News from Nalanda Monastery in France – Sept. 2016
Like last year, Nalanda Monastery organized two big Summer retreats: a Calm Abiding retreat led by Venerable Rene Feusi and a one month Lam Rim retreat led by Nalanda monks Venerables Gendun, Tharchin, and Gyaltsen. Since 2010 the farmer living close to Nalanda has been offering the use of his bordering fields for the retreats, which makes it possible that women can participate fully in the Summer retreats. Toine and his team erected some dormitory and individual tents and a house for women was rented.
About 75 participants attended the Calm Abiding retreat, including many long time practitioners, some old friends of Rene and a few former monks of Nalanda. Participants came from France, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, UK, Egypt, Malaysia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. It has been a very unique opportunity to hear so much instructions on Calm Abiding techniques and how to combine it with tantric practice, have time to experience and practice and listen to advice and the experience of Ven. Rene himself. All the participants were very touched by the kindness of Ven. Rene.
When Khandrola visited Nalanda some years ago, she advised that Nalanda should organize Lam Rim retreats led by Nalanda monks. The teachers for the Lam Rim retreat have been carefully chosen by Nalanda’s Abbot Geshe Jamphel, who has been their teacher in both the Basic and Master programs. Venerables Gendun and Tharchin have been ordained for more than fifteen years and have studied closely with Geshe Jamphel since 2002. Venerable Gyaltsen came to Nalanda in 2008 and since then has been one of the best students.
During the first two weeks there were more teachings scheduled, giving a nice overview over the whole path in a quite deep way. During the second two weeks there were more meditations scheduled. During each of the two cycles there were about 25 participants, also coming from all around the world: Australia, Argentina, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Germany, Malaysia, India, Romania, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and the USA. The response of the participants were very positive. Some got interested in our study programs, some subscribed to the Kopan November course because they wanted to learn more Lam Rim, one person even wanted to ordain in our tradition and another mentioned that this retreat made her understand that this was her path.
In September the Masters Program will start a new subject: the Madhyamaka, and the Basic program will start with the tantric modules. Nalanda is very content with its three resident teachers and five translators. The Masters Program is now translated into Spanish!