News and Inspiration from Ligmincha Institute
Volume 7, Number 3
April 8, 2007
For easy reading, we recommend that you print out "The Voice of Clear
A printable PDF version of this month’s edition of VOCL, in readerfriendly
newsletter format complete with color photographs, will be
available online later in the month. Please check the link for VOCL on
Ligmincha Institute's home page at You can also
access an archive of previous issues at:
“On Finding Yourself in the Nature of Mind” – an edited excerpt from
oral teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, winter 2002
Late-breaking news from Ligmincha
Next WWW teaching with Tenzin Rinpoche will be on April 28
Donations From the Heart
A message from Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Items for the summer auction must be in by May 15
Art for the new wing of the Garuda
Upcoming spring and summer retreats at Serenity Ridge
“Early-bird” registration date for the summer retreat is May 28
New items at Ligmincha’s Bookstore and Tibet Shop
“ON FINDING YOURSELF IN THE NATURE OF MIND” – an edited excerpt from
oral teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
In order to directly experience the nature of mind, during dzogchen
practice we try to create certain conditions within the body, speech
and mind. We use postures or movements of the physical body, practices
of the breath, and the concentration and focus of awareness of the
It is not as if the nature of mind is a separate object, a separate
place where you as a subject can take a bus, train or a plane to. It
is not like that - there is no place to go, no place to search for the
nature of mind. Nor is the nature of mind a form with a particular
shape or color that you can experience. If you are searching for your
nature in those ways, you will not find anything. That is guaranteed.
We are so conditioned to always be expecting to see some THING. It is
very, very difficult for us to rid ourselves of the mind of ours that
has expectations.
If you go out to find a job, you go with the expectation of finding one
that pays well, say. That expectation helps guide your search toward
finding the right job for you. In looking for the nature of mind,
though, it makes no sense to look with the expectation that you will
see something, because there is nothing to see.
Now you may be thinking, “There’s nothing to see? Well, that’s a
little discouraging.” Maybe you are curious about what this means. You
are beginning to realize that you cannot experience the nature of mind
in the same way you can experience your dreams, your thoughts, your
feelings, or any kind of form. The nature of mind will not be seen in
any of those ways. It is possible that during meditation, sometimes
you will see various colors or shapes that are signs or qualities of
some experience of, or connection to, the nature of mind, but even
these are not the nature of mind.
The introduction to the nature of mind is essentially about creating
the right causes and conditions - that’s really what it is. In the
same way that by placing a mirror in different locations you find that
your view changes, so too by putting your body in the right position,
your breath in the right position, and your mind in the right position,
you are able to simply find your self in that place. But when you find
your self in that place, it is not that you are seeing something, it is
only that you are being. The moment you think that you are seeing your
nature, you are actually not. You see, one of the subtlest obstacles
to resting in the nature of mind is not being able to get rid of the
seer, the one who sees. Until you get rid of the observer, the
perceiver, the subject, the nature remains hidden.
So, you don’t create or force the experience of the nature of mind;
rather, you can put the proper conditions together for finding your
self there. It would be a good idea to look at all that we experience
in our lives in that same way - understanding that we can’t always
achieve the results we want by forcing them, but we can instead try to
set up the proper conditions for those results to arise naturally.
Often we ignore the advantages of setting up the proper conditions and
just struggle to force the result into manifestation.
For example, you want to be happy. So what do you do sometimes? You
just try to force yourself to be happy, even though in a relative sense
you are simply in the wrong place to support being happy. Let’s say
you are somebody who has a knack for electronics, who is fascinated
working all day long on computers and has so much knowledge about how
they work, and yet you may not be able to cook even a cup of tea for
yourself. Now, if you were put into the position of being a chef at a
restaurant, then that would definitely be the wrong place for you to be
happy. So, you don't realize you are in the wrong place, the wrong
time, the wrong situation, and all you know is that you want to be
happy. The location makes you suffer, the situation makes you suffer,
the timing makes you suffer, and yet you simply push yourself to be
happy. You just cook furiously, and the customers continually are
dissatisfied, and eventually the restaurant has to go out of business.
That forcing of the situation would obviously be the wrong approach.
What should you do instead? Focus your effort on changing the place,
changing the timing, changing the circumstances to make them the right
ones for being happy. If you do find the right conditions, then you’ll
be naturally happy. You create the causes for natural happiness rather
than futilely struggling to force the result.
Many times in our lives we get stuck simply because we don't know we
are trying to force a result that is not supported by our
circumstances. We may only be repeating to ourselves, “I want to be
happy, I want to be happy, I want to be happy.” The added tension
created by trying to force your happiness actually tends to worsen your
situation. It actually creates the opposite effect, digging you deeper
into that unfortunate situation. Do you see how that kind of narrow,
result-oriented focus can be a kind of a secret obstacle for us at
This is especially true regarding the practices of the nature of mind.
So, what is the introduction to the nature of mind? You understand
that it is not the same as my saying "Look at this cup" (Rinpoche holds
up a teacup). Rather, there are exercises, practices and techniques
that all create a space where there is a greater chance to have
experience. None of those techniques you learn are the nature of mind.
None of those practices are the nature of mind. They are a very
skillful means. In one important sense the only time you will have an
experience of the nature of mind is when you are not practicing. But
you must begin with the practice and then during the session you forget
the practice. How can you forget the practice? When you come to the
place where there is nothing at all you could call effort, that is the
moment when you find yourself in the nature of mind: free from your
thoughts, feelings, emotions and conditions, abiding in the space of
infinite potential, in which there is a cause for the perfection of
every experience that could arise. There is a sense of nothing
lacking, because everything is perfected. The sense of longing,
lacking, missing, not having enough - none of those experiences are
there. On the contrary, there is the sense of being complete,
perfected, whole; and you find your self.
So, regarding the introduction to the nature of mind, the important
point here is not to get too attached to the techniques or methods, but
to work with them so you can create the right position of the body, the
right breathing, the right focus of the mind. If you are able to bring
together the right conditions of body, energy and mind, then there is
no way not to experience your nature. As we always say, there is no
power or force that could possibly stop the result when all the causes
and conditions are together. The same is true with regard to being
happy. If all the causes and conditions for your being happy are
together there, you will naturally be happy, and there is no force at
all that can stop you from being happy and make you suffer. Likewise,
if those causes and conditions are not there, if the causes and
conditions are the wrong ones, then there is no force that can make you
feel good. That is why the whole notion of cause and effect, or the
law of karma, is so important in the dharma.
So, we must develop those causes and conditions that support the
experience of the nature of mind without being too attached to the
techniques or practices. This does not mean you don’t learn how to do
the practices precisely; you do learn them - very precisely. However,
it's just like an old man who walks from one place to another with the
help of a walking stick: His goal is to arrive at the new location, not
simply to become attached to the walking stick, right? We also know
that if the old man tries to walk there without the stick, for sure he
will not reach his goal. Therefore, when walking to the new location
he makes sure he has a firm grasp of the sturdy stick that supports
him. Once he reaches his destination, the walking stick is no longer
important to him. The practices, the techniques, are exactly like
that. The methods are exactly like that. They never lose their
potential to be of benefit when the need arises, but just don’t get
attached to them. Is that clear?
Ligmincha Institute’s first grant request has been approved. The grant
is from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and will enable Kalsang
Nyima to come to the United States this summer to paint thangkas
related to the Tummo teachings.
Please mark your calendars for the next WWW teaching with Tenzin
Wangyal Rinpoche:
Saturday, April 28, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. ET (New York/Charlottesville
The teaching topic will be:
The Five Warrior Seed Syllables: The Healing Power of Sound in the
Tibetan Bon Buddhist Tradition
Since ancient times meditative practices from a variety of spiritual
traditions have used sound and its vibration as an essential tool for
healing. Through the singing and chanting of sacred syllables and
mantras, spiritual practitioners, healers and laypersons can purify and
restore harmony to a range of physical, emotional, psychological and
spiritual dimensions. Guided by the mind and carried by the breath
through subtle channels, the power of sound opens the potential to heal
illness and dissolve energetic disturbances.
The Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition is one of the oldest unbroken
lineages of wisdom to make use of sound for health, well-being and
spiritual growth. The knowledge of its sound practices is contained in
a number of Bon texts, including the revered Mother Tantra.
During this WWW teaching Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will explain the
relationship between the sounds of the five warrior seed syllables and
their healing qualities. He’ll also instruct us on the meditations that
empower their healing capabilities.
VOCL subscribers will receive an email bulletin with instructions for
registration and logging in. Or, visit Ligmincha's Web site,, for this information prior to the WWW teaching.
To all my students and friends of Bon,
In our sangha many people have offered their financial support with a
great deal of generosity. Another way to give is through physical
labor. Many people know that I do physical work myself. For example,
when I go to Yongdzin Rinpoche's place in France I paint or clean
windows and put my physical labor into things for five to ten days at a
time. In this way some sense of my body is involved in service, not
only my check is involved.
In a similar way, I would like sangha members who visit the Serenity
Ridge Retreat Center to become physically involved in its creation and
maintenance. I encourage people to come to help paint the new wing of
the Garuda House. We will be setting aside time for this purpose in the
coming work retreat, from Monday through Wednesday, April 23 to 25,
right after the spring retreat. I plan to be there to help myself, and
many members of Council already have pledged to be there.
Since painting the wing ourselves will save Ligmincha many thousands of
dollars, this opportunity is not only a way to offer physical support,
it also is indirectly a way to offer your financial support. Please
consider joining us in offering this service to the retreat center.
All my best wishes,
with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
April 23-25, 2007
Join us for a three-day work retreat with Tenzin Rinpoche immediately
following our spring retreat. Pre-registration required.
We will be painting the finishing coat in the rooms of the new wing of
Garuda House in the five element colors! The joyful work of painting
the interior rooms of Garuda's new wing will alternate with periods of
meditation practice. Free accommodations in the old wing and meals will
be provided. You can come for one, two or all three days. Everyone is
welcome. (For anyone who can stay a little longer, Rinpoche will also
be giving a free public talk at Ligmincha's Downtown Meditation Center
on Wednesday evening, April 25, from 7-8:30 p.m.)
Pre-registration for the painting retreat is required because we will
need a head count for the kitchen. If you can help us with this very
important - and fun! - project please contact Lee Hartline by April 20
at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 434-977-6161.
*Deadline is May 15
Each year during the summer retreat we celebrate and support Rinpoche’s
dream of developing Ligmincha Institute’s Serenity Ridge Retreat Center
with a lively auction and banquet. Traditionally, this has been the
only public fund-raising event that Ligmincha Institute holds to
finance land development projects at Serenity Ridge.
We will have completed construction of the second wing of Garuda House
by June. Over 40 percent of the construction was paid for by sangha
donations; the rest we have paid for by securing a mortgage. The 2007
auction is vital to repaying this debt so development of Serenity Ridge
can continue.
Every year we seek donations for the auction of quality practice- or
shrine-related items that can inspire and deepen one's practice. Below
is a list of some of the items that have helped generate lively bidding
and generous contributions in the past:
Crystal objects: stupas, balls, malas, phurbas, vajras
Tibetan singing bowls and drums, large or small
Tibetan or English texts that have been used by our teachers
Silver or gold gaus or amulets
Malas made from precious or semi-precious stones
Photos of our teachers, or of sacred sites
Thankas, prayer banners
Items blessed by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, Yongdzin Tenzin
Namdak Rinpoche, or Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Your enthusiastic participation and support are essential at this
important time of growth for Ligmincha Institute’s Serenity Ridge
Retreat Center. All donations are tax deductible.
DEADLINE IS MAY 15, 2007. If you have an item to donate, please call
or email me to discuss its suitability, the information we will need
about it, and shipping instructions.
Candace Byers
Director of Fund-Raising
Ligmincha Institute
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
As most of you know by now, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will be
presenting further teachings on Tummo this summer. At the same time,
our Garuda House will have completely unfolded its second wing, ready
to fly. It would be a wonderful offering if artists in our sangha would
consider donating "practitioner art" to hang on the walls of the new
bedrooms, hallways and lounges. We are going to try to spiff up all
four of the lounges in Garuda House so that they are welcoming places
for people to gather and share. We are going to try to make them simple
and lovely, warm, contemplative spaces.
We can frame your piece if necessary; don't worry about presentation,
we are most interested in your creative effort. If you have artwork you
wish to share, please contact Candace Byers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or
** To register for the following retreats contact Ligmincha Institute
at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 434-977-6161. For more information about
retreats at Serenity Ridge and elsewhere, please visit
April 18-22, 2007
“Conquering Negative Influences – The Healing Practice of the Red
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Spring Retreat at Serenity Ridge is a time for healing and
rejuvenation. Each year Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche introduces a
therapeutic practice from the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet for
healing our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual
dimensions. During this retreat, Tenzin Rinpoche will transmit the
tantric practice of self-transformation into red garuda, empowering us
to conquer the negative forces that spread sickness and misery.
The garuda is a bird that is said to emerge from its egg fully matured
and able to fly. It is a symbol of enlightenment, innately free from
limitations. There are five types of garuda, one for each of the
elements – earth, water, fire, air and space. The red garuda is
associated with the fire element.
The teachings and practices of this mystical bird originated with the
founder of Bon, Tonpa Shenrab. Although they are among the world’s
most ancient healing practices, they play a special role in our modern
times. They have the power to conquer the forces of negativity that
give rise to many forms of illness experienced today.
The red garuda practice cultivates absolute fearlessness and is
particularly effective in restoring balance between humanity and our
environment. It generates health and well-being not only for
ourselves, but also for other beings, seen and unseen, who inhabit the
natural world.
Please join us for this unique opportunity to experience Tenzin
Rinpoche’s personable teaching style, humor and warmth while receiving
instructions in one of Bon’s most remarkable healing practices: the red
RETREAT COST (includes meals): $500
May 18-20, 2007
Ngondro Practice Retreat
with Marcy Vaughn
The ngondro is the doorway through which one enters the vast and
profound Bon Buddhist path. A set of nine foundational or preliminary
practices, the ngondro provides a solid base of understanding and
experience upon which a strong spiritual life develops.
Although the practices that make up the ngondro are called preliminary,
many practitioners adopt them as their main practice, completing the
accumulations of the entire ngondro many times over the course of a
lifetime. It is possible to understand these beautiful practices as
complete practices in themselves, for within each is contained a
complete path to liberation.
The more you devote yourself to these practices that tame, purify and
perfect the mind and the more you become familiar with the experiences
they bring, the more you will find spiritual practice grounded within
you. The ngondro then becomes a true friend that accompanies you
throughout your spiritual life.
Join your fellow practitioners for this three-day practice intensive to
connect with the power and beauty of the ngondro.
Note: This practice retreat is open only to those who have received
the ngondro transmission.
RETREAT COST (includes meals): $150
July 1-21, 2007
“The Fireball of Primordial Wisdom”
Part II of the Tummo Practice from the Bon Tradition
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
**“Early-bird” registration date for the summer retreat is May 28
This summer, Tenzin Rinpoche will continue to instruct us in the
practice of tummo (generating the inner heat) to burn away subtle
obscurations and cultivate bliss, from the text Ku Sum Rang Shar
(Spontaneous Arising of the Three Kayas). This text is by Shardza
Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche, a Bon master who achieved the body of light,
or rainbow body, in 1934.
At last year’s summer retreat Tenzin Rinpoche began the instruction of
this beautiful and powerful tantric practice by teaching the outer,
inner and secret foundational practices of tummo. The manner in which
Rinpoche crafted each day of the retreat and guided the meditation
sessions, allowing sufficient time to develop each stage of practice,
led to powerful experiential results.
At this year’s retreat, Rinpoche will provide similar opportunities for
students to engage deeply with the practice to help maximize each
person’s experience of the benefits of tummo. Tenzin Rinpoche is
preparing a pre-retreat practice program; registrants will be
encouraged to engage with this program daily for one month prior to the
retreat. (More information will be provided at the time of
registration.) In addition to tummo, the practices of the nine
breathings of purification and the physical yogas of tsa lung and trul
khor will reinforce the clearing of obstacles, hindrances and
You may come for one, two or all three weeks of the retreat. If you
are able to attend only one week, Rinpoche recommends that you come to
the first week, when he will review the practices that he taught last
summer. Of course all are welcome no matter which week they attend.
RETREAT COST (PER WEEK) – includes meals: $450 if received by May 28:
$500 if received by June 13; $550 if received after June 13. (Week
One: July 1-7; Week Two: July 8-14; Week Three: July 15-21)
*Note: Participants in the summer work retreat receive a 50 percent
discount on one week of the summer retreat (see below.)
June 24-30, 2007
Serenity Ridge Summer Work Retreat
This is a wonderful time to share with sangha and to be of joyful
For those who participate in the entire work retreat there will be a 50
percent discount on one week of the summer retreat. 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 sites and meals.
To view descriptions and photographs of the newest items at Ligmincha
Institute’s Bookstore and Tibet Shop and for order information, please
go to and click on "search by category or
description" and then click on "New Items." Or, go directly to:
All funds from your purchase of this photo go directly to the Serenity
Ridge Land Fund. Price: $10
We've redesigned our Five Elements Meditation Card Set that accompanies
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book "Healing With Form, Energy and Light."
Set includes a card for each element, with the respective seed syllable
depicted in color (calligraphy by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche). Also
included: a card depicting the mandala of all five elements. Each card
is 6" x 6 1/2". Price: $12.95
Yeshe Walmo Healing Mantra protection amulet. One side features an
image of Yeshe Walmo, the other the seed syllable 'SO.' To be worn
around the neck or hung in one's home or shrine. Price: $15
Tapihritsa Khorlo. The mandala has been drawn on paper, adorned with
sacred mantras, folded, wrapped in colored threads, and encased in
clear plastic. This khorlo is said to protect one from negativities. To
be worn around the neck or hung in one's home or shrine. Price: $20
Now back in stock with a new CD cover. Price: $20
Sorig Incense - large box, 60 sticks. Sorig incense is made by the Men
Tsee Khang, the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of H.H. XIV
Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala, India. Price: $10.95. (We also carry a
smaller box of 40 sticks for $8.95.)
Sorig Incense Powder, 2.5 oz. package. Price: $5.00
Swift-Lite Charcoal Tablets. Package of 10 tablets. Used for burning
powdered incense and copal resin. Price: $2.25

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