Dzogchen Lineage News
Issue 03 – April 16, 2008

Contents

  1. Some Words From Our Kind Teacher
  2. Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche Returns to USA
  3. Join us at the Spring Retreat this Weekend
  4. Summer Retreat Registration Now Open
  5. Dzogchen Internship Update
  6. Dzogchen Retreat Center Projects
  7. Fundraising Update
  8. Dharma Center News: Boise
  9. 2008 Pilgrimage Recap
  10. Dzogchen Shri Singha Nepal, Request for Support

Some Words From Our Teacher

Sarnath, India

Khenpo Choga
teaching in front of the Dhamekh Stupa
in Sarnath, India on March 9, 2008

“A mind infused with afflictions of aggression, jealousy, pride and so forth is a crazed or intoxicated mind that will take rebirth in the lower realms of samsara. A practitioner should bind her mind with mindfulness and introspection to the great pillar of samadhi, focusing with one-pointed concentration on the dharma, on expounding it, studying it and meditating upon it. In all her endeavors she should investigate her mind with mindfulness and protect it with introspection. Her aim is to never let her mind stray from view, meditation and conduct. 

Anyone who wants to attain liberation from samsara must focus exclusively
on ‘study, contemplation and meditation’. The mind of a true practitioner dwells constantly within the dharma. She should avoid straying into a state of distraction. The moment she detects that she has strayed from the dharma, she should refrain from moving her body and from speaking. Only when her mind is once again focused on view, meditation and proper conduct should she act and speak. At all times she should be maintaining bodhicitta in her mind. This requires constant training and effort. However, achieving that level of commitment to the dharma is possible. A virtuous mindset can be learned and acquired. Even if you have an ordinary job you can still learn to focus your mind constantly on virtue. 

If you learn to discipline your mind and infuse it with virtue you can become a good practitioner and eventually even reach liberation or enlightenment. When your mind is grounded in discipline you will be able to help yourself and others. If you let your mind be governed by afflictions, you will harm yourself and other people. Place your mind in the dharma. Constantly apply mindfulness and introspection. Check your mind from time to time to see whether it has strayed into distraction or whether it has remained focused on virtue. If you follow these instructions, you will swiftly become a very peaceful and composed person.” 

— from Drops of Nectar, Khenpo Choga’s Commentary on the Bodhicharyavatara Text section 179 / stanza 40: Page 194

Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Returns to USA

Greeting Celebrations in Portland on April 17th

Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

Khenpo Choga
teaching in front of the Dhamekh Stupa
in Sarnath, India on March 9, 2008

Our teacher returns to the United States after a four month tour that encompassed Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Nepal. This trip highlighted several teaching events, retreats, pujas, pilgrimages, offerings, and much more.

Join us as we greet our teacher and show our appreciation, love, and devotion. Right now we are planning a reception for Khenpo at the Portland Airport on Thursday, April 17th at 12:30 PM. We'll meet inside at domestic bagage claim for American Airlines. Look for us holding Dzogchen flags, flowers and greeting scarves and bring your own if you have them. If you don't see us once you get inside, please call 503-459-8356. This reception is an auspicious symbol demonstrating sangha unity and a strong connection with our teacher.

I strongly urge those who live near the Portland area to be there when Rinpoche arrives, especially those planning to attend or volunteer for the 6-month internship. Rinpoche’s intention for the 2008 Pilgrimage was to prepare for the success of this year’s activities, so please help us honor this and ensure the fulfillment of all our aspirations.

We are so fortunate to have this revered teacher with us for extended periods of time. Just recently, Justin witnessed all the monks at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Shedra in Nepal crying in front of Chokyi Nyima and Khenpo, begging him to stay and teach them, as he had recently given profound teachings. Rinpoche’s brothers have also pleaded with Rinpoche to come back to Tibet, saying the Tibetan people need him more than ever, especially after recent events.

Rinpoche taught on tendrel (rten ‘brel), interdependent origination or auspicious connection, at Winter Retreat stating that an auspicious connection is made when the great aspiration of a master meets the aspiration of the student. When this happens, it sets the stage for the fulfillment of those aspirations. As it says in a famous text:

The pure perception of seeing everything one’s teacher does as excellent
and the devotion of performing everything the teacher says according to his instructions,
Is the instruction that harmonizes all one’s actions with the dharma
and creates the auspicious connection [tendrel] that spontaneously fulfills all wishes.

(from page 275, Chapter 5 of Khenpo’s commentary on the Bodhisattva-charyavatara)

With this in mind, help us ensure that we never take this opportunity for granted.
Let’s come together and set the stage for a successful year. If you cannot make it, please pray for his safe return.

Plans are also being made for a reception afterward and may change at the last minute. Please contact Susie Croxton with your availability and for the latest plans.

Susan Croxton
503-774-4829
scroxton@hotmail.com


Join us at the Spring Retreat this Weekend

Last Chance to Attend 2008 Spring Retreat, April 20 to April 27, 2008

Guru Rinpoche Statue

This statue is of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche),
the originator of the bardo teachings
which are the subject of our Spring Retreat.
This statue will be offered to the Vajra Master
at the beginning of the Retreat

Pass the word that you can still register for and attend the 5th Annual Dzogchen Spring Retreat lead by Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche with Teachings on The Six Bardo Instructions.

Register now online and pay in cash when you arrive at the Dzogchen Retreat Center on Sunday: www.dzogchenlineage.org/springretreat/

IMPORTANT NOTE: The 2008 Spring Retreat will be the final opportunity for Dzogchen Internship Applicants to fulfill the requirement of having attended at least one seasonal retreat with Khenpo Choga Rinpoche.

After you have registered online, please contact us to confirm your admission:
Hazlitt, Spring Retreat Director
4I5-846-36I8
hazlitt@gmail.com


Summer Retreat Now Open

Pre-Registration Now Open for the 6th Annual Dzogchen Summer Retreat
Dates: Friday, July 4, 2008 to Friday, July 25, 2008

Join us for a three-week Dharma training intensive and Drupchen practice
guided by H. E. Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche.

Ridgzin Dupa

The Rigzin Dupa, or gathering of the Awareness Holders

Dzogchen Buddha Foundation is pleased to announce the 6th annual Dzogchen Summer Retreat. Dzogchen Summer Retreat 2008 will be held at the beautiful and secluded Dzogchen Retreat Center USA. 

This Summer's retreat will have a unique format with three distinct one-week phases. Retreatants may register to attend either Week One or the entire Three Week Summer Retreat. Due to the extraordinary blessing that the Retreat will culminate in a Drupchen, it will not be permissible to return to the Retreat once one has left it, nor to arrive in the middle of it.

Week One: Consists of Rinpoche's essential teachings on the foundational topics of Buddhism and on the sacred text The Buddha Path.

Week Two: Transitions into the preparations of ritual offerings for Drupchen as well as teachings specific to Drupchen practice. Preparations will be a joyful blend of Dharma activities, learning, and practice.

Week Three: This week will be entirely dedicated to the actual Drupchen practice. The Summer retreatants will practice alongside the six-month interns and help to set an auspicious tone for the historic first ever Dzogchen Lineage Internship.

Register Now
Registration for this special event will be opening soon and space will be limited. Options for attendance this year include either a one-week or three-week stay. Please check in frequently at the
Dzogchen Lineage website for the pending announcement.

For more information about the Summer Retreat, please contact:

Kunzang
Dzogchen Summer Retreat Director
Tel: 702-343-5833
Email: kunzang108@gmail.com

About The Drupchen

The Tibetan word Drupchen translates literally as 'Vast Accomplishment.' This extremely powerful group practice draws upon all the skillful methods of Dharma contained within the Vajrayana teachings to generate great merit and eliminate negativity of all kinds. This type of sadhana, or 'means to accomplishment', focuses on continuous day and night recitation of mantras and includes abundant offerings, visualizations, mudras, chanting, music and dancing. The use of all of these supports for positive thinking harmonizes to help create a pure and sacred environment in the perception of the practitioners. It is said that the positive karma generated by several days of  Drupchen practice engaged with the correct intention can equal that of months or even years spent in solitary retreat.

The Great Merit of Supporting Drupchen

Now, more than ever, the powerfully focused Sangha practice contained within Drupchen is vital for purifying the harmful energy of negative thinking that proliferates as the complex problems that we find in modern societies. It also provides a means for the public to transform impermanent worldly resources into an inexhaustible source of merit. It is the aspiration of the organizers of the Summer Retreat to raise $10,000 for this sacred sadhana to finance the purchase of offerings, ritual implements, sacred clothes, musical instruments and decorative ornaments to be utilized for the benefit of all beings.

Supporting the Drupchen is the same as participating in the Drupchen. If you may not be able to attend, a donation made with pure intention to support its success is an extremely beneficial and worthwhile action. Together we can do amazing things. Please consider contributing to the Drupchen Fund today by contacting the Retreat Director.


Dzogchen Internship Update

Registration Still Open for 1st Ever Dzogchen Internship Program

Friday, July 4, 2008 to Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Registration is still open for the first Six-month Dharma Training Retreat at the Dzogchen Retreat Center USA. Under the daily guidance of H. E. Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche, students will observe a full-time schedule of practice and study based on the traditions of the great Buddhist universities of ancient India and Tibet. This program will help students deepen their understanding and enhance their ability to clearly teach others. Space is filling up quickly, so apply soon.

Internship Overview and Online Application:
http://www.dzogchenlineage.org/internship/

Internship Sponsors and Volunteers Urgently Needed
The Internship Committee is seeking sponsors to financially support interns and the operation of the internship program.

We are also seeking full-time and part-time volunteer staff to assist at the Dzogchen Retreat Center prior to and during the Internship. Duties may include cooking, food preparation, laundry, errands, tending to livestock, and maintaining the property.

This is a great opportunity to come together as a community and support each other’s practice:

“A direct bond exists between the yogi, or practitioner, and his or her benefactor, a profound connection which fortells shared enlightenment.”
—Milarepa, yogic saint of Tibetan Buddhism

Please Contact:
Kunzang, Internship Director
702-343-5833
internship@dzogchenlineage.org


Dzogchen Retreat Center Projects

The Mandala Garden Project

Mandala Garden

Mandala Project with Double Rainbow Blessings

The 24 Mandala Stations are covered and now installed. The doors and windows are also installed. Next the interiors, mandala furnishing, and mandalas will be put in place. In order to complete this auspicious sacred space before summer retreat, we will need to raise additional funds and secure more volunteers to complete this amazing project. We’re also looking for 25 foot long prayer flag strings for the central pole. Feel free to send them directly to:

Erik Jung
1220 NE 17th Ave., Suite 10A, Portland, OR 97232

To volunteer or contribute, contact:
Erik Jung,
ejung@realtytrust.com
Cell - 503-998-8088

Dzambhala Kitchen Project

The Port Townsend Sangha and Washington State Sangha have been taking the lead on this effort to make improvements to the kitchen in the old cabin, including the acquisition of a replacement gas range. Progress is coming along nicely, but the support of patrons and volunteers is needed to complete the work.

For details contact:
Robert Lapham, Project Coordinator
robert.lapham@gmail.com
360-774-0415

Dzogchen Library Project

In accordance with our mission of creating an auspicious place for bringing together teacher and student, our teacher H. E. Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche has requested we establish a library for Dharma texts at the DRC. We invite you to help us establish a superb collection of Dharma texts, DVD’s, magazines, and music, to create this vast resource for learning, contemplation and meditation.

How You Can Help:
Donate books, magazines or subscriptions, movies, music, and other library resources. You can even loan your text collection to the library. You can donate your old computer for creation of a computer data-base or donate funds for the purchase of library software to make the collections readily accessible. We need to raise approximately $1500 for this acquisition.

We’re also looking for volunteers to organize and catalog materials as they arrive.

For details contact:
Dave Merrill, Project Coordinator
DharmaIsland@hotmail.com
206-463-1490

Blue Planet Organic Farm

Blue Planet Organic Farm eagerly awaiting your green thumb

The garden at the DRC has been prepped and is ready for new life. We have a new 12x20’ greenhouse for raising seedlings, and we’re ready for our first year of garden experimentation. We intend to raise delicious fresh vegetables for our Sangha to enjoy, and grow beautiful flowers as offerings to all Buddhas, and for all to enjoy.

How You Can Help:
Anyone with or without gardening expertise is invited to show up and get your hands dirty! You can donate vegetable or flower seeds, vegetable or flower plants, flower bulbs, garden ornaments, bird-houses, hummingbird feeders, tools, gardening books, etc. You can donate funds for the creation of animal fencing and an irrigation system. Adopt a row or a set of plants and help take care of them. Mindfully pulling weeds can be a metapor for decreasing your negative thinking.

For details contact:
Dave Merrill, Project Coordinator
DharmaIsland@hotmail.com
206-463-1490

If you’d like your contribution to DSSF to go to a special project, such as the Dzambhala Project or Blue Planet Organic Farm, then please include a note specifying that when you make your donation. The Dzogchen Shri Singha Foundation USA (DSSF) is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.


Fundraising Update

A Message from Chris Carelli, Fundraising Committee Chair

As we now prepare for the first Six-Month Dzogchen Lineage Internship, we also
will reach the milestone of our next installment payment of $112,000 for the land.

In order to finish what we’ve started and fulfill the aspirations for a groundbreaking year in our lineage, we all have to come together to raise the financial resources to accomplish this. Please help us:

Raise the funds for our next installment of $112,000 by July 3, 2008.

To donate, send a check or money order to:

Dzogchen Shri Singha Foundation USA
1400 Colorado Street, Suite C
Boulder City, Nevada 89005

The Dzogchen Shri Singha Foundation USA is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

For other ways to help, please contact me as soon as possible.
Sincerely,
Chris Carelli
ccarelli@gmail.com
619-806-9541


Dharma Center News: Boise

The Boise Dharma Center Relocates to Larger Sacred Space

Boise Dharma Center

Boise Dharma Center’s new space and a few eager sangha members

On March 1st, the anniversary of Khenchen Petse Rinpoche, one of Khenpo Choga’s root masters, Dzogchen Shen Pan Choling moved to a larger practice space right next door. With nearly twice as much room, this center can accommodate more people in
a comfortable and inspiring environment. This enables the Boise sangha to offer more opportunities for the community to study and practice the timeless teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

Our new address:

Dzogchen Shen Pan Choling
Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Center
116 N. Latah, Boise, ID 83706
www.dzogchenidaho.org

New Group Practice Times:
Sunday Mornings at 10 a.m. and Sunday Evenings at 6 p.m.

Open House:
You’re cordially invited for an Open House celebrating our new location:

Friday, April 18th, 2008
Open House 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Food | Beverages | Music

For more information, contact:
Shelly King

208-284-3220
shelly.king@dzogchenidaho.org

New Introduction Course:
“The Joyful Path: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism.”
This six-week course will focus on the the core teachings of Buddhism with an emphasis on study, contemplation, and meditation in daily life.
Thursdays
May 8th thru June 12th
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
$30.00 course tuition fee.

Instructor: Guiding Dharma Teacher Sean D. Young
The teachings are provided for free. Fees support the Dharma Center and help to purchase classroom materials

To register, please email Sean at: sean.young@dzogchenidaho.org


2008 Pilgrimage Recap

Mahabodhi Stupa in Bohdgaya

The Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodhgaya, India
is home to hundreds of stupas and shrines
and is visited by thousands of pilgrims every day

The 2008 Dzogchen Pilgrimage was a resounding success. Beginning in mid-February the pilgrimage party consisted of Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche and over 24 students from Russia, the United States, and Asia.

The pilgrimage group was able to visit many monasteries and make offerings to great masters from all of the four major Buddhist Schools in Northern India and Nepal. They also had the great experience of visiting the sacred sites marking the major events in the life of Buddha Shakyamuni and historical Buddhist landmarks such as Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Vulture’s Peak, Nalanda University, Kushinagar, and Lumbini.

“We have had an amazing trip. We visited Dharamsala where his Holiness Dalai Lama was teaching and met with many lamas there. We then raveled to Tso Pema, Padmasambhava’s sacred lake, where Khenpo did an Tsok offering attended by many Tibetans. We visited Padmasambhava's caves above the lake and received reading transmissions from Lama Wongdor and Rinpoche. We then stayed in Dheradun at Khenpo's retreat center for almost one week and visited Mindrolling monastery. They were holding ceremonies for the Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche who recently passed away. We visited and received blessings from His Holiness Karmapa, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, Khandro Rinpoche, and several other lamas that Khenpo knew. All together we received blessings from the masters of all four lineages during this first part of our trip. Amazing blessings and an incredible experience I am so happy and grateful for this fortunate opportunity!”
—Wongmo

The pilgrimage concluded with an extended stay in the beautiful Kathmandu Valley of Nepal where the pilgrimage group stayed mainly in Godawari at Khenpo's Retreat Center and visited local sacred sites. Khenpo was able to see his mother for the first time in 19 years, along with other siblings who traveled from Tibet to visit him. The pilgrimage group safely navigated the bustling Kathmandu city which was on the verge of hotly contested elections and also experiencing turmoil from Tibetan refugee protests over the recent violent crackdown in Tibet. Everyone is now safe and sound and is processing the sites, smells, sounds, tastes, and experiences that are part of the India and Nepal pilgrimage experience.

For Hazlitt Krog’s blog about his pilgrimage experiences and the never-ending quest to save the lost photos on his hard drive, visit:
http://pathbuddha.blogspot.com

Dehradun Retreat Center

The pilgrimage participants and Khenpo's local students
at Khenpo's Retreat Center in Dehradun, India

This is just a brief taste of the many experiences of the 2008 Dzogchen Lineage Pilgrims. As all of the pilgrims return home and adjust to life back in the States, look for links to photo albums and more stories from this amazing journey.


Dzogchen Shri Singha Nepal

Case for Support and Urgent Request for Action

Lamas of the Godawari Retreat Center
The Little Lamas with Lama Kunzang in Godawari, Nepal

A letter from Justin Armour, our embedded pilgrimage reporter:

The Dzogchen Shri Singha Institute in Nepal is currently blossoming with about 20 little lamas between the ages of 8-14. These young students have, in many cases, been rescued by Khenpo and his brothers from lives of poverty and abuse, potentially saving them from a future of violence and corruption. 

While many of the young lamas' backgrounds are grim, they find refuge here at Khenpo's retreat center. This center is, for them, a safe haven and a pure land compared to many parts of Nepal. 

Yet, despite this sanctuary, there is an incredible need to improve the conditions here, as they are far from what we would consider up-to-par with what we provide for our children back home.

Recently, the little lamas could be seen playing with only a plastic bottle and a stick for exercise and fun, running around wearing faded and tattered robes. This was before Khenpo came. Before there was no medicine for them if they got sick, no money to take them to the doctor, and not even first aid supplies for cuts and scrapes. Many of them didn't have enough clean dishes for eating meals, and most of their shoes were falling apart. 

Because money is so hard to come by, basic necessities we take for granted such as toothpaste (not to mention a toothbrush), hand soap, laundry detergent, light bulbs, toilet paper and such basic supplies tend to be rationed out over time until they're gone. Somehow barely enough money manages to manifest to buy these basic supplies. 

The staff managing the center consists of one family, Lama Kunzang and his wife and baby son, who act as the parents of the 20 or so little monks. The other part of the staff consists of the cooks, a couple with one daughter, and the head resident lama, Lha-gya who provides teaching and instruction to all the little lamas. 

It isn't part of their upbringing for these little lamas to ask for help when needed, especially from strangers. They’d rather try their best and manage on their own. This is understandable given what they've gone through in life as Tibetans in exile, and given that up untill now they have not received very much support from outside Nepal.

However, now that we have all been made aware of the situation and several of us (Tracy, Wongmo, Chris, Sveta, Susie, Holly, Hazlitt and I) have established a close connection with the lamas and managers of the retreat center, it is not only possible that we create a relationship with them to take care of these little lamas, but also necessary to help them if they are to grow healthy and strong, thereby becoming future upholders of the Buddha’s teachings.

I would like to act on their behalf and reach out to our Sangha to support for them as they continue to grow and study the Dharma. All we need is a monthly donation of $30 per lama. This will provide each lama with a month of three square meals of good healthy food (the best you can buy in Nepal), and basic necessities, such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, and laundry detergent to keep them healthy and clean. 

Please help and contribute to this noble cause. Contact me if you are interested.

Justin Armour
spiritualseeker17@yahoo.com
702-610-2016

P.S. In addition we also need donations for medicine, doctor's visits, clothing, sports  equipment and the texts and school supplies needed for their studies. We will be taking pictures of each lama and would be happy to provide sponsors with their picture and a written letter from them, so you can see the difference you can make with these amazing young people. 

It's clear that we really need someone to volunteer their time in establishing a system of fundraising and managing the resources of the little lamas to ensure that they continue to receive enough food and supplies on a continual basis. This of course could be done from one's home, so if you or someone you know would be interested please contact me.

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