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Posts Tagged "vajrapani institute"
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“How do you reconcile the tension between making the Dharma truly accessible to all and covering the high operating costs of retreats? That tension brings up a scarcity mindset. From there it’s unlikely that everyone’s needs will be met. So what would happen if we trusted in the spirit of generosity instead?” asked Fabienne Pradelle, director of Vajrapani Institute in California.
With the upcoming retreat “Kopan West: Buddhism 101, A Course on the Gradual Path to Enlightenment with Andy Wistreich,” Vajrapani decided to experiment with connecting generosity to helping students deepen their lam-rim practice. Kopan West starts on November 22 and is being sponsored by past retreatants and benefactors and is offered to anyone who participates.
Lam-rim, or stages of the path, study and meditation is central to the experience of FPMT students, both beginners and long-time practioners. The recent advice from FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche emphasizes gaining actual realizations of lam-rim through meditation and retreat. Like the November courses offered at Kopan Monastery in Nepal, Kopan West students receive instruction in lam-rim teachings. Andy Wistreich, who’s leading this year’s retreat, is a senior student of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche and has led many retreats with students of all levels around the world.
“With Kopan West, someone else has paid for you to be on retreat, someone you don’t even know. How inspiring is that!” Fabienne told Mandala. “Would you want to donate forward to the next person? That’s completely up to you. Will this mindset of generosity be sustainable? How long will the chain last? We don’t know. But we believe in the power of generosity that exists in each and everyone of us.”
Fabienne and the team at Vajrapani have been inspired to try this experiment in generosity in part by Nipun Metha, who’s become an well known advocate in California’s Bay Area for radical generosity. Fabienne recommended a video of Nipun Metha, describing some of the work he’s been involved with, to further explain the thinking behind offering Kopan West as a “pay it forward” retreat.
“Truly amazing things can happen when we let go of the scarcity mindset and look at the world with a spirit of generosity,” Fabienne said.
Visit Vajrapani Institute’s website for more on the course and retreats they offer.
Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from over 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.
Student and assistant warden in the California prison system Bill Wilson shares on FPMT retreat center Vajrapani Institute’s V-Voice Blog the story of how a mentor profoundly changed his life, an experience that coincidentally brought him to the Dharma:
“I believed I was a good man, and tried to help others as best I could, but as I watched Dave interact with inmates I realized I was only partly fulfilling my duties as a law enforcement official and a member of my community. He wasn’t just professional and courteous, he tried to make a positive imprint on every inmate (and staff member) he had contact with. It didn’t matter the crime they committed, the color of their skin, their gang affiliation or their intellect, he reached out with loving kindness, compassion and empathy to men who were commonly marginalized. Yes, we fed and clothed them, and at times tried to provide them with inspiration, but until I watched Dave in action, I didn’t know we usually ignored the most crucial truth: that the inmates continued to be human beings.
“… My journey with Dave and our men opened another door, perhaps the most important … I met volunteer Jon Landaw, who introduced me to Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi. As we talked about our men, I mentioned that I was amazed by the incredible changes I had witnessed and how I hoped to be able to make similar changes in my own life. The next thing I knew I was at the Vajrapani Institute experiencing my first formal meditation training ‘Mindfulness and Reality: Introduction to Meditation’ …”
Bill’s complete story, plus other interesting news articles and announcements from Vajrapani Institute, including video and photos from Big Love 2013 with Tenzin Ösel Hita, is available online.
Located in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, Vajrapani Institute offers meditation retreat cabins, Tibetan Buddhist group courses and retreats, and facility rentals for spiritual groups of all traditions.
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Wonderful new post entitled, “Give You Ego the Wisdom Eye,” from Vajrayana Institute’s Dharma Slow Cooking blog.
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