Daily, Weekly and Monthly Practices at Tashi Chöling
See Calendar Below for Dates Throughout the Year

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Vajrasattva ~ Dor Sem Lama Chod Pa

This Vajrasattva practice is performed in its most concise manner every morning at the temple. All students are invited to attend.

Tsokye Tug Tig ~ Guru Rinpoche
10th day of the lunar calendar

Guru Rinpoche, or Padmasambhava, brought Buddhism from India to Tibet in the 8th century and is especially revered by practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche promised, “I will come to remove the suffering of the people on the tenth day of every moon. Do not forget to pray.” Guru Rinpoche Day is one of the two main monthly rituals within Vajrayana Buddhism. The practice we engage in at Tashi Choling, the “Heart Essence of the Lake-Born Vajra,” is a mind treasure or terma of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and its primary focus is that of guru devotion. A tsog is included. All are welcome but obtaining the empowerment from a qualified lama is suggested.

Amitabha Buddha sitting in meditation

15th day of the lunar calendar/Full Moon

Amitabha is the Buddha of Limitless Light, and presides over the western Buddha realm of Great Bliss, known as Dewachen. Because of the intensity and power of the vows Amitabha made while a bodhisattva, his pure land is the easiest to be reborn in. Amitabha himself taught this practice to the Buddhist master, Migyur Dorje, and its purpose is to create the causes for rebirth in Dewachen. There, beings have the optimum circumstances for accelerating on the path to liberation. At Tashi Choling this practice is done especially for the benefit of those who have recently died, and also for the benefit of the practitioners. A tsog offering is included. All are welcome, though an empowerment from a qualified lama is suggested.

Khandro Tuk Tig ~ Yeshe Tsogyal
25th day of the lunar calendar

Khandro Tuk Tig, or Heart Drop of the Dakini, is the practice of Yeshe Tsogyal, Guru Rinpoche’s primordial wisdom consort. The Khandro Tuk Tig practice is a treasure revelation or terma of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and gives rise to the development of primordial wisdom. A tsog is included. All are welcome, though empowerment by a qualified lama is suggested.

Tröma Nagmo
30th day of the lunar calendar/New Moon

The Black Dakini, Tröma Nagmo, embodies the wrathfully compassionate nature of primordial wisdom.The practice of the Black Dakini, Tröma Nagmo, is considered a pinnacle among the Vajrayana practices and, if undertaken with diligence, ensures an extremely quick path to liberation. Considered the innermost secret aspect of the dakini essence, Tröma embodies the wrathfully compassionate nature of primordial wisdom. Either the concise or extensive practice is undertaken at Tashi Chöling on Dakini Day, the other of our two main monthly rituals. A tsog offering is included, and one must have received the empowerment to attend.

Tara sitting in meditation pose

Green Tara

The Green Tara practice at Tashi Choling was begun as Gyatrul Rinpoche’s answer to a request from his students for a practice that would directly benefit a Sangha member in difficult circumstances. Green Tara is a female Buddha who swiftly comes to the aid of those who beseech her for protection. She has vowed to benefit those suffering from illness, mental and emotional pain, dangerous situations and all types of calamity. Due to the power of Tara’s compassion, sessions are open to all, with or without having obtained the empowerment, and each one is performed for those in need. (Please contact us at 541-488-9660 to check for Green Tara practice times.)

Buddha Shakyamuni Festival Day pujas

Every year, the Four Festival Days commemorating events in the life of the historical Buddha are observed with pujas and large tsog offerings at Tashi Choling. Chotrul Duchen, following Losar, celebrates the Buddha’s display of fifteen days of miracles in order to aid the devotion of disciples. Saga Dawa, usually in May, is the festival of the Buddha’s enlightenment and parinirvana. Chokhor Duchen recognizes his first teaching, ‘The Four Noble Truths’, seven weeks after enlightenment. Lha Bab Duchen, in late autumn, marks Buddha Shakyamuni’s descent from heaven. The Buddha Shakyamuni practice we engage in to honor these auspicious dates is open to all. Festival Day dates and times will be recorded on our Info Line.

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Vajrakilaya ~ Pudri Reg Phung
Tibetan New Year/Losar Practices

Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is one of the major religious and secular festivals of the Tibetan lunar calendar. At Tashi Chöling, Losar day itself is preceded by three days of Vajrakilaya practice (see Vajrakilaya Drup Chöd below), a traditional way to approach the new year. This ritual purifies the negativities and obscurations accumulated during the previous year, and removes obstacles for the one ahead. The day before Losar that falls on the new moon is set aside for house and temple cleaning in preparation for the festivities. On Losar day, an abundant Vajrasattva puja and tsog (food offering) ceremony is performed by our community. All are invited to attend this puja and/or assist in the merit of temple preparation. This event is typically celebrated in February or March.

Vajrasattva Drup Chöd ~ Dor Sem Lama Chöd Pa

Vajrasattva is the main deity practice for purification in the Vajrayana tradition and is practiced in various forms. This buddha is white in color, symbolizing purity, and holds a dorje (vajra) at his heart and a bell at his hip, signifying the union of skillful means and wisdom. This practice engages in the method of offering, through which one gains the merit to purify obscurations and negativities. Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche explains, “This retreat itself is a Vajrasattva lama offering, a lama accomplishment practice. We are essentially meditating on our own lama in the pure, enlightened form of Vajrasattva, Dorje Sem Pa, and we accomplish or realize the true nature of the lama in the form of Vajrasattva through this practice.” This retreat is open to all, with or without the empowerment, and is undertaken in the spring, usually in mid to late May.

The Neydren Ritual for Guiding the Consciousnesses of the Deceased

The guiding and liberating ceremony is carried out by practitioners who have understanding and skill in the methods of Secret Mantra. It is held during the Vajrasattva Drup Chöd (Dor Sem Lama Chöd Pa). This practice is always performed in conjunction with the sadhana of the wisdom deity. It is in that state of pure awareness that the possibility of guiding the consciousness that is lost in the bardo (the intermediate state between lives) can occur. Contact is made with the disembodied consciousness by writing the seed syllables that correspond to the six realms of existence and also by making replicas and effigies of certain individuals. Through the power and blessing of prayer, compassion, method, and wisdom, the consciousness may be contacted and led from states of bewilderment and fear to higher, more productive, positive and spiritual states of rebirth as well as the possibility of awakening in the pure realms of wisdom awareness. This ceremony is powerful and beneficial on many levels. Even the thought to benefit others in this way can help them toward their eventual liberation from suffering.

Click for More about The Neydren Ritual 2015

Three sided ornamented phurba (dagger)

Vajrakilaya Drup Chöd

Vajrakilaya is the primary meditational deity of the Nyingmapa tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism, and the practice undertaken and accomplished by the majority of its great realized masters. A compassionate expression of the Buddha nature, Vajrakilaya is the wrathful manifestation of Vajrasattva, arising to purify the source of all suffering, which is ignorance. Particularly known for its reversal of obstacles, this powerful ritual is performed to transform negativity, sickness, and obscurations, bringing about well being and ultimate enlightenment. Both the higher and lower activities are engaged in, first concentrating on recognizing the mandala of Vajrakilaya by way of mantra recitation and visualization. The lower activity then invokes the deity’s liberating energy in a very wrathful aspect in order to bring about the transformation of negativity for ourselves and the community at large. This retreat and practice requires an empowerment and/or permission from the Lama and takes place in the fall, generally in October – November.

Ornamented hand drum

Tröma Nagmo ~ Chöd

The Black Dakini, Troma Nagmo, embodies the wrathfully compassionate nature of primordial wisdom.The practice of chod is considered a most profound method for cutting through the ego, and subsequently ignorance. The cycle of practices from Dudjom Lingpa’s lineage of mind treasures that engages the black dakini, Troma Nagmo, is vast and many of its aspects are practiced at Tashi Choling. This includes the Troma ngondro, the Four Feasts, both concise and intermediate sadhanas and the phowa. Cutting through attachment in an extremely wrathful manner, this practice is preceded by many preliminary practices and requires an empowerment. Sangye Khandro leads this retreat in late winter, during February and/or March.

The Six Bardos Retreat

Our experience from day to day is considered one of the bardos discussed in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The term bardo refers to a transitional stage of consciousness, and in fact all our activities, or bardo experiences, are opportunities for realization. Daytime life, meditative states of awareness, the dream state, the moment of death, the transition between death and rebirth - all are dealt with by way of various methods during this practice intensive, ultimately providing a profound state of freedom in every aspect of life. As directed and authorized by Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche, senior student Les Collins leads this retreat every summer.

Message from Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche about Retreats at Tashi Chöling

Tashi Chöling now offers retreats annually to students, and they happen at specifically chosen times of the year. You may wonder why these events take place when they do, and there are important explanations for this. Gyatrul Rinpoche has asked that these opportunities for intensive practice occur during the most auspicious times of the Tibetan calendar, in order to benefit us in obtaining the most fruitful results possible in our practice.

During the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar, the Dor Sem Lama Chöd Pa / Vajrasattva retreat is planned at the time of Saga Dawa each year. This Festival Day celebrates Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment when, after many years of single-pointed meditation, he attained complete liberation at Bodhgaya. The anniversary of his parinirvana is also observed at this time. As the Vajrasattva puja is known for its qualities as a purification practice, it is the perfect vehicle for engaging in dharma during this month. In addition, another auspicious event occurring at this sacred period is Guru Rinpoche Day, acknowledging the historical occurrence of Guru Padmasambhava’s subjugation of negativity at Orgyen. At that time, in their confusion, the ministers there attempted to burn Guru Rinpoche and his spiritual consort, Mandarava, at the stake. With his great siddhis, Padmasambhava transformed the flames of the funeral pyre into a lake, upon which he and his consort arose on a great lotus flower. Amazed by this miracle, the king, ministers and people were inspired with devotion. This is when Guru Rinpoche acquired the name Guru Pema Dorje Tsal – the Guru with Lotus and Vajra.

To practice the dharma at the time of these auspicious events, particularly during those days surrounding the four Great Festivals that relate to the life of Buddha Shakyamuni, intensifies and multiplies the effects. It is said that both positive and negative actions increase by 10 million times. With our concern for the accumulation of merit and the wish to benefit others in mind, these are certainly important periods of the year for us to focus on practice and positive efforts toward accomplishing the dharma.

As well, during the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar, Tashi Chöling offers the Pudri Rek Phung / Vajrakilaya retreat. The Festival Day known as Lha Bab Duchen celebrates the time when Buddha Shakyamuni taught in Indra’s heaven for the benefit of his mother who had taken rebirth there, along with the gods. This took place during a three-month period, and displayed the Buddha’s gratitude toward his mother’s kindness, and his repayment for this was to liberate her.

In conjunction with this, the Guru Rinpoche Day that falls several days before Lha Bab Duchen commemorates another amazing occurrence. In Nepal, Guru Padmasambhava was called Vajra Guru, Garland of Skulls [Dorje Totreng], when he took the form of Vajrakilaya at Yang Lesho and subdued the local deities and negative forces. At that time he performed the sadhana of Palchen Yangdak and attained the Vidyadhara stage of Mahamudra realization. What better time for us to gather as one to practice Vajrakilaya! Other auspicious days fall in this period as well, such as Dakini Day.

For these reasons our retreats are planned at particular times of the year, with the benefit of Rinpoche’s students in mind. In addition to this, the Dor Sem Lama Chöd Pa retreat takes place in spring, when a mild climate pervades in the Colestin Valley. Pudri Rek Phung is offered in the fall, before the rough winter weather makes our visit here more difficult. The choice of these seasons for our practice intensives is made with the hope that as many people can attend as possible. The resulting merit, accumulated as one sangha family and dedicated to all beings, becomes an inexhaustible offering for the purpose of ending suffering.

The Educational Program at Tashi Chöling

The Educational Program at Tashi Chöling offers traditional Buddhist training for students selected by Gyatrul Rinpoche as future lamas and translators of the Buddhist teachings. With the guidance of esteemed Khenpos, and benefited from a limited enrollment, students receive close supervision and attention, enjoying an unparalleled opportunity for integration of the teachings. Regularly scheduled retreats and personal study add to this contemplative environment.

Marig Munsel ~ Dispelling the Darkness of Ignorance ~

Tashi Chöling’s Four-Year Training Program with Lama Bruce Newman

Lama Bruce Newman

Lama Bruce Newman, an authorized teacher and student of both Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche and Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, is now leading a four-year educational program for the entire Sangha’s benefit. Marig Munsel is geared toward the training of committed students in Buddhist theory, meditation and ceremony and is presented in a focused, systematic manner, while acknowledging and allowing for the reality of our lives and responsibilities as laypeople.
Look for Lama Bruce's book "A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism" at http://www.shambhala.com/snowlion

New Four Year Program

Tashi Choling’s third round of Marig Munsel, the four-year program is nearly completed. If there is sufficient interest, we would like to begin anew in the fall.

For more information here are links to a letter from Lama Bruce Newman, the creator and teacher of the program, a letter from Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche endorsing the original program twelve years ago, and a pamphlet.

For more information or questions, please direct them to Bruce at 541-897-4290 or brucejaynewman@msn.com.

Lama Bruce Newman Talks about Marig Munsel~

The present situation among western Buddhists was neatly summarized by Suzuki Roshi more than 30 years ago, ‘You’re not monks but you’re not exactly laymen either.’ Asian Buddhist societies have developed with a sharp delineation between the ordained and the laity. The ordained had the opportunity for full-time study and practice; the laity were usually illiterate and mainly functioned as a support for the ordained. We as westerners are different; we do not have the leisure to study and practice as ordained but our education and sophistication gives us different needs than the traditional Asian layperson.

With that in mind, we have developed here at Tashi Chöling a program that takes beginning and intermediate students and trains them systematically so that they can personally benefit from their exposure to the great lamas in a much deeper way and also so that they will be able to participate at Tashi Chöling with much greater knowledge, wisdom and competence. We recognize and acknowledge the reality that most of us are busy, active laypeople whose needs for a meaningful spiritual path are nonetheless quite real.

Gyatrul Rinpoche has given our program the name  “Marig Munsel.” Marig Munsel is Tibetan for "clearing away the darkness of ignorance." We started in September 2001 and we are now completing our last year of the third cycle of four years. We meet for eight hours one weekend each month with reading, writing, thinking, meditating, and daily life practices to do in the intervening time.

I formulated this program with two interrelated goals in mind: to help older students integrate the various teachings and practices they had learned over the years into one meaningful package and to transform this understanding into genuine change, growth, and a deepening of spiritual experience in a way that is real and meaningful in the context of modern life. It has been incredibly satisfying and gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the participants as they have tackled the challenges of the program. I think we have formed a very trusting and bonded group where support is always available for the often difficult or confusing process of inner transformation. They have amply demonstrated that profound change and growth is possible in the midst of today’s world through the power of Lord Buddha’s teachings.

Marig Munsel follows a yearly cycle. In the first year of the program, we study The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, which gives a complete and systematic overview of the whole Buddhist path. Our meditation is mindfulness, both in sitting and daily life. Without mindfulness, none of the more advanced meditations really work, and without deliberate training in this crucial skill a westerner can be involved in Tibetan Buddhism for many years without developing any depth to his or her meditation.

The second year focuses on the Mahayana. We study the Lojong (Seven Point Mind Training). Our meditational emphasis is on  “tonglen,” the practice of taking and sending, as well as on developing some initial understanding of absolute bodhicitta, drawing on traditional texts of shamatha and vippasana.

The third year is an introduction to the Vajrayana. The main text is Kunzang Lamai Shellung (Words of My Perfect Teacher), and the practice will be the ordinary and extraordinary preliminaries (ngöndro). We are also putting great emphasis on the key point of devotion—what it means and how we practice and enhance it.

Now in our fourth year, we are studying the Vajrayana. We are focusing on Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche’s books Generating the Deity and Natural Liberation and doing some of the relevant practices.

In addition to in-depth study and practice of what may be familiar texts to some, Marig Munsel provides the important benefits of support for an often lonely and difficult task. It is our aspiration to develop the discipline of an external structure leading to more diligent practice, study, faith and confidence, all engendered by comprehension of the "cohesive whole” of the Buddhist teachings, and a more efficient use of our limited time to progress along the path. As we travel this path together, consistent contact, practice and discussion with other students provides an important resource and support, and our program recognizes and offers this asset.

All interested Dharma students are invited to participate in the next program, which will start sometime in early fall of 2013.

For more information about fees and dates, contact:
Lama Bruce Newman at 541-897-4290 or brucejaynewman@msn.com.

Meditation Classes with Lama Bruce Newman

Relaxing the Mind -- beginning meditation from a variety of Buddhist sources.
Deepening Meditation -- a continuation of the above class.
Uniting Wisdom and Compassion -- focus on 37 Precepts of a Bodisattva.

Text-based Classes often taught:

  • Awakening the Heart -- Seven-Point Mind Training from Kongtrul Rinpoche’s Great Path to Enlightenment.
  • Natural Liberation -- Gyatrul Rinpoche’s and Guru Rinpoche’s teachings on the six bardos.
  • Spacious Path to Freedom -- Karma Chagme Rinpoche and Gyatrul Rinpoche on the stages of meditation.
  • Generating the Deity -- Gyatrul Rinpoche on deity meditation
  • Indisputable Truth -- by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.
  • Quintessence of Oral Instructions-- Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche on the union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.

A message from Bruce ~ In the text-based classes, a book on Tibetan Buddhism is selected for study. The book may be modern or a ‘classic’ and generally one that I have received teachings from, often from the author. In-class meditations will be based on the material studied. Texts favored are those authored by one of my two main teachers, Gyatrul Rinpoche and Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche. The classes emphasize discussion and the integration of the material into the experience of the student.

Class subjects are generally requested by students or recommended by my lamas. I ‘check in’ frequently with my teachers for aid, feedback, suggestions, and inspiration. Most classes are held in Ashland, OR, and there are reasonable fees for each class.

Please contact Bruce Newman for details: 541-897-4290, brucejaynewman@msn.com

Ngöndro Classes 

From the lineage of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche’s mind treasures, the Tersar Ngöndro is a traditional set of preliminary practices that focuses on prayer, visualization, meditation and accumulation of the five main aspects of all ngöndro practices: refuge, bodhicitta, mandala offering, Vajrasattva purification practice and Guru Yoga. Requested and authorized by Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche to teach and guide students in the study of these preliminaries to the higher practices, Mat Small intermittently holds small, personable classes for students of all ages. For information call him at 541-821-7659.