July 23 – August 13, 2016

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

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

“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.

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.

(*) 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!

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. 

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.

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.