Issue 05 – June 17, 2008
Some Words From Our Kind Teacher
Buddha Shakyamuni, the fourth Buddha of this Aeon.
Wednesday, June 18th is Saga Dawa Duchen, the anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment and Parinirvana. In honor of this auspicious day, here is a teaching from Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche from his commentary on the Bodhisattvacharyavatara about Buddha Shakaymuni’s qualities:
“Buddha Shakyamuni has four unique features that distinguish him from among the thousand buddhas that appear in the Fortunate Aeon. His first unique feature is that he cares for the beings of this era of strife, an era in which the five degenerations are widespread. Among all the thousand buddhas, he is the only one who appears in such an unfortunate time.
At the time when the buddhas have not yet reached enlightenment but are still traveling the path as bodhisattvas, they all make specific aspirations for their future activities as buddhas. Buddha Shakyamuni, when he was still a bodhisattva, made five hundred great aspirations, all of which specifically entailed helping beings at the time when they, in general, would be tormented by the five degenerations.
None of the other buddhas that have appeared (or will appear) throughout the course of this Fortunate Aeon chose to emphasize such aspirations when they were traveling the bodhisattva path. Instead, it was their conclusion that sentient beings of the degenerate times would, in general, be unsuitable vessels for the dharma. Hence, Buddha Shakyamuni is considered to be more courageous than the other guides of the Fortunate Aeon. This manifest courage is the second of the four unique features that distinguish him from the other buddhas of the Fortunate Aeon.
Due to his extraordinarily compassionate development of bodhicitta and the marvelous five hundred aspirations he made, Buddha Shakyamuni was ‘praised as the White Lotus’ by all the other buddhas of this aeon. This is the third of the four unique features that distinguish Buddha Shakyamuni from the other buddhas of this Fortunate Aeon.
The fourth unique feature by which Buddha Shakyamuni is known is that of the immense power of blessing carried by his name. Whoever so much as hears his name will become a non-returner. Like a fish who has entered a fisherman’s net, any being who makes a connection of any kind with Buddha Shakyamuni has entered into his net of compassion. The immense blessing power emanating from Buddha Shakyamuni arises on the basis of his immeasurable qualities and due to the strength of his former aspirations. His compassion is beyond all concepts and thoughts and thus reaches out to all sentient beings, free from even the most subtle bias or partiality...
...Among the immeasurable qualities of the Buddha, eight of his foremost qualities manifest as the eight bodhisattvas:
— From Chapter 1 of Drops of Nectar, Khenpo Kunpal’s commentary on the Bodhisattva-Charyavatara with explanations by Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche.
Urgent Request for Volunteers
The summer is upon us at the Dzogchen Retreat Center and affords us more beautiful days to complete all our Dharma activities in time for the first Six-Month Dzogchen Internship Program. Unfortunately, we have more projects than we have Sangha on-site to finish them. So we urgently ask for volunteers to come out and help us, whether already skilled in the needed areas or not.
Mandala Garden Project
The Mandala Garden Project, June 8th, 2008.
We’ve made enormous progress on the Mandala Garden Project, but still need to complete the drywall and finish the interior furnishings of each Station of the Mandala for practice and contemplation. We are seeking experienced and even non-experienced assistance. The more help we get, the quicker we can finish. Please bring your own tools. If you can help, contact Erik Jung: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dzambhala Kitchen Project
The Dzambhala Kitchen Project cooking area, June 8, 2008
The Dzambhala Kitchen is nearly complete, with a few minor touch-ups, such as finishing the painting and improving the restroom. For additional information and to volunteer, contact Robert Lapham at: email@example.com
The Dzambhala Kitchen Project dining area, June 8, 2008.
We are making many improvements to existing buildings to accommodate the Summer Retreat Drupchen and the Six-Month Internship Program. We are looking for all kinds of expertise, including sewing decorations, and other types of help not requiring any particular skill, such as organizing the spaces for use during the Internship.
We welcome you to join us in creating a successful retreat and internship.
Please contact John Sullard at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are getting closer and closer to our first Dzogchen Internship Program and to the next installment payment for our land. In order to fulfill our goals for the Dzogchen Retreat Center Project, we need your support. The next year is critical to our mission, and we need to raise at least $40,000 before July to ensure a successful Internship Program.
Please consider making a donation of $500 or more as soon as possible.
Your donation will secure our beautiful home for training future generations of Dharma students. Donations of any amount are meritorious and will go a long way towards providing the resources we need to achieve our goals.
Please mail donations by check, money order, or international money order to:
DSSF is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3), and your donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. If you can not contribute financially, the Fundraising Committee is in urgent need of volunteers to call prospective donors. We are having weekly Fundraising phone conference calls and phone drives. To share in these virtuous efforts, contact Shannon at: email@example.com
Saga Dawa Duchen Event
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Saga Dawa is one of the four main holy days in the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar. This day commemorates Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment and Parinirvana. It is a particularly auspicious day to practice and to make virtuous aspirations. This year it falls on Wednesday, June 18.
At the Dzogchen Retreat Center, we have a full day of teachings with Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche, culminating in the bestowing of vows for lay practitioners (5 vows) and monks and nuns (200+ vows) to interested students. The day will conclude with a spectacular Fire Puja to remove any obstacles before the start of the Dzogchen Internship Program.
The plans for the day are evolving quickly, with some auspicious visitors possibly joining the puja. Please plan to join us on this special day. If you think you'll attend, you should register by contacting John Sullard at the DRC at 202-657-4108 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dzogchen Internship Program Update
As we near the opening of the first ever Dzogchen Internship Program, there are still openings for both 3-month and 6-month Retreatants. If you have the slightest intention to attend, please contact Kunzang at the email below.
Lead Cook Needed!
We need volunteers for the Internship, specifically a cook to head the kitchen. Note that this position, while being a volunteer position, will have a $200 weekly stipend on top of free room and board. We are also in urgent need of other volunteers during the retreat to support the retreatants so that they may focus on their studies and practices.
We already have some volunteers to cook and to assist in the kitchen. Some are coming for a couple solid weeks; others are coming for parts of the week for the entire six-months. Any kitchen volunteers for any length of time are warmly welcomed and are strongly encouraged to arrange a schedule with Kunzang, contact him at: email@example.com
Upcoming Dzogchen Seasonal Retreats
During the Dzogchen Internship Program, we will still be offering seasonal retreats. Please mark your calendars for these upcoming seasonal retreats:
All of these retreats will be held at the Dzogchen Retreat Center USA in Oregon. The summer, autumn, and winter seasonal retreats will all be held concurrent with and in the same location with the 6-month Dzogchen Lineage Internship. You do not have to register for the 6-month Internship in order to attend any of these retreats; and conversely if you are accepted into the Internship, then you don’t have to register for any of the concurrent seasonal retreats, since they are included in the Internship.
NOTE: As this is the first time we are offering the Dzogchen Internship Program, some seasonal retreat dates and topics may change to accommodate the successful completion of the Internship program.
We’ll be posting updates on the Dzogchen Lineage schedule page as our planning continues.
The Dzogchen Lineage News is an occasional email newsletter from DSSF, the Dzogchen Lineage's North American organization, located at:
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Love and Compassion + Awareness and Wisdom = Dzogchen Lineage