Blog April 2017

April 14th -16th  2017- At the Ripa International Center

Final meeting before summer 2018…

Before leaving for a one-year retreat in a sacred place lost in the Himalayas, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche wanted to meet us one last time … Three intense days filled with emotion. The following account can only be a weak reflection of what we have experienced.

 

The meaning of the “Guru” in Tibetan Buddhism

How is it possible to sum up this immense teaching of Rinpoche without risking having misheard, or misunderstood, and without betraying his thoughts regarding that which is most subtle, profound, rich, and inspired? … Impossible. It is addressed to each one of us individually, and to all of us as a group. His words touch us deeply in our hearts, reaching the depths of our intimate concerns and sometimes even of our resistance. So Guru? Master ? Spiritual friend? Teacher ? These aspects that he evokes and develops reach us where we are. Each one receives at his level, according to his path and the opening of his heart.
Rinpoche reminds us of the foundations of Buddhism, the interdependence of phenomena, the truths of relative reality and the absolute, of dissatisfaction, suffering, compassion … During these three days he opens for us endless ways to engage in inner work . He leaves by entrusting us with an enormous “notebook of holiday duties” to fill during his absence. To be filled by practice that we may advance on the path. Do not worry, he does not let us go, does not forsake us, does not forget us. He gives us a monthly appointment at a distance: practicing Guru Rinpoche according to the dates of the Tibetan calendar (*), which he will also do from the depths of his retreat. A way not to lose our connection until next year and to return periodically to the essentials. Just a quote to finish. During these three days, Rinpoche reminded us several times that: “The first Guru is life itself.”
(*) Calendar here

The teachings of Rinpoche are followed in the early evening by a question and answer session with Lama Tenzin. It is in English that he gives us a reminder of the words of Rinpoche … before answering our questions …A moment of recollection.

Practices, meditation … and streaming

Every morning from 6:30 am, some of us find ourselves in our Gompa, which is so inspiring and warm. Others will meditate. Guided by Geneviève, this meditation session is now called Ripa Awareness of Meditation. Broadcasted live via streaming worldwide, sesions are watched around the world. Europeans who have not been able to travel have connected from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg and even Switzerland. From Russia, Belarus and Ukraine we listen. There are viewers in Great Britain, Arizona and New York for the United States, Argentina for the South American continent, and Asia with India, Nepal and even Bhutan.


Students from all over Europe gathered for morning practice … Ripa Awareness Meditation with Geneviève … Laurent – the origin of the streaming initiative – ensures with Antje the technical preparation of the live transmission.

 

Spring is changeable as expected, this weekend of Easter is sunny and warm, then rainy and cold, then again sunny … With the first rays of sun and blue sky, we take advantage to settle outside … each with his plate, his glass, his dessert, then his coffee … Amrit from Switzerland, Ralf from Germany meet at a table with Patrick, our talented expert chef, and Jan of the Czech Republic who assists him … Nadya and a participant in the gardening team prepares for the return of Spring which is already announced by the apple trees of the center in full bloom and the fields of daffodils, and other budding flowers that can be seen on the mountains in the surroundings. On rainy days, a well-protected Flupke of Belgium sounds the hour of the teachings. Rain and fine weather often give us beautiful rainbows  above our Ripa center.

 

Blog#2016 Summer Retreat

July 23 – August 13, 2016

Grand summer retreat for the year of the birth of Guru Rinpoche

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What a very special occasion, being the fire monkey year, to celebrate Guru Rinpoche in his birth year. As this only occurs every twelve years this was an excellent opportunity to experience three beautiful weeks in our center of meditation, Drupchö Yeshé Tsogyal practice and Guru Rinpoche Tsok Bum. It all ended on a beautiful day of festivities and Tibetan dances.

July 23-30

Seeking your basic goodness

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“It is a great pleasure for me to guide you during this week of meditation … In the Buddhist tradition meditation is the basic practice, it substantiates what we study intellectually, it also brings forth an openness in the sense that it is free of any ritual. Also, I think it’s important that we understand to what we are committed, to really understand profoundly this experience that represents most of the lessons of Buddhism and that allows the discovery of oneself.” Thus Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche welcomed us for this week of meditation and teaching. He added: “And it seems that meditation is a way to find a state of happiness. It calms the mind, it brings a certain peace, goodness and love towards ourselves and also a kind of warmth in our heart. When we experience this warmth, it opens a space within. The most immediate effect is that we do not feel alone. It’s like a kind of happiness … And the desire of everyone seems to be finding a state of happiness. “ And we dove into this journey guided by Rinpoche during which he in turn brought us to get in touch with ourselves firstly through breathing then through exploring our feelings, our heart, our past. Exploring our basic goodness, learn to love ourselves … A real adventure, beautiful and long.

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Introduction to Buddhist philosophy and Yogom®

Every day, we also participated in two activities that were very successful and that, in the future, will be held periodically in our center. Geneviève (*) presented Buddhist philosophy and extended the guided meditation training. A longtime student of Rinpoche, she explains: “For me, Buddhism and mindfulness – full awareness – are not separated. One of the main teachings of the Buddha is training in mindfulness. A comprehensive teaching of the great sutra is that of establishing mindfulness. Present in all schools of Buddhism, it is the heart of all practices. This mind training not only involves a dimension of wisdom, it also involves the heart. “ For his part, François (*) led us gently and subtlety through the yogom exercises. This yoga / meditation practice guides us gently, subtlety and profoundly through an exploration of body in connection with mind. It prepared us for the guided meditations by Rinpoche. A few years ago, Rinpoche had a vision of yogom and asked François to create it in order to help students to be within their bodies when practicing. François was given the task to teach and spread Yogom® after having worked in connection with Rinpoche for two and a half years on developing this practice. You will not find anywhere else this exceptional practice, which is a “house specialty” inspired by Rinpoche.

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(*) Geneviève Hamelet- teacher of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), certified by the CFM (Center for Mindfulness), trainer of instructors and a graduate of Tarab Institute, a graduate of Mindfulness Training Institute UK and President of ADM (association the development of mindfulness).

(*) François Bertolero – in depth training in kundalini yoga with Yogi Bajan. Graduated Professor of the French Federation of Yoga founded by Gerard Arnaud with five hundred hours of training (diploma recognized by the American Federation authorizing Alliance to teach Hatha, Vinyasa yoga and meditation in all English speaking countries.

The Childrens Corner

When parents practice, children benefit … During the lessons, Rita welcomed these children for a creative journey that immersed them in drawing, creating a mandala, planting a small garden for the Buddha with a statue of him in plasticine and on weekends a treasure hunt that led to a nice walk and discovery of Ried and its surroundings. At the end of the retreat they came, smiling, happy and fulfilled, to greet Rinpoche, who was visibly touched and moved.

Around the retreat

Preparing three weeks of retreat is more than hard work. Flowers and bouquets arranged from Nadya and her team were as always, grandiose compositions, intimate and endearing as they adorned our gompa, the lunchroom, etc. The outdoor makeshift carpentry workshop allowed Flupke and Carlo to build practice tables, which were then painted by Irene, Ursula, Carlo, Bill and Dominique and installed in the temple. At the reception desks were Françoise, Gabriela and Dominik; the whole team helped to get ready to receive the arrivals. The chef, Patrick, whose cuisine is always appreciated, was ready on some days to feed more than two hundred and seventy people … Not unexpected! At last the sound: which is very important, because it not only guarantees the quality of the recordings – and thus the production of the CD – but it also allows those needed participants to hear the precious teachings simultaneously translated into their language be it German, Spanish, French or Russian. And regarding the sound, Laurent is a true master!

July 30 – August 5

Yeshe Tsogyal Drupchö

The second week was in complete silence. Although we noticed it being broken from time to time, we none-the less recognized how “it benefits us.” On the first day we received an initiation transmitted by Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurmey Rinpoche. On the last day Jigme Rinpoche invited us to partake in the practice of the Marme Monlam prayer with a light offering for the benefit of all beings. His words were inspiring: “We all know that we live in uncertain times surrounded by growing uncertainties, sufferings and difficulties that arise in the world … While we’re all here with all of our sangha and in the presence of the Vajra Master, it is very important to remember those who have passed away as well as those who are still alive and keep them in our thoughts and in our heart … it is important to dedicate all our prayers and our aspirations to all beings who are like our mothers, so that they will be free from fear, confusion and suffering, so that they will be released from the experiences of the intermediate states, so that they will obtain a good rebirth that will lead perhaps to enlightenment. Our dedications should also be for those who are on the path, so that they exceed all sorts of obstacles – physical illnesses, mental doubts, insufficient positive karma … May the light of Dharma illuminate our heart, may our masters continue to teach throughout the world … may the Buddha’s teachings – the real source of hope, support and happiness- dispel the misery of the world and that peace be established in the world … may we as a sangha, as a community of practitioners remain together … Let us commit ourselves in this light offering prayer, imagine that this lamp is as vast as the universe, the oil it contains is as vast as the ocean, its flame is as high as Mount Meru, it illuminates the entire universe and leaves no room for darkness, whatever their form … Let this light never extinguish but always shine in our heart, it is our guide toward the light of enlightenment and that of all sentient beings in the world.

August 6-13

Tsok Bum: celebrationg Guru Rinpoche’s birth

During the last week of our retreat, we first received an initiation of Guru Rinpoche transmitted by H. E. Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche after he had invited us to receive it with these words: “Faith, devotion, confidence and openness of mind towards enlightenment for the benefit of all beings are very important when we receive an initiation, a transmission or when we practice. The merits and virtue accumulated will be even greater. It is this attitude that I ask of you in receiving this initiation of Guru Rinpoche. “ Then we participated in the Tsok Bum. Lama Tenzin explained to us: “We are in the year of the monkey, it is now the month of the monkey and in a few days it will also be the day of the monkey, which is the anniversary of the birth of Guru Rinpoche, an auspicious day that occurs only every twelve years. That day, most monasteries celebrate the birth of Guru Rinpoche. That is why our Master wishes us to engage in this practice …..A Tsok Bum, is one hundred thousand accumulations of Tsok and of reciting the seven line prayer of Guru Rinpoche done by a group of participants. ” And finally: “His Eminence revealed several practices of Guru Rinpoche from which we will accumulate. They say it is the best way to quickly receive the blessings of Body, Speech and Mind and for our stream of consciousness to be blessed by Guru Rinpoche. ” After the week of collective accumulations, Jigme Rinpoche concluded saying: “The tsok bum is not just reciting the text, there are also the substances which must reach a hundred thousand … In Sanskrit Tsok means assembly, collection of something … this in the sense of the continual wheel of the accumulation of merit and of the purification of all obstacles to obtain bliss and emptiness. This is to accumulate merit, material merit and wisdom of merit. The tsok represents the potential merit, source of all blessings and accomplishments. “ On the morning of the 13th, our last practice started at 6 am ending with a last great tsok, the distribution of a superb Guru Rinpoche birthday cake cut by Begonia and the dance to the seven line prayer of Guru Rinpoche, which is a traditional dance of Orissa, presented beautifully by Chloé.

The last day of the summer retreat

Grand festivities and Tibetan dances

All conditions including perfect weather were met for this festival to be a success.
A young troupe of Swiss-Tibetan dancers in their superb new costumes made in Nepal were well prepared and appreciated. After a powerful Dorje Drollo dance by Lhuntrul Rinpoche, was the famous black hat dance. Then some of us, having rehearsed often, presented nicely a dakini dance. We witnessed several dances from the opera Lingdrö, the great epic of Gesar of Ling. Our three Masters were present and happy, too.
Watch the slideshow and you’ll get an idea of that day’s celebrations, the atmosphere … and the beauty of our Centre.

RIPA Winterretreat 2015/16 with Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche


December 27th, 2015 – January 3rd, 2016 – Retreat at the RIPA International Center

Total Immersion!

Centered on meditation, the winter retreat is so intense, powerful and deep, that it is a real shock for all, new and old. Again, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche managed to surprise us and open up new horizons.

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Breathe, feel your body, meditate, breathe again …

This is the second retreat that we follow in complete silence and once again we can confirm its benefits. In this favorable atmosphere, Rinpoche will make us plunge into that which we had never known until now. Every day for hours, we meditate, guided, scanned – step by step – by Rinpoche. First step, verify the sitting position, which takes time because it is not only to check the position of our knees, our back, our head. We must feel, recognize, realize. Just as in the following step when we engage in the exploration of outer and inner body … our skin, muscles, bones, organs. It is up to us to choose how we approach the exploration, from toe-to-head, or from head-to-toe … And it is stupefying. Next we come to the breath. Again we do not attempt only to feel it but – if one could say so – “to become the breath,” in order to be fully in the famous “mindfulness.” Then we turn to the meditation on loving kindness and Rinpoche explains: “This is what allows us to go deep into our heart, reaching deep peace … This is what opens the door of wisdom that resides deep in our heart.” The final step will lead us to reflect upon our emotions. And even there a new adventure opens from which we can safely say that we are far from finished!

Our long sessions of meditation … Preceded by explanations from Rinpoche … and followed by short breaks during which we relax a little … The silence is total, therefore information is communicated in writing on a blackboard …

A retreat open to all, including a good number of new students

This time, we are nearly a hundred of which there are about twenty newcomers from various European countries: Spain, France, Switzerland and even … Argentina. For us longtime students, it is a joy to discover all these curious faces, open, and visibly “fallen into the soup.” Specifically and for the first time in a winter retreat, the program offers several simultaneous activities in the morning and evening. At 6:30 am: Ngöndro for Ripa students, or Yogom for newcomers with François, and for those who have completed ‘The Preliminaries’ – the Tsa Lung group – Gesar Lhasang practice. In the evening at 6:oo pm, there is practice with Lama Tenzin for Ripa students, or discovering Buddhism with Genevieve for newcomers, and individual practice for those who have a daily accumulation practice to do. The day ended with a session of ‘question and answer,’ between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm with Lama Tenzin, the questions being submitted in writing in order to respect the silence. At the end of retreat, when we officially are able to speak again, the new express their satisfaction and the shock of discovery. It suffices to look at their delighted expressions, eyes bright and smiling, which confirm it. They also speak of the good atmosphere they felt upon their arrival, the friendliness of the welcome and the attention extended towards them. So it seems that we, the elders, have made some good progress in opening up to others. Courage, we are on the way … We just have to continue!

The end of practice in the morning before the dawn offers us magnificent spectacles of nature and the village wakes up … Rinpoche attentive to all and filled with benevolence … François, our master of Yogom … Lama Tenzin during his evening sessions  … All wonderfully recorded by Eric and Laurent … Sarah assisted with the testing … At the close of retreat, Nina and Sarah offer us beautiful wishes.

And to conclude … The celebration!

It is therefore with a unanimously shared joy, and in the festive atmosphere of the end of retreat that we engage in a return to “samsaric” life. The party is our decompression chamber, a part of ourselves is still immersed in the retreat and meditation while the other is already carried away by daily life and its share of worries. These parties, which we know well and which we appreciate, seem to be a “RIPA” specialty, part of our DNA somehow. In the West and in Asia, we always end with these beautiful celebrations that affect us and allow us to feel that we are part of something greater than ourselves. This is “our” spiritual family and “our” lineage. This time, the festival offers us beautiful stories, subtle and funny improvisations, songs and various shows. The evening will be continued well after midnight with a delicious buffet, good wine, everything in good music and dances which everyone joins. Rinpoche spends a long time with us. The demanding meditation master turned into a relaxed spiritual friend – talking and laughing with the group. A real party at all levels.

Aude singing …, the Rossini cats duo Rita and Nathalie … The subtle and humorous lament of Viola, the sole Ripa student alone in Austria… Pascal now our international renowned clown … And the highlight of the show, a show of balance made by our two youngest participants Nina and Sarah, led by Carlo and Ursula. A spontaneous number, offered with sincerity and from the heart. A fitting image of our party !

Photo Album: Offerings of flowers and lights

Rinpoche suggested daily offerings of flowers for the altar, which was quickly found to be submerged by sublime bouquets. Two offerings of lamps were also organized. During the first, suggested by Annie, we prayed for peace in the world. The second lamp offering took place with Rinpoche for all the people who passed away in 2015. An overview of these intense moments.

News from Nepal Blog #4


October 20th, 2015




A memorable last day




This date will remain in everyone’s memories – through its intensity, the strength of devotion coming especially from the Tibetans, and by the number of participants who have come from around the world.

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A bright morning. This final day begins with an Amitayus initiation bestowed by His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. After which, the long life ceremony begins. In principle, it is meant to finish by the late morning, as the afternoon is reserved for Lingdro dances and various festivities from 1:30 pm until around 5:00 pm. However we are so many – between two-thousand-five hundred and three thousand – as previously mentioned – and His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche wishes to give each and every one an individual blessing, that an interminably long queue winds its way through the temple, and then exits through a side door, unfolding in a long coil outside, whose end it is impossible to distinguish. Not surprisingly, many of us remain seated until the line has shortened before getting up and joining it. As a result, the blessings will extend through the entire afternoon, ending only at 5:00 pm, even as everything was meant to finish by 12:30 pm.

His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche transmits the initiation of Amitayus … monks and nuns make their mandala offering … followed by the Tibetan community … students of Shambhala … then RIPA Russia and Kalmykia, the United States, and Europe … The participants receive the blessing … Outside, the long but compact waiting line extends out…



A delightful evening of celebration. The Lingdro dances begin just before the arrival of nightfall. This gives us the opportunity to see them for the first time under the spotlight. And then the show turns into pure enchantment. Immerse yourself in the slideshow and you will have just a small idea of what we experience here. The Lingdro sequences are interspersed with songs and dances from Tibet, Nepal, traditional and modern, though sometimes humorous, in a way that we are unable to understand. However we hear the peals of laughter from the assembly and this delights us. The atmosphere is enthusiastic and highly charged. His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche sits in the courtyard, well protected by a blanket, as the cold intensifies seriously, as the night progresses. By his side are Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche and family. It is clear that they are attentive connoisseurs, amused, as well as softened by the spectacle, which they enjoy.

The show which is at once grand, yet also has a family like quality, takes place before a packed crowd, crammed wherever there is little bit of space to be found…

RIPA, our lineage. Many of us do not hesitate to say and repeat: “we RIPA students, are incredibly fortunate.” Indeed, we receive the blessings and teachings of three great masters. And the birth of our “great baby,” aged just two-and –a half months at the time of these events, can only reinforce and strengthen our confidence and commitment on the path. But who – apart from His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche – could speak about this any better? Below are His Eminence’s remarks given at the end of the summer retreat in 2014 in Switzerland.
“Before Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche was born, I had extraordinary signs … And when he was born, rainbows appeared in the sky, and there were many inconceivable auspicious signs … And that is not all. Jigme Rinpoche had – I think at about two or three months of age, when children are just beginning to be able to sit up by themselves – sat in the Vajra posture on his own …. Before the birth of Lhuntrul Rinpoche, I had many dreams where Guru Rinpoche spoke to me, giving prophecies about him. And just three days after his birth, I had a vision of someone completely enlightened…. So, these are my two sons, who are holders of the lineage…. Both are good lamas. You can rely on both of them as your root lamas, they are absolutely qualified … I have received good prophecies from both Shakyamuni Buddha and Guru Rinpoche. These prophecies ensure they will become great lamas, bringing great benefit in the future. And prophecies are never wrong. I have complete trust and a firm basis from which to tell you all that both Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche and Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche are good lamas in whom you can trust.” 


It is in the arms of Karma Shedrup Rinpoche that the youngest Ripa tulku receives his first initiations …. Followed by his cousin carried by Mayum-la. This cousin is the daughter of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Khandro Tseyang, the Sakyong Wangmo… From Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche and Lhuntrul Rinpoche to the young Anzin Rinpoche, the line of tulkus, along with our most recently born tulku – it is clear that our spiritual care is secured, and we can rest assured that our RIPA lineage is promised a bright future.

THANKS FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE HEART TO HIS EMINENCE TERCHEN NAMKHA DRIMED RABJAM RINPOCHE

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This final blog, distributed with a slight delay due to technical and computer problems, closes the story of this huge event.

Best wishes in the Dharma, and until the next time for another blog,

M.B. for the RIPA International Center

News from Nepal #3 – Gong Ter 2

7th – 19th October 2015

The Gong Ter transmissions are given in their entirety, a first.

Lamas from other lineages, disciples, and Tibetan students are not mistaken, all came in numbers to receive these mind treasures of His Eminence. During the concluding days there are between two-thousand-five-hundred and three-thousand participants.

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The Initiations. Each morning we begin at 7 am with the lungs given by Lhuntrul Rinpoche. The lungs are the oral transmission of the written Gong Ter. The initiations given in the afternoon by His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche do not include these texts. Thus to receive all of the Gong Ter, is to receive both the lungs and the wangs, except under the express authorization or decision of the Master Tertön to “lighten” the program in some cases, or for some students. Through a modulated and occasionally special tone, at times serious, sometimes more sharp, and often fast, the voice of Lhuntrul Rinpoche carries us. Unable to analyze the reasons, the lungs “impart their effect on us.” In the afternoon, His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche transmits the initiations at 13:30. During the course of these two weeks, we receive successively Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Dröllo, Vajra Kilaya, Vajrasattva, Wrathful Gesar, Pacifying Gesar, Wrathful Gesar and Protectors, Gesar Drala, etc. One thing is certain: if, at this pace, some of us feel a certain physical fatigue at some moments, we are really all “recharged” and full of energy thereafter!