Sundays, 6:00 – 7:00 PM / Dharma Talk or Gathering
January 10: Donna Morton “A One Hour Retreat”
Kum Nye Instructor and Physical Therapist Donna Morton, will offer an hour of practices, activating and integrating body, breath, mind and senses. “Let’s immerse ourselves in a healing bath of silence, sound, and gentle movement. We remind ourselves that nourishment is available to us in every moment through our senses.”
January 17: Erika Rosenberg “Fierce Compassion: Bringing Compassion into Action”
The compassionate person is moved by suffering in the world and feels motivated to do something to help alleviate it. Compassion meditation practices takes us to that point of feeling motivated to act, but how do we take it from there? What does it look like to bring compassion into tangible action that reduces suffering? In this talk, Nyingma Instructor and psychological scientist Erika Rosenberg, Ph.D. will explore the nature of fierce compassion, a quality that builds on the courage developed in compassion practice and harnesses emotional energies to alleviate suffering in the world. Dr. Rosenberg will consider traditional Buddhist views on compassion and the transformation of emotions as well as contemporary psychology and affective neuroscience in this exploration of the challenges, obstacles, and benefits of bringing compassion into engaged social action.
January 24: Mark Henderson “Meeting the Great Omniscient One, Longchenpa”
Each year, the Nyingma Institute celebrates the parinirvana of Longchenpa with special prayers and practices. Who is this great figure in Nyingma history? Why is he considered the ultimate authority on the highest teachings of Tibetan Buddhism? This talk will discuss Longchenpa’s life and accomplishments, introduce selected writings, and provide practices that immediately open a direct approach to this master of masters.
January 31: No talk due to Longchenpa retreat/chant
February 7: Hugh Joswick and Celine Dizon ”Reading the Sutras”
What is the value of reading the sutras today? Nyingma Institute members Hugh Joswick and Celine Dizon continue their discussion of the merit of studying the sutras and how that can improve understanding of the spiritual path and deepen practice. They will present short passages from the Teaching of Vimalakirti, a Mahayana sutra, and describe ways to begin a study of the Mahayana tradition.
February 14: Lama Palzang, Co-Dean, Nyingma Institute “Introduction to the Padma Garden Project “
Lama Palzang will show slides and talk about a major addition to the Nyingma Institute, the Padmakara Garden, construction for which will be mostly finished early in the New Year. The institute’s meditation garden has undergone a major redesign by renowned landscape architect, John Wong. The renovation includes stupa, prayer wheels, new retaining walls, water works, and a large open plaza surrounded by Himalayan-themed trees and plants, as well as an outdoor classroom space. The talk will also include a panel discussion with some of the volunteers who have worked for over a year to build the garden.
February 21: Olivia Hurd “Bringing Clarity and the Light of Awareness into Emotional Disturbance”
Using knowledge gleaned from directly experiencing awareness of body, breath, mind and senses, we can meet the turmoil of our emotions eye to eye, transforming them into calm, clarity, wisdom and compassion. Teachings and practices from the Nyingma Psychology tradition will be presented, that we can apply to our real life experiences.
February 28: Women’s Meditation
March 7: Suellen Ehnebuske “The Power of Breath Awareness”
All of our attitudes and actions depend on the quality of our breath as it moves throughout the body. As we cultivate awareness of breath, we are able to calm and balance ourselves even when we are emotionally upset – shifting our mental and physical state. As awareness of breath grows stronger, energy flows smoothly through body and mind, bringing us calm and clarity. Nyingma teacher and student Suellen Ehnebuske, will discuss techniques using breath to expand awareness, and offer practices to bring living energy to each present moment – whether we sit in meditation or negotiate the ups and downs of everyday life.
March 14: Abbe Blum “Accounts of a Year of Healing and Vitality: What’s It Like to do an Intensive Tibetan Yoga Training – Kum Nye”
Responding to questions from Nyingma Institute instructor Abbe Blum, a panel of students taking the year-long Nyingma Institute Kum Nye teacher training program which began in early Fall 2020 will talk about their experiences. Exploring this healing system of relaxation, each person practices postures that relieve tension, and transform negative patterns via the body-mind discipline introduced by Tarthang Tulku to Westerners. Some participants will share how they intend to pass along Kum Nye to their own communities and clients; others will talk about doing Kum Nye for their own development, “for the love of it.”
March 21: Pauline Yu “The Life of Machig Labdron and Her Chod Practices: Cutting Through Ego Clinging and Fear”
We can draw closer to the great masters by coming together to reflect on their lives and teachings. This talk is an introduction to Machig Labdrön, an 11th century Tibetan Buddhist master, who lived the life of a yogi with fearlessness, unconventionality, and deep realization, all of which one might see as reflected in the Chöd practice lineage that she originated, to cut through ego, clinging, and fear. Pauline Yu, Nyingma Institute instructor and full-time volunteer, will speak to remind, inspire and connect us to her extraordinary example.
March 28: Women’s Meditation
April 4: Ralph McFall “A Virtual Tour of Dharma Publishing “
Ralph McFall, past Dean of Nyingma Institute, and current Director, Dharma Publishing, will conduct a virtual tour of Dharma Publishing and its state-of-the-art production facility. He will talk about the Yeshe De Project, newly-published titles, and upcoming projects. The press, located at the Ratna Ling retreat center, was founded in 1975. Its titles include important Buddhist texts, and more than two dozen books by Tarthang Tulku, founder of Dharma Publishing.
April 11: Victoria Riskin “A Return to the book, Gesture of Balance, to Open the Heart”
Gesture of Balance (1977) was one of the first books published by Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche to present Buddhist ideas in an open and accessible way for English language readers. “Rather than theoretical, each of the essays in the book is written with directness, gentleness and wisdom, speaking as a caring friend from the heart to the reader,” says Victoria Riskin. It remains today one of Rinpoche’s most widely read books, presenting Buddhist ideas without indulging in theories about Buddhism, but rather stimulating the reader to reassess the situation she finds herself in, to guide and influence the reader to a more profound satisfaction. Focusing on the chapter, “Opening the Heart,” Victoria Riskin, longtime student of Tarthang Rinpoche, and accomplished filmmaker and writer, returns to Gesture of Balance forty-five years later to reflect on her personal experiences, and how these teachings bring enriched meaning to her life.
April 18: Santosh Philip “Stimulating and Transforming Energies”
What would it be like to access all the energy available within us that we could hope for? Santosh Philip, Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga and meditation instructor, will discuss the key to opening the body’s energy centers.
Practices will be included that affect specific chakras. ”As the head center opens, it becomes easy to think and communicate clearly. … When the heart center opens, separation between ourselves and others dissolves, and we become part of everything. Craving and grasping cease when the navel center opens, and a quality of energy like heat warms the whole body.”
(from Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga, by Tarthang Tulku; Dharma Publishing)
April 25: Women’s Meditation