At Drogmi Buddhist Institute 2019 AGM 7 December 2019
As a Buddhist organisation our goal is to help others, others meaning everyone, yet practically we are living in Australia and as everyone is aware this year in a climate point of view we are in drought and so many are suffering, all the farmers out there – we must send good wishes, so I would like to invite everyone to join me in wishing for them that this drought be ended soon.
Secondly, due to the drought, many parts of New South Wales and some parts of Queensland are experiencing many bushfires and have affected most people. As well as all the wild animals are suffering, we can also send kind wishes that they are free from losing their lives and free from danger. I offer my wishes and prayers – may all be free of this danger.
Thirdly, this is our Annual General Meeting of 2019 and planning for 2020. Since the beginning of this year we had a most wonderful visit by His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche over three weeks, a very wonderful program and many people went to the retreat. Then following this the amazing visit of the head of the Sakya lineage, His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin, for a short period of time which was such a great benefit to many people. Following this as normal as last year we completed The Complete Path Course very successfully. As well as our regular weekly meditation days and the running of regular retreats, all being extremely successful, so if we look back from January up to today this has been one of the busiest and most successful times at Kamalashila. This success doesn’t come from mere one or two people’s hard work – this success comes from everyone’s joint efforts.
We are looking forward to working together similarly to have success in the future. Success depends on the organisation, the organisation is run by people, the people depend on the right motivation and right mind. Of course, I am less experienced in running an organisation than many of you, but one thing I have more experience than others is in the running of dharma activities, due to growing up in a dharma environment. This organisation is very different than other organisations, because a normal organisation focuses on mundane success, whereas this organisation is more of spiritual success, meaning the more we evolve in this organisation the less we have a self-cherishing mind – becoming more kind towards each other. Most importantly when one is part of this organisation it’s not about what one is going to get out of it, how can I control things, how I can be in a better position than others. Instead: how can I serve others, how can I make someone feel welcome here at the centre. In the running of the centre we need to remember that when people visit here they have certain expectations, being out in the communities they have particular difficulties and issues in their lives, having stresses in their lives. Due to this they may think if I go to a Buddhist centre it may help me to reduce my stress, it may help me to bring more peace, this is the reason people come here. Therefore, as an organisation we have a responsibility to provide that facility rather than to disturb their minds. This is so very important, as a spiritual organisation we must do our best to have a good environment here. It is impossible to please every single person, this is human nature, but if we look back to January up until now most of the people who have come to the centre, I believe are very satisfied of what we offer. One or two may not be satisfied which is nature and we cannot do anything to change that.
In the future I am not too interested in physical constructions, whereas in some centres organisations are so caught up in physical construction – for which I do say this centre is a place for long-term study, long time retreats, and in order to do that we need to have comfortable accommodation to have enough electricity, water, a comfortable place. At the moment we do not have completely comfortable things to offer others, for example we are having a lot of trouble due to water shortage, as in Grace kindly staying at the centre long-term, she has no water, so we do need to practically focus on developing necessary things for the future as in water, electricity and comfortable accommodation. Once achieving this, I will encourage the centre to have no more constructions done, for if we get too caught up in the material side we will lose the essence of focussing on the Buddhadharma, this is my wish.
Primarily and legally this centre is run by the committee, which I say they have extreme generosity due to it all being voluntarily, they receive nothing – their kindness in their efforts and their professionalism, so from the bottom of my heart I thank all of the committee for working so hard. I, also would like to thank all the general members, due to each member contributing in their own way from January until today, without all of you the trees or plants are not going to do what we need to do, in this way we need humans to help run this centre, so I would like to thank all the members and friends of Kamalashila.
I would like to thank Peter Green who was part of the committee before I came to Australia and have known him since 1994. He is a person without much drama, without hassles, if I ask him to do something, he will immediately attend to it, the reason he does things so fast is because he always practises Tara, he is quick like Tara. After these 25 years he has worked tirelessly as our treasurer, very efficiently and amazingly, and deserves to take a rest from the committee and resigning from the treasurer position, in this way to Peter I say thank you very much for all of your hard work and huge contribution. Yet he only wants one-year rest and hopefully will return as our treasurer by next year. This is the only way I can accept his resignation, if it was forever - I would have to think over again. After 25 years as treasurer it is very acceptable to have a year break.
In conclusion as a team we work together to benefit others. As many of you have heard me say many times also reading many times the greatest happiness comes when you generally help others. All the problems we face comes from individual interest, having a strong tendency and habit working in a normal place, there is ego, selfishness, misunderstandings, but as soon as you are working for the centre, we must remember we are not working in a mundane environment, we work in the dharma. At least if I am not working for others, just not to delude other minds – this being a big responsibility. In this way I invite more people to join, not necessarily in the form of committee but in form of a team, we all can work together to make this place benefit many people throughout the future here.
Finally, now coming to the end of the year, with Christmas and the New Year I wish everyone not only here but everywhere a wonderful holiday, I wish during this time that all beings be safe, to live an enjoyable life and free all nature of suffering such as the bush fires and drought. Thank you very much everyone… Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe
Khenpo la added information about the 2021 three-year Course:
The main focus is the Buddhadharma, teaching, practice and meditation, this is the main aim. Some people work within the Buddhadharma in a casual way as in our regular Tuesday and Sunday meditation practices and retreats. I also like to run more on the academic reaching out to non-Buddhist people, this has been a long time wish for myself. I feel so lucky now, for I have met some scholars and professors such as Carole, who approached me as to how can she aid to help promote the Buddhadharma. We started talking about this course at the beginning of this year, and up to now she has actively got volunteers to transcribe, for which 80 to 90 pages have been done already, it is advancing so well. Carole is being supported by two other professors, Richard and Gerlese from the ACT National University – all highly experienced professors, we are so lucky as a team to run an education system in 2021 at this centre. I am looking forward to another three-year course. Maybe having an education sub-committee with these three professors. In addition to this team we have Tjenka from Bega and Jane from New Zealand. These five will be a strong team together with this 2021 course. In conclusion I truly would like to thank Carole, she is offering to help the Buddhadharma in this way.
VISIT BY KHENPO NGAWANG DHAMCHOE 23/24/30 November and 1 December 2019
Khenpo la completed two successful weekend teachings visiting The Bau Sen Buddhu Ru Yi Temple, Kinglake, Victoria. The four talks given at the temple by Khenpo la were: “Coping with Stress”, “Facing Difficulties with Optimism”, “A Buddhist Perspective on Mental Health”, and “Meditation for Peace and Overcome Stress”. Khenpo la travels down to Kinglake annually and is so beautifully received and appreciated for his tremendous efforts and extraordinary teachings.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 15-17 November 2019
Our Annual Family Retreat proved a real treat for the families as we dropped our ordinary life to get a glimpse into what is truly possible. Khenpo la gifted us space, harmony, fun, warmth, a feeling of connectedness and freedom from our habits, a real breath of fresh air in the context of our busy family lives. We have taken home so much in our hearts and minds and as if this wasn’t enough of a blessing, he sent us off with a prayer he plucked from his mind stream to keep us from losing our way. With so much love and gratitude we say thanks to Khenpo and Kamalashila for holding our families with so much care.
When Khenpo asked a first-time child to the retreat what did he like about the retreat, he said “really loved having fun and laughing with his family”.
Daily Reminder Prayer (Composed by Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe at the 4th Annual Family Retreat at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre 2019) When I am angry may I remember patience, When I am greedy may I remember gratitude, When I am jealous may I remember to rejoice, When people criticise, me may I remember my teacher, When I am stressed may I remember the meditation, When I am confused may I remember the wisdom, When I am scared may I remember the Triple Gem, When I am uncertain may I remember my precious human rebirth, When things don’t turn out may I remember cause and effect, When things change unexpectedly may I remember impermanence, When I am sad may I remember the liberation. May all beings be free, and may all beings be happy.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 10 November 2019
The Inaugural Three Visions Festival at Kamalashila was a wonderful success. Khenpo la’s extraordinary vision in bringing the three cultures together: Tibetan, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous at the base of Gulaga Mountain for a day of joy and sharing came to reality. Many people came to the festival to participate in a grand display of culture through music, dance, food and drinks. A very warm thank you to the Indigenous Community from Wallaga Lake, the Tibetan Community members from Nowra NSW and Canberra ACT, to the musicians from the ‘Chill Set’, ‘Tangent’ and Matt.
To all those who attended and made this most special festival, may there be many more. The day ended with a beautiful traditional Circle Dance lead by the Tibetan Communities.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 4-13 October 2019
At the Annual Shamatha Retreat Khenpo la taught on the methods of how to meditate, including a detailed explanation of the sitting posture. Khenpo la led the retreat attendees on a walking meditation around the centre, and then a sitting meditation in the open-air environment, facing Gulaga Mountain. This was a very special experience and demonstrated that there are no limitations to our point of focus in single pointed meditation. When we returned to the Gompa, Khenpo la continued teachings on the Five Obstacles to meditation and the Eight Antidotes. Khenpo la gave incredible teachings on the Nine Stages of Meditation, from the beginner level of Stage 1: Placement of the Mind to the very advanced 9th level Equanimous Placement of the Mind. Khenpo emphasised the importance of enjoying meditation, if we train our minds to really enjoy it, we can overcome all the obstacles and challenges that may present themselves.
Reflections at the conclusion of the Shamatha Retreat The gift of the week and journeys through Khenpo la offering us the teachings on Shamatha and “The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva”, have shone through and I am sure have opened all of us to a deeper level of inspirational wisdom, to polish our hearts with loving-kindness and compassion. The gentle rain soaking the earth and filling the empty tanks, the cosy beautiful gompa with golden embers of log fire warming us in this cold spell and gourmet clean divine food cooked and served with love by various members of the sangha (mainly Karma) have been the perfect place for meditation and learning. It is hard to capture in words the beauty and lucidity of Khenpo la reading the purity of the Tibetan verse and embellished with perfect present life stories to make each verse relevant and practical. The essence that I intend to carry from this precious time, is the source and solution of all happiness and suffering - is within my mind. Any difficulty I may suffer can be perceived as a perfect opportunity to practice patience with more loving-kindness and compassion, to live each moment with gratitude and joy.
Thank you to Khenpo la for embodying the essence of the Buddha and bringing these teachings with such grace, ease and inspiration to us. Pippa