31. januar 2011

Eriks program 2011

Et overflødighedshorn af meget anbefalelsesværdige kurser inden for tibetansk buddhisme med autoriseret dharmalærer Erik Pema Kunsang som underviser. Kurserne er på dansk og foregår i naturskønne omgivelser på Helgenæs.


Gomde's history 4 - found and inaugurated

1995 – Helgenæs found and inaugurated

Inge Lisbeth Sørensen

The first Cloudless Summer Camp in Samsø in ‘94 really inspired us to look for a piece of land in a nice remote area in Denmark. A place in Europe, where we as Dharma sisters and brothers could meet with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche to receive his inspiration and precious teachings – and meet all year around to train in retreat; a place which could be the framework for expanding the tradition which Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche uphold – the Chokling Tersar.

In the early spring of ‘95 we got a hint to go to Helgenæs – a small peninsula in Denmark and look at an old deserted farm at the foot of Tornbjerg, “Thorn Mountain”. A small group went – and came back full of enthusiasm. All agreed that the right place was found – the location was fantastic, the farmland full of possibilities with rolling hills, a beautiful open view to the sea and an old apple orchard with a peaceful and undisturbed life of deer and other animals. The farmhouse seemed to have been left years ago. Nettles, hawthorn and thicket of brambles covered the courtyard and the buildings.

We sent a description and photos to Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche in Nepal to ask for his advice and he agreed. “Thorn Mountain Farm” was a good place and Rinpoche named it Pal Rangjung Yeshe Kyi Gomdé – “The Retreat Land of Self-Existing Wakefulness”. But some obstacles were in front of us before the place would belong to the Sangha: the contract with the owner, raising money for the down payment and, last but not least, restoring the old buildings and turning them in to suitable buildings for retreats, summer camps and the habitat for a group of “pioneers”, who had agreed to be the first inhabitants of Gomdé.

An old gardener owned the land, who was open to a bargain. However, the house was rented to another man and he was the legal inhabitant of the house as long as he wanted to stay. It was our luck that, when we after some research found the man, it emerged that he and his family actually had given up living at “Thorn Mountain Farm”. As in the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty, the trees, scrub and the thicket had taken over and the work needed to keep the farm and apple orchard had become too much for him. He was happy to leave immediately.

Now it was a question of fundraising. A foundation was established, as we wished the coming retreat land to be an independent and “self-owned” institution protected by Danish law to ensure the place for coming generations. This foundation became the owner of Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé on June 15, which also was the yearly anniversary day of Chokling Tersar. Rinpoche appointed five people (Thomas Doctor, Andreas Doctor, Erik Pema Kunsang, Mads Julius Nielsen and an external lawyer) to the board. In the coming weeks and months, the foundation got several sponsors from all over the world representing among others Brazil, the US, Nepal, Norway, Denmark, Cuba, France, Russia and Germany. In return, the sponsors were offered a partial “right of use” to cabins and rooms, which were on the drawing board.

While the local Sangha, with great help from Erik Pema, Danny and Tara Goleman, fought the bushes, cut the nettles and captured the buildings, another group of engineers, architects and handymen created sketches for future buildings to be discussed and approved upon Rinpoche’s arrival later that summer.

During the official opening on July 12, the sun was shining from – of course – a cloudless sky! It was with a sense of warmth, thankfulness and pride that everyone who had been working so hard during the last month welcomed Sangha, friends, family and neighbours to the inauguration ceremony in the morning at the top of “Thorn Mountain”. Before entering the “mountain”, milk with honey from the local area was served to all the guests.

Rinpoche inaugurated the retreat land with the cleansing smoke ceremony and a beautiful talk, where he told, that he wished the Dharma to be spread in all direction from this place. He told how everyone – the close Sangha, friends, neighbours and even animals connecting with the place and living in the area – would feel the blessing of the Dharma. In the afternoon, a lunch banquet was served in the courtyard. Rinpoche gave blessings, handshakes and hugs to all participants individually and the day ended beautifully with singing and entertainment.

Two days before Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche had arrived and a welcome committee had showed him around the retreat land on a decorated horse. We were very honoured and grateful that he agreed on the plans of the foundation. We had arranged and decorated the most livable room for Rinpoche to stay in with thankas, flowers, brocade and a small altar. Though it was very primitive and different from what we would like to offer Rinpoche, he seemed to feel right at home. In the main house, we had placed a coach covered with beautiful brocade as Rinpoche’s throne. Here we received his teachings, good advice and instruction. Rinpoche told us that the first building to be restored was the barn, which should be turned into a temple hall. Rinpoche’s wish was to give a clear sign that this place was a place of the Dharma. He also told us that the temple hall and the surroundings should be ready to house Cloudless Summer Seminar ‘96 with 80-100 people. The tradition of Cloudless Summer Camp at Gomdé had begun.

As Gomdé started from scratch we really appreciated all the gifts and useful things people donated: tools, building materials, shelves, mattresses, curtains, tablecloths, furniture, kitchenware, utensils – and not least good wishes, knowledge as handywomen and -men and working power which for many years was and still is so important for the good spirit and harmony at Gomdé.

The day after the inauguration ceremony we all left for the island Samsø, three hours away from Gomdé, where the old boarding house “Onsbjerg Pension” as the year before was rented as the setting for Cloudless Summer Camp ‘95.

Eighty members from Rinpoche’s Sangha all over the world were gathered for ten days and received teaching on base, path and fruition of the Three Yanas as well as on the short essential text on Dzogchen/ Mahamudra. The teachings were intermingled with guided sessions of meditation with Rinpoche, which gave the students personal experience of the teachings as they progressed.

After Samsø and before leaving Denmark, Rinpoche visited Gomdé once again to give his blessing and pass on the last instructions for the coming year of building and restoring the retreat land.

A small group of six Dharma friends (René Kimose, Mikael Bonde, Morten Røgild, Claus Kjær, Tom Nygaard and Inge Lisbeth Sørensen) moved in at Gomdé this year to be the first “pioneers”. We rented the rooms and space from the foundation to make it possible for Gomdé to finance the monthly payment of the house and land during the first years. As there were only two rooms besides the living room in the main house we made arrangements for ourselves in the loft between the beams and in rebuilt caravans. All leisure hours were spent working at Gomdé. Everybody in the group had different professional skills, which were useful in the building process of the retreat land, the development and administration of the foundation and the organisation of the summer camps. It was hard work – but also lot of fun and great team play. As the money to buy building materials and coal for the old heater was very small, we decided to “free” the old apple orchard, which that year gave plenty of fruit though each tree was totally overgrown with scrub and almost impossible to enter. With great help and advice from the neighbours, we studied the seasoning of the many different old sorts and how to handle and harvest the apples. We were really happy and proud, when the tractor – the old red Massey Fergusson – was bought for money earned from picking and selling the apples to local stores.

In the autumn of ‘95 and during the winter, the temple room was build. Many stayed with us for shorter or longer periods to help with the building that year. David came from the US and became the “house – constructor”. Not only the temple hall should be ready – toilets, showers and kitchen facilities for 80-100 people were necessary as well, if “Thorn Mountain Farm” was to become the Rangjung Yeshe Retreat land we all were wishing for.

30. januar 2011

Guided Meditation Online - Registration Open Now

Online Practice Program: Green Tara

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Dharmachakra Practices are pleased to offer an online meditation program based on Tara, the female buddha of wisdom in action.

Known as The Triple Excellence, this teaching describes the entire Buddhist path in gradual practical instructions. With its rich and vibrant interface, The Triple Excellence is perfectly accessible and profound for both beginners and seasoned practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. The instructions spring from the great Tibetan master Chokgyur Lingpa, who met Tara in person and received this terma teaching of deep and true meaning. 

In practical steps this teaching covers all three vehicles (The Triple Excellence) from the perspective of the Vajrayana. Beginning with fundamental mind training, one proceeds to the Bodhisattva path of love and insight combined. Finally, the penetrating wisdom of the Vajrayana is introduced, culminating in the secret paths of the higher tantras. At this more advanced stage of practice, participants will receive a transmission, which includes methods that use the energies of the subtle body, and they will be initiated into the practice of trekchö or “cutting through resistance” within the primordial purity that is the nature of the mind.

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche received these teachings from H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Rinpoche is also a close descendant of Chokgyur Lingpa. This is a wonderful and rare opportunity to receive these precious teachings from an authentic master who holds a short and uninterrupted lineage of transmission.

The program will be open from January 28th, 2011 onwards.

For more information, visit www.DharmaSun.org

Best Wishes,

DharmaSun team

Gomde's history 3 - the year of foundation

1994 – Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé Denmark, the year of foundation

Mette Harboe

So many of us through the years found our way from the great stupa in Boudhanath, Nepal up to the great white monastery, with excitement we passed the vigorous lions at the entrance and entered the premises of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling. Connecting with the lineage masters residing there, life opened to us in a new way. It even happened so to several Danish people and thus in1994 something very special took place.

During a time when Erik Pema Kunsang was staying in Denmark he called Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche in Nepal and during the conversation asked Rinpoche whether he would exclude any possibility of ever coming to Denmark. As Rinpoche answered with a no, you may guess what the next question was. By the end of the conversation, Rinpoche had accepted the invitation to come and teach in Denmark and preparations could begin.

At this point, the house of Kirsten Doctor in Risskov functioned as a meeting place for Buddhist in Aarhus and several students of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche lived there.

As Rinpoche had the vision to teach at one of the Danish islands, the search started for a suitable place, finally found at Samsø.

In the middle of the village Onsbjerg close to the harbour where the boat landed, a long yellow house at the corner at first glance did not look like much. However, inside the “gildesal” was perfect as a Lhakhang, there were plenty of rooms and a lovely garden and the owners were open to all our wishes.

Then, on 4 July, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche arrived in Denmark. 108 students from 13 different countries had registered to join the first “Cloudless Summer Seminar” and were already beginning to arrive.

There were three wonderful days to go still, Rinpoche received students in the Doctors’ house, gave interviews to newspapers and finally a public talk in the music hall to a crowd of 350 people on the sixth. Erik translated into Danish and it felt like a new era had started.

And cloudless it was; joyous. The Sun of Dharma was shining and we had the hottest summer in Denmark for 50 years. Rinpoche gave oral instructions and comments on Gampopa’s “Precious Garland” along with the Barchey Künsel empowerment. It was like a huge harmonious family reuniting in paradise to share the most precious possible.

At the conclusion of the 10 days, Rinpoche urged us to set the instructions into practice and as a support for this made aspirations for a common place of practice in Europe.

On the 18th and 19th Rinpoche and a group of students visited several optional places and though none of them were to be the future Gomdé, the process had started that still continues today.

29. januar 2011

Gomde's history 2 - from Kirsten Doctor and Bob Sherwood

“We have a letter from Thomas to his family, written in 1989, about his hearing Rinpoche’s teachings in India and meeting Erik and about Erik’s wish that Rinpoche could come to Denmark during the summer and teach in Samsø, a place where Erik had happy memories from childhood. On July 4 1994, Rinpoche arrived in Denmark and was picked up in a limousine at Tirstrup on a beautiful summer day. Already that afternoon he had several newspaper interviews and was filmed for television. The next day a radio journalist interviewed him. There was a big lunch in our house where more and more people kept coming and more and more chairs were found.

Among the guests was a woman named Ellen, who had once lived at a place she called Tornbjerggaard that had been a “collective” which she described as her favorite place in the world. Sadly, the “collective” broke up on economic grounds, and Ellen had to leave. They often took care of sick animals the farmers had brought to them. Tornbjerggaard was known then as a shelter for such animals and as an alternative to slaughtering them. Once in the real hard wintertime, they even invited the cow in to share the room with them (there was only one big room then!). When Ellen left Tornbjerggaard, she made a strong wish to return. At some point in the summer Kirsten asked Ellen if she knew a place that would be good for Rinpoche to build a centre, and she immediately answered, “I have the place!” She knew that Tornbjerggard was up for sale and told Kirsten how to find it.

Sometime after Rinpoche had left Denmark that summer some of us went to see it and René made a video of it to send to Rinpoche.”

27. januar 2011

Amazing race anno 2011

Mindfulness and spirituality has entered mainstream culture for good.

25. januar 2011

A PRACTICE OF PADMASAMBHAVA: Essential Instructions on the Path to Awakening

By Shechen Gyaltsap IV and Rinchen Dargye

Foreword by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, translated by The Dharmachakra Translation Committee

A Practice of Padmasambhava presents two practical and compelling works related to a visualization and mantra practice of Padmasambhava. This practice is based on the most important revelation of the renowned nineteenth-century treasure revealer Chokgyur Lingpa, Accomplishing the Guru's Mind: Dispeller of All Obstacles.

These two works give an introduction to the preliminary trainings, outline the primary elements of visualization practice and mantra recitation, and supply a detailed explanation of the practice of Padmasambhava's wisdom aspect, Guru Vadisimha.

Through practical step-by-step instructions on this deity, the reader is guided into the general world of tantric practice common to all of Tibetan Buddhism.

"These two authentic manuals give the reader practical understanding of Mahayoga, the foundation for the inner tantras, in all its incredible depth. They are a true treasury of powerful tools to transform the habitual ways of our human condition into the path of enlightenment."—Erik Pema Kunsang, compiler and translator of Wellsprings of the Great Perfection: The Lives and Insights of the Early Masters

"What does it mean to have a precious human life? How can we make use of it when we have no idea how long it will last? What is the use of trying to be good? What is the difference between the fleeting happiness that constantly slips through our fingers and true contentment? Whether one is a newcomer to Tibetan Buddhism considering taking a step onto its path or an old hand at meditation practice, the four reflections that Shechen Gyaltsap lays out on the preciousness of human life, impermanence, karma, and the ultimately dissatisfying quality of life are sure to inspire us to take hold of our lives."—from the Introduction

Shechen Gyaltsap IV spent most of his life in retreat and was one of the main teachers of the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Rinchen Dargye was a direct disciple of the great treasure revealer Chokgyur Lingpa and was a prolific writer on all aspects of tantric thought and practice.

The Dharmachakra Translation Committee works under the guidance of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche and is committed to making Buddhist classics available to modern readers in their native languages. The Committee draws its inspiration from the vision, commitment, and magnificent achievements of past Buddhist translators.

23. januar 2011


Kære alle !

Vi håber, I er kommet godt ind i det nye år -

Vi fra bestyrelsen for Rangjung Yeshe Sangha, som foreningen hedder nu efter sidste ekstraordinære generalforsmling, vil gerne ønske alle et berigende og godt nytår, og vil med dette Nytårsbrev orientere om "stort og småt" fra bestyrelsen.

Siden Summercamp 2010 med Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, hvor den nye forening "Rangjung Yeshe Sangha" blev stiftet, har der været forskellige aktiviteter på Gomde.Der har bla. været afholdt seminar med Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche - og vinterseminar med Packchok Rinpoche og med Erik Pema Kunsang.
Derudover har der været afholdt en del konstruktive bestyrelsesmøder in vivo eller over Skype.

Til Orientering :

Gita og Lillian har begge valgt at trække sig fra bestyrelsesposten grundet tidsmangel og arbejdspres.Lillian satser på at komme tilbage til arbejdet senere.

Sangha bestyrelsens medlemmer har overtaget en del administrative og praktiske funktioner (planlægning, økonomi, koordinering), som tidligere blev varetaget af Erik og Tara.

Der vil i fremtiden ske en yderligere uddeligering af ovenstående arbejdsopgaver til andre interesserede Sangha medlemmer.

Fra sommer 2011 vil caretakerfunktionen blive varetaget af Knud.Der pågår et arbejde med at definere arbejdsopgaver knyttet til caretakerfunktionen, og en præcisering af arbejdsopgaver for andre fastboende på Gomde.

- Der vil i fremtiden blive udarbejdet kursusoversigter for et år ad gangen, hvilket er en fordel for både planlæggere og deltagere af kurser.

- Sangha foreningen er af Tibet Charity inviteret som medarrangør af besøget af H.H. Dalai Lama til foråret - 18. april 2011.

Der arbejdes bla. på :

- en officiel Statslig godkendelse af Rangung Yeshe Sangha som et religiøst samfund.

- ideer om Albertgårdens fremtidige funktion og virke.

- at Gomdes bygninger kan blive godkendte som kursuslokaler.

- at udbygge samarbejdet med karuna Workshop og andre kursus aktiviteter.

- at klargøre og adskille foreningens og Fondens arbejdsopgaver og kompetencer.

Nogle erindringer og erfaringer fra året, der gik :

- Seminaret, der blev afholdt i efteråret med Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, blev en vidunderlig blanding af Rinpoches rige, direkte og klare undervisning og den friskpressede æblesaft fra Gomdes frodige plantage.Til stor glæde og inspiration for os alle - en vekslen mellem undervisning og kreativ aktivitet, hvor alle kunne deltage.

- Under seminaret udnævnte Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Erik Pema Kunsang til Dharmalærer.Det er en stor glæde og gave for os alle, at vi i fremtiden har mulighed for at deltage i hans enestående undervisning.

- Vedrørende madlavning under semnairer har vi været heldige at få kontakt til Oona, som tidligere har drevet vegetarisk restaurant i Århus.Hun har indvilliget i, at hun fremover gerne vil stå for madlavningen i forbindelse med seminarer på Gomde - i det omfang, hun kan.Der var begejstring for såvel hendes voksen som børne menuer.

- Gomde ligge smukt i vinterlandskabet.Dog ret ufremkommeligt på det tidpunkt Packchok Rinpoches seminar skulle afholdes i december, hvorfor det blev flyttet til Øsal Lings lokaler i Århus.

Vi vil i Sangha foreningens bestyrelse gerne takke for de store arbejdsindsatser mange af Jer har gjort - blot for at nævne nogle :

Til Erik og Tara; en varm, hjertelig TAK for den store indsats I begge har lagt i Gomde - at planlægge og afholde seminarer - praktiske, administrative og organisatoriske opgaver i forhold til drift; Tara din store indsats i køkkenet og gode menuer under seminarer - sidst, men ikke mindst Jeres engagement og kærlighed.
Til Bodil; for alle de vidunderlige brød, du har bagt ! Tak Peter Olin som "co- baker".

Til Ulrick; for din ihærdige indsats for at forskønne Gomdes smukke arealer.

Til Gita og Lillian for Jeres bidrag i bestyrelsesarbejdet.

Til Ruben vores stabile it- mand, Bo vores regnskabsmand -Jennifer for al kursusplanlægning og korrespondence; Niels Viggo vores koordinator; Serena, der lavede mad til Rinpoche; Oona vores kok; Metea,Kija,Poul, Ole, Laila, Lisbeth, Sepideh, Jens og alle Jer, vi ikke har nævnt, men som bidrager, tænker på og er med Gomde på alle måder.

Tak for alt, hvad I frit har givet.

Allerstørste TAK til Rinpocher og lærere på Gomde.dk !

Vi er alle meget taknemlige og heldige at have muligheden for at møde Jeres enestående undervisning, Buddhas lære og Dharmaen.

De bedste Sangha hilsner til Jer alle fra

Andreas, Anton, Annelise, Kaj og Mette Z.

21. januar 2011

Gomde søger folk til tre spændende jobs

Har du lyst til at hjælpe til med et job for Gomde, også selvom du bor langt fra Helgenæs, så er dette måske noget for dig.

Alle opgaver forbundet med Gomde udføres af frivillige hjælpere.

Det er en meget stor glæde at hjælpe Rinpoche med at manifestere hans Dharma aktiviteter, men der kommer faktisk også en del ind på karma kontoen. Og hvem har ikke brug for det?

Vi mangler folk på disse områder:

PR/kommunikation på Facebook. Er du alligevel på Facebook, vil du så tage dig af at annoncere på Gomdes egen Facebook side for alle arrangementer der foregår på Gomde?

Ratna Boutique Online: Vil du være med til at starte og udvikle en spændende net butik op for Gomde?

Mamaki: Gomdes Buddha skole for børn til SummerCamp ønsker sig dedikerede, kreative voksne til at videreføre og udvikle den lille sommerskole.

Er det noget for dig, så skriv til os på gomde@gomde.dk

Kærlig hilsen Erik og Tara.

16. januar 2011

Gomde's history 1 - looking back after the first ten years

An expanding circle of practitioners.

When Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche chose the name Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé for the newly purchased land of 1,000 fruit rees he had not only a profound but also a reason of longstanding historical background. Rangjung Yeshe — self-existing wakefulness — is the essential principle in Buddhism, especially in the ancient Dzogchen tantras, and Gomdé is the land of his forefathers with an unbroken line of spiritual tradition that goes back almost a thousand years.
You may all have heard of Milarepa, Tibet’s great yogi, and his famous prophetic dream about the future lineage-holders and practitioners who would increase with each following generation. You have also heard of Gampopa, his foremost disciple, and most certainly become familiar with his influential book Jewel Ornament of Liberation. It is through Gampopa’s close disciples and their disciple again that a confluence of two rivers of Buddhist practice — the down-to-earth advice on lojong (mind-training) to tackle selfishness and Mahamudra’s profound yet simple instructions on uncontrived naturalness — spread so far and so deep that this single stream penetrated almost every person in the entire land.
One of Gampopa’s illustrious students was Barom Dharma Wangchuk. Allow me to use the words of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche:

Barom Dharma Wangchuk established his first seat in Central Tibet, near the sacred mountain Samten Kangsar northeast of Lhasa, where an increasing stream of faithful people with offerings, even all the way from China, began to appear. After an avalanche buried a temple he decided to accept an invitation from the king of Nangchen in East Tibet. There he established his second seat and slowly the kingdom became filled with meditators and yogis of Naropa’s six doctrines, giving the kingdom its name Gomdé, which means land of practitioners. The connotation is closely connected with the profound pointing-out instruction of Mahamudra, the most profound teaching in the Barom lineage, which directly introduces the state of realization. This instruction was received by the majority of people living in the region and they became meditators. All over the mountainside, each family house became a practice center, both men and women. The story goes that even the simple water-bearers at night used the leather straps on their yokes as meditation belts. And the shepherds would use the long rope from their slingshot as meditation belts as well. It is said that almost everyone was a practitioner, so the land got the name Gomde, the Land of Meditators, a sign that the Buddha’s teachings took firm root.

Looking back at Gomde’s first decade, it seems so short and yet so full of events carrying great weight — a wonderful drama involving precious teachers, profound wisdom, generous benefactors, dedicated friends, and a spectacular landscape with changing seasons as the back-drop. Some of these consequential events have found their way into this celebrative publication. Some survive only in our memories. But as a basic thread weaving through them all I sense one dyed in the colors of noble intention and free spirit — an expression of the twofold bodhichitta.
As someone involved in this meaningful drama from the first opening, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who felt inspired to participate. It is your dedication, past and future, that nurtures and shapes this fountainhead of benefit and well-being.
May Gomdé — both the retreat on Helgenæs and the training-ground in our daily lives — continue to be a place that grows the fruits of our lineage masters’ aspirations!

—Erik Pema Kunsang, Gomde, 2004

15. januar 2011

Swedish Sangha starts 2011 with tsog

If you are ever nearby Stockholm in Sweden - drop by to practice with the Swedish Rangjung Yeshe Sangha. See http://gomde.se for schedule and contact details.

14. januar 2011

Dear Friends,

I hope you've all been happy and healthy. This being the first Guru Rinpoche Day message of the year 2011, and to start off the year auspiciously, I would like to share with you the Five Unshakeable Fortresses that is key for all dharma practitioners.

The Five Unshakeable Fortresses:

The five fortresses are extremely important for all dharma practitioners. If you don’t have these five, then actually it means that you are not doing quite so well...

1. Gaining Certainty in the View

Many of us when practicing the dharma are so busy doing things, physically, in the dharma world. Such as offering butter lamps, doing circumambulations, reading many texts, doing a lot of different daily practices, and while doing so, our precious time runs out. Though the time is not wasted on doing something unnecessary, but while engaging in doing these “dharmic activity”, we sometimes loose the focus or the point of doing it all and therefore completely lack in gaining certainty in and reconfirming, the view.

The earlier masters all said this so many times. Tilopa said that when you’ve lost the correct view your practice is gone. You may be very devoted and have a lot of faith, but you’re not going to have a correct practice because you lack the correct view. So the first most important thing is having certainty in the view.

How to get that?
Reinvestigating your emotions, your ego, ‘I’, your judgmental mind.

Why does my judgmental mind work so well?
Because I’m not reconfirming my understanding of egolessness.

Why are my negative emotions working so well?
Because, I’m not reconfirming my understanding of egolessness.

Why am I so moody?
Because, you forgot to reconfirm egolessness, selflessness. Really.

Why can we not have compassion that is free from judgment?
Because we lack an understanding of egolessness.

Why can we not have trust in emptiness?
Because we cannot gain trust in egolessness. That’s why.

Why when you practice the deity, do you see the deity as truly existent?
Because you have no understanding of egolessness.

So whatever practice you do, spend at least some time to re-investigate your emotions, your ‘I’, your judgment, your ego, your clinging, your anxiety. That is gaining certainty in the view and that means you are making an unshakeable fortress of the view.

2. Being Undistracted in Meditation

We talk about meditation all the time. This meditation, that meditation. Shamatha, Vipashyana, Mahamudra, the Development Stage, Mind Training, the Middle Way, the Great Perfection! But whatever meditation you do, we talk about five stages: movement, attainment, familiarization, stability, and perfection. The first is like a waterfall, the second a river gorge, the third a calm river, the fourth an ocean without waves, and the fifth like an unshakeable mountain. These experiences are actually measurements.

Measurements of what? Measurements of distraction. Having the most distraction is the first experience, the waterfall, and having a little less distraction is the river gorge. Again, when you’re a little calmer and when the rough distractions are gone, but subtle distractions are still there, it is the calm river. If you have less subtle distraction, that’s the ocean without waves, and even less, the mountain. So when you do meditation, you should know that the unshakeable fortress of meditation is non-distraction.

3. Conduct

Dharma practitioners should have a good conduct. Conduct is very important and on a simple level, we can say not doing harmful things to oneself and others and doing things to benefit others and oneself. Basically not harming others physically, verbally, or mentally. Bottom line; always being mindful of your conduct.

In the Mirror of Mindfulness, my master, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche said, “When you don’t have mindfulness, you are a shit pot. When you don’t have any mindfulness, you are a dead body.”

To clarify Rinpoche’s quote, no matter how much you clean yourself, with brushing or washing, if you are not mindful of your conduct, you are always carrying that shit around and therefore you are always going to smell of shit no matter what. It is all the works of this “deluded mind” that we grasp to “what is” to “what is not” and therefore see unclean as clean, to what is impermanent as permanent, to what is selfless as having self, and to pain as pleasure.

So how can we work with this delusion?
By practicing mindfulness.

How to practice mindfulness in conduct?
By reminding. Not watching, but reminding yourself in whatever you do, to not forget what the buddhadharma really is. When you walk around the Buddha’s stupa in Boudhanath, remind yourself that you are walking around it to tame your mind. Remind yourself, “I am studying for enlightenment, to tame my mind.” Whatever you do, you need to remember the main core of the Buddha’s teaching; that is real conduct, how to keep conduct well. So please take it to heart.

I remember our late principal, Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk constantly telling the graduating class, “If you cannot help the dharma, at least don’t harm the dharma. Keep that in mind. Don’t think that you are acting alone. Individually, you are a pillar of the dharma. Individually, you represent the dharma. And therefore individually, your conduct will have a consequence on the dharma." So mindfulness in conduct is the key.

4. Clearing Away Obstacles

When you start practicing the dharma, you’re going to face obstacles. I asked Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche one day, “Rinpoche, why is it like this? Whenever I want to do some kind of practice, I have an obstacle. Whenever I don’t want to do practice, I have no obstacle. Why is it like this?” For example, whenever I start meditating, all my worries come up and whenever I meditate my answers to those worries also come. Whenever I start thinking, the answers don’t come!

When you have difficulties in meditation, what is the best way to remove them? You can check many Mahasiddhas’ methods, many different masters’ texts, but all the time they say the same thing. What? Devotion. All the time they say this, and we have difficulty with that. It’s difficult for us to practice devotion, but if you look in any text, by Tilopa, Maitripa and so on, they all say, “Visualize the guru above your head surrounded by the lineage masters, and supplicate to them, receive the four empowerments, and think that your obstacles have all been removed.” In all the meditation manuals it teaches the same thing. So devotion is key.

What is devotion like? It has three qualities: certainty in the dharma, pure perception, and remembering the kindness. Parents’ kindness is extremely important: your mother keeps you for nine months in her womb, gives birth to you, feeds and clothes you, and helps you grow up. Our parent’s kindness is very important. But who teaches you to be independent? Who teaches you to actually be free from your emotions and suffering? Who guides you towards the truth so that you can actually be free? It’s the guru. That is remembering the kindness. Then we also have certainty and pure perception. With these three qualities, you can develop devotion easily.

5. Enhancement

How to enhance or improve your practice? First of all, why actually can we not improve our practice that much? It is because we have so many things to hold on to, and to get hooked with. For someone like me, we have monasteries, monks, projects, and all the planning that goes along with it. For some practitioners, it’s deities and accumulating merit, and for some, families, cars, your favorite brand, etc. These days, I’ve started liking the brand Burberry. Before I didn’t even know what it was, but now I really like it, and it’s very expensive. I love Mont Blanc too. There’s nothing there actually, but I like it. When people look at you, if you’re wearing a Mont Blanc pen, you’re okay, but if you’re wearing a lousy pen then you are judged to be worth just that. So all the time, we are judging and being judged. And now you feel you need to keep up to that. You start holding onto things, getting attached, worrying, and that’s why our meditation practice cannot improve well.

That’s why many great masters of the past practiced pongdag. For example, I heard that when Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche reached Bodhgaya in India, a long time ago, he decided to give everything up through pongdag. Pongdag literally means to give up or to abandon. Khenpo Ngakchung did this three times. I also heard a story about Trulshik Rinpoche. For old masters, old statues are extremely important for them. You can give them a kilo of gold and they don’t care at all, but they really treasure their old statues. When Trulshik Rinpoche was receiving empowerments from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, he cleaned out his entire altar by offering all of his precious statues to him.

In the past, I would count everyday how many things I owned, how many things I had to give up. I would count each thing on my fingers. We need to learn how to do this, how to practice pongdag mentally, to give up everything, and offer it as a mandala offering.

Many masters say that when you go to retreat, you need to cut your worldly perceptions and then your practice will improve very fast, but if you bring worldly concerns with you then your practice won’t improve as much. So I try to tell myself everyday when doing meditation, first of all, to give up my projects, my house, everything. This is what I do first for five minutes. After that I give rise to devotion and supplicate and then I meditate. If you do that, your meditation will improve so fast that you will be amazed.

So these are called the five unchanging fortresses of the dharma practitioner.

Certainty in the view
Non-distraction in meditation
Mindfulness in conduct
Dispelling obstacles with devotion
Enhancing through pongdag

Don’t forget these five, and try to improve them. When you can improve these five things in yourself, your practice is going to improve. You can check a hundred texts, meet a thousand masters, but they are not going to say anything more than this. When practicing, too much information isn’t that helpful, but one pithy piece of advice, a key, can help us change a lot!

Sarva Mangalam,
Phakchok Rinpoche

10. januar 2011

A truly great course - should we try to make it happen again?

For the last couple of days, a small circle of twelve people participated in a very peculiar and profound event with Erik teaching on the bardo states of living, dying, being in-between, and arising again. The course had a nice practical agenda, not just of minding and preparing one's own way through the incomprehensible fact of dying but also of how to best help others. This struck a lot of deep dharma resonances, and connected many points in practices of meditation, philosophical doctrines, and stories of great teachers. There was an intense retreat feeling even though it was only 2½ days, with the entire outside world dissolving in fog and melting snow, with a beautiful warm group meditating softly together for hours, and of course with the secret magical ingredient of incredible food provided by Tara the kitchen goddess.

All very inspiring and useful even for narrowminded spirits like myself, who have trouble imagining anything individual, and particularly myself, possibly being solid enough to traverse the intermediary formless state and emerging in one piece on the other side. The entire practice makes perfect sense anyway.

Several people have aksed if I think Erik could be persuaded to give a similar course in Copenhagen. It seems he is not closed to the idea. If you help me push softly to bring this about, I'm pretty sure you won't regret it!

Niels Viggo

5. januar 2011

Dø fredeligt med kærlighed og indsigt

Weekend retreat med Erik Pema Kunsang 7 - 9 januar 2011

Tibets tradition indeholder helt specielle indsigter om liv, død og tilstanden ind imellem der kendes som bardo.

Vores kostbare liv bør bruges på bedste måde så længe vi kan. Men bevidsthed, ifølge den buddhistiske lære, er ikke noget der kan ophøre ved døden.

Vi kan selv være med til at forberede egen døds-migration; lære at genkende de fysiske og bevidsthedsmæssige dødstegn; lære om bardoens lyde, lys, farver og de forskellige verdeners tiltrækningskraft; og om dødsøjeblikket og hvad der sker indtil næste fødsel.

Vi gennemgår især den træning vi kan gøre nu der hører sammen med de fire bardoer: dette liv, dødsprocessen, mellemtilstanden, og genfødsel.

Der vil blive undervist i speciel meditationsvejledning som kan bruges af både døende og de pårørende.

Undervisningen gives af Erik Pema Kunsang, autoriseret Dharma-lærer og elev af Dzogchen mesterene Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche og Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.

Fredag d. 7 jan. kl. 17.00 - søndag d. 9 jan. kl. 14.00

Rangjung Yeshe Gomde, Smedehalden 3, Esby, 8420 Knebel, Danmark

1200 kr.incl. mad og værelse

Tilmelding og information: programs@gomde.dk

"Bardo læren lyder måske meget fascinerende og farverig, men det afgørende punkt er vores træning lige nu. Hvad nytter medicin når man er syg, hvis man gør ikke bruger den? Uden træning kan studier være ren intellektuel forståelse. Og hvis det er tilstrækkeligt, kan vi simpelthen læne os tilbage og læse en bog om Dzogchen. I virkeligheden er der ingen vej uden om egentlig træning. Hele grunden til modtagelse Bardo lære traditionelt har været beskrevet som den, "at tilslutte en brækket vandrør. "- ved at uddanne nu , vil man være i stand til at fortsætte "flow" i praksis gennem Bardo staten til følgende liv. I Dzogchen systemet Bardo træning er nødvendig. "Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.

Tag gerne Dødebogen (oversat af Erik Meier Carlsen) og Mirror of Mindfulness med.

4. januar 2011

Exploring Gomde

Dear friends.

Here is a new visual presentation of the environment and facilities of Gomde Denmark.

All the pictures comes from Sangha members and guests during the last couple of years.

In the future it will be a part of www.gomde.dk under "About us/pictures".

The presentation will be updated as better pictures are sent to us.

Please enjoy!

Love from Erik and Tara


2. januar 2011

Peace among all brother and sister beings !

Join the Gomde tiger cubs, Amber and Slate, in giving each other a New Year's hug.

And, watch Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche's New Year wishes for 2011: