Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kalu Rinpoche visits Lerab Ling

Thanks to Sogyal Rinpoche's kindness, we had the good fortune to have Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche (19 years old) visit us at Lerab Ling....Many of us were been deeply touched by his simplicity and his way of being close to us! He really created an intimacy with the audience by sharing his experience with a warm and direct style !

Although the Rigpa Youth interview with Kalu Rinpoche didn't happen, his teachings themselves gave some amazing tools to understand the authentic Dharma in a modern perspective. He taught on the Four Foundations of
Shangpa (the Shangpa Preliminaries) which is similar to our Ngondro... (Jamyang Kyentse Rinpoche was one of the holders this lineage). He took some fresh and vivid examples to make us understand the main points of Renunciation, Refuge, Mandala Offering and so on....

During this retreat we organized some Rigpa Youth sessions (with 10 to 15 people) and we quite spontaneously studied, sang and recorded the Aspiration song for the word for Karmapa Youth Project in the grass in front of the Temple... (We felt that was quite auspicious because of the close connection between Kalu Rinpoche and HH Karmapa !)

In the end, Kalu Rinpoche specially blessed the RY group.

It was a privilege to meet Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche... a unique and precious experience !

Report by Nicolas Moysan

Monday, April 5, 2010

"What Young People Want" Interview with Sumi Loundon Kim

"We always talk about the Sangha as part of the triple gem, but I think it is the least developed part of Buddhism in the West.” – Sumi Loundon Kim

"We’re joined this week by Sumi Loundon Kim, author of Blue Jean Buddha and The Buddha’s Apprentices, to explore what young people want from spiritual communities. We explore young people’s need for belongingness, their natural spiritual inclination, and the big questions that they are asking.

Sumi, who is in her mid-30’s now, gives several suggestions for how Buddhist communities can engage more effectively with a younger population. She points out that though Buddhist communities tend to be somewhat asocial when compared to other communities, there are many things we can be doing to better reach a new generation of seekers. Many of these suggestions are surprisingly obvious, but few are implemented on a large scale in Buddhist communities."

By Vince Horn from Buddhist Geeks.

To listen the interview : BG 166: What Young People Want

A day of translator training at Rangjung Yeshe Institute

Since a long time, or perhaps only recently, several Rigpa students have held the wish to learn Tibetan, or even become translators. Therefore, eyes and ears were held wide open when we heard about Rangjung Yeshe’s intensive translator training, which would make translators out of complete newbie’s within one year. I felt it was time to check it out myself.

The expedition started on Sunday evening, with a nice dinner in a Tibetan restaurant. One of the program’s students, who also attended the Rigpa Shedra last year, was tested on his Tibetan skills. Random quotes from Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation had to be translated on the spot. Although we were impressed with his skills, it seemed that translating a thousand year old text without any oral explanations isn’t easy…

The next day we started at eight, or rather a few minutes later for some, with perhaps their most innovative class. There’s one Lopön (someone who usually completed most of his training but is not yet a Khenpo), four students, and a senior student. And today, it also included me. The Lopön then taught in Tibetan, without relying on a text, and the students each take a fifteen minute turn in translating. If they make mistakes or leave something out, the senior student or their fellow students help out and correct them. What I found inspiring is that the Lopön keeps it all very simple, with short sentences and not to much out of the ordinary vocabulary. That is a completely different story then the usual Tibetan Dharma teachings, which are more like trying to follow a lecture on Heidegger in German when you barely know how order a tea. That can be quite demoralizing if you try to learn Tibetan. After only ten months, the students where able to translate most of what the Lopön was saying.

The day continued with classical Tibetan, which differed not so much from the Tibetan classes Rigpa Shedra students are familiar with. We read a part of ‘The Final Words of Tele Natsok Rangdrol’. Then, just before the most important events of the day –lunch-, we moved outside to the terrace for a Colloquial lesson. The students where led by a Tibetan in reading the autobiography of ‘Gyalwa Rinpoche’, better known in the West as the Dalai Lama. For me the day ended after lunch, since there where library’s, bookstores and others things waiting. But for the students the day was far from finished. After lunch the day continued with another translator class. This time the Lopön was teaching on the thirty seven practices of a Bodhisattva, of which it is perhaps interesting to notice that the text had to be memorized, in Tibetan of course. Then followed another Tibetan class, and the day ended with private tutoring with a Tibetan. Life of a translator isn’t easy…

You can read more here about the Translator program. The students of the institute also have a blog which can be read here . Fortunately for Rigpa students, Rangjung Yeshe is not the only player in town: Rigpa’s own translator training is starting this year at Namdroling Monastery in Southern India.