Event : HE Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche Australian Retreat
Date : April 2-30
Website : http://www.lamazopaaustralia.org.au/
The Atisha Centre, Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery and the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion Bendigo, Australia will be jointly hosting a month of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s precious teachings. Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara - the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life will be taught during weeks one and two, followed by the transmission of the rare Rinjung Gyatsa Initiations during weeks three and four.
The three neighbouring centres are located a 15 minute drive North West of Bendigo in Central Victoria, a former rich goldfields area. We anticipate over 250 people will attend the retreat. Early registration is recommended, as places will be limited.
The Bodhicharyavatara is easy to understand and is revered wherever the Mahayana is studied and practised. It explains the meaning of all Buddha’s teachings, in particular, all that needs to be practised by those wishing to train on the bodhisattvas’ vehicle, the six perfections. Of the two aspects of the teachings, method and wisdom, the lineage of method has two: the extensive and the powerful. The lineage of extensive method is for those of dull intellect to train their minds in bodhicitta by first knowing all sentient beings as having been one’s mother, thinking of their kindness, repaying their kindness, heart-warming love, compassion, the special thought, and generating bodhicitta.
The lineage of powerful method is for those of sharp intellect to train their minds in bodhicitta through the stages of equalising and exchanging self and others. It includes the stages of extensive method, but takes the bull by the horns and immediately deals with the self-cherishing mind, seeing it as the cause of all troubles and seeing the mind cherishing others as the cause of all that is good. This way of thinking is very powerful, and since one engages in the bodhisattva’s conduct with such deep and incisive thoughts, the lineage is called powerful method. Buddha taught this lineage to Manjushri, who passed it on to Shantideva, who expounded it in the Bodhicaryavatara. Eventually the lineage came to Lama Serlingpa, who passed it to Atisha. All the Kadampa lamas trained in dependence on these instructions; Lama Tsongkhapa received them; and they finally reached the two tutors of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who passed them on to His Holiness.
Week 3-4 Rinjung Gyatsa Empowerments
In the summers of 1977 and 1978, Kyabje Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche and the Tibetan, Nepalese, and Western monks and nuns at Kopan Monastery received the Rinjung Gyatsa transmissions from the perfect master, Tsenshab Serkong Rinpoche. In the early eighties, Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered these transmissions to a great number of his and Lama Thubten Yeshe’s students at the first two Enlightened Experience Celebrations in India.
In Australia, Rinpoche plans to give the 305 rinjung gyatsa transmissions over several years, in combination with continuing commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara.
The rinjung gyatsa initiations usually begin with Yamantaka and Vajrayogini initiations, which involve taking bodhisattva and tantric vows and making a commitment for daily practice and possibly a retreat according to Rinpoche’s instruction at the time.
The five general requirements for entry into tantric practice are to train in the meditations common to the sutra path; to hold Pratimoksha vows; to take the bodhisattva vows; to study the Fifty Stanzas on Guru Devotion; to request initiation and have pure devotion to the initiating master. A strong feeling for renunciation, bodhicitta, and the wisdom of emptiness is essential.
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche has offered to begin the Rinjung Gyatsa series of initiations with the Highest Yoga Tantra initiations of Chakrasamvara, Yamantaka, and Guhyasamaja. We have accepted this amazing offer from Rinpoche, but we cannot guarantee all three major initiations will be given. The decision of whether to give them all or not will depend upon Rinpoche’s observation of the karma of the people at the time. These three initiations alone require taking tantric vows; the practice commitment will not be known until the time of the initiations. The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life teachings are a highly advisable but not an essential prerequisite for the initiations. Of course, to take the initiations one has to be well grounded in the Lam Rim practice and have full understanding of the meaning of tantra. These initiations are definitely not for beginners.