Heart Nectar: H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche Teachings and Empowerments in Boulder, Colorado

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June 22-24, 2018
by Alexandra Rose on behalf of Heruka Boulder Sangha

Once again, Heruka Boulder sangha was blessed and overjoyed to receive teachings and empowerments from our beloved Vajra Master and root teacher, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche this past weekend. Throughout the course of the 5-day visit, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche provided insight and instruction in the Vajrayana tradition, and effortlessly planted seeds of buddha dharma and fierce compassion within our hearts and the growing mandala of Heruka Boulder Sangha.

On the day of Rinpoche’s arrival, bright rainbows auspiciously appeared in the sky and strong winds blew across the mountains, as if the dakinis of the land and sky were warmly welcoming Rinpoche’s arrival and presence. Joyous sangha members greeted Rinpoche at the airport with flowers, smiles, and open hearts on Thursday afternoon, June 21, 2018. Later that evening, Heruka sangha gathered and held a Medicine Buddha practice and potluck with Dearest Rinpoche’s guidance and blessing. It was an intimate and beautiful celebration, and a favorable foreshadowing of the weekends teachings and sacred empowerments.

The following day, Rinpoche gave an introduction on the Longchen Nyingtik, the view of Longchenpa and Dzogchen lineage of the Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse. As vast as the sky and the activities of the lineage masters, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the teachings Rinpoche shared provided immeasurable depth, insight, and inspiration. Rinpoche tenderly spoke about his karmic heart connection with the Longchen Nyingtik terma cycle and Patrul Rinpoche, and referenced Patrul Rinpoche’s, Words of my Perfect Teacher, and shared precious teachings regarding the dzogchen preliminary practices, which was a very special gift to receive. Rinpoche then spoke of the fundamental importance of maintaining our precious samaya; with our Guru, our Dharma Brothers and Sisters, and the three Vajras of Body, Speech and Mind. Rinpoche taught us about the 3 Pillars and emphasized the importance of renunciation, bodhicitta, and pure-view, in order to maintain pure samaya and to cultivate virtuous action. Rinpoche explained renunciation in a sense of moral conduct by creating more ‘space’ between oneself and samsara, bodhichitta as immersed in the Four Immeasurables, and pure-view as relating to the essence of all things as they are free from concepts, holding emptiness as the sacred precept.

On Saturday, Rinpoche gave an elaborate and comprehensive teaching on the Yuthok Nyingthig, and bestowed a very special and elaborate empowerment for this sacred healing tradition. Rinpoche graciously gave transmission for ngondro and outer guru yoga preliminary practices, as well as the Medicine Buddha and Medicine Rishis and Dakinis of the Yuthok Nyingthig. Throughout the day, Rinpoche spoke of transforming the 5 afflictive poisons, or root kleshas (ignorance, attachment, jealousy, anger, pride) that keep us in cyclical suffering within samsara, by applying the antidotes (discipline/wisdom, selflessness/impermanence,  loving-kindness/joy, patience & generosity) that allow the fruition of transcendent awareness and enlightened compassionate activity. Following the empowerment, we enjoyed an abundant and vibrant tsok in celebration of Guru Rinpoche day. We then went on a hike together where Rinpoche discovered self-arising handprints and footprints embedded in the rocks and mountains. Rinpoche also found sacred writings, passages, and dakini nectar (water) on the top of a mountains edge. He expressed how auspicious these mountains are, and how they are blessed by Guru Rinpoche and the essence of Vajrayogini.

On Sunday, Rinpoche bestowed a Protector Empowerment of White Mahakala and granted us the transmission and sadhana for practice. We learned that Mahakala is the inner aspect and semi-wrathful emanation of Chenrezig, or Avolikteshvara, the Supreme Bodhisattva of Great Compassion. Rinpoche provided us with rich imagery and detail for visualization and contemplative practice, which supported our meditation tremendously and helped open our understanding and hearts to receive the blessings of the Dakinis and Protectors. We learned how Mahakala is a Dharmapala that supports and protects students of the Vajrayana path, and is responsible for creating good conditions by averting inner and outer obstacles that prevent or hinder the attainment of spiritual realizations. Rinpoche explained that Mahakala’s crown of five skulls represents the 5 Buddha families and the transmutation of the five poisons into virtuous and transcendent qualities. By visualizing Mahakala with six arms which signify the successful completion of the six perfections (Generosity, Discipline, Patience, Joyful Endeavor, Meditation/Concentration, Knowledge/Awareness), we young students of the Vajrayana path have the ability to relate deeply with the activity of the deity.

On Rinpoche’s last day in Boulder, Colorado, he was so kind as to have interviews with his devoted students and sangha. Dearest Rinpoche happily answered our questions, and it was a beautiful and special time shared together. Following this, Heruka Boulder sangha gathered and held another abundant and powerful tsok, in celebration of our precious teacher, each other and our happy dharma life and practice. This final night together was blissful and infinitely healing, and ignited boundless benefit and compassion for all beings in all worlds. Our time spent with Rinpoche went by so quickly, and was and always will be, profound and incredibly magical. May you continue to plant the seed of Dharma in the hearts of all beings, and come back over, and over again!

May the supreme jewel of bodhicitta
That has not arisen arise and grow
And may that which has arisen not diminish
But increase more and more!

Sarva Mangalam

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By Julie Ryder

On Friday June 15, 2018 Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche  arrived in Helena, Montana.  We slipped between the rain clouds all the way to the Goddess Dolmen and Animal Rocks which are positioned on a major earth energy grid line of the Montana Megaliths.  Rinpoche climbed up to the top of Titanic Rock to view alignments.  

Goddess Dolmen area was covered in wildflowers in full bloom.  Nearby Rinpoche requested we stop the car as he saw another megalithic structure in the forest.  After exploration of the stone structure he named it Dog Dolmen.  

The pouring rain continued.  The plan on Saturdaywas for the Rinpoche to teach at Giant’s Playground however the venue was changed to the JAML Library.  JAML is a library and meeting place where Dr. Richard O’Connor has sponsored meetings to educate people about UFO and related subjects.  Rinpoche presented teachings about the ancient  Tibetan traditions and told stories of his own experiences.

On Saturdayafternoon we retreated to Deb Thorpe’s home where Sarah Margaret soothed us with a Tibetan Bowl concert and Nicole Masters performed a Maori Fire Dance.  Julie Ryder presented her website photographs of the Montana Megaliths, experiences with two ancient crystal skulls, ancient glyphs in Montana and the connection of the world wide ancient language to cymatic frequencies.  Maps demonstrating that the Montana Megaliths are positioned on a major earth energy grid line generated conversation about harmonic frequencies and the healing energy of electromagnetic beams that are generated here.  

On Sunday thirty  people strolled  through Giant’s Playground as a light rain gifted the plants and trees.  A spotted baby deer fawn hidden beneath a tree slept quietly.   Everyone crowded into the Evergreen Dolmen where the Rinpoche sang ancient chants.   

We viewed the Robotic Watcher and the Tower Dolmen. Rinpoche taught at the Bennu Bird and again at the Pink Vault.

The rain stopped when we arrived at the stone  Silver Skull where we we filmed the Rinpoche on video teaching about the Tibetan Kings connections with the large hats that possible covered their elongated skulls.

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Written by Nga Pham Drime Jampa

Once again our Toronto Buddhist Terma Foundation (BTF) Sangha was blessed to have H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche returned for more teachings and empowerments this summer. Within five days, from June 7 to June 11 inclusive, Rinpoche provided us the Preliminary Great Perfection teachings and bestowed us with the Yamantaka and Mahakala empowerments as well as the Fire Puja of both of these deities.

In the evenings of June 7th and 8th, Rinpoche gave us the overview of the preliminary Longchen Nyingthig Dzogchen – Ngondro. He began his teaching with a brief introduction of nine vehicles in Buddhism that take our mind to different levels of realization, liberation and enlightenment. We learned that the first three are dealing with basic sutra levels and the later six are dealing with tantra levels. The Sutra Vehicle, or Sutrayana, contains two distinct approaches: the Theravada Traditional Vehicle and the Great Vehicle, or Mahayana. The Theravada tradition includes the Listeners and Solitary Buddhas vehicles which contains the most basic teachings of the Buddhist tradition: the Four Noble Truths, impermanence, and interdependence. The basic mindset of these two vehicles is the same, in that both approaches focus on individual liberation, rather than the liberation of all beings. The end point of the Theravada Vehicles is a lesser level of realization known as the state of the foe destroyer, or Arahat. The Great Vehicle, Mahayana, includes both the Bodhicitta and the Tantra vehicles which expands the view and scope of the foundational vehicle with concepts like bodhicitta and emptiness. In this approach, the outcome of spiritual practice is the attainment of Buddhahood. The core teachings like renunciation and compassion are equally important in all nine vehicles, though they may be expressed in more subtle ways. In the Foundational Vehicle, for instance, renunciation involves leaving behind worldly activities and taking up the life of a celibate monk or a nun, while in the Great Perfection, renunciation means to leave behind all dualistic perception and contrived spiritual effort. Therefore, monastic and lay practitioners alike can achieve Buddhahood through Mahayana or Vajrayana paths without leaving mundane activities.

Rinpoche then introduced the Dzogchen Longchen Nyingthig lineage of the Nyingma tradition. He began by explaining the word Longchen Nyingthig which we hear of very often but did not quite understand what they really mean before. We learned that Longchen means something that is as vast as space. Nyingthig means the heart essence. When we look upon the sky at night we can see so many stars and how vast space is. Space is the motherland that we can return to if we practice well enough. In the universe, there are many Buddha pure lands that we can be reborn into instead of this samsara. Yet, we continue to choose this “motel” instead of a “five-star hotel” due to our attachment, aversion and ignorance. Rinpoche’s analogy made us laugh so hard and realize how “silly” we have been in so many lives, life after life.

The next evening, Rinpoche went over the preliminary practices of Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro including the common outer preliminaries and the uncommon inner preliminaries. Rinpoche covered the six topics of the outer preliminaries which are: precious human existence, death and impermanence, the shortcomings of samsara, the principle of karma, the benefits of liberation and the principle of a guru. Through the first two topics, Rinpoche encouraged us to contemplate on the reasons why we should undermine the tendency to become obsessed with trivial matters and shortsighted goals such as wealth, fame and fortune, and instead, we should focus on what is more meaningful and long-lasting benefits of liberation. Rinpoche clearly unraveled the next two topics: the shortcoming of samsara and the law of karma. Through these topics that we can realize that no matter anywhere in samsara we are born (god, asura, human, animal, hungry ghost or hell realms) there is no end to suffering. Building upon this recognition, Rinpoche helped us to see the virtues of attaining freedom from confusion and suffering.

Overall, Rinpoche triggered the feeling disenchantment toward mundane activities that most general human beings are usually stuck in ordinary states of desire and attachment. At the same time, we are encouraged to develop a sense of enthusiasm and appreciation towards the state of liberation and enlightenment. While Rinpoche were taking us to the final contemplation of the outer preliminary, the role of the spiritual teacher on the path to liberation, an interesting question was raised “How can we find a realized teacher?” In Rinpoche’s response, he mentioned the most two important characters in a pure teacher that one should find are honesty and compassion. When responding to another question: “As Buddhists, should we eat meat or not?”, Rinpoche stays firm on the choice of being vegetarian instead of omnivore unless we achieve certain level of a Bodhisattva. Rinpoche explained if we eat meat, we would absorb the negative energies of the animals at death experience such as fear, anger and suffering into our bodies. Those energies are the cause to samsara, not nirvana. Finally, due to the time limit, Rinpoche went over the inner preliminaries which are going for refuge, cultivating bodhicitta, offering mandala, the purification practice of Vajrasattva, and Guru Yoga. Tulku Rinpoche stressed the importance of Ngondro practice especially the Guru Yoga practice since they are the doorways to enter further higher tantric teachings.

On June 9th and 10th, Rinpoche bestowed us the two precious empowerments which are Yamantaka and Mahakala deities. Prior to the actual empowerments, Rinpoche shared with us the history of the unbroken lineage of Yamantaka that continues to pass down from the two translators Ra Lotsawa and Mal Lotsawa. Yamataka is the wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom, that can cut through ignorance and conquer all evil spirits, including the Lord of Death, Yama. Mahakala is the protector for Yamantaka’s practitioners. Therefore, we feel very fortunate to receive the empowerments of both these two deities consecutively. During the empowerments, Rinpoche carefully went through the rituals of purification of the sangha place, the creation of the protecting rink, and introduced us to the associated mandala. Rinpoche followed with the purification and transformation of our body, speech, mind, qualities and conducts to the five Buddha families’ natures. Rinpoche’s genuine devotion and concentration in his prayers touched us profoundly. We could feel there were so much blessing came from the associated deities through Rinpoche. At the end of the Sunday as per practitioners’ request, Rinpoche reviewed the technique of dark meditation and guided us through it once again like last year. We were really touched by Rinpoche’s patience and compassion which consistently manifested in his effort to fulfill every single of our wishes.

The morning of June 11th was a pleasant one as well as a meaningful event when all attendants gathered for the Yamantaka and Mahakala’s Fire Puja. Everyone was instructed to write one thing that we wish to achieve and one obstacle that we wish to overcome. Many substances such as oils, beans, seeds, grass, nuts, and woods were used to represent the obstacles that we wish them to be destroyed by wisdom fire of Yamantaka and Mahakala. Some attendants observed the flame of the fire puja and stated that the flame often had the shape of Yamantaka with the two horns of a buffalo. The two split flames could represent the two relative and absolute truths or they could represent the two short-term and ultimate accomplishments that we wish to achieve in this occasion. In that afternoon, the Sangha consists of practitioners with various backgrounds brought their own traditional foods such as Chinese, Vietnamese, and European dishes to share with each other in the potluck lunch.

The five days spent with H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche went by so fast like a flash of light. However, Tulku Rinpoche’s compassion, knowledge, and guidance still linger on and stay with us as a model that we long to attain in a near future. We are looking forward to the next reunion with Tulku Rinpoche next year. During the meantime, we will try our best to practice and apply what we have learned in our daily life.

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Written by Yangchen

In this time when Volcano Goddess Pele is raging on our Island, profound suffering has arisen and amplified on the island of Hawaii. To address this, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche chose to confer Ushnishavijaya-Namgyälma empowement, Chöd empowerment and 21 Tara empowerment for sustaining our ongoing cultivation during these times. In so doing Rinpoche brought tenacious cheerful mind and wise approach to all situations at hand here.

Rinpoche’s calm, watchful discernment in dealing with the individuals that attended through seeing his fliers and word of mouth conjoined with Rinpoche’s care in coordinating group interaction, generated the stability that gave rise to a cohesive and harmonious feeling sangha that aspires to cultivate these practices together and work toward mantra accumulations both individually and as a group.

Rinpoche brought both soothing and clarity to us each here in this island. While Rinpoche’s focus on this trip was the teachings of the female Bodhisattvas, he shared many keys to facilitate our understanding of Guru yoga overall and increase our accuracy and discernment as practitioners of the Buddhas’ sacred Dharma.

Inspired and focused in our active cultivation we are individually and collectively working toward accomplishing mantra accumulations before Rinpoche’s return for further in person teachings in early January of 2019.

We are grateful for Rinpoche’s turning of the wheel of the holy dharma and determined to
Make something beneficial for others of the time, attention, and energy Rinpoche has here devoted to us all.

Namo Gurube
Namo Buddhaya
Namo Dharmaya
Namo Sanghaya.

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Written by Joki (Pema)

Our Vancouver Heruka Sangha had a fantastic dharma journey last weekend in Executive Airport Hotel in Richmond that we invited our precious guru, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche, to give us the Unsnisavijaya and Wrathful Guru Rinpoche empowerments, teachings and Tsok. We also have to gratefully announce that Rinpoche obtained all empowerments from “Longchen Nyingthig”, which is one of the most famous continuity inherits from Nyingma lineage in Tibetan Buddhism, especilly for Terma. It means, Rinpoche is qualified as a high level Dzogchen Master and Terma Holder who has high accomplishments in Tibetan Buddhism. We have no doubt that H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche is a Mahasiddha with undifferentiated qualification a the level of His Holiness’ gurus.

On May 12th, 2018, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche gave the Usnisavijaya empowerment and teachings. Usnisavijaya is a Buddha of longevity in Tibetan Buddhism. She wears an image of Vairocana in her headdress with Amitayus and Sitatara, she constitutes the three Buddhas of long life, and one of the more well-known Buddhist divinities in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia. Since Usnisavijaya is a special deity with three color faces and eight arms holding different dharma possessions, Rinpoche explained the dharma-law and meanings for each different face and arm. He also taught us the visualization, merits and benefits for practicing this special female deity. It is not only to dispel the negative karma and health problems for the practitioners, but also help them to get rid of the sufferings due to the Samsara, Self-Persistence and Patikulamanasikara until they achieve buddhahood.

On May 13th, 2018, we were so excited that H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche gave us one of the most secret and rare Terma empowerments, Wrathful Guru Rinpoche or Dorje Drollo. Dorje Drollo is the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava and most often associated with the set of Eight Main Manifestations and the life story of Guru Rinpoche. Practicing Wrathful Guru Rinpoche can subdue all the negative emotions and energy. During the empowerment, Rinpoche pointed out the proper way to subdue the demons and remove the negative energy and obstacles from practitioners. Actually, there is no real demon from outside world, our heart create the illusion. The core spirit to successfully practicing Dorje Drollo is to destroy our Inner Demons, Kleshas, and Patikulamanasikara. If we have pure mind and heart with great compassion and wisdom, no outside demons and evils could destroy us, because the outside demons are just a reflection of our inner negativity thoughts and energy.

After the wonderful teachings, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche led us in a Tsok Prayer in which we had our personal possessions blessed by Wrathful Guru Rinpoche and shared the Tsok offerings together with great bliss. Rinpoche also kindly offered the Sangha calligraphy of mantra and seed-syllable. We really appreciate Rinpoche’s patience and great blessings for us. We sincerely wish that H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche will have a long-life and have profound benefit for all sentient beings.

Because of our Sangha’s cordially request and available schedule, Rinpoche agreed to stay one more day to have a meditation class. On May 14th, 2018, we went to the Garry Point Park near the beach in the evening. The weather was so nice that we enjoyed the sunshine and lovely nature at the beach together. Rinpoche asked us to sit in a circle facing the sea, focus on a seed-syllable he wrote and concentrate our mind on the seed-syllable without any thinking, just being relaxed. After thirty minutes of meditation in quiet and deep connection with the sea and the nature energy, we all felt peaceful and joyful, our Buddha nature seemed clearer than ever. This is why we should have meditation everyday, it is an important part of our dharma practice to develop inner strength. After the meditation, Rinpoche led a short Dorje Drollo Tsok as requested by a member of our Sangha. It was so special that the day was a dharma protector day, we were absolutely blessed by Wrathful Guru Rinpoche and the protectors to have such an wonderful evening with our venerable Guru and beloved Sangha.

As dharma practitioners, we wish we to will have long-life, have more time to practice dharma and benefit all sentient beings. Unsnisavijaya and Wrathful Guru Rinpoche practice are an excellent way to remove obstacles and dispel inner demons, causes of various health issues, assisting us along well with our dharma life and spiritual journey. We hope we can always follow our great guru, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche, to achieve our Buddahood as soon as possible through deep faith in the dharma.

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We are so pleased to share the news that Rinpoche established the Heruka Long Beach Dharma Center at the request of his Vietnamese sangha this past week. Rinpoche has visited his students in Long Beach and during his last visit he helped the Sangha there find the right place for their center.

During this auspicious date in Tibetan astrology, Heruka Long Beach was established. Rinpoche gave teachings on Tibetan Buddhism, he offered Refuge Vows, Bodhisattva Vows, and Vajrayana Vows. Those taking Vajrayana Vows donned their ngakpa and ngakma shawls while Rinpoche gave each of them Vajrayana names.

Rinpoche later gave the oral transmission for of the Six Buddha’s Prayers, Mantras, and Dedications. He has promised to visit and give teachings at the Heruka Long Beach Dharma Center four times a year.

Blessings to our Long Beach vajra family as they endeavor to flourish the Dharma and benefit all mother sentient beings!

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by Kim Abbey
On Sunday, April 15, 2018, the Nalanda Institute of Olympia was very blessed to receive the Medicine Buddha Empowerment and teachings on Healing Meditation at the Nalanda Gonpa.
The highly trained Lama, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche of Heruka Institute in Seattle was welcomed by a group of eighteen practitioners. Rinpoche offered to come to Olympia several months ago, and finally we selected the auspicious date of the 30th day of the 2nd month in the Tibetan Lunar calendar, on the New Moon.
Those attending came with open heart and open mind on this cool and cloudy day, no rain! Rinpoche taught that we must begin with Refuge and Bodhicitta, not only performing the task of the recitation of prayers, additionally we must truly feel the depth of our vows within our hearts. Taking refuge, with faith and confidence, in the ‘unseen beings’, the buddhas, protectors. Taking refuge also in their teachings, the dharmas. Taking refuge also in the community of practitioners, the Lamas and nuns who uphold the doctrines, the sangha. Rinpoche stated the importance of visualizing theses refuges, feeling with a loving heart. The recitation of the bodhicitta vow also must be heartfelt, Rinpoche taught. Repeating this reminder to ourselves that the effort to master the six perfections to achieve awakened Mind, for the benefits of all beings, sets our intention to receive the Empowerment.
Rinpoche led the group through the Four Immeasurables, our commitment, again heartfelt, to wish for happiness for all beings, reduce suffering, abandon jealousy, and remain in the Middle Way, equanimity.
Rinpoche then taught us about the blessing of taking in Amrita, blessed water, poured from the sacred urn, to cleanse the body and mouth, like a cleansing shower before receiving the Empowerment of the Medicine Buddha Deity’s Body, Speech and Mind. He taught us the importance of Deity yoga, the merging with Medicine Buddha by visualizing. Rinpoche read to us the mantra of Medicine Buddha:
Teyata Om Bekanze Bekanze Mahabekanze Radza Samud Gate Soha, sending thoughts and visualizations of Healing through our palms and out to all, including ourselves, in need of recovering from illness of body, mind, and spirit.
In the afternoon, Rinpoche talked about how to practice regularly with motivation. Thinking of the kindness of one’s past mothers, he asked us to become ‘half vegetarian’ to spare the lives of beings. Meaning every other day or every other week we should abandon meat eating.
The entire day was a time for our little sangha to enjoy being together, taking walks and making acquaintances and friends. Many people had an opportunity to have personal time with Rinpoche, and to have some of their personal items blessed by Rinpoche, people brought necklaces, malas, and singing bowls for a blessing to connect them to Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche.
At dinner later, at a Thai restaurant, our server and cashier had the delight to have Rinpoche offer a rice blessing to all the Buddha statuary in their place! Spreading loving kindness, we offer our thanks for this wonderful day.
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Chöd Empowerment and Teachings in Kansas City

by Matthew Walsh, Yeshi Namkha Rangdröl

Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche traveled to Kansas City, Friday March 9, to give teachings on Chӧd (Severance) practice and the Machik Labdrӧn empowerment to the sangha at the Rime Buddhist Center & Institute of Tibetan Studies.

Rinpoche first explained that the Buddha primarily taught two truths: compassion and wisdom. Both of these truths are contained within Chӧd practice. To explain, Rinpoche emphasized Buddhist teachings on impermanence. He said that ego attachment leads to fear, but this comes from a failure to recognize the truth, that, 100 percent, you will lose everyone and everything when you or your loved ones die. We cannot escape this truth. This is not, however, an occasion for despair, but for joy and compassion. Since our time as a human in this life is temporary, and since the time of our loved ones is temporary, we should take this precious opportunity to enjoy the time we have with our loved ones. Why should we get wrapped up in our petty, temporary concerns? We should enjoy the time we have!

This not only applies to those we are close to in this lifetime. If we recognize how we’re related through our countless lives to all sentient beings—that we’ve been mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, to all sentient beings and likewise have they been to us—we can more easily be compassionate to all. This idea highlights what Rinpoche refered to as the first religion, the universal religion, that of Compassion. We can see this natural religion even with animals. We experience this as we’ve received compassionate care from our mothers even before being taught any formal religion or belief.

Recognizing our connection to all sentient beings, we come to realize the debt that we owe to all, either for the compassion that all have shown to us as mothers in previous lives, or for the wrongs that we have visited upon all beings while we were close to them throughout our previous lives. This serves as the inspiration for our practice of Chӧd. Through Chӧd, we generously and joyfully offer ourselves—our very bodies—as food and payment to our debtors thereby satisfying our karmic debts. Such compassionate, joyful generosity was a common thread running throughout the weekend’s teachings.

Saturday, Rinpoche gave the Machik Labdrӧn empowerment and gave the transmission for the Short, Medium, and Long Chӧd Sadhanas that he had composed, which combine and synthesize the Machik and Troma Nagmo Chӧd practices. He also demonstrated the use of the Chӧd drum and sang the beautiful melodies used for chanting the sadhanas.

Rinpoche not only gave teachings on Chӧd, but spent time Saturday socializing with the local sangha with a Thai food lunch and vegetarian pizza party dinner. They were great opportunities to relax and interact with the sangha. Sangha members had many earnest and not-so-earnest conversations.

He then gave the Dharma Talk for the Rime’s Sunday service, March 11. He spoke about recognizing and respecting all sentient beings as your mother, again calling to mind our karmic connection through past lives with all beings. Rinpoche encouraged everyone in attendance to become half-vegetarian. Rinpoche encouraged such steps in that direction, recognizing the difficulty some may have becoming fully vegetarian.

Sunday evening, after sharing some time and advice with a few of the sangha’s ngakmas and ngakpas and performing a smoke puja, Rinpoche concluded his trip to Kansas City.

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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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