HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE Semester 1, 2022
We are so fortunate to have Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe as our teacher and inspiration in the new Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course. The Course began in the first week of March 2022 and, in June, will conclude its first semester.
Khenpo’s coverage of the Hinayana has been so clear and comprehensive. It gives students a firm basis for understanding the first of the three major traditions of Buddhism. We have covered The Four Common Foundations, The Four Noble Truths, and a Virtuous and Ethical Life. Khenpo la has shown great equanimity and kindness in conducting this Course. May all find benefit to increase their own happiness and the happiness of others!
The Course now has 67 students. The students’ progress is assisted in specific mentor sessions by our 16 mentors and the students’ study is supported by resources in a learning management system and a set of readings in The Hinayana Booklets prepared specifically for the Course. Whilst the Course has been fully online to date, we are all looking forward to the first of our residential retreats in June.
Registrations for the Course have closed now but we are keeping a waiting list for any vacancies for the remainder of the year. If you are interested, please contact the Course Convener, Dr Carole Kayrooz by email to place your name on the waiting list at email@example.com.
A MESSAGE FROM KHENPO NGAWANG DHAMCHOE 31 May to 28 June 2149* (2022)
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: first, the Buddha was conceived; second the Buddha was born, third the Buddha took ordination; fourth the Buddha completely defeated his own maras; fifth, he attained full enlightenment; and lastly, he passed into Mahaparinirvana. All these occurred during this this particular month, making it a very special month in the Buddhist calendar. Within this month whatever positive and negative thoughts and actions one carries out are multiplied 100,000 times.
The sutras state that the Buddha performed many of The Twelve Great Deeds within the month of Saga Dawa. The sutras say that to go to these holy sites, such as the places of the Buddha’s birth and other major events, are more effective, for these places are more powerful than ordinary places. As the Buddha blessed this month, in particular the first 15 days when he carried out the Six Noble Activities, all virtuous activities will be multiplied. Because this particular month has been blessed by Buddha Shakyamuni and many other enlightened beings, whatever we do virtuously – in our practices, mantras and any other practices – will then be multiplied 100,000 times. Such practices are much more effective than at any other time.
Whatever one can manage, it is important to make a pledge for one day, fifteen days, or for the entire month, to avoid any negative thoughts. It is also important not to carry out any negative deeds. If you do not feel strong enough to make such a pledge, just simply be as positive as possible, try not to be negative, this is good enough. Try to do this for at least the first 15 days; try to perform as many virtuous activities as possible at this very blessed time. I encourage you all to look at this month differently, to do something for oneself, to try our best in being virtuous – for this is the source of all happiness, to avoid all non-virtuous things – for this is the cause of all suffering. I also encourage and ask you all to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet during this most auspicious month, remembering all precious mother sentient beings are searching for everlasting happiness.
Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe
*2149 is the date for 2022 in the Tibetan calendar
It is with a heavy heart that we let you know that our dear Gyri Dolma passed away around 4.00am on 2 May 2022.
As some of you might know Gyri had been declining in her health over time, and more recently had reduced her food intake. Khenpo la had been giving her some broth and water up until her passing that morning.
Gyri was so peaceful, Khenpo la described coming out to check on her and all the environment was very calm and peaceful as she passed. Her little face looked so youthful and content.
Khenpo la conducted a ceremony that morning, where we lit 100 candles for Gyri, chanted prayers, and mantras, and then carried her outside the gompa for one final circumambulation of the gompa before putting her to rest. She has been buried in the ground in view of the gompa, with her head turned towards the gompa and her position in full sunlight during the day. We then had a lovely time together enjoying some lunch and talking about her, rejoicing in her very special life and circumstances for a favourable rebirth. Gyri taught us all so much, and as a sangha we are the stronger for having her as part of our community and our lives.
Gyri came to the centre in 2016 during the Easter long weekend working bee. She walked up the drive from next door, ate some lunch with everyone, and took up a position at the gompa door, greeted all that arrived each and every time, and never left. It is so unusual for this to happen, she never wanted to return to her other home. In time we approached her owners and they said we could keep Gyri at the centre.
Many people helped care for Gyri over the years, and many sponsored her food, veterinary bills, all sorts of things to help her, as the centre would like to thank each and every one of you on Gyri's behalf. For many years she was so independent and seemed to be getting younger not older. She would often be seen trotting off on her morning walk, keeping guard of the gompa and surroundings.
Then in September 2019 she suddenly lost the use of her back legs and became paralysed. After a period of getting used to this new way of being in the world, Gyri accepted all the care from everyone with such grace. She would have setbacks, but always bounced back stronger than ever. Her overall health was quite exceptional.
Gyri was 22 years old. She says she will see you in the next life. We ask for you to pray for Gyri, saying mantra and lighting candles for her fortunate rebirth.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 14-17 April 2022
“I left the Easter Shamatha and Mindfulness Retreat with a sense of peace, calm and clear instructions for a regular practice.” Jane P.
“As an older student, it is extremely beneficial to receive Shamatha and Mindfulness teaching instructions yet again and again, to clarify how you are travelling on the path. Khenpo la offered very clear teachings on mindfulness and meditation about the interdependent nature of causes and conditions.
“The negative mind will no doubt bring negative outcomes, therefore mindfulness meditation is extremely rewarding, for through this discipline the wisdom mind can arise, then can dispel the three types of sufferings (suffering of suffering, suffering of change, suffering of conditional phenomena).
“A few aspects that truly resonated with me – through the practice of the four mindfulness meditations:
Mindfulness of body (the body is made up of a pile of flesh, bone, blood, look at it without attachment).
Mindfulness of feeling (if you can look at one’s feelings without judgement, otherwise sufferings arise).
Mindfulness of mind (there are numerous kinds of minds, and mind is very illusive, so don’t get attached to anything, nothing is truly existent).
Mindfulness of phenomena (here refer to uncompounded phenomena, realisation of this free us to attachment of any existence).
“We began the guided practice:
Prostration a method to purify our body then we sit on the cushion, with correct seven-point meditation posture.
Exhale to clear old air from our body and veins, helps to clear the mind.
Motivation doing meditation to overcome afflictive mind.
When mind is calm one can feel one’s presence.
During meditation if mind wander away, bring it back, by remembering mind is safer here than wandering off.
Mindfulness is part of Vipassana and is part of phenomena, it sees phenomena as own nature. Vipassana is mindfulness insight meditation to phenomena rising meditation.
“Thank you Khenpo la, may all your students on this retreat minds flourish unceasingly for the happiness of all beings.” Serene
“This retreat like the first retreat I attended has recharged my batteries. It feels like medicine for my soul. Your community’s effort to provide a safe sanctuary, filled with peace as a vessel for clear instruction from Khenpo is truly inspiring, plus the added bonus of delicious food makes it an experience I want to return to again.” Leanne
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 25-27 March 2022
Such a wonderful hard-working group of Sangha got together for the weekend on our 2nd Karma Yoga Group Retreat. So much is being accomplished after all the rains in the garden and mowing, painting the gompa wood, constructing a carport and much more. Thank you Khenpo la and all our wonderful centre family for such amazing contributions, looking forward to the next Karma Yoga Weekend Retreat in September.
MESSAGES FROM DROGMI BUDDHIST INSTITUTE 16-17 March 2022
Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe and all the members and friends of Drogmi Buddhist Institute rejoice in the most blessed and auspicious occasion of the Enthronement Ceremony of His Holiness Khöndung Gyana Rinpoche as the 43rd Sakya Trizin. While COVID-19 has prevented us from attending the ceremony in person, we will be participating with our fullest of hearts and minds through the livestream of the event. Your Holiness, we pray and wish for your Dharmic activities to flourish throughout the entire world for the benefit of all sentient beings. We pray for your good health and long life and humbly request that you to continue to Turn the Wheel of the Precious Buddhadharma.
As President of the Drogmi Buddhist Institute in Australia, and on behalf of all our members and our Founder and Spiritual Director Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe, it is a great honour to offer our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Your Holiness Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche on this very auspicious occasion of Your Enthronement as the 43rd Sakya Trizin.
Your Holiness is a true emanation of Manjushri. Through Your loving-kindness and the radiance of Your supreme knowledge, may You completely cleanse the darkness of deluded minds throughout the entire world. Through Your tireless efforts, may the temporal and spiritual ways of the glorious Sakyapa’s flourish. May Your enlightened activities pervade all space.
From the depths of our hearts, we pray for Your long life, and we also pray that You can visit Australia and turn the Wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. Thank you. Jack Heath
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 10-13 March 2022
Following on from the Losar celebrations the weekend prior, a group of sangha gathered for the Six Dome White Tara Retreat. Khenpo la so carefully arranged for this retreat to commence on the evening of the 8th day of the first Tibetan Lunar calendar month, during the first waxing moon phase, when all attainments are increasing. And then on day three of retreat was the 10th day of the Tibetan Lunar calendar which was auspiciously Guru Rinpoche and Vajrayogini Day and we held a brief Tsog at the end of a beautiful day of teachings on White Tara sadhana. Khenpo la talked during this retreat, about using our opportunities to their fullest, and He led us with this great example, so very kind for us all.
Thank you Khenpo la and all who attended to make this a very special time together in the Dharma. May all our precious Gurus and Dharma Teachers have healthy and long lives – and us all so that we can maximise to the fullest our opportunity to help mother sentient beings.
Some comments from attendees:
“The calmness and clarity of the authentic teachings that particularly resonated with me were the teachings and explanation of the Lineage Gurus, which brought to life the qualities of the Gurus past and present.” Katarina
“Khenpo la stressed the importance of holding genuine Bodhicitta and focusing on the quality of the practice rather than being caught up in the small details of the sadhana.” Jack
“Due to the love and compassion of White Tara and Khenpo la’s guided meditations, by the end of the retreat there was a palpable sense of healing and calmness, I felt restored”. Vanessa.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 6 March 2022
Thank you to the very experienced and qualified Venerables Ayya Jitindriya and Jayasara who led the Day Retreat at Kamalashila at Khenpo la’s invitation. Thank you Khenpo la.
This day’s Mindfulness Retreat was both simple and revelatory. As Ven. Ayya Jitindriya pointed out, practicing awareness is like entering a learning space, like a research laboratory, within which we can develop Mindfulness to direct our attention. She underlined that mindfulness alone is merely the sharpening of our ability to focus and needs to be practiced within a context of ethical behaviour in order to realise its potential for awakening and wisdom.
After leading the group on a walking meditation, Ven. Jayasara offered the analogy of a river to help us understand the process of working with our chattering thoughts. Like a quiet witness, we watch the flow of thoughts rush by, without jumping in. Sometimes our attention may be like a stick caught on a rock, but as soon as our mindfulness realises our ‘stuckness’, we can let go and return to the bank to quietly watch the stream of thoughts. Our heartfelt thanks to Venerables Ayya Jitindriya and Jayasara for their warmth, wisdom, and humour, inspiring us to develop our mindfulness in our own everyday lives. Thank you to everyone who came and participated, and for asking those questions that help us all. The group were very enthusiastic to see the Venerables again very soon.
Happy Losar 2149 – the year of the Water Tiger March 2022
Happy Losar from Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe and all at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre!
The day began with rose-golden clouds and soon saw new and old friends gathering on the mountain to raise prayer flags for the new year. Khenpo la explained that this is like raising our mind to the positive, straight, and tall.
As Khenpo la led us in a ‘Sang’ Smoke offering puja, fragrant smoke billowed around us, through the trees and into the sky, cleansing us of negativities.
To bless us with sweet and caring speech, Khenpo la and Ani la offered us traditional home-made Tibetan ‘Khabze’ biscuits.
Then, after some instructions from Khenpo la, we all raised our arms to the sky and called out, from the top of our lungs, the traditional, ‘So, so, so…’ to declare our positive minds victorious over the negative. Smiles and laughter all round. Together, we entered the gompa, took our places and began The Sixteen Arhat Puja to seal our wishes for a positive mind and New Year for all sentient beings. Thank you to all who came and to those of you who could not come, please know that you were in our hearts on this day. May all of us conquer our own anger, jealousy, and negative emotions this year and place in our mind the tall flags of kindness.
Chötrul Düchen ("Great Day of Miraculous Manifestations") སྲིད་པ་གསུམ་ན་དཔྗེ་མྗེད་ཡྟོན་ཏན་གྱི། ། Homage to you, who performed great miracles in Śravastī, མཉན་དུ་ཡྟོད་པར་ཆྟོ་འཕྲུལ་ཆྗེན་པྟོ་བསྟན། ། Unmatched in their splendour in all the three realms, ལྷ་མི་འགྟོ་བ་ཀུན་གིས་རབ་མཆྟོད་པས། ། And through the offerings made by gods, humans, and other beings, བསྟན་པ་རྒྱས་པར་མཛད་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལྟོ། ། Caused the teachings to prosper and increase.
Chötrul Düchen is one of four events in the life of the Buddha, according to Tibetan traditions. Chötrul Düchen closely follows Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It takes place on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Tibetan calendar during the full moon. The first fifteen days of the year celebrate the fifteen days during which the Buddha displayed miracles for his disciples so as to increase their devotion. During Chötrul Düchen (“Great Day of Miraculous Manifestations”), it is believed that the effects of both positive and negative actions are multiplied ten million times.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 24-27 February 2022
This was the first Vajrayogini Practitioners’ Retreat lead by senior students of Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe’s held at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre.
Khenpo la was so very kind and generous to approve of the content offered under the transcript of His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche, when visiting the Whyalla Buddhist Centre in South Australia in 2003. These were edited with permission from the Whyalla Sangha for teaching and meditation sessions during this time. There were no online sessions or Q & A with Khenpo la, under strict guidelines to not share any tantric teachings online.
We hope that this will become an annual event so many more practitioners can join in, to carry on our practice together and to continue studying on from the most precious and auspicious Australian visit of His Eminence Kyabje Luding Khen Rinpoche back in January 2019.
Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre holds a Vajrayogini Tsog fortnightly via Zoom. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join in (you will be asked details of your empowerment, Vajrayogini Blessing and 7 day teaching dates with a Sakya lineage holder).