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[This document can be acquired from a sub-directory coombspapers via anonymous FTP and/or COOMBSQUEST gopher on the node COOMBS.ANU.EDU.AU] The document's ftp filename and the full directory path are given in the coombspapers top level INDEX file] [This version: 2 August 1993] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- CLEAR MIND THE NEWSLETTER OF TIBETAN BUDDHIST SOCIETY, CANBERRA No 12 August-October 1992 Election of New Committee Members At the last Annual General Meeting held on 3 May 1992, the financial members present at the meeting unanimously elected the following new committe members. The meeting also acknowledged and thanked the previous committe members who have set the tone to administer the Centre and particularly to Merril Cook who single handedly did most of the paper work and book-keeping, to Tim Brennan who kindly shared his house for the Centre's use and John Chen for doing the secretarial duties. We welcome the new committe members and wish them great fun to run the Centre through effective communication, co-operation and dedication. For all Centre matters and enquiries please contact the relevant committee members: President: Alan Mogridge ph. 257 6944 (w) 236 3285(h) Vice-President: Kerry Arthur ph. 281 1455 (h) Secretary: Chris Sinkora ph. 250 6902 (w) 287 1033 (h) Treasurer: Jenni Chen ph. 205 0470 (w) 291 4029 (h) Public Officer: Melanie Newbourne ph. 231 7326 (h) Committe Members: Susie Servantie ph. 281 6926 (h) Sigrun Meilke ph. 281 1026 (h) Treasurer's Report Sponsorship Since the beginning we urged our members and friends to become involved in helping Tibetan refugee children and as a result we have nine members who have been sponsoring Tibetan refugees children to this day. This means $225 a month is donated to help Tibetan Buddhists in Nepal and India struggling to survive through the Centre's sponsorship programme. Apart from sending so many dollars a month towards a child one can also help in different ways. For example, one of Lama Choedak's keen Tibetan language student is sponsoring the annual salary of a pre-school teacher in the Tibetan refugee settlement in Pokhara. There are many ways you can be part of the Centre whether you actually attend the sessions at the Centre or not. As readers of this newsletter we should all rejoice with those who have been generous in helping the Tibetan refugees and contemplate how we can also become part of this good work. If we can recall, beside compassion and universal responsibility the essence of the His Holiness Dalai Lama's message to Australians was "Please help me and my people". Membership & Subscription We have approximately 30 full members (that is if you have renewed your membership) and 50 subscribers to our newsletter. The full annual membership will remain $50 and the subscription rate is increased by one dollar which means it is $16. Full members enjoy substantial discount on course fees and can borrow books at no costs. Those who are not subscribers but are receiving the newsletter are requested to subscribe so that we can continue to keep you informed of our activities, programmes etc. Building Fund The five (founding) members' generous lump sum donation is allocated to our Building Fund which is now $2100 dedicated to one day buying a Centre of our own. Regular Rental contribution At the moment only three people are still donating monthly towards the cost of the Centre's rent. We would need many more individuals to pledge money if we were to rent a house. Details below. Offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama In response to the previous newsletter, five members sent a total of $ 178 beforehand as offerings for His Holiness The Dalai Lama and the Centre offered $1002 as it is an auspicious number of the 1002 Buddhas of the fortunate aeon. On behalf of Sakya Losal Choe Dzong and its members Lama Choedak presented this (the total amount $1180) together with the Mandala offering at the beginning of the teaching at the Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre. Knowing of His Holiness' generosity (He donated his Nobel Peace Prize money to forming a Foundation for Universal Responsibility), one can be sure that this money will also be used in a kind and useful way. Together with an undemanded receipt for the offering, His Holiness Private Secretary has passed some blessing strings for our members. Members who didn't get one can contact Lama if there are any left. Personal offerings that people put in the boxes at the Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre ($1500 approx.) was quickly passed onto the private secretary before someone from the organizing committe could think of spending it on something else. New comers to the Teachings Lama Choedak ran a course on Introduction to Meditation in response to the very great interest in Dharma aroused through His Holiness' visit. Thirty-three people attended this full day course. Except a few, most of the participants were all new faces, some came all the way from Sydney, Jindabyne and Cooma. It was held at the Sakyamuni Centre as our Centre cannot accommodate such numbers and that Centre provided a delicious vegetarian lunch. (I do recommend their food: open seven days a week for dinner, and also for lunch on weekends, and it is very reasonably priced). Rejuvenation of life (Ngondro Retreat) The inspired students who attended the joint weekend retreat at Yerrimbol on Preliminary practices (Ngondro) of the Vajrayana teachings requested that the Sydney and Canberra Sakya Centres organize annual retreats during every long weekend in June. It is rare to have two teachers leading a residential retreat such as that. There will be an article on the Ngondro practices by one of the participants from Canberra for the benefit of those who could not attend the retreat. The surplus money from that retreat is kept safely in Sydney as a fund for similar joint activities in the future. Thanks to Jane, Peter and other Dharma friends from Sydney who organized everything and especially to Karen who cooked for the entire retreat on her own with great ease. The students didn't want to finish the retreat, so they all vowed to meet next year with many more friends. Current Financial Situation Approximately $675 is due to be sent overseas shortly for sponsorship. Just over $300 has been sent to the Sydney Sakya Centre to be held in trust for the next combined retreat. A small amount of cash is held in hand and approximately $3100 is in the bank; $2100 of this is for the Building Fund, which leaves $1100. Up coming Expenses (1) The Centre is currently looking for new premises - a 3-4 bedroom place in Woden-Kambah (if you know of anywhere suitable please let us know). We may not be as fortunate as to have a place as cheaply as we did, thanks to Tim Brennan. If we have to pay around $150 per week we currently have only enough in hand for eight weeks' rent! (2) We have an opportunity to purchase a traditional carved Tibetan shrine from Nepal. This is a large and impressive piece of traditional Tibetan furniture which would be much more suitable than our current table and boxes. It would also be supporting traditional culture and livelihood in Nepal and I'm sure would be inspiring to meditate in front of. To purchase and ship it to Australia would be about $2500. Lama Choedak has a photo of one similar if you would like to see it and perhaps sponsor to buy one. It would be a worthy companion to our beautiful throne. There are already some donations coming in for this, so everyone of us give some, may be we will have a new shrine very soon. Excited? The committe would like to hear from you. An Appeal For many years now Lama Choedak has been offering his teachings twice a week and anyone has been able to join in on Wednesdays and Sundays at no cost to themselves. Consequently, we tend to take the Centre for granted, perhaps occasionally bringing along some biscuits or flowers or milk etc. We assume Lama Choedak will always put in the hours preparing teachings and always be there in every session to lead us and answer any questions we might have. He is there all the time for us. The hours he puts in unpaid he could be using to earn personal income elsewhere. We are very fortunate here in Canberra. In other Dharma centres around the world the students pay for the teacher's accomodation, board and living expenses. Here Lama Choedak doesn't even get paid for the hundreds of phone calls he makes because of Centre activities & particulary because of the Dalai Lama's visit his phone was running hot. If we had a regular income we could consider helping with contributions towards his Telecom bill or for the midnight oil I'm sure he burns working for the Dharma. Monthly standing donation If we want the Centre to continue we need to officially acknowledge its importance in our lives. This we can do by offering a Monthly Standing Donation. The money donated would go towards rent, electricity, buying a hand-carved shrine, some flower vases, heater, updating our library etc. By pledging to pay $20-$40 per month we would be ensuring the Centre's continued growth and this would lead to more people learning about the Dharma & benefiting from it as we have done. We all have demands on our income - cars, houses, overseas trips etc - but money given to help promulgate the Dharma will help us spiritually in this life and the next. If you can kindly agree to pay $20 per month this works out at only $2.50 per session if you attended twice a week, which has to be value in anyone's language. You couldn't even get tea and biscuits to match the ones at the Centre at that price elsewhere! If you work full-time you would be able to afford at least that amount. Your support helps to create a Dharma home so that we can host visits of many important teachers and benefit the whole community at large. Please consider carefully agreeing to give a Monthly Standing Donation of an amount you think is appropriate (plus a little more to help develop your generosity). You can arrange for the amount to be taken out of your account automatically and paid monthly into the CPS Credit Union for the Sakya Losal Choe Dzong cheque account, membership number 283335. (Those members that are all ready contributing regularly to our Commonwealth account, there is no need to change. We have opened this new account as it pays better interest) Please sign the slip at the end of this Newsletter and send it to us to let us know of your generosity and commitment to maintain the Centre. You will not notice the difference in your bank statement. Who knows, donating regularly and putting a financial commitment into the Centre may even encourage you to come along more regularly (and to get more involved in how your contribution is being used) and that surely has to benefit your practice! Jenni Chen. The Change of Centre's Venue The centre's regular weekly practice groups will now meet at John Couman's house 21 Mt. Vernon Drive, Kambah, where the shrine has been set up temporarily until the committee finds a suitable house with the help of your generosity. Until further notice weekly sessions will be held there. Please let others know of this change. Using the Centre's Library Our modest library appears to be growing month after month not because people are not borrowing books but are donating many of their own. Thanks for all those donors of books. You will be surprized to see those books you couldn't afford to buy are waiting for you to read without having to pay for it. The books you have read already is no good left idle in the shelf so donate it to the centre's library and it will help others enjoy reading about the Dharma. You should make an attempt to browse through the library and find some enlightening books. We have also noticed some borrowers have not returned the books from many months, so if you have any books from the library please return them so that others can read. People who borrow books from the Centre, who are not members are requested to subscribe to the newsletter at least. Classes on the Preliminary Practices Having completed teaching on Sakya Pandita's Illuminating the Sage's Intent, Lama Choedak will now be giving teachings on Ngondro, the preliminary practices according to the Sakya Lamdre tradition on Sundays starting 16 August. Having learnt about the five paths and the ten stages of the Mahayana path, this topic is not only fitting to be taught but will appropriately lead to students to practice harder to build a sound foundation. Ngondro is the most fundamental and powerful practices which truely teaches you how to put the teachings into practice. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is essential for students to do their Ngondro practices so that smooth progress can be made to attain spiritual realization. Like a house without a proper foundation is not fit for dwelling, practitioner without completing the Ngondro can rarely make progress. The practices are direct prescriptions to purify the gross Karmic defilements and habitual negativities which hinder the mind from realizing the truth. One may practice Samatha meditation or try to be more tolerant and kinder to others but it is difficult to develop an effective practice without sound spiritual foundation which requires devotion, commitment and discipline. It is recommended that these classes are attended as regular as possible. Buddhist Approach to Conflict Resolution A One Day Workshop Conflict exists whenever human beings attempt to achieve anything either by themselves or with others. It affects the quality of life, relationship, career and our well being. Unresolved conflicts stagnate our development and brings misery for which one finds little or no solution. According to the Buddhist teaching all the sufferings can be eliminated and even transformed into positive qualities if their root causes are correctly identified. Conflict persists indefinetly as long as the root cause is not discovered and wrong techniques are implemented. The fundamental Buddhist approach to conflict centres around the idea of discovering the validity of the perceptions of one who experiences conflict and his or her use of techniques to resolve it. Conflict according to Buddhist psychology is projection of self created fear, unawareness, frustration and confusion which by over exerting the mind fails to see possibilities of dealing with the problems but chooses to escape with a self hurt mind by not forgetting and re-living the experience whether real or imagined. Normally not only we fail to understand conflicts but we deal it with complusive habitual responses which created conflicts in the first place. In this workshop Lama Choedak will use specific Kadampa Mahayana Buddhist approaches (the relentless and courageous warrior type) and his discussions will cover topics such as how to identify the nature and causes of conflicts, how to understand the perceptions of both or all parties concerned, how to contemplate on available choices of solutions, how to emotionally resolve and determine to execute the solutions and how to discipline the self by learning how to deal with emotional and relationship conflicts with understanding, patience, concentration and calmness of the mind. There will be emphasis on specially prescribed meditation practices to acquire a calm, stable and sharp state of mind. As this workshop is likely to be very popular, fill in the registration form and send it as soon as possible to secure a seat and to avoid dissappointment. When: 10 am - 4 pm Sunday 6 September '92 Where: SBC, 32 Archibald St, Lyneham Cost: $50 Conc. and Members $40 Vegetarian lunch and refreshment provided. Social and Video Night All members and friends who are interested in seeing some recorded video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit (which includes all the talks given in Canberra) are invited for a social gathering with a shared meal prior to viewing the video. Where: 10 Allumba St., Off Hoover St., QBYN When: 6.00 pm Sat. 22 Aug. 1992 RSVP by19th August 1992 Contact John Chen Ph. 297 8521(h) 250 5733 (w) Questionnaire on Death & Dying Have you sent in your response to the questionnaire given at the workshop on Death and Dying? Remember Lama Choedak wants to hear of your attitude towards Death for the book he is writing on that subject. Once you have answered the questions and given them to Lama Choedak, let Jenni Chen know and she will give you (if you attended the workshop) an audio cassette of our chanting practice session to help the deceased. Samatha Meditation Manual When Lama Choedak was overseas teaching he assembled notes for the benefit of his Malaysian Dharma students. These notes have been printed into a small booklet called "Notes on Theory & Practise of Samatha Meditation'. It consists of excellent inspirational thoughts & spurs to meditation & also a description of the Samatha practise. It is well worth reading & keeping for reference. If you would like to order your own copy, please give me $4 before September & I will arrange for more to be printed. I have a spare copy for you to view. Jenni Chen For the Record Jenni Chen is assembling a record on the history of our Centre. It includes names of participants and details of the courses and retreats that have been run. What is missing are photographs to bring the dry details to life. Please look through your album and send Jenni a copy of any photographs you may have of Centre activities with as many details as possible written on the back. These will be added to the album which is sure to create a lot of interest amongst past, present & future members. Special Days for this Quarter Month Aug Sep Oct W/Tara 2 6 4 Tshog 8/23 6/21 6/21 F/moon 13 11 11 The White Tara practice group meets at John Chen's place ( See above) at 7.OO am (participants are rostered to bring breakfast). Initiates of Vajrayogini who wish to practice together on Tshog days, please contact Lama Choedak 292 8150. Dear , This is a personal letter which I would have liked to have written to you directly but since I have the same thing to say to you all, I have decided to include it in this newsletter. As you are aware, Sakya Losal Choe Dzong, the Centre has been going on since I came to Canberra in 1989 and after three years we still do not have a place of our own. Many of the members may have found a spiritual path through the Centre but the Centre has no roof over its head. The newly elected committe members are keen to look for a house to rent for the Centre but they need your expression of commitment to help the Centre financially. In the past people came and lived at the Centre when they had to but the Centre has remained through your support and generosity. However to this day the existence of the Centre has totally relied on the mercy of its residents and we must give credit to those who shared their house for the Centre's use. The baby centre is only three years old (or young) and we as its parents have to co-operate with each other to see how we can maintain and nurture the Centre. We need to rent a place of our own and students who live in the Centre can share the costs as anywhere else sharing accomodation. But the primary lease holder must be the committe of the Centre so that members can at least feel that they have a Centre which they all support. The need of the precious Dharma is not diminishing and we know of its immense benefit when we practice it. In order to practice the Dharma we must learn and share the Dharma with fellow human beings and the role of the Centre should be recoginized and I hope you will see where do you fit in to maintain the Centre. The physical existence of the centre will encourage new people to find a place to go and learn about the Dharma and will also instil our own practice and dedication which become the causes of fostering the Dharma. I recall my early monastic days where amidst study and other monastic duties, for four years at least three hours each day I had to help carry bricks on my head and cement to the builders to help construct the monastery where I studied in Lumbini, the birth-place of the Buddha. Sleeping under trees at night we built the first floor with our own hands within six months, but the whole construction work took some five years. Today the monastery has become a important centre where there are some 40 monks. I would not mind doing it again here in Canberra if there is sufficient support from people like you. But for the time being we need as many members and friends as possible who would pledge to support the Centre so that it can continue to serve the community. If everybody gives a little help, the centre has a Karmic and moral foundation to grow and help more people. We have a saying in Tibetan: "If both the father and son help each other the soup will be cooked on time." If you do what you can to help the Centre you will feel part of it and develop a sense of belonging to the organization and it will give you the motivation and the urge to do something truely useful with your time and money. Happiness comes from the qualities of things we do with ourselves and if we are not doing something worthwhile for the benefit of others, what we normally regard as "happiness" is often hollow and meaningless. Even dogs and animals can look after their own welfare. As a human being who realizes how fortunate you are, you are bonded with the Teachings, and we must all work together for the Centre as it help us to focus to do what is beneficial to others. We know from our experience that what we do for ourselves with great hardships only brings little or no long lasting happiness. The help you give for the cause of maintaining the Centre and the precious Dharma will never go astray but it will remain long and benefit our future generation. If you respond to the Treasurer's appeal, regardless of the amount you can pledge, it will give a moral boost for the committee to do what is necessary to create a Dharma home for all of us. With your help there will be a permanent Centre with proper heating where you would feel comfortable and consider it as your second home. In short your commitment to help the Centre will give you long lasting happiness and will also encourage others to put their understanding of the Dharma into practice. In spite of my personal duties to my family, I will continue to serve the members and students of the Centre and I hope you will do the same by generously responding to the Treasurer's appeal. Please help the Centre to help others. With all the best regards and Dharma inspiration, Yours in the Dharma Lama Choedak Registration and Rental Donation Form Send to: Treasurer, Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra, P.O. Box 3430, Manuka, ACT, 2603 Yes, I would like to help support the Centre on a regular basis. I agree to pay $.......... as a monthly standing donation. Name...................................................................... Address....................................................................................................... from (date) ................................ until further notice and/or 1) I enclose a cheque for $........... as a donation towards : please tick which one(s) ( ) a hand carved shrine ( ) the Building Fund ( ) mics. expenses 2) I enclose a cheque for $ ............ as a deposit for the Workshop on Conflict Resolution 3) I enclose a cheque for $ ........... for membership/the subscription of the newsletter ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- end of file

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