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Towards an American Buddhism

Dzochen Ponlop Rinpoche discusses the evolution of an American form of Buddhism…

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Aspiring Kindly at Nalandabodhi Fourth Annual Winter Meditation Retreat

Thanks to all who worked to make it such a wonderful experience!


Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen offered incisive and heartfelt teaching on Eight Verses for Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Thangpa. Acharya Lhakpa Tshering offered practical guidance on approaching meditation practice skillfully and with an attitude of compassion. Both teachers engaged us with their warm and funny teaching style, and many participants commented on how profound and accessible they found these talks. In addition, Damayonti Sengupta, who leads Nalandabodhi International under the direction of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and Ellen Balzé, who coordinates aspects of Nalandabodhi’s Path of Mindful Activity, facilitated workshops on bringing aspirations for greater kindness to life in 2019. Workshop participants engaged in a variety of creative activities designed to inspire and clarify heartfelt aspirations, and also worked with practical methods to help bring those aspirations to fulfillment in 2019. For the first time, we also engaged in an evening of dharma songs and stories, with our teachers providing invaluable insight as they joined with us in welcoming 2019 with the songs of Milarepa and of Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.

East Coast Winter Retreat, which is open to all, has become for many participants an important support for making the transition to a new year with mindfulness, joy, and connection to a kind community. Consider including it in your plans for welcoming 2020–we’d love to share the experience with you!

questions about Nalandabodhi retreats?

Please e-mail philadelphia@nalandabodhi.org.  We’ll do our best to respond promptly.

Please share on Facebook!

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Ponlop Rinpoche on Mindfulness and Political Activism

GOKIND-Mindfulness-Political-ActivismDzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche answers questions about maintaining mindfulness and a heartfelt motivation when engaging in politics or social activism.

From dpr.info 


Q: Can activism succeed without conflict or confrontation? How can one view prevail?

RINPOCHE:  We could say almost all of these movements have started with a good intention. Originally. Everything started with a good motivation — capitalism and what-have-you. But sometimes even though our original intention may be to help by starting a movement or being active in a certain area, we get carried away.

When we get carried away, then we ourselves actually become one of the very institutions or privileged groups … that we’re trying to change. We become pretty much the same except that we have different messages –– we have different labels and taglines. But actually we’ve become very aggressive. We’ve become impatient. We’ve become part of the status quo. Instead of becoming the solution, we have become part of the problem.

Q: So are activism and social movements just inherently going to go in that direction?

RINPOCHE: We don’t have to. We just have to keep the original motivation. That sense of when we first started it, like in someone’s garage or maybe around a bonfire or in a coffee shop. When we originally start it, there’s so much fun, there’s so much heart. There is so much enthusiasm and love along with that sense of desire to change something. There is a real sense of wanting to be part of that. Then later it becomes like a job where you just have to please somebody like your constituency, your boss, or your nonprofit organization. And then it loses the heart, the original motivation –– that genuine curiosity and excitement.


Q:  I have a question about obstacles to compassion. Sometimes our actions can result in what is sometimes called “idiot compassion,” or other unintended consequences. When the intention is good but the result isn’t great, what has gone wrong? Is it ego clinging and fear once again, or is it a different set of obstacles?

RINPOCHE: Yes, ego is always a problem. The basic root of our obstacles is ego, self centered view. But in compassion the main obstacle, so to speak, is lack of confidence and lack of skillfulness. Skillful means is very important.

In order for our compassion–– genuine compassion, not idiot compassion––to manifest a positive result, it also needs to embrace upaya, or skillful means.  Therefore bodhisattvas’ training, the majority portion of Mahayana training, is in skillful means because the actual teaching is very simple, right? It’s teaching compassion, lovingkindness, this heart of bodhicitta and so on. But the majority of the work is in action––how to do it, how to achieve it as well as how to make it effective.  Then that’s where the upaya, or skillful means, starts kicking in, you know.

That’s why when we look at the paramita practices like generosity, discipline, patience, exertion and so on, there’s a lot of training in skillful means involved. Learning how to be generous, how to be patient, how to be disciplined in mindfulness, engaging in the mindful discipline practices––all of these are aspects of training in skillful means. All of these things play an important role in our compassionate action. So as long as our intention is really pure, then sometimes you don’t really have to worry too much about the result. OK, it didn’t work one time, that’s fine. Let’s try again! We must try again and again. The most important thing is to check our intention, our motivation.

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Nalandabodhi Founder Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Talk at Swarthmore College

An Evening with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at Swarthmore College    

Nalandabodhi founder Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche addressed an audience at Swarthmore College on April 28th. His topic was Buddhism for the 21st Century.

Rinpoche spoke about how, despite the material and technological advances over the centuries since Buddha Shakyamuni’s time, the challenges of mastering our minds have remained remarkably similar. He also spoke about the fact that while technological and other material advances have been tremendously helpful to human society in many ways, these advances have not generally aided us in removing the causes of much of the suffering that persists on our planet. He suggested that, as a science of mind, Buddhism offers a way of addressing the causes of this suffering as well as powerful methods for cultivating and practicing compassion.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a widely celebrated Buddhist teacher and the author of Emotional Rescue, Rebel Buddha, and other books. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is founder and president of Nalandabodhi, a network of Buddhist centers world-wide, including in Philadelphia. Rinpoche is acknowledged as one of the foremost scholars and meditation masters of his generation in the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is known for his sharp intellect, humor, and easygoing teaching style.

For more information on Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and his activities, visit dpr.info

Rinpoche’s talk was sponsored by Nalandabodhi Philadelphia, Wisdom Seat, and Swarthmore Buddhadharma.



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2016/17 Winter Meditation Retreat

Save the Date!

2016/17 Winter Meditation Retreat

with Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Acharya Lhakpa Tshering, and Mitra Mark Power

Fri., Dec. 30, 2016 – Tues., Jan. 3, 2017
St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, CT

What’s the perfect way to start a new year?Save the date! Please mark your calendars and spread the word about the 2016-17 Winter Retreat with Nalandabodhi teachers Acharya Lama Tenpa GyaltsenAcharya Lhakpa Tshering, and Mitra Mark Power, held over the New Year’s weekend (Fri., 12/30 to Tues. 1/3) at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, CT.The Power of Nobody. Lama Tenpa will teach analytical meditation, continuing (we expect) his series on “The Power of Nobody,”* a new and very engaging presentation of the Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche — flavored with Lama Tenpa’s inimitable humor, insight and warmth.

Give the gift of meditation and insight. Since this will be an open retreat**, it’s a great opportunity to invite friends. Participants will benefit from an excellent and supportive meditation environment and the profound presence and teaching of great teachers.

Beautiful, affordable, and easy. St. Thomas Seminary provides a beautiful and convenient retreat environment, with the meditation hall, lodging and healthy, hearty meals all in the same building, sheltered from winter’s cold. The retreat is affordable — about $500 for the full 5-day retreat.*** To provide schedule flexibility, there are weekend-only (3-day) and 5-day options. The Seminary is minutes from good bus, train and airport connections in Hartford.

For more info… More information is available online. Stay tuned for more updates and registration information coming soon.

*Lama Tenpa’s teachings from the 2015-16 retreat are available from Vajra Echoes here. We encourage everyone to listen and familiarize themselves with his teaching. Stay tuned for more info to facilitate this.
**The retreat is open to the general public. Some prior meditation experience is recommended.
***This pricing includes early registration and Nalandabodhi member discounts.

More details at:  http://tiny.cc/e280cy


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