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November 6th 2012 was the Buddhist festival day of Lhabab Duechen (Shakyamuni Buddha’s Descent from Tushita). This is one of the four special days in the Buddhist calendar on which the effects of any positive actions are said to multiply 100 million times…
As part of our special program on this day, Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche gave Medicine Buddha commentary and Q&A to those who gathered in our Medicine Buddha gompa (pictured left), the first time that Rinpoche has taught at Tushita – in his current incarnation!
Our old friend Ven Thubten Chodron
visited us on the 13th of November 2012, and gave a short talk to students on the November 7 – 14 Introduction to Buddhism course. Ven Thubten Chodron has had a warm relationship with Tushita almost since we opened in the early 1970s and we are always so delighted whenever she can find time in her busy schedule to teach here.
We are very happy to announce that after 4 years of planning, consultation and fundraising, painting has begun in our main Gompa.
Phase one of the project will run from mid September 2012 through to the end of February 2013. During this time the main gompa will be closed, while the painters focus on the painting inside the gompa. Our commitment to accessible Dharma teachings carries on however, meaning that until we close for the winter break, courses are being held in our smaller Medicine Buddha and Vajrasattva gompas, something of a logistical challenge which is being met ably by our resourceful staff and understanding students!
For those who would like to get involved in bringing Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vast vision for Tushita to fruition, on this page you can see details of remaining sponsorship opportunities. We invite you to join us in strong prayers that we are able to fulfill all the advice given in the fullest and most beneficial way possible – and watch this space…
We had a number of special guest events during Monsoon: Dagri Rinpoche led 3 events at Tushita on the 24th and 25th of June, 2012. On the first day, he conferred a Vajrasattva Initiation and the next morning he returned to give the Eight Mahayana Precepts at 4:30am, followed by a commentary on Vajrasattva practice. It was also our incredible good fortune to have the translator extraordinaire – Geshe Kelsang Wangmo! You can see photos from these two days with Dagri Rinpoche here.
All these events were preparation for the 3-month Vajrasattva retreat that began here on the 23rd of June, and ran through the monsoon months.
Geshe Pema Dorjee gave a wonderful 90 minute talk entitled “How to Overcome Destructive Emotions” here at Tushita on August 20th 2012. Geshe-la has been the Principal of the Tibetan Children’s Village School, the School of Buddhist Dialectics and is currently the Director of the Bodong Research and Publication Centre, all based in Dharamsala. His teaching style is warm, funny and down-to-earth; it is such a joy to attend his talks. You can see photos from this event here.
Dagri Rinpoche brought our monsoon season full circle, by returning to give teachings on “Lojong: Seven Point Mind Training”, from August 31 – September 3, 2012. Dagri Rinpoche has conferred many Initiations here in the recent past, but this was only the second time he has taught at Tushita. Rinpoche is pictured right, being greeted on his arrival by Assistant SPC Tenzin Pelza and Director Linda. You can see more photos from these teachings here.
We were very sad to hear that our dear friend and teacher Geshe Tsering died on the 16th of August 2012, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Geshe-la was the half-brother of Tushita’s founder Lama Yeshe, and he lived here for 30 years. Geshe-la was a central part of Tushita life for many staff, volunteers, teachers and students and will be remembered with enormous affection. He is pictured here in 1979.
He had been resident at Kopan Monastery, our sister centre in Kathmandu, since 2010, and they sent the following message about his passing:
“In the days up to his cremation, groups of monks and nuns took turn to prayer near his bedside 24 hours a day, performing the Yamantaka sadhana and the Vajrayogini Sadhana respectively. His cremation took place on the 20th August, in the cremation place near the holy Vajrayogini temple in Svoyambunath.
Geshe la came to India after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. he spent many years at Sera Monastery, where he received his Geshe degree. He spent some years teaching the monks at Kopan, till he went to Tushita, Dharamsala, where he stayed for many years, helping with the regular pujas and giving teachings and advice to the Western students.
In November last year Geshe la experienced some health problems. In February he was diagnosed with previously undiagnosed heart problem, and his health continued to deteriorate. He was taken care of in the last few months by a qualified nurse, and by two monks who had been with him since he had become unwell.
Kopan Monastery will perform the weekly prayers during the 49 day period. We request his students and friends to join special weekly prayers.”
Tushita is the “featured centre” in the July – September 2012 issue of Mandala Magazine, the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), the organisation that Tushita is affiliated with.
The article is entitled “Tushita at 40: Getting Older, Getting Wiser”, written to mark the approach of our 40th birthday!
Copies of Mandala can be obtained at any of our sister centres, or accessed from the link above. However, Mandala has given us kind permission to make Tushita’s birthday article available, and you can view it here or download it here.
Here in McLeod Ganj, we are exceptionally blessed in having His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a neighbour, and in his teaching so often. His Holiness offers public teachings at his main Temple downtown (about 20 mins walk
from here) 4 or 5 times a year.
The set of teachings he gave from June 7 – 9 2012 were particularly notable, however, as they were requested, organised and sponsored by a group of Indian students – the first time that a homegrown Indian group has made such a request. When he was asked to give these teachings, His Holiness is said to have responded “I’m delighted. I’m only sorry it took 50 years to be asked!”. His Holiness also expressed his deep joy at the opportunity of “safely returning” Buddha’s teachings back to Indian people. Members of the audience at these teachings are pictured above right, from HHDL’s own website.
Tushita was also involved in this historic event in a small way. In service to His Holiness, and in recognition of the kindness India has shown to His Holiness and the Tibetan community, Tushita offered room and board to around 70 members of the Indian sangha group for the duration of the teachings. Most of the people who stayed at Tushita had travelled here from the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh. Other organisations in town, such as TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) and Kirti Gompa did the same, providing space for people who may otherwise have been unable to attend these precious teachings.
The hope and expectation is that these teachings for India sangha will become an annual event, and Tushita would be honoured to be a part of making this happen. More can be read about these teachings on HH the Dalai Lama’s website, here.
Our dear friend and esteemed guest teacher Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo very graciously gave a public talk here at Tushita on Friday June 1st 2012. This 2-hour talk was entitled “Thinking Outside the Box” (definition: “To think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective”).
Around 300 people attended this 2 hour talk, many sitting outside because the Gompa was filled to capacity – and then some! (pictured left).
Tushita’s volunteers were especially fortunate in being able to join Jetsunma for lunch before she gave the talk – so we were able to ask all our questions first! (pictured right)
While Lama Zopa Rinpoche was in residence here in May 2012, Rinpoche asked us to offer a room to Geshe Choklyi, former abbot of the monastery and nunnery in Tsum, Nepal.
Rinpoche told us that Geshe-la was very sick and that his request was that he be able to die here at Tushita. Geshe-la and his attendants stayed here with us for around 2 play online pokies weeks until he passed away from this life here at Tushita on May 22nd 2012.
After spending 3 days in Tukdam, Geshe-la was cremated on the morning of 25th of May, closely following the personal instruction of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Geshe-la’s passing and cremation had a very powerful impact on the many students who were resident here during this period. It was an honour for Tushita to have been part of Geshe-la’s final days.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has been spending a lot more time here recently, and we were blessed by having him in residence for much of our early 2012 season. When you add this to Rinpoche’s stay here at the end of 2011, it means that as of May 2012, Lama Zopa had spend more than 3 of the last 6 months in residence here!
After attending the Kalachakra Initiation given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya in January and then spending some time at Kopan, on March 12th 2012, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Ven Roger and Ven Sangpo returned to Tushita for a private stay. They were in residence until April 3rd, with a short break in the middle – taking a road trip that Venerable Roger wrote a very entertaining blog about! This was intended to be a quiet time for Rinpoche, and in general it was – until the last 2 days!
On the afternoon of April 2nd, LZR and Khandro-la held an incense puja on the roof of his house (pictured right), and in the evening, Lama Zopa attended our Guru Puja.
Both of these events were attended by the 100 students on the 2 concurrent residential courses (Introduction and Intermediate levels), which both ended on April 3rd. This was also the day that Rinpoche was leaving for Dehradun and as a goodbye present on the morning of the 3rd, Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave the students an extensive talk on emptiness and compassion. Wonderful!
After spending a few weeks in Dehradun at a series of teachings and initiations given by His Holiness Sakya Trizin, Lama Zopa Rinpoche returned to Tushita in the early hours of the 2nd of May 2012. He stayed at Tushita for another two very active weeks!
May 3rd (the day after his arrival) was checkout day for a different set of 100 students on a different set of 2 concurrent courses! Rinpoche gave a teaching to them in the garden, during the end-of-course picnic, and then personally distributed “Compassion Cards” that he had composed, photos of this event are here. After a one day break, for the next 3 consecutive days (May 5 – 7), Rinpoche then held private teaching sessions for some very fortunate students.
And then Lama Zopa was host to a number of very special guests! On the 10th of May, His Holiness Ling Rinpoche came to Tushita (pictured left). Lama Zopa Rinpoche was keen to show Ling Rinpoche around the centre, and a laughter-filled journey commenced, much to the amusement of the students. LZR asked Ling Rinpoche to say a few words to the students as they stepped out of the main Gompa to greet everyone. Ling Rinpoche said “Be happy. Eat well. Eat like an elephant! Sleep well. But don’t fall asleep during the course!”. You can see photos of Ling Rinpoche’s visit here here here and here.
Then on May 13th 2012, Lobsang Sangay, the Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister of Tibet) visited Lama Zopa Rinpoche here at Tushita (pictured right), along with Kalon Pema Chinnjor (Kalon for Department of Religion and Culture). They had a private meeting in Rinpoche’s house, after which Lama Zopa Rinpoche took the Kalon Tripa on a guided tour of the centre, causing an enormous amount of excitement among our students – and most especially for our Tibetan staff! The Kalon Tripa returned the next day for another private meeting with Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
On the 13th and 14th of May, Rinpoche led a Lama Tsong Khapa initiation to a very small group in our Vajrasattva Gompa, teaching extensively throughout.
Rinpoche was coming to the end of this two week stay, and he wanted to have as much contact with the yet another set of 100 students on yet another 2 concurrent courses in residence at the time!!
And so on May 15th, Lama Zopa Rinpoche asked for all 100 students to gather together so that he could give them a piece of the Torma (ritual cake) from Khandro-la’s retreat. Rinpoche told the students it was called “Tibetan Ice-Cream”…! Halfway through we moved inside the main Gompa where he gave the students a short teaching. You can see pictures of these events here and here.
During Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s recent periods of residence here, our local staff have had a great deal more contact with Rinpoche. LZR is increasingly making the personal guided tour a feature of any special guest’s experience of Tushita – our kitchen has been blessed by many holy beings and international political figures this past year! Rinpoche has also often taken time to speak and give teachings to our staff.
He is pictured here (right) giving a talk to our local staff just before his departure on May 16th, for Kathmandu.
Rinpoche’s students who live locally, and students checking out from the 2 courses (who were also leaving that day) gathered to say goodbye. You can see pictures of this departure here and from a spontaneous teaching that Rinpoche gave to some Intermediate level students just beforehand here.
We are delighted to announce the arrival of our youngest ever volunteer!
On March 8th, 2012, Tushita’s Director Linda gave birth to a healthy 3.8kg son, who Linda and her husband Jamyang have named Tsering Norbu (he’ll be known as Norbu, he’s pictured to the right). Linda and Norbu are both well and enjoying getting to know each other.
The day of Norbu’s arrival was also the Tibetan festival day of Chotrul Duechen, which marks the end of Losar (Tibetan New Year). This day is considered to be one of the most auspicious of the Tibetan year, known in English as “The Day of Miracles”. Looking at this photo of Norbu, it seems to be a very appropriate birthday.
Our sincere congratulations and love to Linda, Jamyang and Norbu. We hope to see a great deal more of the newest Tushita-ite soon!
In January 2012, His Holiness the Dalai Lama conferred the Kalachakra Initiation in Bodhgaya. A conservative estimate is that 200,000 people joined him!
Long-term Kalachakra practitioner and our regular guest teacher Andy Wistreich writes of the Kalachakra practice “Kalachakra is a highly developed system, perhaps the most sophisticated of all the Buddhist tantric systems… The fact is that hundreds of thousands of people take the Kalachakra empowerment but very few actually practise it… Although it is interesting to study the theory of Kalachakra, in order to make a difference to one’s mind and the world, it is necessary to practise.”
And so in order to support some of those who took the Initiation, Andy led 3 related courses and retreats here at Tushita in February 2012. As well as Andy’s invaluable instruction and guidance, the students had the opportunity to do group Kalachakra practice, and to take part in a couple of amazing events: Course students had the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the astonishing Khandro-la, and Jhado Rinpoche was so kind as to come up to Tushita and lead the fire puja that concluded the Kalachakra practice retreat. Both these events are pictured here and in our facebook photo albums.
We close every December and January because it’s so cold here at that time. Just after New Year, in early January 2012, the Dharamsala area experienced its heaviest snowfall since 2005; further downhill in the lower elevations of the Kangra Valley there was the largest dump of snow in decades.
To the right you can see Lama Yeshe’s Stupa, cloaked in sumptuous offerings from the winter sky!
Although we don’t run courses during these months, the Winter Break is actually a very busy time here as while there aren’t any students around, we have the opportunity to get more intensive construction and maintenance work done. Many of these jobs are weather dependent however, so we had a lot of catching up to do once the snow melted, in order to get the centre ready for opening again in early February. Which, thanks to our dedicated volunteers and local staff, we were able to do – with heart.
- Guided Meditation on February 20, 2017 9:30 am
- Movie Day on February 20, 2017 2:00 pm
- Losar on February 27, 2017
- Sutra of Golden Light Reading on February 27, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on March 2, 2017
- Guru Puja on March 7, 2017 6:30 pm
- Chotrul Duchen on March 12, 2017
- Medicine Buddha Puja on March 12, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on March 20, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on April 6, 2017
Tushita is a centre for the study and practice of Buddhism from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition. We're located in Northern India, in the forested hills above the town of McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala - the seat in exile of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Tushita aims to provide a friendly and conducive environment for people of all nationalities and backgrounds to learn about and put into practice the teachings of the Buddha. With this in mind we offer regular drop-in events and courses on introductory Buddhist philosophy and meditation, as well as intermediate level courses and group retreats for more experienced students.
February to November
Monday - Saturday
9:30 - 11:30am
a break for lunch and then...
12:30 - 4:00pm