Rangjung Yeshe Gomde

Dzogchen Meditation and Retreat Center

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche on Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction

IMG_0594-edit-small2Dear Friends and Sangha Members,

In the aftermath of Nepal’s worst ever natural disaster, which has claimed more than 8500 lives, everyone at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery is continuing to devote each and every waking hour to helping those in greatest need and praying for all who have suffered such unimaginable losses.

It is now more than a month since the first earthquake struck and we are still providing shelter for the many local families made homeless and have distributed tons of food, tents, tarpaulins and medicines to people living in the hardest hit districts. Our monks’ and nuns’ local knowledge and special scouting missions have allowed relief supplies to be directed where they are most needed, quickly and efficiently.

Earlier this week we launched the second phase of our relief efforts intended to provide more than one thousand families with corrugated roof sheeting to help build shelters before the monsoon rains hit next month. All of these efforts would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of so many friends and supporters around the world and I would like to thank each and every one of you who have sent their best wishes and contributed financially.

With the monastery’s relief efforts now fully underway, and soon to be taken over by more specialized development agencies, the time has now come for us to reflect on our own circumstances. As you may know, many of buildings at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, Nagi Gompa Nunnery and neighboring Gelong Gompa were severely damaged during the earthquakes and must now be repaired or rebuilt. Among these, the great main temple at Ka-Nying monastery is severely damaged and must now be taken down.

While this will be extremely painful for everyone involved, it also presents us with an important opportunity. When the monastery was first built over forty years ago, we were all newly arrived refugees from Tibet and could not afford to buy high quality materials. Nor did we have experts on hand to guide us on earthquake resistant buildings. Now we have an opportunity to correct these shortcomings.

The main temple is where the Buddha’s teachings are housed and serves as the spiritual home for all those connected with our lineage. So many great masters blessed this building through their teachings, meditation instructions and empowerments. As a result, a vast number of people were helped at a deep personal level and we should all celebrate such a wonderful success. The temple did a truly excellent job! It’s rebuilding will take time, but it can be done, and we can now make it large enough to accommodate the ever g.rowing number of aspiring monks wishing to join he monastery.

Since the monastery is such an important center for Buddhism, we are now inviting all those with a sincere interest in Lord Buddha’s teachings to offer their assistance with our rebuilding efforts. If you are able to assist, please consider making a donation at www.shedrubfund.org. Working together, we will soon rebuild this precious Dharma seat – the source of so many blessings and profound activities! Thank you.

With love and blessings,

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche

If you have any questions about our relief efforts please contact Shenpen’s project officer Joseph Faria at earthquakerelief@shenpennepal.org.

For further information on the rebuilding of our monasteries and nunnery, please contact SDF’s secretary Greg Whiteside at reconstruct@shedrubfund.org

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Use Permit Update and a Call for Volunteers: May 24th – June 2nd

We are pleased to announce that on April 16th, 2015 Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California received approval of our Use Permit to operate as a full-fledged retreat center in Mendocino County. The approval by the Planning Commission was unanimous and there were very little questions and no opposition presented. In fact we received about 50 letters from members and the community. Thank you very much for your support.

Now that we have been approved we need to apply for what is called an “organized camp permit” which is issued by the County’s Environmental Health Department. This permit oversees and regulates our kitchen, food preparation areas, dining hall areas along with the lodging components on the land, and water and septic systems.

We will have our first formal inspection June 1st of this year about 10 days before our official summer season starts.

PLEASE CONSIDER ATTENDING WORK WEEK TO ASSIST US IN PREPARING FOR THIS INSPECTION.

Every year during work week we prepare the land for our busy summer season, which always involves clearing the campground and putting up tents, clearing trails, cleaning the houses for visiting Lamas and other guests, and getting our kitchen and dining facilities in order.  Because of this year’s inspection by the Environmental Health Department, and because of changes to our existing facilities, we will add to this already daunting list:

  • Cleaning carpets in Gate House, Trailer, and Sangha House
  • Thoroughly clean the kitchen, pantry and back porch
  • Help repair back porch screening and decks
  • Make kitchen and pantry mouse proof
  • Work on water system

Your help will be instrumental in ensuring Gomde is ready for our Summer programs.

If you are not able to attend work week you can make a donation towards supplies and materials needed to meet the requirements of the new permit. This includes the purchasing of fire extinguishers, new bedding, lighting and emergency supplies, and improvements to our water system. You can make a one time donation here:

https://gomdeusa.org/giving/one-time-donation/ or mail a check to RYG CA, PO Box 162, Leggett, CA 95585.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you this summer.

The Gomde California Team

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An Update on the Earthquake from Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche

Dear friends and Dharma family,

I returned to the monastery on Friday, following last week’s devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake, to be met by my brother Chokling Rinpoche, Phakchok Rinpoche, Tulku Urgyen Yangsi Rinpoche and our many monks and nuns. Please know that we are praying continually for all those affected in Nepal and across the region at this extremely difficult time.

I have also visited the many families still sleeping outside at night on our monastery grounds in four tented camps. Our community is suffering. Many houses have been destroyed or irreparably damaged while, for others, daily aftershocks (70 so far) have left people too frightened to return home.

I am of course doeq4ing my utmost to comfort everyone as best I can, but I am also very happy to see how the monks, students and staff at the monastery are working so hard to offer guidance and assistance to all those in need. This includes providing medical care and supplying free meals from our makeshift kitchen in the monastery for all that need it.

Today, I am visiting the Nagi Gompa nuns who have also been sleeping outside since the earthquakes struck. Gelong Gompa and several older houses have been completely destroyed. The main temple has been damaged in places but can be repaired while the new nuns’ quarters are undamaged. Just below Nagi Gompa, many local houses collapsed and the nuns have been working tirelessly to help those affected with food, shelter and companionship.

I have received reports from Pharping that our retreat center at Asura Cave and monastery in Hetauda have some minor damage but I have requested detailed engineering reports on all the buildings at our various centers. We must identify those buildings that need to be repaired, retrofitted or demolished and rebuilt, and begin this work as soon as we can. Some buildings, such as the new college building at Ka Nying Shedrub Ling monastery, have been declared safe and are already back in use, but others, notably our main temple, may take several years to rebuild

We are also faced with the major challenge to ensure the continuity of academic courses taught at Rangjung Yeshe Institute. If it is possible to run the summer intensive courses starting in June, then we will do so, once we are satisfied about the safety and security of students and staff. The Institute depends on the income from summer courses to subsidize its BA and MA courses later in the year but considerable efforts and significant costs will be involved if classes are to resume quickly.

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We are also doing our best to support general relief efforts in Nepal. As soon as the earthquakes subsided, the monastery’s monks and volunteers, led by Phakchok Rinpoche, began purchasing food, tents and medical supplies, renting trucks and delivering relief assistance to various places including Helambu, Nuwakot, Lalitpur, Sindhupalchowk, Shivapuri and Pharping.Such missions are now taking place on a daily basis, the monks demonstrating that they can move more rapidly than many relief agencies and overloaded government and army workers. Through extensive family networks in the hills and local knowledge the monks have been able to identify the areas in greatest need and get assistance to them quickly. To date around a dozen supply missions have taken place.

eq1

The monastery’s charitable organization Shenpen, which supports local non-government groups and schools working with the poorest, will now use funds being received from generous supporters around the world to contribute food, tents and medical supplies to these efforts and provide similar support to the Nepalese Scouts Association in Sindhupalchowk where an estimated 90% of all buildings have collapsed.

There is much to be done and, while most people here are quite exhausted, their determination to help restore the monastery and provide relief to those in greatest need, is far stronger.

Over the last week, many of my students abroad have volunteered to come to Nepal to help those in need and restore the monastery. They said they felt paralyzed at being so far away from Nepal, seeing all the misery and pain, and not knowing how to help. However, I have told everyone that for now the greatest service people can provide is through strong fundraising efforts. Some of our friends around the world have already begun reaching out to friends and family for donations, hosting benefit concerts and fundraising gatherings, and sharing their connection to Nepal and our community. I am very touched by their efforts and would encourage everyone who has the energy and skill to take up similar activities.

For more information on how you can be active, please click here

These are difficult times and we need to support each other. I rejoice deeply in everybody’s altruistic efforts and it touches my heart to feel the love, care and compassion pouring in from people all around the world.

Please consider providing your support by making a donation at www.shedrubfund.org.

Thank you.

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche

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Upcoming Programs in the Bay Area

 

Gomde California is pleased to present the following programs around the Bay Area.
Please contact Sara Rojo for more information.

 

Chung TulkuLongchenpa’s Teachings on the Four Immeasurables
with Chung Rinpoche
May 2nd, 2:30 – 4:30pm at The Berkeley Library, West Branch
Cost: Free; donations are welcome

 

The Essential Oral Instructions of Chokgyur Lingpa Lama_Tsultrim
with Lama Tsultrim Sangpo
May 24th, 10:30 – 1:30 at Rudramandir in Berkeley
Cost: $20

 

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Support Gomde at our Use Permit Hearing

IMG_0036Gomde California is embarking on a major action that will benefit the entire community and our mission to support the spread of Buddhism in North America. As many of you know, we have been working on Gomde California’s Master Plan and Use Permit for many years. We have finally arrived at the moment when the Mendocino County Planning Commission will hear our request for a Use Permit to function as a retreat center.

The Public Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 19th, at 9:00 am in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, located at 501 Low Gap Road in Ukiah, California.

The agenda for the meeting and information about our application, including the the County’s Staff report and recommendations, can be found here.

We hope that you will take some time to offer your support to Gomde California and our application process. There are many ways to voice your support.

You can:

  • Send an email to the Planning Commission before March 18th
  • Mail a letter, before March 18th, to: The Mendocino County Planning Commission, Planning and Building Services Dept. 860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482.
  • Testify in person, and provide “public comment” during the hearing itself.
  • Or all three!

IF POSSIBLE, PLEASE FOCUS ON DISCUSSING HOW IMPORTANT GOMDE IS TO YOU PERSONALLY AND TO THE COMMUNITY RATHER THAN TRYING TO DISCUSS THE MERITS OF OUR SPECIFIC USE PERMIT/REZONING APPLICATION, WHICH IS COMPLICATED.

This link will provide you with letter that can be used as a template, but feel free to adapt it or develop your own. Please include the following the information in the subject line, including our Agenda item and date of the hearing:

Agenda Item #6d, Project Case #: R_2013-0001/U_2013-0001; March 19, 2015

Your support is critical to the overall process. It doesn’t matter whether you live near Gomde or far away. If you support Gomde California and Rinpoche’s vision for the land, please make the effort to reach out to the Planning Commissioners directly to voice your support for this important milestone in our development and growth. As Rinpoche always stresses to us, Gomde California is your center.

If you have any questions or concerns or what more information about the project, please feel free to contact Joanne Brion at finance@gomdeusa.org or call her at 707-494-6648.

What to expect

If you plan on attending the hearing, we are fourth on the agenda and thus our item may not come up for a while. The planning commission is the first public body with jurisdiction to hear our request. The Board of Supervisors is the second and final public body that will review our application. The staff has made a favorable recommendation to approve our application and environmental review, assuming the listed conditions and requirements are met. The planning commission will hear:

  1. A summary of the staff report by our county project coordinator.
  2. We as the applicant will make a short presentation on our organization and project.
  3. Commissioners may ask questions at this point or defer to after public comment.
  4. The public is invited to speak on behalf or against the project (normally 2-3 minutes each).
  5. The Commission chair will close public hearing (no more public comment or input is allowed).
  6. The Commission will continue with discussion, questions and debate, which can include questions to staff or applicant.
  7. The Chair calls for a motion to vote; motion called, seconded and commission takes a vote.
In some cases, the Commission members can also ask for more information and analysis from staff and delay a vote in some cases. If the Commission approves our application, use permit and rezoning request, it moves to the County Board of Supervisors for consideration, which is normally within 30 to 60 days. Another public hearing is scheduled and a similar process takes place. Similar public support will be asked for on our behalf at that time.
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Feb. 28th: Tsangsar Tulku Rinpoche teaches in Corte Madera

Key Points of Vajrayana Practice

with Tsangsar Tulku Rinpoche

4pm-6pm, February 28th at the Corte Madera Town Center Community Room

This event is free and open to everyone. Offerings to the teacher and translator are welcome.

For more information email rybasp108@gmail.com or call 707-480-9961.

 

Directions To Corte Madera Town Center

Take the Paradise/Tamalpais Exit off Highway 101.  Town Center is on the west side of the freeway.  Turn right into the south entrance of the Center located on Tamalpais Drive. The office building will be directly in front of you, which is where the Community room is located.

http://www.shoptowncenter.com/directions.php

Directions to the Community Room

The Community Room (Suite 201) is located on the second floor of the office building of the mall. Enter the mall between the 2 large ivy covered pillars. (Charles Schwab on the left and Umpqua Bank on the right). Elevator access is straight across the plaza and through the lobby marked “770” on the awning. Take the elevator to the 2nd floor. One can also take the outside steps on the right side of the plaza.

Please plan to come 15 minutes early to find the room.

A Request for Volunteers

We will need a few volunteers to help get us set up, direct people, and take down. Please let me know if you can help out.

 

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Bay Area Study and Practice Group

Chokgyur Lingpa2-1Gomde California coordinates the Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Bay Area Study and Practice Group, offering those members of the Gomde California community who live in the greater Bay Area the opportunity to study, practice, and spend time together as a sangha.  The group takes its direction from Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, and is led by our lineage teachers and Rinpoche’s senior students.  We focus on the practices that are central to Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s tradition, and which are regularly practiced at Gomde California, other international Gomdes, and at Rinpoche’s monastery in Nepal.

The group meets every Sunday in San Rafael, from 10am – 12:15am.  To connect with the group, please email rybasp108@gmail.com or call Dez Kuimelis at 707-480-9961.

Everyone is welcome, we hope you can join us!

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Khenpo Yeshe teaches in Berkeley on Jan. 18th

Keno Yeshe SmallThe Awakened Heart: a Talk on the Bodhisattva Path in Tibetan Buddhism

This Sunday, January 18th, Khenpo Yeshe will teach in at the Berkeley Central Public Library.  The teaching will begin at 1:30pm and run for approximately 2 hours.

Doors open at 1pm, but that is also the time we will be able to get in to start setting up. If you can come early to help set up, the more the merrier!

 

There is no charge for this teaching, but if you would like to make an offering details are provided below.

About Khenpo Yeshe

Khenpo Yeshe is originally from the Nagchu area of Tibet. He grew up in a family of yak herders and later took monastic vows. He came to Nepal after a very long perilous journey to pursue teachings with many great teachers including Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. He is well educated in both Eastern and Western academic traditions, and is currently pursuing his graduate degree at U.C. Berkeley in the South and Southeast Asian Studies program.

Location

Directions to the Berkeley Central Public Library

We will be in the meeting room on the 3rd floor administration wing. Take the elevator to the 3rd Floor. Upon exiting immediately take a right and go through the door with the signage next to it marked “Administration. Meeting Rooms”. Continue through another door past the staff elevator. Then take a right toward the meeting rooms. Enter on your left, half way down the hall.

Here’s a library map:

https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/locations/central-library

According to the city website, meters do not run on Sunday, but of course, please double check with where you are parking. There is parking garage on the same side of the street as the library in case you prefer that.

Regarding Offerings

The library does not allow for sales or charging for events which we will not do, but of course we would like to make an offering to Khenpo Yeshe.  Because the library policy is for no money to be exchanged, it would be best if we make one offering as a group rather than making individual offerings which may be misconstrued by the library as payment.

If you would like to make a pledge of an offering before hand, you can bring it the day of and give to Claude before the teaching begins

Library announcement

“Wheelchair accessible. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs.

PLEASE NOTE: This event is not sponsored by the Berkeley Public Library. Groups and organizations may use meeting rooms when they are not being used for activities sponsored by the Library. Permission to use the meeting rooms does not imply Library endorsement of the goals, policies or activities of any group or organization. For more information on meeting rooms at the Berkeley Public Library, visit www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org

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Translation School Partners with UC Berkeley

Berkeley BS logoGomde California’s Dharmachakra Translation Center (DTC) has partnered with UC Berkeley’s Center for Buddhist Studies to offer a Certificate of Completion to students in the Dharmchakra School of Translation at Gomde.  The faculty at the Center for Buddhist Studies has recognized the caliber of instruction offered by the DTC’s translator training program and has been impressed by the quality of students who have completed the program.  The Dharmachakra School of Translation has drawn students from all major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and has attracted graduate students from Yale University, the University of Chicago, Emory University, and UC Berkeley

The DTC and the Buddhist Studies program at UC Berkeley have a long-standing relationship. Gomde California frequently hosts the faculty and graduate students in the Group in Buddhist Studies for weekend seminars, professors from Berkeley make regular visits to Gomde and have lead programs in Gomde’s Buddhist Studies Summer Program. A number of current graduate students in Berkeley’s Buddhist Studies program are members of Gomde’s management team.

We are grateful for the support and recognition of Berkeley’s Center for Buddhist Studies and look forward to a long, productive relationship.

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Summary of Gomde California’s Operations

Over the the coming year Gomde California will be implementing a new strategic plan that will begin an important phase of our development.  This will include a number of significant projects to improve the quality of our facilities and enhance the experience of everyone who visits the center.  As Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche often reminds us, Gomde California belongs to all of us, so as we embark upon this exciting period we look forward to your input, involvement, and support.  As an initial step in this process we want to clarify for everyone how Gomde spends the revenue we bring in throughout the year, and provide a synopsis of our annual expenses.  Please follow the link below to read a short summary of Gomde’s yearly income and expenses.  We are always grateful for any feedback you may have, so please feel free to contact us at finance@gomdeusa.org.

Summary of Gomde CA Operations

 

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