Greetings from Gampo Abbey
The past few months have been a busy and exciting time at the Abbey. After a seven year absence, our abbot, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, returned for a nine-day visit. Rinpoche was exceptionally generous with his time. He gave five days of wonderful teachings, ordained three new novice monastics
, gave refuge and bodhisattva vows, blessed our stupa and the site of a new buddha field, and gave many interviews. We are most grateful for Thrangu Rinpoche's radiant presence, his immense wisdom and kindness, and his continuing care and devotion for the Abbey. Click here for an album of pictures from the visit.
September at the Abbey saw the final two weeks of In-House Retreat, when we were joined by participants from North America and Europe, and an ordination ceremony when three residents took temporary monastic vows. Along with the rest of the Shambhala mandala, we welcomed in autumn with the first Shambhala Lineage Festival, led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. We were joined by members of Cape Breton sanghas and received the new Shambhala and Enlightened Society vows. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the new season.
In October, our Leadership Council traveled to Halifax to attend Dignity: Governing Enlightened Society, a weekend on governance led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The Abbey was blessed by a visit from Shibata Sensei, legendary kyudo master, who has a very close connection with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Abbey. And Acharya Eve Rosenthal led a Rigden Weekend, the culmination of the Way of Shambhala program, which has been taught in its entirety here. We were joined by members of the Cape Breton sangha for this wonderful program of unconditional confidence.
As the year came to a close, we had two rich Shedra classes (see below for more).
We are now preparing for our winter retreat. This winter we are doing something different. As usual, we are having our 6-week Yarne retreat, except this year it is open only to residents. The retreat will consist of practice/study intensive weeks, silent practice weeks, a Mahamudra intensive led by Lodrö Sangpo, and a Sadhana of Mahamudra intensive led by Acharya Larry Mermelstein. Following the Yarne retreat, there will be another closed 6-week retreat, during which time our life monastics will move to Söpa Chöling and be off-schedule. Their Abbey jobs will be handled by staff members, allowing our life monastics a time for especially deep study and practice.
Two more items to mention: Have you ever thought of living at the Abbey? See below to learn more.
And finally, the Abbey relies on support from generous donors to continue its mission of developing as the monastery of the Shambhala community. Can you help? See below to learn more about supporting the Abbey. Thank you!
We will be in touch again in the spring. We wish you a restful and spacious winter!
back to top
Fall Shedra Classes
Two Shedra classes were offered in the fall. In the first class, the entire Abbey community settled into a wonderful Mahamudra weekthün, led by our own Lodrö Sangpo. He led us on an exploration of our minds in stillness and in movement. It is always such a joy when the entire community practices together in the Main Shrine Room.
In the second class, eight stalwart residents tackled Lorik, the foundational Shedra topic that describes our mind and how it works. We studied direct and inferential valid cognition, mental factors, and the various ways that we cognize objects (mind's "modes of engagement"). The class was taught by our own Ani Shiwa and by translator and Nitartha Institute instructor, Scott Wellenbach, who came from Halifax to teach the modes of engagement.
back to top
Openings for Residents in 2012
Have you ever thought of exploring monastic community life as part of your spiritual path? Come live at Gampo Abbey. The next entry date is March 29, 2012.
We are continuing to explore how the Shambhala teachings provide the backbone of monastic training at Gampo Abbey. As a member of the community you must be willing to fully commit to participate in this ongoing experiment in creating enlightened society. On a day-to-day level this means fully surrendering to the daily schedule of participating in morning and evening chants, 3 to 4 ½ hours of meditation practice, and 4 hours of service to the community.
We require a minimum one-year commitment, and that you have taken refuge, have an interest in taking temporary monastic ordination during your stay, and have completed a Shambhala Training program. Program fees are $225 per month; this includes shared accommodations and three vegetarian meals per day Program fees are $225 per month; this includes shared accommodations and three vegetarian meals per day.
For more information on living at Gampo Abbey and to download an application form, please visit our website.
back to top
Supporting the Abbey
It was the heartfelt wish of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche that the monastic tradition be developed and nurtured in the West. Each year at this time, the monastic community at Gampo Abbey reaches out to ask for financial assistance from its friends and supporters.
As we enter our second quarter century, under the spiritual guidance of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, holder of the Shambhala lineage; our Abbot, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche; our main teacher, Gampo Acharya Pema Chödrön, and the senior monastics, the Abbey community is committed to developing monasticism within the tradition of Shambhala Buddhism drawing from its Kagyu and Nyingma lineage.
Please keep the Abbey in mind when you are making your end-of-year donations. Please visit our Support page to help us. And thank you very much for your support!
back to top
Join us for Spring Shedra!
The Vidyādhara Institute at Gampo Abbey would like to invite you to participate in our month-long Shedra course on Madhyamaka. It will give you a very special opportunity of thorough Buddhist studies combined with a taste of monastic life.
This intensive Buddhist studies course will be taught by Israel Lifshitz who has been teaching here on a regular basis in the last 3 years and who also teaches at Nitartha Institute. Israel has been actively teaching and practicing in South America for many years, in particular in Mexico where he lives.
Israel says: “Madhyamaka is traditionally taught as the ultimate view. Its study and practice brings us beyond conceptual elaborations, reference points and extremes and thus leads the way to total freedom.”
The course will use a commentary by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen on The Presentation of Madhyamaka in the Treasury of Knowledge by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche.
You can expect 4 classes per week, with study periods and/or discussion groups. And you will also participate in daily life at Gampo Abbey, which includes recitation of morning and evening liturgy, and engaging in service periods and meditation sessions.
Prerequisites: Sūtrayāna seminary or having attended Nitartha Institute or a minimum of 2 years of Buddhist study plus a recommendation from your teacher/MI. It is also recommended that you have some experience with meditation on egolessness. Our courses are limited to 12 participants. The participants (granted that they fulfill the necessary requirements) will be chosen on a “first come, first served” basis.
Course dates: April 2-27, 2012 (arrival date: March 30 and departure date: April 28)
Fee: CAN $1,150 (includes tuition, lodging, meals).
Registration deadline: February 5, 2012
For more information and registration forms, see our website: www.gampoabbey.org or contact Shedra Coordinator Ani Shiwa at: email@example.com.
back to top