitioner visualizes all that would be attractive to the spirits.
The ritual can also be performed in advance of important business or
travel, smoothing the way for success and increased prosperity, for if
the local spirits are happy they will see that we too enjoy the
bounties of nature.
As we look more deeply at the practice of Sang Chod, we can find that
beyond its harmonizing aspects, it also has elements of Tibetan tantra
and dzogchen meditation, allowing the practitioner to work at multiple
levels of inner development. During the ritual, through the power of
meditation the practitioner sees gathered round him or her all the
buddhas, bodhisattvas and lineage protectors, as well as all the
spirits of nature. Then, through the power of visualization, intent
and mantra, the practitioner transforms the offerings of cedar and
smoke into vast clouds of precious substances, everything that would
please the deities and spirits. This process of transformation opens
the awareness to other realms of experience, and develops a direct
connection to the unseen worlds. As the practitioner comes to
experience the deepest levels of the ritual meditation, it is realized
that the most precious offering to the enlightened beings is our direct
awareness of the nature of reality. Through the power of the ritual we
not only cleanse and purify our natural surroundings, but also our
discursive thoughts that cloud our own true nature. Sang Chod is truly
an integrative practice that helps us connect to the world we live in
as well as to our own hidden, secret essence.
Sang Chod practices can be found in all five Tibetan lineages, but most
scholars agree that the ritual is derived from Bon, the indigenous
tradition of Tibet, for it is clearly described in the funeral
practices of the ancient pre-Buddhist Tibetan kings. The title of the
Bon text clarifies the purpose and intent: bSang gi dig gtSang sngon
‘gro’I rim pa bshugs, The Preliminary Stages for Cleansing and
Purifying by Means of Fumigation. This ritual is commonly performed
each morning by Tibetan lay practitioners, and is their principle way
of relating to spiritual practice and the environment. Customarily
there are special times that call for the ritual, including the
beginning of each lunar month, before setting out on a trip, and the
first and third day of a new year. In general, the ritual is
traditionally performed to encourage the uplifting and revitalization
of the practitioner as well as to dissolve obstructions and pacify any
spirits that might cause difficulty.
The age-old ritual of Sang Chod operates on many levels, only a few of
which have been touched upon here. At first the ritual steps may seem
complex, but as with all sacred ritual, the outer form is designed to
help one connect with an inner experience that may not otherwise be
attainable. Given time and practice, ritual becomes a support and
guide to inner experience. With the guidance of an experienced teacher,
Sang Chod can open a path to new levels of awareness, appreciation and
For those interested in the how the ritual is actually performed, here
is a brief description of Sang Chod:
The ritual begins with the collection of cedar boughs and other
fragrant offerings, done with a clear, quiet mind that respectfully
regards each contributing tree and plant. A special golden liquor
offering is prepared by placing a piece of gold in beer or wine, which
then absorbs the energetic qualities of the precious mineral. A fire is
built, traditionally in a structure known as a sang khang, which looks
like a small, hollow stupa (Buddhist shrine) with its top serving as a
chimney. If a sang khang is not available the fire can be made in
another vessel or on the ground in any clear, open space. The fire is
allowed to die down to embers, so that later during the main practice,
the boughs may be placed on the embers to produce abundant clouds of
smoke. The liturgy begins as the offerings are first consecrated and
purified through sprinkling with water and fumigation with incense.
Then a series of prayers are recited that consecrate and purify the
practitioner by cultivating compassion for all beings, taking refuge in
the sources of enlightenment, and confessing wrong acts, views and
thoughts. Once both offerings and practitioner are prepared, the
boundaries of the ritual space are secured through visualization and
mantra. Then all of the buddhas, bodhisattvas, protectors of the
lineage, and spirits of nature are invited into the ritual space
through the power of intention and visualization. This concludes the
preliminary preparations that enable the practitioner to connect with
the deepest levels of awareness and the spirits of nature.
The main practice begins through the tantric method of generating
through visualization a mandala of deities within the fire. These
energetic forms represent qualities of our own enlightened mind, the
potential that lies within us, the potential than can communicate with
beings in all levels of reality. From the hearts of the fire deities
emanate the seed syllables of the natural elements, RAM, YANG and MANG,
which touch the offerings gathered around the fire and transform them
into incredible gifts that will please all the enlightened beings, the
protectors of the lineage and the nature spirits to whom we owe debts,
as well as those spirits who are the objects of our compassion. In this
type of ritual one generally makes offerings first to the highest
guests, the enlightened beings that are our inspiration and guides;
then one progressively makes offerings to beings who have lesser levels
of awareness, concluding with those who can be difficult and
troublesome. Each of these different guests has different values and
needs and requires different offerings. To the enlightened beings the
practitioner offers his or her own primordial awareness, clear of
discursive thoughts, the highest attainment of meditation practice. To
the lower guests the delights of body, speech and mind are visualized
and offered. These visualized offerings are actualized by offering the
cedar into the fire, along with the golden liquor; and the fire deities
within the mandala are seen carrying the offerings to each and every
one of the guests, from the highest buddha to the most noxious nature
spirit. A lengthy liturgy is recited to invoke each of the guests, and
each is beseeched to please accept the visualized offerings and to
engage only in peaceful activities and be great friends of virtue. Each
different class of nature spirit is invoked - those of mountains,
streams, lakes, trees and stones - and to each of them sumptuous
offerings are made such that the spirits will be happy and satisfied
and undisturbed by our activities.
The ritual is traditionally concluded as everyone present takes a
handful of tsampa (roasted barley, the staple food of Tibet) and
gathers in a circle around the fire. The group slowly sings the
syllable SO, gradually raising the pitch as the tsampa is raised to the
sky. Repeating this three times, the group then shouts KI KI SO SO LHA
JA LO! ("Victory to the Gods!") and throws the tsampa into the air with
shouts and joyful laughter. This final culmination is said to encourage
and increase all that is good and virtuous.
John Jackson has studied in Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal and
practiced meditation for 25 years. For more than 10 of those years he
has studied with great masters of the Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition,
including Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
APRIL 19-23, 2006
“SANG CHOD - CULTIVATING LIFE FORCE, PERSONAL POWER, FORTUNE AND SOUL”
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche at Serenity Ridge
Retreat cost: (includes all meals; on-site housing is available)
$450 if received by April 6
$500 if received after April 6
For further information see the Ligmincha website:
June 16–18, 2006
SIX LOKAS PRACTICE RETREAT
Dissolving the Obstacles to Enlightenment
At one time or another each of us suffers strong emotions that throw us
off balance, cause us to act in ways we later regret, and make us lose
touch with our true nature. Centuries ago the masters of the Bon
lineage developed the meditations of the Six Lokas specifically to
purify the disturbing emotions and help us live our lives in a more
balanced and relaxed way.
These meditations focus on the root causes of our suffering: anger,
greed, ignorance, jealousy, pride and laziness. Through each meditation
we examine our habitual patterns so that we may recognize them and then
purify and transform them. The practices have a deep healing and
transformative power, and are traditionally practiced in retreat as a
preliminary to dzogchen contemplation.
This practice retreat is an opportunity to develop clear visualization,
energize mantra practice, enjoy the support of sangha, dissolve
emotional limitations, and simply and clearly be.
JOHN JACKSON has studied in Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal and
practiced meditation for 25 years. For more than 10 of those years he
has studied with great masters of the Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition.
Note: This retreat is open only to those who have received the
transmission of the Six Lokas practice.
Retreat cost (includes meals): $150
JULY 2-22, 2006
14TH ANNUAL SUMMER RETREAT: “TUMMO – INNER FIRE OF REALIZATION,”
with GESHE TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE AT SERENITY RIDGE
At this year's annual summer retreat Rinpoche will instruct and guide
us in the practice of tummo (generating the inner heat) to burn away
subtle obscurations and cultivate bliss. He will also teach meditation
practices for retrieving healing essences from nature and the elements,
which will include light fasting combined with herbal drinks to purify
and rejuvenate the body and enhance meditative experience. We will
engage the mind and speech with prayer, healing sounds, mantra and
visualization; and we will incorporate the potent body movements of Tsa
Lung, Trul Khor and prostrations. Rinpoche is happy to announce that
both Geshe Nyima Kunchap and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe will join him at the
retreat to help lead these practices.
It is Tenzin Rinpoche's sincere wish that through the intensive study
and practice opportunity offered during this year's summer retreat,
each student will find his or her own door to a life that is more
physically healthy, energetically vital and spiritually fulfilling.
As always, you may come for one, two or all three weeks of the summer
retreat. If you are new to Serenity Ridge, or able to come for only one
week, Rinpoche recommends that you come to the first week, when an indepth
explanation of the practices will be offered. Of course all are
welcome no matter which week they attend. Each week is designed to be a
complete series of teachings, and a direct and powerful healing
experience with aspects of all of the practices presented each week.
Week One: July 2-8 / Week Two: July 9-15 / Week Three: July 16-22
Retreat cost PER WEEK (includes meals):
$450 received by May 21; $500 received by June 15; $550 received after
Note: Those who participate in the summer work retreat will receive a
50% discount on one week of the summer retreat.
JUNE 27-JULY 1, 2006
SERENITY RIDGE SUMMER WORK RETREAT
This is a wonderful time to share with sangha and to be of joyful
Our work retreat includes vigorous work periods, daily meditation
practice, and ample time for a swim in the pool or a walk along the
Rockfish River. The work retreat is free of charge, and participants
are provided with free tenting and meals.
For those who participate in the entire work retreat there will be a
50% discount on one week of the summer retreat.
AUGUST 16-20, 2006
“SHERAB CHAMMA – THE WISDOM LOVING MOTHER OF THE BON TRADITION”
with Geshe Nyima Kunchap and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe
The tantric cycle of Sherab Chamma (Wisdom Loving Mother) is one of the
most important in Bon. The practice of Sherab Chamma helps us to
deeply connect with the healing radiance of love and compassion and
with the innate wisdom through which all obstacles are cleared.
Sherab Chamma has been a main practice of Geshe Nyima Kunchap for many
years. He and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe will present teachings on Sherab
Chamma and her eight primary aspects, which manifest in order to heal
the eight forms of fear.
During this retreat we will learn about the power of Sherab Chamma to
dispel obstacles. We will also learn how to prepare the tormas (dough
offerings) that represent Sherab Chamma and her retinue, and how to
perform the mudras (symbolic hand gestures) of the main outer offerings
of flower, incense, light, water and food.
Retreat cost (includes meals):
$350 if received by July 5; $375 if received by July 25; $400 if
received after July 25
SANGHA SHARING – “Postcards sent from sangha at the Stupa consecration”
Last month, The Voice of Clear Light asked sangha members who attended
the stupa consecration ceremony in Torreon, Mexico, to send us a
postcard sharing something about their observations, feelings, or other
experiences on that auspicious day, Feb. 12, 2006, when the first Bon
Stupa built in the Americas was consecrated. We thank all of you for
your contributions and for the wonderful translating done by Lourdes
You can see an image of the Stupa at www.ligmincha.org; follow the
"Picture Gallery" link to see many more images from the consecration
Here are a few glowing “love letters” from our Mexican sangha (more
sharings to come in future issues):
“It is such a deep and great joy, that it is hard for me to put it into
words. It has been a unique experience in this lifetime, and probably
in other lifetimes as well. The seeds have been planted in us. The
power of the stupa is being manifested. And it is perceived in our
deepest essence with an intense and sincere joy, a peace and harmony,
that unceasingly touches our surroundings.
I´m so happy to perceive and share in the joy of so many people who are
first making contact with the Bon Buddhist teachings, and especially
with the stupa. I feel totally grateful to our teachers, our sangha
brothers and sisters, my family and friends, and to life for giving me
the opportunity to participate in this path. A sincere hug from the
depths of my heart to each and every one who has manifested in my
Ma. Del Pilar Revuelta
The stupa consecration in Torreon was an extraordinary event for a
Bonpo practitioner such as myself.
There is something I´d like to tell you about that deeply moved me - it
was the energy that the sangha from Torreon (La Laguna) emanated on the
day of the consecration. This was the result of their splendid
organization throughout all the events, which all took place
successfully. In my homeland they would say, “They threw the house out
of the window,” because not a single detail was missing!
Among the things that left a trace in my heart was the warmth and
welcome that all of us who participated in the ceremony received. To
me that sangha is an example of what is called the third jewel.
During the consecration, I was able to observe and feel the
actualization of the four immeasurables in the attitude of the sangha
from Torreon. In each and every one of the ceremonies held during the
process of the stupa´s construction, they always made me feel a part of
the sangha; they opened their arms and hearts to me; they encouraged me
to be a part of them, allowing me to work alongside them during the
days of my stay; I was shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the group,
as a member.
It was in the generosity of Carlos and Gaby and the whole sangha that I
found the manifestation of Bon’s magic in those who are practitioners.
And all that I have experienced has reminded me of Khenpo Tenpa
Yungdrung, who has said that to attend this kind of event brings many
This has proven to be true in all the wonderful experiences that
manifested during all these events. Above all, I have found it true in
the personal experiences that are manifesting continuously in my daily
life. Having had the chance to attend all of the events, having shared
so much with a strong sangha, and having been close to our wonderful
teachers, all have given me great energy to strengthen my meditation
practice. This has for me been really magical and wonderful and has
given me great bliss. The bliss is such that even now, when my mother
is dying of terminal cancer, the sadness cannot extinguish the joy that
remains in my heart, rather it is this joy that pacifies the pain of
seeing my mother vanishing.
Thanks to all the enlightened beings who were present, thanks to Tenzin
Wangyal Rinpoche, to Geshe Nyima, Geshe Tenzin, Geshe la, and Jorge
Rene, for being there. Without them so many wonders would not have
been possible. I prostrate before them. Thanks to Carlos, Gaby and
the Lagunera sangha from the Torreon area for all they shared and their
generous way to do so. I “take off my hat” to them.
THE LATEST ON CHAMMA LING RETREAT CENTER IN CRESTONE, COLORADO
It has been Rinpoche's dream to have a solitary retreat center where
practitioners can dive deeply into their practices for weeks, months or
even years. I am glad to announce that the Chamma Ling Retreat Center
in Crestone, Colorado, is manifesting that dream and is now accepting
applications for personal retreats. This manifestation would not have
been possible without the ceaseless effort of the Chamma Ling Council,
volunteers, generous benefactors and the blessings of Tenzin Rinpoche.
We plan to open for retreats beginning May 22, after several years of
preparation, design and construction. And we believe it has been well
worth all the effort. We will have three private cabins designed for
one person each, and they can be used for either dark or other types of
retreats. The cabins have four windows that can be sealed for dark
retreat, or left uncovered to reveal the beautiful mountain scenery. We
will have a caretaker who can assist people in retreat in any way
needed, including preparing meals for dark retreat or bringing in
supplies periodically for other closed retreats. We have complete
about the cabins, rates, services, and application process on our
Please take some time to look in the photo gallery section to see what
the area and the cabins are like, then imagine yourself there
dissolving into the vast expanse of the sky.
Applications for retreat include a brief practice biography and a
description of your retreat plan, including how you plan to spend your
time practicing each day. Application forms will be found on our
Website, and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche reviews each application
personally and sometimes
makes recommendations for specific practices.
We hope to see you soon!
Chamma Ling director
NEW ITEMS AT LIGMINCHA’S BOOKSTORE
To see photographs of the newest items at Ligmincha Institute’s
Bookstore and for order information, please go to
www.ligminchastore.org and click on "search by category or description"
and then click on "New items." Or, go directly to:
“Unbounded Wholeness: Bon Dzogchen and the Logic of the Nonconceptual”
by Anne Carolyn Klein and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
The long awaited study and translation of “Authenticity of Open
Awareness,” a foundational text of the Bon Dzogchen tradition. It
includes an extensive commentary and explanatory material.
Paperback, 384 pages
“Spirit-Mediums, Sacred Mountains and Related Bon Textual Traditions in
Upper Tibet: Calling Down the Gods”
by John Vincent Bellezza
Hardcover: 568 pages
John Vincent Bellezza, Visiting Scholar, University of Virginia, has
spent over two decades researching the cultural history of the Great
Western Himalaya and Upper Tibet. He is the author of several books and
numerous articles on indigenous aspects of Tibetan culture, including
"Divine Dyads: Ancient Civilization in Tibet" (LTWA, 1997).
Book review from the publisher, Brill:
This book uniquely provides first-hand insights into the spirit-mediums
of Upper Tibet, the men and women who channel the gods. John Vincent
Bellezza presents the conclusions of his extensive research in the
region itself, shedding light on the historical context, the tradition,
characteristics, ceremonies, and paraphernalia of the phenomenon.
With extensive interviews with spirit-mediums, including interpretive
material drawn from Tibetan texts; annotated translations of rituals
devoted to the major deities of the spirit-mediums; and annotated
translation of Bon literature relevant to the origins of spiritmediums,
and concluding with a chapter on Bon literary references to
the ritual implements and practices.
“Manual of Standard Tibetan: Language and Civilization” by Nicolas
Tournadre and Sangda Dorje.
This comprehensive textbook is used in the University of Virginia
summer language intensive program.
Oversized paperback, 562 pages plus two CDs
“A Tibetan Verb Lexicon: Verbs, Classes and Syntactic Frames” by Paul
The entries contain Tibetan verbs with their English meanings, Sanskrit
equivalents, complete sentences, and related sentence structure
Paperback, 209 pages.
“The First Experiential Transmission from the Chag Tri: The Ngondro” by
Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche.
Exceptional teachings from an exceptional teacher. These teachings
were given at Serenity Ridge, Nelson County, Va., Nov. 20-23, 2003.
Softcover, 83 pages
DVDs - produced for the Zhang-Bod Documentation Center, Menri Bon
Monastery, Dolanji, India
1) The Visit of His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, the 33rd Menri
Trizen, to Amdo, Tibet, Summer, 2004
Edited and produced by Geshe Samdup Lama
Time: 29 minutes.
2) Khalong: The Summer Ritual of Menri Monastery
Edited and produced by the monks of Menri Bon Monastery
This was an "Official Selection" in the 18th annual Dallas Video
Time: 11 minutes