HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 25 November 2023
After a three-year hiatus due to Covid, we have finally been able to hold our regular Family Day once more at Kamalashila. As Khenpo la shared a little about his own childhood in India, it was interesting to note that although that was a very different time and place, childhood has not changed so much - the children today cited their favourite things too as in soccer and friends!
The children painted prayer flags, a way of sending their good wishes to others on the back of the Lung-Ta or Windhorse who will carry those wishes to all beings every time the breeze blows through their flags.
Meanwhile the parents spent time with Khenpo la, discussing the rich and complex job of parenting our children. Khenpo la’s key advice: to enjoy our children, to enjoy this time with them, realising that this is the best time of our lives.
Then it was time for soccer! All together we played – with laughter, encouragement, and teamwork. Thank you to all who attended. As one participant noted today, it is wonderful for our family to know that we are in this special community, raising our children in the Dharma.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 17-19 November 2023
The 2nd Shamatha & Vipassana Retreat led by Ayyas Jitindriya and Jayasara commenced at Kamalashila in mid-November with participants from many locations – from the USA, NZ, WA, Brisbane, Melbourne to name a few.
Ayyas Jitindriya and Jayasara guided attendees in person and online, through the methods of Shamatha meditation leading to insight awareness. They instructed how to truly watch our minds and work with the defilements. Their teachings were practical to our everyday lives, at the same time bringing authenticity to the delivery.
Everyone felt very fortunate to be part of such a wonderful gathering of sangha, many new to KTBC. To be in amongst the peaceful and conducive environment for contemplation and meditation at the centre. We all felt thankful to Khenpo la who had invited the Ayyas to lead this retreat.
I recently attended the Shamantha & Vipasana Retreat with the Ayyas Jitindryia and Jayasāra. Even attending via Zoom the whole experience was profound, seemingly helpful for everyone in our quiet personal ways. The Ayyas’ teachings come straight from the heart, very pure, availing silence to us all. I am grateful to receive the teachings and support and look forward to next year. Love and peace to all, ~Gwynne
The whole experience was so nourishing and strengthening. The gentle, kind, funny and wise experiential guidance from the Ayyas, being back in the peaceful setting of the bush and this retreat centre itself, and the rest I had staying in one of the huts (which if you haven’t done yet, I thoroughly recommend) – so wonderful! My deep gratitude to the Ayyas, and to Khenpo la and everyone at DBI for supporting this opportunity for us. ~Brigitte
CELEBRATED AT THE SAKYA CENTRE IN DEHRADUN 18 November 2023
Although His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin was in South America during his birthday recently, long life pujas were held at the Sakya Centre in Dehradun on that day. We all take this opportunity to yet again wish His Holiness a long and healthy life.
“A genuine kind heart cares for all beings, irrespective of their culture, race, religion, language, or other differences. It has no boundaries; it extends to all without any discrimination or exception” ~ The 42nd Sakya Trizin
The 42nd Sakya Trizin is currently in Peru, after having visited and taught in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia earlier in the month. Following Peru, Sakya Gongma Trizin Rinpoche will continue to Colombia and Costa Rica.
REFLECTIONS ON THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING MENTORS & STUDENTS IN THE AUTUMN BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY COURSE – YEAR 2 (OF 3)
Students in the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Court have completed Year 2, the Mahayana year. The insights, thoughtfulness and respect that emerged in the retreats, mentor groups and assignments has been inspirational. Thank you all so much for your dedication and commitment to your own and others’ development! What a special group this is! We don’t know the causes and conditions that have brought us all together, but we do know how grateful we are to have met. We experience the joy it brings to be able to help each other.
This Christmas New Year break is when the Course really gets going as we apply the dharmic principles to our everyday lives. What better application than the wind down to Christmas and New Year. It might be useful to keep a journal on your reflections as you apply the teachings.
Year 3, the Vajrayana year will be quite wonderful with teachings on the Heart Sutra, Seven Point Mind Training, an introduction to the four Tantric Schools, the Triple Vision and the Ngondro. Although this has not been confirmed, Khenpo mentioned that the year may hopefully culminate in November with a visit by His Holiness the 43rd Sakya and also a pilgrimage to the holy sites in India with Khenpo December 2024.
In the dharma, ~ Carole (Convenor)
Bodhicitta is like a mango tree: each season it grows even more fruit. Khenpo la began on this particular day with teachings on Bodhicitta, the most powerful antidote to our negative mind. He reminded us that each present moment is the time to implement it: ‘Past mind is already finished. Future mind is imaginary. Only present mind has the power to make change. This is the moment!’
These were very inspiring teachings which extended the study we have been doing this semester on The Six Paramitas, Bodhicitta, The Two Truths and the Perfection of Wisdom.
To receive even a single teaching on just one of these profound topics would be a great blessing but to receive all of these from such a skilful a master as Khenpo la, and then to be supported to deepen our understandings through group study as directed by Dr Carole, we feel truly, and deeply grateful.
This retreat is the culmination of the second year of the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course. In year one, we examined the Hinayana. This year we studied the Mahayana. We are already looking forward to the upcoming third and final year where we will explore the Vajrayana. Thank you once again to Khenpo la, Dr Carole, all of the mentors and students for creating such a wonderful atmosphere of learning, care and sincere investigation.
Thank you for putting together and running such a wonderful program, I feel truly privileged and grateful to be taking it. I started late, having begun the course in November 2022, I missed the first year. I spent most of the past summer catching up on the material and it started transforming the way I saw the world and my place in it. It further deepened this year with concepts of Buddha Nature, Bodhicitta, the Six Paramitas, the Perfection of Wisdom, and the Two Truths – giving me such hope for the world, a better way of viewing and navigating the world, how to see others and bring a perspective of loving-kindness to interactions.
Having been born into Buddhism and turning away from it very early on (at the age of 7), I never thought it would then become my refuge in adulthood. What draws me to this course and what compels me to traverse it, is the wisdom it offers through ancient knowledge in a modernist structure of reflective assignments, interactive and engaging practical retreats, compassionate teachers, mentors and facilitators with such patience and kindness. What I am learning over and over again is, it isn’t about ‘me’, the ‘I’, the self – it is about all sentient beings. It is understanding that suffering ends here, there is power in this mind to end suffering, and it is the same mind and heart that has the will and power to bring joy, healing, and happiness to the world. I am grateful to have come in contact with the teaching, and to have such a structured framework as the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course, and to help understand fundamental aspects of the insights, wisdoms, and teachings of the Buddha.
Warm regards, ~ Milhara
I always leave these retreats full of inspiration, hope and knowing I’m on the right path. Prior to the initial retreat, I felt like an imposter. I describe myself as a sponge absorbing the knowledge, topics and questions being asked lead to contemplation which in turn leads to personal insight. It has been nice to spend time amongst people/sangha who have similar values.
A few phrases that have stuck with me throughout these two years, either from Khenpo la, mentors and/or fellow students:
If you think you’ve got it, you don’t; if you think you haven’t got it, you’ve got it… felt relieved I got it (I don’t)!
Stick to the path.
It’s the journey not the destination.
It is just a flip of the mind.
There’s no pretending when there’s nothing. I so appreciated this honesty, as others may pretend by being dishonest.
Many thanks, ~ Diana
Year 2 of the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course has now come to a commendable close with our 4th retreat this November. After a beautifully balanced first year learning about the Hinayana Path, this year Khenpo la shared the gentle compassion and wisdom of the Mahayana Path. My experience and learnings over the first two years of this precious course has allowed me to develop a true and genuine understanding of the importance of practicing loving-kindness and compassion to all.
Khenpo la has tenderly (and consistently) reminded us, through his teachings of the Dharma, that each and every one of us can achieve enlightenment, all our suffering and happiness lies within our own mind, and through regular study, contemplation, and meditation we can awaken this mind, uproot our defilements, and understand that the true nature of all phenomena is emptiness. While the academic teachings are incredibly clear, powerful, and profound, at this past retreat Khenpo la highlighted the importance of integrating what we are learning into our everyday lives. It’s very precious to think that what we are discovering on this path can actually have such a widespread benefit.
Lastly, I’d just like to close with two final comments: my heartfelt thanks go to both Khenpo la for his knowledge, kindness, and humility in his teachings and to Carole for convening this incredible, well-structured Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course, and to anyone considering taking this course, just do it, it’s amazing!
Thank you. With Metta, ~ Natasha P.
My experience as a mentor in the ABPC 2nd year has been one full of challenges for myself and my students. Life can throw us some curve balls sometimes. What we are learning is helping us to manage and learn from these difficulties experiences. I don’t consider myself academic and do struggle to hold such complex teachings in my head. The combination of reading the manual, watching the teaching video of Khenpo la, and then discussing the teachings in the mentor Zoom sessions is very helpful and deepens my understanding. I think this is true for the students as well.
We have just completed the second retreat for this year. We revised what we had studied throughout the semester and worked in small groups with other students and mentors. This is a wonderful and an important part of the integration of learning and is an opportunity to get to know many of the other students and mentors which deepens our relationships and enhances our learning.
An integral part of the course is on self-reflection and how we apply the teachings to our everyday lives. I, also, am reflecting on my life. I can only speak for myself how profound and rich the teachings have been for me. My spiritual and emotional growth has been exponential. Because of this I find myself managing very difficult situations in a much more helpful way and enjoying life so much more. It is an absolute joy to be a part of their journey. I feel privileged.
CELEBRATED AT SAKYA TSECHEN THUBTEN LING CENTRE 4 November 2023
On behalf of Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe, Drogmi Buddhist Institute Committee and from all members and friends of DBI residing at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre and from all over the world – we continually and joyously pray for Her Eminence’s long life, to experience extraordinarily good health, so as to protect us not to fall over the cliff of samsara.
In honour of Lhabab Duchen and Jetsun Kushok Rinpoche’s Tibetan Birthday, both on 4 November 2023, a 16 Arhats Puja and cake offering celebration was held at Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling Centre, Canada. Lhabab Duchen commemorates Lord Buddha's return to earth at the age of 41 after teaching Dharma to his mother in the deva realm.
We pray that Jetsun Kushok live a long and healthy life and continue to shower us with her blessings always. May all her noble aspirations be fulfilled for the sake of all sentient beings. Photo credit Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 28 October 2023
Our 2nd Three Visions Festival truly was a wonderful day of joy and celebration of these three cultures, the local Yuin peoples, Tibetan and non-indigenous. The feedback from the performing groups, the general public and our wonderful volunteers has been resoundingly positive. To see the children playing together, in such harmony and joy was a definite highlight of the success of this event.
Thank you to the Local Yuin community led so well by Aaron. Such a beautiful sharing of your amazing culture, so inspiring!
Thank you to the Tibetan community representatives from Nowra and ACT led by Phurbu and Yeshi respectively. For cooking, dancing, singing and all the joy you brought with you!
A huge thank you of appreciation to our incredible teacher Khenpo la, who with such insightful vision, created the event and guided us all on this special journey together.
On behalf of Khenpo la and everyone at Drogmi Buddhist Institute, we wish to sincerely thank all of you for your amazingly generous efforts in volunteering to organise and then run The Three Visions Festival. Without each and every one of you this event would not be possible.
Some of the images below are of the Wallaga Lake community, including Kerry giving story of Gulaga. There are several beautiful film reels on our Facebook page of all of the performances, stalls, and the unravelling of a truly magnificent day at KTBC.
In October, Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe provided Sydney students, friends and zoomers with a special teaching on the Four Mandala Ritual of Arya Tara at our Croydon centre. Some made the trip from Queensland, others from the South Coast and some were travellers from the USA along with the Sydneysiders who had requested Khenpo la to give teachings earlier this year.
At the conclusion of the weekend, Khenpo la kindly blessed students with a very precious Tara statue that had looked after Khenpo la’s father and family in many dangerous situations.
As the crowns of the devas and asuras bow down to your lotus feet, may the auspiciousness of the Arya Tara, the liberator from all poverty, arise.
To the Deity whom I have called upon throughout all of my lives, the action principle of all the Buddhas of the three times, emerald green in colour, with one face and two hands, swift and peaceful lady, may the auspiciousness of she who holds the Utpala flower arise!
To Arya Tara who grants attainments swiftly, the glorious Atisha, sole deity of the Land of Snows, Gyalwa Drom, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, I supplicate, grant the supreme and common siddhis!
By the power of the supplications made according to this ritual, may the entire source of plagues, illnesses and negative spirits be pacified and may all siddhis, both supreme and common, be achieved through these blessings, swiftly and effortlessly!
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 29 September - 8 October 2023
At the start of the ten-day Shamatha Retreat at Kamalashila, Khenpo la noted this was our 8th Annual Shamatha Retreat held at Kamalashila, although he has led many others over the years and different locations around Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Attendees have come to this retreat from as far away as Northern NSW and Melbourne. Khenpo la invited us to meet and mingle with each other before giving an overview of the retreat, and then a profound teaching on the core reason why we need to learn Shamatha Meditation. Everyone was very happy to have arrived in this peaceful and special place.
On day two Khenpo la taught in detail on the Four Foundation Thoughts, the Seven Vairocana Posture and refuge. With refuge, Khenpo la taught on the reason why the Triple Gem are the most suitable objects of refuge. Buddha’s every word has the answer to our sufferings; Dharma can destroy all the branches of our defilements; Sangha has the past experience that inspires and supports us until Buddhahood.
On a different afternoon Khenpo la led students in raising wonderful new prayer flags for our centre. On completion of all the Shamatha instructions and his very special teachings on Nargajuna’s ‘Letter to A Friend’ our retreat was completed. At the conclusion, students felt compelled to recite Khenpo la’s long life prayer in heartfelt appreciation for his wise, clear, and inspiring teaching. May All beings be happy!
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 15-17 September 2023
Thank you to everyone who attended our 5th group karma yoga retreat at Kamalashila. Heaps of jobs were done and Khenpo la led impromptu dharma discussions in the evenings. Thank you for all of your wonderful contributions.
CELEBRATED AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 16 September 2023
We gathered to celebrate His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche’s Birthday during our karma yoga retreat. Khenpo la led sangha members at this retreat chanting His Holiness’ Long-Life Prayer, and we all offered birthday cake and khata offerings to His Holiness. We rejoiced in the presence of such an authentic and compassionate master in this world who unceasingly turns the Wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. We pray from the depths of our heart that His Holiness lives a long life, that He remain in good health for the benefit of all.
Kamalashila is a true refuge for humans and wildlife alike. We have a number of wombats that live at the centre and who have had significant health issues with mange, a condition that affects a lot of wombats and is an extremely uncomfortable condition. With the help of our local wise and compassionate wombat expert Danie and a team of volunteers at the centre, we have successfully treated Tashi who came out to tell us he was feeling better! We are hoping our other resident, Tsering is equally recovered. You can see the after and before pics are such a contrast. May all beings overcome their physical, mental, and karmic afflictions.
Images below show our wombats before and during treatment, as well as Tashi after treatment, growing back a good coat of hair and looking happy. Tashi now shows off his thick coat that has grown back.
Great thanks to Peter Tooth, among other things, wombat treater extraordinaire. Thanks for creeping around in the dark, Pete and seeing so many wombats some of whom are badly mange. ~One of our wombat carers Penny M.
VISIT BY KHENPO NGAWANG DHAMCHOE 25-27 August 2023
A very special weekend welcoming Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe back to Manjushri Buddhist Centre in Milton, NSW this last weekend of August.
Khenpo wisely retreated and taught from his residence in Tilba at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre over the last three years while the world turned upside down with Covid, which meant there was much anticipation and joy to have his warm and wise presence return to our town. We joyously reflected on the nineteen years of Khenpo la visiting us in Milton, so next year we so look forward to celebrating his 20th year visiting and teaching in Milton.
Over the three days, eighty members and friends soaked in his precious teachings on understanding how as human beings we suffer, yet with strength of mind we can overcome our hardships. He reminded us that we all possess pure Buddha nature, and we should remind ourselves of this daily to remedy our feelings of depression and helplessness. From here we water our inherent seeds of loving-kindness, compassion and bodhicitta will surely flourish for us to find true peace and happiness through helping and serving others. ~Jacky H.
Heart Sutra Weekend Teachings with Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe in Sydney and via Zoom.
We were at the culmination of Khenpo la’s teachings on the Buddha’s Heart Sutra, our brains were buzzing and awake. I think Linda Mc. put it best: “Khenpo la has given us such a precise and profound roadmap to enlightenment this weekend by explaining such complexity with such elegant simplicity”.
Several of us were left scratching our heads in amazement: “Have we really been this lucky – to have gained a such a window into the precious Prajnaparamita?” Khenpo la’s warmth and humour, his care for his students and his depth of knowledge and experience meant that each of us gained valuable insights into the Buddha’s Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. We are so deeply grateful… May we all awaken and awaken each other!
Khenpo la was invited and travelled to the Central Coast of NSW at Mandalong to give a talk with a local meditation group. Khenpo la was generously hosted by Scott and Brenda at their home, and Ma Kali at the Barn Temple. Khenpo la’s talk was a strong encouragement to change our responses to upsets and grow up in order to reduce the harm done to all parties and just notice how much our heartiness and contentment can grow.
Comments from Ma Kali at the Barn Temple:
“His presence was exquisite and the light that exhumed from his being provoked great measures of pure joy, pure peace and incredibly palpable compassion and kindness. The feedback from many, was that the teachings were in simplicity of form and easy to digest and understand. More importantly that for many of those who received the teachings, there would be immediate employment of these orientations within daily life. Inward actions of relating all experiences to the self and learning to respond from kindness, from compassion. There was so much received from those in attendance that the grounding of the teachings is still coming through the minds of the attendees.
“There were a few different traditions visiting on the night, members of shanti mission, Sharmans, and Chinese traditions and those from Kali sangha also. The Dharma talk from Khenpo la was such that it spoke to all languages and traditions and was relatable by all in understanding principals in mastery of the mind. Deep gratitude Khenpo la.”
HELD AT NAMGYAL CHOEDHE THUBTEN DARGA LING MONASTERY IN MUSTANG, NEPAL 2 August 2023
On August 2, 2023, His Eminence Ngor Luding Khen Rinpoche started the holy Dharma teachings of “LamDre Gyued Gsum” (tri-tantra in LamDre) at Namgyal Choedhe Thubten Darga Ling monastery in Mustang, Nepal. Please enjoy a few special images of this day.
Glimpse of images from 6 August where His Eminence Ngor Luding Khen Rinpoche, His Eminence Dhungste Rinpoche, Luding Shabdrung and Semo Sonam Paldren went to Lowathang, taking a one day break from the LamDre program simply to regain the freshness and energy from nature and its beauty that allows mental peace during this busy schedule.
All images are from Pal Ewam Namgyal Monastic Secondary School+2 (Science stream) Facebook page, thank you!
HELD AT INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ACADEMY (IBA), NEPAL 9 July – 4 August 2023
Mandala Offering to His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin Gongma Ratna Vajra Rinpoche on Chöekhor Düchen
During the precious teachings of The Complete Path by His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin at IBA, on the auspicious day of Chöekhor Düchen, a Mandala Offering was made to His Holiness on behalf of Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe and Drogmi Buddhist Institute by DBI students and friends attending the teachings. Alongside offerings to His Holiness and the ordained sangha, all students received a picture of the Five Race Buddhas.
The following prayer was composed to mark this occasion:
We pray for the longevity of our Precious Gurus, for His Holiness the Sakya Trichen, for His Holiness Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, for His Holiness Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, for His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche, for Her Eminence Jestun Kusho la and for the wellbeing of all their Noble Families.
We pray for the preservation of the precious Buddha Dharma and the flourishing of the Great Sakya lineage. We pray for the happiness of all mother sentient beings.
We pray for all our precious teachers – may they turn the minds of all beings towards the Dharma and lead them on the path of Ultimate Happiness.
We pray for our Vajra brothers and sisters gathered here in Kathmandu, along with all our other Dharma brothers and sisters, that we all become strong in our practice as an expression of our sincere gratitude and deep devotion to His Holiness and our other precious teachers. We pray that all obstacles are removed and that all beings progress swiftly towards Enlightenment.
We pray for our Dharma sister Genevieve Ryan who passed away recently and whose funeral is taking place on this very day, for Kye and all others in the bardo state.
May the precious Gurus enjoy excellent health and live long lives as we beseech them to continue to turn the Wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Completion of the Four Weeks of Teachings from Khenpo la
Thank you so much Your Holiness and congratulations to all students.
Words from a Few Students
“For myself, just being in Kathmandu, this most holy place for four weeks was challenging with all of the stairs we needed to climb each day, yet at the same time so uplifting with the special teachings from His Holiness 42nd Sakya Trizin. All being well, I hope to return next year, the year after that, again and again.” ~Brenda C.
“Firstly, I need to thank Khenpo la who is always giving teachings in every situation, and also for the formal teachings of the first three years of The Complete Path in Australia. For myself, I have not had any proper schooling or a smart mind. I must have accumulated good karma in the past in order to receive these teachings, so now I need to continue studying and doing my practices the best way I can.
“Surprisingly, I found His Holiness’ teachings easy to understand at the time of His teachings, so now I have to work on fixing my monkey mind plus plug up the holes in my leaky pot, to work really hard digesting at all.
“Our days off were on Saturdays, yet His Holiness continued to give teachings, doing pujas, and giving blessings for many to people at different places around Kathmandu on those days. His Holiness gave us teachings each morning then we had re-teachings each afternoon. The first week was from Khenpo Jordan and then after that it was Lama Ngawang Tenzin, who was the interpreter for His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre Tilba in 2019.
“As it is not appropriate to talk about the teachings that we had, I will share about some of the people I met or spent time with, starting with Bess and Pam. They kept everything at IBA running in shipshape – Bess did all of the admin, and Pam did all the housekeeping, the mind boggles!!! It was so much work, but they were always happy to help. We had our first Saturday out with Venerable Tsultrim, taking Brenda and myself to a Tibetan bookshop which was like in Aladdin’s Cave. Followed by a lovely lunch.
“I was very fortunate to sit with Linda McKeone and Jacqui Quilty, as their kindness and support was truly wonderful, true dharma sisters. We also had a lovely day out together in the quiet countryside.
“I also had the good fortune to catch up with Dorothy. We first met in 1997, and she carried with her a group photo, she was very surprised and happy to see myself and Brenda. It felt like yesterday as we chatted together. Then there was Ashley from a few doors down from us. As well as going on a group day out, we found when chatting that we both attended the same Zoom practices for each of us in a different country on different days at different times and doing the practice together (the idea of time and place seem to have disappeared)! We can now look out for each other, being such a comforting thought. Thanks to Jack we caught up with Lama Kunga who lived in Whyalla, South Australia, many years ago, looking really well and happy. In the room opposite me was Renee who was from Townsville and doesn’t have a centre or resident teacher as yet but who knows what is around the corner for her drive and commitment seemed very strong.
“There were so many more people I could mention but it would take up the whole newsletter… The entire month went by so quickly as I feel so blessed to have been able to go. On a last note, I would highly recommend staying at IBA – fingers and toes crossed I will stay there next year. Love and blessings to all.” ~ Lynda W.
“This July I was lucky enough to be among the 31 Australians who travelled to the International Buddhist Academy in Kathmandu for the fourth year of The Complete Path Course. We made up the third largest national contingent behind the Chinese No.2 and the Spanish No.1. So much sangha from so many different countries, even some hardy souls who had no sangha in their home country but travelled overseas on their own as the foundation of their practice.
“For most of us who studied the first three years in Australia it was an amazing experience. It was made all the more exciting because we had to wait out the Covid years before the fourth year of the course was finally re-scheduled, in Nepal.
“Thanks to Bess and Pam, the Aussie co-ordinators of the TCP course, the administration and organisation of the course was seamless. Six days a week for four weeks we enjoyed morning teachings and afternoon re-teachings. There were plenty of extra-curricular activities. Saturday bus trips to stupas, caves, and monasteries. Some Aussies organised Soor practices and Pujas in temples and stupas, having an Aussie audience with His Holiness, and a farewell dinner and even a meeting with the Australian High Commissioner to Nepal.
“It was a privilege to visit Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley in particular. It is such a spiritual place with so many important Buddhist sites, stupas and temples. I didn’t think I would ever stand in the cave that Padmasambhava lived and meditated in. We had the opportunity to circumambulate around the glorious Boudhanath Stupa every day. “We were in Tibetan area of Kathmandu with monasteries seemingly every 50 meters. Kathmandu is a bustling city of around 5 million people (no one knows for sure), a cultural and spiritual melting pot. The cheerfulness and compassion of the local inhabitants faced with the crumbling and inadequate infrastructure was a daily inspiration. The street dogs are carefully looked after by the locals. The lucky dogs sleep all day and bark all night. The locals feed the crows and the pigeons. Potted plants bloom in ever available corner and thousands of prayer flags gently flutter atop all of the houses and buildings. Together with the humidity and monsoonal rain it was a study retreat I’ll never forget.” ~Anthony G.
“In 2017 Khenpo la introduced us to The Complete Path teachings, expertly guiding us for three years, forming an amazing group of Dharma friends that I treasure. Some of us this year, 2023, were able to travel to Nepal to the International Buddhist Academy in Boudhanath, Kathmandu to continue year four of The Complete Path teachings from His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin. The teachings were six days a week for four weeks. I didn’t understand much of the teachings.
“I did notice a lot of Dharma practitioners, with their kindness and their attention to others. The many years practising and the great efforts they made through the Dharma. The many amazing results of practice and effort in the Dharma, like the ancient Boudhanath stupa and the modern IBA. Both drawing in practitioners and allowing them even now at this moment to follow and practise the teachings of the Buddha. I did realise even though my practice and understanding now is very weak and confused, that with the right motivation it can build to help others on the Dharma path, and potentially much more. So, I put my leave form in at work for next year. I’ll put away savings each week. I’ll quietly try to practise and study. So then I can understand a little more thanks to my Dharma friends.” ~Dino
From Friday 14 to Sunday 16 July the White Conch Group, in collaboration with the Rigpa Brisbane Centre, hosted Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe in Brisbane.
Rigpa Brisbane and White Conch first made a connection on the occasion of the His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin’s visit to Brisbane in 2003 which was organised by Rigpa Brisbane in collaboration with Khenpo la. Since that time Khenpo la has visited us for weekend teachings many times, covering topics such as the “Seven Points of Training the Mind”, “Triple Vision”, “Parting from the Four Attachments”, Nagarjuna’s “Letter to a Friend”, selected chapters from Aryadeva’s “400 Stanzas”, and “The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva”.
This time Khenpo la taught on “The Sutra Recollecting the Qualities of the Three Jewels”, which is an important text for helping us accumulate merit and arouse the faith required for taking refuge and giving rise to bodhicitta.
Khenpo la’s skilful presentation of the qualities of the Three Jewels worked like a mirror in which we were able to clearly see ourselves in our present, unenlightened state, along with our potential for attaining enlightenment. We felt very fortunate to receive these teachings from a teacher as rare and excellent as Khenpo la, who is not only extraordinarily learned, but also embodies the essence of the teachings in the style of a true and dedicated practitioner.
It was a joyful occasion of sharing good dharma in good company, with around 30 people attending Khenpo la’s teaching at the Rigpa Brisbane centre. Upon his arrival on Friday, Khenpo la generously consecrated a number of statues for our dharma centre and for individual students. This was our first teaching event with Khenpo la since the lockdowns and uncertainty caused by the Covid pandemic. We are very grateful to Khenpo la for visiting us this year. We pray that he will live long and in good health, and that he will return to our centre again and again in years to come. ~ Jan van der Breggen
CELEBRATED AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 9 July 2023
Sangha gathered at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre to celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 88th birthday. Khenpo la led in chanting His Holiness’ Long Life Prayer to remain in this world, enjoy good health, and continue to turn the Wheel of Dharma. Penny then led all in a wonderful rendition of Happy Birthday for His Holiness, and Tjenka made a delicious birthday cake which was offered then to His Holiness, as we then made khata offerings. We all imagined receiving a shower of blessings from His Holiness. A very beautiful morning with sangha in a joyful celebration for His Holiness.
A big thank you from the Ananda Buddhist Centre, Rockhampton, Queensland, to Khenpo la and to Ann, his program coordinator of Drogmi Buddhist Institute.
The members of the Ananda Centre were looking forward to the visit by Khenpo la, for with the lockdowns during Covid we have not had the opportunity in having him attend Rockhampton and provide his experienced teachings for some three years.
Notwithstanding a very long journey over two days to travel to Rockhampton, Khenpo la provided a public talk to the Rockhampton public about “How to live a meaningful life”. This was well received by all who attended. The teachings emphasised that life is experienced through the mind, and happiness in our life can be achieved through working on having a happy mind.
This was a very good introduction to the teachings that proceeded over the weekend of teachings on “The Seven Points of Training the Mind”. This was well attended with 15 participants from around the Central Queensland area including people travelling from Mackay. There were a number of experienced students who attended as well as new students who have never learnt anything previously about Buddhist teachings. Because of Khenpo la’s experience over many years of teaching he was able to provide a teaching that was thought-provoking and helpful to all the participants. All students commented on how much they had learnt and how good the teachings were.
The strength of the Buddhist teachings was reflected in the quiet humility of Khenpo’s very sincere, warm, and friendly demeanour with all the students. All attending left the weekend happy and with new enthusiasm to be more positive in their day to day lives. ~ Allan G.
AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 20 May – 18 June 2023
The name Saga Dawa is of a particular star for which only appears within the fourth month of the lunar calendar. The Saga Dawa month is an incredibly special month, for the Buddha performed Six Noble Activities: the first being that the Buddha was conceived; secondly the Buddha was born; thirdly the Buddha took ordination; fourth the Buddha completely defeated His own maras; fifth He attained full enlightenment; and lastly, He passed into Mahaparinirvana – all within this specific month. Therefore, this is a very special month in the Buddhist calendar.
At Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre 108 candles were lit daily for sponsors and designated loved ones who may be in need of prayers for countless reasons, those who may be ill and who have passed away. Please enjoy a selection of images taken throughout this most auspicious month. Photos by Khenpo la, Karma la, Venerable Tsultim, Ann and anyone not mentioned – thank you!!!
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 9-12 June 2023
The 4th Annual Shri Vajrapani Bhutadamara Retreat held at Kamalashila was a wonderful success. Khenpo la gave us teachings on the sadhana and guided practice sessions to deepen our understanding. We all felt so blessed, we cannot express our gratitude enough, thank you Khenpo la. On the conclusion day of the retreat, we also bid farewell to our dear Karma la who has now departed the centre returning to his home in New York. We all enjoyed a delicious lunch and a farewell cake (made by Penny) to thank him for all he continually did for the Centre and has done for so many of us. From delicious cooking for retreats, grounds maintenance, painting and so much more. He never stopped working for the centre. We miss you Karma la and look forward to your speedy return.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 2-4 June 2023
Celebrating Sangyé & Nyangdé Düchen (Saga Dawa Düchen)
The 1st retreat this year of the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course was a great success, during Saga Dawa month and completing the 1st Semester of the 2nd year, led by Khenpo la.
The full moon day of this most auspicious month of Saga Dawa (Sangyé & Nyangdé Düchen), fell on the final day of this retreat, for which Khenpo la offered a teaching on patience. The retreatants all gathered each day of the retreat to light 108 candles on behalf of sponsors, offering for the benefit of all sentient beings to be free of suffering.
On this last day and most auspicious day of the Buddhist calendar, the retreat was followed by a two-hour Puja – The Sixteen Arhat Puja, led by Khenpo la, as retreatants and members from the local community all joined in together. All attendees offered a further 108 light offerings; khata offerings were then made to all the ordained sangha; then traditional auspicious rice and tea was partaken by all; followed by a delicious community lunch. It truly was a beautiful day of celebrations at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 18-21 May 2023
The Annual Ngondro Retreat led by Khenpo la began Thursday on the anniversary of two of the Great Sakya masters, Gaton Ngawang Lekpa Rinpoche, for whom Ngondro was his main practice, and Khenchen Jamyang Thupten Lungtok Gyaltsen, the 72nd Throne Holder of the Ngor Lineage. Hearing from Khenpo la about their dedication to practice is a great inspiration for us. Day three dawned with the beginning of the most holy month in the Tibetan calendar, Saga Dawa. The sangha attending made 100 candlelight offerings on behalf of sponsors and for the benefit all beings. Khenpo la gave a short talk on Saga Dawa. It is a very special month as it is a time that has a strong connection to human emotions. The results of positive deeds during this month are multiplied millions of times, as also for negative emotions, therefore it is very good time to be mindful of our thoughts, our speech, and our actions. It is a time Khenpo la said that practitioners take extra responsibility. It is the month that Lord Buddha accomplished eight of The Twelve Noble Deeds. We all feel very fortunate to be at the Centre at this time in particular, receiving such incredibly clear and profound teachings from Khenpo la at this time. The teachings from Khenpo la were so profound.
We had a fantastic weekend of teachings with Khenpo la recently. He taught on the classic text “Parting from the Four Attachments” by Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. The teachings were superb, and it was so wonderful to have him here again to share the dharma. These are classic teachings that give really clear instructions on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. We were encouraged to become an alchemist and transform everything into the path of Dharma. Starting by cultivating a heart of loving kindness and compassion and working to eradicate all the mental afflictions that give rise to our myriad forms of suffering. Khenpo la really highlighted and explained in detail the primary root cause of our suffering, ignorance, and self-grasping. He went through each of the four attachments and explained brilliantly the purpose and meaning of each one, inspiring and motivating everyone to keep on practising and not to give up.