Special Announcements Issue

Volume 9, Number 1 / January 2009


  • A Few Words from the Editors
  • An invitation from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: Summer Dzogchen Teachings
  • Upcoming Retreats at Ligmincha’s Serenity Ridge Retreat Center
  • Retreat Survey for Chamma Ling Colorado Retreat Center
  • New Items at Ligmincha’s Bookstore and Tibet Shop

Dear Voice of Clear Light Friends,
We would like to welcome all the new subscribers and also thank the many supporters and friends of VOCL that we’ve gained over the years. This issue begins our 7th year as editors! Our love of this work in putting together the monthly newsletter for Ligmincha Institute with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s blessing and guidance continues to grow and inspire us. We are happy to contribute in this way, sharing excerpts of Rinpoche’s oral teachings, inspirations from sangha and news and information about future teachings, as well as listings of new items available through Ligmincha’s popular Bookstore and Tibet Shop - all perfect ways to connect our worldwide sangha. Our teacher’s deep commitment and ceaseless efforts on behalf of us all were abundantly apparent in his latest live Internet teachings, a brand new way to connect us all to the dharma. Stay tuned for more!
Every other month the Voice of Clear Light serves as an “Announcements” issue, informing everyone about upcoming retreats and other news of interest from Ligmincha. On the months between, the Voice of Clear Light features excerpts of our teachers’ oral and written teachings, as well as interviews and a question-and-answer column. So we begin the year with this Announcements Issue, filled with wonderful retreat listings and news.
Our lives have changed forever through our connection to our teacher and the Bon tradition, and we find great happiness in this work for Rinpoche. We wish continued growth and peace in this new year to
Ligmincha Institute, a long life to Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and health and happiness to all of our dharma brothers and sisters around the world!
Happiest of 2009 in Bon!
Aline and Jeff Fisher
Editors, Voice of Clear Light
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche extends a personal invitation to both new and current students to join him for the complete cycle of A-Tri dzogchen teachings, this summer at Ligmincha’s Serenity Ridge retreat center in Nelson County, Va. Tenzin Rinpoche's letter of invitation follows:
Joyful greetings to everyone,
My family and I send our prayers and good wishes to all of you.
As the world is going through these challenging times of war and economic crisis, I hope your meditation practice and spiritual pursuits are right there to support you in dealing with any challenges you are now facing individually.
During difficult moments, engaging with the practice on one’s own or during group retreat is a meaningful way to address the needs of the soul and the heart. Therefore, I particularly wish to invite all of you to the 2009 annual summer retreat.
In recent weeks I have seen an amazing response from many people who feel driven to attend and seriously follow the cycle of Bon dzogchen teachings from the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung, which is offered over a period of several years during our winter retreats at Serenity Ridge in Nelson County, Virginia. I am very happy to see this level of enthusiasm and commitment to these important teachings.
As we are unable to accommodate everybody who wishes to come to our winter retreat, one solution is to attend the A-Tri dzogchen teachings this summer. If you can participate in all three weeks of the summer retreat (June 28 through July 18), you will experience in a relatively short time span the entire 15-part cycle of A-Tri dzogchen teachings. As a complete path to enlightenment, the A-Tri teachings are just as important as the Experiential Transmission teachings; they comprise everything from the ngondro (foundational practices) to preparation for dark retreat. They are an excellent introduction for beginners, and they also support and complement the ongoing study of the Experiential Transmission teachings. Therefore, I strongly recommend trying to come to all three weeks if possible.
The A-Tri teachings are from one of three major lineages of dzogchen teachings from the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet; the other two are the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu and Dzogchen lineages. They give very simple, clear and direct instructions for integrating spiritual practice through the three doors of body, speech and mind.
I hope you will be able to join us at Serenity Ridge this summer.
With all my love and best wishes,
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
FOR MORE INFORMATION about this retreat or to register, visit Ligmincha.org and click on “Retreats,” or go directly to: https://www.ligmincha.org/component/option,com_retreat/Itemid,131/retreat_id,41/
DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT A-TRI DZOGCHEN PRACTICE can be found in the book “The Stages of A-Khrid Meditation,” by Bru-sgom rGyal-ba g.yung-drung, translated by Per Kvaerne and Thupten K. Rikey. Available from Ligmincha Institute's Bookstore & Tibet Shop. Visit: https://www.ligmincha.org/store/by-type/books/dzogchen/217-the-stages-of-a-khrid-meditation.html
A WIDE VARIETY OF OTHER BOOKS ON DZOGCHEN ("The Great Perfection") can also be purchased from Ligmincha's Bookstore & Tibet Shop. Visit: https://www.ligmincha.org/store/by-type/books/dzogchen/view-all-products.html?limitstart=0&orderby=product_name
The retreats described below will all take place at Serenity Ridge, Ligmincha Institute’s retreat center in Nelson County, Va. To register, or for more information about teachings in the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet, please visit www.ligmincha.org or contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 434-977-6161.
March 5 – March 8, 2009
Healing Through Love and Wisdom: The Practice of Sherap Chamma
With Marcy Vaughn
The teachings of Sherap Chamma (Wisdom Loving Mother) comprise one of the most important tantric cycles of the ancient Bon Buddhist tradition. Sherap Chamma, understood as the primordial female energy from which existence arises, is the source both of wisdom and of the healing medicine of compassion and love. In this retreat, participants will learn a beautiful and simple meditation practice enabling them to connect directly with the divine feminine energy. Working with the support of the group, those on retreat will create an environment to promote profound healing of the physical, energetic/emotional, and spiritual dimensions of life. Through visualization, the sound of mantra, and deep silence, the practice of Sherap Chamma guides each person to deeply connect with his or her innate wisdom and with the love and compassion that naturally radiate from that wisdom. We warmly welcome new and experienced practitioners to this retreat.
Retreat cost: $275 received by January 22; $325 received after January 22
Please visit Ligmincha’s Web site for further information and to register:
April 13-14, 2009
Prayer Flag Workshop: Print Your Own Bonpo Prayer Flags
With Lharila Kalsang Nyima and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe
The colorful prayer flags flown by the Tibetan people for many centuries are believed to have originated in the Tibetan Bon tradition. The flags are printed with prayers and auspicious symbols on cloth whose colors represent the five natural elements. When raised, these flags create an uplifting energy and transmit blessings, protection and healing power to all corners of the universe.
During this workshop Lharila Kalsang Nyima and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe will guide students in the traditional method of printing prayer flags on colored cloth using carved wooden blocks. They will explain how to raise the flags with the right mindset both inside the home and outdoors, where the flags typically are hung to blow in the breeze until they disintegrate in the elements.
This stand-alone workshop serves as an ideal prelude to the retreat that follows with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, “Riding the Wind Horse of Good Fortune,” during which participants will learn more about the rituals for raising prayer flags.
Retreat cost: $125 (materials fee is extra).
April 15-19, 2009
Riding the Wind Horse of Good Fortune: Increasing Your Inner Strength and Prosperity
With Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
During these troubled times on earth, many of us are suffering from limited support not only from the human realm but also from the world of nature and the spirits. The ancient Tibetan rituals of the wind horse provide a way to communicate clearly and directly with the spirits of nature in order to gain their support and raise our prosperity, personal power and good fortune. This April at Ligmincha Institute's Serenity Ridge retreat center, amid the mountains of central Virginia, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will teach shamanic rituals that Tibetans have practiced for thousands of years and which have their origins in the Bon tradition, the indigenous spiritual tradition of Tibet. This is an opportunity for participants to gain knowledge of practices such as Sang Cho and the raising of prayer flags, while intimately connecting with and raising the
uplifting qualities and energies engendered by these powerful rituals. In his 20 years of living and teaching in the West, Tenzin Rinpoche has become renowned for his ability to convey the ancient wisdom of Bon Buddhism in a way that is immediately relevant, inspiring, and applicable to the needs of modern Western students. Tenzin Rinpoche invites both new students and those who have already participated in these rituals to join him at Serenity Ridge in this annual opportunity for healing. Retreat cost: $450 received by March 4; $525 received after March 4
Please visit Ligmincha’s Web site for further information and to register:
April 29 – May 3, 2009
The Six Lokas Purification Practice
A dzogchen retreat with Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche
We are pleased to announce that Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, the abbot of Triten Norbutse Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal, will again be teaching at Serenity Ridge this year. Through the power of the Meditation of the Six Lokas one relates to the emotional afflictions associated with each of the six realms of cyclic existence and purifies them in one’s own life. These afflictions are the six destructive emotions that are the obstacles to enlightenment: anger, greed, ignorance, jealousy, pride, and pleasurable distraction. During this retreat Khen Rinpoche will explain how mantra, imagery, and the base of contemplation can deeply purify the seeds of our karmic patterns and support the healing that comes from resting in one’s true nature, the source of all joy and happiness. Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche welcomes everyone to be with him at Serenity Ridge when he offers commentary, practice instructions, and transmission of the Meditation of the Six Lokas. Retreat cost: $450 received by March 25; $525 received after March 25
Please visit Ligmincha’s Web site for further information and to register:
June 3 - 7, 2009
The Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung, Part One: Ngondro - Dzogchen Foundational Practices
With Ponlop Trinley Nyima Rinpoche
This year we are again very fortunate to have Ponlop Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, the head teacher at Menri Monastery, India, teaching these beautiful and essential practices to us. The Ngondro, Part 1 of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung, is the entrance to a cycle of Bon dzogchen, or “Great Perfection,” teachings, which until the past decade were part of a secret transmission passed one-to-one from master to student. The ngondro teachings, a complete set of practices in themselves, offer instructions for taming, purifying, and perfecting oneself; and are the prerequisite for further study of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung. Although the practices that make up the ngondro are called preliminary or foundational practices, many practitioners adopt them as their main practice and complete the nine parts several times over the course of a lifetime. Within each of these beautiful and powerful practices is contained the entire path to liberation. The ngondro is the traditional method that provides a solid foundation of understanding and experience upon which a strong spiritual life can be developed. The practices of the ngondro can accompany the practitioner through the years like a lifelong friend. Students who attend this Ngondro retreat with Ponlop Rinpoche will be eligible to study Part 2 of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche at our 2009 winter retreat. Retreat cost (includes meals): $450 received by April 22; $525 received after April 22
Please visit Ligmincha’s Web site for further information and to register:
June 3 - 7, 2009
Ngondro Practice Retreat
Practice leader to be announced
Students who have received ngondro teachings and transmission are warmly invited to attend this practice retreat, which will focus on the practice of ngondro. This retreat will take place concurrently with the ngondro retreat with Ponlop Trinley Nyima Rinpoche (above); practitioners will meet in the Garuda House meditation room.
Tenzin Rinpoche highly recommends this intensive practice retreat for those students who received the ngondro teachings from him at the 2008 winter retreat as well as for other students who have received ngondro transmission in recent years and are practicing in preparation for the Part 2 teachings of the Experiential Transmission in December 2009.
The ngondro practice retreat offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the benefits of group practice within the boundary of our blessed and protected retreat land. The presence of the Ponlop Rinpoche and other students engaged in study and practice of the ngondro will add a powerful support for deep engagement with these beautiful and essential foundational practices of our lineage.
Special practice retreat price: $225.
June 28 – July 18, 2009
Summer Retreat 2009: A-Tri Dzogchen
With Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
This summer, at Ligmincha Institute's Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will present the complete (15-part) cycle of A-Tri dzogchen teachings. This is the first time that Tenzin Rinpoche will teach this complete cycle in the West during a single retreat. The A-Tri teachings are from one of three major lineages of dzogchen teachings from the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet (the two others are the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu and Dzogchen lineages). They present very simple, clear and direct instructions for integrating spiritual practice through the three doors of body, speech and mind. Tenzin Rinpoche feels that the three-week format of the summer retreat will create ideal conditions for an in-depth study of this powerful dzogchen system of mind training. Week 1 will focus on practices to purify and awaken awareness of the nature of mind through the body; Week 2 through speech; and Week 3 through the mind. The A-Tri teachings are a way to receive a full cycle of dzogchen teachings in a relatively short time (three weeks, rather than many months or years). These teachings not only are a great introduction for beginners, they also complement study of the Experiential Transmission system from which Tenzin Rinpoche teaches each winter.
Because of the integrated nature of these teachings and the manner in which each week will build on the one before, Rinpoche strongly recommends that people come to all three weeks so they can receive the complete cycle. If this is not possible, Rinpoche suggests you come to at least two weeks. 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 in-depth explanation of the practices will be offered. It is Tenzin Rinpoche's sincere wish that through this intensive study and practice opportunity, each student will find his or her own door to a life that is physically healthy, energetically vital and spiritually fulfilling.
Retreat cost (includes meals; accommodations are available): Week 1 and Week 3: $500 received by May 11; $575 received after May 11.
Week 2 (includes auction banquet): $515 by May 11; $590 received after May 11.
Please visit Ligmincha’s Web site for further information and to register:
To register for any of the above retreats, or for more information about teachings in the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet, please visit www.ligmincha.org or contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 434-977-6161.
Practice Retreat with Lharila Kalsang Nyima
August or September, 2009
We are currently surveying our community to choose our next practice retreat topic. The purpose of our practice retreat series is to provide the time and space with a qualified teacher to deepen one’s practice of a specific meditation. There will be at least four formal practice sessions each day, and many opportunities to clarify the practices with the teacher. Our practice retreats are intimate, with no more than 20 participants, and supported by the sacred space of our retreat center nestled in the Sangre de Christo mountains in Colorado.
Here are some of the comments from participants of Lharila’s 2008 retreat: “EXCELLENT! I hope there will be more retreats in the future.” “The small group and the quiet setting were perfect for this retreat.” “Lharila Rinpoche was delightful…”
Please visit our Web site, chammaling.org, to complete our brief survey and help shape the future of our programs. You will find the link on the home page, along with information about our upcoming retreats with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Alejandro Chaoul-Reich.
These are just a few of the new items just in at the Tibet Shop. To see many more, visit Ligmincha.org and click on “NEW items” in the left-hand menu, or go directly to https://www.ligmincha.org/store/by-type/new-items/view-all-products.html?practice=0
*Dream Yoga Visualization Card Set: Designed to be used as a companion to the best-selling book “The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep” by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. The card set provides the essential
points of the Dream Yoga practice as presented in the book, as well as beautiful meditation images to support and inspire the practitioner during each stage of the practice. Practice supports included are:
Nine breathings of purification
Four foundational practices of the day
Preparatory practices before sleep
Essential points of the main practice
Four tasks, qualities, and stages of the practice
The card set features a built-in support that allows it to stand upright on your night table. With a spiral binding at the top, the cards conveniently flip up to reveal a written and visual support for each stage of the practice. $24.95
*Chod: A colorful 2-DVD set designed to encourage mastery of the bell, drum, and chanting of the Bonpo Cho practice, “Laughter of the Skygoers.” Includes interactive demonstration of the practice with optional Tibetan and phonetic Tibetan subtitles, detailed drumming instruction, and enriching information about the uses of Cho. Featured lamas: Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Geshe Yungdrung Gyaltsen, and Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche. $29.95
*“Colloquial and Literary Tibetan: Practice Usage” by Dagkar Namgyal Nyima. This is a textbook and lexicon dealing with both colloquial and literary Tibetan, for intermediate and advanced students.
- Literary words that are not used in conversations are clearly indicated.
- Synonyms are given for much of the vocabulary, along with instructions on how to use them in sentences.
- This book contains over seven thousand examples, ranging from children's language to high philosophical expressions. A number of Tibetan proverbs and pieces of religious advice with hidden implications are also to be found among them.
- Terms are arranged by grammatical function (e.g. adjective, adverb, etc.) and are presented in Tibetan alphabetical order.
- An English-Tibetan Glossary serves as a useful aid for learning various Tibetan terms and expressions and their meanings provided under the main entry for each word. It also serves as an index, helping the student to locate relevant information more easily.
"The example sentences are often very striking and dramatic, which helps to stick in one's memory." - Dan Martin.
Hardback, 674 pages. Price: $80
*Ligmincha Institute’s 2009 wall calendar: 11” x 8.5” full-color wall calendar, “Pilgrimage to Tibet.” The calendar features 25 beautiful and moving photographs from a trip to sacred Bonpo sites in the fall of 2007 by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and a group of his Western students. The photographs were taken by participants on the trip. $18.95
Major U.S. and Mexican holidays
Bon and Buddhist auspicious days
Months and days in Tibetan & English

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