Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso, Rinpoche --a teacher from the Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism-- visits Austin in late May of this year.
Hosted by the Palri Pema Od Ling community, Gyatso will give a three-day teaching on the foundational practices known as Ngondro. Ngondro are the preliminary practices carried out before formal initiation into Tantrayana (Tantric vehicle) Buddhism. Ngondro is a mental discipline, as well as various physical practices.
The mental reorientation cultivates the desire to become Awakened in order to help others overcome suffering. The principal method is the development of 'karuna' - a sense of almost unbearable empathy and compassion, combined with 'prajna,' the insight or wisdom required to assist in an authentic capacity. The combination of these two qualities produces what is known as 'bodhicitta' - a very complex physical and cognitive threshold that literally means 'Awakened Mind.' This translation, unfortunately, doesn't address the physicality of bodhicitta, which is the basis of Tantra.
The physical practices of Ngondro are
- Collection of the Vajrasattva mantra (requires empowerment)
- Prostrations to the Teacher
- Mandala offerings
- Guru puja practice (a meditation/ritual)
Traditionally, each of these is performed from 50-100,000 times in an effort to purify the five 'poisons' of existence, and render the aspirant ready for Tantric empowerment.
Most of Gyatso's presentations will be teachings, empowerments and vows. But Sunday afternoon hosts a feast/ritual that will burn off all of the infelicities or errors of the previous days' events and celebrate the possibility of Enlightenment. If you have never been to a formal Tsok, please bring food, flowers or liquid refreshment to share. The grounds of Palri Pema Od Ling are truly beautiful, in a Spring that is turning out to be one of Austin's most expressive.
Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso's Teaching Schedule
Teaching on the outer preliminaries Ngondro practice
Friday, May 21, 7pm - 9pm
"Amitabha Buddha Empowerment" & "Refuge and Bodhicitta" Teachings
Saturday, May 22, 10am - 12pm
"Refuge and Bodhicitta" Teachings ('refuge vows' are the gateway event into formal Buddhism)
Saturday, May 22, 2:30pm - 5pm
"Refuge and Bodhicitta" Teachings Sunday, May 23, 10am - 12pm
Celebration: Guru Rinpoche Tsog Puja with Khenchen
Sunday, May 23, 2:30pm - 5pm
These events will be held at the Padma House, 605 E. 45th St., Austin, TX 78751. Parking is limited. Please do not use the church lot across the street or the apartment lot. You can park on side streets off of 45th Street.