By admin|2019-12-10T19:15:04+00:00July 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|
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The first center dedicated to retreat for the Pema Lingpa tradition in Europe (leaflet is found here)
“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 facility focused on 3-year retreat, as well as individual retreat huts for shorter retreats. Gangteng Tulku has instructed Sanghas to focus on building the first one in Estonia, followed by several others 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 brother Vahindra. 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.
The building will have 10 separate rooms for retreat participants, and a common meditation hall in the middle. The first batch of retreatants will start their retreat at the beginning of 2021 under the guidance of an English speaking retreat master.
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 total cost for the project is €300,000 which will be raised on-going while the building of the retreat center commences. Opportunities are provided for both one-time donations, and monthly commitments. In addition to financial support, prayers and auspicious wishes are most welcome. Details for sponsor packages, together with bank account and PayPal information:
(1 available in total)
Donate €50,000 or more and sponsor the Lama room and meditation hall. Includes a 50-year room rent fee waiver for one retreatant at a time and a name inscription in the Meditation hall statue, entrance, and meditation hall.
(10 available in total)
Donate €10,000 or more and sponsor the building of a retreat room. Includes one 3-year retreat room rent fee waiver and name inscription in the hall.
(20 available in total)
Donate €5,000 or more and sponsor building infrastructure. Includes first-year room rent fee waiver and name inscription in the entrance
(100 available in total)
Donate €750 or more and sponsor the building of the retreat building exterior. Includes name inscription in the entrance.
(100 available in total)
Donate €100 or more to sponsor the growing of a beautiful lush forest around the retreat center and the surrounding area.
Commit to a monthly donation of any amount and support resident Lama expenses and other recurring costs.
“In short, all apparitions are the forms of yidams, awakened beings. All sounds are reverberations of mantras, arising of the Speech of the awakened ones. All thoughts are indistinguishable from the mind of the awakened ones. This is how the three types of apparition appear. You should practice that either during and after your meditation session, in real life. Recognition of purity is a continuous process.” Extract from Gangteng Rinpoche’s public talk in Estonia 2017.
In 2016, a group of Gangteng Rincoche’s students in Estonia found Yeshe Khorlo Estonia, a non-profit organisation to fulfill the goals of Gangteng Rinpoche in Estonia. Rinpoche, who is the lineage holder of Pema Lingpa’s tradition of Nyingma school, has an objective to establish here a 3-year retreat center for his students and other followers of Buddhadharma, who are interested in practices of Pema Lingpa’s tradition.
Gangteng Rinpoche, who is also the current head of Nyingma school in Bhutan, visited Estonia in summer 2017, from 28th of July to 29th July. He gave a fascinating public talk in Tallinn about the Vajrayana tradition in general, having the focus on Dzogchen tradition in particular. The video of the public talk is found here. It is in Tibetan, translated into English (oral translation) and Estonian (subtitles).
After that, Gangteng Rinpoche gave in the village of Umbusi, Umbusi Dharma center in Põltsamaa parish, an introductory lecture about the essence of Dzogchen teachings, from three aspects – ground, path and fruit.
On the last day, on the 29th of July , in the morning, Rinpoche performed the riwo sangchö ritual on the Yeshe Khorlo retreat center’s land which was offered by Khordong association in Estonia (Umbusi Buddhist center). Ths particular plot of land was personally chosen by Khenpo Karma Wangyel, the resident Khenpo of Europe in November 2016. The riwo sangchö ritual was accompanied by a short story about the merits accumulated by those who are acting as sponsors for the Buddhadharma.
In the afternoon, Rinpoche gave an initiation of Amitayus, belonging to the treasure cycle of Pema Lingpa (tshetri dorje threngwa).
Khenpo Karma Wangyel, the resident Khenpo for Europe, appointed by Gangteng Rincoche, who has resided in France in Blye in Pema Yangdzong from 2011, visited Estonia for the first time in November 2016.
As Khordong association in Estonia had decided to offer a plot of land to Yeshe Khorlo Estonia, Khenpo Karma Wangyel came to visit the land in order to decide which part of it to take. The size of the land of Khordong association is 48 hectares and we walked through all the land, finally deciding for the plot situating in the south-western edge of the land. On the eastern side of the land, there is Umbusi river, together with some forest, and on the western side, there is a view to the open plains surrounding the village of Umbusi.
Since that time, Khenpo Karma Wangyel has supervised the retreat center project, every decision in regard to this project is made with his consent.
Khenpo Karma Wangyel came back in March in 2017 to give teachings about preliminary practices, Dzogchen ngöndro according to Pema Lingpa’s tradition which was preceded by a public talk about the main techinques of meditation – shamatha, the calming of mind practice, and vipashyana, the practice of clear seeing.
Khenpo Karma Wangyel supervised each and every aspect of Sungtrul Rinpoche’s visit in Aprill 2018. It was also him who placed the central naga vase for the future retreat house building at the right place.
In accordance with the request of Gangteng Rinpoche, from 7th to 9th April 2018, Sungtrul Rinpoche, an emanation of Pema Lingpa, gave teachings and performed the earth ritual (sa’i cho ga) in the future retreat center’s land, placing the naga vase in the middle of the 3-year retreat center building.
On April 7th in Tallinn, Sungtrul Rinpoche gave the Künzang Gongdü empowerment (Samantabhadra’s gathered intention, introduction to the nature of mind). This is the basis for all the future teachings in the Pema Lingpa’s tradition starting from the Dzogchen preliminary practices, ending with the trekchö, thögel and bardo teachings. After that, on April 8th, Sungtrul Rinpoche gave the combined Hayagriva-Vajrapani-Garuda empowerment belonging to Dudjom Tersar in Umbusi in Põltsamaa county in the middle of Estonia, nearby the location of the future retreat center.
On April 9th Sungtrul Rinpoche performed the earth ritual ( the main part of this ritual is “requesting the land” – sa blang).
About the earth ritual
In Tibetan Buddhism, the earth ritual (sa’i cho ga) is an essential preparatory ritual to make the land suitable for the Vajrayana practice. Earth ritual is necessary for a variety of occasions, for example, before going to a retreat or while doing a spiritual practice session, marking the outer borders of the practice place, so creating a clean and perfect place – mandala. The transformation of the earth is also used for making a new place suitable for Vajrayana practice. This is what will be done in Umbusi Yeshe Khorlo’s retreat center’s land as well.
One part of the earth ritual is requesting the land from visible and invisible beings (sa blang). Visible beings are people to whom the land belongs, but a longer and more extensive ritual is associated with the invisible owners of the land. Both in Tibetan Buddhism and in many other traditions it is believed that the natural environment affects the lives and well-being of beings living in it, including humans. Earth and energies from the nature are called earth spirits (sa bdag), the ground is also considered to be the location of a serpent-like creatures, nagas (klu). If these energies or the invisible creatures are disturbed, this can manifest in the form of disasters in the lives of humans, or as obstacles in the form of natural disasters.
Different rituals, which create harmonious relationships between invisible spirits and people who use the earth, are used to balance these energies, or to calm down the spirits. Invoking the earth spirits is also related to the awakening of the Buddha Shakyamuni, while the Buddha asked the earth goddess to witness his awakening. The request of the Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner is similar here to the request of the Buddha – the main landowner is requested to accept the use of the land as Vajrayana mandala, and to become a protector of the Buddhist teachings that the spiritual progress will be swift on the blessed surface and the signs of awakening will manifest with ease.
With that, all preparations for the successful construction of the retreat center have been done and the building works may start.