IMI Monks and Nuns

 

Sangha by location

S. Asia 38
E. Asia 24
Australia & NZ 71
UK 4
Israel 2
Europe 107
North America 64
South America 3
Unknown 3
Total 316
 
 
 

April 2010

In this Issue

Wisdom From Our Teachers

The Real Chöd Practice - a teaching by Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche ...read more

Announcements

Update on offered robes; an IMI sojong text; Light on the Path retreat sponsorship for IMI sangha; Vinaya course ...read more

Report on Hyagriva Retreat with LZR

We gathered together, 120 of us from countries around the world...read more

Nuns in Mongolia

An article on the establishment and development of the Dolma Ling Nunnery....read more

New IMI Board of Directors

Introducing the new IMI Board members...read more

Updating your IMI member profile

The following instructions should help those who are unsure of  how to access and edit their member profiles ...read more

A gift of Living in the Path - FPMT's new online learning center

FPMT's International Office and Education Department have very kindly and generously offered all IMI members the gift of free access to the Online Learning Center (OLC)!...read more.

Wisdom from Our Teachers

The Real Chöd Practice
A teaching by Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche

When somebody tells you something that really hurts your mind then that is the most beneficial thing for your mind, because it goes straight to your ego - it goes straight to your heart and touches your ego.

That is the most beneficial thing for you, for your mind. This shows you like a mirror, like a teaching from the Buddha one's own mistaken thoughts, especially it shows that there is ego, and because there is ego it hurts. If there is no ego then it would never hurt. So when people tell you your mistakes or say words which hurt you they hurt the ego, the self cherishing thought, and that is the real Chöd practice. This is what makes you see your “I”, (the emotional I in Western psychological terms) or the object of ignorance, the root of samsara, which is holding the “I” as truly existent, the “I” which is believed or trusted by ignorance as truly existent.

Normally one is not aware of this, but by doing the practice of Chöd, inviting the spirits, they create violence and it makes you clearly see the “I”, the object of ignorance, the object to be refuted, which is the truly existent “I”. They show that “I” to you very clearly and then you are able to recognize that it is false, it is the object of ignorance, and then you are able to use your logical reasoning to prove that it doesn’t exist, because the “I” is a dependent arising, or merely imputed in relation to the aggregates, the base, etc. There are so many other reasonings, however, at that minute you recognize the object to be refuted, that object that doesn’t exist at all, is totally non existent.

So this is similar to Chöd practice: being in an environment with the conditions, the people who use harsh words, or bring up your mistakes - and this is how it is so helpful.

In Iraq and those places where there are many killings and feelings of enmity, two sides attacking each other, and the Americans are supporting one side. The other side is the enemy to the USA so they are killing the outside enemy in Iraq and those places. But our practice is killing the inner enemy. In those places such as Iraq they are killing the outside enemies, who are sentient beings, the most precious, most kind sentient beings, from whom I receive all my past, present , future happiness, liberation and enlightenment, everything, the most precious most kind ones.

What we should practice is killing the inner enemy, the delusions, and the only way to do that is with Dharma practice. To defeat the delusions, to achieve liberation, and not only achieve that but to achieve ultimate happiness, everlasting happiness, liberation for oneself, cessation of all the sufferings, no more rebirth, old age, sicknesses and death, or all the sufferings of each of the six realms. To cease forever all sufferings of the samsaric realms, the six realms, and cease karma and delusions as well. Not only to achieve liberation for oneself, but also to achieve enlightenment, great liberation for the benefit of all sentient beings: so this is the difference. In the world when they kill many people, they are killing the outside enemy, thinking that the enemy is outside and killing them. Killing so many sentient beings, who are the most kind, most precious ones, the source of all one's own past, present and future happiness. What we need to practice is killing the inner enemy, delusions. Making war with the delusions to defeat them.

Colophon: Transcribed by Ven Yangchen, lightly edited by Ven Holly Ansett in Dec 2006; edited by Claire Isitt in March 2007.  Image of Machig Labdron courtesy of Snow Lion Publications.


  Announcements

Update on Robes offered to IMI members

Our deepest gratitude once again to Venerable Tenzin Pemba, on behalf of Cham-Tse-Ling Centre (the FPMT center in Hong Kong) for the very kind offer of robes for the ordained sangha. And thanks to all of you who responded and submitted your robes requests.The latest word from Ani Fran at Kopan is that the robes are being made now and are almost finished!  It is estimated that they will be finished and mailed by Sakadawa (May 27 this year), but with the slow mail from Kopan it might take longer to arrive.  


Update on Sojong Text 

The Buddha advised all ordained sangha to participate in the Sojong ceremony bimonthly in order to purify and restore broken vows and commitments.  According to Ven. Thubten Saldon in the Oct 2009 IMI newsletter: "Vasubandhu, describing Sojong said that is 'To fully restore all that is positive and supportive and to clear away all that weakens us and causes harm.  To replenish insight and courage and purify habitual patterns, the Tathāgata has taught the practice of Sojong.'  This practice protects both the individual monk and nun and the monastic community in which he or she may live.  
IMI has compiled the basic Sojong texts used by both the fully ordained monks as well as that used by novice monks and nuns.  We are happy to make electronic versions available to those who would like a copy.  Considering that the vows are listed in the text of the ceremony, we feel that it is best not to post this text onto the IMI website, but instead invite all members who would like an electronic copy to contact us at: office@imisangha.org


Partial Sponsorship of Sangha Now Available for Light of the Path Teaching Retreat with Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche 

Location: Black Mountain, North Carolina (USA), September 12-26, 2010

Light of the Path Retreat 2010 is the second of a 5 year series of teaching retreats led by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA, and hosted by Kadampa Center (the FPMT affiliate in Raleigh, NC). The root text for the course is Lama Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment.

Partial sponsorship for Sangha to attend the retreat has been offered. IMI and Kadampa Center are now able to offer funding to reduce the cost from $710 to $310 for each Sangha member attending the retreat.  Please register now

Kadampa Center is hosting the retreat at a rental facility and does not charge money for Dharma, so the registration cost for attending the retreat covers only the cost of the facility rental. They are relying solely on donations to fund all other aspects of this event.

Education Services at FPMT International Office considers this retreat to be an extremely important event for sangha and teachers to attend as it will be an FPMT lineage transmission from Rinpoche on the pith of practice: how to meditate on the lam-rim. Sangha and teachers are strongly encouraged to attend this important event. Only those who have attended in person will be approved to facilitate this course for others in the future.

The video of the 2009 retreat is available at the FPMT Online Learning Center.

For information on registration and to register, please visit Kadampa Center website.


Vinaya Course, Part 2, July 13-27, 2010, Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa

We would like to again announce the 2nd part of the course on the Vinaya to be offered this summer at Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy.  While the first part of the course in 2007 was open to lay people planning to take ordination, the second part of the commentary is NOT. This means that those lay people who participated in the first part of the course but who have not taken ordination in the intervening three years CANNOT ATTEND the second part of the course. Otherwise the course is open to all ordained sangha who were present at the first part of the commentary as well as to ordained sangha who were not present at the first part but who have either listened to the audio recordings of the commentary or read the transcripts.

If you would like to attend this course but were not at the first course, or would like a copy of the transcript, please contact Ven. Joan Nicell directly at joan@iltk.it

Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa has kindly offered to provide dormitory accommodation free of charge to IMI members attending the Vinaya Course from the afternoon of 12 July 2010 through the night of 27 July 2010. If you would like to come earlier or stay later you must make arrangements in advance.  The cost for other types of accommodation is the same as the usual cost for ILTK guests (please contact reception at segreteria@iltk.it for more information).  IMI will sponsor the costs of lunch at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa for all IMI monks and nuns attending the Vinaya Course and an offering to the teacher and translators.  Sangha will need to pay for breakfast and dinner.

For more detailed information and a course registration form please click here.  Note, registration forms should be submitted to Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa before 30 June 2010. 


Most Secret Hayagriva Retreat

Article by Ven Tenzin Chodron of Chenrezig Institute

We gathered together, 120 of us from countries around the world, in the large new gompa at Tushita. After months of preparation and years of requesting, the Most Secret Hayagriva retreat was happening. Rinpoche began with some days of preliminary teachings before the actual initiation and when the time came for the initiation, it happened in true Rinpoche style – we gathered at the scheduled time of 8pm and were told to come back at 11pm. We gathered at 11pm and were told to come back at 3.30am. We gathered at 3.30am and Rinpoche began prayers and teachings which continued through to the morning. Later that evening when the initiation did happen, there were loud claps of thunder and flashes of lightening as we took the tantric vows and started the initiation process.

We were fortunate that during that afternoon the Abbot of Sera Je Monastery had arrived at Tushita to visit Rinpoche. He was immediately requested to come to the gompa to speak with us and then gave a talk about the history of Most Secret Hayagriva and its close relationship to Sera Je Monastery, creating an auspicious start to the practice.

Our first session of the sadhana lasted just over seven hours, from 7pm to 2.15am. Considering the usual notion of structuring a retreat in an almond shape, starting gradually and building up to longer sessions in the middle, it was interesting to think about what was coming. And certainly it was intense and challenging on every level. The practice was powerful, led in Tibetan by Sera Je Geshe Phuntsog Palden, who is part of the Sera Je Most Secret Hayagriva Group which meets regularly to do the extensive practice for Sera Je, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet. The practice contains extensive and complex tormas, offerings and rituals, and throughout the retreat monks from Kopan Monastery helped with these.

We were very blessed to receive visits from Khandrola and Dagri Rinpoche during the retreat. Both gave us talks, participated in some sessions and did an extensive incense puja with Rinpoche during one of our breaks. At the end of the sessions when they were present, it was always very blissful. 

Dagri Rinpoche, who wrote the Most Secret Hayagriva sadhana for Sera Je Monastery, gave a beautiful talk about the practice, its history and lineage, and its links to the Nyingma tradition. It was a sign of the times during one of the sadhana sessions when he visited that a cell phone started ringing – albeit with a very soothing ring tone. As everyone looked up from their mantra recitation to see where the sound was coming from, Dagri Rinpoche’s attendant gingerly jumped up and went to Rinpoche’s bag to turn off Rinpoche’s phone! There was a gentle smile across the faces in the gompa as we quietly went back to our mantra recitation.

Throughout the retreat the first session started with precepts at 5am followed by prostrations to the 35 Buddhas and Lama Chopa, before the sadhana sessions themselves. Rinpoche would come in the evening and combine the final sadhana session with teachings and dedications until 1am when he would finish the session with a smile and a familiar “Good morning”. People grabbed a bit of sleep when they could.

Because there were so many of us in the gompa, it was standing room only at first for prostrations. As the weather started to change and the chill factor eased, people started moving outside the gompa to prostrate – gradually the and the grounds around the gompa, Rinpoche’s house and Lama Yeshe’s stupa became littered with prostrating bodies four times a day.  Rinpoche came out of his house a few times while we were doing the prostrations and later commented on how pleased he was with how hard people were working. verandahs

Rinpoche would also sometimes feed the monkeys outside his house in the afternoon. There many plastic playthings and water baths set up for the monkeys which they would play with as Rinpoche recited mantras. A couple of times a toy monkey which laughed loudly and contagiously as it rolled over and over was also put outside, intriguing the monkeys and making the prostrators laugh as they prostrated.

As the retreat was coming to an end and people had completed their 100,000 or more mantra recitations, the fire pujas were organised. Due to the group numbers we had a morning and an afternoon fire puja, led by Dagri Rinpoche and Keutsang Rinpoche from Namgyal Monastery. In the evening after both fire pujas had been completed, again there was auspicious thunder and lightening in the sky. During the next two days we had a Long Life Puja for Rinpoche, an Amitayus long life initiation and a visit to Namgyal Monastery for an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama which was beautiful and very inspiring. The final group gathering combined a picnic and incense puja on the mountain above the Tushita.

It was a very successful retreat – Rinpoche said he was happy with how hard and sincerely people had tried. The staff and volunteers at Tushita led by Linda Lowry and Ven Kunphen were extraordinary in their efforts and kindness, working constantly behind the scenes to make the whole process run smoothly.  Ven Sarah and Ven Dekyong also worked tirelessly and Ven Joan’s incredible efforts in transcribing Rinpoche’s teachings on the spot, projecting them on to a large screen were very helpful for tired eyes, especially in the late hours.

The retreat was uplifting, exhausting, very hard at times, powerful and inspiring – and if there’s another one, you wouldn’t want to miss it.


FPMT Dolma Ling Nunnery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

An article by Ven. Thubten Gyalmo, Director

FPMT Mongolia has 6 main projects at this time, one of which is a most valuable contribution by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to the revival of Buddhism in Mongolia, the establishment and development of the Dolma Ling Nunnery.

In April 2001, the historic and beautiful grounds, together with the remaining buildings of the former "Dara Ehk" Monastery were offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche.  This property has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is situated some 15 mins, approximately 8 kms, from the centre of Ulaanbaatar.

Historically, the original temple buildings of "Dara Ehk" Monastery, constructed mostly from wood and bricks some 230 years ago, were a present to the Mongolians from the Manchu Emperor.  It is reported that when the Monastery was fully operating, there were some 15 temples existing for the performance of Dharma activities. Sadly, these were destroyed in the 1930's during the Communist occupation that prevailed in Mongolia.

Then in October 2001, a small group of dedicated Mongolian women requested ordination. This was then granted by the Abbot of Sera Je Monastery and thus marked the beginnings of what is presently, the only community of ordained women in Mongolia.

Initially, the newly ordained nuns were provided with accommodation and support from FPMT Mongolia's first centre, Shedrup Ling, in Ulaanbaatar and were taught by Ven Gyatso (Dr. Adrian Feldmann) who was then the resident teacher.   In May 2003, after the necessary fundraising and repair of the buildings was completed, the nuns moved to their new home.

Since this time, the Mongolian nuns have been fortunate to have 2 nuns from the Kopan Nunnery residing at Dolma Ling Nunnery for varying lengths of time, providing instruction in Tibetan language and teaching rituals, pujas and some Buddhist philosophy.  In addition, there are 2 Dolma Ling nuns making effort to gain greater knowledge by studying at Kopan Nunnery and in Dharamsala.

In the summer of 2005, a new shower and the first inside toilet was built and a winter gompa constructed because the original gompa cannot be adequately heated during the bleak Mongolian winters.  The historical gompa is used during the summer months. Up until early December 2009, the Nunnery was home to 8 Mongolian nuns, ranging from 97 to 20 years old and 2 Kopan nuns.

Unfortunately, on 4 December, 2009 a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning destroying the Nunnery kitchen, the 2 adjoining accommodation rooms as well as the shower and inside toilet. Fortunately, there was no loss of life despite the fact that our oldest nun was residing in one of the rooms and had to be rescued through a narrow window. We had no alternative but to temporarily close the nunnery with some nuns returning to their families, some being accommodated at Shedrup Ling and the 2 nuns from Kopan returning to their home Nunnery.

As it is Lama Zopa's wish that a new Nunnery be built as a matter of priority, we are planning to make a temporary kitchen and some bathing facilities and will have to continue to use the outside toilet – not a problem in the summer but during the winter ……. well that's another story!  Due to the freezing conditions of winter and with this one being the worst in some 30 years, plus a lack of funds, we have not been able to attend to the temporary arrangements but now as spring unfolds and some donations are being received, we are hoping to commence these works in the near future and upon completion, the nuns can again reside there.

The Dolma Ling nuns are indeed pioneers in the relatively, newly liberated Mongolia and carry a special responsibility in helping to revive Buddhism and to establish a tradition of Mongolian nuns.

For more information, please contact Thubten Gyalmo (Glenda Lee), Director of Dolma Ling Nunnery at glendalee@me.com


 

IMI Board Member Biographies - April 2010

Venerable Chantal Tenzin Dekyi

Ven. Chantal Tenzin Dekyi was ordained as a Buddhist nun in Bodh Gaya, India, in 1986 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She took full ordination (bhikshuni) in 1992 in a Vietnamese temple in France. She was born in 1954 in the South of France. She has a Masters' degree in Psychology from the University of Toulouse and began her studies of Buddhism at Nalanda Monastery. From 1985 to 1993 she studied at Nalanda Monastery with Sera Je Khensur Jampa Tegchok. From 1994 to 1999, she lived in India on retreat and pursuing her studies. From 1996, she held various positions in the FPMT. She was the SPC and teacher at Tushita Meditation Center in Delhi for 2 years. She was the director of the International Mahayana Institute from 1998 to 2004. She traveled and taught in various places including North America, France, South Africa and Spain. Ven. Chantal was the resident teacher at the Shedrub Ling Center in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) from 2004 until 2008. She now resides at the Vajra Yogini Center in the South of France where her main task is the translation of a text of Buddhist philosophy. She is a member of the IMI Senior Sangha Council and now it's the Board of Directors.

Venerable Kaye Miner

Australian Venerable Kaye Miner first heard about Tibetan Buddhism from Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa in 1978. As one of the first students at Vajrayana Institute in Sydney Kaye attended Kopan November course (1985) and moved to Kathmandu to work for FPMT Central (International) Office (1986-1987). In 1990 Kaye received Getsulma ordination from Denma Locho Rinpoche. From 1991-1996 she was the Spiritual Program Coordinator at Tara Institute in Melbourne and began teaching at FPMT centers in Australia. At the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, she moved to the Netherlands in 1999 to be the resident teacher at Maitreya Institute Amsterdam where she still offers 5 classes per week as well as teaching in Dutch regional cities. Between January 1, 2003 and November 2, 2009 Kaye was also the director of Maitreya Institute Emst. Ven. Kaye taught the Kopan November course in 2007.

Venerable Tenzin Gyurme

Ven Tenzin Gyurme joined Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC) in 1993. He was ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1999. He serves as ABC’s Tibetan language interpreter, having completed the two-year Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Tibetan Translator Program (2000-2002) in Dharamsala, India.  Ven. Gyurme is the Spiritual Programme Coordinator for ABC and teaches introductory Buddhist courses.


Venerable Tenzin Tsultrim

Ven. Tenzin Tsultrim is a member of Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC), Singapore. She has been a volunteer for some years as well as a student in the Basic Program. Ven. Tsultrim currently offers service in various ways, from leading pujas to writing e-news on the spiritual program. She is organizing a trip for ABC members to attend Rinpoche's teachings in Malaysia. Ven. Tsultrim is the youngest on Board member and received getsul vows last March 2009 from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Following Rinpoche's advice, she happily accept this new role. Ven. Tsultrim hopes to be of benefit to the community as a new sangha member together with 20 years of life experiences from reaching out to people as a one-time broadcast journalist, corporate trainer and certified massage therapist.



How to update your IMI member profile and change your membership data

We regularly hear from people saying that they didn’t get our emails or didn’t hear about certain offerings made to the IMI sangha. This usually happens because the contact information we have on file at IMI is not current.  We’d like to encourage all IMI members to make sure the profile information we have for you is correct. This information is viewed by other IMI members and is our way of staying in touch with you.


The following instructions should help those who are unsure of  how to access and edit their member profiles. From the IMI website at www.imisangha.org go to the Members tab at the top right hand side of the site and click on IMI Member Login. This will take you to a window where you have to enter your Username and  Password. If you don’t know what these are please contact us at office@imisangha.org and we will provide that information to you.


After  you enter the Username and Password click Login. Once you are inside the site you can put your name, or anyone else’s, in the Keyword Search box in the upper right hand corner. If the name you put in doesn’t come up right away try using only one word, either the first or last name only, either the ordained name or given name. You can also search by Affiliated Center such as Nalanda or Chenrezig.


Once your name comes up, click on the View Profile link above your name. This will take you to your information.  If you want to change any of this data click on the Edit button next to the pencil at the top right hand side of the page.  You can then edit your information. This is a good place to change your Username and Password to one that is easy for you to remember. You will note that there is some information you cannot change, such as ordination information and FPMT programs completed. If this information needs updating you should contact us at: office@imisangha.org.


After making any changes make sure to click the Save button at the lower left hand side of the screen.


An amazing gift from FPMT International Office and Education Department: the gift of Dharma to all IMI sangha!

FPMT International Office and Education Department have very kindly and generously offered all IMI members the gift of free access to the Online Learning Center (OLC)!  This is a fantastic opportunity for our sangha to have access to the Discovering Buddhism program and the new Living in the Path modules, and also subscriptions to Mandala magazine and Mandala's new eZine.  In addition, once you sign up, you'll be on the list to receive notices about new modules as they are released.  We encourage all IMI sangha to contact us as soon as possible at office@imisangha. org to sign up.  We will pass all the information to FPMT.

Once you sign up, you will receive:

  • Notices about new OLC modules as they are released
  • A one year subscription to Mandala Publications beginning with the next published print  magazine or eZine issue, whichever comes first.

  • Complete access to the FPMT Online Learning Center http://onlinelearning.fpmt. org/ 
  • Enrollment keys for the currently available Discovering Buddhism (DB) modules (again, access keys will be provided to you once you contact Sherri above and as new modules become available):
  DB Module 1: Mind and its Potential
  DB Module 2: How to Meditate
  DB Module 3: Presenting the Path
  DB Module 4: The Spiritual Teacher
  DB Module 5: Death and Rebirth
  DB Module 6: All about Karma
  DB Module 7: Refuge in the Three Jewels
  DB Module 8: Establishing a Daily Practice
  DB Module 9: Samsara and Nirvana
  DB Module 10: How to Develop Bodhichitta
  DB Module 12: Wisdom of Emptiness
  DB Module 14: Special Integration Experiences

  LP Module 01: Motivation for Life
  LP Module 02: Taking the Essence
We encourage you to take the full opportunity of these amazing benefits of this kind gift and on behalf of all of our members we thank FPMT for it's generosity to the sangha.