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Rinpoche visits

KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest?Europe Veteran

We just had the Dagpo Rinpoche dropping by for a weekend of teaching, and it's been a really interesting event. The Buddhist centre was packed, he is the spiritual leader of a few hundred Tibetans and Dutch people who live in the area, and for them it was a really big deal. It was a social event too, many people reforming connections.

The main programme though was a series of mandala's and songs from a songbook, some rituals around that, and then of course the teaching of the text "the comfortable path to enlightenment" by Lozang Chökyi Gyaltsen. All things said and done I probably enjoyed the chanting and the energy of the sangha most of all, it was gentle and quite strong.

I wanted to ask people what your experiences were like of Buddhist teacher visits... lots of ceremony, or rather very casual?

BunksShoshinVastmind

Comments

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited February 25

    I looked up Dagpo Rinpoche, to see what sect he belonged to. Even Wikipedia doesn't specify his affiliation. He's Gelug, the DL's sect. He looks surprisingly Western (European) in the photo attached to this article; at first I thought he was a Western lama. But it says that when he was two years old, he was recognized as a reincarnation by the 13th Karmapa--a long time ago!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagpo_Rinpoche

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    A Tibetan teacher visits the island once a month for around 8/9 months of the year...It's pretty laidback...A group of us normally have dinner the night before the Dharma talk with Geshe-la at some friends place (they host Geshe-la when he visits the island)...

    There are dedications and chants before and after the Dharma talk, however the talk itself can be quite entertaining, lots of laughter, but always very insightful...

    A young Kiwi guy who speaks Tibetan does the translating ((he had at one time studied to become a monk), he translates into colloquial Kiwi, hence why at times it's quite entertaining , even Geshe-la who understand some English joins in the laughter and cracks a joke or two at the expense of the translator :)

    BunksVastmind
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    With my teacher it depends on what is being taught. Some things are more Vajrayana and thus more ritual. I've been on Guru Yoga and Phowa retreats, those were much more ritual and chanting based, with visualization and all that. Other things are more basic and much more casual. He is always pretty laid back overall. And we always sit on the floor. I was surprised to see all the chairs! There are a few kept for those who need, but 98% of people sit on the floor, on our cushions. There is always a lot of time for Q&A and for humor. The teachers I have met are all wonderfully and sincerely funny, in a very nice way that doesn't require making fun of anyone.

    Vastmind
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @karasti said:
    The teachers I have met are all wonderfully and sincerely funny, in a very nice way that doesn't require making fun of anyone.

    I should point out that Geshe-la and the young Kiwi translator have a healthy loving relationship and when they joke it's a "joke" healthy banter and nothing more, hence why the laughter is 'all' round...Fortunately Geshe-la has also picked up a Kiwi sense of humour :) ...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome

    Is this one of the first "Tibetan " Dharma talks you have been to ?

    I find that if one can get passed all the decorative bells and whistles,(which is just a means of calming and focusing the mind) the Dharma is the Dharma, regardless who or where it is coming from, however, some might need a certain style of teaching in order to take in/absorb what's been said...and for many it would seem Tibetan Buddhism along with the bells & whistles sits well with them ... I'm easy when it comes to hearing the Dharma from different sources ...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited February 26

    Most of the time I attend a class with a Dutch monk, which focuses on studying a text. They're not truly dharma talks, they are an attempt to get a bird's eye view of the dharma and all the things in it. Most of the real dharma talks I've attended have been via YouTube, lol.

    It's not quite the first time I've attended a talk of this sort in person, I was lucky enough to see the Dalai Lama giving a similar talk in Rotterdam a few years ago. But that was a football stadium filling affair, so a very different atmosphere.

    I did find it interesting that the text that the Dagpo Rinpoche is discussing is a section of a lamrim about 400 years old. Compared to Thich Nhat Hanh's very modern approach this is a totally different kettle of fish.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Most of the time I attend a class with a Dutch monk, which focuses on studying a text. They're not truly dharma talks, they are an attempt to get a bird's eye view of the dharma and all the things in it. Most of the real dharma talks I've attended have been via YouTube, lol.

    It's not quite the first time I've attended a talk of this sort in person, I was lucky enough to see the Dalai Lama giving a similar talk in Rotterdam a few years ago. But that was a football stadium filling affair, so a very different atmosphere.

    Yes The Dalai Lama really knows how to pull a crowd ;)

    I've also had the good fortune of see the DL twice on his visits to NZ, both times in Auckland, the first at the Victor Arena and then at the Civic Centre in Queens street central Auckland...

    What tradition does the Dutch monk belong to ?

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    He's from the Dagpo Rinpoche's school, so that's Gelug Tibetan Buddhist.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    He's from the Dagpo Rinpoche's school, so that's Gelug Tibetan Buddhist.

    So you have some insight into the Tibetan Buddhist approach to the Dharma...

    Mind you different Tibetan Buddhism teachers have different styles of teaching, Um Ven Robina Cortin comes to mind...I like her take no prisoners approach to the Dharma, her style of teaching is not so much a breath of fresh air but more so a hurricane sweeping through She keeps you on the edge of your seat with her quick wit and wicked sense of humour, her talks are very enlightening ....

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited February 26

    I think a great strength of Buddhism is its diversity - online you can choose to learn from people like Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition, or a modern take on Zen from Thich Nhat Hanh, or a more traditional Tibetan Buddhism from the Dalai Lama.

    But locally it's a different kettle of fish. If I want to see a real Buddhist teacher, the Dagpo Rinpoche has visited for the first time in two years. There are quite a few organisations represented but there are relatively few centres scattered over a large area, and teachers are relatively rare.

    I'd love to be in a situation where I could form a one-to-one relationship with a teacher, but there just aren't enough opportunities to see them, and most of the monks around here don't seem willing to form these kinds of personal connections.

    @Shoshin said:
    Mind you different Tibetan Buddhism teachers have different styles of teaching, Um Ven Robina Cortin comes to mind...

    Funny you should mention her, she is coming to Amsterdam in June to give a series of talks.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    You could try asking them? If a teacher is willing to give refuge vows, in my (limited) experience, they take that connection very seriously and accept they are taking you as a student forever, or until which time you sever that relationship. I've only taken vows from my teacher (who I only see 1-2 times a year but communicate with by phone and email regularly) but every retreat I've been at, it is talked about and every teacher, even from very different "sects" say basically the same thing. They don't spend much time delving into relationship forming with curious bypassers. But if you are interested in taking vows, that is something they take pretty seriously and will work to develop a good student-teacher relationship around. But I'm sure that varies widely.

    I live 250 miles from any center, and in my state what's available is very limited. Tibetan Buddhism is more common because my state has one of the largest Tibetan populations in the US. There is a Shambhala center as well in my state. But not much else. People come from states all around to see my teacher when he comes to our little satellite sanghas that he oversees. When he was here last fall, people came from Michigan just to hear him talk, and it's not like he's famous or anything!

    My favorite teaching sessions have come from a guy named Lama Tony Duff, who is a US citizen but has been living in Nepal for many years. he works with a translation committee to translate various teachings. But he spent several weeks here doing a residential retreat sort of thing, and it was really interesting. I envy those who live close enough to be able to attend weekly (or more) teachings from teachers. It is a blessing, for sure. He was a student of Trungpa and is a bit of an in-your-face teacher, but I really like his straightforwardness and his insistence on doing rather than just talking. He was very real about everything, which was nice.

    My least favorite, I cannot remember his name! Ugh! He was a very happy and jolly man, but I just didn't connect with him. Not his fault, he wasn't a bad teacher. But he had some views I didn't share and I found a bit out there. He was one who couldn't apply the teachings to different circumstances of people, and held a very rigid view of them, and tried to explain that to people who weren't Buddhists. I think he turned them off because of that. Some teachers are better at addressing a varying audience, he wasn't so much. I think he kind of expected those who would attend would be Buddhists, and didn't expect so many Buddhist-curious folks who didn't grasp the foundation and so couldn't grasp what he was saying.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Shoshin said:
    Mind you different Tibetan Buddhism teachers have different styles of teaching, Um Ven Robina Cortin comes to mind...

    Funny you should mention her, she is coming to Amsterdam in June to give a series of talks.

    Well if you get the opportunity, go to her talks...I found her to be a very dynamic teacher...I had the good fortune to see her last year when she was visiting Auckland...Her talk was on "How to make peace with death and dying" ....

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