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Letter From Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

Year-End Reflections

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Dear Sangha and Friends,

This has been a year of extraordinary change and transformation, not only for Ligmincha, but also for me personally and all followers of Bön. Ligmincha has begun to grow and expand in ways that none of us could have imagined even just a few years ago. My son, Senghe, has moved to India to study at the Tibetan Children’s Village School. And, of course, in the past year nothing outshadows the passing of His Holiness, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, at the age of 89.

Without the incredible kindness, discipline, effort and vision of His Holiness, there is almost no chance that any of us would have met with these teachings in this lifetime. In his life no task was beneath him, no obstacle too great and no burden too heavy. This strength came to him because he was a true embodiment of compassion and wisdom in human form. He left his body with all the signs of full realization. And so we know that, while everyone who knew him feels a deep sense of loss, his presence in our lives will never pass away.

We honor the memory of His Holiness through our work: together as Ligmincha and also as individuals in our practice and the ways in which we live in the world. Looking back at these past 25 years it is amazing to see how many people have felt a connection to the teachings that he and His Eminence Yongdzin Rinpoche brought from Tibet. So many people have offered their time, knowledge and financial support to ensure a home for Bön in the West. I have immense gratitude for everyone who has been a part of this journey – those who are still here and those no longer with us. No effort has been wasted, and every contribution continues to benefit the dharma and practitioners all around the world.

I feel that our successes come from openness, flexibility and a deep sense of connection. The truth of the teachings never changes; the support of the internal and external refuges never changes. But the format, they ways that the teachings are presented, can change to suit the needs of the times and the culture.

At the beginning of Ligmincha, connecting meant coming to retreats or weekend teachings and meeting together in local practice groups. At that time books and transcripts and cassette recordings were the only supports for practice. The Internet has changed everything. First we created a website, then online courses, social media sites, webcasts and finally Facebook Live events in many languages. It is impossible to say what forms the teachings will have in the future. But through our open hearts and flexibility of thought, more and more people will find strength and healing from the teachings. Together we will build an increasingly diverse community of practitioners, each of whom can participate in the ways that best suit them. From short self-guided teachings and practices online, practice groups in many languages and locations, to extended periods of solitary retreat: we will support all practitioners according to their situation and their capacity.

In 2018 I intend to spend time in India with my family. While there and throughout the year I will be focused on developing the cyber-sangha and preserving the Bön teachings. In India and abroad, Ligmincha will increase its efforts to record Bön knowledge-holders, preserving their wisdom for future generations. I am also excited to continue expanding access to the teachings in Asia, including China, and in the Tibetan community. To strengthen our local sanghas we will be offering more training and support for practice leaders, umzes and teachers. These trainings will be online and in person.

At this time I want to thank Rob Patzig, our President; Sue Davis-Dill, our Executive Director; the members of the International Board and all of our local leaders for their efforts to support the sangha and for the cooperation that is taking place all around the world. I also want to thank all of the volunteers who make our retreats and our many Facebook Live events possible. Without them I could not do nearly as much as I am doing now.

From the depths of my heart I thank every person who has been a part of all this, and I hold each of you in my prayers.

With my blessings,
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche