Sundays, 6:00 – 7:00 PM / Dharma Talk or Gathering

August 14: Suellen Ehnebuske  Understanding Intention” Our intentions lead the way and give direction to our lives. But our intentions are often operating without our conscious knowing. The Buddha said “All experience arises from the tip of intention.” Conscious intentionality is a crucially important capacity of mind that can support and deepen our meditation practice, both on and off the cushion and strengthen our confidence in the Dharma. In this talk, we will touch on the role of intention within the Buddhist teachings of Karma. Meditation instructor, Suellen Ehnebuske will offer several short practices to strengthen awareness of our intentions and to support the cultivation of wholesome intentions benefitting ourselves and others.

August 21  Santosh Philip:  “Self-Massage as Interaction”  Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga Instructor Santosh Philip will take us on a journey of transformation,  through discussing his experience working with Kum Nye Self-Massage, and offering exercises that stimulate specific energies. “When you massage yourself, you are not affecting only one place on your body; your whole body participates in the massage. A reciprocal relationship develops between your hand and the muscle or point that the hand massages, generating feelings that stimulate interactions throughout the body.  Interaction also occurs between physical and nonphysical levels of existence, and this interaction stimulates certain energies that, not restricted to the body’s boundaries, spread to the surrounding world.”  KUM NYE TIBETAN YOGA, by Tarthang Tulku 

August 28  Women’s Meditation

September 4  Jonas LaMattery-Brownell:  Body Undetermined: Touching Kum Nye”  How fixed are our bodies?  Are bodies things, processes, energy, space?  Do boundaries apply—physical boundaries, felt boundaries, boundaries of possibility?  What does it mean to be embodied?  How can the practice of Kum Nye (Tibetan Yoga) shed light on these questions?  In Kum Nye: Tibetan Yoga, Tarthang Tulku writes, “Energy is continuously being channeled through our bodies, from cell to cell, between mind and body, as well as between ourselves and the world around us.  As we move and experience, even as we breathe, the energies within and around us continuously interact… When these energies flow smoothly… the body becomes healthy, and the mind clear.” (p. 291)  Nyingma student and Kum Nye teacher Jonas LaMattery-Brownell invites you to join in experientially (and gently) touching Kum Nye exercises and see what the light of your experience may reveal.

September 11  George Wiegand:   “Whatever is Happening Does Not Belong to You”   In this talk, George Wiegand, full-time volunteer with The Tibetan Nyingma Centers for forty years, will lead meditation practices and offer tools to develop and enhance students’ practices at home.  When we keep our meditations alive, waking up to the vitality and freshness of the present moment, we touch an experience that can benefit us off the meditation cushion, as well as in meditation sessions; what Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, founder of the Nyingma Institute and its sister organizations, calls the natural joy of being.  George refers to this experience for himself as contacting an inner space that is flexible, as spacious as needed to meet whatever experience arises. George says, “Because it isn’t me, or mine, it doesn’t belong to me – the experience, the experiencer, the response…” I can respond without reactivity, but with the antidote to reactivity: with appreciation, openness, awareness itself. If, of course, I remember I am spacious!

September 18  Hugh Joswick:  “Reading the Sutras: The Teaching of Vimalakirti”   For beginning students, reading Mahayana sutras can seem bewildering. The sutras are often addressed to those already on the bodhisattva path or are already highly realized spiritual beings, and their lengthy discourses on the nature of non-duality and union of emptiness and compassion can be challenging to read. The Teaching of Vimalakirti is special in that advanced disciples and bodhisattvas in the sutra are equally puzzled as a new reader about the mysterious figure of Vimalakirti. As a wealthy householder and fully realized lay bodhisattva, Vimalakirti intimidates many of the bodhisattvas who converse with him. But through his incisive humor and miraculous powers, Vimalakirti illustrates the Mahayana path with great clarity. A recent translation of the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa from the Sanskrit makes this sutra a suitable and entertaining entrance for beginners into the Buddha-domains of the Mahayana. Hugh Joswick, Nyingma Institute instructor, will present some of the themes and incidents in the sutra that speak to our present-day experience.

September 25  Women’s Meditation

October 2  Pauline Yu:  “Sacred Text as Transformative Space”  What might it mean to relate to a sacred text or sutra as a transformative space? Does it matter if what happens in such a story is “realistic?” Does entering its world through our imagination mean leaving ourselves behind? Join us for an introductory reflection with Pauline Yu on engaging with Buddhist sutras as a student. This talk will incorporate some meditative practice, ideas for exploring reading (and listening) as a practice, and the sharing of some key passages.

October 9  Olivia Hurd:  “Transforming Fear”  We have all experienced fear, a normal and natural part of our lives.  What might we gain through questioning fear?  What is it?  Throughout our lives we have developed patterns of avoiding what we fear. But as we get older, “these patterns grow stronger and stronger and even continue throughout other lifetimes whether or not we can remember them…” – Tarthang Tulku, OPENNESS MIND,  How can we undo these patterns? In this talk, Nyingma Psychology Instructor Olivia Hurd will discuss this universal emotion, and offer practices to help break patterns of avoidance.  We cannot change overnight, but we can start a process which will … help us to become more vital, more balanced.”  

October 16  Anita McNulty:  “Healing through Positive Energy”  In order to develop and maintain health and balance, it is important to treat the body and mind as an integrated system.  To do this, it is helpful to carefully observe their interrelationship and to learn how this interrelationship works.” – Tarthang Tulku, GESTURE OF BALANCE.  In this talk, Kum Nye Instructor Anita McNulty will touch on mind/body connection, particularly as understood through Kum Nye.  We will do some simple practices that help develop positive or joyous feelings and attitudes, and explore how we might use some of these teachings and practices in practical, everyday applications.  

October 23  Suellen Ehnebuske:  “The Five Spiritual Faculties”  In this talk, Meditation Instructor Suellen Ehnebuske will explore the Buddha’s teachings of the Five Spiritual Faculties which can support us as we navigate the spiritual path in both a pragmatic and clarifying ways. Contemplating and strengthening each of the five: Confidence (faith), Effort, Mindfulness, Concentration, and Discernment (wisdom) encourages reflection on what is happening in our practice and deepens our understanding of the mind and how it works. 

October 30  Women’s Meditation

November 6  Iris Maitland:  “Living Life in the Breath with OM AH HUM”   Tarthang Tulku writes in HIDDEN MIND OF FREEDOM, “For many centuries mantras have been used in spiritual practice to focus and transform subtle energies.  The practice of mantra enables us to restore a natural balance and harmony in our lives and to arrive at a quality of awareness that leads directly to the realization of enlightenment.”  The sacred syllables OM AH HUM are used in many different kinds of meditation to transform and integrate body, breath and mind. Longtime student of Tarthang Rinpoche and teacher of Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga, Iris Maitland will discuss her personal healing experiences with meditation and chanting practices using OM AH HUM, and will present a practice as part of the presentation.  

November 13  Abbe Blum:  “Healing Body and Mind”   When is healing the same as being cured—involving recovering, rehabbing, restoring? Can we heal ourselves?  What is needed, and how might easing the body also ease the mind, and the reverse? This talk by Abbe Blum, Kum Nye Instructor, includes contemplation and relaxation practices.

November 20  Donna Morton:  “Kum Nye and Chronic Pain”  How does someone with chronic pain engage the practice of Kum Nye? Perusing the Kum Nye text or having attended a class, you may be daunted by the physical rigor required to practice many of the exercises, or even the challenge of sitting still and attending to bodily sensations. Yet you may have a sense that Kum Nye offers a meaningful path if you can engage it with care. Donna Morton, Kum Nye Instructor and Physical Therapist,  will explore ways in which Kum Nye can help us turn towards, open, and befriend our experience with interest and compassion.

November 27  Women’s Meditation

December 4  Ken McKeon:  “TSK: An Accessible Vision”  We ordinarily go about our days as actors and audience.  We are both sides, two faced, doers and commentators.  We are decidedly divided.  This seems to simply be an unavoidable given.  Perhaps both sides of the doubly divided have the same source, the same birthing.  Tarthang Tulu’s teaching offers us the chance to discover and investigate the activating ways of being.  Ken McKeon, longtime student of Tarthang Tulku and Instructor of the Time, Space and Knowledge Program, will take up that offer in this Dharma talk.  

December 11  Mark Henderson:  The Longchen Nyingtik Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Its History and Fundamentals”  The formal tradition of practice followed at the Nyingma Institute is the Longchen Nyingtik, established by Rigdzin Jigmed Lingpa (1730-1798).  His profound visionary work inspired one of the most influential living traditions of Buddhist practice in all Tibetan history.  This talk by Institute Instructor, Mark Henderson, will explore the origins of this powerful lineage of spiritual practice, the three principal styles of its transmission, and share some beautiful and inspiring poetic verses from Rigdzin Jigmed Lingpa’s essential teachings, still vital and important today.  

December 18  Richard Kingsland:  “The Six Mother Monasteries of the Nyingma Tradition “  Richard Kingsland, long-term student of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche with extensive travel experience in North India, Nepal, Bhutan and a little bit in eastern Tibet, will discuss the origin and histories of the six primary Nyingma monasteries – Kathok, Dorje Drak, Palyul, Dzogchen, Mindroling, and Shechen – the main teachings and traditions that they upheld, and the illustrious masters that taught and practiced at each of them. He will also touch on the history of Samye, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery, founded by Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita, and King, Tri-Song Detsen, which was originally Nyingma, but was subsequently taken over by the Sakya school.

December 25  Nyingma Institute CLOSED for Holiday break