Sunday, 24 January 2010

Reminder: Rinpoche's Visit to Ireland 2010

Ringu Tulku will be teaching in Dublin fro 13th-18th April. As usual, his schedule will include evening teachings in Dublin Samye Dzong, and weekend of teachings elsewhere in Dublin. He will not be travelling to Dzogchen Beara or Prajna Community in Galway this year due to other commitments. It is important to note that the evening teachings especially will require pre booking to reserve a place, all are welcome to join the weekend talks, the topic, venue and other details to be announced shortly.

The following prayer for Ringu Tulku was composed by His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa 17th. it is recommended that this be recited daily, to protect Rinpoche, promote good health and ensure his long life.

" The most peaceful essence of clear light,
Arisen as the changeless form of illusion,
Free from any sign of age and decay,
May he live forever as the Buddha of long life"

Bob Whiteside of Ireland requested the Karmapa write this prayer at Bodhgaya during the 26th Kagyu Monlam, in the presence of a group of Irish Bodhicharya students. It was written on January 17th 2009 and presented to Rinpoche in Siliguri, India at that time.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

His Holiness Karmapa's visit to Europe

Information on the forthcoming visit to Europe of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa will soon be put up on the web. Click here for information.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Another update from Rahima Sayer in Sikkim

December and January news from the garden

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity and development in the garden. Normally winter months are the quietest but we have achieved an enormous amount these last few weeks.
A greenhouse shade and shelter has been erected of 100 ft. Constructed from local bamboo with the help of local labour to put it up, This will be invaluable for protecting the young seedlings in their developing year from hail and rain.

Also the installation of a new water tank in the near vicinity of the green house will ensure that water is easily accessible to the site.
We are so fortunate to have the help of Pema Namgyal, Rinpoche’s brother who has built and looked after the retreat during the last few years. His knowledge and expertise in all areas has made it possible to continue to develop the project. He organises all the buying of materials and brings it over himself. Also all the labour communication for the building of structures and installation of the water systems he organises. Without his assistance this project would be very difficult maybe impossible.
Until you live in the HImalayas it is impossible to understand the fragility of the whole environment. Everything we need has to be imported, except for the local bamboo!! Everything like nails, screen netting and plastic pipes come from the plains of India so journeys up the mountains to Gangtok and then over once again to the Rumtek mountain where we are situated. This of course makes everything very expensive, as also being off the road everything is then carried down to the site. One assumes that working in India will always be much cheaper than Europe but this is not the case for the Himalayas. All these things have to be taken into consideration when looking at the project as a whole.

Amy Jennings from Ireland visited the garden for three weeks during November and December. Amy is a conservation scientist and offered invaluable advice and expertise in the procedures of seed sowing and cultivation. She immediately started to sow seeds using the inside of bamboo pieces for seed trays. She has an ability to tune into the environment and use what is available; it was so helpful to have her presence. She brought great energy and enthusiasm into creating a new rose garden and ideas for the landscaping of the overall garden. We look forward to her return soon. and many more inspirational plans!
The next phase of the project will be to install a workable irrigation system.
The land structure of the garden will be formatted in such a way to facilitate the water run off during the monsoon period.

More news and from the Bodhicharya retreat centre in Sikkim

Rahima Sayer has sent us more news of the work being done at the Bodhicharya Meditation Retreat Centre.
Photos by Rahima and Pat Little.


Greetings from the Eastern Himalayas
Eight months have now passed in our new garden of Sowa Rigpa medicinal plants. It has been a time of research and trials of different plants and experiments with the soil, and we have now some experience of the himalayan climate zones.
Autumn has arrived in these parts and some days are like mild irish summer days with a tinge of the unexpected. They can dramatically change into blazing hot temperatures or cool chilly clouds descending and enveloping the whole mountain and valley.
It seems it has just snowed in the high mountains so we are affected with a dramatic drop in temperature and chilly rain wet damp atmospheres. Although we have not experienced the deep cold, the nights are already very cool. The days are varied and unpredictable. Such is the outdoor life of the plant world here.

Looking at the soil, which is now baked hard in the beds which have not been turned this month, it is hard to believe that only weeks ago this hillside was drenched in monsoon rains. These are the conditions that we have to learn to adapt our plants to.
the seed collection that was generously donated this year from our friends Rager Ossel in Holland- wonderful bio dynamic seeds; and Anne Marie Ellison in Ireland- organic centre seeds; these have shown many different results.
Some germinated very quickly and then did not grow into maturation but remained miniature
varieties. Somewhat akin to Bonsai species, which was rather a strange feature! photo - Rahima in the Garden.
Others grew well such as the green manures planted to improve soil fertility. The red clover, summer vetch and blue lupins flourished for several months but again only half their usual size. It is hard to determine whether or not they made an impact on soil fertility or not.
So now as we roll into winter we are planting local varieties of beans, peas radish spinach and cabbages. Another approach to improving the soil, all the rime using well rotted local cow manure. Which is such expensive stuff to procure that we are now looking to having our own cow with the added benefit of fresh milk for the
retreatants and company.
Of the medicinal plant species we have tried this year we have no survivors but certainly a wealth of experience now for the next plantings. It may be that the conditions here are somewhat harsh in extremes of wet and then heat all in one day so to minimise this impact we are putting up several areas of shaded growing shelters. This will protect fron the fierce sun and also keep off excess wet. We may also invest in a greenhouse for starting seeds off.
Most of the projects I visited or been in contact with who have had success with these medicinal plants grow under plastic or in greenhouse conditions at least for the first year, and then plant out into the open. We are fortunate also now that Kate Armstrong in Edinburgh Botanic Gardens is advising with the project.
We have a permanent full time gardener, Nyima now working with us and he is making great progress with all the vegetables. The kitchen has already received peas beans and radishes from the garden this last few weeks.
in photo - Nyima

Several new compost heaps have been started with the help of our friend and volunteer from Ireland. Pat Little has generously been giving her time and energy in the garden while on retreat here and has been invaluable for her practical advice and enthuisiasm for the medicine garden vision. She is going to help design the fruit orchard and medicine trees part of the garden.
This year has certainly given a lot of valuable experience and we ware now preparing the ground for next years seeds and plants.
We will also be trying other varieties of medicinal plants, particularly ones that are found in the medicinal formula of Tikta Gyepa or Tikta Eight. This is one of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche's favourite medicines that he has enormous confidence in its benefits. In fact he is renowned as the Doctor Tikta Gyepa within his family as he gives it so often to people in need. So maybe we will be able to produce these medicines here in the garden. The main eight herbs are herpetospermum, hypecoum pedunculum, campanula, piccroroza kurroa, aconitum heterophyllum, saussaurea costus, berberis species, and swertia chirata...tikta !
So now I am tracing plants or seeds of these varieties. FOr some winter planting and also spring next year.

Amchi La was very happy when the machine arrived finally in Gangtok. It was installed carefully in the building he has for medicine making which is situated in a quiet suburb area of Gangtok. A new electricity connection was put in with secure earthing and safety systems. photo-Processing medicinal powders from herbs. Kalimpong.The first medicinal compound that was made was curiously Tikta Gyepa, a very important medicine also in the clinic in Gangtok. However there have been a few teething problems and now the motor has to be replaced with a larger , stronger one. It seems they supplied one that is not powerful enough so it was overheating. A new motor is now on its way.

In the meantime Amchi La is on his annual vacation and is due back at the beginning of December.
We are still waiting to order the second machine for pill making.
We have started to look for a fully qualified Doctor to cone and train with Amchi La and in particular to learn how to make his medicines. For every disease that appears at his clinic he gas three different medicines he can use. His worry is that when he dies this knowledge will die with him.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bodhycharya Ireland has subscribed to the new website KHORYUG

One of the growing activities of Bodhicharya Ireland has been to help to develop the 'Sowa Rigpa' garden at the Bodhicharya Meditation and Retreat Centre in Sikkim, close to Rumtek Monastery, where plants of the Himalayas and Tibet are being especially cultivated for creating herbal medicines. The project is funded in part by Rigul Trust, and Irish horticulturalist Amy Jennings has arrived in Sikkim and is working with Rahima Sayer. Pat Little has just returned from the garden and will write an account of how she worked alongside local gardeners to prepare the ground for next spring sowing.

Khoryug is the Tibetan word for 'Environment' and is the name of a new environmental protection project set up by His Holiness, the 17th Karmapa.

Please click here for access to the Khoryug website, quoted below.

'KHORYUG is a network of Buddhist monasteries and centers in the Himalayas working together on environmental protection of the Himalayan region with the aim of practically applying the values of compassion and interdependence towards the Earth and all living beings that dwell here.

'As Buddhist practi-tioners, we believe that our actions must flow from our aspiration to benefit all sentient beings and safeguard our mother Earth and that this positive change in our societies must begin with ourselves first.

'KHORYUG aims to develop a partnership with community based organizations and NGOs wherever there is a member monastery or center so that together with our communities, we can help and protect all life on Earth now and for the future.

'Whatever it is that I do, I want it to have a long term visible impact and for it to be practical. If I have the opportunity, I would most like to restore the natural environment in the Himalayas and Tibet and to especially protect the forests, the water and wildlife of this region'.

'Protect the earth. Live simply. Act with compassion. Our future depends on it.'

[ His Holiness, the 17th Karmapa ]

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A message from Ringu Tulku, New Years Day 2010

Rinpoche has for the last 10 days, been translating the Karmapa's teachings and talks into English both before and during the Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya, India. We in Ireland who have been watching and listening extend our immense gratitude to you, Rinpoche, for dedicating those long hours every day to the task. It was almost as good as being there! You were certainly with us in spirit and we thank you for finding the time to write and share the following poem.

Under the Bodhi tree
Dawn to dusk, I prayed
With monks, nuns
And people around the world.

The melodies of chants,
The sweet calls of birds and
The wise words of Karmapa
Brought me peace and joy.

I share this joyful tranquility
To all who love me and
Those who hate me too
May you enjoy a happy New Year.

Ringu Tulku
Bodhgaya 31.12.09