Visit and Teachings in Portland


Home January 2018

Visit and Teachings in Portland

By Dave Merrill

On Saturday January 27th, 2018, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche traveled to Portland, Oregon, to teach in that city for the first time. His event was organized by Tenzin Dadon from Tibet, and he gave a teaching on the Medicine Buddha practice to a small and enthusiastic group.

He taught that it is natural for all sentient beings to long for a healthy body and mind in order to have a happy life, and so a simple form of this practice is to perceive that everything that’s good for us is an aspect of the Medicine Buddha. We all like to breathe oxygen created by plants, benefit from plant-based medicines, drink pure water, and enjoy beautiful sunshine, so we can easily visualize all these outer beneficial elements as emanating from Medicine Buddha.

Of course if we have a lot of negative meditation, or negative mantras in our mind, we will not feel happy, so we need to recognize these as like a bad TV channel, and change the channel! Even if you repeat, “I’m a happy person, I’m a healthy person,” you can quickly start to feel better! So please start to notice which of your mind TV channels you keep coming back to! Why keep watching the ‘Sorrow’ Channel; why not watch the ‘Medicine Buddha’ channel? He taught the short Medicine Buddha practice of visualizing the Medicine Buddha and reciting his mantra, during which time you automatically delete unhappy feelings. This is similar to looking at a beautiful crystal; when you recognize its beauty and appreciate it, you simultaneously abandon negative feelings and emotions.
So please recognize Medicine Buddha in your heart, and then share this recognition with others.

On Sunday morning, January 28th, Rinpoche then visited the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association in Portland, where a Tibetan language and prayer class for children and their parents was being held. Rinpoche gave a short talk to this large group of children and parents about both the importance of learning Tibetan, while also learning Dharma in English. He pointed out that children today are immersed in speaking English, and that he has found that his young students can grasp his Dharma teachings in English very quickly. Rinpoche made some connections with the Cultural Center, and aspires to return there to teach periodically.

Lastly, Rinpoche went to visit Maitripa College, a Buddhist Graduate School founded by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Southeast Portland. He was greeted and shown around the beautiful facility by one of the school’s directors, Tiffany Patrella Blumenthal, and learned about their curriculum which includes scholarly study, meditation, and service. Again, the aspiration was shared by both Tiffany and Rinpoche that when he visits Portland in the future that he offer some teachings there.

This concluded Rinpoche’s first auspicious Dharma teaching trip to Portland, Oregon, where he successfully planted the seeds of future Dharma teachings to benefit that city and all beings.

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Reflections from Rinpoche’s Teachings in Boulder

by Sarah, Aric, and Bianca

Our dear teacher arrived on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 10th. As a joyful group of sangha members drove to the airport to greet Rinpoche, a beautifully vibrant rainbow appeared, marking his arrival to Colorado. After settling into the local accommodations, a group of sangha members gathered to have a cozy dinner and happy conversation about Dharma practice and the upcoming teachings.

On Thursday morning after breakfast, Rinpoche began offering private interviews to the local practitioners. The interviews continued through the late morning and again in the afternoon after a light lunch break. All those in attendance were so grateful to Rinpoche for his inspired and caring guidance.

Thursday evening was Dakini Day Tsok. The sangha joined together in celebration, filling the beautiful shrine room that was so generously hosted by Aric and Leela. Rinpoche offered the oral transmission of Yumkha Dechen Gyalmo (Yeshe Tsogyal) with its associated tsog. He gave pointed explanation of different aspects of the tsok practice as well. After the transmission and teaching, we all worked through the text together as a group, filling the shrine space with the blissful energy of our practice. An abundant feast was offered as well as resonant vajra songs. Rinpoche also kindly answered questions about the six paramitas and commented on the complexities of maintaining joyful and mindful relationships with significant others as well as the community as a whole. It was a truly beautiful evening of practice with our dear teacher.

Friday morning Rinpoche requested to visit the Flatirons, a beautiful stretch of red rocky peaks that edge the city of Boulder, CO. A small group of sangha members joined Rinpoche on the brisk morning hike and enjoyed the beautiful natural surroundings and spacious views of the mountains as well as the city below. After lunch, Rinpoche again generously offered private interviews to community members before having dinner at a local restaurant and preparing for the evening of teachings.

The Uncommon Kurukulle Empowerment was offered at the beautiful Dharma Ocean space to a dedicated group of practitioners. Bountiful red offerings and beautiful thangkas filled the space, as Rinpoche inspired all in attendance, speaking about the significance of receiving empowerment, the importance of dedicated practice, and about the noble Kurukulle. Rinpoche took time to remind us of the inherent Buddha nature of all sentient beings and inspire the generation of Bodhicitta in all who were in attendance. The beautiful evening of teachings came to a close with the reminder to carry that pure energy with us into the following day of empowerment.

Saturday Morning Rinpoche bestowed the empowerment of the Eight Medicine Buddhas, and in the afternoon that day, he spoke from his own experience on Tibetan Medicine. He focused his lecture on the qualities a doctor should have, the Importance of bodhicitta and the spiritual energy one must have as healer. Rinpoche also covered the basics of the tradition such as the three humors, and other foundational concepts to Tibetan medicine. Saturday evening the retreat practitioners were invited over for a potluck, and a meeting to go over ground rules before we started the following day. There was a powerful excitement from everyone, as they knew they were entering into something quite special.

The following morning we started the retreat, a truly amazing display of powerful blissful energy and compassion. While there were eight members of the sangha that had previously done a three day Kurukulle retreat under Rinpoche’s direction, this was our first retreat with Rinpoche physically present. The fourteen dharma clad practitioners, and Rinpoche’s leadership was a powerful occasion. It really motivated us to accumulate mantra together as a sangha, and more importantly, helped as a reminder that guiding all sentient beings to forever reside in sorrowless bliss is a task we are deeply fortunate to take on. Three days of sitting followed by a fire puja and daily lavish feast offerings made for an auspicious circumstance. We have such devotion for our generous teacher! May the dharma flourish in Boulder, Tibet, and throughout the universe.

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by Pema Dechen

We were honored to have our precious guru, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche, come turn the wheel of Dharma in Vancouver over the course of three days. Rinpoche taught the Wangdü, “The Great Cloud of Blessings: The Prayer which Magnetizes all that Appears and all that Exists” by Mipham Rinpoche. He also gave Kurukulle and Eight Medicine Buddhas empowerments and teachings.

Rinpoche gave oral transmission for the Wangdü and talked about the essence of practicing the powerful aspects of Tibetan Buddhism to work with one’s inner demons and negative emotions. These negative emotions, such as jealousy and loneliness, are created by the illusion that we are not worthy. They cause sorrow and self-doubt, and they inhibit our ability to access our Buddha nature. Once we overcome our own weakness and bring about the powerful energies of love and trust within us, we can see our worth. In other words, “fall in love with yourself” first, and then you will have the power to love and be loved by others.

We learned the names and merits of the nine deities of “The Great Cloud of Blessings,” and Rinpoche also taught us how to properly chant the prayer. After the Wangdü teachings, Rinpoche wrote the related seed syllables of Tibetan Buddhism on the back of the nine deities images for each of the students in the Wangdü teachings. We were so fortunate and happy to have this gift from Rinpoche!

The following day, Rinpoche gave us the precious Kurukulle empowerment of body, speech and mind. He explained each of the stages thoroughly and discussed the reasons for and merits of receiving this empowerment. During dinner that night, Rinpoche was kind to answer our many questions. A question that stood out was whether it was appropriate to use Kurukulle mantra and practice to attract a romantic love interest. Rinpoche explained that love is an important aspect of dharma practice and that bringing others to the Dharma is a practice of Bodhisattvas. So, one could say that it is appropriate to use the practice in this way. Ultimately, however, our purpose in practicing Dharma is to be free from Samsara and to strive to become Buddhas or Bodhisattvas in this life or in future lives.

On the third and final day, Rinpoche gave us the Eight Medicine Buddhas empowerment. He explained the different merits and attributes of each of the forms of Medicine Buddha. This practice, we learned, aids us in removing negative karma of illness from body and mind, planting Buddha seeds in our hearts to help us along the path to enlightenment. Committing to this practice accumulates merit that is conducive to finding rebirth in Medicine Buddha’s pure land.

Following three days of empowerments and teachings with our precious teacher, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche, we felt we were well on the path to the Bodhisattvas. Through his teachings and by the power of the deities, our hearts become more tender and full of compassion, our thoughts become more open and profound, our insight becomes more sensitive and precise. This was a time of deep connection with the Dharma, with our guru, and our fellow practitioners. We were inspired to practice wholeheartedly and to devote ourselves to the Dharma. We are so grateful to Rinpoche for his precious teachings and we hope to have him back again soon.

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