July 20 – August 6 2011: Summer Teachings
Note: The preregistration deadline for all Summer Teachings events is July 13.
If you wish to reserve meals, your meals deposit must be received by this date.
To preregister, please fill out the form below and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download Summer Registration Form
July 20-22: Torma Making and Other Ritual Teachings, with Lama Abao
Mornings: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path: The Instructions of Gampopa, with H.E. Garchen Rinpoche
Afternoons: The Gongchig, with Khenpo Sandrup
July 26: Break day (No teachings and no meal service)
Mornings: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path: The Instructions of Gampopa, with H.E. Garchen Rinpoche
Afternoons (7/27-28): The Gongchig, with Khenpo Sandrup
Afternoons (7/29-31): Yamantaka, with Lama Thubten Nima
August 1: Break day (No teachings and no meal service)
August 2-6: Cakrasamvara Drubchen, with H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Nima (Lama Gape), Lama Abao, and Lama Bunima
Note: A Cakrasamvara empowerment is required to participate in the drubchen.
July 20-22: Torma Making and Other Ritual Teachings
Lama Abao and Lama Bunima
9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
On the first two days Lama Abao will demonstrate how to make food offering tormas and a Cakrasamvara yidam torma. If you would like to practice along with him, please bring two pounds of white Sculpey modeling clay or similar clay that does not dry out. On the third day Lama Bunima will explain how Buddhist statues are filled and blessed. This will not be participatory, as the consecration process may only be done by monastics. If there is time, Lama Abao and Lama Bunima will answer any questions you may have about ritual practices.
July 23-25 & July 27-31: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path: The Instructions of Gampopa
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche
9:00 am – noon daily
Rinpoche last gave teachings on this precious text in December 2003. Gampopa’s instructions consist of twenty-eight lists of potent advice for practitioners of the Buddhadharma at every stage of practice. The titles of some of the lists are: "The Ten Confusions of One Thing for Another," "The Twelve Indispensable Things," "The Eighteen Hidden Evils of Practitioners," "The Ten Things That Are Great Kindnesses to Yourself," "The Ten Bewilderments of Practitioners," "The Ten Situations in Which Whatever Is Done Is Excellent," "The Ten Ways of Accomplishing Your Own Disaster," and "The Ten Things That Are Spontaneously Present as Great Bliss."
Dharma Lord Gampopa (1070-1153), the father of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, was the foremost student of the great yogin Milarepa. Among his many writings the two most influential are The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path. Lord Gampopa said that for those in the future who have strong faith in him, studying especially these two texts would be exactly the same as receiving teachings directly from him. He said that although future students would not be able to meet him personally, he could not convey anything more to them than what is in these texts.
July 23-25/27-28: The Gongchig
2:00 – 5:00 pm daily
Rinpoche always asks visiting khenpos to give teachings on the Gongchig (The Single Intent or the Unified Enlightened-Thought), which is regarded as the most distinctive teaching of the Drigung Kagyu lineage. It represents the culmination of Drikung Kagyu lineage founder Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon’s study, practice, and realization of sutra and tantra teachings as bestowed exclusively on his heart-son, Chenga Sherab Jungne.
The title of the treatise, The Single Intent, points to the fact that Lord Jigten Sumgon's and the Buddha's intentions were the same. As Rinchen Jangchub, the younger brother of Sherab Jungne and the first commentator on the Gongchig put it: "Each of the vajra-statements has a different meaning, yet in every single statement the meaning of all is summarized. Therefore this teaching is identical with the intention of the Buddha."
The Gongchig consists of 152 main vajra-statements with forty-six auxiliary or supplementary vajra-statements. Chenga Sherab Jungne later organized these vajra-statements into eight chapters: The Synopsis of the Vital Points of the Wheels of the Dharma, The Synopsis of the Vital Points of Dependent Origination, The Synopsis of the Vital Points of the Vinaya Pratimoksha, The Synopsis of the Vital Points of the Bodhisattva Training, The Vows of the Knowledge-bearers of the Secret-Mantra, The Special View, Meditation and Conduct, The Resultant Ground of Buddhahood, and The Auxiliary Statements.
The meaning of the term "vajra statement" has been explained by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen as follows: "Since (these statements) cannot be separated from the ultimate nature of the interdependent origination of all phenomena, they are called ‘vajra’; since they cannot turn away from that natural state to something else, they are called ‘vajra’; since it is difficult to make them the objects of the intellectual sphere of dialecticians, they are called ‘vajra’; and since they totally uproot non-realization, erroneous notions, and doubt—the great mountain of ignorant error—they are called ‘vajra.’
Khenpo Sandrup, a teacher at H.E. Garchen Rinpoche’s Gar Drolma Buddhist Center in Dayton, Ohio, will focus his Gongchig teachings on the two truths, the three turnings of the Dharma wheel, and how karma works based on virtuous and nonvirtuous actions. He will address all three schools of Buddhism: Hinyana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. Click here for more information on Khenpo.
We are very fortunate that German publisher Otter Verlag has made available an English edition of the Gongchig. The translation not only includes the root text of Lord Jigten Sumgon’s teachings as recorded by Chenga Sherab Jungne, but also the Nyima Nangwa, an important commentary by the 1st Chungtsang Rinpoche, Rigzin Chökyi Drakpa. Garchen Rinpoche strongly recommends studying the Gongchig in advance, and copies should be available for purchase through our webstore, http://www.garchen.net/GBI-Shop, by the last week of June or first week of July. Copies also will be available for purchase in our onsite bookstore during the Summer Teachings.
July 29-31: Yamantaka: An Introduction
Lama Thubten Nima
2:00 – 5:00 pm daily
Yamantaka is the highest wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, and is an antidote to Yama, the lord of death. The practice of Yamantaka leads us to understand the entire contents of highest Yoga Tantra practice and brings about great benefits, particularly for the two purposes of protection and repelling obstacles.
If we familiarize ourselves with Yamantaka practice, we will strengthen our meditation, be well protected, and encounter few obstacles both in worldly life and on the path to buddhahood.
August 2-6: Cakrasamvara Empowerment and Drubchen H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Nima, Lama Abao, and Lama Bunima
9:00 am – noon, August 2: Cakrasamvara Empowerment
Around the clock from 2:00 pm August 2 – 5:00 pm August 6: Cakrasamvara Drubchen
Note: All participants in the drubchen must have received a Cakrasamvara Empowerment.
Cakrasamvara is the principal yidam (meditation deity) of all the Kagyu lineages. In the old tantras that were brought from India it is said that this deity is the utmost essence of all of the deities and all the tantras. The reason we do this practice is to purify the habitual tendencies of samsara and to purify all obscurations. We are also purifying the imprints of the birth process. When we engage in the creation stage practice of Cakrasamvara, the practice that utilizes bliss as the method, we come to an understanding of the wisdom of bliss and emptiness. This is called the illustrative wisdom, depending on which we realize the actual nature of wisdom, which is Mahamudra.
Cakrasamvara emanated from the Buddha Vajradhara and was the treasured yidam (meditation deity) of Lord Jigten Sumgon, the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. Most of the famous 80 Indian mahasiddhas attained highest realization relying on this deity, which is considered to be the chief yidam within the Drikung Kagyu lineage. The general lineage derives from Vajradhara down to Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, and Phagmo Drupa, and the tradition of practicing Cakrasamvara was established by Ga Lotsawa, a contemporary of Phagmo Drupa.
Whenever we receive an empowerment, there are always accompanying vows (samayas).There are many samayas for the Cakrasamvara empowerment, but the principal one is that we must not cause any discord in the sangha, and especially not among those with whom we receive the empowerment. We must commit to always being harmonious in the sangha and to benefiting sentient beings, or at least to not harming them.
Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has asked that together we engage in this profound drubchen annually at The Garchen Institute. He says it will enhance the power of the empowerment if we engage in the drubchen. "Drubchen" literally means "great accomplishment" in Tibetan and is one of the most elaborate forms of Vajrayana Buddhist practice. A drubchen is a rare opportunity to concentrate body, speech, and mind in spiritual application, resulting in realization and merit to sustain spiritual development in this and future lives. Participating in a drubchen is said to generate merit and potential realization equal to one year of retreat or seven years of practice. Dedicating the practice to all sentient beings extends this benefit and enhances world peace and prosperity.
September 17-18: The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to Dharma
Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche
Preregistration deadline: September 10
Contemplation of the Four Thoughts, whose fruit is the renunciation of samsara, is a profound practice that lays the foundation for all subsequent practice. As pointed out by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, a house may be impressive in appearance but will crumble under the weight of age and neglect if its foundation is not well made.
To lay a firm foundation for practice, we contemplate the following four thoughts: the preciousness of our human incarnation, the certainty of death and impermanence, the principle of karmic cause and effect, and the defects of samsara. Until our contemplation bears fruit, we will continue to seek happiness through samsaric existence, which always only leads to more suffering.
The practice of the Four Thoughts, also known as the "Ordinary Preliminaries," may be done as part of one’s daily practice or intensively in 100-day retreat.
Recommended reading: Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher, Chapters 1-4; Khandro Rinpoche, This Precious Life; and Thrangu Rinpoche, Four Foundations of Buddhist Practice.
Please join us for these beautiful teachings especially suited for those new to Buddhism, participating in all or part as your schedule permits.
Ven. Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is the Three-Year Retreat Master at The Garchen Institute and the Spiritual Director of Chicago Ratna Shri Sangha and the Drikung Kagyu Dharma Circle in Madison. He has received profound instructions too numerous to cite, including Cakrasamvara and the Fivefold Path of Mahamudra, and has completed six years of retreat.
October 22-24: Amitabha Million Mantra Accumulation
Lama Thubten Nima (Lama Gape)
Preregistration deadline: October 15
Buddha Amitabha, known as the Buddha of Infinite Light, is considered the protector of beings who call upon him as they experience death and the after-death transitions in the bardo. Amitabha is also central to the practice of Phowa (the transference of consciousness at the time of death). Buddha Amitabha and related practices work with the enlightened energy of discriminating wisdom and the deluded energy of attachment. Through Amitabha practices, our deluded grasping and attachment are transmuted into the clear-sighted warmth of true loving compassion. The ego’s selfish demands yield to our deepening commitment to others’ well-being and enlightenment.
The Amitabha accumulation is done annually at The Garchen Institute at the request of Ven. Drubwang Konchog Norbu Rinpoche. He made this request on the occasion of his liberation at the Garchen Temple on June 11, 2000. He urged us to recite the three Kaya mantras (those of Amitabha, Chenrezig, and Guru Rinpoche), which he said were the essence of the Tantric teachings. He asked that the recitations be done with loving kindness and compassion for all beings and that we sound the mantras correctly and clearly for all to hear.
His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche has said that anyone who participates in the million mantra accumulation—no matter how many mantras they are able to recite—receives the full merit for a million mantras. No prior experience is necessary.
Please join us at The Garchen Institute Temple as your schedule permits, or recite the Amitabha mantra at home and add your daily totals to the counter at the Garchen Institute website, http://www.garchen.net (the counter will be activated at the website on October 19). You can also email your counts to email@example.com or call us 928-925-1237, and we will add them to the counter for you. We love hearing from you!
There will be no prepared meal service for this event and tuition will be just $15/day. Anyone interested in participating in group cooking, please email or call Amy to see what you should bring.
November 12-19: Vajrakilaya Drubchen
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Nima, Lama Abao, and Lama Bunima
Around the clock from 9:00 am November 12 – 5:00 pm November 19
Preregistration deadline: November 5
Vajrakilaya is a wrathful manifestation of Vajrasattva, the buddha of purification. The practice of Vajrakilaya focuses on removing intense inner and outer obstacles to peace, happiness, and enlightenment.
In today’s difficult times, anxieties about our personal life and world conditions can create disturbing thought-forms within us. With billions of people consumed by the same concerns, our shared thought-forms create an interwoven web of great turmoil around the world. This can give rise to afflictive emotions, creating inner obstacles to spiritual practice and happiness, which, in turn, manifest as outer obstacles in life. Vajrakilaya practice is especially helpful and suitable during this time, both for individual practitioners and for the well-being of the world community as a whole. And it is a perfect way to prepare for the New Year.
"Drubchen" means "great accomplishment" in Tibetan and is one of the most elaborate forms of Vajrayana Buddhist practice. A drubchen is a rare opportunity to concentrate body, speech, and mind in spiritual application, resulting in realization and merit to sustain spiritual development in this and future lives. Sincere participation in a drubchen is said to generate merit and potential realization equal to one year of retreat. Dedicating the practice to all sentient beings extends this benefit and enhances world peace and prosperity.
The Vajrakilaya empowerment is offered, but is not required to participate in the drubchen, and no prior experience in the practice is necessary. You may attend part or all of the drubchen as your schedule permits, and the empowerment may be attended separate from the drubchen.