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[This version: 30 July 1993]
SAKYA LOSAL CHOE DZONG
THE CLEAR MIND QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER No 7
FEBRUARY- MARCH 1991
The Centre is reborn in Bruxner Close, Gowrie
By this time you might have been wondering where the Centre has moved to. Since
we could not find a suitable place on time, the shrine was temporarily set up at
Ken and Merril's place in Campbell and the throne and other items were stored in
John's garage. Just as a sentient being passes away from one life and finds his
rebirth where his Karma may have earned one, likewise the Centre eventually
found her rebirth in Gowrie. The intermediate stage (Bardo) was only ten days.
Gowrie might be further away than Red Hill from some places but you do not have
to cross high mountain passes and fear the danger of robbers and wild beasts to
get there. The house, which overlooks Tuggeranong Valley with the panaromic view
of Brindabella ranges is the home of Tim and Chris, who are both members of the
Centre. We are grateful to them for allowing their home to be used as a Dharma
Centre and wish them happy living there. Many thanks go to Carol, John, Ken,
Merril, Sigrun, Philip and Tim who helped to move the Centre.
We also thank all the residents who supported the house in Red Hill and gave
birth to Sakya Losal Choe Dzong. Peter, who many of you may remember helped
Lama Choedak to start the Centre and donated almost everything that are in the
centre including tables, fridge, Dharma poster frames, throne etc. He had to go
back to Adelaide to look after his parent and is now planning to do social work.
We thank Peter for his devotion and generosity and wish him success in his study
and hope to see him again. We also thank and say good-bye to the house in Red
Hill where many of us first met, practised together and developed our Dharma
connection. As this special connection is likely to continue to grow regardless
of the location of the centre, please come and visit the new Centre.
Lama Choedak hopes that the move has not caused any inconveniences to our
members and friends. We must remember to rejoice that the existence of the
centre is due to the generosity of some of our members who allowed to use their
place for us to come and practise together. We are fortunate to have what we
have and let us learn to appreciate some of our member's generosity. In spite
of the difference in distance to get to the Centre, the journey can be skilfully
used as a part of your practice since every step towards a goal is more
important than the goal itself. The number of steps one is willing to travel
indicates the strength of one's faith and dedication. "Persevere" was the last
word of the Buddha to his disciples before passed away into Nirvana.
Report on the Second White Tara Annual Retreat
By Merril Cook
While writing this, it seems like ages since the combined retreat with the
A.C.T. Buddhist Society at Birrigai in mid December, but during the retreat
itself, I recall how time slowed down, how it became more concentrated because
we had already determined our priorities simply by turning up forgoing the
Christmas bedlam. Few these priorities were, over the three days, what with the
precepts and the White Tara practice.
For Sakya Losal Choe Dzong, it was the Second Annual White Tara Retreat since
Her Eminence Jetsun Kusho-la gave the initiation during Her visit to Canberra in
October, 1989. My special thanks go to Ven. Gyalsay Tulku Rinpoche for making
time to come down early to Canberra to conduct an initiation so that many more
of us could join in the retreat.
For the A.C.T. Buddhist Society, the retreat was led by Phra Ajahn Yantra with
three other Thai monks. The two groups met at midday meals, with the addition
of Ven. Thich Quang Ba and many of the Vietnamese Buddhist community on the
Sunday, thus creating in a small way, the spirit of co-operation that we in this
world badly need. It was a fascinating opportunity to deal with petty
irritations centering around different approaches to Buddhism. During lunch
times, the emphasis was on self-discipline i.e. restraining ourselves from
desiring food with its texture and colours -- as in the Theravada tradition.
Otherwise we focussed on the White Tara Sadhana, through many practices and many
relaxed discussions led at first by Rinpoche and then by Lama Choedak on Sunday
after Rinpoche's departure. With special emphasis on the creative visualization
techniques of Vajrayana tradition, the purpose of this retreat was to help us
increase our spiritual vitality and life span and overcome our fear of death so
that we can better continue to learn and practice Dharma for the benefit of all
Personally, I found the retreat increased my sense of family, the feeling of
growing closer to a deep level with others as we all seemed to become more open
with each other. Many more thanks go to Rinpoche and Lama Choedak for providing
a glimmer of what happiness can be, in spite of the chaos in and around us.
Treasurer's Report as of 2.2.91
Since I took over as treasurer last June, I have been juggling cash and paper
and have come up with the following figures. However, if anyone of you out
there is an expert at setting up books, I would appreciate some advice from you.
My phone No. is 2470794 ( h or w).
As of 2 February, 1991 the final balance we have in the bank is $ 2916. 02 of
which $1500 is invested towards the Dharma Building Fund for our future Centre.
Most of the Centre's income comes from membership and subscription fees. We
have 19 full members to date; four of these are founding members who paid out
$500 each to help establish the Centre. In addition to these19 members, there
are seven subscribers to the Clear Mind Newsletter and four people sponsoring
Tibetan refugee children. Donations to the box, and whatever is left over from
workshops which are self supporting as far as possible, bring in the rest of our
The Centre's expenses are generally the cost of the production of the
newsletter. Until last October, each circulation cost approximately $200 and
since then circulation was dropped substantially in order to minimize the cost.
The Centre pays the transportation cost of bringing teachers to Canberra and
offer donations from the fees collected for the courses. The Centre contributed
towards phone, electricity and the cost of advertising for new tenants. However
since last October most Centre related calls are made outside the house which
are paid by individuals as donation to the centre. To be fair to the residents,
can everyone who uses the phone mindfully drop 30 cents per call into the money
box provided. Details of the Centre's account will be presented at the next
Room Vacancy at the Centre
There is a room vacant if any non-smoker male or female is interested living at
the Centre and have easier access to study and practice the Dharma. Please
contact Tim or Chris on 2925622.
In July as a result of our cushion making efforts, we made some twenty or so
cushions which cost the Centre approximately $200. Four members continue to
sponsor young Tibetan refugee children in Nepal and India. This entails regular
payments of $150 every six month per child and the Centre is responsible for
banking, converting the money in one lump sum and sending it through people
going to India and Nepal. If you are interested in sponsoring a young Tibetan
novice, a boy or a girl to educate them and thus continuing the cultural
tradition that gives birth to teachers like Lama Choedak, please contact Lama
Choedak on Ph. 2928150.
Centre's General Meeting
It was decided at the Centre's year end social dinner held on Saturday 1
December, 1990 to call a General Meeting on Sunday, 24 February, 1991 at 7.00 pm
so that all the members and friends could participate in the meeting to discuss
the best way to administer the Centre and its activities. It was suggested to
combine it with a shared dinner, so please bring a plate of your speciality.
Please send any suggestions or items that may be included in the agenda at your
earliest convenient date to Tim, who will chair the meeting. Please make a note
of this date on your calendar so that you can come. It is extremely important
that we all help and work together to creat the atmosphere of Sanghahood in
order to run the Centre and its activities as smooth as possible for the benefit
of other people. While Lama Choedak gives us guidance on spiritual matters, it
is appropriate that the students take the responsibility of legal matters,
administration, finance etc. as the centre is about to be registered. If you
appreciate the Dharma by the way it helps you, then help the Dharma spread by
becoming an active member of the Centre.
Students in Vajrayogini Retreat
Where is Chozin these days? She and Wendy Givens have gone into solitary
retreats on Vajrayogini in Burra and Kyogle respectively. This is a part of
their commitment with Her Eminence Jetsun Kusho-la for being initiated into the
Vajrayogini Mandala. It is a 6 - 8 week intensive retreat during which they
must complete certain number of practice sessions and Mantras in order to break
down the conceptual difference of a sentient being and an Enlightened Being.
This involves about 16 hours of daily practice. Both of them took final advices
from Lama, who wished them to see Vajrayogini even if they cannot become
Vajrayogini. Let us rejoice and congradulate them for their devotion and wish
them success and receive all the blessings of compassion, wisdom and
purification throughout the retreat We will see them soon in their Karma Yogini
forms if they do not transform into rainbow bodies in the retreat. Watch out in
H. H. Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche to Visit Canberra in April-May, 1991
Since Lama Choedak heard a good news that H. H. Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche may
be coming to Australia on holiday with His parents, he has requested through
Gyalsay Tulku Rinpoche that His Holiness include Canberra in his itenerary.
Although it is yet to be confirmed, we hope that Sakya Losal Choe Dzong may be
fortunate to host His visit in Canberra in April-May, 1991. We will try to
organize some teachings or initiations from His Holiness in or around Canberra
and will inform you as soon as we have the confirmation. So please keep your
weekends or flexi hours around that time free for this important occassion.
Sunday Buddhist Study Course Resumes
In the past, Lama Choedak has taught two courses on Nagarjuna's Letter to a
Friend and Shantideva's Chapter on Patience as a part of the graduated Buddhist
study course. We have been benefitted from attending these courses and have
become enthusiastic to learn more. Illuminating the Sage's Intent is a very
famous manual on Mahayana Buddhism. Based on Asanga's Mahayana Sutralankara,
it was written by Sakya Pandita at the Mongol Court of Godan Khan, and was sent
to the Tibet since he was unable to return and entered into Parinirnavana in
1251. It was one of the first Tibetan works to be translated into Mongolian and
Chinese and subsequently used as a text-book in the monasteries of Tibet,
Mongolia and China. This text basically discusses the essential teachings of
Mahayana school including Buddha Nature, ten successive stages of Enlightenment
(Bhumis), five Mahayana paths, and the relevant experiences along different
stages until attaining the final enlightenment. Since Lama Choedak will teach
on the basis of the original Tibetan text and will give its transmission,
interested students are recommended to attend this class regularly. It starts
on Sunday 3, March at 10.00am.
Reflection on the Gulf Crisis
While there appears little we can do to solve the problems of the world and
especially the War in the Gulf, we should not forget that our meditation
practices and prayers can be dedicated for a peaceful solution to the Gulf
Crisis. If we mean it from our hearts, it is worthwhile to pray for those
people who have to live in constant fear of violence, war, death and
destruction. Middle East may be far away from Australia and we may not have any
kin in the Gulf region, but spare a thought for all those soldiers, their family
members, civilians, and all those who are directly or indirectly affected by
this crisis. Most of the soldiers do not know why they have to kill somebody to
feel proud of their country and flag. The leaders are confused and hate what
they order their men to do. There is no winner in any conflict even if the
opponent is completely destroyed.
What does this crisis mean to us from the point of view of a Buddhist
practitioner and where do we fit into it? What is the difference between this
crisis and our own problems except the magnitude? Do we have any sense of
compassion to Saddam or Bush or to both ? Can we feel the unimaginable tension
that they might be under? What would we do if we were in their position? Do our
habits and political attitudes to this crisis make us feel emotionally involved
and feel miserable? Do we think, who is right ,and who is wrong? If we ask
ourselves these questions, we might be able to tell where our practice is or at
least turn to prayers and cultivate compassion to all parties concerned. If we
have to wait to be in a good mood to cultivate compassion, it would be very
difficult as we know from our own experiences. If we can be sad of other
people's suffering there is a better chance of developing compassion than being
miserable over our own. It is good test for ourselves to try to see whether we
can see things clearer or not when we are in trouble or when we are observing a
trouble or troubles. The priority of our practices drops when there is no
problem or too much of a problem and we do not seem to manage to keep them in
balance. When there is a problem, nothing seems to help except a good and sane
frame of mind.
Prayers are said even by most sceptical men and women when they become
helpless. Did you say some prayers in relation to the Gulf crisis? We should be
able to understand the meaning of Suffering of Truth at least during the period
of great trouble we are witnessing and feel part of it by meditating on
compassion. The current crisis is a classic example how all living beings and
especially human beings have to reap the results of their endevours when they
are tainted by greed for power, hatred to the enemy and ignorant of the
purpose. All sufferings originate from these three poisons of the mind. We can
reflect upon our own sufferings and happiness and try to realize how they come
into frution. In short, what we think, say and do towards this or other crisis
will bear the power to change its destiny and its effect upon ourselves. If
you wish to do something to alleviate the sufferings caused by this crisis with
the genuine feeling saturated by peace, forgiveness, loving-kindness and
compassion, then come and join us in the Chenrezig meditation on compassion.
Since the start of this crisis, we have been doing special meditation combined
with Chenrezig practice on Wednesdays. Chenrezig meditation with its dynamic
visualization techniques is focussed upon the beings who are suffering to evoke
the Bodhisattvic compassion with the help of chanting the powerful Mantra of
compassion. This is the best we can do to help at this time of crisis. Give
some thought and prayer for those whose sufferings are more than we can imagine.
Ability to feel the pain and misery of others helps you to cultivate compassion
and lead a peaceful and self-disciplined life. May we all do this with
Venerable Phra Khantipalo of Wat Buddha Dhamma will be giving a public talk on
"The Gulf War: A Buddhist Perspective" at the Dickson Library community room on
Friday 15 February at 7.30 pm. Admission is free.
Workshop on "Buddhism in Everyday Life" on Easter Sunday
At the request of some members and friends, Lama Choedak will conduct this
special workshop on Easter Sunday which will discuss various ways of dealing
with all kinds of problems we face in our lives. Buddhism is often regarded as
a healthy way of life which helps to better understand the causes of the
problems of attachment, loneliness, sexuality, guilt, suspicion, indecisiveness,
fear, confusion, anger, desire and fear of relationships and lack of faith and
lack of self confidence. If the essence of the teachings were understood and
practised properly, it will help to gradually reduce, transform and eradicate
these problems and replace them with mindfulness, self-awareness, compassion and
wisdom. The confusion about morality, fear of committing mistakes and
inability to accept them as they occur and thus unable to live happily, are the
commonest problems that most aspirants of spiritual paths face. Merely leading
a religious way of life by way of adopting strict and narrow guidelines
without examining one's motivation and failing to apply the correct methods
can in fact intensify these problems. Buddhism teaches about understanding
ourselves as we are mirrored in whatever we see and do. We do not see a thing
beyond ourselves in things, conditions and people. Outer objects mirror our
state of mind and there is no one time when this does not happen whether happy
If you are sincere to yourself and are trying your best, you do not have to have
a high expectation of yourself since you are already doing what you think is
best. You can improve but only according to your ability and confidence. If
you can maintain this attitude, you will be much happier and your progress will
be a steady one. It takes more time to realize simple things. If there is any
emphasis on morality in Buddhist teachings, it is only for the purpose of living
a wholesome life within ourselves in order to generate awareness and compassion
for the sake of other living beings. We do not have to seek the approval of
others if we live true to ourselves and that truthfulness will not let anyone
down. The old ego or selfish self can no longer have its way as it used to if
the awareness and mindfulness are there where you are. Since this awareness may
be present every moment if you look for it, learn how to do this while you do
all the things you do including meditation.
Since the Centre can only take a limited number of participants, please send the
registration form with your payment as soon a s possible so that you can be
assured of a place in this workshop. The cost is $50 for non-members and $40 for
members and concession. A vegetarian lunch and refreshment will be served. The
workshop begins at 10.00 am and finishes at 5.00 pm.
Our Address: Sakya Losal Choe Dzong,
33 Bruxner Close, Gowrie, Phone 2925622 .
Treasurer, S. L. C., Centre For Tibetan Buddhist Studies, P.O. Box 3430, Manuka ACT 2603
Address................................................................... Phone (H).........................(W)....................
a) I wish to subsribe The Clear Mind Quarterly Newsletter [ ] $15.00
b) " become a Full Member to support the Centre [ ] $ 50.00 P. A.
c) " sponsor a Tibetan (Monk, nun, girl, boy) [ ] $ 25.00 P.M.
d) " be registered for the Easter Sunday Workshop [ ] $50/40
e) " contribute towards he Dharma Building Fund [ ] $..............
Herewith my cheque /money order to S.L.C. TOTAL [ ] $..................
The Centre Establishes Dharma Building Fund
As you can see from our treasurer's report, $1,500 has been allocated to
establish the Dharma Building Fund. It is the Centre's resolution of the New
Year to set up this Fund which will motivate us to look for a land to build a
Dharma sanctuary in the near future. If you have a piece of land around
Canberra, think what you can best do with it as Anathapindaka did with his land
for the Dharma in Shravasti some 2500 years ago. Lama Choedak encourages all
members and friends to offer contributions towards this fund whether regularly
or ocassionally as it is a very worthy cause. All donations towards this is
dedicated for the growth of the precious teachings of the Buddha for our future
generations and all sentient beings. It is also a traditional Buddhist way of
repaying the kindness and compassion of the Buddha and all the past masters and
to perserve the rich cultural heritage of Buddhism. Please fill the donation
form and send it our treasurer as soon as possible. A worthy cause has to be
Ayyakhema to Lead a Weekend Retreat at SBC
There will be a weekend retreat to be led by Ayyakhema at the Shakyamuni
Buddhist Centre 15-17 March. Cost for the full weekend is $25. Those attending
part-time are welcome, but are asked to offer donation to cover costs.
Ayyakhema will also be giving talks on Fri. at 7.00 pm and Sat. and Sun. at
10.30 am. All enquiries to Tricia Innes on 2418492.
Invitation to Lunar New Year Party
You are invited to join the celebration of Lunar New Year on Thursday 14
February at the SBC. The party begins at 7.30 pm. You can bring offerings to
the Buddha which will be shared amongst all the guests and friends. The centre
will also provide refreshments to wish you a happy and fruitful year.
An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
A Public talk by Ole Nydahl, an inflential western disciple of His Holiness
Karmapa, who has established many Kagyu centres around the world at Shakyamuni
Buddhist Centre on 17 March, 7.30 pm. All enquiries to Gary on 2514278.
S.L.C. SPIRITUAL CALENDAR FEBRUARY- APRIL 1991
As most readers are aware, our weekly programmes are : Chenrezig meditation on
Wednesdays at 7.00 pm and Samatha Meditation on Sundays at 10.00 am. Since no
Tibetan Buddhist calendars were available at the time publication, the practice
dates listed here are according to a local calendar. If you wish to know the
Tshog days, please contact Lama Choedak.
White Tara Practice Days Full Moon Precept Days
17 Feb. Sun. 7.00 pm. 1 March Fri. 5.00 am.
17 Sun. Mar. 7.00 pm. 30 Mar. Easter Sat. 5.00 am.
14 April Sun. 7.00 pm. 29 April Mon. 5.00 am.
I will be brief with the last two principles as I feel comfortable associating
with the first two. But there are those who cannot find satisfaction by
thinking over the suffering nature of life and the law of impermanence alone.
They find suffering to be so real that they cannot simply overcome by thinking
it is impermanent. The problem here is not the realness or voidness of the
percieved suffering but perciever's clinging to himslef to be real and true.
Perhaps the seer doesn't exist as he appears to himself. Lets make a difference
between the subject and object. Even if the objective phenomena are changing in
front one's own naked eyes, it appears to have a negative bearing on the
subjective mind if it is held to be unchanging and real. Even the perciever is
impermanent and lacks inherent existence. The grasping onto the notion of 'I'
as a real man or a woman projects a real self which uses objects to prove his
if undelivered please return to :
SAKYA LOSAL CHOE-DZONG
CENTRE FOR TIBETAN BUDDHIST STUDIES
PO. BOX 3430 MANUKA ACT 2603
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