Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Ringu Tulku to lead Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka in January

If you have been keeping an eye on the Bodhicharya International mainpage, you may be thinking of joining Rinpoche while he  leads a pilgrimage on Sri Lanka in the new year. Please note that the dates have been  changed.  It will now run from 15th - 21st Jan 2015.  Please click here for details. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Remembering Lama Tsering Paljor

Sad news came today of the death of Lama Tsering Paljor yesterday in Tibet. Lama La was resident monk at the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre in Sikkim, and any who spent time there with him discovered a very special person, an absolute joy and inspiration to be around.
He constructed the fire house on the roof for smoke offerings, and every morning at dawn he'd light the brush and incense, and recite mantras and protector prayers to greet the day. We hardly noticed that he spoke no English and his method of getting to know us came via a really well worn photograph album with photos of himself taken through his lifetime, in Tibet, and during 7 years on retreat in Pharping, Nepal; as a chödpa, long hair,  damaru and kangling in hand.
Somehow, without a translator, he told us the story of his pilgrimage of prostrations from his home town to Lhasa, 1000 miles, it took one year, accompanied by his mother who carried provisions for them both on a donkey.  He laughed as he described the snow seeping underneath his coat collar, the resulting hole in his forehead, the broken hands and knees.  He was twenty years old at the time.
He arrived at BMC while we were in retreat in 2012, having been travelling away in Nepal, he was thin, and a little preoccupied. Never the less his reassuring quiet presence was comforting, and we always knew if he was in because he always sang, with a beautiful voice. He accompanied us on a trip up to Rumtek, and managed to persuade the guards to allow us into 16th Karmapa's rooms; he came with us to receive blessings from Dodrupchen Rinpoche, at an ungodly hour of the morning, insisting that we endlessly circumambulate the prayer wheels with him as we waited to go inside. As we took tea in the tea house together afterwards he was pensive, little did we know that he was, that morning, on the way to hospital and the first investigations into the cause of a difficulty with swallowing food.
Whenever Rinpoche came to teach, Lama La made his tea: we had no idea why Rinpoche refused what came out of the tea flasks we offered, until one day after he'd left, Lama Paljor invited us to his upstairs kitchen and made us the best chai we had ever tasted. He brought out his damaru and kanglings, taught us how to use them: the sounds of the kanglings ripping across the valley at 3 in the afternoon, as Hilary said, a chöd tea party.
A few months later  he was in hospital in Delhi,  Rinpoche had to translate for the doctors,  and as the full extent of his illness was revealed, he was able to relate that Lama La took the news as if going on a picnic. Almost eighteen months have past, and with the help of many dedicated friends who'd been touched by knowing him, Lama La was able to receive proper medical treatment, and return to his family and his homeland, to die.
Lama Tsering Paljor it was such a great honour to have known you, as we will again, for sure.

Requests for sponsored prayers for Lama La have been made to His Holiness Karmapa at Gyuto Monastery, to Tai Situ Pa Rinpoche at Palpung Sherab Ling Monastery, to Sangye Nyenpa, to Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche at the retreat centre in Pharping, Nepal, to Mindroling Monastery, and at the Karma Kagyu College in Dehradun. His family are sponsoring prayers in Tibet.
Thanks to Ani Karma Wangmo, Erika Van Greunen, Margaret Rinchardson for the updates on sponsored prayers.
If you'd like to add a personal note or tribute, please go to the article on Bodhicharya International Website where you can also leave a message under 'comments'.

Annie Dibble,
This article first published on the Bodhicharya Ireland Blog on October 16th 2014

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Rinpoche in Argentina - Webcasts of Teachings

Rinpoche is currently on tour in South America, giving talks in Brazil and Argentina. The talks will be webcast live and for Spanish speakers, the talks are being translated by Ani Damcho and webcast to various destinations across the Spanish speaking world. For more information please see Bodhicharya International and  facebook pages. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Starting this week : 3 meditation evenings with Donal Creedon

Meditation master, Donal Creedon will teach three Tuesday evenings of  instruction and practice at Dublin Kagyu Samye Dzong beginning this Tuesday 2nd September, 7.30 - 9pm. He will give time for questions and discussion.   Donal has lived 12 years in western enclosed retreat and spent 2 years as a fellow of the Krishnamurti Institute in Varanasi India. Since then he has been invited  to facilitate their retreats using dialogue and inquiry each winter in India, bringing his extensive knowledge of Vajrayana Buddhist practice as well as a broad understanding of the basics of meditation.
We are privileged to have him resident in Ireland for the summer months to be able to avail of his knowledge  combined with a clear understanding of western mind.  Donal continues to be invited to lead long and short term retreats world wide.
Suitable both for beginners and long term meditators.

Also, this weekend 6th September, Drupon Rinpoche,  dynamic retreat master at Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche's retreat centre in Nepal will be teaching at KSD beginning 2pm on Saturday afternoon and running through till Sunday. Khenpo Lhabu teaches in Tibetan and Kunga, his attendant monk from Samye Ling will translate, it promises to be a very good weekend. All details of both events can be found on KSD website.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bodhicharya Retreat with Donal Creedon at An Tobar, Co. Meath, 2nd - 9th August

 There were sixteen of us on what has become the annual week’s retreat at An Tobar, home to the Spiritan community in the lush green Meath countryside. Led by Dónal Creedon, it was again an opportunity to recharge the spiritual batteries and focus undistractedly on the working of our minds. Dónal’s method is both extremely simple and inevitably difficult to put into practice: we were invited, whether in the improvised shrine room where we had our meditation sessions, or informally in ‘post-meditation’, simply to be present, to be conscious of the workings of our minds, whether resting or in action, whether emotionally charged and full of runaway thoughts, or resting, in order to examine the ‘View’, ‘the way things really are’.  ‘Right View’ is of crucial importance, as Dónal emphasised in his introduction to the retreat, as it informs and underlies everything we do. Some Views lead to liberation from dukha, from the cycle of birth and death, others don’t. Time and again Dónal brought us back to the simple contemplation, without bitterness or desire to change things, of the way things are, of what is, in the present moment. Faithful to the Mahamudra/Dzogchen tradition, everything can be seen as meditation. The pain or distress that I’m experiencing is the meditation, and we should abandon all notions of ‘the way things ought to be’.
It is difficult to give a true account of a retreat such as this on the level of concepts, since we were all the time striving to go beyond concept and the vehicle of concept, language itself, or rather, to understand their insubstantiality. How is it possible, with language, to go beyond language? ‘Knowing’ takes on a completely different aspect when viewed in this way, paradoxically becoming ‘unknowing’.
There are techniques, in the Mahamudra in particular, which allow the meditator little by little to perceive the nature of mind, the ‘wisdom mind’ that is empty but cognisant.  Our physical being has a role to play here: The Mahamudra teaches that the body is to be stable like a mountain, the breath free like the wind, and the mind free like space; focusing on the breath, the instructions tell us to ‘rest naturally’ with the breath, not seeking anything, and with no expectation of a result. When thoughts or emotions arise, we simply stay with them, without judgement or preference, without contrivance or fabricating. And we ask ourselves ‘What does it mean to say the mind is resting? What happens when the mind is resting?’ This lucid awareness preludes any grasping at the contents of the mind, or aversion towards what we experience, and allows us to gain confidence in the wisdom mind possessed by all beings.
This flowering of meditation, in the deep sense of the term, is very much more than a technique, however. By opening ourselves to the vastness of what is, we can glimpse the mystery of being itself, as something sacred.
Every aspect of the retreat led to this same point: the silence that was observed from rising until lunch-time; the steady rhythm of the meditation sessions as they succeeded one another, either on the cushion or in walking meditation beside the lake or through the magnificent woods with their abundance of mature trees and wildlife; the conviviality of mealtimes when Colette, our admirable cook, tempted our palates with an endless variety of dishes; the supportive presence of the other retreatants on a common quest... The late afternoon session was given over to ‘Dialogue’, in which we examined a question (during these days, turning around the experience of ‘fear’), the dialogue arising out of the silence and building on it, again not looking for solutions or a conclusion, but emphasising the quality of listening. And as dusk fell, we did Chenrezig practice on some evenings, in a pared-down form that Dónal has made his own, dedicating it to specific people whom we knew to be in particularly acute suffering. On other evenings we did ‘metta’ practice, instituted by the Buddha himself to undermine fear by cultivating the wish that all beings – including oneself – be happy and free from fear. So there was no question of our practice becoming introverted and self-serving. The View has to be vast, taking in all suffering beings, or it is not the View.
An exceptional week, during which we had the privilege of benefitting from Dónal’s lifetime experience of retreat, his rigour and his compassion. Profound thanks to you, Dónal, and thanks too to all who made the experience possible.
Pat Little
17 August 2014

Behind the camera : Paul O'Connor
Magician in the kitchen : Colette Mullanney

Pat has also written a very good review of the annual Bodhicharya Summercamp held in July 2014 at Casa da Torre, Nr. Braga, Portugal for Many Roads,  the Bodhicharya International e-magazine .

Monday, 28 July 2014

Meditation events

This week sees the start of a one week Bodhicharya retreat with Donal Creedon at An Tobar, near Navan.   Following last year's success in the Bodhicharya Retreat Centre in Sikkim, a group of sixteen people will come together again with Donal  for the week from Saturday 2nd - Saturday 9th August with regular periods of silent sitting, debate and reflection.  With Rinpoche's blessing we hope this will become an annual Bodhicharya event.

This weekend also, there will be a meditation flashmob event with Plum Village Monastics, in the centre of Merrion Square Park, Sunday 3rd August at 3 pm (rain or shine).  It is organised by the 'Wake Up' mindfulness group, all are welcome. 

Monday, 7 July 2014


Start: 14/07/2014 at 18:00 
End: 20/07/2014 at 14:00
Location: Casa da Torre – Centro de Retiros | Soutelo – Vila Verde – Braga | PORTUGAL 

Rinpoche will continue his teaching on «Mahamudra: The Moonlight – Quintessence of Mind and Meditation» started last year, composed by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (1512-1587), a brilliant scholar and accomplished meditator of the Kagyu tradition.




440 € per person – single room with private toilets and showers
390 € per person – double room (twin beds) with private toilets and showers

The summercamp registration website page is now closed but if you are still thinking of coming along, please send an email to book a place.

As usual we will be celebrating Rinpoche's birthday during the week, so if you aren't able to attend, you can join him in spirit and send him a postcard with a birthday message to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche c/o Tsering Paldron,  Casa da Torre, 4730-570 Soutelo, Vila Verde,  Portugal. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Can you help to complete the building of Bodhicharya Berlin?

Jun 26, 2014 11:17 am | admin
Bodhicharya Berlin has been building up the centre for many years and we need your help NOW to complete this auspicious project founded by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and blessed by H.H. the 17th Karmapa during his first visit in June 2014. His apartment as well as the main temple is now under construction.
Click here to find out more about the project.
Bodhicharya Berlin is under the spiritual guidance of H.H. the 17th Karmapa and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.
Carrier of the project, Bodhicharya Deutschland e.V. is a non-profit non-sectarian, voluntary and charitable organisation setup to train and provide: Healing, Helping and Harmony based on Buddhist philosophy and traditions.
The Bodhicharya Berlin Centre hosts many eminent teachers from all over the world, attracting an international community to come together. Entrance to all the events are free and they can make a donation if they so wish. This is why the centre is running and built completely on donations of small work and money.
Bodhicharya Berlin runs over 30 classes, courses, and workshops such as Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi and dancing and other programs for healing of mind and body are taking place every week. About 100 people are being served by our mobile hospice volunteers.
When we held the winter retreat in 2013 people from 15 countries came. This centre has become a place to get guidance, training and spiritual solace for many people and is popular for both young and old as well as people without much income.
Bodhicharya Berlin focuses on the following objectives :
  1. Study and practice of Buddhist teachings
  2. Promoting inter-religious dialogue
  3. Initiating social projects and activities
  4. Supporting climate and environmental protection
  5. Sustainable restoration of a historic building
We invite you to become a part of the community and help us build a vibrant Centre for Peace and Understanding dedicated to H.H. the 17th Karmapa. Any support and donation is welcome and will be spent directly on the project!
You can help with supporting the following building phases :
  1. To complete the main temple, including installing the heating systems, insulation and floors, so the temple can be used during winter time as well – 310.000 €
  2. To complete H.H. the 17th Karmapa’s apartment at Bodhicharya Berlin,
  3. to be able to welcome him in Berlin – 130.000 €
  4. [ To build the stupa in the compound ]
  5. [ To complete the buildings for more living quarters and to host more programs at the centre.]
  6. [ To contribute for running the Hospice Training.]
It would be a great act of generosity and of immense benefit to support building Bodhicharya Berlin in any way you can and become part of the community of helping to spread the message, how developing inner peace can help bring harmony within families and communities.

The post Building Bodhicharya Berlin appeared first on Bodhicharya.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

A Birthday Prayer for the Health and Wellbeing of His Holiness Karmapa from Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

Today is the 29th birthday of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Let us all pray for his long life, good health and the accomplishment of all his Buddha activities. 
May all obstacles and hindrances to his life and activities be eliminated, as light dispels darkness; 
May we all be able to contribute effectively to performing his enlightened activities, for the benefit of all beings and the greater wellbeing of this world.

Ringu Tulku

Friday, 13 June 2014

Karmapa's visit to Germany

Audience for the Karma Kagyu organisation heads at Kamalashila
For many years Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has worked increasingly  closely with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa and the Indian Government to make way for a visit of Karmapa to Europe to give teachings. Four separate applications were made in the past 10 years, but only the last was successful, and only after all hope for success had been given up. No-one could have envisaged either the scale at which it finally took place, or the magnitude of the impact that the visit would have, from start to finish. It was clear however when Ringu Tulku Rinpoche gave his ecstatic thanks after the Karma Pakshi  empowerment on the final day, that he was indebted to not only the tireless teams of the German Karma Kagyu Trust, Bodhicharya Berlin, Rigpa and all the international volunteers who worked on the ground; but also the German and Indian Governments who cleared the way for His Holiness to travel to Europe.   It was a massive undertaking, an achievement that will doubtless benefit countless beings way beyond our imaginings.
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in Frankfurt on Sunday 25th May, and was brought to a private location for several days to acclimatise, before he was swiftly moved into an almost too busy schedule for the ten days that followed.     When His Holiness arrived at Langenfeld he got out of his car and slowly walked the incline to the Kamalashila Centre nodding and waving to those en route.  The road was lined with members of Buddhist communities from all over the world as well as local residents who joined us on the road to cheer and wave.  They also had the privilege of homes that bordered the street, and upstairs windows giving great views.

Lama Shenga hanging flags at Kamalashila Stupa
Kamalashila is a pleasant complex of buildings that was once a school, and in the grounds a large stupa sits centrally on the lawn surrounded by villagers homes. This is where the Karmapa stayed during the teachings at Nurburgring, twelve kilometers away,  and while he was there the centre hosted a number of small receptions for the heads of Kagyu centres and organisations on the first days. The Karmapa spoke at each, quite unfazed by the unfamiliar  environment, and set the tone for the rest of the visit – he was most definitely in charge.   After the first night kathas and donations were not encouraged at all and if he recognised  any familiar faces amongst us he didn’t engage. It really seemed he was setting a precedent for future visits in the west, reflecting the final sentiments in his book, the Heart is Noble,  that ‘While we are not going to meet in person, we are inseparable’.   He took a completely pragmatic line, as if recognising the limitations that will have to be imposed in order for his work to continue as more and more people come to reside within his mandala. He spoke a lot in these intimate settings of his happy but lost childhood, of his mother, of his vulnerableness, and yes, his loneliness.

Estrel Hotel,  talk on Meditation

He spoke of the huge weight of responsibility this position requires him to hold at such a young age.  He remembered being a small boy, living in a tent, where a picture of the 16th Karmapa hung on the wall that he and his family prayed to every day. One can only guess at the impact of being told you are the reincarnation of the man in the picture, and as he told the story, the Karmapa’s face made some delightfully childish gestures as he described trying to take the information in. At first he felt excited by the project, but as time went by the reality of the position became harder to ingest, and for some time he struggled to live the dream.
And yet, he presented with a pragmatism again and again in the teachings that it isn’t about happiness, “If you ask me if I am happy, then to be honest, I have to say no, but if my life is worthwhile then that is more important than personal happiness, and if I can bring a sense of happiness and wellbeing to others, then my life is meaningful, and that gives me purpose and dignity, so it is ok”.   It was powerful stuff, and really brought home the enormity of the Karmapa project: a Buddha was sitting before us.  
1,600 people attended the Nurburgring events each day, but despite our fears that chaos would reign, it ran with great ease. On the second morning a coffee bar gloriously materialized in the forecourt, for the many who depended on a bus which left Langenfeld at 6 am in order to return for the children’s school run at 8 am.   The upside was that these bussers arrived in time to get the front row seats for teachings, much to the frustration of those who came later under their own steam.  In reality, the large screens displayed throughout the hall brought all of us as close as we could be to the stage, and the sound system was perfect.  A basic vegetarian lunch was served daily for all who wanted it, and there was a comfortable lounge in the nearby hotel. On the first day of teachings at Nurburgring when he spoke on the teacher student relationship he emphasised the humanness of the teacher, and the limitations that must inevitably exist – limits, he said are necessary otherwise the teacher’s big batteries will go flat; because people are continually looking to plug in for a charge.  We need to produce our own good energy. We have to learn not to grasp at the teacher, but to develop our own strength through personal practise, because the teacher cannot do it for us. You are, he said, already the Buddha, but not such an effective one,  a small one, like a child, not grown enough to act [as such],  but  in a close and proper relationship, the teacher will become another facet of yourself, part of your heart and mind, not another person. In these days when we are divided by continents, the internal relationship can remain close once we have understood this.  But if we view the teacher in the wrong way there can be a distance even when you are physically close. 
The audiences for groups didn’t run so smoothly, too many people and tight restrictions made organization almost impossible, and the 20 minutes allotted to Samye Ling communities shrank to 5 minutes, as 200 people were bundled together in a stuffy room, and ended with His Holiness almost running out in frustration.  His mantra became, ‘no katas, no offerings’, during photo shoots as he tried to keep to timetables and organise people into photo friendly arrangements, and as someone said – he’s a natural director. 
Speaking at Bodhicharya Berlin (photo: Gelong Thubten)
The atmosphere in Berlin was quite different to the previous weekend of teachings, and the Karmapa had become visibly more tired, a fact he admitted and made no apology for.  However this did not diminish his presence, or his sharpness and clarity, it just made him more human; and this vulnerability, that which he’d spoken of in the first talk, was simply brought home to us.  During the talks he spoke a lot about anger and how it can be dealt with, acknowledging his own, and really dismissing any notion that he might be perfect.  It was easy to see how the constant presence of bodyguards and a level 2 security protocol, along with demands on his time via group audiences (despite his pleas for space) might generate a major tantrum in anyone less qualified than he to deal with it.  There were many poignantly telling moments, as when, at the young people’s session on the last afternoon in Berlin, he said that once you are recognised as a tulku you are expected to just sit still in one place like a Buddha statue.  That must have been a tough call for someone who translates his name ‘Karmapa’ to ‘Action Man’.  And yet, the power and radiance that emanated from him throughout the week was otherworldly. 
The Berlin events at the Estrel Hotel were run by Bodhicharya Berlin, under Ringu Tulku and a refreshingly young  team who had boundless energy and enthusiasm for the job. It was really gratifying to see the next generation of dharma activists stepping into responsible roles and doing it so well.
The Crystal Vajrasattva, a gift from Karmapa to Ringu Tulku
There were many personal highpoints, such as the visit to Bodhicharya Berlin,  when His Holiness came to view and bless what will be his Berlin home once it is finished, and where  Tenzin Paljor presented him with the Key to the Door, a large, heavy golden key in a case. He was delighted.   The Sangha gave a lunch to the VIP’s in the party that included Chime Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche, Paltul Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, as well as local Berlin dignitaries. The sun shone profusely as we sat about the garden drinking  butter tea and eating Sikkimese sweet rice.  His holiness blessed the grounds and laid a foundation stone at the stupa site and spoke of his happiness to finally be there. He gave Ringu Tulku a beautiful crystal Vajrasattva Rupa, before relaxing in the small shrine room for an hour or so with the other Lamas. It was a beautiful moment.
An audience to raise Karmapa's awareness for the work of Rigul Trust, came at the end of a morning of audiences in the Estrel Centre. The Karmapa arrived late, at the time we were due to finish,  and the security men were anxious to move him on after a quick nod in our direction. But Margaret was prepared, she had her questions, and wanted them heard. She persisted, and he sat down.  He turned his chair towards her, and really listened to her discourse (because that is what it was) on Rigul Monastery, the school, the shedra, the doctor, the fundraising projects. He had already received a Chenrezig book, so had some idea. The bodyguards shuffled and made noises at the door, our time was up. He told them sharply to close the door and wait. He listened.  
Margaret & Francois of Rigul Trust relaxing in their cabin.

Margaret introduced Francois who talked about the pollution and proliferation of plastic bottles that has erupted in Tibet in the last ten years, and the need for nuns' education. Karmapa pulled his chair closer. This was what he wanted to talk about, and he elaborated on a theme that he’d begun at a meeting with Karmapa Foundation Representative group – it bothers him that Tibetans take the environment for granted and don’t know about the impact of consumerism and climate change. He wants his monks and nuns educated on these things, so that they in turn can educate his people. It pains him to see what is happening, and what he needs most is educational resources on these topics, for his nuns especially, as they will be the ones to make a difference.
He said that one of the things that raises his anger is the ignorant attitude of self destruct that we have towards our environment, and later in the day, he gave his talk on the environment and referred to our earlier conversation, finishing by saying, ‘it makes me SO angry’.   He also said in that talk that if he were to run for president he would not get elected, because he would not take the usual party line to promise more of anything in order to win votes.  He said we need to have material things, but not so much. We don’t have to be Milarepa, taking on a spiritual life doesn’t mean renouncing all material goods, we just need a balance.   Because what makes us joyful, happy? It is not iPhone 6.  It is the simple things, like breathing. If we pay attention to the breath it can be a wonderful thing.  And to look at plants, they are naturally there, and this can be exciting.  Satisfaction need not depend upon complication. Just keep it simple, simple.
For many the highlight of the whole visit came on Saturday, when at the end of the talk on meditation, he was asked to share something of his knowledge of culture – he said he had none. Then he said he thought he’d share some meditation with us, but changed his mind, and just asked us to sit quietly, as he was going to recite something and we were to meditate as he did so.   He then instructed us briefly on relaxing for meditation.   
The hall was silent as he began to recite the 7 line prayer,  over, and over.  The Karmapa’s sonorous chanting filled the space, went beyond the space, went deep into the bones of our very being, reverberated until the body became a receptacle for sound, like a singing bowl, empty, but full of the resonance of his voice.
He finished with a very quiet YESSS! Under his breath:  He was pleased. A wonderful end to a really special two weeks

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche at Kamalashila with, 
back row, Francois Henrard, Paul O'Connor,  and seated front, 
Elke Steltner, harpist for the public reception; Pat Murphy, 
Annie Dibble.
Photo credits : Bodhicharya International, Gelong Thubten, Andy Firman, Francois Henrard, Annie Dibble

All design and artwork for the posters, website and programme of events was created by Paul O'Connor,  Bodhicharya Publications

All photos for Karmapa Foundation Visit page by Francois Henrard.

Many thanks to the German organisers for making the impossible happen so brilliantly. 
The full talks can all be found online on youtube and edited transcripts of the daily talks are on the KFE website.  There is also an account of the visit to Bodhicharya Berlin here.  Film : The Story So Far

Annie Dibble   June 10th 2014