Sitting Quietly, doing little, Recharges Soul at Big Island Buddhist Retreat
by Susan Spano
Los Angeles Times, Travel Section, July 18, 1999
The rain is coming down in sheets over this lush valley on the lava-veined flank of the Mauna Loa volcano. I am sitting on a screened-in porch,listening to it pelt against the tin roof of the Buddhist retreat center where I am staying. Eucalyptus trees do the hula in the wind, a mosquito circles my foot but doesn't land, and every so often one of the peacocks up at the temple shrieks like a tormented soul in hell. Meanwhile, I have a good book and a cup of tea, and am about as close to heaven on Earth as I'm likely to get.
Admittedly, this is not the sort of heaven pictured in brochures for Hawaiian resorts, where the skies are invariably sunny, the beach is at your doorstep, the rooms are luxurious and there's always something to do. Here at Wood Valley, there's no parasailing, no shopping malls, sightseeing cruises, golf courses or swim-up bars. In fact, there's no stimulation whatsoever - unless you find it stimulating to get so far away from it all that you may as well be in another world.
The Wood Valley retreat center on the Big Island is five miles north of Pahala, a former sugar plantation town about a two-hour drive from the Kona airport. I love driving the road south from Kona around Mauna Loa; the road passes South Point, sweetly moldering towns like Waiohinu and Naalehu, and the black sand beach at Punaluu before swinging north to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The region is known as the Ka'u Desert due to the lava flows that have poured out of Mauna Loa and the currently active Kilauea crater to the north. But Wood Valley sits in the vast shadow of 13,677-foot Mauna Loa, which creates an area of stark contrasts, with black fingers of hardened lava licking between verdant pasturelands and macadamia nut groves. In 1868 an earthquake, followed by a tsunami and massive mudslides, erased the whole valley from the map. But it came back, so that Nechung Rinpoche, the grand lama of the Nechung Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, and Dharamsala, India, could establish a temple here in 1973.
It occupies a graceful yellow, orange and green building with lotuses and elephants carved on the lintel, originally built as a Japanese mission serving immigrant field workers. Since the closing of the local sugar cane plant several years ago, the fields have all gone to seed. But in 1980 and 1994, the Dalai Lama visited Wood Valley, where peacocks parade and prayer flags flutter in the breeze.
The retreat center (with room for about 25 in quads, doubles and singles with bunk beds) is just below the temple. It has a communal kitchen, a meditation room often used for classes and workshops, and that wonderful wraparound porch. All the rooms are simply furnished but immaculately clean, with Indian wall hangings and thick comforters on the beds.
A Buddhist monk holds services in the mornings and evenings, but the retreat center is nonsectarian. One couple staying there at the time of my visit had come to the island just for bird-watching.
The green sand beach at South Point is about a 30-minute drive away, as smashing as the one in Hana but harder to reach (you have to walk three miles from the parking lot if you don't have a vehicle that can manage the dirt road). I also hiked on national park trails in the Ka'u Desert and picnicked on the path leading to the summit of Mauna Loa. But most of all, sat still in Wood Valley
Vacationing Peacefully and Cheaply at a Buddhist Retreat
by Susan Seliger
Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine, October 2002
In North America, interest in the chief spiritual outlook of East Asia is growing so rapidly that more than 100 Buddhist centers are today attracting sizeable numbers of cost-conscious visitors for weeklong and longer stays.
From paperback best sellers (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has spawned Zen-and-the-Art-of Nearly-Anything-You-Can-Name) to popular films (Little Buddha, Kundun, Brad Pitt in Seven Years in Tibet), from TV ads (can a guy meditating in a yoga class really sell online stock-trading) to rock-and-roll classics (Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Jerry Garcia, the Beastie Boys), from front page news (the award of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama) to celebrity gossip (Courtney Love schlepping Kurt Cobain's ashes to a Buddhist shrine in India), Buddhism has been inching its way into everyday American life.
"Ten years ago there were, at most, 40 Buddhist retreats in the United States and Canada. Now there are two or three times that many," says Jeff Wilson, Web columnist for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review (a quarterly magazine) and author of the Buddhist Guide to New York.
If you've been thinking that you need a different sort of vacation this year - one that might let you not simply change your venue but your view about life and living as well - take a deep breath and consider a Buddhist retreat. You'll discover that enlightenment (or at least a week on the way there) can come cheap.
What should you expect at a Buddhist retreat?
Meditation: Buddhism has undergone many changes in its trek from India 2,500 years ago through Tibet, China, Japan, and other parts of the world to America, emerging in three dominant strains (Theravada, the oldest; Mahayana, which includes the slightly stricter Japanese Zen practice; and Vajrayana, the more relaxed Tibetan version). But the one common element in all of them is the practice of meditation. It is mostly done sitting (the Japanese called it zazen) on little cushions in a meditation hall where you are not allowed to doze off (catching zzzzzz) but must sit absolutely still, erect, hands poised just so (a mudra posture) and focus on nothing but your breathing, to start off.
Silence: There's a lot of that; some retreats are completely silent. "We call it Noble Silence," explains Julie Wester, a teacher at Spirit Rock Retreat Center in California. "We've all been silenced by an adult as children, not a good feeling. here the silence allows us to drop the automatic social rules - always looking pleasant and feeling you have to smile," Wester says. "Once people get a taste of how peaceful this can be, they choose this instead of going to, say, Mexico," Wester adds. "Typical vacations often aren't really restful."
Compassion and Acceptance: Buddhism is refreshingly nonjudgmental and adaptable. Do you like to meditate but don't know all those funny-sounding syllables to chant? No problem, Rodger Kamenetz, author of Jew in the Lotus, talks about passing by Allan Ginsberg during a teaching of the Dalai Lama in New York: "While others were dutifully chanting Tibetan syllables, Ginsberg was intoning 'eenie meenie miney mo."
Buddhists Wake Up Early: At nearly all retreats, you'll hear an otherworldly gong penetrate your slumber at 5 or 6 A.M. Buddhist of all stripes like to get up early and meditate. Even if you turn over and fall back asleep, you'll find the gong's pleasant pulsations take (nearly) all the edge off the early hour. Why doesn't everybody get up this way?
Good Health: In a recent issue of the British Medical Journal, researchers report that subjects who recited a mantra (in this case, "om-mani-padme-hung"), as well as those who recited the Hail Mary portion of the Rosary in Latin, naturally slowed their respiratory rate to six breaths per minute, which turns out to synchronize perfectly with the body's natural cardiovascular rhythms in a way that reduces stress, increases feelings of well-being, and seems to protect them from heart disease. Studies on transcendental meditation (TM) at Harvard Medical School in the mid-'70s showed TM to lower levels of blood lactate, which is associated with anxiety, to decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension, and to slow the heart rate, leading to a deep level of relaxation.
Doing Nothing Isn't Always Easy: Learning mindfulness, as they call focusing on the moment, yourself, and your place in the cosmos, can be tough. As Woody Allen once said, "I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown." It's worth it, "Don't expect a radically altered mind state," writes Sylvia Boorstein in Don't Just Do Something, Sit There: A Mindfulness Retreat," unless feeling happy and relaxed is radical for you."
Buddhist Retreat Centers
Here (is one of) my top seven retreats, (with most) preferring you to stay at least a couple of night to soak it all in.
Wood Valley Temple and Retreat Center, Wood Valley, Ka'u, on the Big Island of Hawaii
This is one of the best-kept local secrets. You would never happen upon it because it's tucked away in a lush, green valley, far from the normal tourist path - but still within driving distance of Hilo and Volcanoes National Park, which are two attractions on the Big Island.
This tiny Tibetan center, established in 1973 by the Venerable Nechung Rinpoche, was visited by the Dalai Lama twice: He dedicated the center in 1980 and visited again in 1994, drawing a crowd of several thousand to a facility that that can only sleep 25. Throughout the year, you'll find some formal retreats with guidance from teachers and lamas; the center is also open to groups for any spiritual, social, cultural, or health activities. Private individuals can stay at any time of year and simply join in with the two resident monks during morning and evening prayers and chanting…or just kick back (easygoing Buddhism practiced here).
“We've preserved the original main shrine, built in 1902, which was the first Nichiren Shu Buddhist temple in Hawaii to service the Japanese immigrants who work on the sugar plantations," explains Marya Schwabe, co-director. "But we've added modern Tibetan colors, the bright Crayola colors, which are beautiful."
If you feel you must leave the compound, ten minutes away you'll find a black-sand beach where the green sea turtles come in to reset and feed. For groups over 15, directors Marya & Michael Schwabe will cook your meals; otherwise you are free to use their big modern kitchen.
"It's very heavenly," says Ione, psychotherapist and author in New York City and Kingston, New York, who has just come back. "We sit on the veranda of our second-floor room (furnished in modern, simple Hawaiian style, with single or double beds) looking out on the most luscious flowers (red ginger, bird of paradise, spider lilies, and cup of gold flowering vines thrive there) and palms, listening to the sound of the peacocks on the grounds. You can go down and pick an avocado from the trees for your lunch. They raise coffee there, picked by the monks, which is fantastic at breakfast," Ione says, her voice softening at the memory.
"I've traveled a lot in the world," Ione says, "and this is one of those places with a special feeling, a great feeling of peacefulness, beauty, and simplicity that calls you to return."
WOOD VALLEY TEMPLE AND RETREAT CENTER (a.k.a. Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, which means small, Immutable Island of Melodious Sound) P.O. Box 250, Pahala, HI 96777. 808-928-8539.
Tibetan Temple’s Tiny Coffee Venture "A Labor of Love"
by Janet Snyder
Hawaii Tribune-Herald, July 12, 2001
Wood Valley - the precincts of a Tibetan Buddhist temple are the unlikely domain of one of the world's rarest coffees.
Senior monk Lobzang "Tiapala" Toldan and temple caretaker Michael Schwabe of the Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling Temple grow Ka’u coffee, a robust Arabica whose brew reminds connoisseurs of a fine French roast.
"We’ve been growing for 10 years, but this is the first year we’ve had a significant amount," said Schwabe as he offered a steaming cup of homegrown espresso. "We had a bumper crop."
The temple’s three acres of trees, grown organically from local seeds, yield about 1,000 pounds of beans a year.
"This is a labor of love. The coffee we grow is all that two or three people can work on part-time," Schwabe said
"It’s not very much land, but big enough for two people to work," said Tiapala. The men painstakingly harvest the crimson coffee cherries 10 months of the year.
At first, Schwabe and Tiapala only grew enough coffee for the household, but they stepped up production when the temples’ retreat guests clamored for it, liking its full-bodied yet mellow flavor.
Their coffee is roasted at a precise 468 degrees, which Schwabe said is the optimum temperature for dark roast.
"I found there’s not as much caffeine in our coffee," Schwabe said. "I’ve tried to maintain a consistent flavor by using only the seed from this area."
Their Wood Valley property, which in 1994 hosted the Dalai Lama, presents the ideal conditions for coffee growing.
"The Wood Valley coffee flavor is extraordinary because at 2,000 feet you’re at the ideal elevation," Schwabe said. "You get rainfall, cloudy afternoons, sunny mornings and good precipitation.
Schwabe said that thanks to the mist that descends from Mauna Loa, he hasn’t needed to irrigate the trees since last fall.
Schwabe and his wife, Marya, who have tended the temple since 1974, often give bangs of coffee as gifts to guests. Only about five percent of the temple’s income comes from the coffee, which Schwabe said sells for $35 a pound.
Asked to compare the quality of Ka’u coffee, Schwabe likened it to the rare Jamaican variety, Blue Mountain.
That prized coffee is smooth but has a vibrant acidity and, like its Ka’u counterpart, it’s grown at high elevations. It costs about $20 a pound, according to a Jamaican coffee website.
The Wood Valley coffee is grown without chemicals or mechanization, using only hand tools and natural nutrients like phosphorus-rich macadamia nut waste that coffee thrives on.
"It’s really labor-intensive," Schwabe said. The hard work of weeding and shoveling compost at high altitude is nothing new for Tiapala, who was born on a farm in the Indian Himalayan enclave of Ladakh, also known as "LittleTibet."
But as devotedly as he works the coffee fields, fuchsia-colored robes tucked for mobility, Tiapala doesn’t touch the stuff, Schwabe said. "He’s a tea person; he drinks Darjeeling," Schwabe said. "I’m the guy who drinks coffee."
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, Wood Valley Temple, in the hills above Pahala, is reachable at 808-928-8539.
Wood Valley Temple: A Serene Sanctuary in the Forest of Ka`u
by Norah Charles
Hawaii Island Journal, June 1-15, 2003
Four miles up the road behind Pahala town, Wood Valley Temple pulses with color. The building, surrounded by cackling peacocks splaying electric green feathers, is painted in the Tibetan style. Prayer flags tremble in the slight wind. The grounds, impeccably maintained, ramble beneath a canopy of trees.
Although Michael Schwabe, caretaker of Wood Valley, claims the traffic has thickened, the temple seems to hang in a wonderful silence, marked only by the occasional coo of a peacock or the trill of a mynah bird.
Wood Valley, now in its 30th year as a Tibetan temple, is one of Hawai’i Island’s most distinguished temples. Its history, marked by natural disasters, economic flux in Pahala and the dogged determination of its Buddhist caretakers, is surprisingly complex. Initially dedicated in 1902 as a Nichiren Shu Sect Buddhist temple, Wood Valley was created as a spiritual center for Japanese immigrants.
In the early 1920s, a flood destroyed much of the temple. The temple was then rebuilt and thrived once again as a Japanese center.
World War II brought incredible changes to the Japanese population in the United States. The teacher of the Japanese school and the minister of Wood Valley were taken to holding camps. Several ministers were stationed at Wood Valley during the 1950s, but in 1963 the last minister closed the temple doors. The Wood Valley community had slowly dwindled, and by the mid-1960s, most of the population had already moved back to Pahala town.
In the early 1970s, a small group of Tibetan Buddhist students from O’ahu recovered Wood Valley temple from the overgrown jungle. Marya and Michael Schwabe have worked almost continuously the last 30 years on reviving the temple. Their first task was to invite a Buddhist lama to Wood Valley. Unsure of who would take up the challenge of moving to Ka’u, they were astounded when Nechung Rinpoche, a high lama and ritual master for the Dalai Lama, moved to Wood Valley. He lived at the temple for eight years, taught the Schwabes Tibetan and helped revive the building, assigning it its energetic color scheme and dedicating it as a non-sectarian Tibetan Buddhist temple.
In 1980, the Dalai Lama made his first visit to Wood Valley. There he spoke to a relatively small audience from the front porch of the temple, and for the first time, gave his entire talk in English. In 1994, The Dalai Lama revisited Wood Valley, speaking to an audience of more than 3,500 people. Police accounts say traffic slithered bumper to bumper from Kona to Hilo.
Wood Valley has hosted 25 Tibetan masters as well as Thai Buddhist masters, including the religious minister of Thailand. The temple is currently home to Tibetan monk Lobzang Toldan, nickname Tiapala, who has lived at Wood Valley on and off for almost 20 years.
Although not a large, temple, the complex has living quarters for resident and visiting monks as well as a bedroom used only by the Dalai Lama. Wood Valley also has a large retreat center, created from a building relocated from Pahala and hundreds of scrap building materials just before the Dalai Lama’s first visit. The center can hold up to 20 people, has a kitchen and dining area as well as a meditation and prayer hall. Prices range per person from $35 a night for dormitory living to $75 a night for double occupancy private rooms and is available to spiritual, political and workshop groups.
Wood Valley is an oasis of man-made beauty in the cradle of the Ka’u forest. Since its inception it has maintained its nature as a Buddhist temple, revived by a new generation of students and teachers dedicated to making the sacred space available to all who crave spiritual renewal. Wood Valley lives on, inspiring many more generations with its quiet call to contemplate the world from a spiritual perspective.
For more information, call 928-8539.
New Year Celebration
We invite you to join us at the temple for a prayer ceremony and potluck lunch on New Year’s Day. Please bring a dish to share.
Monday, January 1, 2018, 10:00 am
Guru Tsok & Riwo Sang Chod Fire Ritual
12:00 noon Potluck Lunch
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche
will be in residence at the temple during the month of April, 2018. A White Tara Wisdom & Longevity Retreat is scheduled for all weekends in April.
Customarily, a deity retreat includes 4 sessions daily, accumulation of 100,000+ mantras and adhering to other guidelines. This program will not be a complete traditional retreat, but intended to give the practitioner familiarity & a deeper insight into the Tara practice by engaging in periods of meditation & mantra recitation. Persons wishing to attend the retreat need to take the White Tara Initiation on Saturday, April 7 that grants permission to do the practice. If you cannot make all the weekends, you may choose to attend individual days. The retreat will culminate on Sunday, April 29 with a fire puja & ritual for purification. Please register in advance.
Dates and times for the program are detailed below.
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Lama Chopa Tsok & Potluck Lunch
All are welcome.
Sunday, April 1 10:00 am — 4:00 pm
"The Practice of Bodhicitta – Cultivating the Mind of Enlightenment"
1. Seven–fold Cause & Effect Instructions
2. Equalizing & Exchanging Oneself with Others
Saturday, April 7 10:00 am, Lunch
White Tara "Permission" (JeNang) Initiation
Sunday, April 8 10:00 am — 4:30 pm
White Tara Retreat, Teachings on Buddhist & Tara Practice, Mantra Recitation & Accumulation
April 14 & 15, 21 & 22, and April 28
10:00 am — 4 pm
Sunday, April 29 10:00 am, Lunch
Fire Puja & Ritual for purification
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche will again visit the temple August 24 to September 5, 2018.
Saturday, Sunday, Monday, September 1, 2 & 3 10:00 am — 4:00 pm
Teachings on Daily Meditations and Practices
Over the Labor Day weekend, Nechung Rinpoche will explain the meaning of the meditations & recitations that were instituted by his predecessor and have been the foundation of temple practice since the mid–1970’s.
The goal of this course is for students to learn the significance, symbolism and visualization of these meditations so that they can engage in a daily personal practice. This set of practices can be done daily, in part or whole, including Refuge, Altruistic Mind, Offerings, Shakyamuni Buddha, Manjushri, Chenrezig, Tara, Thirty–five Confessional Buddhas, Long Life & Auspicious Prayers and Dedication
Sunday, August 26
Four Mandala Tara Puja & Vegetarian Potluck Lunch 10:00 am
Donations are welcome.
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche gave teachings at the temple September 1, 2 & 3, 2018.
Nechung Rinpoche elaborated on the temple morning practice text over the Labor Day weekend. He gave teachings on core Buddhist principles such as Refuge (outer, inner & secret) and Bodhicitta (conventional & absolute altruistic mind) and making Offerings (actual & imagined). He also taught the meditation & visualization practices of Shakyamuni Buddha, Manjushri and Avalokitesvara. Additionally, he expounded on the nature of relative & ultimate reality, and wisdom of emptiness.
Rinpoche explained the following verse which uses 9 examples to illustrate how all phenomena exist due to the interdependence of causes and conditions, are impermanent, and free of inherent existence.
KAR-MA RAP-RI MAR-ME DANG A star, a fault of vision, a lamp
GYU-MA ZIL-PA CHU-BUR DANG Illusion, drop of dew, or bubble
MI-LAM LOK-DANG TRIN-TA-BUR A dream, or lightening, or a cloud
DU-JA CHO-NAM DI-TAR-TA See conditioned things as they are
Rinpoche will return in the Spring of 2019 for several weeks to complete this set of teachings from the text which includes Praise to the 21 Taras, 35 Confessional Buddhas & the Vajrasattva meditation for purification. He has also agreed to give commentaries on the Heart Sutra, Guru Padmasambhava Tsok Offering and Riwo Sangchod Fire Ritual.
Tibetan New Year of the Fire Bird
Monday, February 27th, 10am
Lha Sang Puja & Guru Padmasambhava Tsok with a potluck lunch following at noon.
Day of Buddha Shakyamuni's Great Miracles
Sunday, March 12th, 10 am
Full Moon (15th) Day of the 1st lunar month Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig) meditation practice & OM MANI PADME HUNG mantra accumulation dedicated to the long life of HH the Dalai Lama. A potluck lunch will follow at noon.
Nechung Rinpoche has finished nine years of study at Mindroling Monastic College this spring. He has also completed his training in the specific rituals and prayers of Nechung Monastery. Rinpoche is expected to be in residence at the temple for a few months this fall for some personal time and to give teachings.
Ven. Nechung Kuten is currently visiting South Korea giving blessings in temples and monasteries. As a graduation present, he invited Rinpoche to join him and to give a public talk. The Kuten’s memoir is now translated in to English and will be published later this year.
Orgyen Menla Initiation
(Guru Rinpoche Medicine Buddha)
Dzogchen Teachings given by Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche
May 27, 28, 29 — 10am–4pm
A weekend program is scheduled at Wood Valley Temple with Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche, founder of the Heruka Institute in Seattle. Rinpoche will bestow the initiation of Orgyen Menla – Guru Rinpoche Medicine Buddha. He will also give teachings from “Three Words that Strike the Crucial Point” by Garab Dorje.
1. Introduction directly to one’s own nature
2. To decide directly upon one thing
3. To have confidence directly in liberation.
The practice of Orgyen Menla generates common and extraordinary accomplishment, health and longevity. Dzogchen points to the pure nature of phenomenal existence and intrinsic awareness.
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche will be in residence for two weeks at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, Hawai'i in September. Rinpoche has kindly consented to teach on "Buddha Nature" for the first time at the temple, in accordance with the vast treatise of Uttaratantra. This is the quality of the everlasting mind–stream of the practitioner upon which good qualities can be developed and faults can be eliminated. Prajnaparamita discusses in great detail the stages of the realization of the mind that understands voidness. Whereas the Uttaratantra discusses the root, or foundation, from which all of this is possible — the Buddha Nature.
Please register in advance for the "Buddha Nature" course and the "White Tara Empowerment".
Sunday, September 3, 10:00 am — 2:00 pm
Four Mandala Tara Puja
Wednesday, September 6, 10:00 am
Lama Chopa Tsok
Saturday, September 9, 10:00 am — 4:00 pm and
Sunday, September 10, 10:00 am — 4:00 pm
Friday, September 15, 10:00 am
Guru Rinpoche Tsok & Riwo Sangchod
Saturday, September 16, 10:00 am
Four Mandala Tara Puja
Sunday, September 17, 10:00 am — 2:00 pm
Introduction to Tantra and White Tara Wishfulfilling Wheel Long Life Empowerment
We have eagerly awaited Nechung Rinpoche’s return visit, although it will be shorter than anticipated. As a Mindroling alumnus, he is committed to teach several philosophy courses at the monastery over the next two years, the first being from late September through December. It is our expectation that he will return in the near future for longer stays and teachings.
Temple Roof and Other Projects Completed!
The installation of a new metal "tile" roof on the main temple was completed in August. In addition, the last two years have seen the completion of many projects such as the new kitchen, now furnished with vintage dining tables and buffets. Wide cement pathways around the upper buildings and a reinforced foundation under the library were part of that renovation. Recently, fresh paint was applied to the upstairs porch and ground floor of the Guest House. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed toward these projects!
The next job is to paint the exterior of the main temple from its peak down to the walls, railings and veranda in its distinct primary colors. Your donations are appreciated!
Teachings will be given by Venerable Tenzin Chophel (Kushog Karma–la), one of the senior monks at Nechung Monastery. He has been at Nechung for over 35 years and is one its head monks. Kushog Karma-la has received numerous teachings from lamas of all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, awarded his Geshe degree from Drepung Losaling, and engaged in many personal meditation retreats.
Saturday, October 21 & Sunday, October 22 9:30 am — 4:30 pm
The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones
"Let stillness cut the momentum of moving thoughts; Within movement see the very nature of stillness. Where stillness and movement are one, maintain the natural mind; In the experience of one-pointedness, recite the six-syllable mantra." Verse 40
Commentary on "The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones – the Practice of View, Meditation and Action – A Discourse in the Beginning, Middle and End" by Paltrul Rinpoche, given by Venerable Tenzin Chophel.
Saturday, October 28 9:30 am — 4:30 pm
Teachings continue on The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones
Sunday, October 29 10:00 am — 2:00 pm
Four Mandala Tara Puja
You are invited to attend the "Four Mandala Tara Puja" with Tenzin Chophel. We will be joined by Geshe Lobsang Kunga from Drepung Gomang Monastery.
No charge. Please bring a dish to share for a vegetarian potluck lunch.
2016 Highlights Review
The temple kitchen renovation that began in March, 2015 was completed this year. It is an exquisite "dream" kitchen that serves as a living/dining room and is spacious enough for a dozen people to work during events. We thank everyone who gave to this effort! In particular, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to one extraordinary individual who committed his financial support from the start and contributed until the project was done!
Fire Monkey Year
This is the Fire Monkey Year (2/9/16–2/26/17) and the 10th day of the 5th lunar month in the Monkey Year is very special to Nechung Monastery. For this occasion, there are ceremonies associated with Guru Padmasambhava and trances of the Nechung State Oracle & other Oracles. At the Nechung Monastery's request, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave teachings on “The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones,” a text written by Patrul Rinpoche. This year these events took place at Rewalsar in Northern India.
Tiapala Returns to India
Tiapala (Lobsang Toldan) moved back to India in early October 2016. He lived at the temple since 1984 and was loved by many people. At 81 years old, his health is in a good balance, except for arthritic knees that causes mobility issues. He is enjoying being with the monastic community.
New Year's Day Party
Friday, January 1, 2016, 10 am
Event includes: Guru Padmasambhava Tsok Riwo Sang Chod Fire Ritual Potluck Lunch
Donations are greatly appreciated. May the merit of giving and receiving benefit all Beings!
Kitchen Roof & Renovation Fundraiser
The main temple kitchen has served tens of thousands of meals over the past four decades since we have been here. It was originally built in 1933 and though some minor improvements were made in 1979, nothing has been done since. While everyone who visits feels comfortable and at home in the kitchen, it is in need of a major renovation. We need to replace the roof, stabilize the foundation, modernize the interior and enlarge the space to meet current needs. The first step will be to draw up the plans and get help with the design without changing the historical appearance of the basic structure. The scope of the work to be done is listed below:
We will post progress on remodel on our Facebook album.
• Extend the kitchen in the back while keeping the facade the same
• Design a work space with new counters & sinks
• Design a dining room & living room area
• Build a pantry for storage
• Install a new commercial floor
• Renovate the laundry room next to the kitchen
• Replace the roof
The temple has much of the wood necessary for the renovation and expansion. We also have marble for the floor in the work area, as well as granite for the counters. Furnishings such as dining tables, some cabinets and couches have already been donated.
We are requesting your financial assistance with this necessary project. Funds will be directed towards roofing and construction. Contributions of any amount will be very much appreciated.
Please send your donation to:
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling
PO Box 250, Pahala, HI 96777
You may also telephone: 808-928-8539 or email: email@example.com. Credit cards accepted. All donations are tax-deductible. Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling is a 501 (c) 3 religious organization. Thank you for your support.
Work by Monks at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala
An extraordinary work of sacred art created by monks at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala, India, this silk brocade appliqué technique is a specialty of Nechung since Tibet. In recent years the monastery has directed its focus on philosophical studies and discontinued crafting these intricate masterpieces. As a fundraising effort to support Nechung Drayang Ling in Wood Valley, Hawai’i we made this thangka into a giclée to share with Temple friends.
We also have 10 beautiful, hand–painted thangkas as gifts:
Green Tara (accomplishment)
Samantabhadra & Consort
Birth of Buddha
White Tara (longevity/wisdom)
Please support Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling in Wood Valley. Since our establishment in 1973 we have been welcoming visitors from the islands and all over the world to our programs, sanctuary, guest house and temple store. With your support, we have hosted over 50 Lamas of Major Lineages including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We are honored to be affiliated with Nechung Monastery, the home of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet.
You may also make a tax–deductible contribution directly to Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, a 501 (c) 3 religious organization. We look forward to hearing from you soon! Thank you for your kind support of Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling in Wood Valley, Ka’u on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
Jewelry Fundraiser for the Temple Kitchen Renovation
The renovation and expansion of the main Temple Kitchen will begin this year. It is a project long overdue. The kitchen serves hundred of meals annually to friends and visitors during programs and events. In past visits you may have noticed the rusty-patched roof and the limited space for work and seating.
To raise funds for this project, a friend of the Temple has generously donated a collection of exquisite jewelry to be available for a limited period of three (3) months this summer from July 1st to October 1st. He is a jewelry designer whose creations were sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue and art galleries.
The collection consists of earrings and necklaces made of gem-quality pearls, semi-precious stones, mother of pearl, etc. with 14 karat gold settings. Most pieces are one–of–a–kind and will be sold to temple friends at 60% discount off of the retail price. Every cent of the proceeds will go towards the kitchen renovation. This is an excellent way for you to acquire something beautiful for yourself and/or loved ones at a fraction of the price AND contribute to the Temple!
Please contact the temple at 808-928-8539 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, or wish to arrange a time to see this collection.
You may also make a tax–deductible contribution directly to Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, a 501 (c) 3 religious organization. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Thank you for your kind support of Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling in Wood Valley, Ka’u on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
Tibetan New Year
Tibetan New Year (Losar) is on Tuesday, February 9th. It is the year of the Fire Monkey. This year, we have scheduled the 2nd annual Losar prayer weekend on Temple grounds. Dedicated to compassion and peace in the world, and happiness and well being for Tibet in particular, we will do the practice of
Avalokitesvara (tib: Chenrezig), and recite the six syllable mantra (OM MANI PADME HUNG).
Our intention is to accumulate 1,000,000 mantras. We will begin over the Valentine’s Day weekend with whomever joins us at the temple. Then, individually, we each can continue to do the practice on our own until we collectively reach the million goal. The symbolic nature of the practice and its profound meaning, along with the method to keep track of our collective accumulation, will be explained.
A Three–Day Weekend Wtih Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche
Saturday, May 28
Rinpoche will give an explanation on the principles of Refuge, and how to cultivate the Altruistic Mind of Enlightenment (Bodhicitta), plus contemplation of the 4 Thoughts that Turn the Mind towards the spiritual path (1. Leisure & Endowment of a Precious Human Birth, 2, Transitory Nature of Life, 3. Shortcomings of Cycle Existence, 4. Karma—Cause & Effect.
Lama Chopa & Tsok Offering with Arjia Rinpoche
Friday, November 25, 10:00 am — 3:00 pm
Please join us for the visit of Arjia Rinpoche on the day after Thanksgiving. Arjia Rinpoche, former abbot of Kumbum Monastery, Eastern Tibet, is the Director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington and the former Abbot of Kumbum Monastery in Eastern Tibet. Lama Chopa is a Guru Yoga practice with evocative verses of offering and devotion chanted to beautiful melodies.
Please bring offerings for the Tsok and a dish for the potluck lunch. Donations requested to support the temple.
Temple News — January 2015
Dear Temple Friends:
The New Year 2015 got off to a windy start for all the Hawaiian islands, and of course Wood Valley. This unnamed storm that came from Kona had gusts that seemed to exceed the wind speeds of Hurricane Iselle last August which was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on the Big Island of Hawaii in recorded history. Thankfully, there were no damages to the temple or retreat center in either storm.
The January 3rd storm created more havoc than Iselle with sheared toppled trees and broken branches all over the temple property and surrounding areas. In light of the storms, we took precautions to fall selected trees that could potentially compromise the safety of the buildings and people. Several of these were behind the temple kitchen. We also had to replace a 300-foot section of waterline that services the temple; this had to be done due to its age and the irreparable damage caused by fallen trees and road crews. The cleanup efforts have been enormous and accomplished with the generosity of a few individuals to whom we offer our gratitude.
Upcoming Events in 2015
Sat. February 21 & Sun. February 22
Weekend Prayer Festival
This event is dedicated to world peace and the activities and long life of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Recitations will be lead by a visiting lama, Khenpo Jampa Tenphel (resident at Sakya Monastery in Seattle), Khenpo Chokyi Gyaltsen and Gelong Lobzang Toldan "Tiapala". A potluck lunch will be held 10 am to 4 pm daily.
Other lamas that are expected to visit in 2015 are Venerable Ngakchen Rinpoche (head lama of Tashilhungpo Monastery in South India) and Tulku Yeshe Rinpoche. Dates & details are forthcoming.
January Massage Program at Retreat Center
It was fortuitous that we had a scheduled program in January with a group from Upstate New York. The retreat center accommodated 13 participants for a week that generated a tidy sum; this plus some year end donations paid the unexpected expenses associated with the windstorm and the temple overhead for a few months. Income generated from the retreat center and guesthouse is one of the ways that we support the temple. You can help by letting your friends and potential group leaders know about our facility via social media, forwarding this email, or other means. Please let people know that the temple is a special place to stay, meditate and is a great base from which to explore areas of this extraordinary island.
Visit of Nechung Kuten in December 2014
In December, we were honored to host the return visit of the Nechung Kuten, Medium of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet. During his stay, Kutenla diligently gilded and “opened the wisdom eyes” of the standing Avalokitesvara statue that graces the main shrine; working tirelessly each day into the midnight hours. On Saturday, December 6th, Kutenla bestowed the Padmasambhava initiation (je–nang) which empowered the participants to do the practice and a Vajrakilaya Blessing; this was followed by an afternoon Tsok offering. The program was well attended with participants from the Big Island, Oahu and Maui. We hope that he, Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche and some of our senior monks from will visit often to share their time and invaluable teachings.
Nechung Center in Los Angeles
Nechung Dharmapala Center (NDC) in West Hollywood opened its doors on December 10, 2014. The inauguration was officiated by the Nechung Kuten assisted by monks of Nechung Monastery. The address of NDC is 515 N. Crescent Heights, L.A. 90048; it is in a lovely area of the city. The center has a well–appointed shrine room and five bedrooms suitable for visiting lamas, resident monk(s) and overnight guests. The first teacher expected is Geshe Lobsang Sopa who is the philosophy teacher at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala. Nechung now has four centers in the United States - Hawaii, Los Angeles, East Bay in S.F. and New York City.
We will keep you informed of all of our activities. Thank you once again for your support!
February 2015 Update
To date, we have raised $19,295 for the kitchen renovation. This amount was donated by a total of thirty-seven (37) people. We received a quote of $69,232 from a contractor in the Ka‘u district. This figure includes a 10-foot addition on the rear of the building and an open trussed ceiling and roof. It covers labor and additional materials that we do not already have. The excavation work is not included, nor are the kitchen cabinets, floors, work island, counters and table tops. Once we begin demolition of the roof, most of the walls, move out the appliances, and start the work, if we run out of funds, it will necessitate the renovation to be done in phases. In such a case, it could be a long time before there is a temple kitchen for use. Therefore, once we commence with the project, we need to continue seamlessly until completion. There is still a substantial amount of funding needed before the renovation can begin!!
FYI…of the total raised so far, $3,640 came from jewelry sales, where 100% of the revenue from a collection of quality necklaces and earrings went to the kitchen fund. With the consent of the designer, we are continuing the jewelry fundraiser in 2015.
Temple Kitchen Fundraiser Update
Temple News — April 2015
Aloha Temple Friends:
The kitchen renovation started on Monday, 3/23/15 bright and early. Our contractor Mike Munnerlyn and his three–man crew tore down the laundry room (adjacent to the kitchen) board by board. By noon, the functional structure was gone and we were looking at empty space. Construction always reminds us of how interdependent everything in life is…the multiple pieces of wood held together by nails constructed a form that we called and referred to as the "laundry room", yet it can not be found in the individual boards, it’s manifestation was merely based on the combination of many interdependent components. Conventionally it existed, yet ultimately, there was no inherent nature to the room. So stated in the wisdom of the Heart Sutra "form is emptiness and emptiness is form".
Next was the excavation phase that began on 3/25/15 in that area and behind the kitchen for the expansion; this was done with an excavator and a skidsteer loader. This extra area will almost double the size of the current kitchen and dining room. Jack hammers (three in all!) blasted lava rock Thursday and Friday (4/2/15 and 4/3/15) to level the site for a contiguous cement slab to maintain a solid foundation for improved drainage and to prevent flooding, and to protect against earthquakes and heavy winds. The work with the jack hammers, hand hewing, and clearing tons of rock continues this week and likely even longer before we are ready to make forms and pour the new slab. Furthermore, new water and gas lines had to be installed to accommodate the new kitchen. Here too, we are reminded of the importance of a solid foundation, for the integrity of a building, and likewise for a spiritual path. A strong groundwork takes time, patience and perseverance and with such preparation, we build a firm base for further development.
More than a month earlier two avocado trees and a lhang lhang tree had to be removed behind the kitchen as the first step for the kitchen renovation. In addition, a dozen eucalytus were cut down because they were a potential threat to the main temple complex and retreat center. We had come through four unprecedented windstorms since Hurricane Iselle in August 2014 with little damage to the buildings and it was time to take preventive measures. Most of these trees had to be skillfully fallen using heavy equipment, pulleys and cables since they were leaning towards the buildings. Many thanks to Steve Basczkiewicz for his expertise and the donation of much of his time and equipment.
We have great news to share about the kitchen fundraiser which raised $22,295 in donations and jewelry sales. This is a substantial amount but not enough to begin the project since the contractor’s estimate was $69,232 for the foundation, building, and roofing. We didn’t want to get started, make the foundation and tear down the walls, then stop due to insufficient funds
Miraculously, a temple friend generously committed to contribute $60,000!! We have received 25% of his offer to date; as the renovation moves forward and he is provided with details of the progress, there will be more funding available.
Still, we will need additional funds to finish the interior with flooring, counters and cabinets, along with the purchase of commercial sinks and appliances. Two new proposals have surfaced to help raise the remainder of the funds needed to complete the kitchen and for other expenditures: Two temple friends offered $10,000 in matching funds with expectations that other people will donate to match this contribution; we have collected $300 towards this already!
The temple now has a Facebook page! It was created by Josh C a couple of years ago and he kindly transferred over the admin to us recently. If you are interested, please "Like" the temple page.
We thank everyone who came to the prayer festival on the weekend of February 21 & 22, especially Khen Rinpoche Jampa who travelled here from Seattle and Khenpo Chokyi Gyaltsen. Khen Rinpoche gave a commentary on some verses from the "Aspiration of Samantrabhadra, King of Noble Prayers", and the participants chanted and contemplated the profound meaning of the words for cultivating compassion and altruism. It was a lovely meditative weekend.
Our heartfelt gratitude to the many temple friends who contribute in countless ways!
Demolition! Excavation! Walls! A new roof!
Much is accomplished and much is left to do. Visit our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures of the progress. We continue to raise funds needed to complete the renovation and cover other temple expenditures.
We are excited to continue to offer two pounds of freshly roasted Ka'u coffee with a $100 donation. Please contact us if you would like to donate.
1. By mail at Wood Valley Temple, P.O. Box 250, Pahala, HI 96777. With your donation, please include your name and shipping address.
2. By phone 808.928.8539. We accept donations via credit card.
Thank you for all your support!
Tulku Yeshe Rinpoche Visits Labor Day Weekend
Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche is a Buddhist lama recognized by Kyabje Tsulshig Rinpoche to be the reincarnation of Dzogchen Gyaltsab Thodo Rinpoche. He has received teachings from masters representing all five schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Tulku Yeshi is a poet and author, and has written eight books on the subject of Tibetan Buddhism and culture including A One Thousand Year History of Sakyapa.
Saturday, September 5, 10 am – 12 noon
Discourse on Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche’s Handbook for the Half Buddha
This instruction book is for Buddhists who have been practicing or who are going to practice Tibetan Buddhism traditionally. With this book you will learn many traditional Buddhist customs, daily practice how to practice Buddhism correctly, and how to become a qualified practitioner. This book is a gateway to visit the Tibetan Buddhist “country.”
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm - Dream Yoga
Dream Yoga is one of the most important practices in Tantric Buddhism because in our dreams, our mind state becomes very subtle, so we can practice better than in the daytime hours of our life. Generally, many practitioners don't practice Dream Yoga, so we waste our sleeping state or dream state. Rinpoche will give an introduction to the practice of Dream Yoga and Sleeping Yoga.
Sunday, September 6 — 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Monday, September 7 — 10:00 am – 12 noon
Troma Nagmo Empowerment & Chod Teachings
Troma Nagmo (Sanskrit: Krishna Krodhini) is a wrathful form of Vajravarahi and is the deity associated with Chod Practice. She represents the wisdom of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattivas in a wrathful female form. Chod was founded by Machik Labdron (1050-1149), the Tibetan female saint who is considered the emanation of Troma Nagmo and received Chod teachings from the Indian Mahamudra master and Chod lineage master Padampa Sangye.
Benefits from receiving and practicing Chod include, but is not limited to, the cutting of attachments and ego that holds us in samara and helps in healing oneself and others. It is an extremely helpful practice for sick people, both mentally and physically. Chod practice is said to be like a precious jewel which is able to realize all the aspirations of all beings.
Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche received this Troma Empowerment and Chod teachings from Trulshig Rinpoche and Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche. He will give Refuge, teachings on the symbolism of Chod, and instructions on how to do the practice.
Monday, September 7 - 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
White Tara Wishfulfilling Wheel — Long Life Empowerment
Tulku Yeshe Rinpoche will visit from May 21 – 27, 2014
Saturday, May 24, 10am – 4:30 pm
Tibetan Zen, Discourses on Dzogchen, the nature of mind and phenomena.
Sunday, May 25, 10am – 4:30 pm
Refuge Ceremony and Explanation of the principles of taking Refuge.
Vajrasattva Initiation & Teachings on the practice. Vajrasattva is a deity practice for purification. The visualization, meditation and mantra recitation will be taught.
Monday, May 26, 10am – 4:30 pm
Riwo Sang Chod ritual & practice
Venerable Thupten Ngodup the Medium of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet
Saturday, December 6, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
A Guru Padmasambhava Initiation (Je Nang) is scheduled for the morning session. Guru Padmasambhava is the patron saint of Tibet and was instrumental in the establishment of Buddhism in the 8th century. During the process of initiation, the enlightened qualities of body, speech and mind are bestowed upon the practitioner, who is empowered to visualize oneself as the deity, recite the mantra and meditate on the nature of mind.
In the afternoon, the Vajrakilaya Blessing will be conferred. Vajrakilaya is a deity of the Highest Yoga Tantra whose practice enables the practitioner to attain ordinary and ultimate realizations. The blessing is given utilizing three key tools: substance, mantra and meditative samadhi. The substantial object is a sacred revealed treasure (terma) from Tibet, mantra are prayers and mantric syllables associated with Vajrakilaya, meditative samadhi is reliant on the concentration and abilities of the master and student during the blessing. A Tsok ceremony will conclude the day’s events. Please bring food offerings to share, as well as flowers, candles and incense.
Thupten Ngodup is the 17th Medium (Kuten) of the Nechung Chokyong (Dharma Protector) the Chief State Oracle of Tibet. "Kutenla", as he is fondly known, is the human channel to voice the predictions and guidance of the Nechung Protector.
Thupten Ngodup was born in Tibet in 1958 and is a descendant of the tantric master Nga–dak Nyang–relwa (1136–1204). Following the Chinese communist invasion in 1959, he fled with his parents into exile to India. He joined Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala in 1971. In 1987 he was chosen as the successor to the previous Nechung Medium who passed away in 1984. Thupten Ngodup was enthroned in 1988 as the Medium of the Nechung Protector.
The Nechung Chokyong is the protector of Buddhism in general, and in particular, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government. The role dates back to the time of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama (1617–1682). In his autobiography "Freedom in Exile" His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote, "For hundreds of years now, it has been traditional for the Dalai Lama, and the government to consult Nechung during New Years Festivals. In addition, he might be called upon at other times if either have specific queries. I myself have dealings with him several times a year."
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling 40th Anniversary — Wood Valley Templ
The temple was established in 1973. This is the 40th Anniversary! Over the past four decades, NDDL hosted programs with over 50 lamas of all the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. Some lamas have come on multiple visits, gave teachings on the Foundational Practices, Highest Yoga Tantra, Mahamudra and Dzogchen. In the coming years, we intend to continue with our tradition of inviting high calibre lamas. There will also be fundraising efforts to help support the temple and its projects.
40th Anniversary Fundraiser
For each donation of $100 you will receive one of these special gifts
1. Poster of H.H. the Dalai Lama at Volcano National Park, Hawai’i (photo 1980)
2. Memoir by Nechung Rinpoche hand sewn booklet on Japanese rice paper (limited edition)
3. DVD The State Oracle of Tibet and CD Chants of Nechung Monastery
4. Five sets of five colored Prayer Flags
5. Himalayan Crystal Mala
6. Organic Temple T-shirt — Sm, Med, Lg, XL, XXL, or XXXL
7. One pound Ka’u Coffee
Please send your donation with your name, address, email & phone number to:
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling
PO Box 250, Pahala, HI 96777
Checks and Credit Cards accepted
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.
Teachings with Venerable Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche
Venerable Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche is a Dzogchen master and the reincarnation of Dzogchen Gyaltsab Thodo Rinpoche. He was recognized by H.H. Dalai Lama's Nyingmapa teacher Kyabje Trulshig Rinpoche and has received teachings from twenty-five masters representing all five schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He has published ten books about philosophy, life, nature, peace, and magic.
Saturday, February 9, 9:30 am–noon — Green Tara Empowerment
2:00–4:30 pm — Great Mother, Green Tara Stories
Sunday, February 10 – Losar Celebration, Guru Tsok & Fire Puja
Green Tara is the female deity who is the essence of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas love and compassion. Also, she is the deity for health, wealth, energy, peace and joy. She never tires to give her blessings to practitioners of Buddhism (especially in Tibetan Buddhism for 3000 years). Anyone who wishes to have more love and compassion needs Green Tara empowerment which is very important for practice with her blessing. The practice of Green Tara is very simple, yet profound.
Guru Tsok: The practice of Guru Rinpoche Tsok came about from Guru Rinpoche’s promise to his sangha: "That whatever is offered to him on his special day, merit will be multiplied." Thus, for blessing anytime, one can practice tsok offering any day. Practitioners should visualize during Tsok practice, Guru Rinpoche and his retinues visiting you from his holy land and giving you spiritual energy of love, compassion and wisdom. Especially helpful ways to see all this are vajrayana visualizations. During this event and in practice, one should visualize every being and everything as pure. This means that one must stop ordinary vision and thought.
Fire Puja: In Tibetan Buddhism, fire puja is very important and there are many different Fire Pujas and Four Activities: Pacification, increase, magnetizing and subjugating. Rinpoche will perform the Pacification fire puja for world peace. This time, he will introduce how to visualize burning one’s negative defilements and karma. Participants can bring small things to burn in the fire as well as intentions/wishes written on paper to burn.
Losar is the word for Tibetan New Year and arrives this year one day after the Chinese New Year. A Losar celebration ceremony will also be performed in addition to Fire Puja on Sunday as Rinpoche will hang new prayer flags outside the center for world peace. Please dress up in favorite clothing for this event and bring positive energy because 2013 is an auspiciously lucky year!
Traditionally,Tibetans and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism do the Losar Fire Puja in the morning of the New Year. This fire puja will happen after breakfast. Rinpoche says fire will be made and then he will read some special sadhanas for offerings to buddhas, bodhisattvas, local deities, nagas and spirits. Then, we will burn some seeds, food, leaves and your wishes written on paper. After this, we will share and hold ‘tsampa’ (barley flour) and say three times: "Kikisoso Lhagyallo!" (The Victory of God) loudly. Finally, we can do fire songs and dances however style you wish all the while enjoying food and drink with happiness.
Saturday, September 7, 10 am–5 pm - Significance of Sutra & Tantra
Geshe Dorjee, the former Ritual Master from Nechung Monastery, will be here over the first weekend. Dorjee-la will explain the “Significance of Sutra & Tantra.”
Sunday, September 8 - A Guru Padmasambhava Tsok & Lha–Sang fire ritual will be performed, followed by a potluck lunch. This event is free, donations accepted.
A Dharma Weekend with Venerable Ngakchen Rinpoche
Saturday, September 21, 10am–5pm - Eight Verses of Training the Mind
Sunday, September 22, 10am–5pm - Introduction to Lama Chopa
A weekend program is scheduled at Wood Valley Temple with Ngakchen Rinpoche, one of the highest lamas of Tashilhunpo Monastery. Rinpoche will be accompanied by Geshe Tenzin Sherab.
Ngakchen Rinpoche was born in South India in 1972. He was recognized as the reincarnation of Ngakchen Darb Hu-Tuktu Lama Jigme Wangchuk by H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1990, and enthroned at Tashlhunpo in 1991. Rinpoche was awarded the Kachen degree (equivalent to Geshe) in 1994; since then, he has taught in many countries around the world.
On Saturday, 9/21/13, Rinpoche will give an explanation of the "Eight Verses of Mind Training" an essential practice for the generation of Bodhicitta, the Altruistic Mind of Enlightenment. On Sunday, 9/22/13 morning, he will give an "Introduction to Lama Chopa" a Guru Yoga text written by the 1st Panchen Lama; in the afternoon, a Tsok Offering will be performed.
Nechung Lopon Dorjee’s visit to Drayang Ling was four days, during which time, the temple was filled with his energetic presence. He gave a teaching on the "Significance of Sutra and Tantra", and led a group Riwo Sang Chod fire ritual and a Guru Padmasambhava Tsok. Daily, he performed the fire ritual in the mornings and conducted the rituals of the Nechung Protector in the evenings.
“The key is before me in the title…it is a prescription for training the mind, not for changing the world. It is to gain a view which, when our intentions & actions are in accord with that view, produce good results rather than suffering.” — David F
“It was an honor and privilege to be at the Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling Wood Valley Temple on the Autumn Equinox this year, Sept. 21st, 2013. I enjoyed the welcoming and radiant environment, and was thankful for the opportunity to listen and observe the teachings of Venerable Ngakchen Rinpoche of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, accompanied by Geshe Tenzin Sherab. Ngakchen Rinpoche presented a clear and concise explanation of the Eight Verses of Training the Mind as a complete path toward awakening the heart of compassion and wisdom. His commentary on each verse revealed further meaning and understanding behind the process of working with challenging emotional states and transforming them into a beneficial path. Ngakchen Rinpoche went further than his discussion of intention and application, he and his attendants exemplified the teachings throughout the day. The visitation of Ngakchen Rinpoche called forth an exemplary gathering filled with generosity, openness, kindness, wisdom, and compassion in thought, words, and actions.”
“The teachings of that day in late September are still informing my day to day life. As a result, I am continuing to reflect and integrate how to meet my aspiration of caring for and benefitting my personal, social, and environmental relationships, and have a clearer perspective of my challenges in that respect. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend such a quality presentation, and to have witnessed such a great program here on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I offer many thanks to Ngakchen Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Sherab, Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, Wood Valley Temple, and to all that made this event possible.” — Christopher Q
Sunday, June 19, 10 am - 5 pm
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling is honored to announce the return visit of the Medium of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet, Venerable Thupten Ngodup. Tsok will be offered in the afternoon. Please bring offerings of flowers, light, incense, and food to share.
A White Tara Long Life Initiation will be bestowed at 10 am. White Tara, the Wish-fulfilling Wheel, is a practice for longevity and wisdom. This particular initiation is a very special lineage that is from the Great 5th Dalai Lama, and gives a detailed description of the central White Tara deity in a mandala surrounded by other aspects of Tara in the 4 directions. The blessing guides the participant in meditation and a process of visualizations to purify afflictive mental obscurations, the physical elements and illness, as an aid to eliminate hindrances to good health, longevity and wisdom.
The Vajrakilaya Blessing will be given following the White Tara initiation. Vajrakilaya is a deity of the Highest Yoga Tantra, whose practice enables the practitioner to attain common and ultimate realizations. The blessing is given utilizing three key tools: substance, mantra and meditative samadhi. The substantial object is a sacred revealed treasure from Tibet, mantra are prayers and mantric syllables associated with Vajrakilaya, meditative samadhi is reliant on the concentration and abilities of the master and disciple during the blessing.
Since his last trip to America in 2009, “Kutenla”, as he is fondly known, has been busy with activities in India and abroad. Besides maintaining a full schedule at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala, India, leading prayers and rituals, he shares the responsibility of Deyang Monastery, one of the colleges of Drepung, that he established in South India a few years ago. He frequently visits Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, France and Australia, where he has projects and students.
Venerable Chokyab Rinpoche, the head lama of Deyang Monastery and Venerable Tenzin Chophel, the executive secretary of Nechung Monastery will be accompanying Kutenla on this visit. They will be visiting the Nechung centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, in addition to attending the Kalachakra Initiation and teachings given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington, DC.
Sunday, February 14, 10 am — Tibetan Losar (New Year)
Join us for prayer service and potluck lunch. The public is welcome!
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche in Residence
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche is in residence at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling in Wood Valley through the month of April. Every Sunday (except April 18) there will be Tara practice from 10 am to 11:30 am. Following the Tara practice, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm there will be a teaching explaining the outline of the practice and a focus on some of the main aspects of Buddhist meditation.
There is no charge for these events, though donations are requested to help cover the airfare and other expenses of the Rinpoche's visit. For those attending the morning and afternoon sessions, please bring something to share for lunch
Sunday, May 2
Join us for a Tsok offering and potluck lunch before Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche leaves for India.
May 15 & 16 — Khentrul Rinpoche
Weekend meditation retreat on the teachings of Terton Tsogyal, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok. More details to be announced.
Saturday & Sunday, May 15 & 16
Weekend Retreat with Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche
Weekend meditation retreat with Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche on the Heartfelt Advice of Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche.
Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche was one of the greatest Dzogchen masters of the 20th century. In 1987 he led a historic trip to the five–peaked mountain of Wu Tai Shan, a sacred pilgrimage place associated with Manjushri, the embodiment of the Wisdom of all Buddhas. Here he gave his most famous mind treasure teachings, and Heartfelt Advice is one of these, representing his most essential advice covering the entire spiritual path from basic contemplations that turn the mind toward spiritual practice to the profound approach of Dzogchen.
Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche was present and received this wisdom directly from his teacher. He will share it with us at Wood Valley Temple, where Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche himself visited on his only trip to the United States in 1995.
The retreat will be held 10 am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. A vegetarian lunch will be provided.
January 1, 2009, 10 am
New Year Celebration
Guru offering and Fire Ooffering Ceremony, Potluck lunch
Sunday, January 25
Dzongkar Choede Monastery, Yamanaka Increase Fire Puja, Potluck lunch
Donations requested for Dzongkar Choede Monastery
Saturday, June 27, 10 am
A Welcome Picnic with His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa
Join us in welcoming His Eminence to Hawaii for his first visit to the United States. We have the fantastic opportunity to meet with Rinpoche and enjoy a picnic afternoon together. Please bring your favorite dish to share. The loveliness of the Temple grounds makes this heaven on Earth!An introductory talk at 10:00 am will be followed by a pot luck lunch at noon.
Wednesday, July 8, 9 am
Varjapani Fire Puja
Varjapani symbolizes skillful means, the power of all the Buddhas. He represents the ability to enter into any situation, no mater how unpromising, and transform it into a path of spiritual fulfillment. Varjapani represents unrelenting effort in the conquest of negativity. His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa will be bestowing a peaceful form of Varjapani.
Saturday and Sunday, July 11 & 12, 10 am – 5 pm
White Tara Initiation & Teaching with His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa
To receive this initiation from His Eminence is considered a special blessing. Not only has he personally conducted an intensive retreat on this practice, His lineage has conducted the rituals of White Tara for centuries in the Zhol village just below the Potala Palace in Llasa for the long life of the Dalai Lamas and the welfare of all sentient beings, making Gongkar Choede famous for their emphasis on this exalted Mother Goddess. His monastery in India performs the White Tara ritual without fail, every day as they have done for centuries.
The initiation is for those who have entered the Buddhist path. There will be an opportunity to take refuge prior to the initiation. This is a rare opportunity not only to receive this precious initiation from His Eminence, but also to hear instruction and learn how to do the practice. We will have time to practice as a group and ask any questions you may have, so that when you leave you will be able to confidently meditate on White Tara, The Goddess of Long Life. You may take this teaching as a blessing. The Temple grounds are a beautiful, tranquil setting for the weekend.
On the request of His Eminence, these events are by donation. In the spirit of generosity, we hope you will be able to make offerings, whatever the size, to help support this program. All offerings are greatly appreciated. May the merit of giving and receiving benefit all Beings!
The Fine Print: For practicing Buddhists receiving this initiation, it is customary to avoid non-vegetarian and odorous food for at least several hours before the initiation is conferred. Please bring your own brown bag lunch for the sake of simplicity. There is also a take away Cafe in Pahala. Tea, coffee & juice will be provided at lunch. If you wish to stay in the Temple Guest House, check the web site for reservation details.
August 2009 Teachings at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling Wood Valley Temple
We are honored to have the head of the Dzongpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa present these rare and profound initiations and teachings during the month of August at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, Wood Valley Temple.
The Heart Sutra
August 8, 10am–5pm
August 9, 10am–5pm
August 11, 10am–4pm
An Introduction To Tantra
August 15 & 16, 10am–5pm
The programs are by donation, please give generously to help support the Teachings. Please bring lunch as none will be provided by the temple on these days.
August 8, 10am to 5pm--The Heart Sutra
The Venerable Tsokchen Khenpo, Jamphel Chozin, will draw on the concise and classic teaching known as the Heart Sutra, which elucidates teachings from the Buddha's second turning of the Wheel of Dharma. The Teaching describes the view of ultimate reality, and so relates to a gradual training of the mind to realize the truth. Khen Rinpoche will explain this process as well as show us how to enhance and elevate our practice of the other main endeavors such as generosity, virtue, patience, effort and meditation.
August 9, 10am to 5pm--Vajra Garuda Initiation
This particular initiation of the multi-colored Vajra Garuda being conferred is an initiation of the Annutara Yoga Tantra classification deriving from the Kalachakra Tantra and one of the special mandalas of the 1st Dorje Dhenpa, Kunga Namgyal. The wisdom, compassion and power of all the Buddhas manifest as a magical bird who has the power to subjugate all the dark energies and spirits associated with magnetizing the energy and blessings to attain the power, compassion and wisdom of a Buddha. Garuda balances the elements (earth, air, water, fire, and space) within ourselves and in our environment, and subdues negative interferences that affect our health and well-being. This is the first time His Eminence has bestowed this initiation and teaching outside India.
Restricted to those who have had a (Annutara) Highest Yoga Tantra Initiation, please call the Temple in advance to register.
August 11, 10am to 4pm
White Mahakala Blessing
His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche will bestow the White Mahakala Blessing and commentary. This aspect of Mahakala specifically supports the prosperity and well being of tantric practitioners. Restricted to those with a foundation of Buddhist Teachings. Please call the Temple in advance to register
August 15 & 16, 10am to 5pm--An Introduction To Tantra
A Letter of Essential Instructions to the Yogi of Kongpo, Nyida Zangpo His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche will give teachings based on the “Nyida Zangpo Damngak” by the first Dorje Dhenpa, Kunga Namgyal (1432-1496). The author was a great Tantric Master, acclaimed as one of the Six Ornaments of the Sakya Tradition, founding abbot of the great Gongkar Choede monastery and the Dzongpa lineage of the Sakya tradition. Of his numerous profound teachings, this concise text is a particularly lucid manual of timeless advice for those embarking on the Vajrayana path. These sessions will include time for questions and answers, meditation practice, and are open to anyone who has entered the Buddhist path.
A Short History of His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche, the Head of the Dzongpa branch of the Sakya Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and regarded as one of the highest lamas in the Sakya tradition. The first Dorje Dhenpa, Kunga Namgyal, was considered one of Tibet's greatest masters, with students from all traditions. His monastery, Gongkar Choede, just outside Lhasa, Tibet's capital, housed over 3,000 Sangha members, and became a center of Buddhist learning in Central Tibet, specializing in sacred rituals, ceremonial dances, the Khyenri school of art, and Tantra.
During the time of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, Gongkar Choede monastery was given the Kalachakra Temple within the Potala Palace, where rituals were conducted around an exquisite three-dimensional Kalachakra Mandala made of gold, as well as responsibility for the White Mahakala Shrine next to the Meru Nyingpa Nechung Protector Temple, adjacent to the Jokang Temple in Lhasa, where the Dzongpa monks conducted rituals to the Goddess Tara.
This all came to an end with the Chinese invasion of Tibet. In the following years, the Dzongpa monks struggled to preserve their traditional practices and studies without the guidance of their master, until H. H. the Dalai Lama and H. H. the Sakya Trizin informed the monks that auspicious signs indicated that the new incarnation of the 6th Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa had been born.
After He was officially recognized and ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His studies began under His Holiness the Sakya Trizin. He went on to become the youngest graduate ever of Sakya College of Higher Buddhist Studies, and under took many intensive retreats, and received all the teachings and transmissions of his tradition.
By 2003, HH the Dalai Lama came to inaugurate the completed Gongkar Choede monastery-in-exile in the forests outside Dehradun. From there, His Eminence guides the education of more than 120 monks, as well as offering teachings, blessings, and divinations to the local Tibetan community and countless others who come to seek counsel.
A Special Weekend Program August 29th & 30th
with Nechung Kuten, the Venerable Thupten Ngodrup, The Medium of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet
Saturday, August 29, 10 am
The Nechung Kuten will preside over a Fire Ritual with Gongkar Dhenpa Dorje Rinpoche, Khenpo Jamphel Chozin, and the Nechung Monks, Lobzang Toldan, Ngawang Khenrab and Tenzin Rinchen.
Sunday, August 30
The Nechung Kuten will speak on the significance of the Nechung Oracle and his role as Medium, followed by a Vajrakilaya Blessing and a Guru Padmasambhava Tsok Offering.
Biographical Summary of Nechung Kuten: Thupten Ngodrup was born on July 13, 1958, in Pari, Tibet. As a child he was artistically gifted, and had great compassion for others. In 1966, he and his family escaped Tibet by way of Bhutan to arrive in Dharamsala, India. In Dharamsala, he took ordination as a monk at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling Monastery in 1970 at the age of 12. Nechung monastery is an institution that has been closely affiliated with the Tibetan Government and the succession of Dalai Lamas for centuries. It was just beginning to get reestablished, and Thupten Ngodrup was one of the first wave of new monks. Due to his qualities and artistic abilities, he quickly rose to the position of the Chief Ritual Assistant to the Nechung Protector while in trance.
After the passing of Lobzang Jigme, the previous Medium in April 1984, there was a gap of three years when there was no presence of a Medium for the Nechung Oracle. The Nechung monks and the Tibetan community requested for the rapid appearance of a new Kuten in daily prayers. On March 31, 1987, the Venerable Thupten Ngodrup entered into his first spontaneous trance, during Drepung Monastery’s annual offering ceremony to the Protector at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala. He displayed signs that he may indeed be the next Nechung Kuten.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama advised that he conduct an extended retreat and engage in special meditations and rituals and ripen and stabilize his abilities. On September 4, 1987, he was fully recognized to be the Medium of Nechung the Tibetan Oracle. The Nechung Kuten is an important figure for the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism, and holds a position of great responsibility in the Tibetan government.
For more information about Nechung Kuten and the Nechung Monastery, please visit our Nechung Monastery page.
About the Vajrakilaya Blessing
The Venerable Nechung Kuten, Thupten Ngodrup, Medium of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet will bestow a special Vajrakilaya Blessing during his 2009 tour of the United States.
Utilizing a sacred Object – a Kilaya treasure, the Mantra of the deity and abiding in Meditative Samadhi, while generating the divine pride of the deity Vajrakilaya, Kutenla gives this unique blessing, which arises from his personal insight and awareness.
Obstacles, such as illness, surface when previous accumulated karma interacts with existing conditions. At times when conventional means are ineffective, a spiritual approach such as this Vajrakilaya blessing may be beneficial. People from all over the world travel vast distances to request this particular blessing from Kutenla. It is very fortunate that we will have the opportunity to receive this from him in America.
Vajrakilaya is a deity of the Highest Yoga Tantra, symbolic of the Activity of all Enlightened Beings. It is considered to be one of the most powerful practices to overcome delusion, negativity and obstacles. Outwardly, Vajrakilaya has a wrathful appearance, but inwardly, emanates great compassion for all beings. In another level of tantra, Vajrakilaya manifests as the Bodhisattva Vajrapani.
Many great Tibetan masters of all the lineages, especially Nyingma and Sakya, have engaged in this quintessential practice to accomplish full enlightenment throughout the ages. The continuous transmission of this Tantra comes from these great lamas in an unbroken lineage until the present day.
In Buddhism, there are various traditions of practice and emphasis on specific aspects of the philosophy. There is Hinayana, which focuses on individual liberation, while Mahayana is based on altruistic thought and action, reliant on aspiration and actual engagement, which results in Buddhahood for the benefit of others.
Within the Mahayana, there are the categories of Sutra or the Perfections, and Secret Mantra or Tantra, also known as Vajrayana. Tibetan Buddhism is very complete; it includes Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
Secret Mantra encompasses four levels — Kriya, Charya, Yoga, and Highest Tantra Yoga. The word mantra means, "mind protection" (man, mind and tra, protect). This indicates that the practice of mantra protects the mind from ordinary appearances. By cultivating a pure view of the external world, as well as of one's physical, verbal and mental facilities, the aspirant can transform ordinary appearances and activities into exalted ones; not only in meditation, but in all aspects of daily life.
This Vajrakilaya blessing, complemented by positive thoughts and deeds, creates favorable conditions to remove difficulties and increases merit and wisdom for ultimate realization.
Temple Fundraiser 2009
Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, established on the Island of Hawaii in 1973 by Venerable Nechung Rinpoche, is a Buddhist temple in the Tibetan tradition. We are affiliated with Nechung Monastery, the home of the Chief State Oracle of Tibet. Nechung in Hawaii is in Wood Valley, near the town of Pahala.
The main temple, first constructed in 1902, is of classic design, now painted in brilliant primary colors. Since its inception, over fifty eminent lamas, head and lineage masters of all Tibetan schools, have given teachings, transmissions and initiations of Sutra, Tantra and all levels of the path to enlightenment.
Many, such as H.H. the Dalai Lama, have stayed and taught at the temple more than once. Nechung Rinpoche lived at the temple for eight years, and his reincarnation, now 25 years old, visits on occasion, when he is able to take leave from his monastic studies in Northern India.
Your support during our annual fundraisers provides the foundation for our flourishing temple. The gifts that we are offering for the 2009 Fundraiser are items special to Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling.
Some, like the CD of the temple’s evening practice, chanted by the Nechung monks, have been an ongoing request for years. The temple T-shirt, in our classic round logo, and the square one with distinct peacocks in the foreground, have been reprinted in organic and ring spun cotton in a variety of sizes and colors.
We also have some beautiful pieces of sacred art: an image of Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by great Buddhist masters, and one of the 21 Taras; both of these originals were blessed and signed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The 3rd is a “red on red” image of Guru Padmasambhava, created by the artist monks of Nechung Monastery. These have been reproduced as giclees on canvas by a talented print maker.
Donation Levels & Gifts
Please choose from one of the donation levels and give your support to the temple!
In addition to your gifts, The Temple Guest House and Store are two ways we support Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling. There are eight rooms in the Guest House, with capacity to accommodate up to fifteen persons comfortably. Many of the rooms are renovated and beautifully decorated with furnishings and art from Asia and the islands.
Staying here is truly relaxing and inspiring — guests love sitting and chanting with Tiapala, our senior monk, enjoying meals in the screened dining room, or simply lounging and listening to the trickling waterfall in the koi pond.
The Temple Store, open by appointment or request, is a treasure box filled with jewels, brocades, silks, embroideries, books, wisdom scrolls, prayer flags, sacred art, cards, and a fragrant blend of natural perfume and incense.
Plan a weekend or a retreat at the Temple Guest House and visit the Temple Store soon!
February 7th to 17th, 2005, Khenpo Choga will be in residence.
Sat. Feb. 12th & Sun. Feb. 13th
Weekend Retreat on "Refuge and Bodhchitta" with Khenpo Choga Rinpoche
Principles, Practice and Visualization of Refuge and Bodhicitta, the Altruistic Mind of Enlightenment
These are essential foundations in Buddhist practice, for the beginner as well as experienced practitioners. Teachings, commentaries and actual practice and meditation will be part of the weekend retreat.
Saturday April 1st and Sunday April 2nd, 2006
Dream Yoga Weekend Retreat
Much of our lives are spent asleep, both literally and metaphorically. It is our sole purpose to wake from this long slumber of ignorance. The dream world is a potent realm in which we can free ourselves from the prison of delusion into the expanse of our luminous being. The ritual of dreaming meditation creates lucidity in the dream world and gives one the ability to dramatically alter the very fabric of the dream experience. The sleep state becomes an occasion to travel to paradises of awakening, contact sublime beings, and unfold the true heart of compassion.
Tulku Orgyen Zangpo Rinpoche will teach the weekend program. Rinpoche was born in the Golok region of Eastern Tibet. Tulku Zangpo has received the complete transmission of the Nyingma Lineage from some of the greatest masters of our time. He undertook many years of study and practice of the Buddha Dharma under the guidance of His Holiness Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche (who taught at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling in Wood Valley in 1993 as the first stop in a visit to the United States). This will be Tulku Zangpo's second visit to the temple.
Sunday October 8th & Monday October 9th, 2006
Two Day Retreat with Khandro Rinpoche
Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of Minling Trichen Rinpoche, the head lama of the Nyingma Lineage. She has been trained in the Dharma since childhood and is an ordained nun. She travels and teaches around the world, and speaks perfect english.
Sunday October 8th
Green Tara Initiation and Teachings
Monday October 9th
Yeshe Tsogyal Initiation and Teachings
Happy New Year Everyone!
Tibetan New Year is coming up on February 9th, we send our Best Wishes for Good Health, Happiness and Success to you all!
Wednesday FEBRUARY 9th
"LOSAR" Tibetan New Year
Celebration and Losar Festivities Begin at 10:00 AM
"POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING" - A Talk by Khenpo Choga, visiting lama Pot-Luck Lunch - Bring your favorite dish to share
FEBRUARY 7th to 17th
Khenpo Choga Rinpoche will be in residence at the Temple
Sat. FEB. 12th & Sun. FEB. 13th
Weekend Retreat on "REFUGE AND BODHICITTA” with Khenpo Choga Rinpoche
Times: 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on both days
Principles, Practice and Visualization of Refuge and Bodhicitta, the Altruistic Mind of Enlightenment" These are essential foundations in Buddhist practice, for the beginner & experienced practitioners. Teachings, commentaries and actual practice and meditation will be part of the weekend retreat.
SATURDAY, MAY 21 - 10:00 am
CELEBRATION OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
SAGADAWA - the 4th Tibetan Lunar month begins on May 9th this year. The full moon on the lunar 15th day is celebrated as the time of the Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana. We will have a gathering at the Temple on Saturday, May 21st to honor Sagadawa, beginning at 10:00 am, with chanting and meditation, followed by a Pot-luck Lunch. This event is open to the public. You and your family/friends are invited!
THURSDAY, JUNE 9 to WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22
LAMA LHANANG RINPOCHE will be in residence at the temple. Rinpoche is a spiritual teacher trained in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He speaks English and teaches meditation, yoga, art and is a practitioner of Tibetan Medicine. Rinpoche was born, raised and studied in Amdo, Tibet. He currently lives in Los Angeles and travels and teaches extensively in North America. This is his first visit to Hawaii.
SATURDAY JUNE 11 & SUNDAY, JUNE 12 - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
MEDICINE BUDDHA INITIATION AND TEACHINGS - Blessings of the Body, Speech, and Mind of the Medicine Buddha will be on Saturday morning. This "initiates" practitioners into the practice and gives the "permission" to do the meditation and mantra practice for healing, good health and longevity. Instructions on the meditation will be given Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Initiation is a necessary prerequisite for the teaching.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15 - 10:00 am
FOUR MANDALA TARA PUJA
FRIDAY, JUNE 17 - 10:00 am
GURU PADMASAMBHAVA PUJA AND TSOK OFFERING
FRIDAY, JUNE 17 - 2:00 to 5:00 pm
"ELEMENTS OF TIBETAN WISDOM"
Sa Shad is ancient Tibetan wisdom which enables one to reveal the secrets of nature, environment and ambiance. It gives the knowledge and tools necessary to create harmony between elements and people. It has been used in Tibetan culture for centuries to determine arrangements within homes as well as for stupas, temples, businesses and communities. Sa Shad teaches that everything is relative. If you create auspicious conditions in your home, the interdependence of this will bring good energy that will positively affect your family life, business and health.
SATURDAY, JUNE 18 & SUNDAY, JUNE 19 - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
ANU YOGA AND MEDITATION - Most teachings in the stages of Anu Yoga, one of the three Inner Tantras, are strictly secret, revealed only to the initiated. However, according to Lhanang Rinpoche, there are aspects such as certain Breath exercises, physical Yoga postures and Meditation techniques that may be taught more openly. It is a way to purify obscurations of body, speech and mind; to transform the body into the Vajra form, Speech into divine sound, and the mind into a state of perfect Dharmakaya. These methods, combined with Mind Training, Compassion and Wisdom open the way to spiritual awakening and realization.
TUESDAY, JUNE 21 - 10:00 am
SUMMER SOLSTICE FULL MOON CELEBRATION - Public Talk "PEACE AND POSITIVE ACTION IN THE MODERN WORLD" & LHA-SANG FIRE
PUJA. Please bring Offerings, a Pot-Luck lunch dish, musical instruments and your favorite songs! Your family and friends are welcome...join us!
There is an ongoing need for donations for Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling’s land fund. The 25 acres in Wood Valley, Ka’u was purchased in 1989 for $235,000. We are currently down to a balance of $47,600. The merit of raising these funds is credited to the generous donations of many Temple Friends, the retreat center, catering service and other projects. Monetary offerings of any size are very much appreciated, however some large contributions are very much needed to quickly pay off the land debt. This will allow Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling to move ahead with its vision to build retreat cabins for practitioners to reflect and meditate on its beautiful grounds amidst the towering trees.
A LETTER TO A FRIEND...
Aloha Temple Friends: We're thinking of you all on this quiet evening, listening to the gentle rain drops. We're finally getting a little break from the activities associated with Nechung Rinpoche's visit between 12/9/03 until 2/26/04, along with a couple of group bookings at the retreat center.
On March 20th, the temple will be begin having classes each Saturday from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, using "Words of My Perfect Lama" (Kunzang Lamai Shelung) by Paltrul Rinpoche as a guideline. We have been fortunate to receive this teaching three times - twice from the previous Nechung Rinpoche in 1979 and 1982, and once from Khamtrul Rinpoche in 1989. We decided to do classes on a more regular basis, as there are often requests for basic meditation & Buddhist instruction. Since lamas' programs take place only occasionally each year, these Saturday classes will fill the gap between visits. Marya will be leading the sessions.
We are also pleased to announce the winners of the Raffle Fundraiser, the winners were drawn by Nechung Rinpoche on Losar, the Tibetan New Year's Day party on Saturday 2/21/04. There were 111 prizes for a total of 374 tickets! The names of the winners will be sent in a separate email and the prizes for all the folks who were not at the party will be sent out via priority mail (soon!). Mahalo once again to all of you that support the temple!
Losar was really a fun day, with traditional Tibetan chanting in the temple for an auspicious year, with good health and long life. We had tea and sweet rice in the main hall, followed by a potluck lunch on the upper grounds. A group of Hilo ladies gave a hula performance - a special thanks to Maile Canario for organizing this.
It was a really wonderful for us to have Nechung Rinpoche here for such an extended stay. Shortly after his arrival, he gave his first public talk at the temple. It was very touching, since he is very shy, but gave a very eloquent talk on the basics of Buddhist practice, as well as a brief history of Nechung Monastery's importance in the Tibetan Culture, and a glimpse into his own lineage and personal background.
During the three-week tour to the mainland (12/23/03 to 1/13/04), Rinpoche spoke to the Tibetan community at the Northwest Tibetan Association in Portland, Oregon. At the request of the Nechung Buddhist Center in SF, he gave two talks in Berkeley to the Tibetans, as well as to a Western audience. In New York, the Nechung Foundation organized a well-attended event at the Tibet House. Our gratitude to Wangchuk & Sonam Dorje; and our Nechung brothers Phelgye, Pedor, Gyaltsen, Rinchen, Gyume for their hospitality and hard work in organizing the events in these places.
On the East Coast, we also visited our good friend Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, the head of International Campaign for Tibet in Washington DC, who hosted a dinner party at his home. Our thanks to Gyari Rinpoche and his wife Dawala; as well as to Namgyal and Tenzin for hosting our stay in DC.
Back home, Rinpoche gave a weekend retreat at the temple on the "Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind" (towards the Spiritual Path) and the "Seven Point Cause & Effect Method to Generate Bodhicitta" on January 31st and February 1st. The teachings were clear and concise, and well attended with participants coming from off-island, and as far away as Alaska.
At the request of the Maui Dharma Center in Paia, Rinpoche visited Maui for several days (2/14/04 to 2/17/04) again speaking on essential points of practice. It was a very special time for Miguel and myself, since we saw many old friends from the '70s who were students of the previous Rinpoche and who were involved in the early temple days. We wish to thank everyone that made the Maui visit such a memorable event, particularly Lama Gyaltsen & Georgiana Cook from the center; Starr, Henry and Yugan with whom we stayed; Joss & Tom for the use of their car; Kushog Dhontrub, and Theresa & Steve for hosting several lovely meals.
Please join us for these following programs at Wood Valley Temple. For more information, call 808-928-8539 or email: HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org We thank you for your continuing support and wish you all the Best in the New Year!!
Continuing on Saturday, July 2nd, 2005, there will be afternoon Dharma classes at Wood Valley Temple from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Subjects will cover Basic Buddhist Philosophy & Meditation. Guideline for the classes will be based upon "Words of my Perfect Teacher" Kunzang Lamai Shelung by Patrul Rinpoche. This beautifully written classic text is an excellent Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and offers the Preliminaries Practices to Dzogchen.
Part One of "Words of My Perfect Teacher" details the ordinary or external preliminary practices: 1. the Difficulty of Finding Freedom and Endowment 2. the Transitory Nature of Life 3. the Faults of Cyclic Existence 4. Action - Principles of Cause and Effect 5. Benefits of Liberation 6. Relying on a Spiritual Friend. The subject covered in the remaining classes this year will be Action - Principles of Cause and Effect, Benefits of Liberation, Relying on a Spiritual Friend."
Part Two outlines the extraordinary or internal prelinaries: 1. Refuge 2. Bodhicitta 3. Purification Practice of Vajrasattva 4. Offering the Mandala 5. Kusali Accumulation 6. Guru Yoga
Part Three is the Swift Path of Transference or Phowa.
Since this text is very complete, the Saturday afternoon classes will be ongoing as we move through the subject matters. There will be natural breaks in this course during the year at times when the temple hosts visiting lamas' programs, etc.
Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 2:00 PM
Thanksgiving Interfaith Service with religious groups in Ka'u.
Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 10 AM to 5 PM daily
A Retreat on "PARTING FROM THE 4 ATTACHMENTS" with Khenpo Lodro Thaye Rinpoche.
“If you have attachment to this life,
You are not a spiritual person.
If you have attachment to the world of existence,
You do not have renunciation.
If you have attachment to your own purpose,
You do not have the enlightenment thought
If grasping arises,
You do not have the view.”
These 4 verses were transmitted from Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom directly to the great Sakya Lama, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo while he was in a meditation retreat on Manjusri. Within these 4 verses are the entire foundation of Buddhist teachings, including: 4 Thoughts – Precious Human Birth, Transitory Nature of Life, Suffering of Cyclic Existence, Cause and Effect, The 4 Limitless Thoughts – Equanimity, Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Samatha – Calm Abiding Meditation and Vipassana – Insight Wisdom
Sunday, January 1, 2006 – 10 AM
New Year’s Celebration – Auspicious Prayers, Potluck Lunch
2004 & Earlier
Geshe Lobsang Khenrab in Residence from April 20th to May 11th, 2004
Geshe Khenrab is one of the philosophy teachers at Nechung Monastery in India. He has a unique teaching style and allows ample time for audience participation and Q&A. Three consecutive weekend retreats (Saturdays & Sundays - 10 am to 5 pm) are scheduled at the temple:
April 24 & April 25 and May 1 & May 2
"Birth, Dying and the Intermediate State"
Teachings will be based on A Prayer written by Panchen Lozang Chogyi Gyaltsen titled "The Courageous Hero who gains Liberation by overcoming the fears of the narrow passage of the Intermediate States" The four subjects covered in this 17 verse prayer include:
1. The Path of the Ordinary Preliminary Practices
This covers Refuge, the special opportunities of a human life and the transitory nature of existence
2. The Intermediate State of the Near Death Process
Instructions on (A) Meditations on how to dispel negative hindrances to the dying process, and cultivating the mind for favorable spiritual conditions (B) Actual Meditation Techniques at the time of death, description of the dissolution of the elements and various inner and outer signs.
3. The Intermediate State between Birth and Dying
The subtle mind of clear light immediately rises in this intermediate state - how best to direct the Bardo consciousness; and to recognize that the numerous symbolic images that appear are of an illusory nature, transforming them into the purity of bliss & emptiness.
4. The States of Birth and Becoming
Instructions on attaining a higher Rebirth by applying one's familiarity with the two meditation stages of Generation and Completion; and rising in the perfect states of awareness in the transitional phases of Birth, Death and the Intermediate State.
May 8 & May 9 - "The Heart Sutra"
Meditations on the nature of mind and the essential teachings on the wisdom of emptiness. This concise Sutra is important to all schools of Mahayana Buddhism (Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Zen...), teachings on the relative and ultimate reality of the physical aggregates, sense faculties and their corresponding outer sense objects.
Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche's visit December, 2003 to February, 2004
Rinpoche will visit the two Nechung centers in New York and San Francisco in early January, returning to the temple in the middle of the month.
Saturday, January 31 - Sunday February 1, 2004, 10 AM to 5 PM each day. A weekend meditation retreat with Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche. The subject will be on "Cultivating Bodhicitta" the altruistic aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of sentient beings. The instructions will be based on one of the two major systems of instructions "The Seven-Point Cause and Effect Method.”
Sessions of meditation will be dedicated to this method, an essential practice, along with the wisdom realizing emptiness, for the achievement of omniscience.
Saturday, February 21st, 2004 - Losar, Tibetan New Year, begins 10 AM. Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche will be here for a special celebration before returning to India. This will be his first Losar at the temple, so it is very auspicious! The Raffle Drawing will take place, potluck lunch and Tsok Offering, please join us!
Lama Kunga Rinpoche's Thanksgiving 2004 Visit
Thanksgiving Vajrayogini Retreat, with Lama Kunga Rinpoche Thursday, November 25 to Sunday, November 28, 2004 (Restricted to practitioners who have previously received a Major Annutarayoga Empowerment such as Chakrasamvara or Hevajra, followed by the Vajrayogini Blessing in the Naro Khachod Tradition.)
Thursday, Nov. 25 - Thanksgiving Dinner at 5 PM Friday, Nov. 26 & 27 - three daily meditation sessions Sunday, Nov. 28 - Morning session, Afternoon Fire Puja, Tsok & Dinner
Lama Kunga Rinpoche was born into a noble family in Lhasa Tibet in 1935. At the age of 7, he was recognized as a reincarnation of one of the heart disciples of Milarepa, Tibet's great 11th century poet-saint. He entered Ngor Monastery in the Sakya Tradition, at the age of 8, and became one of Ngor's Abbots prior to escaping Tibet at the time of the Chinese Communist invasion in 1959. Rinpoche came to America in 1972 and established Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center in Kensington, California where he resides. His quick insight, gentle presence and endless patience has touched and benefited the lives of many students.