2011 Events & Activities
Photo courtesy of Lawrence Causey
First Thursday Public Talks
Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim
On the first Thursday of each month--exceptions will be noticed here--Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim gives a dharma talk that is open to the public on a variety of buddhist topics. The talks begin at 7:00 PM.
Please, Note: All Nalanda Institute teachings and meditation practices will be held at our new Meditation Hall, 1620 Fourth Ave E., Olympia, WA - not at the Vietnamese Temple. NeedDirections?
Contemplative Science - Dharma Practice from a Research Perspective
Emergence of close collaborative research studies between Buddhist scholars/adept meditators and western researchers has developed a new field of study called Contemplative Neuroscience and Clinical Science. These research studies have brought fresh insight and experience regarding the effectiveness of Mindfulness, Vipassana and Compassion in treating or preventing relapses of various clinical conditions. This research demonstrates not only clinical application but also reinforces classical understanding and benefits for Dharma practitioners engaging with these practices. There will be three parts for this topic:
First Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 7 PM
Integrating Mindfulness/ Vipassana in daily life and dealing with obstacles
First Thursday, Dec 1, 7 PM
Actual instruction on the theory and practice of Mindfulness/ Vipassana
First Thursday, Nov 3, 7 PM
Foundation teachings with the emphasis on
These teaching topics are designed for both beginners and continuing meditation practitioners. The combination of classical method and research findings will greatly help practitioners establish and maintain their meditation practice. Health professionals can also enhance their knowledge and skills in mindfulness application in their respective fields.
Note: Photo courtesy of Barbara Stone
First Thursday, October 6
This monthly teaching is postponed. Regular Thursday meditation will be held. It will remain at Lien Hoa Vietnamese Temple, not at new center. Monthly teachings to start in November at our new center.
Winter Teaching Topics: Classical and Modern Meditation Practice and Theory, at our new Dharma Center
First Thursday, September 1
The usual First Thursday of the Month teaching is canceled. August was a very busy month for Geshe Jamyang and all the active Nalanda members. We hosted H.H. Sakya Trizin on Aug 12, we scrambled hard to get our new meditation center ready for him to consecrate (which he did), and Geshe Jamyang and his wife had a baby on Aug 25. We will have our regular Thursday meditation practice on Thursday, September 1.
First Thursday, August 4
How to Receive Buddhist Teachings
Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim
Lama Lungrik Gyatso
As you know, on Aug 12 H. H. Sakya Trizin will be teaching in Olympia. In the overall organization of Tibetan Buddhism he is one step below the level of the Dalai Lama. He is also a highly realized and accomplished teacher. On both counts he is due great respect. To get the most benefit from attendance at this teaching, it’s helpful for students to understand two aspects of being in the presence of a high Lama: 1) the best frame of mind or attitude for a student and 2) the protocols for the event. On Aug 4, Geshe Jamyang and Lama Lungrik will explain both of these elements. Topics include:
- Relationship between teacher and student
- Differences between an initiation and a teaching
- Any preparation or vows associated with the initiation
- Motivation and mind-set for receiving the initiation
- Motivation and mind-set for receiving the teaching
- Protocols for events or ceremonies with a high lama, such as
- Handling texts
- Making offerings
First Thursday, July 7
Consciousness and Life After Death
Is there a stream of consciousness or a life after our deaths? This is an important topic in the general spiritual realm and particularly in Buddhist traditions. If there is no continuing life or rebirth, what happens to the concept of law of causality, i.e., the concept of cause and result? Would the world become a realm of spiritual anarchy? Would that be acceptable for us?
This talk will focus on the idea of a "stream of consciousness" that has some kind of continuity over many rebirths. It will also emphasize the methods to guide ourselves into a continuing path of full individual transformation.
First Thursday, June 2
Western Physics Views of Reality
This month's First Thursday features a guest speaker, Sonam Dorje. Sonam is known in the Tibetan community as SciencePala (Father of Science). He was the first Tibetan to ever receive a PhD in Physics. The title also recognizes however that he is very well studied in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy as well. He completed several years of monk's studies in Buddhist philosophy at Sakya College, India. Due to his proficiency in science however, he was encouraged to pursue that path and went on to complete bachelors, masters and PhD level studies in Physics at Punjab University, India. In the United States he worked for over 15 years for Amgen (Seattle biotech company) so he also knows a lot about the amazingly complex field of genetics and biochemistry.
In this talk he will share his personal understandings of the differences and similarities between Western physics and Buddhist philosophy. Sonam speaks excellent English and is obviously extremely accomplished on both ends of this spectrum. Its not just academics though. As a Tibetan, a deep Buddhist practitioner, and a highly educated person, Sonam has given a lot of thought to this question of Eastern philosophy and Western science. We are honored and fortunate to have someone with his background in our community. Don't miss what promises to be a highly engaging and informative talk.
First Thursday, May 5:
End of Life Dharma Practices - Part II
Geshe Jamyang will continue the discussions on understanding and preparing for the end of life from a Buddhist perspective. The presentation will cover different elements but will touch on the same general list of topics as the April talk.
First Thursday, April 7:
End of Life Dharma Practices
The April First Thursday talk by Geshe Jamyang will be about understanding and preparing for the end of life - either for yourself or for others. Geshe will provide a Buddhist perspective for practitioners but will also discuss how to effectively assist others who are not Buddhist and don't have that view of the end of life. As time permits, topics will include the following:
- Relationship between meditation and final stages of life
- Helpful practices for preparing for ones own death
- Buddhist view of the stages of dying
- Helping others prepare for their death
- Dealing with grief
Note that this years annual meditation retreat has the same general topic so what is not covered on April 6 will be addressed at the retreat or at the May first Thursday teaching.
February 10 and March 3, First Thursdays:
The Heart Sutra
Geshe will teach on the context, content and meaning of this fundamental Mahayana Buddhist sutra. In addition to showing how to understand the unusual text, Geshe will teach on how to use the heart sutra as a practice through reflection, intention, and recitation. More detail on the topics for each month will be forthcoming.
Geshe suggests reading one or both of the following texts as preparation for this important subject. They can be found at Snow Lion, Wisdom, Amazon or other book stores or websites.
- Essence of the Heart Sutra -
Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Author; Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Editor
- The Heart of the Universe - Exploring the Heart Sutra
by Mu Soeng
First Thursday, Jan 6:
Development and maintaining the state of mental equanimity is the heart of the Buddhist teaching and practice, especially at the initial and intermediate stages of spiritual practices. From this perspective, human mental and emotional instability (spiritual mood swings) are due to a lack of insight and experience in dealing with eight conventional experiences, which are: extremes of happiness and unhappiness; loss and gain, fame and loss of fame; and admiration and belittling. Shanti Deva (a well-known scholar) views these eight human mental states or emotions as the sources of anger and dissatisfaction of our daily lives.
This monthly teaching will explore the the effect of these 8 worldly states of mind and ways to achieve a peaceful mind for 2011.
"The nature of mind is clear and luminous. But obscurations are adventitious"
"Stains [of the mind] are adventitious, Qualities [of the mind] are inherent."
from Sublime Continuum by Maitreya/Asanga
The Nature of Mind / Consciousness
courtesy of Mind & Life Institute
The Nature of Mind/Consciousness Program is designed for the individual to experience a range of awakening minds and transform afflictive mental states. It encompasses the essential Buddhist teachings and contemplative practices to help us achieve that end. These methods are also integrated with the development of altruistic attention (Bodhicitta) and actions (six paramitas) in order to inspire us to recognize the very nature of mind: the state of clarity and spaciousness.
In addition to the Buddhist classical approaches, we will watch DVD’s from The Mind & Life Institute describing the latest research on contemplative neuroscience. This is a field that combines the direct results of recent decades of collaborative research and dialogue among Western scientists, Buddhist scholars and adept meditators.
Duration and commitments
This study and practice program is designed to be one year long. However, you may join at any time. It follows the Tibetan calendar ending in Feb. 2012. The program is aligned with TNI's annual retreat May 21, 2011 and special teaching events in August 2011 by His Holiness Sakya Trizin.
Participants need to commit to engaging in assigned continuing practices, readings, and attending monthly meetings.
Students are encouraged to enroll as paid members of TNI in order to support TNI’s mission and vision. Nevertheless, any interested person is welcome regardless of ability to contribute to TNI financially.
3-hour monthly meetings occur on the second Sunday of the each month, 10am to 1pm. Meeting dates are: April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, Aug. 14, Sept. 11, Oct 9, Nov. 13, Dec. 4, 2011 and Jan.8, 2012.
The Nature of Mind/Consciousness Program consists of three stages:
- Foundational level practice (April, May and June)
- Actualization level practice (July, Aug. Sept. and Oct.)
- Integration of practices into daily life (Nov. Dec. and Jan. 2012)
Foundational level practice (April, May and June)
All participants can select one of following meditation practices:
- Mindfulness practice as decribed in Minfulness in Plain English: Updated and Expanded Edition by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
- Shamata practice (concentration with mindfulness and awareness) as described in The Attention Revolution by B. Allan Wallace
Program teacher and Coordinator
Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim will lead this program
For location and details about this study group call (360) 786-1309, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairs will be provided. Please bring your meditation cushion if you prefer, and some layered warm clothes.
Preparation for End of Life and Afterlife
-- Care by and for Survivors--
This annual retreat is designed to elaborate on the public talks on preliminary and actual End of Life Dharma Practice given by Geshe Jamyang at the April and May first Thursday teachings. The retreat will also cover use and integration of the Tibetan phowa practice (transferring of subtle consciousness). These approaches to End of Life practice will be explained in detail based on the Mahayana Bodhisattva practices (Lojong-thought transformation) and Tantrayana practices (Amitabha phowa). Each participant will identify personal practices and develop maintenance and practice guidelines for the end of life stage. Survivors will learn and design traditional 49 days' memorial and spiritual practices. All participants will, as a group, design a spiritual support program to guide both the dying person and survivors.
Our guest teacher, Abbot Jampa Tenphel graduated from Dzongser Institute with a Loppon degree in India and Ordained as a abbot in 2004. He is currently a resident teacher at the Sakya Monastery in Seattle. Geshe Jamyang is a resident teacher at Nalanda Institute and Lama Lungrik is our resident monk and ritual master at Nalanda.
For detailed biography Abbot Jampa Tenphel, see Sakya Monastery website
- Send an email to us, confirming that you plan to attend
- Bring your money to a Thursday or Saturday practice prior to the retreat. Or, pay at the door on May 21
- Send an email telling us you plan to attend. (please do this, thank you)
Fee: $60 for Nalanda Members who have paid dues in 2011; $75 for non-members. Fees defray cost of the facility, teachers, and materials. Financial hardship rates are available, contact us.
Food: Vegetarian Potluck Lunch - please bring a favorite veggie dish.
Directions: Go North on South Bay Rd. After intersection with Hawks Prairie Rd it becomes Johnson Point Rd, look for address and Bodhi House sign on your right.
Friday, August 12:
His Holiness Sakya Trizin
Teaching in Olympia
This is a very special event for The Nalanda Institue (TNI). H.H. Sakya Trizin is the head of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism, one of four main orders (or branches) of Tibetan Buddhism. As such, His Holiness is directly under the Dalai Lama in the hierarchy and leadership of worldwide Tibetan Buddhism. H. H. Sakya Trizin is widely respected throughout the Buddhist world and has taught extensively in Asia, Europe, and N. America. He is totally fluent in English, he is a great scholar, and he has very actively supported the Dharma by building both monasteries and Buddhist colleges, as well as supporting ordained and lay practitioners alike throughout the world. H.H. Sakya Trizin was a major teacher and model for Geshe Jamyang, and it is through that connection that we have the good fortune to be able to bring him to Olympia.
Schedule of Teachings
Friday, August 12
9 am - noon
The Nature of Mind
The Nature of Mind/Consciousness encompasses all essential teachings and methods of the Buddhist philosophy of mind and contemplative practices that help an individual experience levels of the awakening mind. These practices also help to transform afflictive mental states.
Buddhist learning approaches emphasize both analytical and experiential ways of knowing and transforming our mind. The methodologies include systematic cultivation of stable/refined mind, mindfulness and meta-awareness, analytical insight, and direct experience as well as metaphors. These methods are also integrated with the development of altruistic attention and actions in order to engage and inspire one to know the very nature of mind: the state of clarity and emptiness (spaciousness).
Friday, August 12
2pm - 5pm
Initiation of Chenrezig:
A Thousand Arms and Eyes of
Compassion and Wisdom
"A Bodhisattva does not need to train in many practices; instead train in one sole practice.
If you ask what that sole practice is, it is great compassion."
from Dharmasangiti Sutra
The quality of compassion is viewed as the root source of all enlightened qualities. It is an indispensable factor for motivating at the beginning, for maintaining in the middle, and for advancing at the mature stage of enlightenment. The Vajrayana Path introduces a creative method of cultivating great compassion through visualization, recitation and meditation. This unique form of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, has a thousand arms and eyes that compassionately relieve the suffering of all beings, and the causes of that suffering.
This particular initiation and practice is integrated with the Buddhist fasting and purification practice called “Nyungne” in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition. This initiation and form of practice is recommended for anyone who aspires to maintain balanced spiritual and physical well being.
*Note: The image of His Holiness Sakya Trizin was provided through the generosity of hhthesakyatrizin.org
Photo by Lawrence Causey
Nalanda Meditation Hall GRAND OPENING
Sunday Jan 8, 2012 -- 9 am to 5 pm
1620 Fourth Ave E., Olympia, WA
To commemorate the opening of our own physical Dharma Center on Fourth Ave, Nalanda Institute has invited His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche to perform an opening ceremony and a Chenrezig Empowerment. Dagchen Rinpoche is head of one of the two main branches of the Sakya Order and is the founder of Sakya Monastery in Seattle. Geshe Jamyang and several board members have had a long and close relationship with Rinpoche and Sakya Monastery for many years. Over 20 years ago, Rinpoche’s sponsorship of Geshe Jamyang enabled him to settle in Olympia.
Come join us to celebrate this completion of a long-held aspiration. If you are interested in Tantric meditation, please take this opportunity to receive the requisite empowerment. We are requesting a $25 donation for the opening ceremony and empowerment, though no one turned away.
Schedule of Day's Events
9:15 amAttendees Arrive: Please come to meditation hall early to prepare for Rinpoche’s arrival and make sure we are all there when he arrives.
10:00 amOpening Ceremony: H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche arrives and begins opening ceremonies.
11:30 amChenrezig Empowerment: Everyone is invited to attend and receive this blessing. If you plan to do Chenrezig practice, this is a good opportunity to receive the requisite empowerment from a great tantric master. $25
1:00 pmLunch: Nalanda will host Dagchen Rinpoche and attendants at a local restaurant. Everyone is also invited to come.
2:00 pmOpen House: Members and Friends of Nalanda Institute are invited to drop in to see and celebrate our new home, visit, learn about 2012 programs, etc. Light refreshments will be provided. FREE