Nalandra News. The Journey is the Destination

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1 Nalandra News Issue 5, November 2016 The Journey is the Destination by His Eminence Zim og Rinpoche The 150 year old hidden temple at the Nalandra Padma Retreat Centre houses a mesmerising stucco of Padmasambhava. The gompa is in need of repair, for which members of the Nalandra Australia group generously donated $10,000. A truly sacred place for practicing Dharma and the heart of the community, its restoration and maintenance are paramount for the future of the Centre and its many benefactors. THE TRIP to the Nalandra Padma Retreat Centre (NPRC) in Bhanodi, India was the culmination of many months of planning and preparation by the Australian International Vajrayana Buddhist Institute (AIVBI). Previous newsletters have mentioned 2 Helping Bhanodi children 4 Thank you Bhanodi Poem by Tashi Palmo: Lama Gyatso 6 Perspectives from the Nalandra Travellers Inside this Issue the inception of the Centre, newly appointed committee members, land, supporters and above all, the 150-year old Temple, housing Padmasambhava. On 6 September during the waxing moon and a great cloudless autumn sky in the north of the 7 Grand Mahakala Puja Black Manjushri Empowerment 8 What s on at Nalandra Community Notices Thanks & How We Can Help world, the group of six pathfinders flew from Melbourne, where there was simultaneously a great joy for the coming of Spring in the southern hemisphere. We marched out onto the chest of the Himalaya Mountains, crossing several rushing streams to come to the place where once Terton Migyur Lingpa himself designed, cut and fashioned this mesmerizing Guru Padmasambhava stucco, which is flanked by his official consorts of Nepalese and Chinese origins. The cluster of six stars leapt into the journey to toss prayers and meditations Nalandra News November

2 The Sikh Golden Temple at the holy city, Amritsar, with devotees queuing to make offerings. at the holy feet of Precious Guru Padmasambhava, in the year of the Guru himself and in the land of Gods and Goddesses, Himachal Pradesh, the northern territory. The journey began with a little arduous effort, sitting for eight hours in the Melbourne airport to finally hear that the flight was delayed until the next day. It was tiring, frustrating and intense, but the instant thought of an obstacle turned our whole evening into a celebrative night. The next morning from the Bell city motel, we re-started our spiritual journey and it doubled our energy in witnessing tremendous care and love for each other. From Delhi we were joined by my brother Rinzin who was also our tour leader. After visiting the Golden Sikh Temple in ancient Amritsar (the holy city) the next evening, we drove towards Chamba, the last city before entering the restriction pass zone for the Bhanodi Padma Retreat Centre. There we were joined by a flock of Padma people, with whom we drove and marched the terrains. On the journey, we invited ourselves to stay overnight at my birthplace in the village called Tissa, the last post office. On 10 September we climbed to the peak and were greeted by the rest of the Padma folk who were keenly expecting to see their Guru with his Aussie followers. They welcomed us with flowers, gestures, rice wine, tsampa, incense, and sounds of cymbals, drums and conches. We went straight into the Gompa to visit Holy Guru Padmasambhava. The group needed no introduction whatsoever to the statues, land, people, water, climate, etc., as they rapidly picked up and merged with their clear mind and love to the natural landscape and indigenous people. Lama Bawa Gyatso, the sole caretaker of this ancient Gompa and the land (also the committee chairperson) offered a hospitable khata/scarf to the Australian Nalandra group, while the others served us welcoming sweet rice and Tibetan butter tea. After introductory conversations, local supporters joined with guests in pitching their solitary modern caves, which are now called tents. We ate dinner around the campfire pit thereafter. It was none other than a blessing that the campers had to undergo buckets of pouring rain in the middle of the night with the crystal sound of thunder and lightning. By dawn, which was the 10th Guru Rinpoche Tsok day, everything turned out to be peaceful, calm, and tranquil for the rest of the days during our stay. Rinpoche with Lama Kunsang and Lama Gyatso during puja practice. Helping Bhanodi children In Chamba, Rinpoche offered gifts to orphaned children, Each child was given T-shirts, stationery, art supplies and small toys. The delight on their faces was priceless. Sunglasses were a big hit among the older children and adults. Quality second hand shoes and clothing from Rinpoche carried by the group from Australia were also gratefully received by Rinzin Dolma, who cares for the children. Some of us also sponsored the educational and health care costs of the children of Yeshey Dorjey Khampa, the Padma Retreat Centre s devoted secretary. 2 Nalandra News November 2016

3 Rinpoche prepares for a carbon-free meditation session in the outdoors. It was an extraordinary experience to be treated to Rinpoche s deeply transformative meditation among the natural elements of the Himalayas. A distinct highlight of the trip for us all. With the help of my brotherin-law Lama Kunsang, who is also a Nyingma-pa Tulku, we had the privilege to perform an elaborate Tsok in Tibetan and English following the Padmasambhava initiation for Tibetans. To our pleasure, the following day was a grand Naga Puja date in Tibetan astrology, so we presented a healthy Naga puja for the Nagas, who according to the myth, are housed under a giant rock on the way up to the Gompa. They were offered 100 watered dough pills, 100 tormas, a bottle of milk from a red cow and a bottle of white goat s milk. Auxiliary ritual offerings were made to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, Viras, Virahis, Dakas and Dakinis by incense and implements. Later we performed two successive days of traditional green Tara puja, chanting her 21 praises 108 times. What a unique way to treat her tremendous activities as well as our spiritual pride and trust to the mother. We also executed Nalandra s Saturday meditation in the open carbon-free wilderness, and a 16 Arhat puja on the 15th full moon day. During the rest days, we walked to other peaks, hillside meadows, and created links with nature s caves. During free time, just as everyone has their own angles of photo shooting, so was their every inch of gratitude, joys higher than their laughter, playing Damaru and Bells on rocky cliffs under Mahamudra sky, etc. The Padma committee and helpers showed remarkable kindness and generosity in their hospitality and care toward making our stay comfortable and enjoyable. The refreshments from breakfast to supper were highly appreciable and healthy. Electricity, water quality and the facilities were sufficient to meet our needs and standards. There was no internet or phone without any sense of loss. According to the new scientist we have gained new blood cells, as the high altitude environment can change one s blood for months. Maybe this is a reason for great saints retreating in the Himalayan caves to afford Buddhahood in one life time. Also, because their minds were fully undisturbed from the hustle and bustle of samsara, without having to reach out to see the pain of life. It was and is altogether a one-way ticket to the pure land. On 19 September, we packed the giant Guru Rinpoche Thangka, camping gear (many have left their camping gear behind for future visits or for others) and luggage on mules back, and with heavy heart we departed to Rewalsar Lake (Tso Pema) where the spiritual trip ended. The group went on to visit Manali and Delhi, then on 25 September, Dakini day, flew back to Melbourne/Alabama sweet home. The narration can be wide-ranging and lingering, this is just an essence of the journey of the journey is the destination. Merits and credit go to the family sponsors, temple benefactors, my brother Rinzin, Bhanodi committee members and folks, and Nalandra tour coordinator. I am rightly comfortable and still unfolding the images of sweet smiles of ever-enjoyable moments on their faces and also of course the sweet airs of Vajra lines rippling like a Preparing for outdoor meditation, we are joined by Yeshey Dorje and Ngawang Chhoten. Nalandra News November

4 The Padma Retreat Centre, nestled in a valley of the Himalayas, This stunning view is from one of the caves we climbed to. Visible is the new kitchen (front), Rinpoche s guest house, (left), while the gompa, aptly named the hidden temple is mostly obscured by the trees. Thank you Bhanodi Our deepest gratitude goes to the Bhanodi committee and helpers for their remarkable kindness and generous hospitality, for feeding us delicious nutritious meals and tea, washing up, guiding us on nature walks and much more to ensure our stay was safe, comfortable and enjoyable. Thanks also to Rinzin for his expert organization of everything from accommodation and transport to the finest details, Too-je-che! bell inside me. Your protection by your support and your confidence in my actions will unquestionably keep me going like a tireless mule, without whom this journey would have not been completed or begun. So, at last but not at the least on behalf of everyone, may I pay our heartfelt prayers and appreciation for the gorgeous mules contribution. Thank you Guru and Dharma, our two eyes. Thank you Sangha and Mahakala, our two ears. And thank you this life, for never letting me/us down. May all be reborn in sweet Sukhavati. LAMA GYASTO A poem by Tashi Palmo Lama Gyatso leaps over rock & nettle Precipitous. Nimble, supple knees Sinews. Saffron robe hitched Agile as a blue sheep Down the fall line Prayer flags stream Ravens circle Rainbows arc Vultures soar Lama Gyatso loves To browse on berries Black from summer sun On thin mountain slopes HIs eyes shine, ripe with age and altitude Sometimes he can be grumpy Always strong for the Guru Always young for the Rinpoche Lama Gyatso receives a gernerous offering from Rinpoche to support his health care costs, pilgrimage and general expenses. Rinpoche also generously donated offereings he received from the local people to the Padma Retreat Centre (PRC). The Nalandra Asutralia group gave donations to Lama Gyatso, the Centre and local families. Left to right: Angmo (PRC Vice President), Lama Bawa Sonam Gyatso (Chairperson) Konjok Chhoten (President), Prue Lamont (Nalandra Director), H.E. Zim og Rinpoche, Yeshey Dorje (PRC Secretary). 4 Nalandra News November 2016

5 The magnificent 37.5 metre high Padmasambhava statue at Rewalsar Lake, also known as Tso Pema or Lotus Lake. The statue overlooks the holy lake that Padmasambhava manifested from his funeral pyre. In the moutains is Guru Rinpoche s cave and that of his consort Mandarava, where we prostrated and sat in meditation. A great way to end the spiritual leg of our journey. Om ah hum vajra guru padma siddhi hum. Rinpoche with his brother-in-law Lama Kunsang following the Padmasamhava initiation. Around 50 people from the local area and afar participated in the intitiation and tsok. Yeshey Dorje, PRC s secretary with his wife Tsering Lhamo and children. Tireless mules carry bags up the mountain to the Padma Retreat Centre. Most are in good condition and can comfortably carry heavy loads, which are masterfully balanced and secured by their care takers. They appear to be happy in this life while accumulating great merit for the next. Nalandra News November

6 Perspectives from the Nalandra Travellers Rinpoche s devotees including the two Nalandra committees, local people and trekkers from afar, come together for a group photo after the Padmasambhava tsok. Enduring bonds formed between the two Centres, providing a foundation for ongoing mutual support in fulfilling Rinpoche s lifework to spread the precious Dharma. Photo courtesy of Chhobyang Singhe of the Himalayan Brothers. EVERY DAY, people come from all around, nomads and farmers alike, to make offerings to Padmasambhava at Bhanodi Temple. They have so little, yet they don t fail to give. The gompa is the heart of their community and their hope. High on a steep slope of a mountain, it draws those who know from across the Himalayas to pay homage to the astonishing statue of Padmasambhava, especially when the Rinpoche is there. Yet the gompa is fragile and seriously in need of major repairs. The community too is fragile as more and more people are drawn away to live in the larger towns. Yet with their Rinpoche back, the people have hope again that the temple will be repaired and flourish, that people will stay or come back to Bhanodi and the community will prosper again. Tashi Palmo (Pauline Gallagher) Vanessa, Pauline, Prue and Rinzin rest in a cave high in the mountains after a long climb. WHEN MOST people ask me how was your trip?, I gratify them with socially acceptable tales of hiking through pristine countryside, meeting wonderfully kind and generous people, eating delicious vegetarian fare and indulging in scenic motorbike adventures across the Himalayas. This is all quite true and yet there s a gaping hole in the story. These are not the reasons I would encourage you to go to Bhanodi. The real story and significance of the trip to Bhanodi Gompa lies in the establishment of what will become a truly international base station for Zim og Rinpoche to offer spiritual teachings and blessings in a relaxed retreat setting. Whilst remaining small, it will become a haven for the precious few who are afforded the opportunity to travel there. 6 Nalandra News November 2016

7 GRAND MAHAKALA PUJA with HE Zim og Rinpoche December 2016 Mahakala is the King of the Dharma Protectors and also a personal tutelary deity, dispelling obstacles on the path with wrathful compassion. Dedicated to world peace, this puja is Rinpoche s specialty and a unique opportunity for us to practice with an emanation of Mahakala himself and invite prosperity for the year ahead. Book Now on trybooking.com In this pioneering trip, personal connections were forged and financial pledges made, that will have immediate and ongoing benefits for the local community. More importantly, the investment of our time, money and spiritual wishes now will benefit future generations by enabling the perpetuation of Dharma for the benefit of all beings. This is only the beginning. Vanessa Giles NEITHER PICTURES nor words can entirely capture the magic of this blessed place. Imbued with the powerful presence of Padmasambhava and the Dharma Protectors, the well-seasoned gompa is a perfect place for taking refuge, meditation and other Dharma practices. Meanwhile outdoors, gazing into the valley one is easily reminded of the sacredness of this world and omnipresence of the Buddhas. There is a sense of many enlightened beings having passed through this pristine environment, the ideal place for a spiritual retreat. Making this journey with Rinpoche was a great priveledge and a deeply enriching experience for us all. The showers of blessings flowed freely and will continue to bear fruits for the rest of our days and beyond. Our most heartfealt gratitude goes to Rinpoche for establishing this connection, leading us on the journey and showing us the journey is the destination. May he flourish and prosper, and we too by the merits of his supreme work. Together may we all pave the way for a bright future for the Nalandra Padma Retreat Centre and all who are fortunate enough to be a part of its evolution. Michelle Menzel (Editor) WELCOME HOME RINPOCHE & BHANODI SLIDE NIGHT SATURDAY 26 NOVEMBER 6PM Please join us to welcome Rinpoche home from three months of spiritual travels. We will share finger food as we view photos from the Bhanodi trip. Also learn how you can be involved/contribute to the Padma Retreat Centre. All welcome. See Nalandra.org. BLACK MANJUSHRI EMPOWERMENT with Zasep Rinpoche 23 February 2017, 7pm Michelle and Palmo pitch in to help with making 100 torma for the Padmasambhava tsok. The tsok was prepared for 100 people with generous bags of food distributed in the community along with Padmasambhava s blessings. Zim og Rinpoche has requested this empowerment, which is being offered by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche at Nalandra. He was a student of the fifth Zim og Rinpoche, from whom he received this empowerment. The initiation is for health and wellbeing and assists in treating viruses and epidemics. Book now on Trybooking.com Nalandra News November

8 What s on at Nalandra Community Notices Ongoing Weekly Activities Saturday Meditation with HE Zim og Rinpoche or Ven. Hojun Futen Saturdays, Session 1, 10:00 11:00am, Session 2, 11.30am 12.30pm Session 1, Meditation with guidance, suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners, followed by a break. Session 2, Vajrayana practices. Monday Night Calm Abiding Meditation with Ven. Hojun Futen Mondays, 7:30 9:00pm Sitting and walking meditation session, suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. If unfamiliar with the practice please come early. Special Events & Dates to Remember Grand Mahakala Puja with HE Zim og Rinpoche Friday 16, Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 December, 9:30am 7:00pm Black Manjushri Empowerment with Zasep Rinpoche Thursday 23 February, 7pm Padmasambhava Tsok 9 December, 7 January, 6 February Vajra Yogini Sadhana & Tsok 23 December, 22 January, 21 February Losar (Tibetan New Year) Monday 27 February, 6:00am 16 Arhat Puja Suggested donation for teachings $20/$10, meditation $10/$5. Please join our mailing list for the latest information on events. See the contact page on our website for details. Volunteering Nalandra depends upon community support to help keep its doors open so that many people can benefit from the precious teachings of Lord Buddha through Zim og Rinpoche. There are many ways you can help, please contact us to find out more. Subscriptions Receive discounts on courses, teachings and retreats, and access to the library and online teachings. Benefactor $240 Family $150 Friend of Nalandra $120 Concession $80 Landscape Design & Construction If your garden needs some creative input, please contact Andy MacMillan on or Thanks to our sponsors This Newsletter was sponsored by an anonymous donor. Nalandra is thankful for their generosity. May they be well and happy! Thanks to our volunteers Nalandra would like to thank Gwen Hall for her generous donations toward animal welfare and her unfailing support of Rinpoche s Animal Blessing Ceremonies. How we can support Nalandra All contributions welcome Print Sponsorship Please sponsor our Newsletter for a single issue or multiple issues. Each edition costs approximately $250. You can also donate towards the printing of items such as practice books, bookmarks and flyers. Look out for events and/or contact us. Telephone: Website: Facebook: Return Mail Australian International Vajrayana Buddhist Institute 1F Ailsa Street Box Hill South, Victoria, Australia 3128 Affix Postage Stamp Here

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