Yeshe Khorlo Estonia was found in November 2016. It is an independent, public-benefit nonprofit association, which aim is to put into practice various cultural and social activities as well as the activities increasing mental well-being, including promoting the Buddha’s teachings in general and Pema Lingpa’s lineage in particular.
Specifically, its main goal is to fulfill the objectives of Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche, the lineage holder of Pema Lingpa’s tradition. Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche has decided that it would be great if the three-year retreat center for his students and other serious practitioners of Buddhadharma who would like to do their practices according to Pema Lingpa’s lineage in Europe and elsewhere would be in Estonia, in a small village of Umbusi in Põltsamaa parish.
As of autumn 2019, Khenpo Karma Wangyel, who is leading the project, has decided that realization of the original project (to build one big house with the temple hall and ten rooms for the retreatants) will take too long time as donations have been extremely scarce. Therefore, the new plan is to build a kitchen house and small retreat houses (24m2 each with kitchen corner, toilet and bathroom).
The project is divided into two stages. Firstly, five small retreat houses have to be built (possibly more, depending on the number of retreatants who would like to start the retreat in 2022). In addition to that, a kitchen with the maintenance room will be built. The access road was built in March 2021. For Khenpo Karma Wangyel, a house will be built outside of the enclosure of the retreat area.
During second stage of the building works, a temple will be built.
FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR THE RETREAT CENTER
The project started with the fundraising campaign in 2017. Here is the letter introducing the idea of the three-year retreat (its contents have been modified as the building plan has changed a little bit).
“Even though we ourselves might not be able to go into the traditional long retreat at this time, there is great merit in helping others to do it” says Khenpo Karma Wangyel.
AN INVITATION TO MAKING HISTORY
In Europe, there are many options for Buddhist practitioners, yet centers dedicated solely to retreat are rare. With the blessings of Gangteng Tulku and Sungtrul Rinpoche, under the leadership of Khenpo Karma Wangyel, the Yeshe Khorlo European Sangha is in the process of establishing such a center in the peaceful forest lands of Estonia. The name of the retreat center is Samten Lhündrup Gatsel, which means The Delightful Grove of Spontaneous Concentration. The center will consist of a main temple surrounded by small retreat huts for a 3-year retreat, as well as individual retreat huts for shorter retreats (outside of the three-year retreat area). Gangteng Tulku has instructed Sanghas to focus on building this kind of retreat facility first in Estonia. Later, several other retreat centers for shorter retreats will be built in Europe.
TIMELINE AND STATUS
Yeshe Khorlo Estonia Sangha already has 10 hectares of land in the beautiful Estonian countryside, nearby the village of Umbusi, the birth place of the first Estonian Buddhist saint. The land was generously donated by Khordong Association in Estonia, and has been blessed by both Gangteng Tulku and Sungtrul Rinpoche in two separate ceremonies. On this land, a retreat facility will be built starting in autumn/2018.
There will be a temple with the meditation hall (and suitable for other practices) surrounded with retreat huts where practitioners will stay. According to initial plan, the first batch of retreatants should have started their retreat at the beginning of 2021 under the guidance of an English speaking retreat master. However, as of 2022, the building works of the retreat huts are not yet completed. If the project gets enough donations, it is possible to start the retreat in spring in 2023.
THE 3-YEAR RETREAT PROGRAM
Out of the three trainings — learning, analysis, and meditation — the traditional long retreat program emphasizes meditation. The program provides an ideal basis for the wholehearted focus on developing meditation practice in an environment where causes for distraction and other obstacles are minimized. The long retreat program in the Pema Lingpa tradition consists of 6 months of preliminary practice, followed by deity practice, tummo, tsalung, and Dzogchen meditation such as trekchö and thögel. All the instructions will be given directly by the retreat master in English.
BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS
Together with other kinds of Buddhist centers, retreat centers are significant causes for the spreading and longevity of Dharma. Such centers become the cause for purification of karma of countless beings. The sutras explain that the merits of building Buddhist Monasteries and Institutions are inconceivable. These merits will never decrease or diminish. The details about the benefits for the sponsors will be discussed personally, to give an example, the reduction of the three-year retreat fee (if the sponsor is willing to enter the retreat himself/herself). There is also a possibility to enter a shorter retreat for free (except food).
Cost of construction works
Overview of the construction works is in the news feed, check the latest information there https://yeshekhorlo.ee/. As of autumn 2019, the plan is to start with the construction of individual retreat huts. In December 2019, a project of the retreat hut will be made and the exact cost calculated. An estimated cost of the house is around 10 000 euros, exclusive of sewage works, electricity, water and heating system. As of December 2019, there is enough donations to do the foundation works for five huts (foundation on poles – cost is 3000 euros), and a well (1500 euros). Your financial support is indispensable. In addition to financial support, prayers and auspicious wishes are most welcome. You are welcome to transfer your support on our bank account or donate through PayPal:
Name: Yeshe Khorlo Eesti MTÜ