What the teachers say about restarting your Buddhist practice: overcoming obstacles, bringing back the enthusiasm, re-establishing faith and commitments
Video mantra chanting: Lama Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema wonderfully chanted by Yoko Dharma. Benefits: healing, compassion, metta, wisdom
Video teaching: Metta and Karuna, the “most important” Buddhist practices of Love and Compassion, from H.E. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche with Lama Tsongkhapa Migtsema mantra chanted by Yoko Dharma
Sacred outlook – Seeing beyond ordinary perception in modern culture, and American Buddhism
Why is pride a poison, and when can pride of accomplishment be considered a good thing? With full Ambattha Sutta “Pride of Birth and its Fall.”
Vajrasattva, the Great Purifyer, among the most powerful and profound healing and purifications techniques in Vajrayana Buddhism
Family lay Buddhism: What the Teachers Say about keeping motivated in your Buddhist Practice as parents — and coping with every-day family life in a modern stressful world
Reconnecting with nature to reboot our “spiritual self” activates a feeling of self-transcendence
Video: Buddhist Teachings on Ngondro, The Foundation Practices with Venerable Zasep Rinpoche
Kucchivikara-vattha: The Monk with Dysentery (Sutra teachings) “If you don’t tend to one another, who then will tend to you?”
“Putting Compassion on the Scientific Map”: Compassion Boosts Happiness/Health; and Research Indicates That Practicing Buddhists Are Happier than Average.
Video with wonderful mantra chanting: Om Gate Gate Paragate Para Samgate Bodhi Soha, the essence of Heart Sutra and Emptiness
Music Mantra Video: Taking Refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and the Four Immeasurables wonderfully sung by Yoko Dharma with video visualizations
Broken Commitments: 3 Teachers weigh in on practice “overload” and breaking Vajrayana practice promises. What do we do about it?
Dalai Lama and Lama Tsongkhapa: teachings on calm abiding meditation that go beyond “the breath” as the focus — targeting the main affliction
Music Mantra Video: Om Mani Padme Hum wonderfully chanted by Yoko Dharma, the sacred sound of compassionate Buddha Chenrezig
Tara Book excerpt and teaching: Who is Tara and how can She help us? An introduction to Tara, Karma, Shunyata, Dependent Arising, and Buddha Nature by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
What’s with all this consort union in Tantric Buddhism? No, it’s not about sexual fantasies. The psychology of Yab-Yum consorts, union of wisdom and compassion
Video: “How do I deal with my anger? Sometimes it consumes me and hurts others”: a Buddhist student asks teacher Ven. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Video: “Experience Buddhism” with Namdrol Rinpoche “Buddhism emphasizes, and lays its very foundations on, equanimity.”
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and other teachers recommend Kṣitigarbha mantra and practice for times of disaster, especially hurricane and earthquake, because of the great Bodhisattva’s vow
Medicine Buddha healing mantras chanted by the amazing Yoko Dharma
Why 35 Confessional Buddhas practice and “The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Moral Downfalls” is a critical purifying practice for Buddhists
What the Dalai Lama and Patch Adams Have in Common: Laughter, and Compassion, the Best Medicine
“Preliminary practices… clear and enrich our minds, allowing practice to progress smoothly” — Thubten Chodron. Why Ngondro is a lifetime practice, and a “complete path”
Tantra Helps “Stop Ordinary Perception”, and is the Fast Path to Enlightenment. But How Do Modern Buddhists Relate to Deities?
Painter and digital Thangka artist Jampay Dorje aims to bring “Thangka painting into a modern era” with spectacular art, lessons for students, and a life-long project to illustrate all of the 11 Yogas of Naropa
Buddha teaches us to view every meal as if we were reluctant cannibals: Samyukta Agama Sutra 373, the Four Nutriments
Letting Go — letting go of past, letting go of future, letting go is the hardest thing to do: Na Tumhaka Sutta
Becoming Gesar, the fearless Buddhist: How to overcome fear in uncertain times, according to Pali Sutta, Mahayana Sutra and Tantra
The Hand of Buddha defeats the three poisons : Vajrapani (literally, “Vajra Hand”) — Guardian of Shakyamuni Himself; Vajrapani, the power of the mind to overcome obstacles such as pride, anger, hate and jealousy
Tonglen video: Why giving and taking practice is an important kindness meditation and Bodhichitta practice; how to do it: taught by Zasep Rinpoche
Understanding Dependent Co-Arising is critical to Buddhist practice: The Great Causes Discourse Maha-nidana Sutta
Pali Sutta for Our Age: Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Book Review of a Classic
The bridge between science and Buddhism, atoms and no atoms, theism and athiesm; Yidam deity meditation and the Cognitive Science of Tantra
“Every one has Buddha Nature.” A teaching video: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche with mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Remembering His Eminence Choden Rinpoche: The Hidden Meditator Passes into Dharamadhatu

Remembering His Eminence Choden Rinpoche: The Hidden Meditator Passes into Dharamadhatu

On Sept 11 at 1:30am, Kyabje Choden Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away at Sera Jey Monastery.

“With great sadness, we must convey to you the news of His Eminence Choden Rinpoche’s passing into dharamadhatu,” writes Choden Lobrang in a letter to students and friends. (Sera Jey Monastery, South India, Sept 11, 2015).

Today, September 14, “At 11:05 this morning Rinpoche came out of clear light meditation (Thugdam). People can now come and pay respect to Rinpoche’s holy body between 2:00pm today and until tomorrow at 8:00am,” reports His Eminence’s Facebook page. “There has also been another evening of prayers and recitation here at the house. The self initiations continued with Cittimani Tara, and preparations for the Holy cremation. Last nights text recitations included the wonderful Essence of Nectar by Yeshe Tsöndru. Its like a very condensed Lam Rim and is highly recommended. This was then followed by Bodhisattva Charyavatara then Praise of Dependent Origination recited through till dawn.”

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Remembering HE Choden Rinpoche: The Hidden Meditator

Choden Rinpoche of Sera Je Monastery was one of the highest Gelug lamas. He was the “hidden meditator” for 19 years. Famously, during the communist Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1959, Choden Rinpoche never left a tiny, dark room in Lhasa. From 1965 to 1985, he remained in solitary retreat, never leaving the room even to go to the bathroom. [1]

Choden Rinpoche recalled the day the Communist soldiers besieged the monastery in an article in Mandala Magazine. The soldiers “rounded up all the monks and put us in a courtyard. After this they ransacked the whole monastery. All the monks were circled by soldiers with their weapons. We’d heard that in eastern Tibet the soldiers had rounded up all the monks and shot them dead, so everyone was frightened that would happen. From dawn to sunset the monks were all standing in the courtyard.” [2] They were told they’d be taken to be killed, but ‘luckily’ they were imprisoned instead. After one month in prison, he became ill and was taken to a hospital. The next few years were very difficult for all the monks in Tibet, but after the Cultural Revolution in 1965 they became even more dangerous. Without texts, drum, bell or vajra, Rinpoche went into extensive retreat.

Rinpoche’s attendant at the time, Venerable Tseten Gelek, remembers that time: “He spent all his time on that bed, meditating… They had to change the bedding once a month because it got smelly from the sweat. He used a bedpan as a toilet… Until 1980 he didn’t talk to anybody, only the person who brought food to his room.”

His Eminence explained, “The main thing I wanted to do was practice Dharma sincerely, no matter what external factors were arising.” [2]

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Early Life of His Eminence

Born in 1933, Choden Rinpoche was recognized at the age of three as a Tulku. At seven, His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche gave ordination to Choden Rinpoche. H.E. Choden Rinpoche remembered that time fondly: “I was 6 when I met Pabongka. I really admired everything he did: the way he walked, the way he dressed, everything. I felt, ‘if only I could be like him.'”[2]

At the age of seventeen he enrolled in Sera Je Monastery. He became an prominent student of His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche. “His main gurus are Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama,” according to an extensive biography in Mandala Magazine. [2]

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Teaching to the World

For decades, Rinpoche taught precious Buddhist canon to thousands of monks, and regularly toured monasteries and dharma centers around the world. He has taught and traveled in America, Europe, Mongolia and Asia. Many thousands have taken novice ordination from His Eminence.

Choden Labrang, on Sept 11, wrote: “As most of you know, last year in July, the glorious protector of the teachings and sentient beings, endowed with great understanding of the five sciences [medicine, craftmanship, logic, grammar, and the inner science of Buddhism], His Eminence Choden Rinpoche, the supreme Jetsun Losang Gyalten Jigdrel Wangchug, manifested the state of illness from the perspective ordinary disciples. However, through the fortunate convergence of the power of the blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s compassion, the sincere requests of his disciples that Rinpoche may remain long and stable like a vajra, and meticulous medical care, the illness temporarily receded and Rinpoche was able to bestow vast, essential, hard to find teachings on profound sutra and tantra, especially the Manjushri Ja-myang Chokhor cycle, to fortunate disciples in the main temple of Sera Jey Monastery.”

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Unfortunately, Rinpoche’s illness “reached a critical state, each day becoming more severe according to the doctor. Concerned by this condition, Rinpoche’s close disciples requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama for an observation. Observing ominous signs, His Holiness invited Rinpoche to meet him in Delhi. On August 29th, His Holiness held a relaxed meeting with Rinpoche in his hotel room in Delhi. The following day, Rinpoche comfortably arrived at his home in the great seat of Sera.

Shortly afterwards, on Sept 11, “Rinpoche entered a state of meditation. Remaining in that state, at 1:30 AM on September 11th, 2015, in his room in the Labrang, in order to inspire towards the Dharma disciples grasping at permanence, Rinpoche progressively actualized the three emptinesses and the clear light, finally showing the aspect of dissolving his mind into dharmadhatu.”



[1] “The Life of a Hidden Meditator: Choden Rinpoche” by Choden Rinpoche and Venerable Tseten Gelek (August 2000)

[2] Mandala Magazine July-August 2000, page 63. Full article as PDF available here>>


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