VISIT BY KHENPO NGAWANG DHAMCHOE 21-23 APRIL 2023
“It was a joyous occasion from the moment that Khenpo la flew into Brisbane on 21 April to give a weekend of teachings on The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas – his first visit to our Brisbane centre since 2019 due to the pandemic. Many of those who attended the teachings had not seen Khenpo la or one another since before the start of the pandemic, so the atmosphere was one of great happiness, excitement, and gratitude to be able to finally meet face to face once again, and to deepen the sacred connection with our teacher and the rest of our Dharma family. Special thanks to those members of the Gold Coast sangha who travelled up for one or both days of the teachings, and to Aylar who came all the way from northern NSW with her delicious chai!!
“The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, which is one of the most famous mind training texts in Tibetan Buddhism, was written by Gyelsay Togmay Sangpo at the beginning of the 14th century and summarises the teachings of Shantideva’s ‘Bodhicaryavatara’ and other sources in order to present the path of the bodhisattva in just 37 four-line verses. Khenpo la explained that the text is divided into three main parts: the preliminary part (the first 7 verses), the main part (verses 8-37), and the conclusion. The author begins by paying homage to the Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig), as one needs to receive the blessings of the Buddha in order to teach the Dharma correctly; paying homage to Avalokiteshvara also indicates that this text reveals the practice of the Bodhisattvas.
“The main body of Gyelsay Togmay Sangpo’s text can also be understood with reference to the three levels of intelligence – those of small, middling, and great – with the emphasis on the path of the great person who practises the Mahayana teachings for the benefit of all. This compares with the person of small intelligence who does not see beyond this life, and the person of middling intelligence who wants to attain liberation from suffering only for herself/himself.
“Khenpo la pointed out that the author wants to teach the correct techniques and method so that we as Dharma practitioners can attain both the temporary and ultimate benefits; therefore, we need to understand and apply the teachings correctly in everyday life as a result of study, contemplation, and meditation in relation to this text. It is vital for us to be constantly checking one’s motivation or intention for all of our actions, and to always be vigilant in checking whether defilements are arising in our mindstream.
“Another point which Khenpo emphasised was that compassion and kindness are the root of the attainment of Buddhahood for the sake of sentient beings, and that our compassion should be greater for those who have enmity towards us, as they need more help than those who are our friends. It is only through the practice of loving-kindness and compassion that bodhicitta can arise, and it is only through the practice of relative and ultimate bodhicitta (including The Six Paramitas or Perfections) that one can attain the fully enlightened state of a Buddha – all of which is covered in the main part of Gyelsay Togmay Sangpo’s teaching on The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. Therefore, the most important point that Khenpo la made was that the main ingredient to attaining Buddhahood is kindness to others.
“On behalf of Rongton Buddhist Centre and all those who attended these teachings, I would like to thank Khenpo la for his great kindness in agreeing to teach from this ancient Text, and for the richness, clarity, and depth of his guidance through this profound text, including all the wonderful examples and analogies he used to elucidate the meaning of each of the Thirty-Seven verses. Through the dedication of merits and by the blessings of this teaching, may all beings gain both the temporary and ultimate benefits without exception!” ~Robin M.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 14-16 APRIL 2023
There was a very warm welcome and beginning to the Inaugural Wellbeing Retreat led by Doug and Tara Skipper – a lovely group settling into this very special place and looking forward to the weekend ahead of learning and sharing. Tara and Doug accepted Khenpo la’s invitation to run an event at the centre, and they both put so much effort and commitment into making this happen, and we thank them so much for giving of their knowledge and time. The event was co-facilitated by Jen and Susy.
What a truly special event. Doug and Tara, Jen and Susy presented the elements of Positive Psychology in a way that all participating felt included and held in this wonderful place of Kamalashila. The sessions were interactive, opening our minds and hearts to the positive self. The sound experience in the evening was an unforgettable experience. Wow!!
Thanks everyone who attended, a warm and loving community of people. Thank you to Tara and Doug, Jen, and Susy for making this possible, and to our Karma la for your incredibly delicious meals. We can’t wait for the next Wellbeing Retreat!
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 6-9 APRIL 2023
The first full day’s program at the Shamatha & Mindfulness Retreat was led by Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe which began with a light offerings and recitation of the Buddha of Wisdom Manjushri Prayer. Khenpo la commenced teachings on Shamatha meditation and the benefits, obstacles, and their antidotes. Khenpo la gave extensive teachings on the grasping of self being the root of all the defilements. The self is hard to give up only because we continuously chase it, and to stop that desire to chase it we require the wisdom, which starts with this Shamatha meditation. A lively and interesting Q&A along with walking meditation led by Venerable Ayyas Jitindriya and Jayasara, and delicious food cooked by Tony, completed a beautiful day together.
A reflection from one of the participants, Lily: “I am so grateful to be here and to hear Khenpo’s wisdom and teaching. I feel both rested and motivated to bring mindfulness to my daily life and start a meditation practice”.
The Annual Shamatha & Mindfulness Retreat finished with Khenpo la concluding the precious teachings on mindfulness. We then made dedications and offerings to Khenpo la and our local Ayya las. Attendees commented how this retreat has been so helpful to their lives. At the end of the retreat a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. Thank you to Khenpo la for your teachings and inspiration, Ayyas Jitindriya and Jayasara for your valuable and helpful contributions, all our cooks and helpers, and to all who attended and made this such a successful retreat. May all beings have peace and happiness in their lives.
A very special thank you to Rob Assink who made this new and most spectacular light offering table, brought down from Queensland by another sangha member Anthony. A magnificent creation for Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre.
“Driving off the highway at the welcoming prayer flags of Kamalashila for the Shamatha retreat immediately brought me a feeling of relaxation as a smile spread over my face. It is a special place that I have appreciated for many years now especially with the wise presence of Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe. He shared these precious teachings in such a method that proves so accessible in daily life as well as formal practice. Just the reminder to recall daily events, to check our understanding as we read or listen to teachings is within the capacity of us all to strengthen our mindfulness. I certainly appreciated the weekend and offer my gratitude to Khenpo and the two Venerables.” ~ Kate T.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to reflect. This Shamatha & Mindfulness Retreat was like a deep cleanse self-care spa. The deep kindness, clarity, and accessibility of both Khenpo la and the poignant reflections of the Nuns were like a deep cleansing spa to the mind. Khenpo gave us access and ease of the shared practice and gentle teachings to take care to do what is right for this being at this time in a way to suit. This made it totally accessible and opened the path for practice with ease and curiosity. Then there is the sacred setting and design of Kamalashila, it is a pure land to provide a teaching and resting place to ponder.
“The food, the grace of volunteers and the spacious structure on the sacred mountain of Gulaga, Mother Mountain makes it so auspicious. And finally, being amongst the sangha of fellow seekers of purity in being and living more precious loving lives and building new precious connections. I’m washed and cleansed and always grateful for this community and Khenpo la for him being a pure portal to access the sacred space of Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre on Gulaga and offering the teachings of Buddha.” ~ Pippa W.
“I too am so grateful for this retreat that has helped me feel grounded in peace. It was such an amazing experience spending time in the arms of the Mother Mountain Gulaga, immersed in the collective wisdom and integrity of such amazing human beings. How blessed I feel. My heart overflows with gratitude. Thank you.” ~ Virginia
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 24-26 MARCH 2023
The Karma Yoga Group Retreat 24-26 March was a wonderful success. The group of committed workers accomplished so much together, everyone commenting on how we all worked as one. Some came for a few hours, others for the whole 3 days. The centre was sparkling for the return of our precious teacher Khenpo la in late March. The days began with group practice in the gompa and ended with a welcome stretching and yoga session. One of the attendees gave a small impromptu concert playing guitar and didgeridoo.
To Peter T, Karma, Penny, Robert, Tjenka, Andy, Lael, Tony, Carolyn, Scott, Terry, Garth, Keith, Mark, Sam, Kate N, Phil, Brendan, Zara, Hector, Jimmy, Kate T, Maggie, Cat, Susanne, Andrew, and Ann:
Thank you so much for being part of such an incredible group of sangha this weekend. As a group we achieved so much together. All that effort will really make a huge positive difference to the centre’s functioning, and this can only ever help ourselves and others for many years to come. It was such a harmonious and happy group. We all worked with joy in our hearts to repay the great kindness of all our teachers, and especially Khenpo la so that he can continue to give the precious Dharma teachings for many more years at the centre to help countless sentient beings. A special thank you to our fearless Peter T, for your great coordination of all the work undertaken. Sorry we couldn’t get you all in the group photo. Thank you to everyone who came and offered your time skills and energy for the happiness of all. We hope to see everyone at the centre one day soon and thank you again for your wonderful contributions.
AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 11 MARCH 2023
On March 11th Ayyas Jitindriya and Jayasara led us in our second Day-Long Mindfulness Retreat at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre. The group were led in sitting, standing, and walking meditation, and given foundational teachings on the technique of mindfulness in meditation. The Q&A sessions were so informative and helpful. Thank you Ayyas for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and experience with us. It was a really beautiful day.
HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE 12 FEBRUARY 2023
On a recent Sunday Shamatha Practice during His Eminence’s 49 Days, the group made Light Offering to His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche. After everyone in attendance lit the candles for his Eminence, Ayya Jayasara led us in a beautiful meditation. We then enjoyed morning tea in the new outdoor dining area at Kamalashila.