News and Inspiration from Ligmincha Institute
Volume 7, Number 6
August 5, 2007
For easy reading, we recommend that you print out "The Voice of Clear
To access an archive of previous issues, visit www.ligmincha.org.
IN THIS ISSUE:
“Shining From The Inside Out” – an excerpt from “Tibetan Sound Healing”
by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
“Past, Present and Future: A Few Words From Geshe Tenzin Wangyal
Upcoming retreats at Serenity Ridge
Annual fall retreat at Chamma Ling
"Sestina for T.K." by Juanita Rockwell
Current volunteer opportunities at Ligmincha Institute: Volunteer
New items at Ligmincha Institute Bookstore and Tibet Shop
“SHINING FROM THE INSIDE OUT”– AN EXCERPT FROM “TIBETAN SOUND HEALING”
BY TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE:
We can always have good ideas about what we are going to do, but
manifesting them is harder. When, through the practice of the Five
Warrior Syllables, we find the courage to manifest, we feel so
different. There is a sense of being sealed or confirmed. In our
Western material world, this approach is very important. We value real
action and positive change. We are not content to recite a mantra,
thinking that in the next lifetime we will have some benefit. We want
to see the changes faster than that. If you want to see the changes
faster, you have to open internally; you have to bring the enlightened
quality to life and feel it energetically. Then you have to manifest
People often have no idea why they cannot bring about their good
intentions, and conclude with a negative statement about their own
defects and weaknesses. Or they feel they are a victim of others or of
circumstances. The bottom line is that if the inner work is not done,
the manifestation will not be there. Thinking alone does not work.
You have to open, feel, connect, cultivate, and then allow something to
manifest. If deep inside you are not open, if you really don’t feel
those positive qualities, or don’t even realize those qualities exist
in you, then how can you expect that positive qualities will manifest?
If you are having a difficult relationship with your parents, and you
are not opening and connecting with any positive qualities within
yourself, how can you expect something positive to come out at the
holiday dinner table? It doesn’t work. Inner work needs to be done
before you arrive at the table.
“Tibetan Sound Healing,” by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and edited by Marcy
Vaughn, is available online at Ligmincha’s Tibet Shop. The cost is
$19.95. For order information, please go to:
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE:
A FEW WORDS FROM GESHE TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE
During the recent summer retreat at Serenity Ridge, VOCL asked Rinpoche
for an update of his recent activities, his video production work, life
with his family, and plans for the future. Here's what Rinpoche shared:
VOICE OF CLEAR LIGHT: Now that the second wing of Garuda House has been
completed here at Serenity Ridge, what is your vision for the retreat
center in the months and years to come?
TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE: Over the past years so many people have been
very generous and engaged in creating this beautiful place for
spiritual living and internal spiritual development, toward preserving
this ancient, unique tradition that we are in danger of losing from the
face of the earth. It is like we have planted a seed in the West for
the Bon Buddhist tradition to continue, to grow and to flourish.
We have come quite far in creating a headquarters at Ligmincha and
Serenity Ridge, and this work has provided a foundation for people with
the same interests to create centers and practice groups around the
country and around the world. Over the long term we need to build a new
gompa and kitchen/dining facility, a library and a stupa. But now we
are in a position here to take a little break of a year or so from
major construction and focus more on taking care of our existing
structures. The lama house, for example, needs a lot of maintenance. In
addition we particularly need to pay close attention to the teaching
programs and other activities at the center. These are like the soul of
our efforts at Serenity Ridge -- the body is healthy, now we can focus
more on the activity of mind. It used to be only myself, His Holiness
Lungtok Tenpai Nyima and Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche giving
teachings here. Now we have expanded our offerings to include Ponlop
Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, visiting
geshes, and senior students giving programs here. My vision is that we
extend these programs even more, focusing on offering more events and
more-successful events, and on encouraging more participation by new
and existing students.
In particular, our visiting geshes from monasteries in India and Nepal
are developing a closer relationship to Ligmincha and myself. They will
be coming here more frequently, and we are creating plans for them to
offer longer-term programs at Serenity Ridge as well as classes at
Ligmincha's meditation center in downtown Charlottesville.
In addition, we are now developing a relationship with the department
of religious studies at the University of Virginia, which is renowned
for the strength of its Tibetan studies program and its major library
of Tibetan texts. We very excited to be collaborating on the Bon
teachings with David Germano and Kurtis Schaeffer, both associate
professors of Tibetan and Buddhist studies at UVa; and Kurtis is
planning to teach this fall on Bon. We are also exploring the
possibility that Geshe Tenzin Yangten can assist the department in
these initiatives. It is wonderful that we are now able to support UVa
in this way.
VOCL: Do you have any updates about Lishu Institute? What is there for
interested people to know about the new land in India, about upcoming
programs, and about your recent visit?
TWR: We are planning to have our first land blessing and retreat at the
Lishu land next year from October 24 through 27, 2008. We are inviting
everyone from all over the world to come together and enjoy this
historical moment. It is near Dehra Dun, in the state of Uttranchal
Pradesh, India, a major spiritual region with a lot of alternative
Buddhist and Hindu communities. A few months ago I traveled with
Candace Byers and Jan Dinkelaar to see the land, make further plans,
and connect with Geshe Thupten, who is working full-time there to
oversee the development. This is an absolutely beautiful piece of
property. Many people have said it was like a hidden place -- hidden
from everyone's eyes but ours, waiting there all the time for our
arrival. There are a lot of fruit trees: mango, papaya, pomegranate,
lychee, guava. Like Serenity Ridge it's on a hilltop surrounded by
mountains, but there you see mountains all around in every direction.
We are working really hard to purchase more land adjoining the
property, and will probably begin construction sometime in 2008.
Already we have registered legally as an educational society. The aim
is to preserve the Bon Buddhist tradition in the West. Lishu Institute
will allow Western students of Bon to enter residential programs of
three to five years or shorter study programs of one to three months.
There will always be a teacher in residence there. It will be an
affordable way to study the Bon tradition and culture on this beautiful
land in the foothills of the Himalayas, while being a sanctuary for
ancient texts and ritual items of the ancient Bon culture. There will
also be opportunities for personal retreats and for publishing,
translation and scholarly research projects.
While Serenity Ridge provides a lot of opportunities for learning, for
conferences and retreats, Lishu Institute will provide unique, longterm
residential programs for study and practice, with a particular
focus on study. This program is not for just anyone with an interest in
Eastern philosophy, it is for people who are prepared for ongoing
study, who are committed to the Bon tradition, who care about what I'm
doing, and who see the importance of preserving Bon in the West.
VOCL: On another topic, we've heard you have been doing a lot of video
work recently. How soon will you be ready to share this work with your
TWR: Actually, there are a number of these videos available to watch
online. In particular I have been working on a series of six teachings
related to "Tibetan Sound Healing," my new book from Sounds True, and
the first three of these are now on YouTube. People can find them by
going to YouTube.com and doing a search for "Ligmincha." Ultimately
there will be a teaching on each of the five warrior syllables to
support people in their practice. There is a video there on Serenity
Ridge and on a visit by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima. We are
about to post a film of the 80th birthday of my teacher, Yongdzin
Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, which was celebrated in Kathmandu in March
2005. Already there have been hundreds of views of some of these
videos, even without letting anyone know they are there. I find this
technology to be a very efficient way to deliver teachings and
information about our tradition to people all over the world.
VOCL: Can you report on how Yongdzin Rinpoche and His Holiness were
doing during your recent visits to Kathmandu and Dolanji, India?
TWR: Both Yongdzin Rinpoche and the abbot are doing really well as far
as their health is concerned. As far as their activity is concerned, it
always seems both of them are quite busy. Yongdzin Rinpoche has given
up all his activities related to the day-to-day operation of Triten
Norbutse. It was so nice to see him ... it seems like he is free and
happy, enjoying seeing people. He has a very nice energy about him and
is not stressed out. It was very nice seeing him that way, for Tsering
and myself just to have a relaxed visit with him.
It was our son Senghe's first time meeting Yongdzin Rinpoche. From the
moment he arrived Senghe was already doing endless prostrations to him,
in exaggerated ways, in all directions. Yongdzin Rinpoche was saying,
"That's enough, that's enough."
We also had a short visit with His Holiness. As always the abbot is
very much involved in administration of Menri Monastery. The amount of
work involved there seems a bit stressful, to the point that I had
moments when I thought I should remain there to help him. It was very
nice to see him well and very engaged. The monastery is expanding. They
have a beautiful library where they have been collecting books from all
the different Tibetan spiritual traditions, and were busy preparing for
the visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which the abbot told me
afterward was very successful.
It's always a great blessing to be able to visit His Holiness (Lungtok
Tenpai Nyima). I impressed on everybody to say long-life prayers for
him and for Yongdzin Rinpoche. Particularly, not long ago I spoke with
His Holiness on the phone and I told him I would recite 500,000 longlife
prayers as an offering for him. I will probably not be able to
complete all of them -- anyone who can join me in these prayers, please
let me know. (Editor's note: Please send your pledge for prayers to
saying the long-life prayer for His Holiness, we will be saying it for
all the teachers as well.
VOCL: Would you like to share a little more about Senghe and his first
visit to Triten Norbutse in March?
TWR: At that time Senghe was 15 or 16 months old. He just loved being
there, and he would leave Tsering and me to go with any monk to see the
monastery. As soon as he saw anyone he would hold out his arms to hug
and ask to be taken up. It was very hard to keep him with us. We would
see all the monks preparing for the New Year dance, and every day when
we came down, that's what he would be doing: reciting "Cham, cham," and
dancing. Every night he would hear the nuns doing the cho practice, and
the melody stayed so much with him. He would sing all the time "Na na
na na, sol wa deb." Even today in the car he was doing that. And in the
mall today when Senghe saw other kids, he would slap his hands and
pretend to debate them. It confirms that what you expose children to,
that's what they connect with. We are very happy he is so connected.
UPCOMING RETREATS AT SERENITY RIDGE
Good news – there is still time to register for the Tibetan Yoga
retreat at Serenity Ridge with Laura Shekerjian, Sept. 12-16, 2007.
You can find more information at www.ligmincha.org.
To register for this or any of the other retreats listed below, please
Tibetan Yoga: Tsa Lung Trul Khor
Introduction to the Harmony of Body, Breath & Mind
with Laura Shekerjian
Annual Fall Retreat (more information follows)
Fear and Attachment: Doorways to Liberation
The Practice of Cho from the Mother Tantra of the Bon Tradition
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Dzogchen Teachings From the Bon Tradition
with Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche
Dec. 27-Jan. 1
Annual Winter Retreat
The Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung
Completion of the Cycle
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Oct. 10-14, 2007
ANNUAL FALL RETREAT
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Fear and Attachment: Doorways to Liberation
The Practice of Cho from the Mother Tantra of the Bon Tradition
There is not one person who does not face problems in life. Many of
these problems have to do with fear and attachment. Fear and attachment
are also the most critical obstacles to realizing your essential
nature. The practice of cho is a creative and skillful method for
dissolving the emotional conflicts and dissatisfaction in your life by
cutting away, with compassion, the fear and attachment that obscure the
natural state of your mind. Traditionally, practitioners of cho sought
out powerful natural environments that intensified their experience of
fear, focusing perhaps too much on pacifying outer landscapes. Today in
the West we tend to dig for places that scare us from within, focusing
on eliminating embedded psychological conditions.
However, during this retreat Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will explain
how the practice of cho can help overcome not only the external and
emotional causes of fear, but also the ignorance, attachment and
aversion that are the true source of all fear. In so doing, cho can
unleash your potential for creativity and ultimately help you reconnect
to your natural state, which is innately open, aware and fearless.
The retreat will present the cho sadhana practice composed by the
famous Bonpo dzogchen master Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who
attained the rainbow body in 1934 at age 75. The opportunity to learn
the traditional use of bell and drum while performing the sadhana will
be offered to those with an interest in the ritual practice. For
retreat participants not interested in the ritual of drum and bell,
Tenzin Rinpoche will offer exercises for a core understanding of the
principles and practice of cho without the ritual performance.
Along with his wonderful sense of humor, Rinpoche brings a great gift
for making ancient wisdom accessible and relevant to our conventional
lives. This retreat is open to people at all levels of spiritual
practice and welcomes those facing fearful circumstances, threatening
illnesses, and the stressful challenges of everyday life.
Retreat cost (includes meals; accommodations are available):
$400 received by Sept. 5; $450 received by Sept. 19; $500 received
after Sept. 19
ANNUAL FALL RETREAT AT CHAMMA LING
Sept. 27-30, 2007
Sherab Chamma, the Wisdom Loving Mother
With Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
This fall Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will lead a retreat on Sherab Chamma,
the Wisdom Loving Mother, at Chamma Ling in Crestone, Colo. This will
be the first time these teachings will be given at Chamma Ling, and the
first time Rinpoche will introduce the Chamma tsok ceremony with an
intermediate-length sadhana. We will be practicing out in the
incredible mountain landscape overlooking the San Luis Valley.
In this retreat Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will teach practices that help
us retrieve the divine energy of Sherab Chamma for physical and
emotional healing; for cultivation of wisdom, love and compassion; and
for connecting with the ultimate and profound nature of reality. The
Wisdom Loving Mother is ever present, inviting us to unify with our
perfected wholeness. Rinpoche will bring his great gift for presenting
profound and ancient teachings in a way that is fresh and relevant to
our daily lives, giving the perfect teaching for us at this moment.
This teaching is especially powerful for us at Chamma Ling, the
solitary retreat center that is literally “The Home of the Loving
Mother.” Please join us in discovering the Divine Mother under the
guidance of our gifted teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
Our first three retreat cabins, which are now open for use by anyone in
the sangha year-round for personal retreat, will also be open for
Retreat fees (not including room and board): $220 received by Aug. 27;
$250 received after Aug. 27. Cancellation fee: $30
For full information and online registration see:
Sestina for T.K.
She dances wild, ten thousand lights fire
the sky. Her blade cuts deep against the night.
The frozen dark is helpless, heat breaks through
from one small spark to roaring light. She breathes
in wind, the rain, a rock, this flame: one
of everything there was, will be, or is.
My ragged breath, my tangled body is
in knots. I turn away, then face the fire.
I ask myself again, who is the one
who wants to change? Who changes? But tonight
my eyes will fight the weight of sleep, I’ll breathe
the same tired thoughts. I’m never through.
Tomorrow I’ll remember I played through
this movie once again, imagine what is
changing still. But now, my body breathes
in light and gathers fuel to stoke the fire.
The summer sun conspires to drown the night
in sweat. Dusk holds back, light has won.
But not for long. Darkness waits for one
last try, knocks on Sun’s door, walks through
the veil of heat, drags behind the night
of stars: each tiny ball of light is
a piece of day, a memory of fire.
The warm earth rests, the sparkling sky breathes.
Next morning, my cushion laughs, and still I breathe
out and in and out and in, one
breath follows the next as a tiny fire
sputters, a little bravely, singes through
my soggy morning mind. My last thought is
the wilding goddess dancing in the night.
We grin together, spinning through the night
of blade and blood and ribboned light. She breathes
me in and out. My hollow core is
burning sky from end to end. One
clear space that opens up and out through
what I thought I was, to dreams of fire.
Each day and night, a choice: to be the one
who breathes the sky, or be one drifting through
the seeming fog, who is afraid of fire.
- Juanita Rockwell © 2007
CURRENT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT LIGMINCHA INSTITUTE
Volunteer Coordinator (posted 7/29/07)
Ligmincha has an immediate need for a volunteer coordinator. This new,
important role is temporary and will serve to help locate a candidate
for a longer-term volunteer coordinator position.
This work can be done from any location. Internet access is necessary,
and some work will be done over the telephone. There will be periods
when little or no work is required and other times when quick action,
dedicated effort and flexibility may be called for.
Since its inception in 1992, Ligmincha Institute has relied on the
devoted, joyful efforts of volunteers to conduct most of its day-to-day
nonprofit operations as well as to fill critical one-time or occasional
short-term needs. As Ligmincha expands the scope of its offerings, new
needs for volunteers are continually arising; at the same time, a
number of people recently have expressed a sincere interest and
openness to volunteer.
Therefore, this is an ideal opportunity for a committed person with the
right disposition and skills to help match volunteers to Ligmincha's
needs, for the mutual benefit of all. It will be very rewarding work
for the right person and will help ensure the free flow of positive
energy throughout the organization. Importantly, this work will support
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Ligmincha council members in their
efforts to help make the teachings more accessible and to preserve the
Bon tradition in the West.
The ideal candidate for volunteer coordinator will:
* be dedicated to helping support the efforts of Geshe Tenzin Wangyal
Rinpoche and Ligmincha Institute
* have a relatively extraverted nature, strong communication skills,
and be well organized, responsible and good with people
* have a good instinct for people's strengths, interests and
dispositions and for matching a prospective volunteer to a position
they will be most comfortable, happy and effective in filling
* have the commitment, time and flexibility to respond quickly and
effectively to immediate needs
* Enjoy creating enthusiasm, building community and helping people get
to know each other.
This person will:
* play a central role as a primary contact for all prospective
volunteers as well as for Ligmincha council members with known
* survey Ligmincha council members regularly about their current and
* work with Ligmincha's communications department to write and post
"help wanted" ads for volunteer positions
* screen prospective volunteers regarding their skills, experience and
* suggest an ideal fit between prospective volunteer and existing needs
* ensure each volunteer has adequate ongoing supervision and support
from an assigned, knowledgeable person
* check in regularly with both volunteers and their assigned
supervisors to offer support and guidance and ensure the work continues
to be of mutual benefit
* maintain a file or database of volunteers and volunteer positions
* keep an email list of all volunteers so they may be easily contacted
when immediate needs arise
* continually develop the volunteer coordinator role to meet the
ongoing needs of volunteers and Ligmincha
If you are interested in this temporary volunteer coordinator position
and feel it's right for you, or if you have any questions, please
contact Polly Turner, co-director of communications for Ligmincha, at
NEW ITEMS AT LIGMINCHA INSTITUTE BOOKSTORE AND 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
Poster of Sherab Chamma and her retinue, 16" x 21.5", $18
Five Warrior Syllable Watches, "A" in the center, surrounded by the
other four syllables. In two styles: 23K gold plated, with date, gold
syllables on gold face, black Italian leather band, $75; 18K gold
plated, gold syllables on blue face, black Italian leather band, $65
Tibetan Buddhist Symbols, Knowledge Cards, by Robert Beer. Each card
has a drawing on the front and written description on the back. Images
are from Beer's beautiful book "The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and
Motifs." Price: $9.95
The Art of Tibet, Knowledge Cards, from the Newark Museum. Each
card has a photograph of various Buddhist objects and ritual items,
such as prayer wheels and thangkas, or of items used in daily life in
Tibet. Price: $9.95