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Rinpoche is currently in Institut Vajrayogini, Toulouse for the Four Kadam Deity Retreat (April 18 – May 11) – see below for more news.
Rinpoche will give the Great Medicine Buddha initiation on behalf of all the FPMT centers in Spain in Barcelona on May 14 – 15.
Rinpoche then goes to Moscow, Russia to teach for the first time there from May 19 – 29th.
Sadly EEC 4 in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia has been postponed to 2004, however Rinpoche is still planning to visit and teach in Ulaan Baatar.
Rinpoche will teach at the annual Kopan November course.
from Ven Roger Kunsang:
‘This retreat is going extremely well. Most retreatants are older solid students, stable, very kind, you can see their focus is the retreat. There is a real vibe of retreat, 8 Mahayana precepts every day, good discipline of silence. People are helping each other a lot, they are helping the center, nobody complains, there is only appreciation and kindness. The director, his wife and the staff are really great, they just do whatever needs to be done and whatever is asked of them …they are so happy to do! Everyone here compliments them again and again…..how friendly and helpful. This is a cool course!’
For some lovely photos of Rinpoche during the retreat, just go to http://fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/kdam_photos.php
From Peter Kedge:
‘Lama Osel is well and happy. Following on from Lama’s scheduled visit to his family earlier this year, Lama has decided for the time being not to return to Sera immediately but to follow an intensive course of study in Europe.
For the next few months with the continuing help of Lama’s Western studies tutor Venerable Jampa Lundrup, Lama will work to ensure that if and when necessary in the future, Lama will be suitably qualified in his Western studies to gain university entrance.
Lama plans to return to Sera to continue his Tibetan studies when this current course of study is complete and in the meantime has just spent Easter with his family.’
(We are hoping that news from Lama Osel Rinpoche will become a regular part of this Newsheet).
(Extracts from some recent advice by Rinpoche, available in full at http://fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice
‘Even though these kinds of problems are so big, even though there are numberless buddhas, yet if someone with a very sincere heart takes refuge one-pointedly, without doubt, in even one buddha such as Chenrezig (Compassionate Eye Looking One), Padmasambhava, or Medicine Buddha, if someone takes strong refuge and prays to even just one buddha and recites the mantras (such as the name mantra), by doing this it can change the situation completely, it can change natural disasters and prevent war. Whatever problems there are can be loosened and even completely stopped. The weather can change in that very hour or in the next hour by the power of one person making prayers.
There are many stories of the power of bodhichitta. How it can control and affect the elements. There are even examples in Christianity, as well as many examples in Buddhism. There is one story about the great St. Francis of Assisi. One time he was living and meditating in a cave with his disciples. His disciples asked St. Francis to stop the water that flowed inside the cave and that was disturbing their meditation. St. Francis went to the place where the water was flowing down the mountain and said, “Sister, my disciples can’t meditate.” Then the water stopped flowing from that time until the present day. It would be considered very inauspicious if the water would start to flow again. So the water stopped flowing due to the power of St. Francis’s bodhichitta.
Some years ago in Florida it was reported in the news that a hurricane was going to hit Florida. One long-time student, George Propps, rang me to ask me to do prayers. I did some Mickey Mouse prayer then I gave him a job (even though he had asked me to do it). I gave him the job of reciting the Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha’s mantra. He made strong prayers by taking refuge in the Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha. The hurricane didn’t hit Florida but went around. He was so astonished that he rang me and said, “It worked!”
There are so many various methods, but here are some drops for you to get some idea what to do when these problems arise. This is not only to protect yourself and your property, but also if there are problems happening in other places, other countries, you can definitely help by doing these practices, or whatever you can do, with a sincere heart, full of faith.
This will help save the lives of so many numberless people as well as so many animals, so much property, into which people put so much money, and also it helps the government. Even if we are not in danger, we have the responsibility to protect other sentient beings.
As far as what the scientists say about the disasters of the elements, they never mention the mind, the creator who experiences. They merely explain the external evolution of how it happens. Even if this is correct, it is only a short-term explanation. It doesn’t really explain why the whole evolution happened in the first place, why it had to happen. Similarly, why is a baby born handicapped to a particular family? It’s the same question. Why did that baby have to be born to that family? Even if this is explained by genetics, why wasn’t that child born to a different family with proper genetics? There are no answers to these questions, as long as we don’t mention the mind.
In the simplest teachings of Buddhism you can understand where the hurricanes and earthquakes come from. They come as a result of the ten non-virtuous actions’.
ADVICE TO TEACHERS AND PARENTS
This is a short talk Rinpoche gave in Bodhgaya to the teachers at Maitreya Project School, which seems relevant as inspiration for all parents and adults that teach, and also as general advice.
‘You are very fortunate that you are working in this school. The main focus is to fulfill something that is missing in ordinary schools, something very special. The world is full of many unpleasant things, war, disease, corruption, famine and much suffering due to lack of patience. But by working with young people and Universal Education (UE) activities you can help to bring peace and happiness into the world. You can teach them to develop love and patience for everyone including their enemies and to bring peace and happiness into their communities and the world generally. You can teach them to respect all beings, including animals. There is a saying in one of the texts that if you meet people with a smiling happy face, this makes them happy and then they return the smiling face and this makes you happy too.
Your role as teachers is to plant the seed of sweet food and medicine that will grow into peace and happiness in the future. One time I saw children doing a role play about a plant. If you plant chilli then you get chilli, but if you plant a sweet food like sultana then you get sweet food as the result. So by sowing the seeds of love and compassion, then the result is peace and happiness. Happiness comes from the heart itself. Here you are doing priceless effort, not only for this life but for future lives as well. By acting with the good heart you will generate good karma and the cause to have a beautiful and handsome body in a future life. But if you are sad and show a gloomy face then this will reflect on others.
Just like the sun is reflected in many ways, in water etc. then our minds and our hearts also reflect in others. So if you behave with the good heart, if you approach your teaching from the heart, then this will reflect in the children. Then you can teach them to have respect for everyone without discrimination, rich and poor alike. If you approach the children with the good heart then this will reflect in them. Happiness never comes from negative thoughts so you must develop positive thoughts and practice patience and generosity. Treat each and every child like a father or mother and be like the sun to bring light and warmth into all their lives so that your energy vibrates and brings happiness just like the sun’s energy vibrates and brings light. Everyone has the same power to influence others and bring them happiness and you have the opportunity to help children become warriors in the practice of loving kindness and compassion.’
March 21st, 2003
Statements of Appreciation
I am writing today to let you know how much I appreciate FPMT and all that you do with people all over the world. I am constantly amazed when I receive each mandala magazine and see all that is being done under your kind guidance.
Portland, OR 97214-4702 USA
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