Winter Greetings from Alameda and Happy New Year to everyone.
Lama Chonam, Sangye Khandro and students are all attending the Rinchen Terdzod Empowerments being bestowed by the Venerable Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche at Gyatrul Rinpche's center Yeshe-Nyingpo-Orgyen Dorje Den in the Bay Area. The empowerments commenced on December 1st and we are now almost one month into this experience. The schedule is set to last until about February 19th of 2011. Each day the empowerments begin at 1pm and continue until about 6pm or longer. For more information about them you can go to the Orgyen Dorje Den website (http://www.orgyendorjeden.org/).
Kyabje Dudjom established this center in 1980 and then appointed the Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche as his spiritual representative. It was Kyabje Rinpoche's wish that the center host masters from all traditions and operate in an ecumenical way. Over the years Gyatrul Rinpoche and Sangye Khandro along with many students who came and went sustained the center as best as they could. Finally, in 2001 Rinpoche was able to acquire the present center which had been a prominent mortuary in the heart of downtown Alameda. Since that time the center has hosted countless important events, in particular the teachings that are given each year by Khen Rinpoche Namdrol and translated by Light of Berotsana.
The empowerments that are presently being bestowed are also being translated by Light of Berotsana and, as of about one week ago, Shashi Reitz has been able to take the hot seat and begin doing the oral translation on her own. Sangye Khandro is seated at her side and is coaching her along as she makes great strides each day. This is one of the important goals of Light of Berotsana that is actually maturing before our very eyes and ears! After two more months of this Shashi will have arrived at another level of oral translation skill.
Each day it is necessary to prepare by reviewing the empowerment texts and reading the history of each empowerment, then to look through the sections and mark where the repetitions will occur and the specific visualizations that each attendee is required to perform. From time to time the Rinpoche will also give pointing-out instructions. We are grateful for this opportunity to learn and serve the doctrine as well as the many beings who are attending these wangs and soaking up the blessings.
So for the next two months this is where you will find us and in our spare time we are working on the Troma liturgy and waiting for the the Dispelling Darkness and Gesar of Ling manuscripts to return to our court for the final once over.
Finally we want to say that all of us are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of the most venerable Gene Smith who recently passed away. For more information on that you may go to the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center website (http://blog.tbrc.org/) in case you did not know who this great man was and what his legacy is. May this New Year see the fruition of all of our deepest wishes and goals.
Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro