HHK visit to Europe 2016

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Simple Things

Tajik children review tattered class notes before school.   photo Michael Yamashita

   "We human beings all live on the love of others, and even during our short life when we believe we are  independent, we are not; we are still dependent, we need the love of others, we need appreciation from others, we need help and support from others. If we don’t support each other and help each other, we cannot get anything done. We can’t be successful or happy; we cannot do anything or progress. It’s like the saying: “When the trees support each other, then we have houses and cities, when human beings support each other we have society, we have civilisation.” If there is no support, there is no society or civilisation, so the whole of human civilisation, human society, survives on supporting and helping each other.

    "This is very important to understand. When we understand this, that we are not independent, that we are totally dependent,  completely dependent, that we live by the love of others and the support of others, we grow and develop because of that dependence. Not only at the time of dying but also the bit in between. When we understand this, then when we are able to, we have to help others and when we help others, they will help us in return. So when I help somebody, when I help society, when I do something good, something that’s useful and beneficial, I’m doing it for myself, and I’m doing it for society, for my own people, it’s “WE”.

    "There is this saying in Sanskrit in India: “For the sake of the world one must sacrifice one’s country, for the sake of one’s country one must sacrifice one’s village, for the sake of one’s village one must sacrifice one’s family for the sake of one’s family one must sacrifice oneself.” The world is the most important thing, because the world includes every one of us, our country, our village, our community, our family, myself.
    "If the world is going bad, then how can my country be good, my village, my family be good? So, therefore, the world is most important. But then the country is more important than my village
and family and myself, because we are all included in the country. So, if the country is in a very bad situation, a negative situation, getting into wars and famines, then it will affect my village and family, and myself. Then, my village is important because that is where my family and I live. Then, next in importance is my family because I am part of that too.

  "But, I think that way of looking at this can become a little reversed in a very materialistic egoistic way, in a kind of ultra-modern way of looking sometimes. For my sake, I sacrifice my family, for the sake of my family, I sacrifice my village, for the sake of my village, I sacrifice my country, for the sake of my country, I sacrifice my world. For me, I sacrifice the whole world! Sometimes it’s like that nowadays, but that’s totally idiotic because it’s not possible. I cannot have something really good if everyone is in a bad shape. So, the most important understanding is to think about how dependent I am, how interdependent we all are. When I know that I am interdependent with others, if I do something for others, it’s not just others who are benefitting but I am also receiving benefit. It’s not like a business (transaction). When I do something that I know and understand is something beneficial then I feel more useful, more important, more meaningful. But if I think only of what ways to help myself and nobody else, where will it get me? Maybe we have to think that. What should I do if I just want to help myself and nobody else? How can I do it? Should I just close my door and sit in a room? Cook myself very nice food and sleep all day. That may be nice for a few days but then what would happen?"

from a teaching by Ringu Rulku Rinpoche, given in Helsinki, Finland, 2012
transcribed by Margaret Ford
courtesy of Minna Stenroos.

Thank you

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Rinpoche will be in Ireland for one week in May 2017

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has confirmed his dates for Dublin and Dzogchen Beara in May this year.
Rinpoche will be teaching at Samye Dzong, Kilmainham Well House, Dublin from 22nd-25th May, and Dzogchen Beara in Cork from 26th - 28th May 2017.
Please watch this space for more updates.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Rinpoche in the Caribbean

Some of the students of Bodhicharya Caribbean Sangha on Antigua
Last Autumn , at the start of his teaching programme in Mexico and the US, Rinpoche spent some time visiting the Caribbean Island of Antigua, where Karma Rinchen is resident seafaring monk for Bodhicharya Caribbean.  Rinchen sent us a few words and photographs of Rinpoche's visit.  
At Rotten Hill

At Shirley Heights

"We had a very good time of it with Rinpoche here earlier this month. He was actually teaching over three days. We had two informal classes with sangha, and a day retreat, two public talks and the refuge ceremony (21 people took refuge for the first time). It all went pretty well and I think he enjoyed his time here very much". 

Meeting 2017 with Resolution, Resourcefulness and Resilience

Rinpoche's new year message from Bodhanath, Kathmandu, for all his students and friends:


Circumambulating the freshly renovated Bodhanath stupa I observed thousands of people from all over the world walking around it peacefully with their prayers in heart. This world heritage pilgrimage place was not built by a powerful king, a wealthy sponsor or a teacher with many followers. It was built by a poor and ordinary village woman who worked at the kings chicken farm, solely with her resolution, resourcefulness and resilience. 
I would like to share with you the peace and tranquility of this stupa and wish that you will face the 2017 with resolution, resourcefulness and resilience. 
Wish you a Very Happy New Year.


This year's message from Rinpoche brings into focus the innate goodness that so easily manifests within and exudes from us, when all five elements are in balance. It is as well a reminder of the need for maintaining kindness, clarity and deliberation as we move forward in time. It also gives us the reassurance that even those of us with the most limited resources can make a difference in the present and for the future - our own and others - when we hold to a pure vision with tenacity, tranquility and devotion. This message encourages us to remember the innate qualities we must continue to generate, cultivate and practise as we start a new year that promises greater than usual uncertainty. We must be vigilant, and never separate from the developing inner wisdom which sustains our practise and reminds us of our inner strength; to keep the mind vast, alert, compassionate and aware, and our actions kind and to the point.

The Great Stupa of Bodhanath,  wherein lie the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha and countless other enlightened beings, draws people from all cultures and traditions to pray, prostrate, circumambulate, or just sit, sell, barter or beg, in a spirit of peace and respect. Also known as Jarung Kashor, so called because centuries ago a poultry keeper named Jadzima asked the King of Nepal for some land on which to erect a stupa after she had a dream that it should be done to purify her own negative karma. Normally the king would not give such a permission but this time he instantly responded, 'Yes it can be done', and so she invited her four sons to help, with the added incentive that they too would benefit. Jarung means 'So be it', or 'it can be done'; Kashor means 'slipped from the mouth'. And so it was built, a large chörten at first, but as time went by and people recognised the importance of such a reliquary, it was extended and became a great place of pilgrimage. In recent decades Kathmandu city has expanded to encircle it, and many great monasteries have been built close by. It is said to be 'wish fulfilling' as prayers will be answered when offered on first sight of the stupa.  There are many stories of miracles occurring in its vicinity.
On completion of the stupa after her death,  it is said that Jadzima's four sons continued the work, and afterwards each made a wish for their own future lives to be useful. The eldest was reborn as King Songtsen Gampo; the second a great minister of Tibet, Padma Gungtsen; the third became Sankarakshita; and the fourth was reborn as Padmasambhava - Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Tibet.
Last years terrible earthquake almost completely destroyed Nepal, and also badly damaged the fine structure of the stupa. Again, in a resolute act of pure devotion, resourcefulness and great resilience  the local community have spent months restoring it by hand, brick by brick; it was finally completed in early December 2016, and the precious relics were replaced into the inner vault,  the outside was decked with prayer flags, painted with limewash and blessed with saffron water, decorating the dome with petals. Each of the main Tibetan Schools of Buddhism are represented by a monastery at Bodhanath and the Kudungs of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche also reside there.  

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Living and Dying in Peace

A lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky.

Monday 31st October 2016 celebrated the launch of a new website for Bodhicharya.   'Living and Dying in Peace'  has come about through the  inspiration, tenacity and determination of Margaret Richardson.
To consider old age and death is the second contemplation of 'The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to Dharma'  and according to the teachings of Buddha, provides the impetus for living our life in a fulfilling and inclusive way.   Awareness of impermanence and death can stimulate an alertness to our everyday experience and interactions with others, as we recognise the preciousness of our own life.  Despite our best hopes, life is finite: we'll be gone soon enough, so how we face the final departure depends not only on how we live our life, but also requires practical measures and thinking not only of ourselves, but also of our families, friends, material belongings: what we will be leaving behind (which put another way, means everything we can't take with us).
Here we are offered a fresh perspective to all these things, and also asked that we pay attention to how we can meet death as Buddhists,  how we can prepare ourselves in  mind, body and spirit.
The information shared on the Living and Dying in Peace website overflows with advice on all these matters, practical and spiritual: on one page Rinpoche answers common and uncommon questions about death and dying and he talks about the tendency we have in the west especially, to imagine we are immortal - doing our best to avoid the topic.  We are given an opportunity to venture tentatively into the likelihood  of our own mortality and start to figure out how we might attend to it.  There are suggestions for ritual and prayer; helpful notes for relatives; advice for nurses and doctors who may not be familiar with the Buddhist approach to death; and on making a will or setting up power of attorney. There are suggestions for books to read and links to support services.   Most of the spiritual content originates from teachings on the topic by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, there's a talk from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and  contributions from Tsering Paldron from Bodhicharya Portugal, who also designed the website.

For a number of years until her recent retirement Margaret has been instrumental in developing the work of Rigul Trust, a charity originally set up by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche with Margaret Ford  in the mid 1990s.   Rigul Monastery is Rinpoche's seat in Tibet. As Abbot of Rigul, Rinpoche takes responsibility -in absentia- for its upkeep,  through the Rigul Trust, that raises funds to  feed, educate and also care for the medical needs of the monastery residents. It also helps the shedra, medical clinic, the monks, nuns, adults and children and their associate families.

See also  an inspired article on the hospice work of Kerry Egan recommended by New York Chaplain Justin Von Bujdoss of the Goshir Dharma Centre in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Irish Visit 2016

Sitting in a cell at the Hermitage of St Finbarr, at Gougane Barra.
Ringu Tulku spent four days in Dublin at Kagyu Samye Dzong this year, continuing his teachings on The 'Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones' by Patrul Rinpoche, with a commentary by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and he focused this year on five stanzas on View, Meditation, and Action relating to the emotions, with instructions on seeing the kleshas or mind poisons as empty of themselves, to be self liberated using the six syllable mantra, OM MANI PEME HUNG.  
A question was asked about meaning of the Dharani or Mantra that Do-Drupchen Rinpoche of Sikkim has suggested followers of His Holiness Karmapa recite for his good health, long life, and increasing activity. Here's  an edited transcript of Rinpoches answer:

"This a mantra or  dharani  is known as the Interdependent Dharani – it is called a stanza in Sanskrit.  OM YE DHARMA HETU PRABHAVA …..There’s a history to this:  Quite a short time after his enlightenment, when the Buddha became Buddha, he didn’t give any teachings for 7 weeks, he just relaxed, had a holiday in the forest. Then, he walked to Varanasi – another city, and there in the park called Rishipattana   known now as the Deerpark, Sarnath- he gave his first teachings to his first five students – and slowly they became arhats.  Then, a few years after that, there were two very bright people called Shariputra and Maudgalyayana who had a very good teacher – although he was not enlightened, he was very good.  This teacher realised he was dying and he said “Now I am dying I give all my students to you, because you are my best students, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.  But they thought they were not good enough to teach, they didn’t want to guide these people, they wanted to find a teacher for themselves and went to search. They went in two directions, and agreed to meet later at a certain place. Shariputra went one way and met a monk, and when he looked at him, he knew by the way he looked, this was highly realised monk: by the way he walked, dressed – every movement showed he was very special and Shariputra was extremely impressed.  
So he asked, “Who are you?”  
“Just a monk”.
            “Who is you teacher?”
“My teacher is  Buddha”.
            “What does he teach?”

And when Shariputra  heard the first two lines of the stanza he completely understood something – he saw everything as it was, all doubts disappeared, and his mind completely cleared of all confusion.
When the stanza was finished, Shariputra had attained what  is known as stream entering stage – he fully understood the truth.  This stanza was actually about The Four Noble truths in a certain way, the four lines had the strength to completely transform him. He said, “I must see your teacher”.  He went to see the Buddha, and knew. He returned to meet his friend, and his friend saw him coming from afar and could tell by his appearance he had found what they were looking for. They both went back to Buddha and received some teachings together, and then returned to the other 500 students, and said, “We are going to be students of the Buddha. You don’t need to come if you don’t want to, but we will go”.
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Tashi Bhutia, Karma Rinchen
[behind Rinpoche] and Irish students at Gougane Barra Lake,
Co Cork. Rinpoche will visit Rinchen's sangha on the
Caribbean Islands in October this year.
But the 500 students said, “Yes, we will follow you”, and so they became the first major sangha of the Buddha.  Both Shariputra and Maudgalyayana became Buddhas themselves, and the others became Arhats. Following that, these stanzas became the main mantra of Buddha’s teachings. The root text.  They are recited by everyone, Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana students, everybody, because it had that kind of effect, it is a complete teaching of the Buddha, so it has deep meaning, but is also a blessing. So therefore, if you want to say a strong mantra for protection, to get rid of obstacles, clear the mind of confusion, say this mantra. You want to bless something, say this. It is for any occasion.
So this was changed from instruction to mantra with the addition of OM at the beginning, and SWAHA at the end.

The context of the recitations for His Holiness Karmapa is this: This year the Karmapa’s sister requested the advice of Do Drupchen Rinpoche, who is 90 years old and lives in Sikkim. Everyone asks him predictions, so many people come that he gets sick and has to stop seeing people and take a break. So His Holiness’ sister asked Do Drupchen Rinpoche what should we, the followers of Karmapa do for his wellbeing. So he said, “Recite this mantra and his life will be long and without obstacles, his activities will be good, he will benefit  a great many beings: so just recite this mantra”.   She announced this and everybody started to make commitments to say this mantra,  people in Tibet have committed a million, million recitations, individuals in other places have done the same thing also. So we put this up on our different websites and people have made commitments. There’s two things to say – one is that, to recite this mantra is accepted by all Buddhists, they feel it is very meaningful; and another thing, when you are doing something that is for others, from a Buddhist point of view, if I do some practise, say some mantras like this one, with the intention to make my own life better–– the result is not so much, but if I do it for others, then the benefit is much greater. Then, if I do something for someone who will themselves benefit many others, the benefit is much, much greater again. So, His Holiness Karmapa has been predicted to be the one who can perform the activities of all the Buddhas, so we will get huge merit and benefit from these recitations.  That is how it is".

Rinpoche also taught for a weekend on Dealing with the Emotions, Riding the Stormy Waves, to a group of more than one hundred people, in a marquee at the beautiful Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Centre,  a favourite place overlooking the dramatic coastline of the Beara peninsula,  West Cork.  Dzogchen Beara is under the spiritual directorship of Sogyal Rinpoche. 

More information on the Dharani of Interdependent Origination can be found on the Karmapa Foundation Website link prayers.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Rinpoche Accompanies Karmapa's European visit 2016

Pierfranco Alloa with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche in Paris.
Updating His Holiness Karmapa on KFE work.        
photo: Francois Henrard/KFE
Since the 21st May 2016 Ringu Tulku has for three weeks accompanied His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, on visits to Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland, and to Paris, France, on the Karmapa's 3rd visit to Europe. As with previous visits, the schedule was tightly packed with public teachings on each of the three weekends,   interspersed with visits to various dharma centres and sightseeing locations in the days between. He was invited to  tour  a Tibetan medicine laboratory, Padma Company Wetzikon, just outside Zurich and to the headquarters of Rokpa in Zurich. Rokpa is the charity founded in 1980 by Akong Rinpoche with Lea Wyler, originally to feed and care for local communities  struggling to survive in poverty stricken  Kathmandu, Nepal, but the work was later extended to Tibet and Africa, as well as on a smaller scale to local European countries.  

At all places he visited this time His Holiness Karmapa took pains to ensure that everyone belonging to the extensive Tibetan communities in Switzerland and France were given special attention and it was clear that he was very happy to connect with them, as well as  old and new western dharma students and friends.  Despite describing  himself as a little under the weather after such a rigorous fortnight preceding the final weekend in Paris, His Holiness' teachings shone in their simplicity and profundity, and can all be accessed as webcasts and written reports here.
Also in Paris a number of Karmapa Foundation Europe members were able to enjoy a brief audience with His Holiness when the General Secretary Pierfranco Alloa appraised him of recent KFE activities. The Karmapa was asked if he has any current projects that KFE can be involved with, and he re-emphasised  that the full ordination of nuns  is currently his priority, and that he sincerely hopes it will happen early in 2017.  His Holiness also heard that 34,000,000 mantra recitations have been pledged by students from around the globe,  as an offering for his long life and continuing activities.
The Karmapa's last words to the Paris audience were that he prays and hopes to see everyone again in the future.

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche now continues his own travel schedule in the UK, to arrive in Ireland on Monday 20th June, when he will be at Dublin Kagyu Samye Dzong for four nights, and will continue to teach on the final chapters of The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones by Patrul Rinpoche, with commentary by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.  He then travels to Dzogchen Beara for the weekend 24th -26th June. The topic there is Dealing with the Emotions, by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche - in his own words!
KSD Dublin: info@buddhism.ie  Tel: 01 453 7427
Dzogchenbeara: info@dzogchenbeara.org  Tel: 027 73032