We were privileged to have Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, Lama Katen and Ani Lhamo with us over the long weekend in March. We were joined by many friends, eager to retreat and spend some time the presence of the Lamas.
Activities included Dharma teachings with Lama Katen and Gelongma Lhamo, interviews, a slide show on the development of Samye Ling Monastery narrated by Lama Yeshe, an inspiring talk by Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, walks both strenuous, and not so strenuous, a couple of spontaneous teachings with Lama Yeshe, meditation, Green Tara and Chenrézik practices, consecration of the rupas, and offerings to the bodhisattvas, local spirits and deities. The retreat concluded with a refuge ceremony and a joyful last lunch together before we all went our different ways.
Everyone went away having thoroughly enjoyed their time spent with the Lamas, feeling blessed with the precious Dharma instructions, and having made many new friends in the fresh and wholesome TRC environment.
Here are some images of the retreat. Thank you to Michael, Martin and Pippa for the pics.
The Lamas met with the TRC residents, staff, management committee and trustees of TRC to talk about the way forward for TRC. Lama Yeshe offered wise words of advice, presents, and new names for our buildings. Keep a look out for the new names and signs!
Walks up and down the mountains, scouting out the TRC land with Lama Yeshe Rinpoche. The walk on the last day of the retreat took us to the secluded Tara Retreat House, where Lama Yeshe gave a spontaneous Dharma teaching, and said that there was no better place to do a retreat than at the Tara retreat house, which inspired quite a few people.
A smoke puja where the three whites (yoghurt, milk, butter) and three sweets (honey, molasses, sugar) were offered to the bodhisattvas and local spirits to clear obstacles. Alan and Sean manned the smoke fire while the Lamas chanted the prayers.
The rupas (statues) were filled with precious substances, sealed, and then consecrated with prayers in the shrine room. The sangha at Samye Ling Monastery spent many hours rolling the mantras that went into the rupas. The blessed contents include: A heart pill (contains long life medicines), an Arhat relic from Burma (not all the rupas have one), a Kaya pill (composed of relics from great Lamas), a Samboghakaya pill (with Dutsi blessed by great practitioners), a piece of cloth from the Precious Jowo Rinpoche stature in the Jokang Temple in Lhasa (considered to be the most holy stature in the world, and one of only two existing statures blessed by the Buddha himself), a Jowo Rinpoche relic (made from gold paint from the stature), a piece of cloth from the Buddha Shakyamuni Statue in the Bodhgaya Stupa, a small quantity of mixed earth, rock and water which was gathered from all the main Holy places of Tibet, Nepal and India, Bodhgaya, Mount Kailash, a Tento Rilbu (a special blessed pill left by Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche), Rice blessed by HH the 17th Karmapa, Mantras (zung), aromatic flowers or incense, and a Life Stick (sok shing)
The last evening, while simultaneous Chenrézik prayers were being chanted inside the Shrine room, the lamas appeased the local spirits with a Sur Puja around the fire pit.
The retreat ended with a communal lunch with the lamas, where the Lamas chanted food offering prayers.