A Message from our center’s Director, Lorne Ladner:
I wanted to write a brief note on behalf of Guhysamaja Center, thanking everyone for your support and help to the center in 2007 and also wishing everyone a Happy Holidays!
2007 has really been a great year for the center in terms of providing Dharma teachings and events here in the DC area. We hosted so many teachings by Gyume Khensur Rinpoche on subjects ranging from “The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life,” the Guru Puja, Chittamani Tara, Amitabha practice for transference of consciousness to a Pure Land, and so forth… Then also we hosted a number of initiations and teachings by Kyabje Dhakpa Rinpoche (who is a teacher of both Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khensur Rinpoche). These included a commentary on “The Three Principles of the Path” by Je Tsongkhapa, the initiation of Avalokitesvara who puts your mind at ease and also of White Tara as well as a commentary on how to practice the yoga method of these two deities. And, then in the fall the center hosted our founder and Spiritual Director, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who taught on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment in a very practical and experiential way and who also gave the initiation of the 21 Taras.
Then, the center has also hosted numerous teachings and practice sessions led by Western teachers including the Discovering Buddhism series, which is a wonderful set of classes that provide a philosophical and experiential grounding in Buddhist practice. And, we’ve had special teachings by visiting Western teachers including the recent series by Ven. Sean Price.
Overall, the center has been able to provide an incredible feast of Dharma here in the DC area this year!
The main purpose of the center is to continue providing more and more Dharma teachings of various kinds to people, while also providing a supportive community in which to put those teachings into practice!
With that in mind, we have some great plans in motion for 2008!
Gyume Khensur Rinpoche is scheduled to be in residence at the center throughout the Spring and Summer. He’s agreed to continue his ongoing teachings on “The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life” and the Guru Puja. He’s also agreed to teach other short series of teachings on “Parting from the Four Attachments” and “Introduction to Tantra.” Rinpoche has also agreed to give some very rare and precious teachings this year….He’s agreed to give teachings during a 4-5 day intensive Dharma Session on the subject of the Gelug-Kagyu tradition of Mahamudra—this is one of the most profound meditation practices in the Tibetan tradition, focusing on meditation on the ultimate nature of the mind itself! Then, also Rinpoche has agreed to lead a 4-5 day retreat on Inner Fire (Kundalini in Sanskrit, or Tummo in Tibetan). This again is a very advanced and profound meditation technique derived from the completion stage practices of Highest Yoga Tantra as taught in the famous Six Yogas of Naropa. To receive such teachings is very rare anywhere and is particularly rare in the West. And, Rinpoche has also agreed to give the initiation of 6-Armed Mahakala while he’s in town! And, we’re also planning a weekend retreat with teachings on the practice of Tara with Rinpoche this summer.
We’ve also (at the suggestion of Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche) invited Geshe Gelek (a really wonderful, great young lama) to come back and teach at least twice this year when Khensur Rinpoche is not in residence. And, we’ll also be continuing with Discovering Buddhism in Reston. And, we’ll be having regular teachings and group recitations of the Sutra of Golden Light in DC led by Ven. Tenzin Lhamo! We’re very thankful to Ven. Lhamo for agreeing to again lead Dharma classes in DC on behalf of the center. And, we’ll also have other visiting sangha come to lead dharma classes occasionally on weekends for the center.
So, we are set for another great feast of Dharma in 2008!
To make all of this happen, we obviously need many people to volunteer their time to help out. And, we also need donations. We don’t set fees for any Dharma classes and people who cannot afford to donate are always very welcome to attend classes for free. But, for the center to continue providing teachings and retreats we have to rely completely on volunteers and donations.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama often suggests being very clear and forthright about financial matters. So, I thought that perhaps I should say that neither I nor anyone else on the center’s board or management committee benefits financially from our involvement in the center. Neither Dina nor I ever accept donations from the center when we teach classes. All donations go to benefit the center so that the center can cover costs such as health insurance for Khensur Rinpoche, Ven. Tashi and Buchung; stipends to them when they are in town teaching; rental costs for venues; advertising of events; travel expenses for visiting teachers; sponsoring of prayers at monasteries in India and Nepal to benefit the center’s students; copying of prayers for classes; and so forth. Soon, we’ll send out a detailed accounting for the center from 2007 so that everyone can know how donations are spent.
Major goals for the center in the next couple of years include getting a stable location for the center’s meetings while also actively saving up for the center to move to purchasing a longer time place for the center’s activities. All of this is very much in accordance with the advice of the center’s spiritual guides including Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the late Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche, and Gyume Khensur Rinpoche.
With this in mind, over the next month or two we’ll be sending out more e-mails regarding some initiative for the center. One such initiative is a membership drive. Membership is very important for the center to have a sense of stability. A clear sense of growing membership allows us to survey and address the spiritual/Dharma needs of those who are connected to the center. It also creates the financial stability we’ll need to move towards renting and eventually purchasing a stable location. We’ll be clarifying four different levels of membership depending on people’s interests and abilities. When the membership information comes, please do read it carefully and help as you can.
I’ll also soon be sending out information about our initiating a building fund. This will involve our opening a special account for restricted funds that will be saved solely for the purpose of purchasing a place for the center. I was recently looking back over my personal notes from when Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche was living in the area. I saw a note I’d written about Rinpoche’s suggesting that we build a stupa once we’ve purchased a place for the center! Khensur Rinpoche has also repeatedly mentioned how beneficial it will be for us to get a permanent home for the center. So, when the messages about that initiative come soon, again please help as you can.
I think it’s quite beautiful how the center hosts and sponsors prayers for each of you, and then if each of you also prays for the development of the center’s Dharma activities, in that way a great and self-sustaining cycle of benefit develops. As we, together, make efforts to help the center develop, then naturally the center hosts more and more activities that benefit us individually and collectively—and also benefits many others we may not yet know.
Please feel free to write to me directly if you have input, ideas, feedback or requests related to the center and how it can better serve your (and others’) needs.
Posted by Lisa Wilcox on behalf of Lorne Ladner.
Copyright @ 2007 The Guhyasamaja Center