News and Inspiration from Ligmincha Institute
Volume 6, Number 7
July 10, 2006
For easy reading, we recommend that you print out "The Voice of Clear
There will not be a PDF version of this month’s edition of VOCL due to
Ligmincha’s three-week summer retreat. You can access an archive of
previous issues at: http://ligmincha.org/study/vocl.html
IN THIS ISSUE:
“Recognizing Your Relation to Practice” – an edited excerpt from oral
teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, 2005.
Honoring His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 71st birthday! The Long
Life Prayer for His Holiness, plus an excerpt from his book “The Joy of
Living and Dying in Peace”
“His Holiness Lungtok Tenpa’i Nyima visits Serenity Ridge for the fundraising
banquet,” by Raven Wood
Annual fall retreat at Chamma Ling Retreat Center in Colorado
There's still time to register for the August retreat at Serenity Ridge
- “Sherab Chamma: the Wisdom Loving Mother of the Bon Tradition”
New Items at Ligmincha’s Tibet Shop
“RECOGNIZING YOUR RELATION TO PRACTICE” - an edited excerpt from oral
teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, summer 2005
As I guide meditation practices at retreats, I often say during the
visualization, "Try to imagine and feel." But there are other ways to
approach the practice. The best way would be that you don’t even have
to imagine, that you don’t have to visualize, that you don’t have to
try and feel; rather, the moment you intend to be in the experience,
you are there. It's like when you are eating lunch - do you have to
imagine eating lunch? Do you have to feel that you’re eating lunch?
Do you have to think that you’re eating lunch? No, you are eating
lunch and that’s it. There’s no question that would be the best way to
What would be the second best way to do practice? Feeling the
experience, right? Feeling it with heart, feeling it in a real or
authentic way. When I am feeling the presence of a divine being of
light, for example, the sense of reality in that experience can be just
as strong as when I experience a negative feeling or emotion. How real
does that negativity feel? It is with that same sense of reality that I
can feel the presence of the quality of love, or generosity, or
openness. So, having this feeling naturally arise in practice would
be the next best thing.
And then, to simply imagine the presence of the divine being of light,
or the quality of generosity, say, during practice is the next best
way. “Imagine” is a word I use a lot in teaching. In every positive
experience we aspire to in practice, we first have to imagine it
happening. We have to imagine it well, and we have to have a good,
creative imagination. When done right, this imagining has a sense of
realness to it, a good sense of clarity to it. There is some sense of
certainty there, but still it is imagination. When the imagination is
real, clear and certain, then the practices will definitely have power.
That is not so hard to imagine, is it?
Finally, if imagining is difficult for you, then the next best
possibility is for you to use your conceptual mind and in a way, think
your way through the practice, talk yourself through the practice.
This is similar to being guided by someone else in meditation. The
practice leader is guiding your experience by talking to you. You are
listening to the sound of the words, and hopefully following the leader
at that moment. Over time, with the help of the leader you can develop
confidence and a deeper connection to the practice.
So you can see the different ways in which practice can work. They are
all valid in their own ways. The only question is: Which way do I
normally find myself connecting to practice; and from that place, how
can I further develop my connection?
Students often tell me, “I can feel” or “I can't feel”; or, “I can
visualize” or “I cannot visualize.” They’ll ask, “Am I doing it
right?” “Am I supposed to do it a different way?” These questions
always pop up in people’s minds, right?
In a way, everyone is in the right place in practice, no matter what
method they are using. It cannot be the wrong place, because it is the
only place that exists at that moment for you, so to be there is the
right place to be. It is important to recognize that it is indeed the
right place for oneself at this moment - while also to recognize that
other experiences are possible. For example, if you have become
comfortable with using the imagination during practice, then you may
want to try practicing now a little bit more from the place of feeling.
If a better approach is easy for you, then begin practicing in that
better way. If it’s not so easy, then understand that the way you are
connecting to practice at the moment is fine. Don’t think, “I am
unable to do it the better way; I’m only able to do it this way -
what’s the matter with me?” When you think in this way, not only are
you saying that your way is a bad way, but you are mistakenly labeling
yourself. Recognizing this will be the first step of growth in your
Looking at the different ways of doing the practice, where do you
stand? Have you reflected on your choices? Have you narrowed them
down? Can you now look at your practice and say, “I think I practice
this way and sometimes that way”? Have you become comfortable in a
certain way of practicing? And have you looked into the next step you
HONORING HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA ON HIS 71st BIRTHDAY!
July 6 is the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Let’s join
together on this auspicious day in heart and in prayer for his health,
happiness and long life!
Here is the Long Life Prayer for His Holiness (in Tibetan and English):
Gang ri ra be kor wai shing kham su
Pen dang de wa ma lu chung pai ne
Chen re zig wang Ten zin Gya tso yi
Shab pe kel gyai bar du ten gyur chig
In the heavenly realm of Tibet
Surrounded by a chain of snow mountains
The source of all happiness and help for beings
Is Tenzin Gyatso, Chenrezig in person.
May his life be secure for hundreds of kalpas!
From “The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace” by His Holiness the Dalai
Ultimately, all the excellent qualities within the cycle of existence,
the state of liberation, and Buddhahood are the result of the awakening
mind. It is also like a supreme medicine healing sentient beings’
sickness. It is like a wish-fulfilling tree in whose shade exhausted
wandering beings can rest and relax. It is like a bridge over which
sentient beings can be liberated from their negative states of
Cultivating the awakening mind is like the moon shining, dispelling the
darkness of disturbing emotions. It is like the bright sun removing
the murky ignorance of sentient beings. It is like the butter obtained
by churning the milk of the Dharma. Sentient beings are like travelers
wandering endlessly on the paths of the cycle of existence. This mind
wishing to benefit other sentient beings is like the very sustenance of
these wandering sentient beings. All of us wandering in the cycle of
existence are the same. The only difference is that today, because of
our merit, because of the kindness of our teachers, and because we have
encountered the Buddha’s teachings, we are able to cultivate such an
awakening mind in the presence of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
“The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
was published in 1997 by HarperCollins Publishers. Edited by Donald
Lopez, Jr. Part of a series by the Library of Tibet, General Series
Editor John F. Avedon. Available at local bookstores and online at
“HIS HOLINESS LUNGTOK TENPA’I NYIMA VISITS SERENITY RIDGE FOR THE FUNDRAISING
On May 27, Ligmincha Institute had the great fortune and honor to host
a fund-raising event in support of the Tibetan refugee orphans who are
under the care of the 33rd abbot of Menri Monastery, His Holiness
Lungtok Tenpa’i Nyima Rinpoche. The event was held at Serenity Ridge,
Ligmincha’s retreat center in Nelson County, Va.
Clouds of purifying smoke lifted into the afternoon sky. The long and
winding driveway, which had been ornamented with colorful chalk
drawings of the eight symbols of auspiciousness, was lined by sangha,
friends and family eager to greet His Holiness. Upon his arrival each
greeter offered him a traditional silk scarf (khata), some offered
flowers, and everyone spontaneously broke into wide smiles as His
Holiness received their offerings.
Later in our beautiful gompa, Tenzin Rinpoche along with the rest of
those gathered offered to His Holiness the mandala as well as prayers
for a long life. During this time together we were blessed to receive
from His Holiness the transmission for the Sherab Chamma practice as
well as an opportunity to be individually blessed by the text from
which he read. We then gathered outside in the hot Virginia sun to
participate in a blessing of the land and a ritual groundbreaking for
the upcoming construction that will complete the second wing of the
Garuda House dormitory.
After a brief rest period, the fund-raising dinner began. We were
joined under the tent by His Holiness, Chongtrul Rinpoche, Geshe Lhasay
Tenzin, Geshe Tenzin Yeshe, as well as Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Tsering
Wangmo and their son Senghe. A bounty of delicious food and diverse
entertainment was provided by both sangha and local musicians.
Due to the generosity of dinner attendees, other private donors, local
businesses that donated goods and services, and a large group of
volunteers who offered their time and energy, Ligmincha was able to
manifest this event in order to support the tireless work of His
Holiness in providing for the children under his care. Thanks to each
and every one of you. May all beings benefit!
- Raven Wood
ANNUAL FALL RETREAT AT CHAMMA LING RETREAT CENTER
Heart Drops of Dharmakaya
With an Introduction to Sky Gazing
September 7-10, 2006
With Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
The nature of our own mind remains hidden behind clouds of thoughts and
emotions until the time when a master directly points out to us the
source, the essence, the heart drop. This is the method of direct
introduction to dzogchen, the highest and most subtle path of
meditation in Tibetan Bon Buddhism.
The text “Heart Drops of Dharmakaya” was composed by Shardza Tashi
Gyaltsen, a Tibetan master who passed away in 1935, at which time his
physical body dissolved into light, into the rainbow body. Shardza
Rinpoche was one of the most influential teachers of his time, and his
works are used as textbooks in many Tibetan monasteries.
During this retreat Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will lead us in a series of
practices that use body, speech and mind in extraordinary ways to
invoke direct perception of the nature of mind. Unlike methods that
rely on observing the breath or calming the thoughts, these practices
use body postures and simple yet potent visualizations to draw us
directly and quickly to the experience of our essence. With the
introduction to sky gazing, we will learn to connect to and dissolve
within the vast expanse of space. There could be no better place to
learn these ancient practices than the high mountains of Crestone.
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche received these teachings from his root
teacher Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, one of the greatest living
dzogchen masters of the Bon lineage and the author of the commentary in
the book “Heart Drops of Dharmakaya,” published by Snow Lion, 2002.
Tenzin Rinpoche has a unique ability to relate these teachings clearly
and directly to our everyday lives. Please join us for this unique
RETREAT FEES ONLY: $210 (received by Aug. 7); $240 (received after
Aug. 7). Cancellation fee: $30
Visit www.chammaling.org for further information as well as to view
many beautiful photos of this amazing place.
Contact: John Jackson
Tel.: (434) 823-6419
THERE’S STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR THE AUGUST RETREAT AT SERENITY RIDGE
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):
$375 if received by July 25; $400 if received after July 25
NEW ITEMS AT LIGMINCHA’S TIBET SHOP
To read descriptions and see photographs of the newest items at
Ligmincha Institute’s Bookstore and Tibet Shop 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
"Unbounded Wholeness: Dzogchen, Bön and the Logic of the
Nonconceptual." By Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Anne Carolyn
Klein. Now available in leather-bound hardcover. Price: $85. (paperback
edition is also available, at $25)
"The Arrow and the Spindle: Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and
Beliefs in Tibet, Volume II." By Samten G. Karmay. A collection of
articles written by the author since 1999, including "History and the
'Yul Lha' Cult in Tibet"; "The Fifth Dalai Lama and Nyingmapa
Teachings"; and "Bonpo People and Their Heritage." Paperback, 237
pages. Price: $22
"The Healthy Mind Interviews: Khenpo Nyima Wangyal." By Henry M. Vyner,
M.D. Interview with Bon lama Khenpo Nyima Wangyal on the defining
characteristics of a healthy mind. Dimensions: 4" x 5". Paperback, 117
pages. Price: $7.95
"Dzogchen Teachings," by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. Just
published! Paperback, 168 pages. Price: $16.95
"Old Man Basking in the Sun: Longchenpa's Treasury of Natural
Perfection. Foreword by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu; translation and
commentary by Keith Dowman. Paperback, 335 pages. Price: $19.95
NEW DEITY CARD:
Elements Khandros, with written description on the back of the card.
MAPS OF TIBET:
Kailash - Lake Manasarovara, Trekking Map. Price: $18
South Central Tibet Map. Price: $18
Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim & Bhutan Map. Price: $18
SUPPORT FOR THE YOGAS OF DREAM AND SLEEP:
Zen Timepiece - This clock is both beautiful and functional. Its alarm
is the inspiring sound of a brass singing bowl. It includes a 'repeat'
timer, perfect for sounding intervals during meditation and yoga
practice; and for dream yoga practitioners, the timer can be set to go
off every two hours to enable waking for practice. The Zen Timepiece
runs on two C batteries (not included). It measures 4.5" (h) x 9.5"(w)
x 7" (d), and comes with instruction booklet.