An Aussie in Dharamshala by Stéphanie

25 May 2017

So what’s an Aussie girl doing in Dharamshala? I come from a corporate environment. A dog-eat-dog world where, as an ABC (Australian born Chinese) woman I’ve not only had to battle against the corporate glass ceiling but a bamboo one as well. Long work weeks and back-to-back meetings dominated my time as I trained a team of staff to take over my role. Whether by fate or subconscious manifestation I found myself at a crossroads not long ago. Do I continue in a company that, out of desperation finally offered me the promotion I should have gotten long ago? Or do I give it all up and step into the unknown. I chose the latter. And so, began a series of events and synchronicities that led to me selling my apartment and packing my bags for India. I had decided to leave the bustling streets of Sydney where everyone is in a rush to get somewhere, and head to the small town of Mcleod Ganj where no one is in a rush to get anywhere. As the current home of H.H. the Dalai Lama, I had ‘eat-pray-love-esque’ expectations of finding a wise old guru who would impart pearls of universal wisdom. And that I would, in a sudden flash of realization, reach enlightenment and then disappear in a puff of smoke like the ancient Mayans did so very long ago. Well I’m still here. So we all know what happened with that little fantasy. My first few days were spent in a rented apartment with nothing more than a bed and a side table. Nothing. No chairs, no wardrobe, no internet. It was here that I learned the art of squat bathing and eating in the dark when the electricity cut out. Here in the mountains, the smog of Delhi is replaced by the dirt from the terrains. A fine dusting of earth coats practically every surface and one learns here to be perpetually ‘dirty’. The 1st world princess in me balked at having to sit on the dusty ground the first time around and no amount of hand sanitiser was going to keep my hands in salubrious condition. It’s here, in a place where people seemingly have ‘nothing’, that you realise they have everything. When your choice of soaps are ‘option A’ or ‘option A’, you come to appreciate that it’s not about the presence of ‘organic jojoba extracts […]

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My first Sang Puja with a Tibetan family by Stéphanie

22 May 2017

It’s inconceivable how the universe conspires to see you thrive. My mind has been stuffed. I haven’t been able to feel happy; mostly numb and in a dream-like state. The heaviness of losing loved ones, and not doing too well at living in the present moment. It’s normal. I am in a place where I am leaving an experience and diving deep into the waters of another. Loving myself and those around me. I’ve become closer and more aware of my weaknesses than I have ever experienced. It’s not a bad thing, but it can be heavy. I’m trying not to push away these feelings, but really experiencing the depths of confusion. Every feeling demands to be felt; and what a shame it would be to push away what is not My inner voice tells me it will pass, to be patient. So I wait, and here I’ve been sent. Following my best friend to Dharamsala, India. Only a few miles away from where His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides. I’m staying in a small village on top of a mountain where rivers gush fresh water, forests and tenderness of the Tibetan people surround me. The little shops all have photos of the Dalai Lama. In fact, the pool hall I go to on Friday nights filled with tattooed men, blaring hard rap, reeking of cigarette smoke has a happy little photo of His Holiness on the wall. Even the young scar faced Tibetan man who approached me mid-game who I thought would laugh at my ability to miss every ball I shot, gently gave me instructions on how to improve my game. Speaking  with me and smiling so brightly I could have melted into a little puddle. I asked Tenzin, my new friend, if he could describe the personality of Tibetan people to me. He responded, “kind, patient, and peaceful.” Yup. The people here are just that beautiful. How I ended up in a place like this at a time when my heart is in such need for rest is beyond my comprehension. And how I ended up being in a purification ritual? You can’t just make these things up. – The welcoming to my first sang puja, or ritual, went a little bit like this: There was a monk in the corner, sitting; chanting his chant. Drumming his drum. He wore deep red robes, an yellow vest underneath, prayer beads hanging around his neck. A presence of peace. […]

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Ngari Darchen Kusheng, Saga Dawa Festival, Mt Kailash, 9 June 17 by Tashi

22 May 2017

Ngari Darchen Kusheng, Saga Dawa Festival, Mt Kailash, 9 June 17 Marked as one of the most spiritual festivals in Tibet, The Saga Dawa Festival was established by General Gaden Tsewang with the blessings of H.H the Dalai Lama in 1681. This culturally significant festival is scheduled on 9 June 2017 to coincide with the first full moon on the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar. The Tibetans believe that their mountaintops are the sites to which their early kings descended from heaven and so it is no coincidence that this deeply spiritual event is set amidst the breathtaking peaks of Mt Kailash- one of the most energetically potent locations in Tibet. It is said that the month of Saga Dawa is so sacred that the merits obtained by the performing of good deeds in this time is multiplied tenfold. It is often for this reason that many Tibetans refrain from killing animals during this period. This traditional and charming festival draws in crowds from all walks of life, from the religiously devoted to the curious traveller and is often used as an opportunity to showcase the open hospitality of the local Tibetans. The entire event is guided and overseen by a Lama to ensure that all the religious rituals are completed, but the most significant ceremony of the day is undoubtedly the “Ngari Darchen Kusheng” -the hoisting of the prayer flags. Each year; to a crowd comprised of travelling pilgrims as well as both Chinese and Western tourists, the old Tarboche flagpole is brought down and new prayer flags replace the ones from the previous year. The intention for the ritual; to ensure the continual welfare of the Tibetan peoples. The crowd then flock to the new pole and attach their own small prayer flags to invite peace and prosperity into their lives. The flags are then left there all year to carry their prayers across the wind. This celebration of the three most important events in Shakyamuni Buddha’s life; being his birth, nirvana and parinirvana (death), is truly a joyous occasion and one that encompasses all who attend in its fold. Though considered a religious occasion by many it is actually a day that casts aside all perceived barriers of race and religion, to allow all who attend to revel in a sense of community and connectedness. Mt Kailash is located on the western tip of Tibet and […]

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100th birth Anniversary of Arahat Bakula, 19 May 2017 by Stéphanie

arahat Bakula

18 May 2017

The 19th May, 2017 marks the 100th birth anniversary of H.H The 19th Bakula Rinpoche. In honour of his extraordinary accomplishments in this lifetime; a celebration will be held at Leh Pologround which will draw devoted Buddhist followers and local Tibetans alike. This joyous occasion will include various events that will encourage the happy and harmonious participation of all who attend. Among these activities are running marathons, football matches, painting and archery competitions as well as the planting of trees in support of the Clean Ladakh Movement. The ongoing competitions that begin on this occasion in the different villages of Ladakh will continue for a whole year, and culminate in a closing ceremony to be held on the 19th, May 2018 in Spituk village. A beautifully presented photo exhibition detailing the life of the 19th bakula Rinpoche will also be available for viewing in Nastsn Lakhang Spituk monastery school on the 19th May. His story The 19th incarnation of Arahat Bakula was Thupstan Chognor; born on 19th of May 1917 into a royal family in Matho village, Ladakh. He was recognized by H.H The 13th Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Arahat Bakula; the 16th Arahat(NastanChutuk).He traveled to Lhasa(Tibet) at the age of 13 and received his education at the great Drepung monastery which was the largest monastic institution in Tibet. There he was awarded the degree of Geshe Larampa(the highest degree in Buddhist metaphysics) at the age of 25 and received his geshe ordination from the 13th Dalai Lama. After returning from Tibet he dedicated his life to serving the people of Ladakh in hopes of creating a better future. In the very first democratic elections in Ladakh in 1949 the people of Ladakh had elected Bakula Rinpochey as their leader and the president of the National Conference Party. He served as Minister of State in J&K State Government from 1953 to 1967. He was the member of the fourth and the fifth LokSabha from 1967 to 1977. He also served as a member of the consultative Committees in Indian Parliament for defense, education and planning. His role in education was unforgettable and under his guidance the then Ladakh Buddhist Association and Gonpa association was able to establish the Buddhist philosophy school on 23rd October 1959(now CIBS) with only ten students. In 1949 again with the tireless efforts of Bakula Rinpochey the Government of India sanctioned scholarships for eighteen Ladakhi novices to obtain modern education […]

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Cremation of His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, 19 October 2017 by Tashi

16 May 2017

  Cremation of His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, 19 October 2017 The Thupten Dorjedrak Nyingma Institute has recently announced the scheduled cremation date of their late and much beloved supreme chief; Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche His passing in December 2015 in Bodh Gaya sent shockwaves across the globe, not only for his followers in the Nyingma tradition but for all those in the greater Buddhist community who were blessed enough to know him. His Holiness the Dalai Lama referred to him as “a great master” and urged all that attended the Lam Rim teachings in Bylakuppe that year to pray for a swift reincarnation. Born in 1926 near the famous Yamdrok Lake in central Tibet, Rinpoche was ordained at the Taklung Tse monastery when he was five years old and was recognized as an incarnation of the great master Ngok Chöku Dorje He fled Tibet in 1959 and came to Sikkim where he spent two years at the Rumtek moastery then later travelled to a Tibetan refugee settlement in Shimla. The following years were dedicated to working not only with its local community members, but also with state government officials for the betterment of the Tibetan plight. He was renowned for his role in starting the new Dorje Drak monastic seat in exile with the Office of the Tibetan Spiritual Leader the Dalai Lama. His aim in this endeavour was to “preserve, foster and expand the teachings of the Changter lineage” following the complete destruction of the original Dorje Drak Monastery in Tibet. Rinpoche received the highest Dzogchen teachings from Polu Khenpo Dorje, a direct disciple of Khenpo Ngakchung and in 2012 was appointed the head of the Nyingma tradition. At 89 years old, Rinpoche was just as devoted to the attainment of realization as he was at 20, and without fail, woke at 3am every day to perform his rituals. It is said that on the day of his passing he arose at 1am instead to complete his morning prayers before passing into the Thuk-dam state not long after. Rinpoche’s life was one filled with courage and determination. Among his greatest achievements in this incarnation was to touch the lives of so many with his compassion and wisdom. In line with the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai lama, it is the mutual hope of his followers, that a reincarnation be imminent and worthy; in order to continue the legacy […]

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His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s teaching at Annul Summer Buddhist Council in Nubra, Ladakh, India by Stéphanie

08 May 2017

The Deskit Yarchos Chenmo 5th Ladakh’s Annual Summer Buddhist Council with Dalai Lama In the heart of the Annual Summer Buddhist Council in Ladakh continues the old buddhist tradition of philosophical debate and discusssion of core buddhist tenants. This brings together  the different buddhist traditions of Ladakh and the relevance of spirituality in hopes of building a peaceful and harmonious society. This summer meeting will also be a platform for students from different schools to engage in discussions on spirituality, culture and moral values in a changing time. The discussion will cover a wide range of topics; from practising Dharma, and the Four Noble Truths to the Three bases of Vinaya. It will cover the social issue of the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco, rising suicide cases as well as the importance of the local Tibetan language which is spoken both by Buddhists and Muslims of Ladakh. The aim of this rare summer gathering; presided over by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is to bring about spiritual understanding, the importance of moral values and to promote inter-religious harmony in Ladakh. The Dalai Lama full schedule 2017 Ladakh, of the visit is as follows: The final  exact dates  will be  available soon at July 10, Monday – Arrive Disket Monastery July 11, Tuesday – Deskit Monastery: Attend Closing Ceremony of Yarcho Chenmo at Disket Monastery July 12, Wednesday – Deskit Monastery: Teaching on Kamalashila’s. The Middle Stages of Meditation (gamrins barpo) and Gyalsey Thakme Sangpa’s Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva (laklen sodumna). His Holiness will engage in interaction with Students from various schools July 13, Thursday – Deskit Monastery: Teaching on Kamalashila’s. The Middle Stages of Meditation (gamrins barpo) and Gyalsey Thakme Sangpa’s Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva (laklen sodumna). Long Life Offering (tenshuk) July 14, Friday – Deskit Yul Phodrang: Long life Empowerment followed by Long life Prayer Offering July 15, Saturday – Visit to Turtuk July 16, Sunday – Visit to Samstantiing Monastery July 17, Monday – Visit to Samstaniing Monastory July 18, Tuesday – Depart Shewatsal Phodrang To Attend the Dalai lama’s teaching in Nubra ,ladakh ,India with Omalaya. The Deskit Yarchos Chenmo – Ladakh Summer Buddhist Council  His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama will visit Nubra. In this journey, you will attend the rare teaching given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama in Ladakh, India, with introduction into the heart of Tibetan traditions. You will also […]

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