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It’s July 1st and here at Tushita Meditation Centre we have finished the first half of our 2015 season and what a first half this was! There was so much going on that we were on our toes all the time and didn’t even have time to write some news snippets.
So here, finally, comes a summary. We’ve tried to keep it short, but with so many events it proved to be a real challenge..
In the last 5 months we have hosted:
9 Introduction to Buddhism Courses (all 10 days long)
2 intermediate courses on “Healing Disturbing Emotions” and “Wisdom & Compassion: The 7-Point Mind Training” (both 9 days)
1 advanced course on “Grounds & Paths” (13 days)
2 group retreats on Shamatha and Medicine Buddha (both 9 days)
AND 8 Nyung Nay Retreats (18 days)
1 Pre-Ordination course (18 days)
All of our courses and retreats are residential and held in silence, which has proven to be a very conducive recipe for inner reflection and transformation. This year, not only our introductory courses had very long waiting lists, but also our intermediate courses were booked out many months in advance. Many students are returning to Tushita again and again..
Around 900 students have attended our residential program so far this year – most of them in their twenties or thirties and coming from all over the world. In the past we have counted students from 88 countries! In recent years, the most upcoming and now leading group by far is students from India herself, which is a great development.
Many heartfelt thanks to all our truly amazing teachers and meditation leaders, without whom all these courses and retreats wouldn’t have been possible! Special thanks goes to our wonderful Glen Svensson, who has been leading very popular courses and retreats at Tushita for the last 8 years (and hopefully many more years to come..); inspiring countless students and us with his great knowledge, kindness and patience; being always happy to help out in so many big and small ways. Our deep gratitude also to our fantastic teachers Geshema Kelsang Wangmo, Ven Namdak, Ven Namgyel, Ven Namjong and Shahar Tene and meditation leaders Richard Meijers and Erez Ovaidia.
Also special thanks to David Marks, who returned in April & May to combine our regular drop-in morning meditations with Lam Rim teachings. “Meditations & Teachings on the Buddhist Path to Peace” was again hugely successful and attracted every day up to 100 students, often squeezed tightly into our Medicine Buddha Gompa!
If that wasn’t enough, we hosted in our short breaks between – sometimes during- our courses and retreats some truly amazing events:
February 19 – March 5 – Losar Celebrations & 15 Days of Miracles & Chotruel Duechen
We celebrated the New Tibetan Year of the Wood Sheep with a traditional all night puja performed by the Gyume monks, of course a Mt. Meru of kapse (Tibetan fried bread), the putting up of prayer flags and for much auspiciousness and laughter, throwing tsampa in the air…
During the auspicious 15 Days of Miracles we recited every day “The Sutra of Golden Light” and on Chotrul Duechen, the last day, we had the great fortune of having storytime with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As every year, His Holiness told one of the Jataka tales in the square in front of His temple. Sitting at the feet of His Holiness with thousands of Tibetans in their colourful festive clothing and Westerners/Easterners has always been a very special and sweet atmosphere. Afterwards we continued the celebrations at Tushita with a teaching session by Geshe Lobsang Dragpa (who taught our annual Pre-Ordination Course), a puja, sutra reading and light offerings around Lama Yeshe’s stupa.
February 25 – Dagri Rinpoche & Khandro la inauguration of new statues
Following Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice, we invited Khadro la to inaugurate our beautiful new statues of Lama Tsong Khapa’s main disciples Gyaltsab Je and Khedrup Je as well as the statues of Lama Atisha and Guru Rinpoche. Together with the big main statue of Lama Tsong Khapa, they are all inspiring us now on the altar of Tushita’s Main Gompa.
Khadro la very kindly accepted our invitation and to our immense pleasure came by one day on short notice – and imagine our big surprise – Khadro la brought Dagri Rinpoche along as well! Having these two amazing lamas conducting the ceremony was a great honour and treat for our students and for us. Surprise visits like that – that’s what we love Tushita for!!
March 1 – Dagri Rinpoche giving teachings
Despite Dagri Rinpoche’s very busy and often unpredictable schedule, Rinpoche very kindly made some time on short notice to give a lovely teaching to our many eager introductory course students, Pre-Ordination Course participants and visitors.
March 29 – 31 – Lama Zopa Rinpoche coming home!!
At the end of March we were greatly pleased that our precious Guru and Spiritual Director Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche came home for a few days to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama; a very short but very sweet visit!
During this time we checked in a new Introduction to Buddhism course of 80 people, and Rinpoche was pleased to see so many eager students from India and all over the world. These students were fortunate to not only meet and receive a few short teachings from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, but also to meet His Eminence Ling Rinpoche, who came to visit for a few hours.
April 13 & 14 Jetzunma Tenzin Palmo commentary on Lama Atisha’s “A Bodhisattva’s Jewel Garland”
Tushita is very fortunate that Jetzunma Tenzin Palmo visits us every year and the gompa is always more than packed, with many people sitting outside listening to her teachings through the open windows. This visit was no exception and Jetzunma inspired us all again with her clear, humorous and down to earth teachings.
April 13 – 16 – Oesel Hita staying at Tushita with his pilgrimage group and giving a public talk (April 15)
At the same time, we had another very special and dear guest: Osel Hita came home to Tushita after 15 years!! Arriving just two weeks after Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s visit, we felt extremely blessed and fortunate.
Oesel, the reincarnation of our founder Lama Yeshe, stayed for a few days at Tushita with his pilgrimage group. During his visit he mentioned many times that Tushita was a very special place for him; it was like coming home. His first memory, when he was three years old, was of walking down a Tushita path with a Western nun.
After many requests, Osel very kindly agreed to give a public talk and it was hugely successful with a packed to bursting gompa with approximately 300 visitors. We didn’t know we could squeeze that many people in! Old students like Jimi Neal (who had become Lama Yeshe’s student in the 70’s) and new ones alike were very impressed by Osel honest and heartfelt words and how he combined very different aspects. Meet him and you know what we mean!
Another highlight of that remarkable time was Osel visiting “Lama Yeshe’s Room”; the room where Lama Yeshe used to stay at Tushita. Opening the cupboards and looking at all his things from his previous life was a very moving and unforgettable experience for all of us!
Osel also visited the Hayagriva Room, another room where Lama Yeshe used to stay, which contains a special statue of Most Secret Hayagriva and of course, he visited Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Room.
We all hope and pray that Osel comes back home every year as he has promised!!
May 1-3 – Gen Gyatso teaches “12 Links of Dependent Arising” in a 3-day course
A couple of weeks later, we were very pleased to welcome Gen Gyatso la for his annual teaching at Tushita. Gen la taught this difficult topic with great clarity and humility and new and elder students alike were very inspired by Gen la’s presence, knowledge and kindness.
May 13 & 14 – Yangten Rinpoche teaches group of Vietnamese students
Soon after Tushita hosted Yangten Rinpoche and a group of 110 students from Vietnam. Hosting this group was a new and very rewarding experience for us. The group members were very sweet and a lasting memory will be how, on their second day, they all arrived at Tushita in the early morning, found themselves brooms and started sweeping all of Tushita. We were very impressed! This group then received some special teaching by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in His residence. We would have loved to host that one as well!!
May 16 & 17 – Yangten Rinpoche gives preliminary teaching on “Three Principal Aspects of the Path” and confers the Chenrezig Initiation
Only a couple of days later Yangten Rinpoche very kindly came back to Tushita to give a beautiful preliminary teaching on “The Three Principal Aspects of the Path” by Lama Tsong Khapa. The next day Rinpoche gave the Chenrezig Initiation, which we had requested for the upcoming Nyung Nay retreats.
June 2 – Saka Dawa Duechen
Our all-day program on the biggest Buddhist holiday was packed again with teachings, meditations, sutra reading, video screening and light offerings. Despite the heavy rain, there were about 50-70 visitors for the different activities – the enthusiasm of our students seems unbreakable!
June 17 – 24 – Lama Zopa Rinpoche coming home again!!!
AND June 18 – 20 – Dagri Rinpoche teaching “The Three Principal Aspects of the Path”
At Tushita big things often happen at very short notice – our precious lamas teaching us again and again about impermanence and just letting go…
Very kindly, Dagri Rinpoche found on short notice a few days in His extremely busy schedule to teach at Tushita again. What we hadn’t expected was that Lama Zopa Rinpoche would arrive home at Tushita the day before – on even shorter notice! Rinpoche had cut His Australia visit short to come to Dharamsala to attend a very special Long Life Puja for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday on June 21st and the Gelug Conference on June 23rd. This was Rinpoche’s second visit in only two months and we were absolutely delighted to have Rinpoche here for a bit longer this time.
So Dagri Rinpoche was quite reluctant to start teaching when Lama Zopa Rinpoche was in residence. But Dagri Rinpoche kindly accepted our repeated requests and when He arrived at Tushita on the first teaching day, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khadro la were already in Lama Yeshe’s Room to meet him. And 90 eager students in the gompa. At moments like this we are just in awe about how fortunate we are…
Here we would like to take the opportunity to express our deep gratitude to our amazing Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, who acted as the eloquent and tireless translator/ interpreter during many of these teachings and initiations. Geshe la – we couldn’t have it done without you!!
Apart from our very busy program we are happy to announce that our 3 retreat huts are finished and they look absolutely beautiful inside and out! All huts are already in use by retreatants and current teacher of our advanced course Geshe Kelsang Wangmo. So why not have your next personal retreat in such a comfortable and blessed environment?
We also finished building a new kitchen block, enlarging our dining hall, a new shower and toilet block for our students and 4 comfortable rooms for our volunteers.
Following Lama Zopa Rinpoche vast vision for Tushita, our gompa painting project is facing its final stages. Four new mandalas of Kalachakra, Yamantaka, Gyalwa Gyatso and Chenrezig look absolutely stunning on our main gompa ceiling, and we are looking forward to the huge 180 square feet thanka of the Lama Chopa Merit Field being finished in a few months.
We are delighted about the completion and consecration of two new stupas for Geshe Chokley la and Geshe Tsering la – Tushita now has five holy stupas here on the blessed hill.
So all in all much to rejoice in. As Rinpoche would say: AMAAAZING WOW WOW WOW!!
But this was only the first half of our season, the second one is yet to come. So don’t despair if you have missed anything! There are lots of exciting events to look forward to..
July 1st marks here the start of the monsoon season, and we are getting ready for our upcoming 3-month Vajrasattva retreat. For that we are extremely honored to have Jhado Rinpoche conferring the Vajrasattva Initiation.
There will be also a special course with Geshe Lhakdor la on “The Heart Sutra”, and of course we have planned more courses and retreats for our many enthusiastic students: 8 more Introduction to Buddhism courses, 2 more intermediate courses and 2 more group retreats on Chenrezig/ Tonglen and Green Tara.
We are looking forward to welcoming back our precious teachers Ven Namgyel, Ven Amy Miller, Jimi Neal and Rachel Ryer. We are also pleased that Ven Drolma from the US will join us as a new visiting teacher.
The absolute highlight will be definitely a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – date to be confirmed!
As you can see, anything can happen. So stay tuned & we hope you come and join us soon here in the Tushita pureland!!
- Guided Meditation on March 24, 2017 9:30 am
- Movie Day on March 24, 2017 2:00 pm
- Introduction to Buddhism on April 6, 2017
- Guru Puja on April 6, 2017 6:30 pm
- Eight Verses of Thought Transformation / Chenrezig Retreat on April 7, 2017
- Medicine Buddha Puja on April 11, 2017
- Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo – Wheel of Life on April 18, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on April 22, 2017
- Insight Into Emptiness on April 23, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on May 9, 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