News


Dear Trini Sangha and All                                         22 May 2019
There is a very simple instruction for people who want to attain freedom from suffering - and that is just to listen carefully to all the sounds one hears around you, both day and night. It's said many people have attained liberation by this method. It's very simple but it can be a very excellent way to practice.  It works because we are listening, not thinking or worrying or anything else. And also because we have to be aware of and in tune with our surroundings.  I recommend this practice to all but especially to those coming on our upcoming weekend retreat.
So upcoming we have...
Friday 24 May       6.00pm Start of Weekend Retreat in Toco. The retreat finishes 4pm on Sunday.
Saturday 1 June   10.30am Fifth Introductory Class at 'The Sangha', 6 Scott Street [note: no class this Sat the 25th]

Sunday 2 June        1.00pm Meditation  at 'The Sangha' 6 Scott Street
                                  3.00pm Sangha Meeting

  Note on the weekend Retreat at Toco ......  To be held at theToco Foundation Agro Tourism Centre' in Cumana
  The retreat will start at 6pm on the Friday but you're welcome to come any time after 12 noon.  There are 6 rooms available and Andy is giving us a generous 50% discount so they are $150TT per night per room. The rooms have a double and a single bed as well as adjoining bathrooms. There is a conference room where we will meet, a dining room and a big kitchen. The Centre is set in 7 acres of land and there is hiking and a river nearby as well as the sea - so bring your outdoor/swimming gear. The retreat will finish at 4pm on the Sunday, but if you wish you can stay a further night and leave on the Monday morning. Andy is providing a meal for us at 6pm on the Friday and Vidya and the Heeramans are providing all the other meals (which will be vegetarian - if you have special food needs please let me know: you might need to bring food and there are shops nearby). It's quiet there  [' If you have any questions you can call Andy Noel on 494 0470].

Please contact me as soon as you can to book a place/places.

We will also have a weekend retreat in June - from 21st to 23rd at Santa Cruz.

And we have ongoing morning and evening meditation practice here in Glencoe by Ingrid Zangmo at 6am and 6pm daily, as well as a Q&A session every Thursday evening at 5pm.

My phone number is 710 8413
With every good wish
Rinchen

With all one's attachments cut,
with the heart's pining subdued,
calm and serene and happy is one,
for one has attained peace of mind.                      Shakyamuni
~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                15 May 2019
Tradition has it that the Buddha was born on the full moon day of May (about 2600 years ago), was enlightened on the full moon day of May ('Vesak' - 35 years later), and died on the full moon day of May (46 years later).  And during the time of his teachings, 45 years, the monks would come together to recite their vows on the full moon and new moon days of the month.  And they still do.

So Vesak 2019 is this Sunday coming.  It's celebrated around the world with ceremonies, flowers and candles and if you would like to see a few photos of this click on this link
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/vesak-how-buddhas-birthda_n_1478896?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAABY-27EAeaEX1UTZ_jPV-J-3lsISC85LVEh6XdbVWY8_JV1AhE57UwQ8Nay9PMraA1u-c7YVtkq7KD7nmkLjwnk0WDxWNkksF-PARo-tWLSjikmMKaR8A_f6qCPia8j7wxnZzoqkMBq33CHIHq0pSHuck3l0-0ClIO4SxZQXpesu&slideshow=true#gallery/55a5e0e6e4b04740a3de5fdb/9

Two days ago this lotus, the symbol of enlightenment, flowered outside the apartment Ingrid has kindly provided for me (and her garden is where we meditate every day 6am and 6pm).
  
                                                                      

So if you are coming to 'The Sangha'  on Sunday and would like to bring anything to celebrate Vesak with you please do

This week we have coming up...

Saturday 18 May    10.30am Fourth Introductory Class for Beginners at 'The Sangha' 6, Scott Street
Sunday 19 May          1.00pm Meditation  at 'The Sangha' 6, Scott Street
                                    3.00pm Regular Dharma Meeting  at 'The Sangha' 6, Scott Street

Upcoming retreats:
Friday 24 May to Sunday 26 May   Weekend Retreat at Toco at the 'Toco Foundation Agro Tourism Centre' in Cumana
Retreat details:  The retreat will start at 6pm on the Friday but you're welcome to come any time after 12 noon.  There are 6 rooms available and Andy is giving us a generous 50% discount so they are $150TT per night per room. The rooms have a double and a single bed as well as adjoining bathrooms. There is a conference room where we will meet, a dining room and a big kitchen. The Centre is set in 7 acres of land and there is hiking and a river nearby as well. It's quiet there The Heeramans are very kindly providing food for us all.
[' If you have any questions you can call Andy Noel on 494 0470.  Please contact me as soon as you can to book a place/places.


We will also have a weekend retreat in June - from 21st to 23rd at Santa Cruz.

If you are interested in taking the refuges while I'm here please let me know.

 It's said that on that full moon day 2600 years ago Gautama sat under a tree in Bodhgaya, north India, and was enlightened, attained nirvana, and became Shakyamuni, the sage of the Shakya clan, the Buddha.

 Many followers of the path visit there at some time in their lives - the living tree being a descendant of the one he sat under. It's especially special for me as it's where I took vows with my lama, the head of our Bodhischarya sangha - Ringu Tulku
                                                                               

And yet we have to find our own sacred places at home or near home - and practice there -  even here in Trinidad!  And we can. This recent photo taken in our Northern Range
         
                                                              
We have had our first meeting of an environmental group as part of our sangha.  Our first project will be to clean up a beach in south - and have meditation and a meal there at the same time .

My phone number is 710 8413

Looking forward to seeing you soon
With best wishes
Rinchen


Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance should transgress the Dhamma,
All one's glory fades away
Like the moon during the waning half.

Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance never transgresses the Dhamma,
All one's glory ever increases
Like the moon during the waxing half.
                                                     Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                        8 May 2019
Once we have food, shelter and health we may think  "That's it.  I'm okay now".  And if you ever knew a time when you didn't have enough food &c this can seem a very fair position.
But for a good life we also have to attend to our minds.  Do we want our mind / our life caught up with worries and fear, endless swirls of thought, not knowing who we are, where we came from, what this life is for?  Because to live with such a mind is to be enveloped in dukkha, unhappiness, unsatisfactoriness or suffering 24 / 7
Fortunately for us Shakyamuni, an Indian/Nepali who lived centuries ago, was able to find the end of suffering as well as great wisdom and kindness.  He passed on the teaching to others, explaining how to attain this state. And they in their turn passed it on to others, and so it eventually reached down to us.  How fortunate we are to have the dharma here in Trinidad!  If we choose to 'tread this path' to we too can find this serene and compassionate mind.

If you're not sure if it's worth the effort, study and reflect on the two pictures below...
The untrained mind (or heart/mind):


   or would you prefer your mind, your life, day and night, to be more
like this....     

                                 

So in order to help ourselves accomplish this we have coming up...

Saturday 11 May    10.30am Third Introductory Class for Beginners at 'The Sangha' 6, Scott Street
Sunday 12 May          1.30pm Second Intermediate Class at Stollmeyer Estate House, Santa Cruz
                                    3.00pm Regular Dharma Meeting

Upcoming retreats:
Friday 24 May to Sunday 26 May   Weekend Retreat at Toco at the 'Toco Foundation Agro Tourism Centre' in Cumana
Retreat details:  The retreat will start at 6pm on the Friday but you're welcome to come any time after 12 noon.  There are 6 rooms available and Andy is giving us a generous 50% discount so they are $150TT per night per room. The rooms have a double and a single bed as well as adjoining bathrooms. There is a conference room where we will meet, a dining room and a big kitchen. The Centre is set in 7 acres of land and there is hiking and a river nearby as well as the sea - so bring your outdoor/swimming gear. The retreat will finish at 4pm on the Sunday, but if you wish you can stay a further night and leave on the Monday morning. We will be bringing our own food to share but there are shops nearby. It's quiet there  [' If you have any questions you can call Andy Noel on 494 0470.  Please contact me as soon as you can to book a place/places.

We will also have a weekend retreat in June - from 21st to 23rd at Santa Cruz.

And we have ongoing morning and evening meditation practice here in Glencoe by Ingrid Zangmo at 6am and 6pm daily.  My phone number is 710 8413

If you are interested in taking the refuges please let me know.

We have had our first meeting of an environmental group as part of our sangha.  Our first project will be to clean up a beach in south - and have meditation and a meal there at the same time .

Looking forward to seeing you soon
With best wishes
Rinchen


"Happiness is the main object of our aspirations, whatever name we give it: deep satisfaction, serenity, accomplishment, wisdom, fortune, joy or inner peace, and however we try to seek it: creativity, justice, altruism, striving, completion of a plan or a piece of work"                                    Matthieu Ricard

~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                             1 May 2019
We can be so busy living our lives and dealing with all the arising jobs and problems that we forget our basic good fortune and miss what is important while we deal with everything else.  So I'm attaching an article on that for your reflection.

May retreat

I've been here a month now and have two to go. Yesterday I was discussing with Julian and Marlene what retreats we could fit in before I go. For this month we are planning on a second weekend retreat at Stollmeyer Estate House in Santa Cruz. That will be 24 to 26 May.  If you would like to come please let me know.
June retreat

For June, Andy has invited us to the centre he runs which is near Toco. It's said to be very quiet. Rooms are usually $300TT per night.  There are 2 beds to each room. So it's a bit of a drive out and there is the extra cost involved but if you would like to be part of a retreat there please let me know asap.
An alternative / extra is 'The Anchorage' in Chagauramus which Marlene has invited us to for a day retreat.  We can be outside near the water or go inside if it's hot as there is AC. So there is also a bit of a drive but it's a pleasant place for practice (we've done it before).  We would plan though on a 7am start and a finish at 3pm so people can get home before the traffic builds up. Interested?  Please let me know.
Upcoming this week

Saturday 4 May     10.30am  2nd Introductory Class  at 'The Sangha' 6 Scott Street 

Sunday  5 May           1pm Meditation at 'The Sangha' 6 Scott Street 

                                      3pm Regular Sangha Meeting at 6 Scott Street   Talk / discussion on "The Three Refuges"

                                      5pm First Environmental Meeting (a 15 minute meeting to decide on a project/projects - please come with ideas)

Note: We were to be in Santa Cruz this Sunday but that has been changed at Karen's request.  The classes for 'Intermediates' will only be held at Stollmeyer E H so the next one will be Sunday 12th (I hope you're keeping up your 5 Tibetan Rites in the meantime ).
With best wishes to all
Rinchen

"Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life.  We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things"                                                 Pema Chodron



+++++


THE GOOD FORTUNE OF ALL LIVING BEINGS

This world, our universe, has a kind nature. I'm not sure why this is but it's the way it is. Or you could say it another way - that this mind, our own mind, has a kind nature.

The world we live in is a kind one, not a mean, indifferent or unpredictable one. It's amazing really. It never stops for a moment looking after us. Teaching us. Being kind to us.

That's our basic good fortune.

Whenever we act in accordance with its nature it teaches us, rewards us – sooner or later happiness comes to us.
And whenever we act selfishly it teaches us - sooner or later we come to feel miserable.

The Buddha's teaching was, in a line, “All things arise from a cause”. And these things, these consequences, these effects, are, you could say, the wake* caused by our own thoughts, words and deeds. These things create the fabric of our lives today – good, bad or mixed - smooth or rough.

The universe is trying to teach us to have a pure heart, a unified heart - because that's its nature. And our life's main job is to bring ourselves into alignment with that nature.

Our hearts are naturally happy when we are true, when we are kind, when we live a preceptual life (as Rinpoche says “With a little discipline we can live a very comfortable life”).
But if our life is a continual round of small selfish acts – maybe, for instance, even taking something that is not given, not really ours, and then having to lie a little to cover it, deceiving someone to get 'an advantage', then we are always a bit miserable, always feeling we haven't really got enough, got what we really want, what we really deserve.

The fact is, you might be able to deceive others for a while, you might even be able to deceive yourself for a while, even for a long,long while (especially if, by whatever means, you seem to be getting what you want - or else perhaps, you're in the habit of insisting you're always right) but in the end** you can't deceive your own heart.
And your own heart longs for oneness, for kindness.

This heart wishes to be part of everything - its nature is to be connected. And it doesn't like to be held back, concealed, separated - to be kept apart. Like everything else it's part of everything - limitless and kind^.

If we've created a lot of karma in this life (and/or the lives before) we can only perceive this interconnected nature - how things are - very dimly. It can seem we've been up against it, up against others, against the way things are, since we were very young. Other things have usually been more 'in our face' - seemed more important - causing us to continually react to them: we've run around the place trying to avoid things/people we don't like and trying to be with other things/people we do like.
Maybe for many, many years we've ignored what our hearts have been quietly trying to tell us (for instance “Don't get into this, don't do that. Help with this, help with that”).

So thinking and feeling that we are unique separate beings we've been forever seeking our own benefit. In so doing we've let our lives be degraded by greed, hatred and ignorance. We've been continually reacting to things - bouncing off things - like a pinball in a pinball machine. And we've failed to do what's important - to listen to our own heart, and to act in accordance with its 'still, small voice'.

To meditate is to connect yourself to your own kind heart. It's perhaps the easiest way in. We find that our heart/mind is clear and still. A little joy arises. We can see more clearly what we've done. We can hear more clearly the inner promptings, and act on them – and in so doing we find ourselves becoming more and more in accordance with the true and perfect nature of things. After a while, if we keep going and going, we find we are those things, we are that nature^^.
And all those around us are bought closer to their own true hearts – even without any contriving on our part.

~~~

* I think you can compare karma to the wake caused by a ship going through the sea. You are the captain, you are steering the boat and you are looking ahead of you to see what's coming - and choosing your course. You're involved with that all the time. You don't particularly look behind you to see the wake you're creating. The waves extend outward from your ship and keep on going and going for miles and miles. Naturally they will hit other ships and affect them.
And because the visibility at the helm isn't always so great, you won't always be able to see clearly which way to go. So, fearful, you will naturally steer a zigzag course and may come back over your own wake many,many times - perhaps wondering as you hit those waves and rock from side to side “Why do I keep finding myself in these difficult conditions?”.
To look back from time to time is to be reflective – to be able to see the effect of our will on ourselves and on the wider world.

** This clear seeing of ourselves and our lives will come sooner or later however much we wish to turn away, to ignore it. It's said in several religions that, just before death, one sees one's whole life in review clearly and just as it was (rather than as we have been claiming it was).

^ An idea - maybe the universe is, in part, kind because kindness allows for things to be connected (well, yes, they already are - but for us to see and know they are).
Through this kindness you can become one with all things.

^^ Not separate from other things implies we don't really have a separate self – our true nature is without one - is 'empty' of it.
In his book “The essence of the Heart Sutra” the Dalai Lama defines emptiness in this way:
'The teaching that all things are devoid of any absolute independent existence'


November 2016 Karma Sonam Rinchen







~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                        25 April 2019
I hope you all had a good Easter weekend holiday.  For those who didn't make it we had a good day retreat as well as a first 'Intermediate Level' class. I recorded two talks on the 'Precepts' and if anyone would like them let me know and I will send you the links.

Environment and future life on earth:  I mentioned during the Sunday class I would be very happy if sangha members would like to set up their own environmental support group. The Karmapa sent out environmental guidelines to his Kagyu centres 10 years ago.  I can forward these to anyone who is interested (note: following Ringu Tulku we are Kagyu school).

The Buddha pointed out to us how interdependent we all are with each other and all things.  It was one of his main teachings. 

The following is a quote from the Dalai Lama:
"Our ancestors viewed the world as rich and bountiful, which it is.  Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustably sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it. It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past that resulted from ignorance. Today however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to the coming generations"
As for me, although I was thinking of taking a degree in environmental science almost 50 years ago and have kept up an interest/support ever since, it's only recently I've come to realise we cannot simply try and lobby for political change but each one of us has to make changes for themselves, otherwise change is unlikely to come and future generations will suffer - probably us too.

Our expectations are to have more and do more.  But this is no longer a workable outlook for us all.  We have to be willing to renounce even the luxuries we are used to.  And of course renunciation is very much part of any spiritual path.  So simplifying our lives can be helpful to us as well.  And if we form a group and aim to help others, those born and those yet to be born, we will be living the bodhisattva life. If you would be interested in joining in please let me know (p.s. I'm already a member of a Trini environmental group and you may be too).  Maybe we can do something ...
So upcoming this week we have:
Saturday 27 April  10.30am  First class of Introductory Course at 'The Sangha' (see flier attached)
Sunday 28 April     1pm Meditation at 'The Sangha'
                                    3pm Sangha Meeting at 'The Sangha'  "Eight verses for training the mind"

As well as this we have daily meditation where I'm staying here by Ingrid in Glencoe at 6am and 6pm
My phone number is 710 8413
Apologies for such a long email

With best wishes
Rinchen

~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                                      16 April 2019
With the public holidays this weekend we have a chance to spend more time as a sangha practicing together.  So I hope you have free time and can come and join us.
So we are planning  (all in Stollmeyer's Estate House in Santa Cruz):

Sunday 21 April    1.30pm First Intermediate Class  We will start off this new series by studying and practicing physical skills conducive to our path of liberation through meditation - bows, Tibetan yoga and flows (acupressure). Please wear loose clothing and come with a yoga mat if you have one.

Sunday 21 April    3.00pm  Regular Sangha Meeting  Bassui's sermon on 'One Mind'  This is a teaching from the Cha'an tradition, the third class I'm giving since returning (the first was Tibetan and the second Theravaden. This is from the Mahayana tradition)
Monday 22 April   6.00am and 9.00am starts for a Day Retreat  Precepts and Vows finishing at 4pm

If you would like to come Sunday and Monday and would like to overnight please email Julian or phone him on 783 3791 and see if there's enough space for you. But if you will be coming from home it's fine to arrive at the later time of 9am.   Either way please bring vegetarian food to share.

I'm hoping we can start an environmental group. Interested?  Please let me know.
Upcoming we have a course of 6 classes for new people starting at 10.30am a week on Saturday (27th April) at 'The Sangha' 6, Scott Street. Please tell any friends who might be interested (you could forward on the attached flier). Karen has asked for more publicity material for this and asked me for a bio.  I looked one up and you can read it here if you're interested...
https://bodhicharya.org/manyroads/many-roads-before-us-by-karma-sonam-rinchen/

Hoping to see you over the Easter - or if not wishing you a good holiday  
Rinchen

"So whatever negative emotion comes, you can learn to let it go. And then compassion comes. Because compassion is the opposite of all these negative emotions"

                                                             Ringu Tulku from his book 'Radiance of the Heart'


~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                                  10 April 2019
It was nice to meet with many of you again last Sunday, this time it's over a year since I was last here... as well as meet with a couple of new people.
I'm planning on having a full session during my 3 month visit this time.  There will be a series of 6 introductory classes at 'The Sangha' on Scott Street starting Saturday 27 April at 10.30am. All welcome and of course bring a friend.

As usual the regular Sunday classes will alternate between the house on the Santa Cruz Road (on the road north out of San Juan) and Scott Street (below the Saddle Road and north of St.Clair).
For those who might be interested we will also be doing more advanced classes, 'Intermediate classes' every other Sunday at Stollmeyers in place of the extra meditation practice time. These classes will be for those who have been practicing for some time and if you would like to join please email, phone or text me 710 8413.
We will also be holding retreats,  The first one will be a day one and will be this Easter Monday. Please let me know if you would like to come.  If you are planning to come on Easter Sunday it will be possible to overnight.

I'll also be doing refuge ceremonies for those who would like to make this path their main direction in life. Interested?  Please contact me.

And if there is concern for it I think it would be nice to have a sangha environmental group with activities based initially on the guidelines of the Karmapa, the Head of this Kagyu school of Buddhism.  Antigua have already started doing this.

So coming up we have ...
Sunday 14 April    1pm Meditation;  3pm Dharma Meeting at 'The Sangha', 6 Scott Street.  Talk on 'Obstructions'

Sunday 21 April     1.30pm First Intermediate Class;   3pm Regular Dharma Meeting  at Stollymeyer Estate House, Santa Cruz
Monday 22 April    6am Day retreat at Stollmeyer House till 4pm (if you're not over-nighting it's fine to join us at 9am).
We also have daily meditation practice here by Ingrid in Glencoe and all are welcome to join us at 6am and then 6pm.
With best wishes to all
Rinchen 

 If you have a statue belonging to Bodhicharya Caribbean or any books out on loan please bring them on Sunday  


"The purity of your motivation in any relationship depends not on how closely related you are but on your intention. This is how we can become little bodhisattvas, little lamps, in our immediate situations, and light up our own small island. We don’t need to wait for a whole new karmic field to provide us with a situation where we can actively function as a bodhisattva. That might never happen. There’s a saying, 'As much as possible, with what you can see, with what you can touch—if you can be effective in that field as a bodhisattva, that’s where you will grow.'"    Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                         4 April 2019
I'm back on-island and happy to be here again. I'm staying by Ingrid Zangmo for the visit and we have started daily sittings in the front garden at 6am and 6pm.  You are welcome to come and join us.
This Sunday we are meeting at Stollmeyer Estate House [on the Santa Cruz Road].  1pm start for meditation or just come for the main sangha meeting at 3pm. We will be going through a teaching of Gampopa. If you want to discuss your practice I will see people during the early meditation periods.

During this 3 month visit I'll be offering an intermediate level series of classes and practices .  For those who would like to join in with that please let me know. It will probably revolve around a separate weekly meeting together with day to day practices.
It would be nice to have a day retreat this Easter..  If you might be free and like to come please let me know.
And, starting toward the end of this month,  I'll be doing a series of classes for new people  - invite a friend if you think they might like to come.  They will be held at Karen's Yoga Studio on Saturdays.
I have the same cell number  710 8413 - and even whatsapp these days

Looking forward to meeting you all and studying the dharma and practicing together again
With best wishes
Rinchen


O house-builder, you are seen!
You will not build this house again.
For your rafters are broken and your ridgepole shattered.
My mind has reached the Unconditioned;
I have attained the destruction of craving.              Shakyamuni

~~~
        
Dear Antiguans and All                                                      25 March 2019
This marvelous video gives us an idea of our place in the universe based on our present day understanding:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=775915155943506

Truely incredible (and beautifully done)!  Our physical position in the apparently limitless scheme of things.


And yet is this all we are?  The teachings say we should make our own way, our path, to 'the source'. That is the source of all things (i.e. everything - physical and non physical).  What is this source?  We have to each find that for ourselves and in ourselves and in all beings and in all things.

And no-one can send us a video of this.  So what is this source?  We each of us already have some sense of it, but you could say we become aware of being (enveloped in) limitless compassion and wisdom. How do we actualise this for ourselves then?  By finding and then following the ancient path of the Ancestors as well as we can. After all, they were like us before they trained themselves and found their own way to the source.


And in accordance with this, this upcoming week's sangha meetings are:

Wednesday 27 March     5.30pm Dharma evening.  At the BMC FalmouthGampopa and questions and answers and discussion

Saturday 30 March          9.00am  Day Retreat   At the BMC Falmouth  till 5pm

For the retreat please let me know if you would like to come (my cell is 721 6604).  It's fine to come for the morning only and leave at 12.30pm.  If you would like to come for the day please bring food to share.  And of course wear loose clothing.

I'm very glad to read that our new environmental group is making progress already.  Please contact Linda if you would like to join in. The next meeting will be Saturday 6 April at 11.30am - after the morning class at Winter's Medical Centre. Really we all have to do something  - the writing is on the wall.  That image of the world looks blue at the moment, but.....


I have a flight to Trinidad booked for a week today

Hoping to see you before I go

With best wishes
Rinchen


One is the quest for worldly gain,
and quite another is the path to Nibbana.
Clearly understanding this,
let not the monk, the disciple of the Buddha,
be carried away by worldly acclaim,
but develop detachment instead.                          Shakyamuni
        

  
    ~~~

Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                11 March 2019
I've just two more weeks here in Antigua now before heading for Trinidad.  There seems to be a whole lot planned for this time but if you would like to see me to discuss your practice before I go please get in touch.  I may not be back for a year!  This is partly because many sangha members here are very busy Jan to March so I'm thinking it might be better to come later next year.  We can discuss this at the upcoming meetings but we do have Ven Jin ho coming again around August - September.  We're hoping for 4 weeks,
So the upcoming schedule of meetings for this week is..
Wednesday 13 March   5.30pm Sangha evening at BMC, Falmouth  Talking about the 'Paramitas'
Saturday 16 March          8.00am    Two hour Introductory Class at BMC for Gender Affairs, Gov. Health Dept

                                           10.00am    Dharma Morning at Winter's Medical Centre   Gampopa's teachings

                                            11.30am    Second meeting of our Environmental Group (please come if you are interested even if you missed the first meeting.  We are looking for ideas for a project we might work on).
We are also teaching children in schools and inmates in prison this week.  Next Wednesday I'm to give a class at the 'Youth Mental Health Conference' - we are expecting 120 teenagers - and, straight after that, sailing to Montserrat to give classes there.
Cheri and Dina came up with a proposal on Saturday that people could make a commitment to give to Bodhicharya Antigua on a monthly basis.  This would be a great help to us.  If you would like to, thank you so much, please print and fill out the attached form and give it to Cheri or Dina.
With best wishes to all
Rinchen


Little though one recites the sacred texts,
but puts the Teaching into practice,
forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion,
with true wisdom and emancipated mind,
clinging to nothing of this or any other world --
one indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.
                                                                     Shakyamuni






~~~

Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                  4 March 2019 
We had a good 4 day retreat - well it was three and a half days in the end.  We were joined by a Trini family, the Heeramans,  from the T&T sangha.  Here is a pic of the work meditation practice - we made some progress so that we now have more sitting equipment available for all:  

 

We had a good discussion on the afternoon of the third day about the current environment projections for the next few decades and how they impact on our Bodhisattva way.  A Bodhisattva works towards helping all beings.  But if we think just of that we might forget that that also implies we should help to keep the environment we live in pleasant for all.  If conditions on earth worsen then helping others might well turn out to be aiding them in very adverse conditions.  Unfortunately it seems, by almost all accounts, we are heading for a time when life might be very uncomfortable for even billions of people living on earth, as well as of course billions of animals. We felt that if we are to avert bad times ahead everyone has to do something.  So we have decided to form an environmental group within the sangha and the first meeting will be after the class this Saturday.  If you are interested in this way of helping others please be there for that first meeting.
So coming up we have:
Wednesday 6 March        5.30pm Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 9 March             10.00am  Sangha Morning at Winter's Medical Centre off Fort Road
                                             12 noon  First Meeting of Environmental Group - please come along and put forward ideas of what we can do to help
I am onisland now till the end of the month.  A few of the regulars have been a bit irregular this visit so I'm hoping to see you before I go
With every good wish
Rinchen

Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house,
so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.            Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Antiguan Sangha and All                                       25 February 2019 Our true nature, that is to say how and who we fundamentally are, is very pure and kind.  Perhaps surprisingly this natural state of ours is not something that we have to achieve - for instance, by repressing our negative urges. If we have the skills to practice 'the way' then this nature unfolds by itself.... marvelous and clear. Very deeply touching. When this happens we feel we have at last returned to the way we truely are and there is a feeling of joy and completion that can make us weep.  We have at last successfully been able to carry out the work our heart has called us to do. It's not the end of the path but now we can begin to understand phrases like 'His/her life is the completion of meaning'.
This is the reason we do these practices for we've all acted selfishly many times in the past and the residue of those thoughts, words and deeds stays with us, year after year, obscuring our hearts. We have to learn to let go.

So this week coming up we have...
Wednesday 27 February   5.30pm Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth  Doing a practice together to make our compassion appear
Friday 1 March to Monday 4 March  Four day retreat at the Goodenough's, Rotten Hill.

No need to book in for the Wednesday evening meditation and class but if you would like to come for all or part of the four day retreat please let me know as soon as possible (please note there will be no Saturday meeting at WMC this weekend). This will be our main retreat for this year - come to it or part of it if you possibly can.

A Trini sangha family is coming to Antigua this Thursday and staying in Falmouth for a week. If you could offer hospitality in some way please let me know - a mother, father and 3 teenagers.

My mobiles are 721 6604 and 773 6625

I'm attaching some notes on Tonglen from Pema Chodron
With best wishes to all
Rinchen


Good is virtue until life's end,
good is faith that is steadfast,
good is the acquisition of wisdom,
and good is the avoidance of evil.             Shakyamuni

~~~



Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                                   12 February 2019 I hope this finds you all well.  We have the good fortune of having a Swiss doctor here with us this week, Dr. Frank, a world renowned alternative health practitioner, and his aim is to help people live long and healthy lives.  So his aim is similar to ours, and to that of the Buddha.
Even so we should always keep in mind this verse of Shakyamuni:



Better it is to live
one day virtuous and meditative
than to live a hundred years
immoral and uncontrolled.


  I think in particular those of us who come from other countries to the Caribbean can come with the idea of having a long  life full of all kinds of sensory pleasures and fun. No more cold weather for a start 
It seems to work for a year or two, or even a decade or two, but then the consequences of a self centred life can become more and more manifest and the means of covering them up both from ourselves and from others becomes more and more extreme until we can only connect with those who use the same alcohol/drugs as we do and are in the same predicament as ourselves.
The way of the Buddha is to forget the self.  How strange this can sound when we first hear it!  But how wonderful when, maybe after some years of training and practice, we find the self forgotten and a deep sense of happiness and rightness arises all by itself - a sense of the perfection of things just as they are - not restricted solely to the times when I get what I want. In fact in these years of training much happiness will have come from benefitting others.

We keep a daily schedule of these practices here in Antigua.
So coming up this week we have:
Wednesday 13 February    5.30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth  Meditation and a talk on Forgetting the self
Saturday 16 February     10am  Sixth and last Introductory Class at the A&B Museum on Long Street, St. Johns. Recap of the whole course and the giving of certificates.
                                                11.30am Class for Regulars.  The six realms of being

I am seeing people individually to discuss their practice/daily life.  If you would like to do this email or phone me [721 6604] to fix up a time. And please remember we have a 4 day retreat coming up 1st to 4th March.  Let me know if you would like to attend

You might like this video of Rinpoche -  'The Lazy Lama'
 https://bodhicharya.org/ringu-tulku/lazy-lama-film/
In fact it's mainly about the 3 year retreat that was held 10 years ago at the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre in Sikkim.
If anyone would like to do a 3 year retreat please let me know 

With best wishes

Rinchen

Better it is to live
one day virtuous and meditative
than to live a hundred years
immoral and uncontrolled.                             Shakymuni





~~~

Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                 30 January 2019
Last weekend we had a very good retreat starting on the Friday evening - but also fitted in a 3rd introductory class at the museum in town on the Saturday morning (see pic below) so with the 6.30am start and the afternoon retreat time it was a nice way to spend my birthday.  The Trini sangha were meeting for retreat at the same time - see second pic.








We have been doing as well as the usual meditation, walks and talks, some mudras (acupressure or flows) which people seem to be finding useful so I plan to do more of them in the coming weeks.  We also studied a talk by Bassui, a Japanese master, on 'One Mind'.

This week we have starting tonight...
Wednesday 30 January  5.30pm Dharma Evening at BMC Falmouth (we will be looking at 'habits').
Saturday 2 February       10am Fourth Inroductory Class for new people at the A&B Museum on Long Street (mindfulness)
                                            11.30am Class for regulars at the museum (on regret and purificition).

The next retreat will be the main one for my visit and will be 4 days - Friday 1st March to Monday 4th March.  I will also do one just before I leave on 29 to 31 March.  I leave on 1st April. If you would like to come to either r both of these retreats please let me know.

I'm also planning on going up to St.Martin where a Tibetan lama is giving talks 22 to 24 February (expensive unless you ordain before then  - but please contact me if you would like to attend).

With every good wish

Rinchen




Silent in body, silent in speech,
silent in mind, without defilement,
blessed with silence is the sage.
One is truly washed of evil.                    Shakyamuni




~~~

Dear Antigua Sangha and Everybody                            23 January 2019 I hope this finds you well. I just read an interesting article from a zen nun ( we used to call them female monks) saying that the quest for enlightenment is a male thing and that it's impossible to give anybody advice on how to do zazen (zen meditation) except explaining the posture and then a one line teaching on how to use the mind. She was saying after that it's simply up to the practitioner - and to time....
I couldn't help but smile when I was reading her article which I thought was pretty good.  Nevertheless, as most of you know, the theme for my teaching for regulars this year is how to do the wisdom practices i.e. zazen, mahamudra &c.  And we have a weekend retreat coming up when we will go into it again and do the practice - over and over....

So coming up this weekend we have, starting this evening:
Wednesday 23 January     5.30pm Sangha Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  (we will look at a writing from Russia)
Saturday 26 January    10am Third Introductory Class at the A&B Museum on Long Street ( still not too late for beginners to join us)
Saturday 26 January and Sunday 27 January  Weekend Retreat  this will actually start on Friday 25 January at 7pm for those who can make it to Rotten Hill.
                                                                      For others you're welcome to come to the introductory class in townhe following morning or just come directly to Rotten Hill for 12.30pm (please bring food to share and we will start off with the meal).
Please let me know if you would like to come for the weekend retreat or have any questions.  My phone number is 721 6604 and I'm even on 'whatsapp' these days!

With best wishes
Rinchen


In case you would like to read an article on the formation of the female sangha  (2,600 years ago):

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-first-womens-march/?mc_cid=b2e4580e33&mc_eid=0831216482

and then the one from the zen nun referred to above

https://www.lionsroar.com/enlightenment-is-a-male-fantasy/

One by one, little by little, moment by moment,
a wise one should remove one's own impurities,
as a smith removes dross from silver.                    Shakyamuni





~~~

Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                                     16 January 2019 Last Saturday - our first introductory class at the museum was preceded by very heavy rain .  Still, some people managed to make it through and we had a good class. So as I think there may be some who wanted to come but were held back by the weather, we will go over the first class as well as doing the second class this Saturday. 
So if you know people who might still like to come, even for the first time, please let them know. And if you hung up any of our flyers please update them to say we will be start again from the beginning for this second class.
The same thing seems to happen in Trinidad quite regularly.  When we have organised a first class and have a nice place and are well advertise we get sudden heavy torrential rain - so that if you were to park your car across the road and come over you would be totally drenched on arrival!

So this week starting from this evening we have:
Wednesday 16th January   5.30pm Sangha evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre Falmouth.
Saturday 19 January            10am    Introductory class for new people  at the A&B Museum on Long Street
                                                   11.30am   regular class for Sangha members

Here's hoping for better weather
For details please call me 721 6604 (thanks to Katerin I have 'what's up' now) or Dina on 764 5594
I look forward to seeing you
Rinchen

Consort only with the good,
come together with the good.
To learn the teaching of the good
gives wisdom like nothing else can.               Shakyamuni
  


~~~



Dear Retreatants of yesterday                                    30 December 2018
As promised this is a copy of the last teaching Atisha gave before leaving Tibet.  He was one of the very early Indian teachers to help establish Buddhism in Tibet.

Best wishes

Rinchen







~~~


Wishing you a safe passage through 2019

 


With every good wish for Christmas and the new year

Rinchen

~~~

Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                        21 December 2019
I'm back here in Antigua and have been here for a week now.  We've had very good meetings at Winters Medical Centre and at the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre in Falmouth.  It's nice to be back.  I'm staying in the Mill House on Rotten Hill just below Dina (and can see sangha members there individually).

So first of all  - congratualations on keeping the meetings going since I was here last April, and it's really great that the government have given us land to build a centre on. It will take all of us doing our bit to make this a living centre that will benefit many people in Antigua - especially our sangha of course .

This time I'm here till the end of March and am planning on concentrating in particular on the wisdom practices of meditation during this visit.  Most of you are doing calm abiding practices and this is the next step and the heart of Buddhism and all true spiritual practices.

So upcoming, from tomorrow, we have:
Saturday 22 December     10am Sangha Morning at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road
Wednesday 26 December - Boxing Day - no evening meeting
Saturday 29 December 9am Day Retreat till 5pm (it's okay to come just for the morning)

We may extend the day retreat to make it more of a weekend retreat if people are interested.

My phone number is the same 721 6604

Wishing you all every happiness for the holidays
Rinchen

    
One is not low because of birth
nor does birth make one holy.
Deeds alone make one low,
deeds alone make one holy.        Shakyamuni

~~~
Dear Trinis 11 November 2019 Here in Europe we've just had our three minute silence to remember the war dead - Europe in the last century. We remember at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month throughout Europe. It's thought about a hundred million people died in the two wars.
So when we remember the Buddha's teaching on avoiding hatred and developing kindness it isn't just a small thing for polite society but something we must cultivate all the time, moment by moment.
I was very glad to see you're just finishing off the last day
of a four-day retreat. Very well done everybody especially Julian!
I'm feeling very fortunate as I had my prostate operation two
weeks ago and I think it went very well. You're not allowed to fly for six weeks and you have to see the surgeon after eight weeks for the results but I feel everything will be fine and I will be able to go to Antigua at the year end and then come up to you at the end of March.
The reason I'm mailing at this time is to remind you about the Canadian lady. Please see the paragraph below. Even if you drop in and say hi at some stage I know she would appreciate it.
Help needed  A Canadian member of our Antigua sangha has
to come to Trinidad for surgery. Her name is Jane Finch. She had an operation on her hip/leg in Antigua but it didn't work out well. But recently she saw a Trini surgeon who was visiting and she is to have a second operation or she would remain a cripple for the rest of her life. She is being accompanied by a lady friend and will be in Trinidad from 11th to 25 November.  The operation is on 14 November. She will be at the Fracture and Orthopaedic Clinic, 29 St Clair Avenue, St Clair ( phone 628 3643). I believe she is low on funds so any general help might be appreciated.
And talking of Antigua the government has finally sent the
letter of approval giving us land in a very good place to build a centre on. They also added their very best wishes for us. So I'm attaching a drawing of it. As you can see it looks very nice - not that big. I imagine you Trinis will be inspired to build a much bigger one for your much bigger island with all kinds of stupas and statues and extensive peace gardens :-)Think about it
With best wishes to you all and looking forward to seeing you
next year
Rinchen
~~~

Dear Sangha and Everybody                                                                 12 July 2018

My retreat in Ireland is going pretty well. I'm alive and well.  But I had to go back to England for medical checks and will be returning again pretty soon.
While I was waiting for the results last time I went up to Edinburgh, my old hometown when I had a centre in Scotland. There is a museum with some marvellous Buddhist items and I'm including a picture of a bodhisattva taken on a previous visit.
I'm also including an article I've just written for the island sanghas. Please think about it and perhaps discuss it at a meeting.
With every good wish
I look forward to seeing you again soon
Rinchen


Alive and well

We are alive but we don't know why. The world displays so many aspects good and bad. Different people live very different lives. Life can seem meaningless. How do we know which way to go? Or even if there is a true way.

Only we, each one of us, can find the way forward. But a few clues can be helpful if we feel ourselves separate and disconnected [which is not such a bad thing to start with].

It may seem strange, but the nature of the universe is kindness. When we act in harmony with this we feel happy. The universe, we, are pleased.

And yet as individuals we have our own wants and needs. Trying to fulfil these we can act in selfish ways, unkind ways. This leads to unhappiness. The universe is not pleased.

We have 70 years or so to figure this out and get good at it - at being kind. This being kind benefits both ourselves and others.

Although our minds are naturally good and kind there are many reasons why we don't act with kindness. So, for instance, we want/need things and are afraid we won't get them. Maybe we decide we will get them at any cost. And perhaps our objectives aren't very wise – like 'get rich'. After years of struggle maybe we succeed - and yet the cost has been and is very high. We experience unhappiness - perhaps isolation and very deep misery.

Or it could be that when we feel bad we tend to want others to feel bad too. When we come face-to-face with somebody we want to make it clear to them they're beneath us, lower than us.
Old ways die hard. We go round and round creating more problems and unhappiness. We get quite lost and can't find a way out. We're in a cage of our own making. Even if we were shown the way out it wouldn't make any sense to us. We wouldn't want to go that way. We're not very much in harmony with the universe or anybody else [but if somebody were to ask us we might say we're doing fine].

A way forward is to try even one small kind act - something we don't have to do, wouldn't normally do, and perhaps even goes against the grain to do it. Then see - does this give a good result - a little satisfaction? If so we could then decide to do this every day. Once a day. Maybe later we decide to do it regularly. We're pleased to find ourselves feeling more at one with things, with others. After a while we find we're doing it all the time! Finally we find we're not just doing kind things - we are kindness. We have become kindness. We are at last living in accordance with the universe. Now there is no separation, no fighting, no anguish. We are the universe. Happiness is our home. We are the completion of meaning.



Rinchen, Cork, July 2018



~~~
Dear Sangha and Everyone                                                                  2 July 2018
I hope this finds you well. I've just seen as notice on this site about the new European regulations. If you're able to read this please just send me a brief email - I'm not sure if it's now being blocked.

I would like to apologise for being so slow in updating this blog. I've been on retreat in Ireland since I left Antigua. Then I had to go to England for medical checks, and I've been waiting around for results but have decided to return to Ireland and carry on with the retreat. So I imagine I may have to go back to England and complete whatever is necessary.

But I hope you're all well!  I believe my retreat in Ireland has been going pretty well.  And I was able to go to a weekend at Dzogchen Beara with Venerable Khandro Rinpoche when I was there last time. 

I think most of you know that Venerable Jin ho, a Chinese Cha'an nun, is going to be teaching in Antigua from the 9th to 30 August. She is very good and I hope you can make this, or part of it. Dina good enough has kindly offered to provide accommodation for those coming from other islands. Her phone number is 268 764 5594. 

I should be back in Trinidad at 1 October and teaching and keeping a daily schedule there for three months and then going to Antigua on 1 January. I think most of you know that the Antiguan government have kindly agreed to give us land to build a centre on. We are very grateful to them for this and hope to be making a start on it very soon.

With every good wish
Rinchen

Above, across or back again,
wherever one goes in the world
let one carefully scrutinise
the rise and fall of compounded things.      Shakyamuni


~~~

 Dear Sangha and All                                            17 April 2018
We had a very good four day retreat.  On the first day Virginia took the refuges and vows and was given the dharma name "Jinpa" which means generosity.
In the days after that we spent some time looking at the 'nature of the mind' asking the question "Who are you?" This asking can be done in meditation and can go very deep. If we don't know who we are, what kind of a life will we lead?

I'm leaving on a Thursday evening flight to UK so the meeting tomorrow evening will be my last.


So coming up we have...


















  Wednesday 18thApril              5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached).   Saturday  21st April                 10am Sangha Morning at Winters Medical Centre, Fort Road (see map attached).                   

  I would like to thank all who have given generously to make my visit possible. I'm now hoping to go on a long retreat, and then spend some time with the Trinidad sangha before coming back here at the end of the year.

As you know, Venerable Jin ho, the Chinese nun will be coming in August, from the 9th to the 30th. I hope you will be able to make all of her classes which sound very interesting.
There's always a chance I will come back before the year end - if we get a cat 5 hurricane and my kuti, the little boat Lhamo, tries to go ashore.
With every good wish
Rinchen
       
Well done is that action of doing

which one repents not later,

and the fruit of which,

one reaps with delight and happiness.

                                                                                        Shakyamuni    
~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                         8 April 2018

So my last note at the top of the weekly emails was about the African / Antigua family and how they are so much now English and the simple delight in this. But for me it was the other way around - I came out to the Caribbean almost 50 years ago and found something very precious in the island culture. So after working upisland for several years I went to live close by a village in Montserrat - and stayed there for 11 years - doing meditation and just 'living the life'.  And the people who were so precious to me were often the 'old time people' - the older generation. To me they were the best of the best. They might work land in the morning and sit quietly under a tree in the evening. Maybe for hours. And you had a sense when they looked at you there was a deep and wise and kind and open looking. So I tried to understand that - wanting to be able to manifest it myself. And in that was my own delight.

Buddhism of course is simply that.  As Rinpoche says it's just to be able to experience things as they really are. That's wisdom. But it takes some time and training. One way or another, many hours of quiet sitting!  My first zen teacher used to say "The countryman has it but doesn't know it". And when I told her I had no Buddhist sangha  in the islands she said - "These people are your sangha". And she was right of course and I was fortunate to spend all that time on the Emerald Isle. [I went from there to monastic training].

So coming up we have...
 
Monday  9th April                    9am First Mindfulness class for Social Service Staff
Wednesday 11thApril              5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached).
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th April        Four Day Retreat at Rotten Hill  (it's okay to come for a single day).                       

 If you would like to take the Refuges during this retreat please let me know as soon as you can (please see attached sheet on this). Simonetta, now Khandro (dakini or angel) said she had a wonderful first week after her refuge ceremony :-).

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our upcoming retreat or if you want to talk about your practice privately.  I'm leaving Antigua on the 19th so it would have to be very soon.

My phone number is 721 6604.
With every good wish
Rinchen


The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering,
alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from bondage.                                                                                             Shakyamuni    
                                                                                     ~~~

 Dear Sangha and All                                          5 April 2018
Perhaps because I'm half Jewish, and suffered some anti-Semitic troubles in childhood, I always seem to have had a strong aversion for any discrimination against anyone due to their differences. And certainly the struggle of black people to be accepted by whites has been a heart issue for me. It still is - and of course it goes both ways.
When the first British West Indians went to England after the war (World War II -they were invited to come during the war if they would help with the European war effort) they received some kindness, but as well much very shameful hostility. It wasn't so bad for their children, the next generation who were born in the UK.  Now, for this generation.....many wonderful synergistic things have arisen out of this slow mixing.
Euri kindly gave me two tickets for the recent African/Antigua classical music family concert. The family was on a visit from their London home. It was marvelous to see the children and hear their music.  But equally good, for me, was their demeanour - their humility, their generosity of spirit, their ability to tune in. In keeping with the very best of English families. But they are simply Brits. So there's no victory of integration, because here no one is separate, feels separate.
Of course it's the same in the wider sense.  Buddhism is a training to teach us how to become one with all people and all things. We don't become great victorious champions. In fact we let go of the self completely. And it is in accepting everything we come to know true delight.

Simonetta  took the Refuges, Vows and the Bodhisattva commitment during the Easter Monday Retreat and was given the name 'Khandro' which means Angel or Dakini. I'm attaching a couple of the photos from that. Best wishes to her for her continued training - toward perfect angelic qualities O:-):-):-).






















So coming up we have...
 
Saturday 7th April                     10am Sangha morning at Winter's Medical Centre (see map attached)
Monday  9th April                    9am First Mindfulness class for Social Service Staff
Wednesday 11thApril              5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached).
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th April                 Four Day Retreat at Rotten Hill  (it's okay to come for a single day).                       

 If you would like to take the Refuges during one of these retreats please let me know as soon as you can (please see attached sheet on this).

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our retreats or if you want to talk about your practice privately.  I'm leaving Antigua on the 19th so it would have to be very soon.

My phone number is 721 6604.
With every good wish
Rinchen


The doer of good rejoices here and hereafter;
one rejoices in both the worlds.
One rejoices and exults,
recollecting one's own pure deeds.
                                                            Shakyamuni    

 ~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                                      28 March 2018
Rinpoche has brought out a new small Lazy Lama book - I haven't seen or read it yet. The one I like best at the moment is called "Relaxing in natural awareness". It's a great book for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. It starts off:

"Buddhism is about helping people to open up to their true nature. Our true nature isn't being disturbed or unhappy. If it were, we'd be content in those states of mind and would be satisfied feeling miserable. Rather, our true nature is peaceful, compassionate and joyful. And feeling relaxed in that". *

So as
usual he goes right to the heart of it in a very accessible way.  You might like to read the whole book....


So this week coming up we have...

Wednesday 28th March           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached). A teaching of Gampopa on 'The ten unmistaken things'.
Saturday 31st March               10am Sangha morning at Winter's Medical Centre (see map attached) Starting with 'Controlling your life' + +  How much should we do this?  Text from Dzigar Kontrul Rinpoche
Monday  2nd April                    8am  Day retreat at Rotten Hill.  Everyone welcome.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to come. Bring food to share for lunch. As it's Easter we will talk about giving ourselves completely. Finishing 4pm. (note one of Dina's dogs can be a bit difficult but she will not be roaming free).
April 12-15                                Four Day Retreat.  Rotten Hill

 If you would like to take the Refuges during one of these retreats please let me know as soon as you can (please see attached sheet on vows).

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our retreats or if you want to talk about your practice privately.
My phone number is 721 6604. With every good wish
Rinchen


Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house,
so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.
                                                                     Shakyamuni    

*A good selection of Rinpoche's books are available at the meditation centre for loan or purchase.           
  ~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                             20 March 2018

This was written by a zen Buddhist monk friend quite a few years ago. He was a Jewish New Yorker working in the restaurant business. Very overweight. He took a holiday in Miami once and was on the beach at his very lowest and called out "if there is anything / anyone can help me please help me". He went to a zen monastery as a layperson soon after that. I met him a few years later after he had taken monastic ordination. Some years after that he was made a roshi (master).

[Note: Ravensbruch was one of the nazi concentration camps in World War II where, it's said, 5 to 7 million European jews were put to death]

A Prayer of Compassion

Burton Singer
A few months ago a prayer was brought to my attention. It has greatly helped me in my training. It was found by the body of a child in Ravensbruck concentration camp.
Oh Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering - our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgement let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.”
This prayer has shown me the attitude of mind that I have been trying to work on in my daily life. It has shown me that one can look up in any circumstance. That one can have compassion and sympathy in any situation. That the teaching of all—acceptance is not only a teaching but an active and feasible way of life.


So this week coming up we have...

Wednesday 21st March           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached). A teaching of Gampopa on confusion (part2).
Saturday 24th March               10am Sangha morning at Winter's Medical Centre (see map attached) 'Controlling your life' Text from Dzigar Kontrul Rinpoche



We have changed the retreat schedule. Please see this revised schedule and let me know if you would like to come...

Monday 2nd April                          Easter  Monday retreat
April 12-15                                      Four day retreat
 If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know well in advance (please see attached sheet on vows).

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.
In case you didn't see before Rinpoche replied to my email telling him about the kind donation of the Antigua government giving us land to build a centre on:
"I am very happy that you have received the land from the government. How wonderful! I would like to thank you and all those who worked hard to make this happen. Thank you and best wishes Ringu Tulku"

Barbuda.  Barbuda is still in need of much help and will continue to remain like that for some time. If you would like to donate online to a reputable organisation you can  if you have a PayPal account.  Go to www.foundationhalo.org
My phone number is 721 6604. With every good wish
Rinchen


Slay anger and you will be happy,
slay anger and you will not sorrow.
For the slaying of anger in all its forms
with its poisoned root and sweet sting —
that is the slaying the nobles praise;
with anger slain one weeps no more.
                                                                     Shakyamuni                           
                                

~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                    14 March 2018


In the teaching we're looking at by Gampopa he warns about teachers who pretend to be able to make predictions about the future when in fact they don't have this ability (which some high lamas do have - due to their deep meditation practice).
Of course we're all interested in being able to do that, being able to see into the future. Even better than that though is to purify our minds so that our future will be good however things turn out.  And as well we will be able to help those around us. We will be ready.

Of course that's me speaking as a monk, but as a mariner I've been looking online to see how things are likely to be in the second half of this year in Antigua. Only one company predicted the severe hurricanes we had last year which as you know led to the the severe damage in Barbuda (and there is still most of the rebuilding left to be done - see below for how you can help). The same company has said that they expect this year could be a little worse with eight hurricanes, four of which could be as powerful as the one that damaged Barbuda. So now is the time to consider what we need to do to be ready.

Being ready is the way of the bodhisattva.
 Avalokiteshvara [Chenrezig in Tibetan] is 'the one who listens for the cries of the world'.  She / he is always listening, ready to go and help...
                                       


                   She's also is the source of the most common and perhaps most effective Tibetan mantra (which you might like to try repeating over and over)....                         
                                                          oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ









So this week coming up we have...

Wednesday 14th March           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached). A teaching of Gampopa on confusion.
Saturday 17th March               10am Sangha morning at Winter's Medical Centre (see map attached)

Wednesday 21st March           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached). Completing the teaching of Gampopa on confusion.
Below is the continuing schedule of retreats and practice days for my current visit here. Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of them and I'll put your name down.
Sunday 25th March                   Day retreat
Sunday, 1 April                          Easter  Day retreat
April 12-15                                  Four day retreat
 If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know well in advance.
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.
In case you didn't see before Rinpoche replied to my email telling him about the kind donation of the Antigua government giving us land to build a centre on:
"I am very happy that you have received the land from the government. How wonderful! I would like to thank you and all those who worked hard to make this happen. Thank you and best wishes Ringu Tulku"

Barbuda.  Barbuda is still in need of much help and will continue to remain like that for some time. If you would like to donate online to a reputable organisation you can  if you have a PayPal account.  Go to www.foundationhalo.org
My phone number is 721 6604. With every good wish


Delight in heedfulness!
Guard well your thoughts!
Draw yourself out of this bog of evil,
even as an elephant draws itself out of the mud.
                                                                     Shakyamuni                           
                                


~~~


 Dear Sangha and All                                                 7 March 2018
This week Antigua has huge waves coming down from the north. They are affecting our beaches even now. These breaking waves are up to 12 feet high. Our winds are going back to normal but waves like these, coming from a 'norther', or depression, off North America can build up very quickly out of nothing - even on a windless day. Suddenly your coastline or boat or marina is at risk.
 I think karma can come to us in a similar way - our past karma manifesting 'out of nowhere'. So we keep up our daily practice. It's said that through doing this many things which would have come back to us never really manifest.

So this week coming up we have...

Wednesday 7th March           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached).   Loving kindness                                                Saturday 10th March  and Sunday 11th March    Weekend retreat 8am to 4pm both days.  Rotten Hill.  A 'pointing out instruction' from Rinpoche (on how to live  the best of lives - based on his commentary on "The quintessential practice unifying mahamudra and Mahasandhi").  Also commentary and discussion on writings from Gampopa.

For this retreat you're welcome to come  for the whole retreat, or just for the Saturday. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to come.
Below is the continuing schedule of retreats and practice days for my current visit here. Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of them and I'll put your name down.
Sunday 25th March                   Day retreat
Sunday, 1 April                          Easter  Day retreat
April 12-15                                  Four day retreat
 If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know well in advance.
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.
In case you didn't see before Rinpoche replied to my email telling him about the kind donation of the Antigua government giving us land to build a centre on:
"I am very happy that you have received the land from the government. How wonderful! I would like to thank you and all those who worked hard to make this happen. Thank you and best wishes Ringu Tulku"

Barbuda.  Barbuda is still in need of much help and will continue to remain like that for some time. If you would like to donate online to a reputable organisation you can  if you have a PayPal account.  Go to www.foundationhalo.org
My phone number is 721 6604. With every good wish
Rinchen


 I have love for the footless,
for the bipeds too I have love;
I have love for those with four feet,
for the many-footed I have love.
                                                   Shakyamuni  
                               

~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                                                        28 February 2018
We had a good day retreat on Saturday studying death and dying. You might not imagine it but it was both a serious study and a happy practice day for us all.
I will finish off where we left off this Wednesday evening with a talk on forgiveness.

Saturday I'll give a talk based on a class Rinpoche gave to the Bodhicharya Irish sangha at Dzogchen Beara nine years ago ("The quintessential practice unifying mahamudra and Mahasandhi").  It's the essence of 'how to live the best of all lives'.

Rinpoche replied to my email telling him about the kind donation of the Antigua government giving us land to build a centre on:
"I am very happy that you have received the land from the government. How wonderful! I would like to thank you and all those who worked hard to make this happen. Thank you and best wishes Ringu Tulku"


So this week coming up we have...

Wednesday 28th February           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached).   Forgiveness                                                 Saturday 3rd March                      10am Sangha Morning at Winter's Medical Centre (see map)   Pointing out instruction from Rinpoche (the essence of how to live  the best of lives)
Below is a provisional schedule of retreats and practice days for my current visit here. Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of them and I'll put your name down.  So we have (aside from this week):
March 10th and 11th                Weekend retreat
Sunday 25th March                   Day retreat
Sunday, 1 April                          Easter  Day retreat
April 12-15                                  Four day retreat
 If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know well in advance.
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.
Barbuda.  Barbuda is still in need of much help and will continue to remain like that for some time. If you would like to donate online to a reputable organisation you can  if you have a PayPal account.  Go to www.foundationhalo.org
My phone number is 721 6604. With every good wish
Rinchen
Arise! Do not be heedless!
Lead a righteous life.
The righteous live happily
both in this world and the next.
                                                      Shakyamuni                                  


 ~~~

Dear Sangha Members and Everyone                                                22 February 2018
I was hoping I'd be able to tell you this sooner or later - but this is sooner than I could have hoped....:-):-):-)
...the Antiguan government are going to give us a long lease of some land at the old Holberton hospital so that we can build a centre and offer mindfulness and meditation classes to many different groups of people in Antigua, benefiting them all.  And that means too that we will have a place near St John's in a garden like environment where we can meet for daily practice.
We are truly fortunate! 

There are so many people to thank it's hard to know where to start but I think first of all, locally, thanks are due to our Antiguan government ministers for this generous lease, especially to Minister Joseph (Minister of Health) and Minister Fernandez (Minister of Foreign Affairs) as well as of course to all the other ministers.
Further afield we are very much in debt to Ringu Tulku, our teacher, for his kindness and wisdom and for coming to Antigua a year last November and giving classes and meeting people.
It was after a class at the Sickle-cell Unit two years ago that Dina came up with the idea of having a centre up there. Since then she's done much of the work to make this become a reality  - very much helped by her husband Andrew who has produced an excellent design for the building.
And yet I think without Dr. Raphael Evanson's skilfull help the proposed project might have not gone much further. Many others were involved, thanks to them all - especial thanks are due to those who helped us establish and take care of our new non-profit status, and to Mark Reid  who spends a lot of his time establishing useful ways of helping Antiguans. Cheri also gave us the confidence that we would find funding.

The first thing we have to do now is to survey the land and come to a formal agreement with the government over the lease terms.
 In the future we will be looking for help from our sangha members. This is a great opportunity for each of us to truely come to live the Bodhisattva life :-D.


This week coming up we have...

Wednesday 21st February           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map attached).   Noble eightfold path                                                 Saturday 24th February               8am Day Retreat at Rotten Hill.  A consideration / discussion of death and dying   Finishing 4pm (please book in now if you would like to attend. New people can come for the morning 8am till noon).
Below is a provisional schedule of retreats and practice days for my current visit here. Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of them and I'll put your name down.  So we have (aside from this week):
March 10th and 11th                Weekend retreat
Sunday 25th March                   Day retreat
Sunday, 1 April                          Easter  Day retreat
April 12-15                                  Four day retreat
 If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know well in advance.
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.
My phone number is 721 6604. With every good wish
Rinchen


Let one guard oneself against irritability in thought;
let one be controlled in mind.
Abandoning mental misconduct,
let one practice good conduct in thought.
                                                                   Shakyamuni  
                               


~~~

Dear Sangha                                                                  15 February 2018
Tibetan New Year - Losar - is being celebrated over the coming 3 days. The main celebration will be on Saturday.  There will be much chanting, music and festivities throughout the Tibetan world.
The King of Aspiration Prayers in one of these chants and I attach it for you.  I chanted it many times along with tens of thousands of others in Bodhgaya in 2009 soon after I joined Rinpoche's Kagyu lineage at 'Kagyu Monlam', a week chanting festival which was presided over by H.H. Karmapa
We will chant it together this Saturday if you can please print yourselves a copy.  We do very little chanting practice though it is a common Tibetan practice and I think you will find it is very pleasing to do.  I find the words very kind and encouraging, it was my favourate of many chants and prayers we did, and it can of course be done any time whether we are alone or with sangha, feeling fine or feeling at a low ebb.  It will still benefit us and others too.
Rinpoche is about to leave the Himalayas to begin his 2018 teaching tour, but he will be presiding over Kagyu Monlam in France this year.  In case you would like to join him...
https://www.kagyumeunlamfrance.org/
Wishing you all a Happy Tibetan New Year
Rinchen
 

A description of the tradition celebrations..

"On the first day of celebrations, much “chhaang,” a Tibetan beer, is consumed. Day two is Ghyalpo Losar proper and is the main event. Day three is a day of parties and feasting.

During this time, there will be traditional dance performances at monasteries across Nepal, the dances symbolising various myths and legends. One dance is the battle between a deer and a king, another between a demon and a “god.”

Just before New Year’s Day, everyone cleans out their houses, including the chimney. Festive foods are prepared as well. Soups with meat, vegetables, rice, and noodles are especially important. Dumplings in the soup may hide unusual items, which are used to describe the one who finds them. A piece of wood in your dumpling, for example, means you have a wooden heart".
 ~~~

Dear Sangha Members and Everyone                                           24 January 2018
Following Simonetta's  suggestion we started our meeting last Saturday with the 'Om mani padme hum' chant. This was a much better start than our usual one - so let's keep to this from now on. Denise has found a video of some children doing the chant, very young Tibetan monks. Could we play that before the meeting on the 3rd February please?
Apart from our usual twice weekly meetings we are also doing some daily practice together. Please ask me if you're interested in joining us.

Coming up we have (from today):

Wednesday 24th January         5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map)  Continuing with Yasutani's lectures on the 3 aims of practice

Saturday 27th of January         10.00am  Introductory Class for new people - upstairs in the Antigua Museum gallery (Long Street) Come along and bring a friend

Wednesday 31st January           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth

                                                        7.00pm   Food to share for all going up to the moon watching

                                                        7.45pm Leave for the Blockhouse (near Shirley Heights)

                                                        8.00pm onwards till dawn - Full Super Blue Moon watching - meditation by the Blockhouse

Saturday 3rd February            10.00am Sangha Meeting at Winters Medical Center (off Fort Road)  Comparing the Dharma to 'The Secret'

And now as you know  we have a provisional schedule of retreats and practice days for my visit here. Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of them and I'll put your name down. So we have:

Sunday 11th February               Day retreat - at Rotten Hill

Sunday 25th of February          Day retreat - at Rotten Hill

March 10th and 11th                Weekend retreat - at Rotten Hill

Sunday 25th of March              Day retreat - at Rotten Hill

Sunday, 1 April                           Day retreat - at Rotten Hill

April 12-15                                  Four day retreat

One or more of these retreats may be held at the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre. Please let me know and then put in your diary the events you are interested in. If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know well in advance.

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.

My phone number is 721 6604.

With every good wish
 Rinchen

~~~

Dear Sangha Members and Everyone                                      16 January 2018
I'm writing this email while aboard my boat. It's like a kuti to me - that is, a remote place for a Buddhist monk to practice. I'm here about half the week and the other half living ashore at Rotten Hill - due to the kindness of the Goodenoughs. In the zen tradition, for a monk, they say 'one robe, one bowl'. This very limited ownership is encouraged so as to provide a basis for renunciation and simplicity, but I think I must have heard 'one robe, one boat' :-)
Apart from our usual twice weekly meetings we are also doing some daily practice together. Please ask me if you're interested in joining us.
And now we have a rough schedule of retreats and practice days for my visit here. Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of them and I'll put your name down. So we have:
Wednesday 31st January          Super moon all night meditation - up Shirley Heights.
Sunday 11th February               Day retreat - at Rotten Hill
Sunday 25th of February          Day retreat - at Rotten Hill
March 10th and 11th                Weekend retreat - at Rotten Hill
Sunday 25th of March              Day retreat - at Rotten Hill
Sunday, 1 April                           Day retreat - at Rotten Hill
April 12-15                                  Four day retreat
If you would like to take the refuges during one of these retreats please let me know in advance.
This week we have coming up, from tomorrow..
Wednesday, 17 January           5:30pm  Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (see map)
Saturday 20th of January        10.00am Sangha Meeting at Winters Medical Center (off Fort Road)
Saturday 27th of January        10.00am  Introductory Class for new people - upstairs in the Antigua Museum gallery ( Long Street)
Please put in your diary the events you are interested in. If you have friends who you think might like to learn our practice please bring them along on the 27th.
Simonetta has asked if we can refrain from general chat before our Saturday meetings :-[. So let us try this Saturday to observe the 'noble silence' and see how well we get on :-D
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss our meetings or talk about your practice privately.
My phone number is 721 6604.
With every good wish
Rinchen

If one, longing for sensual pleasure,
achieves it, yes, one's enraptured at heart.
The mortal gets what one wants.
But if for that person -- longing, desiring --
the pleasures diminish,
one's shattered, as if shot with an arrow.                    Shakyamuni


 ~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                    5 January 2018
I hope you had a good Christmas and New Years.

I am in England flying to Antigua today.  I'll be giving a first class for the year tomorrow, Saturday, at 10am at Winter's Medical Centre [off Fort Road].

It takes courage, determination and kindness to 'follow the path', but then we will live the best life we can. So that is my wish for the year.

Looking forward to meeting with you again
Rinchen
 


Wishing all my friends Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

May you feel love, kindness, purpose and inner peace.
May each day be a festival, and each moment a time to enjoy.
May we do something each day so that we can be proud of ourselves because we know that it is good for many.

Ringu Tulku.  Sherab Ling Monastery. December 2017


~~~ 

Mid December best wishes for the winter and coming spring  
I'm in England at my brother's - having a family  get-together. In a week I go up to Throssel, the zen monastery I trained at before joining Ringu Tulku and becoming a Tibetan monk. A monastic friend of mine died recently so there is a memorial and scattering of ashes. It will be my first visit since I left in 2008.
A couple of days after that I'll be heading back to Antigua.
I look forward to seeing you again later in the year.
I was fortunate that I didn't need any operation in the end - to my complete surprise! And the hernia pain has reduced. I've started swimming again and getting  physically stronger. I managed half a mile yesterday. So I'm feeling grateful and pleased as I'll be 70 next month.
I've been thinking through how we could arrange things for next year. I'll send an email in the New Year with my thoughts but if anybody has any bright ideas before that please let me know.
With every good wish to you all
Rinchen


~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and Everybody                                   15 November 2017
We had a good 3 day retreat with several people coming and going but here is a photo of those still there later on Sunday afternoon...

All came to the retreat (except Jason who was working overtime filling up water bottles).  The children did very well attending everything, even the voluntary sittings.

We made some extra sitting equipment so if you wanted to buy something please let me know.

This Sunday we will be going through the "Bull herding" or "Ox herding pictures". This is a key teaching for any one treading the path. Ten stages of the path are identified. It's very helpful to have an overview of the path rather than just keep doing some practice day after day perhaps wondering "When will I become enlightened?"
Even though we are different people and start at different places we all have to tread, or go through, all 10 stages.
  Stage 1  Searching for the bull
 
I'm on island for less than 2 weeks now, but there's quite a lot planned so do come along and join your monk and others in the sangha. So we have coming up:

Sunday 19 November   
3pm Dharma evening at 'The Sangha', 6 Scott Street, St.Clair 
Sunday 26 November     1pm Mediation
                                           3pm Dharma evening at Stollmeyer House* .
We are also meeting Tuesday to Saturday 6am to 7.30 am and 6pm to 7pm at Ingrid's. If you would like to join in for meditation / discuss your practice during this time please come along / phone me [710 8413 or 295 4058] 

There is a fair chance, if we apply now, we could be given some land by the government. That would give us a base to establish a centre. Come along on Sunday to join in the discussion on this.

Keep up your daily practice - with a kind heart - that's the main thing.                           With best wishes 
 Rinchen
 
 Agony now, agony hereafter,
the wrong-doer suffers agony in both worlds.
Agonized now by the knowledge that one has done wrong,
one suffers more agony, gone to a state of woe.

Rejoicing now, rejoicing hereafter,
the doer of wholesome actions rejoices in both worlds.
Rejoicing now in the knowledge that one has acted rightly,
one rejoices more, gone to a state of bliss.                          Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and Everybody                                              8 November 2017
About 20 years ago a group of 1000 meditators met together in Chicago planning to do a week of meditation. Before the start their leader went to the Chicago chief of police and told him that he could expect the crime rate to go down during that week. The chief of police politely thanked him very much and saw him out of his office. But they met again at the end of the week and there had been a substantial dip in crime - to the complete amazement of the chief of police.
Recent scientific studies have now shown that the way we are, in ourselves and with others, affects those in our immediate circle, those in their circles, and those again in a larger outer circle! So one act of kindness, or even a kind thought ripples out into the wider community.  So our pure meditation, our kind thoughts, kind words and kind acts will spread in widening circles throughout Trinidad benefiting many people.
 This weekend we have our longest weekend retreat this year so do come along and join in - as the Buddha said "benefit all beings"

I'm on island for less than 3 weeks now, but there's quite a lot planned so do come along and join your monk and others in the sangha. So we have coming up
Thursday 9 November to Friday 17 November      Rinchen on retreat at Stollmeyer House* . If you would like to join in for meditation / discuss your practice during this time please phone me [710 8413 or 295 4058] 

Friday 10 November to Sunday the 12 November   8am start. Long weekend retreat. You're welcome to come for all three days or just for one day. Please book in with me asap. If you are willing to offer food or a meal please let me know.

Sunday 19 November      3pm Dharma evening at 'The Sangha', 6 Scott Street, St.Clair
Keep up your daily practice - with a kind heart - that's the main thing.                          

With best wishes 
Rinchen

 

Exalted in mind & heedful,
the sage trained in sagacity's ways:
One has no sorrows, one who is Such,
calmed & ever mindful.                              Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and Everybody                                                   1 November 2017
We're coming up to what in the Christian world has  been called the 'season of goodwill'.  At this time people make a special effort to be kind to each other. It's a very nice tradition.
As meditators we come to see things in quite a different light to how we may have been bought up to see them. We come to see that our minds are naturally kind and pure.  Wise too.  So we find we don't any longer have to make the effort to be nice - it's the way we naturally are (okay at the beginning we have to 'fake it till we make it' ;-)). With meditation, mind training, we find this true nature - it's what we're really all seeking, whether we know it or not.

I'm on island for less than a month now, but there's quite a lot planned so do come along and join your monk and others in the sangha. So we have this ..

Sunday    5 November          3pm Sangha evening at the 'Sangha', 6 Scott Street, St Clair (suitable for new people and regulars - please bring meditation equipment if you have it)
Tuesday 7 November to Friday 17 November      Rinchen on retreat at Stollmeyer House* . If you would like to join in for meditation / discuss your practice during this time please phone me [710 8413 or 295 4058] 
Friday 10 November to Sunday the 12 November    Long weekend retreat. You're welcome to come for all three days or just for one day. Please book in with me. If you are willing to offer food or a meal please let me know.
Today, tomorrow and Friday we have  daily meditation practice here at Ingrid Zangmo's in Glencoe -- we start at six in the morning and restart again at six in the evening (you don't have to book - take the La Horquette Valley Road to your right once you see Linda's bakery on your left. Go up this long road and the sixth turning on your left is where we are and it's the third house on your left. We sit by the Buddha rupa in the garden at the front in good weather and under the tent at the back in rainy weather - phone me if it's raining and you can't see anybody.
A picture from the past - 17 years ago I was a zen monk running a small temple in Edinburgh. I invited Ringu Tulku, a Tibetan Lama, to join us one morning.  We had a very good meeting and then a few of us went for a walk down by the nearby Firth of Forth.

 I'm now one of his Western monks. He came to Antigua a year ago.
Keep up your daily practice - that's the main thing.                          
With best wishes

Well done is that action of doing
which one repents not later,
and the fruit of which,
one reaps with delight and happiness.
                                                             Shakyamuni

*   Directions:
>From the East/ San Juan:
  • Drive north on the Saddle Road into Santa Cruz, past Uncle Beddoe's Supermarket, past Grace Gardens, until the WASA installation on the right hand side.
  • Turn into the second paved driveway on the left after WASA (if you cross over a bridge you've gone too far).
From the West/North:
  • Drive south on the Saddle Road, past Cantaro, past Paxvale, past the Santa Cruz Presbyterian Church & School on the left, over small bridge, turn into next driveway on right after bridge.
It’s the white estate house on a low hill.                                                                 

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~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and Everybody                                     27 October 2017
There's a meeting tomorrow on the Savannah for anybody interested in protecting our environment for both ourselves and for future Trinis. Did you know that Trinidad ranks second biggest polluter in the world (on a per capita basis)?
If you're interested then the meeting starts at 10 AM Queen’s Park Savannah opposite QRC. For more information:
http://mailchi.mp/954d1c00624e/sat-oct-28th-heart4climate-liveunited-nogreatertime-2454197?e=da69deded8
This is all very much about compassionate action to help all beings. If we don't choose our world somebody else will.  Our choices, our actions (or inaction) make our world. Then we have to live in it (as do those around us):


Rinpoche says all of our training, all of Buddhism, is just to transform the klesha - our negative habitual emotional reactions.

I'm on island for only a month now but there's quite a lot planned so do come and join your monk and others in the sangha. So this..


Sunday 29th of October           3pm Sangha evening at the Sangha, 6 Scott Street, St Clair Sunday 5 November                  1pm  Meditation at Stollmeyer Estate House *
                                                      3pm Sangha evening at Stollmeyer Estate House
Monday 6 November to Friday 17 November      Rinchen on retreat at Stollmeyer House. If you would like to join in for meditation / discuss your practice during this time please phone me [710 8413 or 295 4058]
Friday 10 November to Sunday the 12 November    Long weekend retreat. You're welcome to come for all three days or just for one day. Please book in with me.
We also have daily meditation practice here at Ingrid Zangmo's in Glencoe - Tuesdays to Saturdays until 4 November - we start at six in the morning and restart again at six in the evening (you don't have to book - take the La Horquette Valley Road to your right once you see Linda's bakery on your left. Go up this long road and the sixth turning on your left is where we are and it's the third house on your left. We sit by the Buddha rupa in the garden at the front in good weather and under the tent at the back in rainy weather - phone me if it's raining and you can't see anybody.    
     
                                     Lotus flower in Ingrid's garden yesterday



With best wishes
  Rinchen

Well done is that action of doing
which one repents not later,
and the fruit of which,
one reaps with delight and happiness.      Shakyamuni

*   Directions:

>From the East/ San Juan:
  • Drive north on the Saddle Road into Santa Cruz, past Uncle Beddoe's Supermarket, past Grace Gardens, until the WASA installation on the right hand side.
  • Turn into the second paved driveway on the left after WASA (if you cross over a bridge you've gone too far).
From the West/North:
  • Drive south on the Saddle Road, past Cantaro, past Paxvale, past the Santa Cruz Presbyterian Church & School on the left, over small bridge, turn into next driveway on right after bridge.
It’s the white estate house on a low hill.                                                                 

~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and Everybody                                         21 October 2017

There's no doubt we're in the rainy season now!  In the Buddha's day in northern India the monks would go on retreat for three or four months during the rainy season. There would be no moving from place to place. Days of meditation...

The rain can be a mixed blessing for some of us -  people flooded out and in real difficulty. Our way, living in the secular world, is to do what we can to help others, practical things especially, but also offering a kind word or doing a compassion practice - wishing it for the benefit of others. You don't have to spend whole day at this, just a few breaths can help. And it helps us too as we then become less self concerned. That's the heart of our way - to come to know emptiness, selfless existence - to be fully alive but without a sense of separation, without our all our non-stop selfish concerns.

I'm attaching a short teaching by Rinpoche on Tonglen, a key compassion practice, as well as a very fine article by Pema Chodren on starting Tonglen.

News  Last weekend we met by " The Sangha" in St. Clair and had an introductory class on the Saturday and the main meeting on the Sunday. It was especially nice as well to be joined by Raphael Evanson - one of the Antigua sangha (see photo).


We have our usual upcoming events, but the Stollmeyers have kindly given the okay for me to be staying at their estate house for part of November. This means we can do a longer retreat and I hope if you would like to come that you will be able to make it.  It will be held over three days and although it's best to come for all three days it will be okay to join the retreat on a daily basis. If you would like to come please book in with me and set the time aside.

So upcoming we have:

Sunday 22nd of October         1pm  Meditation at Stollmeyer House*

                                                     3pm Sangha meeting at Stollmeyer house (finishing 5pm)

Sunday 29th of October          3 PM Sangha evening at the Sangha, 6 Scott Street, St Clair

And looking ahead..

Friday 10th November           Start of long weekend retreat finishing Sunday 12th November after the Dharma evening.

We also have daily meditation practice here at Ingrid Zangmo's in Glencoe. Tuesday to Saturday - we start at six in the morning and again at six in the evening (you don't have to book - take the La Horquette Valley Road to your right once you see Linda's bakery on your left. Go up this long road and the sixth turning on your left is where we are and it's the third house on your left. We sit by the Buddha rupa in the garden at the front in good weather and under the tent at the back in rainy weather).

If you have any questions or would like to come to discuss your practice please phone me on 710 8413 or 295 4058

With best wishes

Rinchen


The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering,
alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from bondage.   Shakyamuni


*If you are coming from San Juan go up the road to Santa Cruz. As you're leaving the outskirts of San Juan 'Uncle Beddoe's' supermarket is on your right hand side. About three quarters of a mile on there is a small WASA installation also on your right hand side. The turn off to Stollmeyer house is about 200 yards further along on your left side. It's a large old wooden building painted white.

~~~

Dear Trinis and Everybody                                        10 October 2017
I'm sending out an early note this week because on Saturday we have an Introductory Class for new people in St Clair and I'm hoping that this will give you time to invite friends to learn meditation for the first time (or get a refresher if they would like to).
So please think of some friend who you think might like to learn this practice and bring them along (see below for time and place).
I placed a notice in the "what's on"/"events" columns in the Express, Guardian and Newsday papers. I don't normally buy them so if you are reading them and you see the notice please let me know it's in.
On Sunday we had a talk on depression and sadness. The Buddhist understanding here can be very subtle and very helpful. I'm attaching some notes on depression by Ven Dzigar Kongtrul from his book "It's up to you". They're very useful - especially his advice on how to face and reduce or dissolve what might seem like the beginnings of a depressive episode. 
I'm here in Trinidad till the end of the year.  Apart from looking after the sangha I'm teaching in prison. But I would like to teach in schools while I'm here. If anybody knows a school that might be interested please let me know.
So coming up this fortnight we have:
Saturday 14 October    10am     Introductory Class   for new people at Karen's yoga centre ( 6 Scott Street, St Clair)   Please tell your friends
Sunday 15 of October  3pm to 5pm    Sangha meeting   at Karen's yoga centre
Sunday 22 October       1pm    Meditation   at Stollmeyer Estate House (Santa Cruz road)
                                         3pm to 5pm   Sangha meeting   at Stollmeyer Estate House

Sunday 29 October      3pm to 5pm   Sangha meeting   at Karen's yoga centre ( 6 Scott Street, St Clair)

My phone numbers are 710 8413 and 295 4058feel free to call, or just come along to the daily practice here by Ingrid

With best wishes
Rinchen


They do not lament over the past,
they yearn not for what is to come,
they maintain themselves in the present,
thus their complexion is serene.                 Shakyamuni
  
~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                             5 October 2017
I hope this finds you all well. We have quite a few activities this month so I hope you will be able to come along and join in. And just to let you know a couple of things - Ringu Tulku is on a long retreat in Tibet but has emailed us a couple of times about the hurricanes and has been sending merit in the direction of the Windies for us all.
[ If you can help there are still collections being made around T&T].
Videos Several of Rinpoche's students in the Bodhicharya sangha in Europe have been putting together a large collection of his video and audio teachings - so that they can all be found in one place. To find out more how you can make use of this you can go to:
https://bodhicharya.org/teachings/
It's available to any member of the Bodhicharya sangha for 21 pounds [GBP] per year.  There is one course already available and it is Rinpoche's wish that there will be more put on the site in such a way that his students can communicate with him when studying a course. Personally I think it's all great :-).  It's sometimes said that the Buddhist teaching is what we go lifetime to lifetime seeking - yet not finding -  but now we have a chance to see and understand - teachings from an exceptional Tibetan lama with a long history of teaching Westerners.
Upcoming this month we have:
Saturday 7 October        2pm to 10pm    Divali celebration at Hutch's Calibri centre (see attachment). I'll be giving a class for new people      on meditation / compassion (towards the beginning of the afternoon I think).
Sunday 8 October          3pm to 5pm  Sangha meeting at Stollmeyer Estate House (Santa Cruz Road)
Saturday 14 October    10am Introductory Class for new people at Karen's yoga centre ( 6 Scott Street, St Clair)   Please tell your friends
Sunday 15 of October  3pm to 5pm Sangha meeting at Karen yoga centre
Sunday 22 October      1pm  Meditation at Stollmeyer house
                                         3pm to 5pm  Sangha meeting at Stollmeyer Estate House (Santa Cruz road)
Sunday 29 October     3pm to 5pm Sangha meeting at Karen's yoga centre
My phone numbers are 710 8413 and 295 4058feel free to call, or just come along to the daily practice here by Ingrid

With best wishes

Rinchen


Good is restraint in the body; good is restraint in speech;
good is restraint in thought. Restraint everywhere is good.
The monk restrained in every way
is freed from all suffering.                       Shakyamuni



 ~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and all                                                29th September 2017
I took this photo while on retreat in Ireland this summer

All beings have the Buddha Nature - or pure enlightened nature - but this is obscured due to all their past negative thoughts, words and deeds.  So we have to clarify our minds to find this nature - then train ourselves to live in that fortunate, peaceful and wise state. 

To that end, we have coming up this month:

Sunday 1st October   2:50pm  Meet up by Hutch (below his house - see map)  3pm meeting in the cabin up the hill, finish 5pm       Talk on the Buddha Nature
Sunday 8th October   3pm Sangha meeting in Stollmeyer House (Santa Cruz Road)   finishing at 5pm
Sunday, 15 October    3pm Introductory class and regular meeting at Sangha Yoga Studio, 6 Scott St., St.Clair  finishing at 5pm
Sunday, 22 October    3pm Sangha meeting in Stollmeyer House (Santa Cruz Road)   finishing at 5pm
Sunday 29 October     3pm sangha meeting at Sangha Yoga Studio, 6 Scott St., St.Clair  finishing at 5pm

We have also been invited to Diwali at Hutch's Colibri centre Saturday 7th October from 2pm to 10pm (see notice attached).

You are welcome to join any or all of our meetings. We also are having daily meditation practice here at Ingrid Zangmo's in Glencoe. Yesterday Rudy and I set up a rain shelter in the back garden. This morning we had  strong winds and rain and it works very well!
So we have meditation here  Tuesdays to Saturdays 6am to 7:30am and 6pm to 7pm daily (but not this evening). If you don't see us in the front garden then phone me on 710 8413 and I'll come round and open the gate for you.
[To get to Ingrid's you take the Western Main Road out of Port of Spain and go past the Diego Martin turn-off and past Westmoorings. Half a mile along you will see Linda's bakery on your left side. Take the right fork immediately after that and go up to the sixth turn off on the left-hand side. There is a mango tree on the corner. Turn into that short street and Ingrid's house is the third one on the left and has purple coloured walls and 69 on the gate].

Please feel free to email or phone me - 710 8413 or 295 4058  And did you know we have a blog? - google "Bodhicharya Caribbean Blog"

Hope to see you soon. I'm here now just till the end of the year.  Have restarted prison classes and am open to other activities any sangha member might think would be good to do.

With best wishes
Rinchen

Good is virtue until life's end,
good is faith that is steadfast,
good is the acquisition of wisdom,
and good is the avoidance of evil.         Shakyamuni
  


 ~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and Everybody                                               21 September 2017
It's nice to be back on island. I came on the T&T Express yesterday. Not quite as express as it used to be - we checked in at Tobago at 5am left at 10am and arrived at 2pm on the dock, PoS. I chatted with one of the lads in the engine room and it sounds like they're doing a great job with no real backup - no spares &c.
It's been a very tough time for the Caribbean the last couple of weeks,maybe the worst fortnight ever for the Leeward Islands, and as you know we're raising funds and food offerings - especially for Barbuda. Every single Barbudan was evacuated (aside from a child who died) and are now, for the most part, living in Antigua. 95% of the housing was destroyed. Rinpoche ( Ringu Tulku) is on a long retreat in 'China', but last night he sent an email asking if everybody was all right in the Caribbean sangha and expressing his concern for the islands and offering merit to us all here. It's very kind of him. I've heard from St Martin that the sangha I met there are all okay and that the temple building, Pema Odling, was undamaged.
Randy Rosan has been coordinating gifts of aid from our Sangha. If you can help please do. That is the bodhisattva way. randyrosan6@gmail.com
Since I was last on island Trinidad (late May) I flew to the UK first but spent most of my time on retreat in Ireland nearby Dzogchen Beara. I was fortunate to spend the last two days of July listening to Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul give talks there and a lung on 'Words of my perfect teacher'. I bought his book 'It's up to you' and I would like to base my first class here on a chapter from that "How to reconnect / more deeply connect with your Buddha mind" or "How to stay on track when you feel you've lost the connection". The title of his chapter was actually "Creativity"   That will be this Sunday at 4pm.
I spent the last month in Antigua and I think they're doing very well. There are plans afoot to develop a Mindfulness Centre as well as a retreat base for Caribbean practitioners. I've bought some plans with me if you'd like to have a look. As well as that they've produced a book of photos of Rinpoche's visit last November which is very lovely. A few Trinis were able to be there for that. I have a copy of that book with me as well and I'll bring it on Sunday.
I would like to thank all of you who kept the sangha meetings going and your practice going in my absence. Especially I would like to thank Julian Tharpa for being, according to Ingrid Zangmo, a rock :-)
Now I'm here till the end of the year. I hope we can have some good meetings together.I'm planning on going through some old teachings as well as some new ones. And I'd like to organise an introductory meeting for new people and would appreciate some help with that.
As well as this members of the sangha are welcome to join me for practice here by Zangmo in Glencoe mornings and evenings Tuesdays to Sundays. Some of our Sangha funds have been spent on buying a tent so we plan to erect that in the back garden so we can practice even during wet weather.  I have the same phone numbers 710 8413 and 295 4058.  Please feel free to call.
So this Sunday we have...
Sunday 24th of September  1pm Meditation at Stollmeyer House* (there should be time for private interview if you would like)
                                                  3pm Regular Weekly Meeting - Meditation followed by a Dharma talk [How to reconnect / more deeply connect with your Buddha mind] and discussion
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, and also the developer of a resort in the BVI, said of these last two hurricanes 'This is just the beginnings of things to come'. I feel the same. Things may well become more chaotic in the world. So now is the time to develop our own stability so we're not pushed around by difficult and unexpected events.
I look forward to seeing you all soon
With every good wish
Rinchen
I have a day
Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm,
even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame                 Shakyamuni
 ~~~

  Dear Antiguans and All                                                   24 August 2017
Just a short note to tell you, in case you don't already know, that we won't be at Winters Medical Center this Saturday - we have a retreat planned for the weekend.  So the next time we will be a Winter's Medical Centre will be 2nd September.  But our next class will be at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre in Falmouth on Wednesday the 30th (see schedule details below).
All goes well. The classes are well attended and people seem appreciative. It seems a bit like, after all these years, things are gelling here in Antigua. And, as you know, we are planning to have our own centre - hopefully in the old Holberton Hospital grounds. It's a good position, being central, and also a place where we can help others in need from the other nearby departments.

This week we applied to become a non-profit organisation and this should be actualised in six weeks.
 So upcoming we have...
Friday 25 August at 6pm till Sunday 27 August at 4pm  Weekend retreat    Goodenough's, Rotten Hill (please let me know if you would like to take part. It is possible to come just for the Saturday). Wednesday 30 August 5:30pm   Dharma Evening   Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 2 September 10am  Sangha Morning   Winters Medical Center
Wednesday 6 September 5:30pm   Dharma Evening  Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 9 September 10am  Sangha Morning    Winters Medical Center
Sunday 10 September  8am  Day Retreat    Goodenough's, Rotten Hill
So that's it. I hope you manage to make time to come along while you have your monk here onisland. If you have any questions or you would like to talk privately you can call me on 721 6604.
I think most of you know that the Karmapa (head of our Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism) came to England for the first time earlier this year. There is a nice video of the visit you might like to watch
https://vimeo.com/229382783 
It's about 24 minutes. You might even catch a glimpse of our Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku.  Rinpoche started a long mahamudra retreat yesterday.

With every good wish
Rinchen


 In every virtue all-accomplished,
with wisdom full and mind composed,
looking within and ever mindful--
thus one crosses the raging flood.
                                               Shakyamuni
~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                  17 August 2017
It's nice to be back here in Antigua. I've been on island for a week now and done a class in town and one in Falmouth. It seems the sangha has been doing very well since I left and I appreciate that very much! You come to be a refuge and a benefit to each other.
I've had much good fortune since leaving here after Ringu Tulku's visit - which was itself a very fortunate event for all. I went down to the sangha in Trinidad till the end of the year and then flew to Bagdogra in India and from there joined some of Rinpoche's students for a jeep ride up into the Himalayas to Sikkim (it takes about four hours).  I was able to do this thanks to the support of two members of the Antigua sangha (thank you both so much!).
Rinpoche has his main retreat centre in Sikkim:
http://bodhicharya.org/bodhicharya-meditation-center-sikkim-now-open-for-short-term-retreats/
It was freezing when I got there (literally) and it took a bit to acclimatise. But the first retreat started on 5 January and the second one finished on 22 March. During that time we had 35 talks from Rinpoche and between the two retreats myself and a nun had a five-week quiet period. If you look at the link you will see that it is possible for all of you Bodhicharya sangha members to go and spend time there. After the retreat I went back to Trinidad till late May and have been in England and Ireland since then spending a further seven weeks on retreat. So now I'm ready to face the big bad world... 8-)

  First retreat, BMC Sikkim, Jan 2017


Only joking, I'm happy to be back.  This morning I was going over plans for the coming month with Dina. As well as the usual Saturday morning and Wednesday evening meetings we will have a weekend retreat and a day retreat.
So upcoming we have, starting tomorrow:
Saturday 19 August  10am   Sangha Morning    Winters Medical Center (we will have a short introductory class beforehand. The main class is on the 'Two kinds of merit').
Wednesday 23 August 5:30pm  Dharma evening    Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (the talk is on 'Ending suffering' or finding the noble happiness).
Friday 25 August at 6pm till Sunday 27 August at 4pm  Weekend retreat    Goodenough's, Rotten Hill (please let me know if you would like to take part. It is possible to come just for the Saturday).
Wednesday 30 August 5:30pm   Dharma Evening   Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 2 September 10am  Sangha Morning   Winters Medical Center
Wednesday 6 September 5:30pm   Dharma Evening  Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 9 September 10am  Sangha Morning    Winters Medical Center
Sunday 10 September  8am  Day Retreat    Goodenough's, Rotten Hill
So that's it. I hope you manage to make time to come along while you have your monk here onisland. If you have any questions or you would like to talk privately you can call me on 721 6604.
With every good wish


Difficult to detect and very subtle,
the mind seizes whatever it wants;
so let a wise one guard one's mind,
for a guarded mind brings happiness.    Shakyamuni

~~~


Dear Sangha and All                                                                             11 July 2017

I'm in south-west Ireland halfway through a seven-week retreat. We have mainly misty, cloudy weather. This photo I took from my small retreat house early one morning a few days ago:





I'm returning to Antigua 10th of August and will stay till mid-September and then head for Trinidad and plan to be on island in T&T until the year end.

On a longer retreat there's a chance to see more clearly the nature of our minds, as well as to see habitual klesha* arising - and transform it.

It becomes more and more clear how fortunate we are to have come across this teaching and not spend a(nother) life just reacting to everything, making the same mistakes over and over again, and as Ajahn Sumedho said “reaping the same dreary results”. What did he mean by that? Well, as an example, we get up in the morning feeling a bit down.

We come to see more clearly what we are doing and then there's a chance to live in a different way. Of course this process, this seeing more clearly, and transforming our reactions takes time...

So when I come back I would like to organise longer retreats for anybody who is willing and able to take part.

As for our daily lives, after practice, we bring this clearer, kinder mind into our everyday world - feeling more joyous and pleased when we can find ways of helping others. And perhaps at the end of the day we go to bed thinking “Darn it, I have to lie down now for a few hours, but still, I go to bed looking forward to tomorrow”.

I look forward to seeing you soon

With every good wish

in the Dharma
Rinchen

 ~~~

 Dear Trini Sangha and All                                       20 April 2017

Our future   There are several forecastes coming out of America and Europe at the moment by different think tanks that are predicting the onset of many troubles overtaking much of the world - starting to get serious within the next 30 years.  Very much suffering for very, very many people. Hopefully we humans will act together over the next few years so as to avoid this outcome. But should things get very unstable, even here in Trinidad, now is the time for each of us to start preparing for it so that our minds are not overwhelmed  when troubles come. This is of course the basis of the Buddha's teaching - to transform our negative emotions:  Rinpoche says all of the Buddhist teachings and practices are given simply to help us transform our klesha (negative habitual emotional reactions - especially our fear and greed - which, in this situation, would be taking what you want without caring about others or yourself).
In zen monasteries it's often taught that all of our life's practice is to prepare us for death - so we can face the most difficult thing in the best way we can (and we would say the consequence of doing that would be a good rebirth). It's easy to see how, if there were shortages and instability here in Trinidad, we could easily act in ways that might not produce a good death or a favourable rebirth.
This isn't to be gloomy -  we all need to be prepared!

~~~
I'm on island now for another five weeks (I've been back three weeks) before heading for Tobago and then on to England.

Daily practice   As you know we have regular meditation morning and evening here at Ingrid's in Glencoe. Morning meditation is 5.45am to 7.30am and evening meditation is 6pm to 7pm. These times are good Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (not this Saturday - as it happens I have been invited to an event in San Fernando). You can phone before coming or just come 295 4058 or 710 8413
Sangha meetings and retreats   I'm hoping we can have some useful meetings and retreats over the next five weeks.  Events to put in your diary:
The provisional schedule is as follows -
April
this Sunday 23 April  2pm Meditation
                              3pm Sangha evening (class on the Kagyu Lineage Prayer - advice on how to find enlightenment)
Public talks:
Saturday 29th April   3pm to 5pm.  Workshop 1 -  on "Helping yourself and your community" given by Buddhist Monk Rinchen. 

                                                                (Everything we think, say and do starts with the mind. So training the mind is the key skill we need to master.  Then we can develop the greatest benefits for others as well as for ourselves. Talk, introductory instruction, questions and answers).
Sunday 30th April   10am to 1pm.  Workshop 2 - " Follow-up morning with new practices"  given by Buddhist Monk Rinchen  (A chance to put yesterdays teachings into practice and learn new techniques.  Further teachings and questions and answers).
Charge is $100 per workshop

Sunday 30th April   2pm Meditation  
                             3pm Sangha evening (final class on the Kagyu Lineage Prayer - advice on how to find enlightenment)
           All the above at Hutch's Calibri Centre
May
Saturday 6th May   8am to 4pm Day Retreat - Stollmeyer Estate House
Sunday 7th May  2pm Meditation
                                3pm Sangha evening    - Stollmeyer Estate House


Saturday 13th May   8am to 4pm Day Retreat - Stollmeyer Estate House
Sunday 14th May     2pm Meditation
                                    3pm Sangha evening         - Stollmeyer Estate House
Friday 19th May       6pm till Sunday 21st May    Weekend retreat at Calibri Centre (accomodation $100 per night)
Friday 26th May       Rinchen leaves Trinidad for Tobago
With every good wish


A person with good eyes,
encountering a treacherous, uneven place,
would try hard to avoid it.
A wise person, in the world of life,
should avoid evil deeds.                      Shakyamuni      


 ~~~
 
Dear Sangha and All                                                            12 April 2017
I hope this holiday weekend you can get some free, peaceful and happy time...   
.....alone or with others.
 
We are meeting at Hutch's new 'Calibri Centre' on Sunday afternoon. I know some members are planning a family weekend away so I wont continue going through the Kagyu Lineage Prayer.   We will cover another area of practice and there will be time for a discussion including any questions you might have.
So coming up this week we have:
Sunday 16th April   2pm Meditation at Calibri Centre ( for those who would like to do a little extra sitting - please see map - you don't turn off at the house but continue on up the hill a short distance - kindly come a little early so we can start at 2pm).
Sunday 16th April   3pm Sangha Evening at Calibri Centre (finishing at 5pm).
Hutch is kindly letting us continue to use his mountain hut for the first Sunday of every month and his Centre for two day retreats and a weekend retreat during April and May (I'm waiting to hear back from him confirming dates on these).
As you will know I'm now living by Ingrid and people are coming for our daily morning and evening meditation periods. You're welcome to join us.                                                                                              
Morning and Evening Practice in Ingrid's garden in Glencoe
Morning sitting is 5.45am to 7.30am (you can come and go as you are able).
Evening sitting 6pm to 7pm
(Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays)

If you would like to call me to arrange to come at another time my phone numbers are 710 8413 and 295 4058. You're welcome to come by and let me know how your practice is going /  have a general discussion on daily life practice.
To get to Ingrid's head from Port of Spain to Glencoe.  You will see a Linda's Bakery on your left (if you reach the big shopping mall on your right turn round and go back - you just missed the turn). Take the right fork immediately after the bakery and her short street is the 6th on the left off this road (there's an old  mango tree on the corner).  Her house is the 3rd on the left.  Please park in the street.
We still have a fair amount of our equipment in the attic of the house we were renting in Cascade. Hutch is willing to keep this for us in his big container opposite the Calibri centre, but we could do with a lock-up or at least some kind of large cupboard or container  to store the items in. Can anybody help with this please?
If you have any statues or items belonging to Bodhicharya Caribbean please bring them along on Sunday.
With best wishes
  Rinchen

Good is virtue until life's end,
good is faith that is steadfast,
good is the acquisition of wisdom,
and good is the avoidance of evil.                Shakyamuni       
         
~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                                                      7 April 2017

I hope this finds you well, content, relaxed and keeping up a daily practice....       

                        
          
I've moved from Calibri Centre by Hutch to  Glencoe by Ingrid. The reason is I'm only here for eight weeks and I'm now planning on offering morning and evening meditation sessions here - a place easier to get to for most people for short practice periods than the Calibri centre .  I would like to thank both Hutch and Ingrid for their kind hospitality.  Thanks also to those who lent items for my stay at Calibri - they will be available for collection after class this Sunday.
As well as this the phones work down here  - so if you would like to call me to arrange to come at another time my phone numbers are 710 8413 and 295 4058. You're welcome to come by and let me know how your practice is going /  have a general discussion on daily life practice.
I think we will be able to be by Stollmeyer House for three Sundays a month.

Stollmeyer House

Hutch is kindly letting us continue to use his mountain hut for the first Sunday of every month and his Centre for two day retreats and a weekend retreat during April and May ( dates to be confirmed).
So coming up this week we have:
Sunday 9th April   3pm Meditation at Stollmeyer Estate House (please come a little early so we can start at 3pm).
Sunday 9th April   3.30pm Sangha Evening at Stollmeyer Estate House (please note unusual start time - finishing at 5.30pm)
                                                Stollmeyer House is on the left side of the road if you are coming from San Juan heading for Santa Cruz.  You go through the outskirts of San Juan, past Uncle Beddoe's Supermarket and then maybe 3/4 mile down the road is a WASA installation on your right.  Stollmeyer House is the next entrance -  150 yards down on your left.
On Sunday and perhaps for most of my visit I'll be passing on some of the teachings of Ringu Tulku which I received in Sikkim earlier this year. We will start this Sunday with a discussion of the 'Kagyu lineage prayer' also known as the 'Dorje Chang Tungma' (please read through the attached copy). This lovely chant explains where our lineage come from - and also gives very good advice on how to practice.
Morning and Evening Practice in Ingrid's garden in Glencoe
Morning sitting is 5.45am to 7.45am (you can come and go as you are able).
Evening sitting 6pm to 7pm
(Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays)
To get to Ingrid's head from Port of Spain toward Glencoe.  You will see a Linda's Bakery on your left (if you reach the big shopping mall on your right turn round and go back - you just missed the turn).
Take the right fork immediately after the bakery and her short street is the 6th on the left off this road (there's an old  mango tree on the corner).  Her house is the 3rd on the left.  Please park in the street.
We still have a fair amount of our equipment in the attic of the house we were renting in Cascade. Hutch is willing to keep this for us in his big container opposite the Calibri centre, but we could do with a lock-up or at least some kind of large cupboard or container  to store the items in. Can anybody help with this please?
If you have any statues or items belonging to Bodhicharya Caribbean please bring them along on Sunday.
With best wishes
Rinchen


To avoid all evil,
to cultivate good,
and to purify one's mind --
this is the teaching of the Buddhas.                  Shakyamuni

 ~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                                          30 March 2017
It's nice to be back onisland after 3 months away in the Himalayas on retreat. I came back on Monday and
we will have our first sangha meeting of my Spring visit this Sunday 2nd April at Hutch's 'Calibri' Centre in Las Hermanas Estate which is just off the Gasparillo Valley Road near Cantaro village (see map).  Come for meditation at 2pm or for the meeting at 3pm.  Please plan to arrive a little early so we can start at these times.
I've been pleased to hear the meetings have continued well in my absence and I would like to thank everyone who helped keep the sangha going - particularly the senior members who lead the meetings by introducing some dharma topic.
This Sunday I will talk a little about my retreat in the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre in Sikkim which I was very fortunate to have been able to be part of.  There were two retreats lead by our Lama Ringu Tulku and an interim period of 5 weeks which was, for the most part, a silent retreat for me. I will insert here a couple of photos so you can get a better idea of it (I did the drawing of Rinpoche toward the end of the last retreat).





I will also go through a teaching on Buddhist practice.  This time I'll be here for 8 weeks and would like to see all sangha members more clear about why and how to meditate and practice before I leave again.
To develop in this life a truely clear, kind and wise mind  would be our most marvellous achievement.  Even without any effort on our part we would then become a benefit to all those around us.
See you soon all being well
Rinchen

 
Though one may conquer
a thousand times a thousand people in battle,
yet one indeed is the noblest victor
who conquers oneself.
                                      Shakyamuni

 ~~~
Dear Trinidad Sangha and Everybody                                            20 December 2016



Extra day of practice



We're meeting on Thursday for a day of meditation. That's this Thursday, before Christmas, 22nd of December. You are very welcome to come.

We will start at 9 AM and finish at 4 PM. We're meeting at the Stollmeyer estate house on the Santa Cruz Road.

Please bring lunch to share. You could bring a drink but the water in the house is spring water.

This is just a chance to have a quiet day before Christmas is with us. We will probably have a discussion / teaching and there will be a chance to go on walkabout.

I'm not sure how we will get the meditation equipment up there so if you have your own please bring it with you.

You don't have to book in but you can let me know you're coming if you like.

And it's fine to come for just part of the day as you are able.



Look forward to seeing you there

Best wishes
Rinchen
~~~

Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                   14 December 2016
I hope you this finds you well and looking forward to the Christmas holidays. It seems in the Western world everybody works so hard we sometimes forget to have time off to sit quietly (as was the way when I first came to the Windies). But maybe your holidays will be jampacked with activities anyway.
My news is that I just got my 'Protected area permit' approved for going to Sikkim (I picked up my Indian Visa from the embassy here two days before) so now I'm definite to leave Trinidad on the last day of this month. I still need to get another permit on arrival at the border but with a bit of luck I will do three months of retreat and Ringu Tulku will be teaching for a fair part of that. I'm hoping at some stage you all consider going up there to the Himalayas and staying at his Bodhicharya meditation Centre. So I'm very fortunate and looking forward to it.
But today I'm leaving the Stollmeyer Estate House after a five-week stay thanks to Julian. It's been a base for our activities and made it easier to have the retreat by Hutch and the Festival in his new centre. So thank you very much Julian.
[Julian and I did an end of year class at the prison last Thursday and, listening to the men, it was clear the classes and their practice have benefitted them very much.  They all got pizza, sodas and certificates].
For the rest of the month I will be staying by Gyaltso and we will have a meeting in his offices this Sunday.
So we have then:
Sunday 18th December   1pm meditation (at Rostant Advertising, 38 Murray Street, Woodbrook)
                                            3pm Dharma evening (finishing at 5pm).

There will be no meeting the following Sunday - Christmas Day.  If you would attend one up by Hutch on Sunday 1st Jan please let me know.  I've asked Hutch if it would be possible.

All are welcome to come this Sunday.  I'm expecting  one or two new people and will do a class for any beginners during the meditation period.
I think most of you know Eric, Zena's Montserratian husband.  He had a fall a couple of days ago and is in the main Port of Spain hospital. Please remember him in your prayers.
Should you need to phone me my phone numbers are 710 8413 and 364 2394
With every good wish
Rinchen


Agony now, agony hereafter,
the wrong-doer suffers agony in both worlds.
Agonized now by the knowledge that one has done wrong,
one suffers more agony, gone to a state of woe.

Rejoicing now, rejoicing hereafter,
the doer of wholesome actions rejoices in both worlds.
Rejoicing now in the knowledge that one has acted rightly,
one rejoices more, gone to a state of bliss.                                                     Shakyamuni



 ~~~

 Dear Trinis and Everybody                                         7 December 2016
I hope this finds you all well and looking forward to the upcoming holidays.

Last weekend we had a very good weekend retreat up in the hills on Hutch's land (see pic taken inside the hut) 


and that was followed on Sunday afternoon by the "Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment" which was held in his new recently completed and very impressive "Creative Light Centre" (pic of a meditation class going on there):

I'm here in the Stollmeyer estate house for another week - so come along while we still have the house as our temporary centre. You can come for this Sunday or at other times if you want to meditate or discuss your practice (please phone first).

So upcoming we have: Sunday 11 December        1pm Meditation.
                                             3pm  Sangha meeting till 5pm

To get to the house from San Juan go up the Saddle Road heading for Santa Cruz.  We are about half way to Santa Cruz on the left (go passed Uncle Beddoe's supermarket and keep going till you see a small Wasa facility on your right and we are the second entrance after that - you can see the old wooden building from the road if you look through the bushes)

My cell phone numbers are 710 8413 and 364 2394

I still have Bodhicharya Caribbean T shirts and several of Rinpoche's books for sale.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Rinchen


You have to do your own work;
Enlightened Ones will only show the way.
Those who practise meditation
will free themselves from the chains of death.                                  Shakyamuni 

 ~~~
  Dear Trinis and Everybody                                                           1 December 2016
It's traditional in many Eastern countries to celebrate the first Sunday of December as the day of the Buddha's Enlightenment. Shakyamuni, the Buddha to be, trained for six years (from about age 29 to 35) and then sat under a bodhi tree (we have one in the Savannah) vowing not to get up until he'd achieved full, complete and perfect enlightenment. He was able to do this after 7 days and 7 nights of meditation, and his words at this moment of liberation, as the morning star arose, are said to be those written at the end of this email.

So we start this weekend with a retreat. It will be held up in the hills in the hut by Hutch. It's not too late to join us for all or part of this if you get in touch with me very soon.

The retreat  will finish with the "Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment" on Sunday 4th December. Please invite your friends to this. You can see it on this link:

Kindly RSVP via the facebook link and share it on your personal facebook page.

  Any help with the festival itself would be much appreciated. So please do bring your friends and family and make this a successful event - helping others learn the way to enlightenment - and helping ourselves in the process.

[We still need someone to offer to bring bread to go with the soup; and if you have an igloo and can bring it with ice that would be a help - I think we have enough soft drinks coming but any more offered would be very welcome].

The festival starts at 2 PM and finishes at 5 PM. There will be Buddhist music, Buddhist videos, a talk on Buddhism and meditation instruction, a short ceremony, corn soup and bread and soft drinks. The entrance is $50 TT for adults, and $15 TT for children (small children will go free).

Hutch had the idea that those who would like to could come in Tibetan colours - yellow (or gold) and maroon. Please do.  I will

So upcoming we have:


Friday 2 December            6pm Weekend Retreat begins (up in the hills by Hutch)

Saturday 3 December      Weekend retreat continues

Sunday 4 December         Weekend retreat until lunch (down in the Creative Light Centre).

                                           2pm Festival Afternoon till 5pm - the Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment  (to be held at Hutch's Creative Light Centre - see map)

My cell phone numbers are 710 8413 and 364 2394

I look forward to seeing you over the weekend

Rinchen


Through many a birth I wandered in samsara
Seeking, but not finding, the builder of the house.
O housebuilder!
Thou art seen.
Thou shalt build no house again.
The ridge pole is shattered. 
My mind has achieved the unconditioned.
Achieved is the end of craving                                         Shakyamuni  
 
 ~~~

Dear Bodhicharya Caribbean Sangha                                  23 November 2016
We had a marvelous visit with Rinpoche.  He arrived V.C.Bird, Antigua airport,on Sunday 30 October (the government afforded him a V.I.P. welcome) and we were then very fortunate to have 3 days of his teachings.
On the Monday morning we had an informal get together with sangha in the Goodenough gardens (see pic below
   - most of the Trini delegation had recently arrived - you can see a few of them there sitting at the back on the wall. Also our one and only Pema Odling, St.Martin representaive in the foreground - the rest being Antigua sanghaThere are several more pics of the 3 days on the groups page).

In the evening we had a public talk at the Antigua & Barbuda Museum in Long Street, St.Johns. The gallery was full.

The following day we held a day retreat at the Goodenoughs and 46 people came for that. We started under the sail by the pool deck but rain came in the early afternoon and we moved inside where Rinpoche gave a second talk and 21 took refuges for the first time.

Wednesday morning we had planned a sail but at the 9am departure time there was not even enough wind to move the old Cariaccou wooden sloop off the dock. But in the afternnon we were able to have our last get together - held at our Bodhicharya Meditation Centre at Falmouth. Again we were packed out.  Rinpoche flew to the States the following day.

It was a marvellous time for our island sangha. The talks were very helpful and inspiring and many of the sangha were able to have a private interview with Rinpoche. He left us many leagues ahead of where we were just before he arrived.

So I would like to thank Rincpoche very much for coming all this way (he flew in from Nepal) to help guide and encourage our small sangha.

And I woulld like to thank all who helped make the visit work so well - especially of course Dina and Andrew Goodenough who hosted Rinpoche and provided the venue for two of our events, as well as so many members of the Caribbean sangha.      
~~~

We are currently meeting here in the Stollmeyer Estate House (see other pic) 3 times a week.  You are welcome to come at any time but particularly for the Sunday sangha meetings. We have changed the timings so people can drive home in daylight. So we start at 3pm this Sunday and will be discussing the attached text - "The good fortune of all living beings".  You might like to read it through before you come: I'm trying to find a middle way between Shakyamuni's origional emphasis on suffering and the Tibetan 'noble happiness'.  It's still positive - but that's just a reflection on the nature of our lives.

This Sunday we have an "Introductory Class for New People".  Please tell your friends about it. Bring them along if you can. It will be held at Rostant Advertising, 38 Murray Street in Woodbrook at 10am. This is Gyaltso's place of work.

And as you may know we are planning a weekend retreat.  Please email me if you would like to come.

This retreat  will finish with the "Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment" on Sunday 4th December. Please invite your friends to this. You can see it on this link:


Kindly RSVP via the facebook link and share it on your personal facebook page.  Any help with the festival itself would be much appreciated.  Ann Merise has kindly been volunteered to cover the soup and bread. If you would like to help her with this please email her at annmerise@hotmail.com

Hutch had the idea that those who like could come in Tibetan colours - yellow (or gold) and maroon. Please do.  I will

So upcoming we have:
Thursday 24 November    6pm  Meditation (till 7pm and we must be away by 7:30pm) at Stollmeyer Estate House
Sunday 27 November       10am Introductory Class at 38 Murray Street, Woodbrook (finishing about 11.30pm)

                                                1pm meditation at Stollmeyer Estate House

                                               3pm Sangha Evening - meditation, class and discussion.

Tuesday 29 November       6:30am Meditation (till 7:30am and you can stay on for breakfast)

Thursday 1 December       6pm Meditation (till 7pm and we must be away by 7:30pm)

Friday 2 December            6pm Weekend Retreat begins (up in the hills by Hutch)

Saturday 3 December      Weekend retreat

Sunday 4 December         Weekend retreat until lunch (down in the Creative Light Centre).

                                           2pm Festival Afternoon till 5pm - the Festival of the Buddha's Enlightenment  (to be held at Hutch's Creative Light Centre - see map)


Directions to Stollmeyer estate house:  it's on the Santa Cruz Road (you come from San Juan, from the Qwayzee, and after a good distance you pass Uncle Beddoe's Supermarket on your right hand side. You go further along past a built-up area, do a zigzag over a bridge and then on past open country until you reach a small Wasa facility on your right. Keep going for another quarter of a mile and you'll see an entrance on your left. You can drive in. We are in the large old wooden estate house).
I have a few Bodhicharya Caribbean T-shirts and several of Rinpoche's books for sale.

My cell phone numbers are 710 8413 and 364 2394 - but they don't always seem to work here in Santa Cruz valley.

I look forward to seeing you soon
Rinchen



By effort and heedfulness,
discipline and self-mastery,
let the wise one make for oneself
an island which no flood can overwhelm.
                                                            Shakyamuni
 
                                       ~~~                      


Dear Sangha and All                                                            21 October 2016
So we're coming up to the very fortunate time when we are to spend three days with Rinpoche. Even up to this morning he was changing his flights - he's coming all the way from Delhi - but I think it should all work out fine.

Before he comes we have 3 meetings.   The first tomorrow morning:
Saturday 22nd October 10am at Winters Medic Medical Center. Sangha morning
Then on Wednesday 26th October at 5.30pm  Dharma evening.
We will have a last meeting at Winters Medical Center on Saturday the 29th and then Rinpoche flies in here on the Sunday afternoon. Anybody who would like to come and greet him at V.C. Bird is very welcome. His flight is due in at 2:50pm and he's receiving of VIP welcome by the government of Antigua. So I suppose he should be through that within about half an hour.
Then as you know our meetings with him start on the Monday morning with an informal get-together of sangha and I'm looking forward to introducing each of you to him. You've all received the schedule now so please come along and join in. The only thing you have to book in for is the day retreat. If you haven't already done this please let me know you would like to come. There may be a chance to have private interviews with Rinpoche during the day so let me know if you would like to do that. And also of course if you would like to take the refuges with him. I will ask him to give a talk on this before that happens - which might help you to make up your mind if you are still thinking about it. But if you can give me a provisional yes that is helpful for the planning.

We are hoping to get two boats sailing around the coast on the Wednesday morning. It's all a bit up in the air of the moment but if you haven't put your name forward and you would like to come along please let me know.

I've been very pleased to see several of the sangha really helping out with the jobs that are needed before Rinpoche comes. This is the Bodhisattva life being realised.  If you would like to come along to and help us there are still things to be done. And we're still open to offers of transport - mainly to do with helping people from overseas - and even accommodation - if you can offer a room for two or three days please let me know.

Don't miss out on any of this we're so very fortunate to have Rinpoche coming at this time.

Note - the public talks could be very full so plan on coming early.

In case you need it my cell is 721 6604
With best wishes
Rinchen

“Awareness is our true self; it’s what we are. So we don’t have to try to develop awareness; we simply need to notice how we block awareness, with our thoughts, our fantasies, our opinions, and our judgments. We’re either in awareness, which is our natural state, or we’re doing something else. The mark of mature students is that most of the time, they don’t do something else. They’re just here, living their life. Nothing special.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck


~~~

Dear Sangha and Everyone                                        4 October 2016
This should prove to be a great month for the dharma* spreading to the Caribbean.  Rinpoche will be here before month end and will be teaching us here in Antigua for 3 days. He arrives on BA flight 2157 from London on Sunday 30th October and leaves from VC Bird for the States the following Thursday.
I'm currently awaiting his confirmation of a program - but we are expecting to have a public talk at the A&B Museum, a talk at our BMC centre in Falmouth, a day retreat - and informal times when we, the Caribbean sangha, can get together with him and ask questions and just spend time together.  There should also be times for private interviews.
We are hoping that those who would like to take refuges (see a recent email of mine on what this means) can do so during the day retreat.
There will also be more informal times when we take him sight seeing &c. You are all welcome to come for any or all of these events. Please note that Rinpoche is not traveling next year - so I cannot even be sure we will get this chance again. So come along and join in and be around and learn from a high lama. Try and keep Monday 31st October,  Tuesday 1st November (Independence Day and the likely day for a day retreat) and Wednesday 2nd November as free as you can.
If you can help with the preparations for the visit, or provide accomodation for visiting sangha, it would be appreciated. Please let me know (by reply email or phone 721 6604).
We're expecting to be joined by Bodhicharya sangha from Trinidad, St.Martin and UK.
So this week we have:
Wednesday 5th October 5.30pm Dharma Evening at BMC (Dina's workshop, Falmouth)
Saturday 8th October 10am Morning Class at Winter's Medical Centre (Fort Road).
With every good wish
Rinchen

*Buddhist teachings or the way to the end of suffering - to truth and understanding

A recent pic from Rinchen's visit to Pema Odling - a day retreat in St.Martin 24th September:

Silent in body, silent in speech,
silent in mind, without defilement,
blessed with silence is the sage.
One is truly washed of evil.                           Shakyamuni

~~~


 Dear Antigua Sangha and All                                     14 September 2016
According to the Buddha all things come and go.  Nothing stays the same.  That's just the way things are.  But we make a problem of our lives by trying to make things that are by nature impermanent, permanent.  Relationships and property are two big areas for most of us.  And this the Buddha said is the cause of much of our suffering.
But we have to look and see - is this really true?  For me, for others?  We have to contemplate our past carefully. And if we find it is true, and we really come to see that and act in accordance with it, we are setting aside the veils of ignorance and can avoid much unnecessary distress.  Years of it.

I'm going to be doing the Wednesday evening class tomorrow but then on Friday flying to St. Martin and doing 9 days of teachings there at the Pema Odling temple
 http://www.pemaodling.org/workshops/
 - returning Monday 26th September.  Going and coming. It can be a delight to be going with the flow.  And coming back with it .

So this week we have:
Wednesday 14th September   5.30pm Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre (Dina' workshop in Falmouth) This will be the last in a series of classes on the 'Ox herding pictures' - we will look at pictures 8, 9 and 10 and discuss the associated poems.

Saturday 17th September   10am Sangha Morning at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road.
I've asked Dina to prepare a class for this that will lead to a discussion

I've been asked to send out the 10 Ox herding pics plus the additional 4 I drew (to show mistakes on the path).  Please find that attached.
Rinpoche's visit  As you know we're expecting Rinpoche here in Antigua at the end of next month and looking forward very much to 3 days of his teachings and other shared activities (Oct 30th to 2nd November).
If requested Rinpoche will always give refuge ceremony and anyone who would like to will have the opportunity to take the 3 refuges - refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha while he is here.  This is a great thing to do and especially so when it's with a high lama.
  Why do it? What are the benefits?  Please find attached a short teaching by Rinpoche on this. 
If you think you might like to do it when he's here please let me know and I'll send you a further short note from him on the ceremony itself (as well as a story - he's great on those).

If you would like to help with Rinpoche's visit - it would be appreciated -  please let me know. 
My cell is 721 6604

With every good wish

Rinchen


Mind precedes all things;
mind is their chief, mind is their maker.
If one speaks or does a deed
with a mind that is pure within,
happiness then follows along
like a never departing shadow.                Shakyamuni
 
 
 
 
 

~~~


 Dear Antiguans and Everybody                               6 September 2016
I hope this finds you all well dried out after yesterday!  My marine forecast of the day before said no rain - but in the evening I bailed 12" rainwater out of the dinghy!

Those times when we find ourselves stuck, unable to do what we planned [in this case maybe held at home by the heavy rain] can be a marvellous time to do practice. It seems especially good to meditate with rain coming down heavily and  continually. Don't let these unexpected chances slip by! It can be the same when we are held up anywhere for any reason (which is a common enough thing for all of us )

We had a good day retreat on Saturday when we were going through the ten stages of practice. We will continue this on Wednesday and Saturday - but I will do a recap at the beginning of the classes for those who missed the earlier talks.

So this week we have, from tomorrow:
Wednesday 7th September       5:30pm  Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (formerly Dina's workshop)
Saturday 10th of September    10am  Sangha morning - meditation and teachings at Winter's Medical Center (off Fort Road).

I look forward to seeing you all soon. These teachings on the stages of practice are very valuable.

Questions?  You can phone me on 721 6604

With best wishes
Rinchen

Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me."
Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
Likewise, the wise one, gathering it little by little,
fills oneself with good.
                                         Shakyamuni

Photo from the day retreat:

 ~~~

Dear Antigua sangha and All                                           30 August 2016
We're planning on a day retreat this weekend, and strong gales are forecaste too!
Not a bad thing at this time of year  - with it's often times sultry hot weather.  It can affect us all, we become perhaps a little disorientated....and the ziz goes out of our being.  Our everyday activities can become like a circle of chores.
At times like that, when, for whatever reason, we find our energy low, and our wish to do things lessened, we have to find skillfull ways of keeping things going, not letting our direction slide, our helping ways diminish, and our well earned inner strengths slide away from under us.
 Patiently enduring the more difficult environment and doing what we can.  By the time the winter winds come we can find ourselves to be stronger than we were before.

So this week we have, from tomorrow:
Wednesday 31st August  5.30pm  Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 3rd September 9am to 4pm.  Day retreat up Rotten Hill by Dina.

If you would like to come to the day retreat please email me or phone me on 721 6604. Please plan to arrive a bit early so we can start at 9am.  Bring with you food and drink to share (vegetarian) and sitting equipment.  And sun and rain gear .  We will be studying the next three Oxherding pictures.

With best wishes
Rinchen



Generosity, kind words,
doing a good turn for others,
and treating all people alike:
these bonds of sympathy are to the world
what the linchpin is to the chariot wheel.
                                                          Shakyamuni
  

~~~

  Dear All                                                        22 August 2016
On Saturday we went through the useful and yet slightly comical Tibetan explanation of calm abiding practice - aka zinay or shamata  (see pic below) - showing the stages and the possible pitfalls and the end of  the journey (which is actually the beginning of the wisdom practices - Mahamudra and Dzogchen).  I was tired from sleepless nights over full moon but it was fun to go through.

This week we have:
Wednesday 24th August  5.30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth      Dharma evening.
Saturday 27th August   10am at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road.                          Sangha morning

Don't forget we have 2 day retreats planned: Saturday 3rd September and Sunday 2nd October.  And Rinpoche is expected here 30th October - 3 days of teaching and activities .

With best wishes
Rinchen

My best cell phone is 721 6604


~~~

 Dear Antiguans and Everybody                                      15 August 2017
I've been back almost two weeks now and am glad to see the sangha here doing well (as I just told the Trini sangha). We've had four good meetings so far and I'm looking forward to the rest of my stay here (I hope those who came on Saturday have found time to do the short awareness practice we went through).

[I'm still trying to get used to the heat - it can be 37°C on my boat in the afternoon ].

So coming up we have:
Wednesday 17 August 5:30pm      Dharma evening at BMC workshop Falmouth
Saturday 20th of August 10am      Sangha meeting at Winters Medical Center off Fort Road.
Day retreats:
We are planning on holding two day retreats before Rinpoche comes.
The first will be Saturday3rd September and it will be held in the grounds of Dina and Andrew's house up Rotten Hill.
The second will be Sunday 2nd October - same venue - thanks again very much to Dina and Andrew .
I will confirm with you start and finish times at the upcoming meetings.
Please email me to let me know if you would like to come to one or both of these retreats.

Then as you know we have Ringu Tulku's visit at the end of October.
At present the information we have is:
Sunday 30th of October flying to VC Bird from Delhi India.
Teachings:  Monday 31st October
                    Tuesday 1st November
                    Wednesday 2nd November.

We are planning on informal sangha meetings, a public talk, a retreat, teachings for sangha, time for private interviews and a sail off the island (with maybe three boats).  Should be great!

With best wishes
Rinchen

I meant to read this on Saturday - from 'The road less travelled' by M. Scott Peck:

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth. One of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we indeed see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it's accepted the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Confronting and solving problems is a painful, difficult process - one most people try and avoid. But complaints and avoidance actually contribute to our problems and hinder our mental and spiritual growth"

My cell is 721 6604 and sometimes also 775 2261


 ~~~

 Dear Trinis, Tobs and All                                                  15 August 2017
I hope this finds you all well. I've been pleased to get your news via Gyaltso's weekly emails as well as emails from other members of the sangha. And it's great to hear that Hutch is making progress with his building and I'm very much looking forward to coming down, and I hope, staying there for some time.

I've been in Antigua for two weeks now and things are going quite well. I'm here till Ringu Tulku's visit - except for going up to St. Martin next month to do about 10 days of teaching at the new temple there: 'Pema Odling'.

I'm very much hoping that some of you will make it up here for Ringu Tulku's visit.  The dates we have at the moment are:
Arriving VC Bird from Delhi via London Sunday 30th October
Teaching:    Monday 31st October
                    Tuesday  1st November
                    Wednesday 2nd November
Thursday 3rd November - flying to Pennsylvania.

Several of the sangha have told me that they're happy to provide accommodation for visiting sangha. And I just had a look at Liat prices. If you were to say come from Friday 28th of October to Friday 4th November it's just over US$400 for the return flight.
So the whole visit might not cost too much. Of course I would have been very glad to have Rinoche's visit Trinidad and Tobago - but we had to choose one island and Antigua is in the middle and the sangha's not bad.

It's a rare opportunity for us all to have the chance to train with and listen to a Lama, especially a Tulku.  And even rarer to have the opportunity here in the Caribbean.
We plan to have informal meetings, formal teachings for sangha, a retreat, a public meeting, private interviews for sangha and a sail (with maybe three boats).

So please get in touch with me as soon as you can if you think you can make it - and even better if you've booked airfares (if you find a better deal perhaps with another airline please let me know so I can tell others).

Because Rinpoche will be giving a public talk I will stay on till the Saturday after he leaves to do a follow-up public talk and come down to Trinidad after that.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
With every good wish
Rinchen

Life is swept along, next-to-nothing its span.
For one swept to old age no shelters exist.
Perceiving this danger in death,
one should drop the world's bait and look for peace.        Shakyamuni



 ~~~

Dear Sangha                                                                              10 August 2016
It's good to be back here in Antigua and meet up with sangha friends in Falmouth and north St.Johns.  I'm back onisland now till early October except for a visit to St.Martin to Pema Odling temple mid September. 
So we are continuing meetings as you've been doing in my absence - but now with a monk leading classes

Today we have :
Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre (aka Dina's workshop, Falmouth) 5.30pm  "How self pity obscures the true mind"

Then on Saturday 13th August at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road  10am  "All acceptance - another look at it"

We are starting to make plans for Ringu Tulku's visit.  If you would like to offer to help with this please let me know.

Please feel free to bring a friend to meetings if you would like to -  I wont be doing an introductory class for new people till October.

My cell is +268 721 6604

See you soon
Rinchen



One who does not strike nor makes others strike,
who robs not nor makes others rob,
sharing love with all that live,
finds enmity with none.
                                           Shakyamuni


~~~

Dear Islanders                                                                          1 August 2016
I am in England leaving tomorrow for Antigua.  I was fortunate to meet up with Rinpoche in Ireland and in England.  That was a happy and useful time.
With Rinpoche in Ireland

The reason I'm flying back there so soon instead of returning to Trinidad is that the very good news is that Rinpoche (Ringu Tulku) has kindly agreed to come out and visit us in the Caribbean this year.  And it's going to be October 30th to November 1st.  So it will be a three day visit and we are planning on sangha meetings, a public talk, and going for a sail :)
I'm very much hoping Bodhicharya sangha will come from Trinidad and from St.Martin, as well as from Tobago and Montserrat of course.  Antigua is in the middle - hence the decision to ask Rinpoche to come here.  And Bodhicharya sangha from other parts of the world are also very welcome to come.
Please get in touch if you would like to come.  We are hoping that some visiting sangha can stay with the local sangha.
With every good wish to all
Rinchen


Freedom from lust is happiness in the world,
the going beyond all sensual desires.
But the crushing out of the conceit "I am"--
this is the highest happiness.                    Shakyamuni


~~~

Dear lslanders                                    3 June 2016
I hope this finds you all well, practicing, and doing well in your lives.
If I'd heard in my youth that once one's food and shelter were sorted out the most important thing would then be to train one's mind I would have thought it an odd and largely irrelevant idea. But now I come to see more and more clearly how this is completely true.

My movements: It's a month now since I left the islands.  I'm now in south-west Ireland at a friends retreat place (see pic) near Dzogchen Beara, a Tibetan centre. In a couple of weeks I'll be travelling up to Dublin to meet Rinpoche (Ringu Tulku) and listen to his evening talks. Then I come back here for a weekend of his teaching at Dzogchen Beara and then follow him on to England for more teachings there. After that I'll be doing some teaching myself at his Bodhicharya UK groups.



Rinpoche's visit to us:  When I see Rinpoche in Dublin I'll be asking about his projected to visit to the Caribbean for later this year and as soon as I have some info I will be emailing you again. My plans for 2016 / 2017 depend on that.

Last year:  my last visit in the islands stretched from 26th July 2015 to 5th May 2016 - a bit longer than usual. I think it went quite well and one of the outcomes is that when I return we will have a dedicated place to meet in Trinidad (thanks to Hutch) and we may have arranged a lease on a government building in Antigua (in the old hospital) as well. Having a dedicated place to meet and practice somehow makes for more solid practice for us too - so I welcome these developments. As well as this, as you know, I did give some teachings in French St. Martin in the new Tibetan temple there, Pema Odling, and they have done very well to keep regular meetings since that time. I'm glad to get news of the regular weekly meetings on the different islands
[ to hear about meetings in Trinidad you can email Gyaltso at graham@rostantddb.com
- to hear about meetings in Antigua you can email Dina at dina@dinadebrozzi.com
- to hear about meetings in St. Martin you can email Ian and Fleur at pemaodling@gmail.com].

Alms:  Almswise I think we had our best year yet. I'm missing one piece of data which is in the UK. I will send you a summary when I have it. But more or less I think we can say that Caribbean costs this year were £7450 and alms, sales, donations for rent &s came to £8400. So we are in the black for the first time ever ! I would like to thank everyone for this especially the small band of Trinis who covered our house rent and also a small band of Antiguans who were particularly generous with alms. Our accounts and receipts are available for inspection and are kept to the nearest cent.

Books:  I'm attaching a recommended book list [please see 'Teachings' page - and look under Rinchen] . You can generally go to 'Amazon' and have a look at any of the books you might be interested in buying. But please also note that 'Book Depository' ships from England by air and doesn't charge for international shipping(!).

Movie:  last year a full-length animated movie 'Inside out' was released. It deals with a similar area to the Buddhist 'klesha' - habitual negative emotional reactions. Rinpoche says all of Buddhism is just to transform these. You might like to watch it together as sanghas and discuss how it is similar to, how it differs from the Buddhist view. It's a bit of fun too .

With every good wish
Rinchen

 

By effort and heedfulness,
discipline and self-mastery,
let the wise one make for oneself
an island which no flood can overwhelm.       Shakyamuni
 
~~~ 
 
Dear Dear Antiguans and Everybody Else....                             25 April 2016
I'm only on island for another 10 days or so, so am sending out a last email to everybody with the details of our last meetings while I'm still here.
In fact last Saturday we had a very good day retreat by Dina. A few new people came in the morning and then the regulars stayed on until the end of the day - so that meant two separate teachings and quite a bit of meditation. The teachings were both in the form of short poems and I attach them. The first one we looked at, very beautiful, was actually written by a Muslim woman. The second teaching was a verse poem from the Lotus Sutra [chapter 16]. You can find it online in both prose and poem form. The attached is close to the translation I used but is slightly different.

I'm still waiting to hear what's happening about Ringu Tulku's visit to the Caribbean this October or November - whether it's happening and on which island/s he will stay. I will be seeing him when I'm in Ireland (Dina will also be there) but that is not till late June. In fact I'll be going to Ireland a couple of weeks after flying back to England so as to get some retreat time - all teaching monks need this, else their teaching and practice does not develop.

It's been a good visit to Antigua this time and I feel the sangha is more and more coming together and deepening their practice and understanding. It's very good to see.
And a few new people joining us as well!

We had a meeting with the Minister of Health last week and are hoping we might be able to have a lease on one of the old buildings in the grounds of the old Holberton Hospital. If we have a base near town that would be very helpful - and we could do more things, help more people, and have an ongoing place to practice.

So we have now coming up:
Thursday 28th April  5:30pm   Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 30th April 9 am         Last class for beginners at Winters Medical Centre, Fort road.
                                    11am        Last class for regulars
Thursday 5th May  5:30pm     Last Dharma evening with the monk at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth  (I leave on a flight to England later that evening).
Saturday 7th May 10am         Dharma meeting at Winters Medical Centre. Raphael will be introducing Ringu Tulku's talks on the Ngondro.  This is for new people and regulars alike.

If anybody wants to see me for (private) spiritual direction before I leave please let me know as soon as possible. And if anybody would like sitting equipment please contact me as well. My old 776 number no longer works so please use 721 6604.

With every good wish
Rinchen
 
Think not lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me."
Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little,
fills oneself with evil.                Shakyamuni  

 ~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                                17 April 2016
I hope this finds you well and managing okay with the still and hot weather .  I hear it will change back to the usual trades on Tuesday after a good rain shower.
We have been having some good meetings and now we are coming up to the last ones before I leave.
So we are planning for:
Thursday 21 April   5.30pm   Sangha evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.
Saturday 23 April    9am        Day Retreat in the Goodenough Gardens.  Finishing 4pm
Thursday 28 April     5.30pm  Sangha evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 30 April    9am         Class for new people at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road
Saturday 30 April    11am       Class for regulars at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road.

I leave for UK on an evening flight Thursday 5th May but will do the 5.30pm class at BMC Falmouth if someone could give me a drop to the airport.

The upcoming day retreat is the last chance while I'm here to do an extended period of practice.  New people are welcome to come to this - even if just for a couple of hours. Even that can be very useful.  Anyone wanting to come for this please reply by email to book.  If you are staying for the day please bring vegetarian lunch to share.  Wear loose clothing and bring a water bottle or similar to keep by you for the day.  Please arrive by 8.45am
I am hoping to see all the regular practitioners for private interview before I leave.

Dina, Simone and Maku have been teaching regularly at Island Academy and I will be joining them for a couple of classes this week - as well as teaching at Victory Centre and perhaps helping out when the children come to sail at Sailing Academy this week.

Both my phones are back working thanks to the kindness of both Sunny and Cheri.  The best one to reach me on is 721 6604.

Meetings still continue in Trinidad of course.  To find out what's happening you can email Gyaltso at graham@rostantddb.com

With best wishes
Rinchen

Difficult to detect and very subtle,
the mind seizes whatever it wants;
so let a wise one guard one's mind,
for a guarded mind brings happiness           Shakyamuni



~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                    12 April 2016
Hope this finds you well and keeping up your daily practice. I feel in pretty good shape as I got a bit of a work-out sailing up to St Martin and then back here via Montserrat. It was quite good fun and the boat was sailing at top speed both ways most of the time. I did rip a sail and pull a pulley block out of the deck but not much damage aside from that. In Marigot I anchored in front of my old friends Maria and Jim.  The classes in the new temple on the French side, Pema Odling, went quite well. We had two day retreats and three evening classes. I'll attach a photo from the last day retreat. It's great we have a proper Buddhist temple now in the islands, but I've asked Rinpoche to come and visit us here in Antigua when he comes to the Caribbean which is hopefully this October or November. Of the islands we have connections with Antigua is the most central.

There's a tiny group in Montserrat and I was very happy to go back there and see the little old stone house I first meditated in when I went to the island to practice in the late 70s. I was there for 11 years before becoming a monk. In fact I did a class at the main hotel on the Wednesday evening and had to sail back very early Thursday in order to be here for our Thursday evening class in Falmouth.

So this week we have:
Thursday 14th  April 5:30pm       Class on 'Courage' at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.
Saturday 16th  April  9am            Class for beginners, Winters Medical Center
Saturday 16th  April 11am          Class for regulars, Winters Medical Center.

Looking ahead:
Saturday 23rd of April 9am       Day Retreat to be held at the Goodenough's on Rotten Hill.

I'm currently making up meditation benches so if you would like one please let me know.

Please note that this is my last month here. So do come along and join in. I'm hoping to see all the regular practitioners for sanzen (private interview) before I leave. Please fix up a time and place with me.
With every good wish
Rinchen

Let one guard oneself against irritability in thought;
let one be controlled in mind.
Abandoning mental misconduct,
let one practice good conduct in thought.                 Shakyamuni


 Pema Odling [St.Martin Buddhist temple] Sat 2nd April:


~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                                          15 March 2016
I hope this finds you well.
So coming up this week we have:
 Thursday 17th March 5.30pm    Dharma evening.   Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth. There will be a talk about dreams - is it possible to be mindful when falling asleep and dreaming?  Tibetan Buddhists have a practice known as 'Dream yoga'. As a third of our lives might be spent asleep (say 25 years ) if we can learn how to lucid dream that time doesnt have to be spent only as a way of resting the body. And it's said with this practice you can awake feeling more refreshed too.

  If you would like a short introductory class please come at 5pm.

Saturday 19th March 9am           Follow up Introductory Class for new people at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road.  Discussion of practice and a chance to do a 'flow' to help your meditation.

Saturday 19th March 11am        Regulars' class.  Winter's Medical Centre.  We are studying the 'Four [General] Foundations' from the Ngondro following Rinpoche's commentary.  This week: 'Impermanence'.

You might like to know as well that we are teaching at Island Academy (Dina and Simone at the moment) and Victory Centre (school for less able children - Rinchen's job).
[A lovely comment from a six-year-old boy in Island Academy when asked what emotions are was:
"Things you feel but can't do anything about".
 In a way Buddhism is simply doing something about our habitual negative emotions - transforming them.

Day retreats. If you would like to come to a day retreat please put these dates in your diary:
Saturday 26rd March.  It's possible I'll be teaching in St Martin at this time but you could still go ahead without me. Last day retreat when everybody gave a short talk was very good and instructive .

Saturday 23rd of April.  This will be the last day retreat. I like to do one shortly before I leave an island and I'm flying out on 5 May.

These retreats are also a time to formally take the refuges. If anybody is interested in doing this please let me know

With every good wish
Rinchen
 
Train yourself in doing good
that lasts and brings happiness.
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.
                                                          Shakyamuni


 ~~~

Dear Sangha and All                                                                 8 March 2016
I hope this finds you well.  We had a good day retreat last Saturday and I attach a photo from that. Thanks again to Dina and Andrew for our being able to hold it in their gardens - which are especially great for walking meditation!  Time spent together like this, a sangha practicing together, can change our path through life in a very good way. We will have another before I leave.









So coming up, starting from tonight, we have:
 Thursday 10th March 5.30pm    Dharma evening.  We will be studying the 'Buddha Nature blockers' - looking at what are the main                                                                                     things that stop us getting enlightened.  And it can be suprising...... self pity is right up there!
                                                If you would like a short introductory class please come at 5pm.  Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.

Saturday 12th March 9am           Follow up Introductory Class for new people at Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road.  'The nature of wisdom'.

Saturday 12th March 11am        Regulars' class.  We will be studying the 'Four [General] Foundations' from the Ngondro following                                                  Rinpoche's commentary.  Winter's Medical Centre.

With every good wish
Rinchen


Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance should transgress the Dhamma,
All one's glory fades away
Like the moon during the waning half.

Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance never transgresses the Dhamma,
All one's glory ever increases
Like the moon during the waxing half.                 Shakyamuni

                                                                     ~~~            

Dear All                                                                               2nd March 2016
We have a Thursday evening class tomorrow evening and we're going to be looking at what Mingur Rinpoche calls the 'Buddha Nature Blockers' - in other words the main things that stop us from becoming enlightened. This is a standard analysis but his text makes it very clear and I will base the evening talk on that as well as the three fierce mantras of Tsangpo Gyare:

1)  Whatever has to happen, let it happen
2) Whatever the situation is, it's fine.
3) I really dont need anything.


If you are new or would like to go through the meditation practice please come for 5 PM.

On Saturday we have a day retreat which will be held in Dina's garden. People who have just started practice this year are welcome to come for the first part of the retreat rather than for the whole day. Practising together can really deepen our understanding of what our true mind is. Please come a little early so we can start on time. If you'd like to come for the day please bring vegetarian food to share.
Kindly email me by Thursday if you would like to come to this, or else phone me on 721 6604.
I'm asking the core members of the group to give a short talk each of about five minutes - so it's fine to prepare for this beforehand  - on any dharma subject you like.

During the day we will also do a chant together - 'The King of Aspiration Prayers' which I attach. This one comes from the Kagyu prayers done annually at Monlam -  a week of chanting, dawn till dusk, held  at Bodhgaya in north India - the Buddha's birthplace. (please download the prayer, print it and bring it along).

So then this week we have:
Thursday 3 March 5.30pm                     Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (Dina's workshop).
Saturday 5th March  9am start            Day Retreat in Dina's gardens - finishing about 4pm

At the moment Dina has a marvellous exhibition of her work entitled 'Happiness'. It's at the Gunpowder Art Gallery in English Harbour :



With best wishes
Rinchen


If one, longing for sensual pleasure,
achieves it, yes, one's enraptured at heart.
The mortal gets what one wants.
But if for that person -- longing, desiring --
the pleasures diminish,
one's shattered, as if shot with an arrow.                Shakyamuni




~~~

Dear All                                                                23 February 2016
I hope this finds you all well.
I'm attaching a link to one of my all-time favourite videos. Until recently the publishers were keen that you paid, I think $35US a copy. But Pariyatti have somehow done a deal and made it available online for free.
It's a marvellous story about a female police officer taking over a large violent north Indian prison - not knowing how to really transform the prison or the prisoners. But then one of her officers tells her he knows the magic she needs. He says 'Ask my wife, I used to be a very angry person. Then I learnt how to meditate'. It's a very touching and useful video - about 55 minutes.
The French have a saying that you grow up and then mature, do things and buy things, form allegiances, and then you're 'in your box'. Somehow your life has become circumscribed - and there is no way out of it. Or that's how it seems. So this video has relevance even for us - who are fortunate not to be behind bars.
The link is:
https://store.pariyatti.org/Doing-Time-Doing-Vipassana--Streaming-Video_p_4877.html

So coming up we have:
Thursday 25th of February 5. 30pm            Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre (Dina's workshop in Falmouth). We will be studying/doing (your choice) the Tibetan Five Rites (Tibetan yoga) as well as looking at how to orientate our everyday practice.

Saturday 27th February 9am        Follow-up class for new people at Winters medical Centre (off Fort Road). We will be studying metta practice - this is a way to develop our lovingkindness so that it can extend to all beings.
Note: last Saturday we studied mindfulness practice and I'm attaching a short file on that.

Saturday 27th of February 11 a.m..    Class for regulars at Winters Medical Centre. On the Ngondro.

We also have a plan to have a meditation day - a day retreat really. This will be held on Saturday 5 March in Dina and Andrew Goodenough's gardens. For those who have just started to practice it will be okay to come for the first part of the day. This longer period of practice can give us a better sense of how meditation can affect everyday life - in a very good way.

Request for help:
If anyone has an old Cable & Wireless/Lime/Flow cell phone they're not using and  can lend it me for a week or so that would be very much appreciated (as I submerged my phone but the Sim card is still okay I believe). My current number is 721 6604.

With every good wish
Rinchen

                                              One is not versed in Dhamma
because one speaks much.
One who, after hearing a little Dhamma,
realizes its truth directly
 and is not heedless of it,
                         is truly versed in the Dhamma.                  Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Sangha Members and All                                             16 February 2016
Our classes for new people and for regulars seem to be going pretty well. You might like to see the attached pic taken during the half day retreat we held last Saturday (we talked a little then about Sheng yen the great Chinese cha'an master - he died 7 years ago today).



So this week we have coming up:
Thursday, 18th February 5:30pm      Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre ( Dina's workshop - see map attached) Falmouth.  All welcome.  Finshing about 7pm

Saturday 20th of February 9am     Follow-up class for beginners at Winters' Medical Centre - off Fort Road (if you know anybody who might like to learn meditation please let them know about this class or bring them along - it's not too late for them to join these classes for new people).

Saturday 20th February 11am   Class for regulars.
We will be doing a Chenrezig (compassion) practice - a Vajrayana practice..

Of the list that Rinpoche sent us we have decided to study the 'Preliminaries to Mahamudra' on this visit - the 'Ngondro'.  If anyone would like to buy a copy of Rinpoche's book on this please let me know as soon as possible as we are making an order from UK. Please note I'm here onisland till May 5 except that I'll be teaching in St.Martin for 9 days starting 26th March.
We have to fix dates for day / weekend retreats as soon as we can.

Do remember to check (google) 'Ringu Tulku travel schedule' if you might be in England/Europe this summer and would like to hear a teaching/ meet Rinpoche.

At the moment I still have only my new phone number 721 6604 but am hoping to get my old one back this week - 776 2566.

Reminder: if any of the regulars are interested in teaching in schools or the prison please let me know (at the moment the prison is closed to outsiders - the chapel is full of sick inmates).

The sailors amongst you might like this link - something I wrote some time ago and someone has posted on the superyacht website:
http://www.superyachtservicesguide.com/directory/antigua-and-barbuda/antigua/ringu-tulku-bodhicharya-meditation-centre

With best wishes
Rinchen
You have to do your own work;
Enlightened Ones will only show the way.
Those who practise meditation
will free themselves from the chains of death.       Shakyamuni
~~~

Dear Sangha Members and All                                        8 February 2016
I've just received an email from Rinpoche (Ringu Tulku) sending very best New Year wishes. Today is Chinese and Tibetan New Year.  So happy new year everyone!  This is his new year poem:

On the Fire Monkey New Year 
I wish you a heartfelt Tashi Delek.
Next year, this time, may we meet again
With smiles on our faces
And hearts full of joy.
May our teachers live long
May goodness spread wide
May the world be filled with compassion
May the earth revive its vitality
May beings live in peace.
May all these wishes come true
That I've made with a pure  heart.

With respect,  from Ringu Tulku        February 2016


A couple of days ago his 2016 travel schedule for Europe was issued. So if anybody plans to be in England or in Europe over the early summer you could look it up and see if it would be possible for you to come to one of the teachings. I hope to attend several myself. He will be in England from 10 June and then in Ireland from the 20th and then on to Scotland for the 27th.
The annual summer camp will be held in Portugal the first week in August.  Google 'Ringu Tulku travel schedule'.

So this week we have coming up:
Thursday, 11th February 5:30pm      Dharma evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre ( Dina's workshop) Falmouth

Saturday 13th of February 9am     Follow-up class for beginners (if you know anybody who might like to learn meditation please let them know about this class or bring them along - it's not too late for them to join these classes for new people).

Saturday 13th February 12 noon    Half day Retreat. This will be held in Dina and Andrew's garden (see attached map). Please bring food to share (there will be a shared lunch to start with - but not more than one person's portion please). Please also bring your meditation equipment, water bottle and anything else you will need.
We will be doing a Chenrezig (compassion) practice - a Vajrayana practice during the afternoon retreat.

After our discussion last Saturday and in accordance with Rinpoche's advice,we've decided to concentrate for this visit of mine on the preliminary practices for Mahamudra. These practices are done by most Tibetan monks and are known as the 'Ngondro'.
Rinpoche has published a book on just this and I've been going online to find the best places to buy his books (we could order as a group).  In fact Dina has a couple of copies of this 'Ngondro' to sell and we have two copies in the library as well.
I can't find it online but will try a lady in England who has supplied Rinpoche's books to us in the past.
But you might like to look for your own interest at 'amazon.co.uk' and put in Ringu Tulku (I see they have a second-hand paperback copy of 'Mind training' for just over 1 pound + postage ) and also 'bookdepository' who will ship anywhere in the world free of charge and whose prices are often less than the book cover price (e.g.Rinpoche's very excellent 'Daring steps' which they're selling for $10.35 US).

I was also recommending at the meeting people get copies of the 'Shambala dictionary of Buddhism and Zen' - an excellent dictionary of Buddhist terms.

At the moment I still have only my new phone number 721 6604 but am hoping to get my old one back very soon - 776 2566.

If any of the regulars are interested in teaching in schools or the prison please let me know.

With best wishes
Rinchen

Make an island unto yourself!
Strive hard and become wise!
Rid of impurities and cleansed of stain,
you shall not come again to birth and decay. Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                          2 February 2016
This is to let you know what is happening in the first half of this month - and also to welcome the new people who came for the first time last Saturday to our introductory class in the museum. Welcome one and all!

This week we have:
Thursday 4th February    5:30pm Dharma Evening at Bodhicharya meditation centre  (Falmouth). After meditation we will be studying how the mind projects its view of things onto the beings, objects, information &c it is looking at.

Saturday 6th February    9am First follow-up class for new people at Winters Medical Center (off Fort Road). This will last for about 75 minutes and we will go over again the calm abiding instructions. We will also do walking meditation. Please bring your friends with you (and regular members please tell your friends about these introductory classes).

Saturday 6th February 11am Class for regular members at Winters Medical Centre (finishing at 12.30pm).  I will be going over the areas Rinpoche has given me the the okay to teach.

Upcoming.....
We are planning a Half Day Retreat on Saturday 13th February. This will be held at Dina's house and garden in Rotten Hill starting at midday by sharing food (please note that the second follow up class for beginners will still be held at Winters Medical Center before this at 9am).
If you would like to come for this half day retreat please email me.
These retreats are very valuable for deepening our everyday practice and we are fortunate to be able to hold the retreat in this very suitable location - thanks Dina and Andrew!

With every good wish
Rinchen

Overcome the angry by non-anger;
overcome the wicked by goodness;
overcome the miser by generosity;
overcome the liar by truth.                     Shakyamuni

 
The article below appeared in the Observer newspaper shortly before our introductory class held last Saturday:

"Living in a better way
Most of us display a mixture of good and bad qualities. That's natural.
But is it possible to transform ourselves so that our negative qualities, you could say our bad mindedness, our bad habits, are no longer there?
There are many approaches to this but the most common one is to try and develop our good qualities and repress the bad ones. This is a big step forward - but it has its shortcomings. Repression never deals with anything, it just holds it down. It's still there underneath, same as it was before, but it's a bit more under our control. But if we are in a very bad situation it may come to the surface – and sometimes with explosive force: rage! We loose control altogether.
What are our common bad qualities? Well the list is endless - but selfishness, greed and anger, pride, jealousy and deceit cover some of them. And you could say they harm us in two different ways. The first is that others don't like being around us (when we're like this) so we loose friends, or we have friends who tend to be similar to us, a bit too selfish like us. Not the best people. People who are “too much own way”.
The other harm is that when we indulge these qualities it makes us feel bad. And nobody likes that. We all long for contentment and happiness.
So is there a real way out of this - this predicament that every human being finds themselves in?
There certainly is, but to find a way out you will need some discipline and determination - because you have to transform your own negative habitual tendencies - and that is no easy thing - for any of us.
This transformation is training the mind, or more strictly, training the heart-mind. And it is normally called mindfulness, meditation or mind training. You have to learn how to do it and then do at least 5 or 10 minutes every day to start with.
The great thing about it is that even after the first session you can begin to see and feel an improvement in the way you are! You begin to sense that real freedom is possible for you. You can sense your completeness.
If you would like to try this for yourself, please come along and join us for a free class in the gallery of the Antigua and Barbuda Museum at 10am on Saturday, 30 January".
Rinchen

~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                           19th January 2016
I hope this finds you well and doing well. I was planning to haul my boat this week (which entails a lot of hard physical work) but I managed to hurt my back so I've delayed it for a week.  The last couple of days doing not much more than lying down. And having a chance to reflect on old age - one of the four main causes of suffering the Buddha talked of.  As I was in some discomfort for quite a long time I realised how it was quite difficult for me to stay one pointed for very long. As for many old people physical pain is an ongoing thing, I realise I have to strengthen my practice quite a bit in order to be able to skilfully and courageously undergo what could be the rigours of old age and death. Don't think this is negative thinking - this is positive thinking.

So this week we have:
Thursday 21st January   5:30pm  Sangha evening - at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (Dina's workshop). Looking at the qualities of a bodhisattva (that is a being who dedicates him or herself to help all other beings - a 'noble one').

Saturday 23rd of January 10am meeting at Winters Medical Cente- for the regular sangha. We will continue to practice and understand zazen.

Please note that the meeting in town on the Saturday after this, 30th January, will be at the museum - as this has been advertised in the papers as an introductory class. All regulars are welcome to come to this. After that, meetings for regulars on Saturday mornings will be held at Winter's Medical Center at 11am

Last Saturday we discussed the possibility of regular members offering to give a monthly donation by standing order or some equivalent. The purpose of this is to keep the monk out of the red, to have funds ready for an expected visit from Ringu Tulku later in the year, and to start funds for establishing our own centre. If you would like to help with this please email Cheri who is coordinating it. Her email is peaceandhappiness2012@yahoo.com

I look forward to seeing you soon
Rinchen


With good will for the entire cosmos,
cultivate a limitless heart:
Above, below, & all around,
unobstructed, without hostility or hate               Shakyamuni

~~~
Hello all Trinis, 14th January 2016
Our Sunday session this week will be held at the Stollmeyer house in Santa Cruz from 4pm to 6pm. 
Directions: From the East/ San Juan: - Drive north on the Saddle Road into Santa Cruz, past Uncle Beddoe's Supermarket, past Grace Gardens, until the WASA installation on the right hand side. - Turn into the second paved driveway on the left after WASA (if you cross over a bridge you've gone too far). From the West/North: - Drive south on the Saddle Road, past Cantaro, past Paxvale, past the Santa Cruz Presbyterian Church & School on the left, over small bridge, turn into next driveway on right after bridge.
It’s the white estate house on a low hill. You can call Julian Stollmeyer (Tharpa) at 783-3791 if you need additional directions.
With Metta   _/|\_ gyaltso

~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                          5th January 2015
You will have heard from Dina that I'm not going up to St. Martin for a couple of months. So I'm revising the plans for the next few meetings....
So we have from tomorrow:
Saturday 9th January  10am           Meeting at Winters Medical Center. Class on 'Life and death'
Thursday 14th January  5:30pm    Sangha evening class on the 'Wheel of life' at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
Saturday 16th of January 10am    Meeting at Winters Medical Center. Class on 'zazen'

You'll notice we've changed the midweek meeting day from Wednesday to Thursday - but we're still meeting at the Bodhicharya meditation centre here (Dina's workshop - please see map).

I'll be giving a class for new people at the Museum on Long Street on the 30th of this month - please tell any of your friends who might like to come. After that we will be rescheduling our Saturday mornings so that the will be a class for the new people as well as a class for regulars - both classes being held at Winters Medical Center.

Tomorrow we will also be discussing how/if  we will go ahead to establish a meditation centre near St John's. This could be a big benefit for all of us as well as for many more Antiguans. To do it will need the help of many of the sangha. Now is the time for you to think what you could offer if you would like this plan to go ahead.

I would like to thank all those who gave alms in my absence as it will be a big help with travelling and day-to-day expenses.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss your practice or for any other reason my number is 776 2566

With best wishes
Rinchen


Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with an impure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then suffering will follow that person
as the cartwheel follows the foot of the draught animal.

Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with a pure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then happiness will follow that person 
as a shadow that never departs. Shakyamuni      

       ~~~
  

 Dear Trini Sangha                                                        29 December 2015
I hope you were able to enjoy the Christmas holidays. We were open Christmas morning but then Zangmo came over and we went to Sandra's hotel for a family lunch celebration. Thanks very much Sandra for all your hospitality this year

I have one more day now in Trinidad and then will be catching a very early plane to Antigua Wednesday morning. I should be there till early May except for one or two visits to the new Buddhist temple in St Martin (see attached ad) and maybe Montserrat.

We had a meeting with the T&T Prison Department just before Christmas and it's been decided that we'll give meditation instruction to all this years trainee prison officers - all 140 of them!  So that's very good news I think. Julian and Andy will do the classes, together with teaching in Port of Spain prison and Senge has volunteered to help them with this.

Andy Noel has taken over the library from Marlene. For the time being the books will be kept at Stollmeyer Estate house. You can contact Andy about the library and borrowing books: noelandy@yahoo.ca  but they will be available every Sunday after meetings.  There are also dvds and cds.

So we're having our last meditation morning tomorrow morning at 6am to 8am though the meditation room is much reduced . After that you're back to the regular schedule for when I'm off island - weekly meetings. But I know Julian has it in mind to do day retreats at his family estate house once a month - and also to start some Sunday afternoons at 2pm so that those who wish to can come early and do a couple of hours meditation before the main meeting.

So coming up we have:
Sunday 3rd January 4pm meeting by Hutch in the hills (please arrive a little early).
Sunday 10th January 4pm  meeting at Stollmeyer Estate house.

Please see attached the two maps of how to get to these two locations in the Santa Cruz area. (Hutch is Las Hermanas Estate). We are very fortunate to be able to use both these excellent meeting places.

Next year I will be living up by Hutch in his new building - thanks to his kindness.  And there is a plan to build a zendo up there.

Rebecca is kindly helping with alms department.  Please help her with this.

I wish you all the best for 2016. Keep in touch and let me know how you're doing with your practice by sending me an email every now and then.

As you know you can go to our blog by googling 'Bodhicharya Caribbean' to see what's going on, but I will be in touch when I know Rinpoche's 2016 dates for the Leewards.

With all every good wish
Rinchen

Hasten to do good;
restrain your mind from evil.
One who is slow in doing good,
one's mind delights in evil.               Shakyamuni
~~~
Happy Christmas
                                                                       from Rinchen

to all

I look forward to seeing the Antigua sangha soon.  I fly up on the 30th from T&T and am doing a class that evening at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Then Saturday 2nd Jan at 10am I will lead the dharma morning at Winters Medical Centre.




~~~


Dear Trinis and All                                                         16 December 2016
We had a good annual retreat at the estate house in Santa Cruz thanks to Julian's hospitality.  The last day was here at Coblentz Avenue. It's said every practitioner should try and do at least one retreat every year. We finished off with a Dharma evening, seniors' meeting, and festival. I had hoped that Amanda might play violin for us but she was playing at a concert so I stood in for her by singing an old Scottish lament which covers my reasons for becoming a monk. By singing this very sad lament out of key the sangha was be able to appreciate
the nature of dukkha far more deeply than is generally possible .

A simple teaching from Rinpoche on how meditation works  Here follows a short quote from Rinpoche's book 'Living without fear and anger':
"All we can do is let thoughts and emotions come and go - and this is actually the key to meditation. We do not try to do anything with our thoughts, we let them come up and let them go: we just let them be. We don't become entangled with our thoughts or judge whether one thought is good and another bad. It is sometimes described as being like an old person in a park watching children play. This old person can enjoy watching whatever drama unfolds, but he or she doesn't become involved, because it is only children playing. During meditation thoughts come and go, emotions come and go; we don't react, we do nothing, we just relax and let be.
 After a while we will start to realise that by just letting be, our emotions and thoughts will just come and go, and we will no longer be overwhelmed by them. Once we have learned this, we will gain the confidence that we are actually in control of our emotions. They do not have control over us.
Through meditation, our mind will slowly become more spacious and aware and we will become angry less often."

Rinpoche has said that transforming the klesha, that is our negative habitual emotional reactions, is all there is to Buddhist practice, however simple or elaborate the practice is.  The important thing is to find a practice that works for you and then stick to that. It doesn't have to be a very 'advanced' practice, or a secret practice, or anything like that. You just have to understand how to do it, see that it works, and then get on with it.

So coming up and starting from tomorrow we have:
Thursday 17th of December   6 p.m. Ninth follow-up class for new people.
Sunday 20th December          4 p.m. Dharma evening
Friday 25th of December        Christmas morning at Coblentz Avenue - please let me know if you would like to come
Sunday 27th December          4pm Sangha evening
Wednesday 30th December   6.15am Rinchen departs Piarco

Rinpoche's recent talks in the States
For all of you who were unable to come to New York with the Caribbean sangha at the end of last month the good news is I have a complete set of the talks given by Rinpoche at KTD which are available for anybody in the sangha who asks for them. Just send me an email request and I will send you a link to my dropbox "Compassion arises as wisdom" folder (if you don't already have a dropbox account you will need to open one but this is quite simple). There are basically five talks of between an hour and an hour and a half each. Even just to listen to one is worthwhile.  The sound quality is very good.

While we were up in the States Rinpoche gave me the okay to start teaching Mahamudra here in the islands. I would hope to start doing that when I come back next year. In preparation for this there are preliminarily practices for Mahamudra and I'm going to try and arrange that you can go through at least some of these before I return. His book 'The Ngondro' covers this area.
[You might like to see a short video from him on the Four Foundations or Four Reminders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITjAejzyOSA    This is the first teaching of the Ngondro].

I hope this festival season finds you happy, and bringing happiness to others.

With best wishes
Rinchen


The doer of good rejoices here and hereafter;
one rejoices in both the worlds.
One rejoices and exults,
recollecting one's own pure deeds.   Shakyamuni
   


~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                                                     10 December 2015
Greetings for the festival season! On Sunday we had a good meeting up in the hills by Hutch.  During this he very kindly said that the next building he puts up will be a zendo (or meditation hall). It's going to be in Tibetan colours and have room for about 20 or 30 people to practice at once. Built out of timber. This has been a long-term aim of Hutch for many years.  I would like to start a fund so that by the time he is ready to build we can make an offering of some kind. That would be the best thing.

 Everybody seems to be running about at top speed at the moment! I suppose that is preparing for the festivals. We have our own coming up as you will see in the list of events. But before before that, from tomorrow morning, we have our Annual Retreat. I'm so looking forward to it myself! I seem to spend a long time on this machine. Too long.  I think there will be five or six of us for the main part of the retreat and then at the weekend more people coming. If you would like to come it's still not too late to book. If you call me before tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock that should be fine.

So coming up this week and next we have:

Thursday 10th December      10am Annual Retreat at Stollmeyer Estate House starts
                                                                      - running until 4pm Saturday 12th of December

Sunday 13th December          6am  Annual Retreat continues till 4pm at Cascade (26 Coblentz Ave)
Sunday 13th December          4pm  Dharma evening and "Festival" (including short senior's meeting).
Thursday 17th December      6pm  9th follow up class for new people
Sunday 20th December         4pm  Dharma evening
Friday 25th Deccmber           We are open on Christmas Day. 
If you would like to come please let me know ahead of time

Annual Retreat details:
The annual retreat will run for 4 days - the first three being at Stollmeyer Estate House and the last day being held here in Cascade. If you would like to join this retreat then please phone me asap. Although it's best of course that everybody does the full 4 days this is a busy time of the year and for some people 4 days would be far too long. So it's fine to come and go as you can during that time. 
If you come to the estate house you will need to bring vegetarian food to share (Julian is organising this) as well as your own bedding and toiletries if you are overnighting.  Beds are provided.
We will be having meditation, working and walking meditation, talks and discussions. To go on an extended retreat is very precious. We should try and do it at least once a year - this enables us to deepen our practice, be refreshed and see more clearly the way to live and practice.

Yard sale leftovers: we do have one or two things still left so when you come here to Coblentz Avenue if you see anything you would like please let me know and you can take it away for a very small donation.

Festival.  Please plan to bring something - and if you can play a musical instrument, sing or whatever that would be very much appreciated.

Books for sale
I still have a few books written by Ringu Tulku in case anybody would like to buy one before I go. Trinidad price is as the cover price.

With best wishes
Rinchen


Blissful is passionlessness in the world,
The overcoming of sensual desires;
But the abolition of the conceit I am --
That is truly the supreme bliss.              Shakyamuni
          



~~~

Dear Trinis and All                             3 December 2015

I hope this finds you feelng content in this 'season of goodwill'. If you think about it, the life of a practitioner is the 'life of goodwill'. That's what we're aiming towards and although it can seem a bit much to consider really actualising it's perhaps the easiest of all lives and certainly the best .

For all of you who were unable to come to New York with the Caribbean sangha at the end of last month the good news is I have a complete set of the talks given by Rinpoche at KTD which are available for anybody in the sangha who asks for them. Just send me an email request and I will send you a link to my dropbox "Compassion arises as wisdom" folder (if you don't already have a dropbox account you will need to open one but this is quite simple). There are basically five talks of between an hour and an hour and a half each. Even just to listen to one is worthwhile.  The sound quality is very good. So coming up this week and next we have:Thursday 3rd December  1pm Rinchen and Andy in Port of Spain prison. Last classThursday 3rd December  6pm follow-up class for new people, CascadeSunday 6th December  4pm Sangha meeting up by Hutch (see map attached - please arrive 10 minutes early).Thursday 10th of December   10am Annual Retreat at Stollmeyer Estate House starts                                                                       - running until 4pm Saturday 12th of DecemberSunday 13th of December 6am Annual Retreat continues till 4pm at Cascade (26 Coblentz Ave)Sunday, 13 December 4pm Dharma evening and "Festival".Annual Retreat details: The annual retreat will run for 4 days - the first three being at Stollmeyer Estate House and the last day being held here in Cascade. If you would like to join this retreat then please email or phone me. Although it's best of course that everybody does the full 4 days this is a busy time of the year and for some people 4 days would be far too long. So it's fine to come and go as you can during that time.
If you come to the estate house you will need to bring vegetarian food to share as well as your own bedding and toiletries if you are overnighting.  Beds are provided. We will be having meditation, working and walking meditation, talks and discussions. To go on an extended retreat is very precious. We should try and do it at least once a year - this enables us to deepen our practice, be refreshed and see more clearly the way to live and practice.Apartment rent We still have to pay the December rent and if anybody can help with this please email Gyaltso at graham@rostantddb.com Yard sale leftovers: we do have one or two things still left so when you come here to Coblentz Avenue if you see anything you would like please let me know and you can take it away for a very small donation.
Prisons  We've been asked to run a course for the officers of the Programs Department, PoS prison. This is good news as I'm currently applying to the Commissioner of Prisons for Julian, Andy and I to run courses for all trainee prison officers. Last week as I was going inside the prison itself the current Superintendent said that when we do the course for his department he would like to be one of the pupils.  I find that attitude for a senior prison officer very encouraging and excellent.
Festival.  Please plan to bring something - and if you can play a musical instrument, sing or whatever that would be very much appreciated.Books for sale I still have a few books written by Ringu Tulku in case anybody would like to buy one before I go. Trinidad price is as the cover price. With best wishes

Rinchen


Abstain from all unwholesome deeds,
perform wholesome ones,
purify your mind 
-this is the teaching of the Buddhas.           Shakyamuni 


~~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                                             27  November 2015
Well we were very fortunate and had a wonderful time of it in the States. In all 12 of us Caribbean sangha were able to go to Rinpoche's talks in KTD and Westchester. 
In KTD he was talking about Mahamudra, his teaching based on the 'Four dharmas of Gampopa'. In Westchester he was clarifying the difference between love and attachment - not such an easy thing to do for ourselves.
On Sunday afternoon at KTD there was a refuge ceremony and Angela and Raphael from Antigua, Rebecca from Trinidad and Ian and Santana from St. Martin temple took refuges.
I'm attaching a couple of pictures from the weekend.
One of the marvellous outcomes of us all going up there is that Rinpoche has agreed to come and teach in the Caribbean next year for three days! So now the wider sangha will have an opportunity to meet with him, and more islanders can also hear the dharma from a great teacher.
I came back to Trinidad late Wednesday and joined Andy for a class at the prison on Thursday afternoon and then we had a follow-up class for new people last night. POS prison has asked we do a course for the officers in Programs Department and the Superintendant has asked to be a student at the same time :-) !

So this week we have coming up:

Sunday 29th November  4pm Dharma evening.  I will recount a little bit of our weekend at KTD as well as doing a short teaching after that (please note for anyone interested there is a 'Peoples march for climate' near the Savannah starting at 1pm)

Thursday 3rd December -1pm Prison class

Thursday 3rd December         6pm   Follow-up class for new people.

Sunday 6th December             4pm Sangha evening

Thursday 10th December to Sunday 13th December            
Annual Retreat - starting at at Stollmeyer Estate House

Sunday 13th of December       Final day of retreat (which will in fact be held in Cascade) and 4pm  Dharma evening and festival...If anybody has any ideas for an end of year festival - singing, dancing, et cetera et cetera please let me know (not my speciality).

I look forward to seeing you over the next few days.

Rinchen


They do not lament over the past,
they yearn not for what is to come,
they maintain themselves in the present,
thus their complexion is serene.                                Shakyamuni








Our Greeting Card to Rinpoche from the Caribbean Sangha

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche during one of his talks

Rebecca taking the Precepts

Rinchen and members of the Caribbean Sangha outside KTD


Dear  Trinis and All                                                4 November 2015
Hope you survived today's rains okay.  I was on the computer and when I looked at the bedroom and bed it was soaked!  That was some thunderstorm!

Please note for your diary:

Thursday 5 November  6pm Fifth follow up class for new people
Sunday 8 November     2.30pm We're kindly invited to Divali by Hutch (till 7pm) Ideally please let him and me know if you would like to be there (his email is waynealanhutchinson@gmail.com).  We've been asked to lead a meditation session so I think we can combine this celebration with our usual Sunday sangha meeting.  It will be appreciated if you bring something to share - drinks might be best - else some food.  Finishing around dark.

Saturday 14 November All day 'Yard Sale' here at 26 Coblentz Avenue.  Please start putting things aside you can offer towards our yard sale which will start at 6am and run till 3pm. Anything useful will sell and all procedes will help keep the centre and your monk going.  It's to be advertised in the Express classifieds.
From the Tuesday before (that is 10th November) you can drop your offerings either here at Coblentz Avenue or else in Woodbrook at 38 Murray Street (in which case please phone Graham first - 684 5776).  If you have some things you would like to offer but no transport we should be able to pick them up from you - so please let us know in good time if this is the case.
If you can help with the sale itself - on the Saturday, or on the Friday evening setting up - please phone or email Julian who is making up a schedule of helpers. His cell is 783 3791 and his email is  julian4848@yahoo.com 
All help appreciated.  We are planning on a team effort this time.

Our daily practice continues as usual 6am to 8am in the mornings and 6pm to 7pm in the evenings - every day except Mondays.

Amazingly there now may be 12 of us [!] from Bodhicharya Caribbean going to be at the talks with Rinpoche,Ringu Tulku, later this month in New York State.  This now includes Fleur and Ian Lucas and their daughter from St.Martin Tibetan Buddhist Temple,  Angela Challenge and Dr. Raphael Evanson from our Antigua sangha - as well as the medical student Charissa Lewis who is doing her internship in a NY hospital.   Any one else? - last call ...

Wishing you all the best
Rinchen
 
Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm,
even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.      Shakyamuni
~~~

  Dear  Trinis and All                                           27 October 2015
 I hope you are getting around okay between the heavy showers!  Today I managed to do laundry and start making 5 new benches in the yard - with Senge's help.  Then the rains came.

We have quite a few events coming up so please note for your diary:
Thursday 29 October    6pm Fourth follow up class for new people
Sunday 1 November     4pm Sangha meeting by Hutch (see map)
Thursday 5 November  6pm Fifth follow up class for new people
Sunday 8 November     2.30pm We're kindly invited to Divali by Hutch (till 7pm) Please let him and me know if you would like to be there (his email is waynealanhutchinson@gmail.com).  We've been asked to lead a meditation session so I think we can combine this celebration with our usual Sunday sangha meeting.

Saturday 14 November All day 'Yard Sale' here at 26 Coblentz Avenue.  Please start putting things aside you can offer towards our yard sale which will start at 6am and run till 3pm. Anything useful will sell and all procedes will help keep the centre and your monk going.  It's to be advertised in the Express classifieds.
From the Tuesday before (that is 10th November) you can drop your offerings either here at Coblentz Avenue or else in Woodbrook at 38 Murray Street (in which case please phone Graham first - 684 5776).  If you have some things you would like to offer but no transport we should be able to pick them up from you - so please let us know in good time if this is the case.
If you can help with the sale itself - on the Saturday or on the Friday evening setting up - please let me know.  All help appreciated.  We are planning on a team effort this time.

Our daily practice continues as usual 6am to 8am in the mornings and 6pm to 7pm in the evenings - every day except Mondays.

Currently there are six of us from Bodhicharya Caribbean going to be at the talks with Rinpoche,Ringu Tulku, next month in New York State - and I'm pleased that this now includes Angela from our Antigua sangha.

Wishing you all the best
Rinchen
The wise are controlled in bodily action,
controlled in speech and controlled in thought.
They are truly well-controlled.
                                              Shakyamuni
 ~~~
 
Dear 
Trinis and All                                                    20 October 2015
At the moment there are 5 of us from Trinidad planning on going up to see Rinpoche in New York State - the first talk starting next month on the 20th. I'm very much looking forward to it - didnt think I would be able to go, but a couple of the sangha here have very kindly offered to help me with the costs and the monastery, KTD are considerate to visiting monks. Anyone else who thinks they would like to come should be booking up this week. In fact there could be 14 of us if all the possibles from here and upisland decide to go!  And then we would ask Rinpoche for a Bodhicharya Caribbean meeting while we are together there.

 Ringu tulku teaching in Germany


We have quite a few events coming up so please note for your diary:
Thursday 22 October   6pm Third follow up class for new people
Saturday 24 October   8am to noon - practice morning
Sunday 25 October     2pm to 6pm - practice afternoon
Sunday 25 October     4pm Sangha evening
Thursday 29 October  6pm Forth follow up class for new people
Sunday 1 November   4pm Sangha meeting by Hutch
Sunday 8 November   2.30pm We're kindly invited to Divali by Hutch (till 7pm) Please let him and me know if you would like to be there (his email is waynealanhutchinson@gmail.com).
Saturday 14 November All day 'Yard Sale' here at 26 Coblentz Avenue.  Please tell Lesley if you can help with this (lesleygarcia8@gmail.com).  Last time we made  $4000TT and that was due to much help and giving by many of the sangha - especially Lesley.  So kindly start putting aside things you might like to offer/dont need - and please contact Lesley if you can help at all with this. We will need people on the day here in Coblentz Ave. and also before that to collect items offered.  We are low on funds right now and this should help a lot.

Our daily practice continues as usual 6am to 8am in the mornings and 6pm to 7pm in the evenings.

The link below is to an article about Matthieu Ricard who was given the title 'The happiest man in the world'.  This happened after he was tested in a laboratory in the States to see what effect doing Tonglen meditation had on him (this is a compassion practice we do here in Trinidad). Very interestingly he says that trying to be happy is a way that always leads directly to us becoming unhappy.  So here's the link:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/20/happiest-man-in-the-world-stop-trying-to-be-happy.html

Do come along this weekend and make use of the opportunity to do some extra sitting (see schedule above).

With best wishes to all
Rinchen

Previous end of year greeting from Rinpoche
Months passed,
in solving problems
in hope and fear,
did I do one act of kindness?

I worried about everything,
economics, politics,
global and regional crisis.
Did I do one helpful act?

May we be kinder to each other
and learn to live delightfully
in spite of all the problems
and do some useful things.

Wish you all a very happy year in 2009

Ringu Tulku
Gangtok
26th December, 2008


 ~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                13 October 2015
We had a good week which  finished last Sunday with a weekend retreat at Lesley Garcia's.  People were coming and going a bit but all went well - we did quite  a lot of meditation and had some talks.  We also did work practice (mindfullness) and helped with the house and stuffed 4 new zafus
  Pic from the retreat



We have quite a few events coming up so please note for your diary:
Thursday 15 October   6pm Second follow up class for new people
Sunday 18 October      4pm Sangha evening (studying the precepts)
Thursday 22 October   6pm Third follow up class for new people
Saturday 24 October   8am to noon - practice morning
Sunday 25 October     2pm to 6pm - practice afternoon
Sunday 25 October     4pm Sangha evening
Thursday 29 October  6pm Forth follow up class
Sunday 1 November   4pm Sangha meeting by Hutch
Sunday 8 November   2.30pm We're kindly invited to Divali
by Hutch (till 7pm) Please let him and me know if you would like to be there (his email is waynealanhutchinson@gmail.com).
Saturday 14 November All day 'Yard Sale' here at 26 Coblentz Avenue.  Please tell Lesley if you can help with this (lesleygarcia8@gmail.com).

Our daily practice continues as usual 6am to 8am in the mornings and 6pm to 7pm in the evenings.

Generosity and kindness.  We studied the paramitas for the weekend retreat.  The first one is generosity and kindness.  It's what joins us happily to others - so the sense of being a seperated isolated self more and more falls away through its practice - which can be little more than giving a smile or some small kindness.  It's a key skill for us when we find ourselves somehow stuck in our practice - and it's said you can develop it endlessly (even if you start off pretty kind anyway).
Remember this - giving helps others, but also yourself - the giver.  Even to give a very little is good.

With best wishes to all
Rinchen

This is from a Jewish woman who embraced Buddhism:
The Kaddish is about opening the window
Not looking through the glass, but opening the window.
The window of the heart....
                                                Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
 
 ~~~
Dear Trinis and All                                       7 October 2015
We had a good introductory class here in Cascade last Saturday and we are having follow up classes now every Thursday for 6 weeks for new people.  Some have requested sitting equipment and if you would like something now is the time to ask - as we are taking final orders!
  Andy and I went into PoS prison last Thursday and did a first class and we will be doing another tomorrow.  Then in the evening the first follow up class for new people will be held (if you missed the introductory class on Saturday come early at 5.30pm for a brief recap of this class).
Saturday we are having a weekend retreat - thanks mainly to the kindness of Lesley Garcia.  It starts on Friday at 5.30pm and finishes on Sunday at 2pm.  There will be about 10 of us attending the retreat (if you would like to come for all or part of it you can call me today on 710 8413.
So this week we have:
Thursday 8 October at 6pm  First follow up class for new people here at 26 Coblentz Avenue.
Friday 9th October to Sunday 11th October Weekend Retreat at Hibiscus House.
Sunday 11th October at 4pm Sangha evening here at 26 Coblentz Avenue.

With best wishes
Rinchen


Difficult to detect and very subtle,
the mind seizes whatever it wants;
so let a wise one guard one's mind,
for a guarded mind brings happiness.                  Shakyamuni 
~~~


Dear Trinis and All                                              30 September 2015
There will be an Introductory Class for new people held here at 26 Coblentz Ave, Cascade this Saturday 3rd October at 10am.  The class will last for an hour and a half.  People should wear loose clothing. I'm hoping this will be advertised in the local papers' 'What's on' columns - but nothing so far-  so  please tell your friends / bring your friends, and put it on social media as well.  Thanks very much!  There will be weekly follow up classes in the evenings. No charges are made for any of these classes but alms (donations for the monk) are appreciated and are what keep things going.

So this week we have at our base at 26, Coblentz Avenue, Cascade:
Tuesday to Sunday       Morning practice 6am to 8am
                                      Evening practice 6pm to 7pm

Saturday 3rd October   Introductory Class for new people 10am

Sunday 4th October     Sangha meeting 4pm by Hutch  (Las Hermanas Estate - I can send you a map if you havent been there before).        
                               .  
Monday closed

Weekend after this:
Friday 9th October till Sunday 11th October   Weekend retreat at Hibiscus Place.  You have to book in order to come on this retreat. For more details and/or  to book a place you can email or phone me. Retreat starts on the Friday at 5pm and finishes on the Sunday at 2pm. [It's okay to come for part of this retreat - coming early on the Saturday morning].

Andy Noel and I are to be giving the meditation classes in PoS prison this year starting from tomorrow.  If you would like to help with this, or with teaching in schools, please let me know.

We will be making meditation equipment for personal use.  Let me know if you would like something.  Any help with making this very much appreciated.

As mentioned before, I'm very pleased that several of our Caribbean sanga will be going up to New York and Maine to meet Rinpoche (Ringu Tulku) and listen to his talks in November.  Marlene Jinpa, Ingrid Zangmo and Rebecca will be going from here and Julian Tharpa (who has already been on retreat with him) is now definate as well.  Then from our Antigua group Charissa is planning on going up (from her NY hospital job) and Fleur, husband Ian and their daughter may be going too (from the new Tibetan temple in French St.Martin).  If you would like to go there is still time  to put your name down.  I'm even thinking I may be able to go myself.

My phone number is 710 8413 and you are welcome to call if you would like to discuss practice or come at a time outside these regular practice hours.

With best wishes
Rinchen


Make an island of yourself,
make yourself your refuge;
there is no other refuge.
Make Dhamma your island,
make Dhamma your refuge;
there is no other refuge.
                                            Shakyamuni
     

~~~


  Dear Trinis and All                                                    Wednesday 23 September 2015
This Saturday we will have a practice morning starting here at 8am.  You are welcome to come whether you are new or an old timer.  If you are new I will go through the meditation practice with you durug the morning.  There will also be time to have refreshments and ask questions.  Please arrive a little early - just before 8am.

Our class last Sunday, which I was happy to find was attended by several new people, was the last one I will be doing on the 'maras' - or the obstructions to practice. This Sunday the talk will be on 'Buddha nature' or our own instrinsic pure nature, and will be based on Ringu Tulku's book 'Path to Buddhahood'.

I'm very pleased that several of our Caribbean sanga will be going up to New York and Maine to meet Rinpoche (Ringu Tulku) and listen to his talks in November.  Marlene Jinpa, Ingrid Zangmo and Rebecca will be going from here and perhaps also Julian Tharpa (who has already been on retreat with him).  Then from our Antigua group Charissa is planning on going up (from her NY hospital job) and Fleur may be joining everyone from the new Tibetan temple in St.Martin.  If you would like to join them there is still time  to put your name down.



This Sunday those who would like to do some extra sitting practice can come 2 hours before the sangha meeting.  Please come 10 minutes early if you are coming for the 4pm meeting.  Last Sunday people just drifted in during the whole of the meditation period - this can make the period of much less value for everyone else.

Regular daily meditation peiods will continue as usual - all welcome.

There will be an Introductory Class for new people held here at 26 Coblentz Ave, Cascade on Satuturday 3rd October at 10am.  The class will last for an hour and a half.  People should wear loose clothing. I'm hoping this will be advertised in the local papers' 'What's on' columns but please tell your friends and put it on social media as well.  Thanks!  There will be weekly follow up classes in the evenings. No charges are made for any of these classes but alms (donations for the monk) are appreciated and are what keep things going.

We will be making meditation equipment for personal use.  Let me know if you would like something.  If you are in a position to help with making this, or would like to be helping others by teaching in prisons, schools or hospitals, please let me know.

So this week we have at our base at 26, Coblentz Avenue, Cascade:
Tuesday to Sunday       Morning practice 6am to 8am
                                      Evening practice 6pm to 7pm
Saturday 26th September   Practice morning 8am till 12 noon.
Sunday 27th September      Practice afternoon from 2pm to 6pm
                                              Sangha meeting 4pm.  
Monday closed

Quite a few people still have library books out - many have been out for months!  If you have a book or an item belonging to us please return it next time you come - there wont be any charges.

My phone number is 710 8413 and you are welcome to call if you would like to discuss practice or come at a time outside these regular practice hours.

With best wishes
Rinchen

Train yourself in doing good
that lasts and brings happiness.
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.
                                           Shakyamuni
~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                              16 September 2015
Our class last Sunday was on the 'Maras' - or the obstructions to practice and to a happy meaningful life.  We discussed in particular the remedies for the maras.  At the end of the evening people asked to hear more on the subject, so the class this coming Sunday will go into it all in a little more detail.
 The main thing is to be in a position to be able to see for yourself the maras as they arise and usurp your ability to act in a way that is best for you and for all concerned - in other words you can always act and speak in a good way - your life is not controlled by unskilfull habits (if you are not sure what this is like in practice, try watching a few 'soaps' on tv ).
These classes are based on Rinpoche's new book 'Riding Stormy Waves'  which itself is based on Patrul Rinpoche's origional teaching.

Quite a few people still have library books out - many have been out for months!  If you have a book or an item belonging to us please return it next time you come - there wont be any charges.

I had hoped to hold an introductory class for new people at Nalis but they want $2300 this time for the use of a meeting room - so we will rely on our own facilities and will organise the first classes for newcomers soon.  If you are in a position to help with these, or would like to be helping others by teaching in prisons, schools or hospitals, please let me know.

So this week we have at our base at 26, Coblentz Avenue, Cascade:
Tuesday to Sunday  Morning practice 6am to 8am
                                      Evening practice 6pm to 7pm
Sunday 20th September   Sangha meeting 4pm.   Third talk on the 'Maras'


My phone number is 710 8413 and you are welcome to call if you would like to discuss practice or come at a time outside these regular practice hours.

With best wishes

Rinchen

Even when obstacles crowd in,
the path to Nibbana can be won
by those who establish mindfulness
and bring to perfection equipoise.
                                                            Shakyamuni     

 ~~~

 Dear Trinis and All                                             8 September 2015
We had a good first sangha meeting up by Hutch on Sunday.  He's making quite a bit of progress with his buidlings - and the road is now 100% better!  We are looking forward to seeing things blossom for him up there and being a part of it all.

We talked about the best times for daily meetings and have decided to bring forward the evening meetings hoping that this will enable workers in Port of Spain to do an evening sitting before going home.

Our class on Sunday was on the 'Maras' or obstructions to practice - and the class this coming Sunday will go into that in a little more detail and consider the remedies (note - we are not always aware when an obstruction is holding us back - and the remedies themselves are not always intuitively obvious).  These classes are based on Rinpoche's new book 'Riding Stormy Waves'  which itself is based on Patrul Rinpoche's origional teaching.

Quite a few people have library books out - many have been out for months!  If you have a book or an item belonging to us please return it next time you come - there wont be any charges.

So this week we have:
Tuesday to Sunday  Morning practice 6am to 8am
                                      Evening practice 6pm to 7pm
Sunday 13th September   Sangha meeting 4pm.   Talk on 'The Remedies for the Maras'

With best wishes
Rinchen
With desire the world is tied down.
With the subduing of desire it's freed.
With the abandoning of desire       
all bonds are cut through.                        Shakyamuni      


 ~~~

Dear Trinis, Tobagonians and All                                          25 August 2015
This short note is just to let you know I'm flying to PoS on Wednesday 2nd September arriving late evening.  So we will start regular schedule on Friday 4th September.  Daily meditation will be from 6am to 8am and 7.30pm to 8.30pm and we will have a Dharma evening every Sunday - so the first will be Sunday 6th September.   Hope to see you there if not before that.
Usual venue- 26, Coblentz Avenue, Cascade.
With best wishes
Rinchen

Am attaching today's email to the Antiguans - for your interest



-------- Forwarded Message --------

Subject: My last week here
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:56:20 -0400
From: Rinchen Blake <monk.rinchen@gmail.com>
To: Lewyn Blake <lewynb@gmail.com>


Dear Antiguans and All                                                      25 August 2015
This is my last week here on this short 6 week visit.  We've had regular meetings as well as a weekend retreat and I've been pleased to see the regular sangha making progress with their practice and bringing it more and more into their everyday lives.  This is very good.

Last Saturday we discussed what it means to find what the Tibetan's call the 'noble' or 'sacred' happiness. This is a bit different to what is normally thought of as happiness in worldly terms. In the States of course the 'pursuit of happiness' is enshrined in the constitution.  After all the millenia of people taking advantage of each other, believing it will be to their own advantage to do so, the establishment of the legal right of an individual to pursue their own course towards contentment and fulfillment is an absolute marvel in itself!

Even so - what has that lead to, so far, in reality?  Do we find our Yankee friends any more fulfilled than ourselves?  Perhaps they are even more on the treadmill than we are - working very hard perhaps - but the happiness being pursued proving hard to 'catch'.   F.Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" ends with:

'Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past'.

I think this modern Yankee painting also speaks clearly of this difficulty:  




But the Yanks are not alone in this.  This is from a new sculpture at St. Pancras station in London:




It would all be a bit comical if it were not in fact just too too tragic.   In the modern world we seem to put in so much and get out so little.
The suffering the Buddha saw was the same suffering as ours today - people creating their own worlds, their own often-times difficult lives:  not finding very much fulfillment from childhood to old age.


I remember when I first saw images of the Buddha's face I wondered what he was smiling about.  That little half smile on his face - what was the cause of it?
 Was it because he was wanting to demonstrate that meditation was satisfying - or was it perhaps because he was the leader and pleased with his position?
 Actually, unless you're very intuitive you may not guess.  The only way you can find out is by trying his practices yourself, treading his 'path to the end of suffering' - and seeing if it works - seeing if you come to say to yourself  "Oh of course, how could I not see it, staring me in the face, the perfection of human life".  You find yourself smiling.

Rinpoche


 Trini rupa

So this last week we have, from tomorrow:
Wednesday 26th August   5.30pm at the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Evening meeting. We will be looking at the antidotes to the maras (the obstructions to practice - talk based on Rinpoche's new book 'Riding stormy waves').
Saturday 29th August  8am to 4pm at the Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Day retreat (but it's okay to come for a half day and leave at noon).  Usual format for the day.  We will be looking at the teaching on 'Dependent origionation'

Hope to see you all before I go.
With best wishes 
Rinchen


With firm resolve, guard your own mind!
Who so untiringly pursues the Dhamma and the Discipline
Shall go beyond the round of births and make an end of suffering.             Shakyamuni


 ~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                           18 August 2015
We had a very good weekend retreat at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre (Dina's workshop) in Falmouth.
On Sunday I left on the altar a little sand from the sand mandala the Tibetan monks made at Rinpoche's Gaunt's House retreat (which I attended shortly before coming back out to Antigua). There is a pic from that just below. These mandalas are made with great care but then destroyed in a short ceremony soon after completion (demonstrating the impermant nature of things).



I am only here now onisland for two more weeks.  Then I fly to T&T and am there for 4 months returning here at the end of the year for 4 months. So do come along and join in with the last events - and if you want to see me to talk through your practice - daily life - then come soon!

So upcoming we have starting tomorrow:
Wednesday 19th August  5.30pm Dharma evening at BMC, Falmouth
Saturday 22nd August  10am Sangha morning at Winter's Medical Centre, off Fort Road, north St.Johns.

The schedule for the last week will be similar - except someone has asked if we could have another day retreat. If you are interested in that possibilty please let me know (if we have it it might be on Sat 29th).
  
 With every good wish
Rinchen


The friend who is a helpmate,
the friend in happiness and woe,
the friend who gives good counsel,
the friend who sympathises too --
these four as friends the wise behold
and cherish them devotedly
as does a mother her own child.                Shakyamuni
~~~



Dear Antiguans and All                                                                    11 August 2015

We have a weekend retreat this weekend.  At the moment I'm expecting 12 people to attend - but if you haven't signed up yet and would like to come for the Saturday or for both days please contact me as soon as possible.  My cell is 776 2566.
It's said these retreats are essential if you want to deepen your understnding and practice - a well known modern-day teacher said that, even if you do a daily practice, if you dont attend at least one retreat a year you cannot expect to go forward towards liberation.
I've been asked to talk about the 'Bull herding' or 'Ox herding' pictures again.  This marvelous series shows the stages on the spiritual path - any true spiritual path really. There is a Tibetan equivalent with an elephant a monkey and a hare which is also very excellent but I am more familiar with the bull analogy so will go over this series.

Of course we will also have the usual Wednesday evening practice tomorrow.
Please note that the next meeting at Winter's Medical Centre will be Sat 22nd August.

So upcoming we have starting tomorrow:
Wednesday 12th August  5.30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth  - Sangha evening

Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th AugustWeekend retreat This will start at 8am on Saturday and finish at 4pm on Sunday.  It's fine to come for both days of for just the Saturday (that will finish at 4pm for those coming for the day). If you would like to overnight in Falmouth please let us know - we may be able to find a place for you.
Please wear loose clothing and bring whatever dharma book you are reading.  Please also bring food to share - and house cleaning equipment of some kind - we will be doing working meditation (i.e. mindfulness) as part of the weekend.
There is no cost for the weekend but please bring alms.

Some interest has been expressed in being at the classes Rinpoche is giving in November in America. Some Trinis are also interested in going.  Charissa will be in New York anyway and plans to go up from there. Please let me know soon if you are interested.  Remember I leave here early next month.
So I am resending the draft details we currently have :

Chance of being with Ringu Tulku in US:
It looks like if any of us go to Rinpoche's November teachings in the Americas that those in Maine (N.E.USA) will be cheaper, safer and more accessable than those in Mexico.
His schedule has not yet been finalised but provisionally we have:
Nov 19th Rinpoche flies to NY from Mexico
Nov 20th to 22nd Rinpoche teaching at Karma Trinyana Dharmachakra (the North American seat of H.H. Karmapa)
Nov 23rd With a Lama
Nov 24th Westchester
Nov 25th to 28th in Maine (VVI from 27th to 28th)

Costs:  A return flight Antigua to NY on 19th returning 29th is currently  $500US with AA
KTD charges $96/night for a single room, $77 for a shared room and $48 for a dorm.  See:
http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/schedule/

So I would think the round trip would cost $1500US as a ball park figure. It's expensive, but it's a chance to hear Rinpoche live and to meet him.  Any takers?  Please let me know.

With every good wish
Rinchen

Just as rust arising from iron
eats away the base from which it arises,
even so, their own deeds
lead transgressors to states of woe.                Shakyamuni





~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                          4 August 2015
I hope this finds you all well.  It's good to be back on Antigua.  I didn't plan to be back for carnival and missed most of it, but it was great to see some children costumed up and looking ready to go.

I've been back almost 2 weeks now and have 4 to go.  Then I'll be heading down to Trinidad - reurning here at the year end for 4 months.  We have made a good start since I've come  having had 3 sangha meetings, given 2 classes to hotel staff at Jumbie Bay, a class at a Sickle Cell group and one for 'The Boys Training School'.  I very much appreciate the help of Simone, Dina and Anya when doing these classes.

 I'm copying below one of Rinpoche's quotes I used for the last sangha meeting.

So upcoming we have starting tomorrow:
Wednesday 5th August  5.30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth  - Sangha evening (we will do a flow for 'doubt' - it's a sort of acupressure).

Saturday 8th August 10am at the Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road - Sangha morning.

We are planning a 2 day retreat:
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th August.  This will start at 8am on Saturday and finish at 4pm on Sunday.  It's fine to come for both days of for just the Saturday (that will finish at 4pm for those coming for the day). If you would like to overnight in Falmouth please let us know - we may be able to find a place for you.
Please wear loose clothing and bring whatever dharma book you are reading.  Please also bring food to share. There is no cost for the weekend but please bring alms.


First meeting 25 July



Chance of being with Ringu Tulku in US:
It looks like if any of us go to Rinpoche's November teachings in the Americas that those in Maine (N.E.USA) will be cheaper, safer and more accessable than those in Mexico.
His schedule has not yet been finalised but provisionally we have:
Nov 19th Rinpoche flies to NY from Mexico
Nov 20th to 22nd Rinpoche teaching at Karma Trinyana Dharmachakra (the North American seat of H.H. Karmapa)
Nov 23rd With a Lama
Nov 24th Westchester
Nov 25th to 28th in Maine (VVI from 27th to 28th)

Costs:  A return flight Antigua to NY on 19th returning 29th is currently  $500US with AA
KTD charges $96/night for a single room, $77 for a shared room and $48 for a dorm.  See:
http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/schedule/

So I would think the round trip would cost $1500US as a ball park figure. It's expensive, but it's a chance to hear Rinpoche live and to meet him.  Any takers?  Please let me know.

With every good wish
Rinchen

" A Buddha and an ordinary being have exactly the same basic nature. Attaining Buddhahood does not mean we become someone completely different. Rather we become fully conscious of what we have always been.  It isnt something that 'descends upon us', but rather is an understanding, a realization.  Our confusion disappears. We can compare samsara to a thick fog that prevents us from seeing anything except as vague and confused states. When the mist clears, the landscape hasn't changed, but now we see it clearly."
                                                                                                    Ringu Tulku Rinpoche  -from 'Path to Buddhahood'

                                                                
                                                                  ~~~

 Dear Islander                                                                  13 July 2015
I hope this finds you safe and well.  I've been getting news of your sangha meetings and appreciate the efforts you are all making together.

I've just 8 days left in England and then will be flying back to the islands. Since leaving Antigua I've been fortunate to spend quite some time on retreat and, as well, be at two weekend teachings given by Rinpoche (Ringu Tulku) - one in Ireland and then, last weekend, one in London [you can listen to the talks given in Ireland by following the instructions below*].



With RTR in Dzogchen Beara, 5 July '15



 On Wednesday I join Rinpoche, some Tibetan monks and many others on a 4 day retreat in an English country house (Denise Martin from Antigua will be there) -  then pack my bags and head for Gatwick.

Rinpoche is teaching in Mexico this year.  The dates are:
Mexico City   12th to 15th November  and
San Luis Potosí  16th to 19th November.
He didnt seem to know Mexico is close by the Caribbean , and unfortunately will be coming from a fixed scheduled teaching in a Western  U.S. state and flying back to another event, on the eastern seaboard, immediately after his last teaching in San Luis.  But we are welcome to join him for these teachings in Mexico. I found a return flight from PoS to Mexico City (via Miami) for $510US  so maybe we could form a Bodhicharya Caribbean party and join with the Mexicans there.  The teachings will be in English and I will try and get some details from him while on the upcoming retreat.

I plan to be in Antigua for 6 weeks and then fly down to PoS on 2nd September and will stay onisland till the year end. Then back to Antigua again.

The first class I'll be giving will be at the Winter's Medical Centre, north St.Johns, on Saturday 25th July at 10am.

With every good wish
Rinchen



As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.
                                                         Shakyamuni

*If you would like to hear the teachings given at Dzogchen Beara please follow these instructions:

To download the ZIP file containing all the teachings (MP3 format, total : 254 MB), first click on the link below :




Then Click the Download green button, this will prompt your browswer to ask you if you would like to open or save the file. Select Save File. The Firefox, IE , Safari, and Opera Web browsers will bring up a second dialog box asking you where on your computer you would like to save the file. Choose a convenient location (your desktop is usually good option). The Firefox Web browser will save the file to a default location (usually your Downloads folder).


After the download is complete, navigate to the ZIP file on your computer. You should be able to right-click or (if you are using Mac OS X) control-click on the file. At least one of the following options should appear in the menu: Extract All, Unzip
                                                                
                                                                                  ~~~

Dear Trinis and All                                                          Thursday 4th June 2015
Thought you might like this pic from the day retreat I helped lead last month for the Bodhicharya London sangha.  Spot the two islanders  
 Trinis from the Trini sangha.
Best wishes

Rinchen   

Maya Patel and Daniel St.Rose
 

 ~~~

Dear Islanders All                                                                  Friday 22 May 2015
Greetings from the British Isles!   I'm sending this email to all in our Caribbean island sangha.  I've been pleased to hear how your meetings have been going while I've been away.
And especially to hear news of those teaching in schools and prisons.  That is great - the bodhisattva life!  But actually, if we are true practitioners, kind and aware, everything we do can be a benefit for others.

My news is that I had the operation I came back for late March and it's now 2 months on and it has healed well and I feel stronger than when I left Antigua. Since then I've spent a month on retreat in S.W. Ireland and then gave classes/ lead retreats for three Bodhicharya groups here - Totnes, Bosham and London.
As there was a gap between these events I managed a sail with a childhood sailing friend - where we used to sail as kids.

My plans now are to stay for Rinpoche's visit (you can see online 'Ringu Tulku travel schedue' - please come if you can) in July and then return to Antigua 22nd July for 5 weeks and then catch a flight to T&T around 1st September and be onisland till the year end.

I wish you all well.  Keep practicing - meditation and kindness.  No other activity yields such benefits.

See you soon.

With every good wish
Rinchen

Calm is one's thought, calm one's speech,
and calm one's deed, who, truly knowing,
is wholly freed, perfectly tranquil and wise.            Shakyamuni

A couple of recent pics:

Totnes weekend
  Trinis might recognise David Fry in the pic - we sailed to the Windies together in 2002 when I returned to the islands as a monk


Lunch-break - day retreat - London - last Saturday
~~~

 Dear All                                                                 5 April 2015
I hope this finds you well and continuing with your practice - finding for yourself a better way - joining 'the great way'.

I'm in England having had my op recently and am still a bit in recovery mode.  But I think it was successsful this time so I feel very grateful.

I'm planning on going on retreat in Ireland in a couple of days.  I take a coach and a ferry across the Irish Sea.  An old dharma friend has a simple place near Dzogchen Beara on the south west coast where Rinpoche will be teaching in July.  I'm hoping to be on retreat for a month and then will be teaching at 3 of Rinpoche's Bodhicharya Centres in south England. Then I plan to visit my old zen monastery (north England) and say hello to old monk friends - it will be my first visit since I left to go on sabbatical 7 years ago.
Rinpoche will be in UK and Ireland in July so I will stay for that and then return to the Windies - first to Antigua for a short visit as I cut short my stay there to come back here and have the op.

So I'm feeling blessed - I'm hoping to be physically robust for a few more years now and should have some retreat time while in these isles as well as seeing Rinpoche and dharma friends over here and doing a little teaching.
 If any of you plan on being this side of the Atlantic and can make any of Rinpoche's European teachings this spring / summer (April to September) then please let me know and do take the opportunity.  He is an exceptional teacher and we are very fortunate to have this connection to him.  You can see where he will be if you click on:
http://bodhicharya.org/ringu-tulku/schedule/
I will not be doing much on the computer during the next month but if you want to email me I will reply - sooner or later

But I will be remembering you all and wishing for your happiness and success

With best wishes
Rinchen
By doing evil, one defiles oneself;
by avoiding evil, one purifies oneself.
Purity and impurity depend upon oneself:
no one can purify another.                                 Shakyamuni
 
 
 

 ~~~

Dearest  Sangha Friends in Antigua                                   3 April 2014
My apologies for this delayed e-mail but things are still a bit busy around here in Falmouth and English Harbour. I hope you are all enjoying  your school Easter Holidays and soon a nice a long Easter Holiday week-end  from your demanding  jobs.
This week we will be meeting as usual this afternoon at our Bodhicharya Centre in Falmouth at 5,30. We will do a period of meditation, walking meditation and then we will read and discuss a paper on Tonglen ( wisdom and loving kindness type of meditation) which Denise has brought to our attention. It is very profound and beautiful . Just perfect for entering a week-end of peace and love towards all beings.
On Saturday we will meet at the Winter Medical Centre and we will be listening to a talk by our Teacher Rinchen on Emptiness which was recorded during one of his summer visits to Antigua in 2011. Dr. Evanson  suggested that this talk will be appropriate because the subject of Emptiness came up in the fantastic video that we listened for the past two Saturday by Eckhart Tolle ( author of The Power of Now) on Meditation.
I am so glad the group last week was so nice with 14 of us. These teachings are very precious and they help us stay on the path and keep under control our unruly minds, especially when our Teacher Rinchen is not here. If you would like a copy of these recordings , please come to the meetings and bring with you a flash drive with a good amount of space. I will be very happy to copy them for you.

With All My Love and Best Wishes for a Happy Easter
Dina
Ps. We always need help at the Centre for finishing our Bodhicharya sign, filing teachings, keeping up with the library,  filing up meditation cushions for our return to teach in the schools, etc. etc.
~~~
Hello All in T&T                                                                   3 April 2015
We will have no Sunday session this week. Our next meeting will be held at the Stollmeyer house in Santa Cruz from 4pm to 6pm on Suday, April 12th. This will be preceded by an extended period of sitting/walking meditation beginning at 2:00pm.

Have a safe and enjoyable Easter weekend.

With Metta
  _/|\_
gyaltso

Heaven and Earth give themselves. Air, water, plants, animals, and humans give themselves to each other. It is in this giving-themselves-to-each-other that we actually live. Whether you appreciate it or not, it is true.
Kodo Sawaki
~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                          9th March 2015 Well I just finished a last days work securing my boat (which has saved me a lot of rent already) and have just come ashore and a kind friend is to take me to VC Bird quite soon.  So I am just sending out a last email to give you my best wishes and tell you what is happening this week so that the impetus we have for classes and practice continues.  I feel we have done better this year than any year before.  Well done all! The sangha is beginning to really gel and be a true refuge - so keep it up after I go and you and all others will benefit.  I plan to be back not too long from now.

So this week we have:
Wednesday 11th March at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening.
A lovely new sign has been completed by Dina and her assistant Katerin.  I think it might be the biggest Bodhicharya sign in the world!  Very beautifully done too!   Thanks so much both of you.  The hands symbolise the helping of a Bodhisattva (someone who has dedicated themselves to help all beings) - helping, healing, harmony.



  There will be meditation at 5.30pm followed by a teaching and discussion. 
It's up to you to decide amongst yourselves what to study at these midweek evening classes.  So you are welcome to put a subject forward and prepare to introduce it and lead the discussion.  The person who learns most is the one who gives the class.
During these Wednesday evenings you can also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in. I'm attaching a sheet on the '5 Tibetan Rites' as several people asked me for this last Saturday.

Saturday 14th March at 10am in the Winter's Medical Centre (off Fort Road).  There will be a period of meditation, walking meditation and /or 5 Tibetan rites and a dharma talk and discussion.  

I finished the last class in our local prison last Wednesday  - graduation pic is below.


This text on leaving prisons by the Russian dissenter Bukovsky was read at a recent class.  It is about how we create the world we live in.  Here he is thinking about his upcoming release from jail:

From Vladimir Bukovsky

To build a castle - my life as a dissenter”

Chapter 5

Is it possible to feel nostalgic for the madhouse, or homesickness for jail?
Only yesterday stifled by that atmosphere of madness that impregnated everything, like pitch, the deck of a ship, all you could dream of was: Lord, let me get out of here! You didn't need very much, did you? Why were you eternally discontented, eternally looking for something better, and poisoning those simple, priceless moments of happiness that were always accessible to you if you really wanted them?

What used to a man were riches, luxurious palaces and the constant pursuit of pleasure, when a simple bread roll, bought for five copecks at the railway station and gnawed unhurriedly as you ambled down the street, were more precious to you than anything in the world?

Drunk on the hurly-burly of the streets, on the mass of human faces and colourful apparel, you would board a tram and rumble along the boulevard. There would be no need to peer suspiciously at others and become tense each time they asked a question. Each new crossroads, each street, would be as full of people as words of meaning.
And you would be able to get off at any stop and mingle with the crowd, stunned by the colours and the sounds. Or jump off while the tram was still moving.
The main thing was to want nothing, desire nothing and strive for nothing; then the warm evening twilight, the lights in the windows and the scraping of thousands of feet would come to like unexpected gifts. And the scent of the fields, the intoxicating resinous aroma of pine needles the gurgling of water...... you would tramp the dusty lanes from deserted village to deserted village, sleep the night in haystacks, and when you were woken by the morning chill, you would stride across the fields wrapped in morning mist. All you needed was not to think of the morrow, not to wait for it, and then every ray of sunlight would be a miracle, every morning, a discovery.

But the moment you cross the threshold of your jail, this idyllic dream goes to hell. The first person you see, the filthy wooden fence across the street, smothered in tatty posters, the peeling tram, the hurrying crowds of people and the dead grey blocks of flats - all seem no more than a stage set, with no relation to you at all. The movement, faces, colours and sounds fill you with bearable pain, and as the tram climbs screechingly up the up the hill, you stare at the rubbish strewn floor beneath your feet and wait. Whenever someone comes too close to you, you curl up inside: hurry up and go by. This noisy world won't tolerate the uninvolved - it pushes you, pulls you, orders you about, makes demands on you, threatens you and tells you to be careful.

I'm sorry I'm leaving so early - almost two months early.  I look forward to seeing you all again soon
Dina will keep up the weekly emails ( I just talked to her and she said 'Yes' ).
With every good wish
Rinchen


Just as a tree, though cut down,
sprouts up again if its roots remain uncut and firm,
even so, until the craving that lies dormant is rooted out,
suffering springs up again and again.           Shakyamuni 
 
 

~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                              3 March 2015
  Enlightenment:   On Sunday we went through the letters of Yaeko, a young Japanese woman of the Mitsubishi family, writing to her zen master to tell him of her enlightenment experiences.  Traditionally most schools identify 4 levels of enolightment - the first being 'stream entrant' or 'kensho'.  She achieved this first level on the 23rd December of 1935 and had her 4th experience (said to be an understanding equivalent to that of the historical Buddha) authenticated by her master before the end of that year!  This is extremely wonderful and unusual!
Marvellous and touching though these letters are, perhaps most people do not have an awakening that happens in this way with very clear cut realisations.  For most of us it is more like a dimmer switch being slowly turned up.  We slowly come to see the light of truth during our practice of several years (in fact Yaeko had practiced zazan for only 5 years before her experience).  Delusion slowly lessens, clarity increases - and with it comes a quiet joyousness.

So this week we have:
Wednesday 4th March at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will have meditation first and then a class on mudras.  If you plan to come to this class please print and bring the attached sheet on the 'faith doubt' mudra. Doing this flow can help dissolve blocks obstructing us due any habitual doubt we may have. We had planned to do it the last two weeks but it didnt work out. The meeting will end around 7pm.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand if you woud like to come for that.  Usual number - 776 2566

Saturday 7th March at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Seventh Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be a follow up introductory class.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk and discussion.

I'm still doing the classes in the prison, the school for children with special needs (see pic below), and at the 'Boy's training school'.  But now I have contacted my doctor in the UK and am flying back this coming Monday to get (in the line for) an operation.

I'm sorry I'm leaving so early - almost two months early.  I look forward to seeing you all again soon. The sangha will continue to meet on Saturday mornings at 10am - but at the 'Winters Medical Centre ' on Fort Road.  Meetings will also continue on Wednesday evenings at 5.30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth (Dina's workshop - see map attached).

With every good wish
Rinchen



One is not versed in Dhamma
because one speaks much.
One who, after hearing a little Dhamma,
realizes its truth directly
and is not heedless of it,
is truly versed in the Dhamma.            Shakyamuni 
 
 
 
 

~~~




Dear Antiguans and All                                              24 February 2015
We had a very good day retreat on Sunday.  But then one of the sangha was saying something like "Yes we pracice here together in ideal circumstances and experience a clear and kind mind.  But in the world that is not always possible because of the ongoing unkindness of others".  Well... yes it is harder, that is why we practice together as a sangha - but it is still possible.  We have to develop a great heart.  Others have done it, so can we.  I am including below a note found in a Nazi concentration camp at the end of World War II.  This is the greatest kindness I have ever heard about:

A Prayer of Compassion

Burton Singer





A few months ago a prayer was brought to my attention. It has greatly helped me in my training. It was found by the body of a child in Ravensbruck concentration camp.





Oh Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering - our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgement let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.”





This prayer has shown me the attitude of mind that I have been trying to work on in my daily life. It has shown me that one can look up in any circumstance. That one can have compassion and sympathy in any situation. That the teaching of all—acceptance is not only a teaching but an active and feasible way of life.


So this week we have:

Wednesday 25th February at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will have meditation first and then a class on mudras.  If you plan to come to this class please print and bring the attached sheet on the 'faith doubt' mudra. Doing this flow can help dissolve blocks obstructing us due any habitual doubt we may have. We had planned to do it last week but it didnt work out. The meeting will end around 7pm.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand if you woud like to come for that.  Usual number - 776 2566

Saturday 21st February at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Sixth Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be a follow up introductory class.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk and discussion.

I'm still doing the classes in the prison, the school for children with special needs, and at the 'Boy's training school'.  But there is a chance now I will return to UK earlier than planned and have a small op - so we may not have many more meetings together.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  You are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

With every good wish
Rinchen



Know this, O good one:
evil things are difficult to control.
Let not greed and wickedness
drag you to protracted misery.       Shakyamuni    


~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                            17 February 2015 I hope this finds you well and able to do your daily practice. It's said all things, all beings are impermanent. This will be a windy week for Antigua, but the winds of change - they are always there.
 So, for ourselves, we never know how long we may have to live, hopefully in a good way, and to practice (so as to find the 'noble happiness' - and make our hearts and minds clear).
 We look ahead - at the end of our life - then what?  What will we be carrying forward?

So this week we have:
Wednesday 18th February at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will have meditation first and then a class on mudras.  If you plan to come to this class please print and bring the attached sheet on the 'faith doubt' mudra. Doing this flow can help dissolve blocks obstructing us due to habitual doubt.  The meeting will end around 7pm.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand if you woud like to come for that.  Usual number - 776 2566

Saturday 21st February at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Fifth Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be a follow up introductory class.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk and discussion.
For those who started this practice 4 weeks ago (this is the fifth class in the series) you might be finding the clarity and calmness of the meditative mind appearingfrom time to time - uncalled for - in your daily life now.  I hope so!

Sunday 22nd February at 8am at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Day of practice. This will finish at 4pm.  If you are new to the practice you are welcome to come just for the morning (so staying till noon).
For the regulars please remember to bring vegetarian food to share.  Wear loose informal clothing. There will be periods of meditation, walking meditation, work practice, a talk and discussion and rest time. 
If you have a subject you would like to hear a talk on please let me know as soon as possible.
If you haven' t yet booked in but would like to come please do so asap.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  You are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

With every good wish
Rinchen    

P.S.
I forgot this - someone asked what the chant was Raphael was referring to on Saturday.  It's the most recited, most common Tibetan one.  It's pronounced:

OM MANI PADME HUM   or OM MANI PADME HUNG

The meaning is not entirely clear - something like 'Om to the jewel in the lotus'.
You can chant it for a while as an alternative to your regular meditation practice.  There are various versions on youtube (some are a bit much).  But perhaps you can find one you like
e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcKea-10--E
Rinchen





Overcome the angry by non-anger;
overcome the wicked by goodness;
overcome the miser by generosity;
overcome the liar by truth.                   Shakyamuni
 


 ~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                      10 February 2015

I hope this finds you well.  And doing your daily practice of course .  Developing clarity and compassion like 'Dharma the cat'....

                                                 
 
Well, okay yes that's a joke - but if we simply do the daily practice and have patience we find we are changing for real - and in very wonderful ways (!).

So this week we have:


Wednesday 11th February at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will have meditation first and then a class on mudras.  The meeting ends around 7pm.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand if you woud like to come for that.  Same number - 776 2566

Saturday 14th February at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Forth Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be a follow up introductory class.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk on skilful means - as well as further introductory teachings on meditation.

Sunday 15th February at 4pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Class for regulars.  This will be the forth of a  more advanced series of classes for those who have been practicing for some time - but anybody who would like to can come along and join in.  The class will finish at 5:30pm so please arrive a little before 4pm.  For those who can stay on for a longer period of meditation the evening will finish at 6pm.  We will continue to go through the Chinese 'Oxherding Pictures' - a sequence of drawings showing the main stages on the spiritual path. 
These are similar to the Tibetan 'Elephant Taming Pictures':




Help please!   I am looking for help with making sitting equipment. The work will be done in Falmouth.  You dont need special skills - just be willing to give some time so we can offer equipment to new people and also increase our stock.  If you can help, even for an hour or two, please phone me on 776 2566. I will be at Falmouth doing this work after the Saturday morning class and on Sunday before the evening class.  Please come along and join in.


I look forward to seeing you all again soon. 
You are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

With every good wish
Rinchen

At the last meeting in town I was asked to forward these verses I'd read out from the 'Dharmapada'.  In a way all of the Buddhist understanding is contained in these first 'twin' verses:

Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with an impure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then suffering will follow that person
as the cartwheel follows the foot of the draught animal.

Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with a pure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then happiness will follow that person
as a shadow that never departs.               Shakyamuni

~~~

 
Dear Antiguans and All                                        3rd February 2015
I hope this finds you well - and doing your daily practice, especially those who are just starting.  We are purifying our minds

While there is no getting round the fact we have to train our own minds, a little bit everyday, if we want to develop peacefulness, clarity and compassion, there are many skilful ways of helping achieve this.  For instance, if  you find one day that your mind seems too wild to meditate, or you just dont feel ready and able to meditate, you might try listening to a sound or chant that can help you 'settle in' for a couple of minutes beforehand.  For instance you could try:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkQ9T4mXX5k
It's a type of meditation in itself.  With all these things we find they can be useful for a while and then we dont find them useful any more - we might no longer need them - or else we try something different..

Help please!   I am looking for help with making sitting equipment. The work will be done in Falmouth.  You dont need special skills - just be willing to give some time so we can offer equipment to new people and also increase our stock.  If you can help, even for an hour or two, please phone me on 776 2566.

Wednesday 4th February at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will have meditation first and then a class on mudras.  The meeting ends around 7pm.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand if you woud like to come for that.  Same number - 776 2566

Saturday 7th February at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Third Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be a follow up introductory class.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk on mindfulnes - as well as further introductory teachings on meditation.

Sunday 8th February at 4pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Class for regulars.  This will be the forth of a  more advanced series of classes for those who have been practicing for some time - but anybody who would like to can come along and join in.  The class will finish at 5:30pm so please arrive a little before 4pm.  For those who can stay on for a longer period of meditation the evening will finish at 6pm.  We will continue to go through the Chinese 'Oxherding Pictures' - a sequence of drawings showing the main stages on the spiritual path.  This class we will study picture #4 - what the singer Cat Stevens called 'Catch bull at four'.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  You are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

I'm attaching a file given out at the class last Saturday.  We are looking at how to do 'mindulness'.  You might look at the cartoon and ask yourself why it is appropriate (??).

With every good wish
Rinchen


If you fear pain, if you dislike pain,
don't do an evil deed in open or secret.
If you're doing or will do an evil deed,
you won't escape pain:
it will catch you even as you run away.                Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                    27 January 2015
I hope this finds you well - and doing your daily practice.

Tomorrow I'm doing an evening meeting in Falmouth - before this giving a third class in HMPrison and another at the 'Victory Centre' - a school for children with special needs - teaching a mindful art class.  Last week I realised too late I'd forgotten how to make gliders. We muddled through.  The children have a nice quality.  This time we will make boats - that I can remember.

So this week we have:

Wednesday 28th January at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will have meditation first and then a class on mudras.  The meeting ends around 7pm.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand if you woud like to come for that - or bring a friend.

Saturday 31st of January at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's
.  Second Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be our follow up introductory class.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk on mindfulnes - as well as further introductory teachings on meditation.

Sunday 1st February at 4pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth
.  Class for regulars.  This will be the forth of a  more advanced series of classes for those who have been practicing for some time - but anybody who would like to can come along and join in.  The class will finish at 5:30pm so please arrive a little before 4pm.  For those who can stay on for a longer period of meditation the evening will finish at 6pm.  We will continue to go through the Chinese 'Oxherding Pictures' - a sequence of drawings showing the main stages on the spiritual path.  This class we will study picture #4 - what the singer Cat Stevens called 'Catch bull at four'.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  You are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

With every good wish
  Rinchen


                                           My teacher Ringu Tulku as a very young monk (he's 63 now)

                                                                                         


Exalted in mind & heedful,
the sage trained in sagacity's ways:
One has no sorrows, one who is Such,
calmed & ever mindful.  
                                          Shakyamuni

~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                                20 January 2015 
  So I seem to be settling in fine and hope the new people are settling in to their 'calm abiding' practice okay too.  For your amusement I'm inserting a pic at the end showing how not to practice - but we all do this to some extent.

Tomorrow I'm doing an evening meeting in Falmouth - before this giving a second class in HMPrison and another at the 'Victory Centre' - a school for children with special needs - teaching a mindful art class.  This time we will make aeroplanes.

So this week we have:

Wednesday 21st January at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will discuss 'Ways of cleansing the mind of persistant obstacles to peace and contentment'.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class so you can start a meditation practice I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand.

Saturday 24th of January at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will be our main introductory class beacusse this date was advertised on tv, radio and in the papers.  It will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk and discussion as well as an introductory teachings on meditation.

Sunday  25th January at 4pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Class for regulars.  This will be the third of a  more advanced series of classes for those who have been practicing for some time - but anybody who would like to can come along and join in.  The class will finish at 5:30pm so please arrive a little before 4pm.  For those who can stay on for a longer period of meditation the evening will finish at 6pm.  We will continue to go through the Chinese 'Oxherding Pictures' - a sequence of drawings showing the main stages on the spiritual path.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  You are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

With every good wish
Rinchen


My cell is the same 776 2566




If one going down into a river,
swollen and swiftly flowing,
is carried away by the current --
how can one help others across? 
                                                     Shakyamuni
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                             ~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                            13 January 2014

So I'm back in the swing of things in Antigua again.  It's good to be back.  We have had 4 meetings so far.  From now on you are welcome to come to all the meetings or just the ones that appeal to you or are convenient.

Tomorrow I'm doing an evening meeting in Falmouth and this is after giving a first class in HMPrison and another at the 'Victory Centre' a school for children with special needs - teaching a mindful art class - really Dina or Denise should be doing that!   Anyway, we will see..
So we have:

Wednesday 14th January at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening. We will discuss 'Living with change and incertainty'
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.
If you would like a brief introductory class I can do this before the main class - please phone me beforehand.

Saturday 17th of January at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Introductory Class and Regular Meeting and class for all comers - this will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk and discussion as well as an introductory teachings on meditation.

Sunday  18 January at 4pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Class for regulars.  This is the second of a  more advanced series of classes for those who have been practicing for some time - but anybody who would like to can come along and join in.  The class will finish at 5:30pm so please arrive a little before 4pm.  For those who can stay on for a longer period of meditation the evening will finish at 6pm.  We will be going through the Chinese 'Oxherding Pictures' - a sequence of drawings showing the stages on the spiritual path (see attachment - which also shows 4 drawings by me to show mistakes that can be made). This will be the first of a sequence of classes on these pictures.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  We will have the official introductory class for new people (i.e. as advertised) 24th January in the museum.

I'm attaching the November cover of Scientific American.  It's only now the science is being clarified in the West to show how this predominantly Eastern practice benefits us all.

Please note as a teaching monk we are only funded by donations.  We make no charges.  So please do plan to leave a donation when you come.  This keeps me going and can help with the rental of the workshop too.  Many thanks.

With every good wish
Rinchen

My cell is the same 776 2566



One is the quest for worldly gain,
and quite another is the path to Nibbana.
Clearly understanding this,
let not the monk, the disciple of the Buddha,
be carried away by worldly acclaim,
but develop detachment instead.
                                                                    Shakyamuni

  November cover of Scientific American
The 10 Oxherding Pictures (with 4 additions from Rinchen)
~~~

Dear Antiguans and All                                            6 January 2015
We had a good meeting last Saturday and decided that, while I'm here on this visit, we will have three meetings a week for those who would like to attend.
So starting from tomorrow....

Wednesday 7th January at 5:30pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Weekly Sangha evening.  This will be preceded by at 4:45pm a short introductory class on meditation for new people.  All welcome.
During these Wednesday evenings we will also do the '5 Tibetan Rites' - a short Tibetan yoga for those people who would like to join in.

Saturday 10th of January at 10am in the Antigua & Barbuda Museum (upstairs gallery) on Long Street St John's.  Regular meeting and class for all comers - this will include a practice check in, a period of meditation, walking meditation and a dharma talk and discussion.

Sunday 11th January at 4pm at Bodhicharya Meditation Centre, Falmouth.  Class for regulars.  This is the first of a  more advanced series of classes for those who have been practicing for some time - but anybody who would like to can come along and join in.  The class will finish at 5:30pm so please arrive a little before 4pm.  For those who can stay on for a longer period of meditation the evening will finish at 6pm.

For this first class we will be studying 'Buddha Nature' - or to put it another way, the mind of the Buddha.  Someone in the Scottish sangha recently questioned me about whether or not Buddha Nature is permanent and I attach his question as well as my answer.  If you are coming to this class please study this before you come.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  We will have an introductory class for new people at the end of the month.

With every good wish
Rinchen

My cell is the same 776 2566


Ever grows the glory of one
who is energetic, mindful and pure in conduct,
discerning and self-controlled, righteous and heedful.                   Shakyamuni
 

Buddha nature – permanent or impermanent ?



Question from a sangha member



Can I ask you a question? I seem to have got stuck with the question of whether Buddha nature is impermanent. There seems to be a general sense that Dogen said it was, but I find it difficult to reconcile this with the apparent permanence of love, compassion & wisdom as abiding qualities. I'm aware of our human need to cling to the idea of something being permanent in this ever-changing universe. Perhaps some sort of sense of 'home' or security. But beyond that I am puzzled at what can be a refuge if even Buddha nature, or the Dharmakaya, is itself impermanent. Do you have any thoughts about this?



Rinchen reply



As regards the impermanence / permanence of the Buddha nature...my understanding, for what it's worth, is that at first kensho you have a first glimpse of Buddha nature. This first glimpse can vary in depth and in the length of time it replaces the ordinary samsaric mind of the practitioner.



The job then is to realise it's importance (it might not seem to be an earth shattering experience at all) and then go on to train your mind in such a way that this state, our true home, becomes more a place we can reside - rather than just very occasionally visit. In fact the Buddha (Shakyamuni that is) warned that, at this stage, if we allow our minds to return to their old ways (i.e. indulging our own habitual versions of greed, hatred and ignorance), they will.


Then in, I think, most Buddhist schools there are 2 more profound experiences of enlightenment that occur before full Buddhahood (which can therefore be said to be 4th kensho). As I understand it, it's only when this final level is reached that you are able to stay at all times with your true nature, Buddha nature. I suppose this is in part because at this stage there is no longer a 'you' in the conventional sense able, or liable, to get caught up and carried away with the arising kleshas and karma any more. The sense (or illusion) of being separate and having a separate self has been entirely seen through and given up. We no longer have any wish to hold on to our 'individual selves' - and so be set apart from others and the world. Yet what is true in us does not cease to exist.


So, yes, our true nature is always there, just 'waiting' for us to become irrevocably one with it. I dont think you have to have had 4th kensho to have a sense of the truth of this - whenever we return to this place we find it still there - perfect, precious and the same. The sense of completion that we experience on account of this gives rise to a deep gratitude. This helps us keep treading the path - as ever we have to keep an ongoing clear, gentle awareness - while at the same time maintaining an honest acceptance of everything that arises (in our 'inner and outer' worlds). This is not always so very easy to do.

I dont have any memory of Dogen saying Buddha nature is/was impermanent but I must admit I didnt always much take to his contradictory style.

 And yet, there is always the other, opposite view, and the finding of the middle way between the two....
 

Rinchen

                                                                                                        5 Jan '15

 
The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering, alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from bondage. Dhammapada 2.23


 ~~~

 Dear Trini Sangha and All                                                                      6 January 2015
Graham is going to be sending out these weekly notices but I'm doing this last one.  I hope it all finds you well. I'm in Antigua and we have had a fist class and are planning 3 a week for this visit !!!

So this week in Trinidad at Stollmeyer's Estate House, Santa Cruz:

Sunday 11th January 2pm (optional) Meditation finishing in time for the main meeting.  You are welcome to come along and join in all or part of it.  Meditation alternating with walking meditation and tea.
                                          4pm Dharma Evening - finishing at 6pm

I recently received an email from one of the Scottish sangha asking if Buddha Nature is permanent or impermanent.  I'm attaching a copy of that part of our correspondence for your interest.  Please feel free to comment.

With every good wish to you all
Rinchen

Ever grows the glory of one
who is energetic, mindful and pure in conduct,
discerning and self-controlled, righteous and heedful.                                    Shakyamuni

                                     ~~~


Dear Antiguans and All                                  30 December 2014
I'm looking forward to coming up to Antigua and starting the new year with you all.  If both my driver and I wake early enough we will leave Port of Spain at 3.30am tomorrow morning and I will  be at VCBird by 10am.

We have a first meeting together this coming Saturday:

Saturday 3 January 10am at the Winter's Medical Centre, Fort Road (north St. Johns).  If you need directions you can phone Dina on 764 5594.

We had our last sangha meeting here in Trinidad on Sunday and I attach a pic of that for you so you can see your brothers and sisters in the dharma.  As well that I attach a very short teaching by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche on the 'Nature of Mind'.

I would like us all to train together in this new year in a devoted and kind way supporting each other (as ever) so we can receive the blessings of good practice.

With every good wish
Rinchen

Much though one recites the sacred texts,
but acts not accordingly,
that heedless one is like a cowherd
who only counts the cows of others --
one does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.

 ~~~

 Dear Trini Sangha and All                               30 Dec 2014
We had a good last meeting last Sunday and I attach a pic from that. I'm also attaching a copy of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's 'True Nature of mind'  in 500 words!  He was a really great teacher and one of Rinpoche's teachers.
 I am leaving behind videos for you to watch together or as individuals.  At the moment Gyaltso is making copies of them.  They include a teaching by Dilgo Khyentse as well as of course many by Rinpoche and other teachers I very much admire.  There is a complete set of teachings from a week retreat with Rinpoche teaching on the subject of 'Refuge'.  Other interesting videos as well.

So if both I and my driver wake up in time I am leaving Cascade at 3.30am tomorrow morning and should be in Antigua before 10am where I will be based for the next 4 months - with the sangha there.

Recently we have had seniors meetings to discuss how things will be run in my absence and the plan is for weekly meetings as well as monthly days of practice.  This first meeting will not be proceded by an extra optional 2 hours of meditation - but that will be the normal format.

So this week we have:

Sunday 4th Jamuary at 4pm Sangha Meeting at Stollmeyers Estate House, Santa Cruz.  All are welcome to attend.  If you are unsure how to get there or need a ride phone Julian on 783 3791.  Meditation equipment will be provided.

If you would like to borrow books, magasins, cds or dvds Julian will have a selection with him and when Marlene Jinpa comes back from New York (she is the librarian) you can ask her to bring specific items.  Her email is mvastt@gmail.com and it's fine to email her with a request. It's a 2 week loan period.

I am expecting all the regular sangha to send me an email regularly to let me know how their practice is going and in case of any questions arising.  I may not always be able to answeer you quickly but I will answer.

Please do what you can to help and to support each other and keep your daily practice.

With best wishes
Rinchen


Much though one recites the sacred texts,
but acts not accordingly,
that heedless one is like a cowherd
who only counts the cows of others --
one does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.            Shakyamuni
 
 
 



~~~

 Dear Everyone

``

                                                                                  
" A healthy mind is the greatest gain      



Contentment is the greatest wealth
   A trustworthy friend is the best of kin
       Unconditional freedom is the highest bliss"


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Shakyamuni (Dharmapada 203)

    


 With best wishes for all of these for 2015
from

  Rinchen