KPL News 2012
We thank everyone wholeheartedly for their generous support as the construction of the new building at KPL continues. Thanks to recent donations of $35,000, we are now more than halfway to our goal of obtaining the money needed to finish the basement,* which includes a commercial kitchen, dining area, and additional bathrooms.
Because the donations we receive are being matched by the Chödrön Foundation, for every $1 you donate, KPL receives $2.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay for the construction in the KPL kitchen/dining/bath areas before the winter sets in.
CAN WE COUNT ON YOU?
*At the beginning of this particular fundraising effort, $180,000 was needed to finish the basement. Thanks to the matching funds available from the Chödrön Foundation, only $90,000 had to be raised as donations from the general KPL sangha. We have now raised about $50,000 of the amount and have only $40,000 to go."
September 30, Making Molds for the Main Shrine Room Ceiling and Columns
Mr. Youngdrung, the artist who created all the ornamentations for the stupa at Kagyu Thubten Choling, is now lending his talent to decorate the shrine room at Kunzang Palchen Ling. Assisted by Wendy Harding, Lama Tratop, and Bardor Tulku Rinpoche himself, Mr. Youngdrung has been making molds for the columns and beams for the main shrine room.
Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche teaching on the Practice of Tantra and Sacred Outlook.
Photo by Basia Coulter.
Once again we have had the great good fortune to welcome Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche at KPL, this time in the shrine room of our new building. Rinpoche recalled our last year’s program that was held in the Red Hook Fire House and expressed joy over the progress that our sangha, under the guidance of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, has made in bringing the construction project closer to completion. Rinpoche stressed that it is projects like this one, the creation of environment that is conducive for the practice of buddhadharma, that bring practitioners together, cement the sangha, and carry a tremendous amount of virtue and merit, for what better purpose can there be than to bring dharma to people’s lives.
Annie Bond shares her impressions of Khandro Rinpoche's weekend teachings:
"Tantra is about being in total union with the teachings, or further, being the teachings. Merely knowing the teachings, understanding the teachings, being able to recite the teachings, while not embodying the teachings, leaves you more like a mouse in heavy armor who, at the first sight of a threat or challenge, retreats into the mouse hole. In tantra you do not go down the mouse hole because you are strong enough to withstand the fears. You generate the courage to actualize the absolute truth.
"Investigating your ego is a good place to start to catch yourself from going down the mouse hole. The grasping mind is the source of endless projections, including the enticement of the senses. Investigating the self is very core to uprooting the causes of suffering. Ego impedes natural compassion and kindness.
"Tantra offers skillful means to eliminate core issues that impede you so that you can become enlightened. Devotion plays a big part, as does confidence in one’s nature. Saying to yourself, “May my mind be kind,” can be more powerful any other practice. You don’t decide to meditate and be like a rock at the bottom of the ocean for 1,000 years. You need intention and destination. You need 1) ethics, 2) mindfulness, 3) concentration, and 4) loving kindness. Your mind is transformed if you cultivate these qualities. The result will be irreversible confidence. You can stand your ground and not retreat, like a mouse.
"The mind must be permeated with the view of emptiness at all times. At the same time it must be immersed in kindness and compassion one hundred percent of the time. Each session of meditation must be to see yourself more clearly, like a mirror. When you put your own ego out of the picture then everything is pure. You can begin to taste enlightenment, like a drop of dew."
In July 2012, Kunzang Palchen Ling published The Light of Dawn, a short biography of the Second Bardor Rinpoche. It was composed by Second Bardor Rinpoche’s disciple and attendant, Karma Tupten, and translated from Tibetan into English by Yeshe Gyamtso. Karma Tupten first wrote this biography in 1958, but he was unable to retain the manuscript. He wrote it again in 1987, but the text was lost again. The current version of the Second Barway Dorje’s biography was written in 2003 at the request of the Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche.
On July 14, the Third Bardor Rinpoche was signing the book at KPL.
The book is available from our bookstore.
Every Losar, Rinpoche’s wife, Sonam, stands all day in the bitter cold on the back porch at the house on Pinewood Lane making momos (Tibetan style dumplings). She does this very hard work because she wants to give all of us a taste of Tibet and inspire us to come and practice. Losar (and every other holiday) wouldn’t be the same without her substantial contribution to Kunzang Palchen Ling. The only reason she needs to brave the cold is because the kitchen at Pinewood Lane isn’t big enough for such a large production of food.
Fortunately, the solution is within reach. With only $90,000 more in new money, we can finish KPL’s basement with its commercial kitchen and dining hall. The sizable dining room will allow us to have meals together during teachings and retreats too. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to the basement construction. If nothing else, you can feel happy about bringing poor Sonam in from the cold next Losar!
Garchen Rinpoche offering a White Umbrella empowerment. Photo by Basia Coulter
Reported by Karen Michel
As His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche repeatedly reminded us, without bodhichitta, no dharma can lead to enlightenment. Rinpoche told us stories of his twenty-year imprisonment; of how even in an environment of great suffering, one can be free from it; how generating bodhichitta is the key to happiness regardless of one’s circumstances. As he told us, "The mind cannot be beaten."
Both playful and profound, Garchen Rinpoche's teachings guide students on the path toward unifying wisdom and understanding. There are different forms of non-understanding, he said, some of them dangerous. Trusting a guru is key to attaining right understanding, and toward cultivating the essentials—love and patience.
During Garchen Rinpoche’s two-day teaching, the shrine room at Kunzang Palchen Ling (KPL) was filled in abundance with both love and patience. The love emanating from Rinpoche and the students who had travelled long and not-so-long distances to be with him filled the space with a luminous energy. Rinpoche's ready smile and laughter alternated with deep seriousness; all in attendance responded to his expressions with a mix of attention and devotion, and with lots of laughter!
It was also clear that the karmic bond between Bardor Tulku Rinpoche and Garchen Rinpoche was deepened with this visit, and that they share deep and long-standing respect and affection. To experience that connection, to see and feel how they respond to one another would have been sufficient, without any formal teaching. The fact that we also received teachings, along with an empowerment that had Garchen Rinpoche, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, and attending lamas wind their way among the packed crowd, made for a truly blessed weekend in KPL’s new home.
Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche wearing the replica of Terchen Barway Dorje's hat
Yet another year has gone by and so much has happened to be grateful for! The most significant achievement that has been possible thanks to Bardor Tulku Rinpoche and all who have offered support financially and otherwise is that we have acquired the Certificate of Occupancy and can now hold all KPL's programs in the new building. Thank you all for making this happen!
A lot has taken place since the last anniversary and it may be worthwhile to take a look back at the year's accomplishments:
- Bardor Tulku Rinpoche has been teaching at KPL regularly, which is a great blessing and a sign of Rinpoche's steady recovery, a source of utmost joy and gratitude for all of us;
- In July of 2011, we had a great honor to host His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa who offered a Chenrezik empowerment;
- Eminent Tibetan teachers have visited and taught at our center, including H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, H.E. Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, and H.E. Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, and we are expecting the first visit from Traleg Kyabgön Rinpoche this summer;
- Lama Surya Das and Tulku Sherdor offered an evening talk as a benefit for Kunzang Palchen Ling;
- Regular programs in meditation instruction with Naomi Schmidt and Tibetan musical instruments with Tom Schmidt have been added, and these complement the continuing introductory talks by Lama Jim Dowiat and Lama Jim Kukula;
- Two new programs have been added to the schedule for this year: Japanese flower arrangements with Suze Schlenger and Tibetan thangka iconography with Wendy Harding;
- The Tibetan text library has been finished in the new building and Kangyur and Tengyur texts have been installed;
- With two libraries available in the new building, we will be starting the Shantideva Study Group in May, a reading group focused on Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara led by Lama Jim Kukula;
- Six new Palchen Study Groups have been formed to give a total number of seven currently active across the country, and most recently the first affiliated center, Kunzang Chöling Phoenix, has been approved by KPL;
- The KPL Bookstore has been officially opened in the new building and we have launched the KPL Bookstore website to make study and practice materials available to KPL community;
- Inexpensive MP3 downloads of audio recordings taken by Wes Naprstek have been available from the KPL Bookstore website, thereby creating access to teachings given at KPL for all interested students;
- We have made our first attempts at webcasting of selected teachings from KPL, and this effort that will continue when the internet connection is brought to the new building;
- Thanks to several volunteers, we have been able to get Lama Tratop's teaching on the long Guru Rinpoche tsok transcribed, edited, and published this year; Bardor Rinpoche's teaching on the short Guru Rinpoche practice is currently being edited; and Lama Tratop's teaching on the Barway Dorje ngöndro is being transcribed and will be published in the future. With Lama Tratop's teachings on Yamantaka and Vajrakilaya published earlier, the remaining practice instruction to be given and then published from among the major Barway Dorje terma practices is that of White Khechari;
- Several new liturgical texts with the Tibetan, the transliteration, and the English translation have been compiled and printed for shrine room use; these include the Green Tara, pre-Losar Yamantaka, pre-Losar Smoke Offering, and the prayers for the Vows Weekend.
With so many reasons to celebrate, we gathered on April 28 in the main shrine room of the new building to mark KPL's 9th anniversary. In the morning, we chanted the Guru Rinpoche tsok puja with Bardor Tulku Rinpoche presiding over the feast, Lama Tratop leading the chanting, and Lama Jim Dowiat serving as the activity vajra. After the puja, the crowd walked over to the old house for a potluck lunch. With much chatter and cheerful mood, we had a great meal in good company, topped with delicious cakes for KPL anniversary and Bardor Rinpoche's birthday.
In the afternoon, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche offered a Vajrapani empowerment from the Yamantaka cycle of Barway Dorje terma. This was the first time Rinpoche put on the new usha, a ceremonial hat. A replica of the Terchen Barway Dorje's usha based on the description found in the guru yoga of Barway Dorje, this hat was commissioned by H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche for Bardor Tulku Rinpoche. Bardor Rinpoche explained that the primary meaning of a hat like this is that it signifies one's root guru. Rinpoche said that when he puts on this hat, he recollects his root guru, the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, and makes an aspiration that all those connected with him be brought under Karmapa's protection and achieve happiness and well-being.
The celebration ended with a musical performance by Bardor Rinpoche's middle daughter, Chime Lama. Chime spent a year studying in Dharamsala and has recently returned home for a school break. In her studies, she has advanced her mastery of the Tibetan language and learned to play drangnyen, a Tibetan guitar. She played two Tibetan songs, which she had adapted with lyrics of her own composition. Watch a short video clip.
I have been thinking that in the distant future, there will be people whose lives are positively affected by KPL. All of us will likely be well into our next life when they wonder about the people who made this possible and maybe even express a deep gratitude that we will never hear. KPL is constructing a facility and an organization to be able to serve not just the people practicing today, but generations into the future. And it is to our staff, donors, volunteers, and members to whom they owe their thanks.
And over the past year, everyone’s strong commitment and generosity has allowed us to take occupancy of our building so we can host teachers and events. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow us to hold lengthy retreats, house teachers, or stop paying the lease on the house on Pinewood Lane. In many ways, the Certificate of Occupancy is only a way-point to a completed KPL. We are still finishing the basement and living quarters. Of course, it goes without saying we need everyone’s continued commitment and contributions to do this. Let’s keep up the momentum!
I hope to see all of you at KPL soon.
Director of Development
Kunzang Palchen Ling
The replica of Terchen Barway Dorje's hat
A ceremonial hat of Terchen Barway Dorje—usha— had been lost. However, H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche offered to have a replica made for Bardor Tulku Rinpoche. And thus Situ Rinpoche's master tailor sewed a replica of Barway Dorje's hat based on the description found in the guru yoga of Barway Dorje. The hat has been delivered to Kunzang Palchen Ling by a student returning from India. Bardor Rinpoche will be wearing the hat during the empowerment that he will offer at the KPL 9th anniversary celebration on April 28th.
H.E. Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche
giving a PowerPoint presentation
on practice in daily life.
In fluent English and with a disarming sense of humor, H.E. Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche spoke at Kunzang Palchen Ling about practice in daily life. This was Rinpoche's first visit to our center, and we certainly hope the first of many to come.
Gharwang Rinpoche's recipe for happiness is caring for others and… lots of laughter (which he demonstrated generously during his talk). He considers being in the world the best opportunity for practice. A U.S. university student himself, Rinpoche encouraged us to use our daily encounters as the greatest chance to advance on the path. It is the quality, not quantity, of practice that matters, said Rinpoche. And the reason we practice is so we can be of benefit to ourselves and others in the world.
How do we practice in daily life? Drink your Starbucks coffee with an aspiration that it make you strong so you can help others. Notice every moment when you feel content and happy and simply enjoy it. Meditate for five minutes but do it right; don't spend that time planning the rest of your life. Love and care. And laugh!
April 19, Kangyur and Tengyur Installed in the Tibetan Text Library
Kangyur and Tengyur in the Tibetan text library
Today lamas and volunteer at KPL, under the direction of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, installed the Kangyur and Tengyur and the Guru Rinpoche shrine in the Tibetan texts library. The shrine of Guru Rinpoche will remain in the library temporarily. The Tibetan text library will eventually be a place where students can devote themselves to ngöndro and other practices.
February 22, Losar: Water Dragon Year
Green Tara puja in the main shrine room of the new building on Losar morning
We have begun the Water Dragon Year with a Green Tara puja held in the main shrine of the new building. The Certificate of Occupancy acquired about a week earlier was placed prominently on the wall just inside the main entrance.
Only two days earlier, the remaining few boards of the floor and the chandeliers were installed. The fire puja on was still held in the library and the main shrine room was only set up that afternoon thanks to an enthusiastic crew of volunteers working under the direction of Bardor Rinpoche.
Despite the fact that the Tibetan New Year fell on a week day this year, a big crowd of practitioners and local community members joined us at Kunzang Palchen Ling to chant the Green Tara puja. The shrine room was radiant as much from the illuminating lights, off-white walls, and tall windows, as from the joyous atmosphere of a spiritual community coming together in celebration of a new beginning.
We look forward to many Dharma events in the new building. Be sure to check out the schedule for upcoming programs!
Certificate of Occupancy for the first floor
It gives us great pleasure to announce that KPL has obtained the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for the first floor of our new building. Thanks to our tireless volunteers, generous donors, and most importantly to Bardor Tulku Rinpoche’s guidance, we have obtained the CO far more quickly than expected and remarkably under budget. This allows us to use the new building, including the main shrine, at our discretion for pujas, teachings, and other events.
What this CO does not allow us to do is forfeit the lease on the house, host retreats, or house visiting teachers since we do not have a full kitchen or living quarters, which will be located in the basement and on the second floor. Your continued financial contribution is therefore important to KPL fulfilling its potential. We hope to see everyone at KPL soon.
January 31, Work Progress in the Shrine Room
Floor pattern in the main shrine room
of the new building
In the last days of January, the progress in the main shrine room of the new building was evident as the work on putting down the floor began. Thanks to volunteers who generously donated their time and energy we can now visualize what the new shrine will look like! The beautiful pattern of an eternal knot, handiwork of Paul Vorel, will adorn the floor in the four corners of the shrine room. We look forward to the remaining aspects of the work getting completed soon.
With each day, we are closer to acquiring the Certificate of Occupancy for the first floor! Thank you all for your continued and unwavering support.
January, Save the Dates
It is our great pleasure to announce visits from eminent teachers this year:
- April 21-22, H.E. the 12th Gharwang Rinpoche, Right Attitude and Right Conduct: Practice in Daily Life and Medicine Buddha Empowerment
- May 19-20, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Teaching on Guru Yoga and White Umbrella Empowerment
- July 13-15, H.E. Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, The Practice of Tantra and Sacred Outlook