Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kopan Monastery - monsoon schedule

I have just updated my Google Calendar to show my teaching programme from June 2009 in Kopan Monastery. If you would like to view what is happening, please go to this link (cut and paste into your browser):


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Australian humour!

Hello all - this selection of Australian humour was sent to me by a dear friend and I thought to post it here, so you will gain some understanding of my humour and why it is as it is!! No excuses.......

These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humour


Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? ( UK ).

A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.


Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? ( USA )

A: Depends how much you've been drinking.


Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden )

A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.


Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? ( USA )

A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe .
Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not
... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.


Q: Which direction is North in Australia ? ( USA )

A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.


Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? ( UK )

A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.


Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? ( France )

A: Only at Christmas.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody. I will be writing to you next time from New Zealand in 2009.......with love and prayers, Ven. Namgyel.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Flat out and not on the beach!

This is my last blog before leaving for my four day marathon of flight after flight. It has been really busy since arriving in Cancun. The Tara retreat went very well, however we didn't finish the commentary on the 21 Praises to Tara, but we did yesterday at the end of the teachings I was giving in the city. Monday last, I visited the prison and taught to over a 100 prisoners and afterwards some of them came up to me and thanked me profusely for taking the time to visit them. It is the noisiest and most difficult prison that I had taught in; can't imagine what it would be like to live with that noise all day every day.

I have been staying with Hilda, who is 74 years young and drives so fast she reminds me of a racing car driver! Her sister is 83 and they both attended the retreat (every session) and every evening for the teachings. In addition Hilda cooked for me, and facilitated everything that needed to happen. She is a jewel and certainly will never be forgotten by me.

Don't think there is anything else to say, the group here is very nice and most definitely welcoming. They are doing their best to help others with the Dharma and individually to be good human beings, so I think they are doing very well. I didn't see much of Cancun, but it looks like a beautiful place. I am not keen on entering the water, as you all know, so I definitely did not go diving, but they say that the reefs and coral around here are beautiful. Hasta luego and see you soon!

By the way, the schedule of courses for my next monsoon programme has been finalised, so please check in the next few days on the Kopan website: www.kopan-monastery.com. It will be very interesting, including a New Habits course for Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Xalapa more news......

The retreat finished on a really good note with Dorje Khadro fire puja and the following morning some of the students took refuge.

On Tuesday, I had been invited to visit the prison which is outside of Xalapa, about an hour's drive away. Patto had told me over and over it is a freezing cold place, and even though it has turned cold in Xalapa I really didn't believe it could be THAT cold. Anyway, it was! When we arrived at the prison, shrouded in fog, it was cold, but during the talk plus questions and answers, it got colder and colder. After more than two hours when we were leaving, we were told the temperature was minus 2C....then I really did believe Patto!

My constant thought was for the staff and prisoners - how they coped with the cold, which would get even more intense and bitter next month. I gave a talk on the Four Noble Truths and suffering; how to make maximum use of the time in prison. The prisoners and all the psychology staff who attended the talk seemed very happy with the meeting and I really enjoyed the questions afterwards. I felt privileged to have been allowed into the prisoner's private lives and very much look forward to seeing them again next year, if I return to Mexico.

Tuesday evening, a talk given for the Xalapa Buddhist Group, which belongs to Venerable Thubten Chodron. We had an interesting evening discussing emotions, particularly anger and this afternoon (Wednesday) I am visiting another prison and in the evening I will finish my talk on the emotions. Thursday morning we are driving about four hours to PUEBLA in order for me to catch a plane at 3pm for Cancun and the Tara retreat on the beach. The following week, Monday another talk in a prison, to about 400 people and then teaching every night before flying out to Nepal on the 30th. My time in Mexico has been extremely busy, as you can see from the schedule, but what I didn't mention are the interviews and letters to answer in between teachings. There isn't much spare time, which means I can't be getting into too much trouble, ha ha! I really love the Mexican people, they are so open and warm and they genuinely want to improve their minds, so it is a teacher's paradise.

When you next hear from me, I will be basking in the warmth of Cancun. Take care everybody, have a very enjoyable holiday season and remember to be careful with all that attachment and desire espcially for sensory objects!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


We are in a wonderful location, surrounded by trees, birds and just nature! So nice after being in Mexico City with it's background of sirens and other noises. The people who are hosting the retreat are extremely nice, the gompa is beautiful and we are now experiencing a harmony amongst the group. More news soon........

Saturday, November 8, 2008


A friend of mine is looking for a photograph of the new gompa at Boudhanath stupa - the Padmasambhava Gompa opposite the stupa. This year Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche performed many ceremonies there in June. If you have a photo, please let me know. I am just leaving Mexico City, having taught to a group of interested people in the south of the city and then the fpmt group on Thursday night. Karla was extremely helpful towards me, lending me her apartment and her cat (who I tried to tame!) Now we are travelling five hours to Xalapa for the Medicine Buddha retreat.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

There is always hope in the world......

I received a photo of His Holiness with Obama but unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to reproduce it here. However, there is a copy of a letter written to Obama from Alice Walker, and reproduce that:

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place.
It is really only to say:
Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax.
From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job.
That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely.
However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Have a good laugh on me..........

  It is amazing how many new friends one can make driving from town to town. This man is a devotee of the Hari Krishna and gave me a free balloon, which he had fashioned into a dog!
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Whoops I lost Torreon....

Between Guadalajara and Durango there was Torreon and the Rinchen Zangpo Group, but somehow I either forgot to write something or it didn't get posted. I am sorry about that - you see I am not perfect!

The group was very warm and welcoming and there is a resident teacher, Jampa Shaneman a Canadian who has been living in Mexico for four years. Again lots of teachings, interviews and special people. What stands out in my mind is the teachings on the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva which really stimulated people into feeling they must develop compassion. Carmen is the co-ordintor of the group and she very kindly invited me to lunch with her family - which turned out to be a big party, average for Mexico I was told. Delicious food and good company.

I visited the Bonpo stupa with Pilar a dear friend and her aunty - that is a memorable experience. It is a beautiful retreat centre with the stupa in the middle - very nicely designed and a really nice place for contemplation.

The group very sweetly asked me to return next year and continue the teachings and I very much look forward to doing that.

Serlingpa Medicine Buddha

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Retreat at Serlingpa

You can see the result of Medicine Buddha retreat on the faces of the people! We transformed the gompa into a pure realm, with so many water bowls, flower offerings, light offerings and the offering of prayer and mantra. Before sessions 35 Buddha with prostrations and finishing the day with King of Prayers dedication. Vajrasattva in the evenings. Everybody said they felt very purified, especially after we finished with Dorje Khadra fire puja!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Really sorry, but there hasn't been much free time to update my blog. After Durango, a five hour drive to Aguascalientes and the Bengungyel Centre which is located in a really beautiful house. I taught seven cause and effect as well as other teachings and we had a very appreciative crowd. Martha, the new Director, Carmen her assistant and Sergio took care of me very well and really organised the teachings in a professional way. After that I drove to Guadalajara (back home!) and my three days off, which turned into many interviews with people who had heard me teach, teaching three nights, one of which was a beginner's meditation with over 50 people. Thursday, we flew to Tuluca and then a three hour drive to Serlingpa Retreat Centre. The Medicine Buddha Retreat has nearly finished with over 20 really keen people who have kept total silence, NOT EASY IN MEXICO! After this, Mexico City and a teaching to for a Music Association on Thursday morning and then Thursday evening the new study group in Mexico City (FPMT).....well, adios amigos!! Yes my Spanish is coming along very well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Drive from Durango

  The first weekend in Durango I taught 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva which we didn't finish so we had to continue on Thursday evening. Followed by a birthday cake and presents for Brenda, Cesar's wife. In addition to teaching, I had a television appearance, a radio show and a public talk - it seemed all the publicity worked because over 90 people came to the talk.

Finished teaching "Healing Emotions" on the weekend in Durango - about 35 people attended - and then there were many interviews with various students asking advice about their Dharma practice.

Well done Cesar and his team of workers in Durango - the Padmasambhava Study Group has great potential to help many beings.

On Monday we left Durango in the morning, with Martha and Elvia and Lourdes, and here is a photo of one of the cities on the way. Beautiful view and then a cable car ride down to the bottom!
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Guadalajara comments

Hello everybody: somebody asked me to post the following comments on my blog and initially I thought it was too much, too kind, but then I thought, people criticise me and that is fine so why isn't reading about people's good way of thinking also fine? So here it is:


Having the opportunity to change our minds and planting precious seeds on our mind continuum is a rare one. And this is exactly what Venerable’s teachings meant for many of us listening to them. At the end of the first teaching we could have a sense of what this visit would be for all the students when a woman said in a very moving way to Venerable: “I don’t have any questions. I just want to say thank you so much because from now on the purpose of my life has changed”.

Almost everyday we had a lot of rain but that was not an obstacle for Dharma students to attend to Venerable’s teachings where He showed us that the way for true happiness is developing true compassion towards others. His unique sense of humor and the clarity through which he express the Dharma were key for us to start to understand the real meaning of compassion on our everyday lives, away from the cushion.

I would like to end this mini-story by sharing something with you that I personally thinks that describes what many of us could appreciate from his presence.

Nearly to the end of his visit at Guadalajara, a member of the centre told me: “I am really moved by him, I’ve noticed that his kindness is so that just now I understood that his dedication towards others never stops… everything he says, does or talks, even when he is not teaching at the Gompa, is meant to teach something to someone…it is like he is always thinking on what others need to learn… and he takes on the opportunity to do so even with the smallest everyday things.”

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Medicine Buddha retreats...

Many people keep asking me about Medicine Buddha retreats - there is one at Serlingpa Retreat Centre in October 2008 and another one in Xalapa for ten days.
If you want further details, please write to me, much love, Venerable.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Link to the Google Earth map of the tour

Hi everybody, there has been great interest from around the world about this tour, so Laura my translator/assistant has put together a map so you can visually see where I am going, it also gives details of the teachings if you click on that particular centre. Much love, Venerable.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tara Retreat in Cancun, Mexico.

If you want a beautiful place to do retreat, led by myself, the Tara devotee, please do look at the website on this hotel. It looks absolutely stunning. A beautiful location for a beautiful Buddha!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rinchen Zangpo

  Today I visited the Bonpo stupa on the outskirts of Torreon. There is a large retreat centre there, which is really well laid out and organised.

The teachings at Rinchen Zangpo were very well attended - especially the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva weekend. Today we celebrated Guru Puja, very joyfully in English led by our Umze Mr Jampa. Now I move on to Durango.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Make your Mind an Ocean

This photo is of the road outside the Buddhist centre in Guadalajara, the day I started teaching!

Lama Yeshe said: When you meditate, you can see why today you're up, tomorrow you're down: mood swings are caused by your mind. People who don't check within themselves come up with very superficial reasons like, "I'm unhappy today because the sun's not shining," but most of the time your ups and downs are due to primarily psychological factors.

If you are interested to read more, please go to www.LamaYeshe.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Serlingpa, Zitacuaro

This is the beautiful Maitreya image in Serlingpa's Gompa, Zitacuaro. I taught there last weekend and we had nearly 40people attending the Reiki beginners course. A really inspiring group of people brought together by the indomitable Rocio and her husband Jaime. What was most amazing were the teenagers who said "We also have stress you know, and we need to know how to handle it, what to do, and now we feel we can meditate!" That was a truly great result, achieved through Reiki. There were people who had experienced aches and pains for years but who felt much better at the end of the weekend. Half the course participants were non-Buddhist and they said they went away understanding a little more about Buddhists and Buddhist monks (only seen before on TV) and feeling that the Buddha's teachings must be about love and compassion. I return to Serlingpa in October for Reiki Two/Three and a Medicine Buddha retreat. Truly looking forward to it.

There were so many inspiring stories, but I can't go into that now as we have arrived in Guadalajara and I am starting to teach tomorrow.

Keep coming back to the blog for updates!
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mexico City

The flight was long but really comfortable and we landed exactly on time - Lufthansa! Anyway, Laura and Edgardo met me at the airport. That was Friday night. Saturday I went to Puebla to visit a student of mine, Mary Carmen, her husband, her sister and friends. A really nice day out. From Monday we have teachings given by Geshe Sopa la, Yangtse Rinpoche and Jadho Rinpoche.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The retreat with Spanish business people finished on a very optimistic and high note. The participants were absolutely great. Vajrayogini Institute was a perfect background for the retreat. I really enjoyed staying in the Institute and very much look forward to returning there in the future. Francois and Violette who work at the Institute were so busy with Choden Rinpoche's teachings and yet they always had time for us and helped us in many ways. Thank you so much.
Now I am staying with a dear friend, Stefano and his wife Lisa and their children near Toulouse. On Friday I fly from here to Frankfurt and then on to Mexico City. It is a really long flight but I have been assured that Lufthansa is a great airline, so let's see. I was extremely impressed by Qatar Airlines service by the way, and think it would be hard to beat. It really is nice to not have your knees jammed into the seat in front and for the staff to be kind and responsive.
AT the moment I am working on a commentary to the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva which is one of the retreats that I will be leading in Mexico.

I am just up to the 6th verse and would like to share it with you:

When you rely on them your faults come to an end
And your good qualities grow like the waxing moon.
Cherish spiritual teachers
Even more than your own body -
This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

Really makes you think, doesn't it? I feel I truly do cherish my Gurus and am very thankful to have met such amazing beings in this ocean of suffering!

As many of you know, I am on the road for the next three months in Mexico and would really appreciate it if you only write when necessary and don't include me in circulars that are being sent out to lots of people. Thanks so much for your understanding. In return I will update the blog whenever I can and post some photos of Mexico. You are all in my thoughts and prayers, as you know. Please keep studying and meditating on the lam rim and in that way, for sure, your mind will improve.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My travels in the last few days

After finishing the last Reiki course at Kopan, the following day I flew to Pokhara to visit one of my Gurus, Choeding Rinpoche, who is the reincarnation of Geshe Benkungyel (famous in the lam rim). Rinpoche had sent a message to me, that if I had time, I should come and visit before leaving Nepal. After requesting Khen Rinpoche for permission to go, I flew to Pokhara as I actually don't have that much time at all! I was very fortunate to have two audiences of two hours each, during which time Rinpoche kept encouraging me to teach, to benefit others with Bodhichitta, and lots more sage and wonderful advice. I fairly floated back to Kathmandu, astounded by how kind and wise Rinpoche really is. Sonam, the manager of our Pokhara Buddhist Centre translated for me and again, I feel so grateful to Sonam for gifting his time and patience in helping me communicate with Rinpoche. Thursday, flight to Doha, Paris then Toulouse where I am being met by an old friend, and will spend a couple of days with his family before teaching a group of Spanish lawyers in Vajrayogini Institute. Then Mexico. Ole!

Something for you to consider.....

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.....

As the shadow follows the body,
as we think, so we become.

From the Dhammapada, Sayings of the Buddha.

Something for you to consider.....

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.....

As the shadow follows the body,
as we think, so we become.

From the Dhammapada, Sayings of the Buddha.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Animal Sanctuary

Hello everybody, I just received an interesting newsletter regarding the Animal Sanctuary which has been planned near Kopan for a long time. I wanted to give you the link, in case you are interested in saving lives:


Please let us know if your centre/group is doing any animal liberation or pet blessings or if you have any other news that would inspire people to think positively about our animal friends (send these letters to the animal liberation group).

We finished the lam rim course at Kopan with about 35 people and now I start teaching Reiki today. There is nothing to really say, the courses have been harmonious and very beneficial for a number of people and I have been very happy to be in Nepal and especially to be close to one of my Gurus, Khen Rinpoche.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tara retreat miracles

Hello friends, just to update you on what is happening in Kopan Monastery.....we finished the Tara Retreat: I think it was a very powerful retreat for all the participants, but the most moving experience was first of all the fire puja at the end of the retreat, it felt very auspicious for some reason and I have participated in many. Secondly, the nuns of Kopan agreed to a special performance of the 21 Tara dance. The only word I can think of to describe this, is magnificent. It truly was. Thirdly, we offered the nuns lunch in the KOPAN CAFE, always a good place to order food for special guests, and around 1pm after finishing retreat, there appeared a halo/rainbow around the sun. Many people took photos and hopefully I will be able to put one on this blog soon. On the 1st August we have another ten day lam rim course, then Reiki and then France.

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to take time out to do retreat, both for yourself and others. Please do allocate some time in your life for this essential activity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


In the end, we had just over 40 people and once again, many beautiful stories of people changing radically and seeing life in a different way, thanks to the Dharma. After the course, I went down to Boudha for a couple of days and just had to rest, because I was so busy during the course and now there is a Reiki course starting tomorrow, I needed to stop. Which I did and now I feel totally refreshed and ready to go! The Tara retreat starts on the 20th - always guaranteed to be special! With all best wishes and much love..........Ven Namgyel.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Phew..........it's over!

I am happy to report that the Medicine Buddha retreat of two weeks is over and now I have a couple of days break before we start the Lam Rim Meditation Course. There are nearly fifty people registered, which is amazing for this time of year in Kopan. The Medicine Buddha retreat produced it's own amazing stories from some of the participants - somebody remarked to me afterwards that they thought everybody had had some sort of breakthrough of one sort or the other. My thoughts about the retreat is that the format should change for next year, people will be required to have refuge in the Three Jewels and must have taken a ten day lam rim course prior to the MB retreat and there would be 35 Buddhas with prostrations before each session.
Soon the Tara retreat will be starting later in July and I am really looking forward to that, as she is very close to my heart!
During the Medicine Buddha retreat we were very fortunate to receive an Amitabha initiation from Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche; a question and answer session with Khen Rinpoche and a talk on death and dying from Gregg (who usually teaches in Tushita, Dharamsala). I gave Engaging Bodhisattva vows upon being instructed to by Khen Rinpoche, to thirteen people and that was a very moving experience, as I never expected to do anything like that in a monastery like Kopan, where I started my Buddhist path so many years ago.
By the way, if you are anywhere near Mexico from September-November, I am teaching all over the country, so please contact me and perhaps you can experience the Buddha's wisdom combined with the kindness of the Mexican people. Great combination.
From January 2009 I will again be in Mahamudra Centre, Coromandel, New Zealand with a great programme put together by one of my students, who is now the SPC, Hannah White. Again, you will be made very welcome if you want to come and visit there.
Will write again after the lam rim course. Take care and remember to "Open Your Heart"!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Boudha Stupa

Kathmandu and Kopan.....

Really sorry I haven't written anything recently, but one reason is the slow internet connection and the other reason is because I have been so busy since arriving in Kathmandu. Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche was here and Atisha and myself were fortunate enough to be able to make offerings (including a Padmasambhava statue) during Rinpoche's offerings to Padmasambhava puja time in Boudha. Then we started the Medicine Buddha retreat with 26 people and as I am alone, it is very busy, but the group are really good and seem to be doing very well. Lama Zopa Rinpoche is due back tomorrow and the energy will change again! Take care everybody and keep on practising!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

my time in Latvia is nearly over....

Gosh, it has been a busy time since arriving in Riga. I am teaching every night on the lam rim and the busiest night was a surprise as the subject was karma, not usually so popular! Around thirty people turned up. Last night I spoke on delusions and again there were many people and the great thing is that they ask such good questions, not from an intellectual point of view, but how to practice the dharma in every day life - always something that deeply interests me.

Tonight we tackle the 8 verses of thought transformation which I hope to finish tomorrow and then my departure is early Saturday morning. Friday morning Sandra the Director and Rita the SPC are taking me out to Ganden's retreat centre for a quick visit. It is supposed to be in a beautiful location on a lake, and I very much look forward to seeing it.

Thank you to all the kind people in Riga who have made my stay very comfortable and I think, successful - particularly Sandra and Rita they are really two wish-fulfilling jewels who always try to think of things they can do for me to make my stay happy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beautiful Riga, Latvia.

Well folks, my departure from Moscow was a couple of days early and yesterday I arrived to 6C in Riga. Today, the sun is shining in a very blue sky and it is a warm 13C - I actually feel it is quite warm, which shows you how the human body can acclimatise!

Last night Rita and Helen took me for a walk around the old part of Riga, which is very beautiful and I took photos of some buildings, here is a photo of the opera house and another of a really nice square with quaint buildings. Tomorrow night (Wednesday) I am teaching and then on Friday we go out of town for the Medicine Buddha retreat.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I have a moment to write and tell you that Moscow had snow a couple of days ago, brrr...especially cold for me, who recently came from Mumbai and 36C. Anyway, I have enjoyed my stay very much in Moscow, and particularly, I think the Medicine Buddha retreat was very beneficial. I saw so many changes in the people participating, that is so rewarding. Today we finished the second part of a talk on 21 Taras. Tomorrow is Reiki all day and then Monday off to Latvia for the first time. The Medicine Budddha retreat is on the following weekend just outside Riga. I know some of my old students are coming for that, which is going to be really nice. Soon I will be in Nepal for the Medicine Buddha retreat starting on the 15th June and it looks as though we have a nearly full retreat.
That's it for now - you know you are all in my heart, every single day, and that I always pray for your Dharma success, your long life and good health and particularly that you use all the advantages of a precious human rebirth to benefit others.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Arrival in Mumbai

Once again on this holy land called India. Had a long but good journey. The plane from Singapore-Mumbai was nearly empty, so that was extremely nice! Even meditation was possible.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inspiring letters......

Hello all, I just received a really inspiring letter from one of the participants who attended the Medicine Buddha last year in Kopan. I asked for her permission to print it, with or without her name and she totally gave her permission for it to be printed as is, with all the details, so here we are:

Dear Venerable Namgyel,

It has been a while since we've connected, but I felt the good news I received should be passed along to those who offered support during a difficult time in my life.

As you may know, I became interested in attending the Kopan Medicine Buddha Retreat long before I encountered any personal health concerns. I have a deep interest in alternative healing and felt the experience would be a good way to refresh before the following school year. At the time, I had no conscious knowledge that my own health would be requiring some attention in the near future. That spring, I experienced what can best be called a life-changing turn of events, that left my health in serious question. I returned to the states where western doctors completed test after interview, after test....the file of information was daunting. The empathy in their responses was less than encouraging: You may want to consider moving back to the states; You may want to stop driving; You have some time now, to begin developing a long term plan; For now, we have to wait to see how fast this progresses. None of this was a comforting thought. I was unable to return to work, and with the extended time this afforded me, I took the opportunity to travel and do some spiritual work.

Fortunately, Kopan and the retreat were already in my plans. I was further blessed by the company of my friend Kelly, an exceptional group of people on the retreat, and an inspiring teacher who was patient and thoughtful in helping me through this journey. (...it didn't hurt that he was also good for a laugh once in a while too~)

The energy, compassion and love displayed during the time I was at Kopan certainly worked its magic. I have been symptom free for some time, and I just received word from my neurologist who specializes in MS, that all my tests are normal! He further went on to say that unless the symptoms re-emerge, then there is no need for further follow up. (side note: of course the clinging-side of me was like-huh? What about my previous test results & symptoms, etc?....his answer was that perhaps I had migraines without the headache(?), stress(?). He was unable to explain the rest, but I had my ideas...) He was clear- almost a year later, (7 months after the retreat), I have been given a clean bill of health!

I have no doubt that the wisdom you shared, the strength of the Sangha, and the boundless power of faith and the Buddha brought me to this place today. Thank you, Venerable Namgyel. Your work has certainly helped bring health and peace in my life.

With a heart filled with gratitude and compassion,

Monday, March 10, 2008

Beautiful Hobart

  Hello everybody - just a quick note to let you know that I am very busy teaching in Hobart and tomorrow we go to Cygnet for the one week Medicine Buddha retreat, which is booked out. Here's a photo taken from the balcony of Lindy's house outside of Hobart - very beautiful isn't it? Sonam is feeling much better and his toe is actually healing. It will take quite a long time (at least a few months more) but he is mending. Thanks everybody for your kind help and your open hearts.
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Monday, March 3, 2008

Arrival in Tasmania

The weekend turned out to be very busy with a nearly six hour drive to Maree's house on Friday, resting that evening then teaching in the afternoon to a few people who turned up in the torrential rain (it had been very dry and nearly drought conditions until I arrived). Then driving on to Loren's house, Homeleigh, which is such a beautiful property with the most beautiful views you could imagine. However, again, it was raining so the views were not apparent when I arrived! I taught Sunday afternoon to a really interested group of twenty something people and then on to Auckland which was over three hours drive. In the evening again we had twenty something people at Dorje Chang Institute and we discussed meditation and how it makes us happy. Some interesting questions and some sad goodbyes, particularly to Cherry and David, an amazingly kind couple who took me under their wing, fed me, nourished me and cared for me whenever they could. Others dropped by before and after the teaching to say au revoir, again an amazing woman called ~Annie who is just a Bodhisattva on wheels (she is really busy with charities and Dharma centres and is totally inspiring in her work for sentient beings). Bed just before 11pm.

It was a long day on Monday,starting at 4am with a quick cup of tea (essential before any journey or any decision, ha ha) and driving to the airport with Maree, check in, then wandering around the airport for hours before departure, change planes in Melbourne then on to Hobart, I am happy to say I have arrived. This is definitely a beautiful place to be from the aspect of views.....from the house we look down towards the water and the house is surrounded by gum trees. There is a cute little Chihuahua and a Siamese cat in residence, plus a greyhound that Lindy rescued.

Somehow I talked the leg off Lindy yesterday (must have been really tired, because as you know that is not usual for me) and then a really good sleep has left me feeling refreshed.

The temperature dropped after I arrived and just as we got to the house where Lindy and her family live, it started raining. The predicted temperature is 17C for today and a bit warmer tomorrow.

I managed to speak to Hannah on her way to the Goa airport yesterday and she said Sonam is very happy and feeling so much better. He was virtually pain free yesterday. So short term that is a very good sign. However, the doctors are saying he will probably still lose his toe as it has gangrene, but it does look like he won't lose the rest of his foot. He sees the specialist tomorrow and then more tests and the treatments continue, so I will keep you all informed.

That's it for now and please remember to open up your hearts and put the teachings of our precious Gurus into practice not tomorrow, but RIGHT NOW!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Good news.....

We finished a two day Reiki course today with ten people and a very joyous happy group they were too! Medicine Buddha retreat was small but very powerful and I think each of the people attending felt a strong connection with the practice. The weather on the weekend was unbelievable. High winds and torrential rain which made retreating very easy - you definitely wouldn't want to be on the beach. Today I drove Marja to Coromandel and we said goodbye. She has been marvellous, taking care of the gompa and looking after me during the teachings. Rachel, who works at Mahamudra has also been very kind towards me, cooking special foods and being good company.

I actually have a holiday this week until Friday, when I leave Mahamudra for Whakatane which I just heard is a five hour drive. I will teach there on Saturday and then Tauranga on Sunday, followed by DCI in Auckland. Monday morning an early morning flight out to Melbourne-Tasmania.

With love from Venerable.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Venerable Gyalten speaks!

Venerable Gyalten wrote this for the blog:

We enjoyed having Ven Namgyel at Dorje Chang Institute. It felt like people on the Buddhism Demystified Weekend Retreat got involved in a full or whole way – not simply attending sessions, but also doing karma yoga work around the centre (Ven Namgyel’s suggestion) and joining in the gentle yogic stretching class during the break. Listening to Ven Namgyel’s teachings I got the distinct feeling that he has been working with the teachings, “chewing them over.” He communicates his experience of the Dharma. His acceptance of his own humanness also added to the relaxed atmosphere. We are very happy Ven Namgyel has agreed to teach another night before he leaves New Zealand (literally the night before he flies out!) on:


Try it out, chat about it, get inspired and then go home and practice it!
Sunday, March 2, 7pm
Dorje Chang Institute, Auckland.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Words of my Perfect Teacher

It is only today that I have time to write about Geshe Sonam Rinchen, although the teachings ended a short while ago. Geshe-la is more animated than I remember him in Dharamsala and certainly does not look or act like his age (70'ish).....very inspiring teachings on thought transformation and personally I experienced many soft, heart-warming times with Geshe-la. During those teachings with Geshe-la I realised how fortunate I had been in the 1980's, following the advice of Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche, to study with Geshe Sonam Rinchen at the Tibetan Library. Thank you so much Geshe-la, I feel what you taught has not been wasted. A very nice surprise was seeing an old LTWA classmate with Geshe-la - Don. Don is now working very diligently with various Tibetan departments to help them. My sadness if any, was that Ruth, Geshe-la's wonderful translator was unable to accompany Geshe-la. HOWEVER, Celia and Don both translated very well.

Starting on Friday the lst February, I was teaching Demystifying Buddhism at DCI, Auckland. People seemed to appreciate the teachings and there were over twenty people at each session. The centre came as a complete surprise to me, as it is in the middle of the city but has lots of land around and gives the impression of being in the middle of the country. Ven Gyalten is extremely well organised and that helped to make the weekend a success. Thank you all for your hard work and kindness towards me and see you again for another teaching on my last evening before leaving New Zealand - 2nd March.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Future Courses May onwards

It is confirmed that that will be a Medicine Buddha retreat in Riga, Latvia starting on the evening of the 23rd May and then all day Saturday and Sunday. You are all very welcome, Buddhist and non-Buddhist! There is also a one week Medicine Buddha retreat outside of Moscow, I think starting on the 5th May. Kopan has confirmed the date for the Medicine Buddha retreat which will be the 15th June to the 29th June – please book early as we have a limited number of places. Then I will be leading a lam rim ten day course at Kopan starting on the 3rd July. Between both courses will be a Reiki for beginner’s course. The rest of the schedule is being worked out. I leave Kopan on the 20th August for France where I am teaching a private course on the six perfections for a group of Spanish lawyers who are interested in the implementation of Buddhist values without Buddhism. I think that would have really interested Lama Yeshe and will probably interest Lama Osel. After France I travel to Mexico, where I will be teaching for three months in all of the FPMT centres and some other Mahayana Centres. Then back to Kopan for the end of the November course and hopefully long life puja for Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche, our tireless guide and perfect teacher. After that I travel to Root Institute in Bodh Gaya to listen to Rinpoche teaching – the perfect recharge of my Dharma batteries for 2009!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Geshe Tashi Tsering and karma

Geshela is teaching full on, four hours a day and I am leading meditations in the evening. Other people are helping with meditation and discussion group. I am completely surprised by how much energy Geshela has and how animated he is. He sometimes breaks into interesting English which I really like, because then it is direct communication. Tomorrow we finish, then a couple of days break before Geshe Sonam Rinchen, my teacher from the Tibetan Library in Dharamsala arrives and we are transforming all our problems into the path to enlightenment. You will all be happy to know that I am subjecting myself to acupuncture and herbal medicine in order to really get fit before leaving New Zealand!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mahamudra Centre

  We just finished the Tara retreat, and at our peak we had 26 people in the Gompa - a record for these retreats. Let's aim for double that number next year! Our next course starts on Friday the 11th and that is a beginner's introductory course. I took this photo of the road outside the Buddhist centre here in Coromandel, New Zealand - beautiful isn't it? The colours remind me of Tibet. See you all soon!
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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It is over.........phew!

We had such a wonderful time with Choden Rinpoche and Rinpoche gave the aspect of smiling at us and looking very happy as he was leaving......the clouds have reappeared in the sky and that is a nice change, as it got much hotter over the last days. I have a couple of days rest, then we start our Tara retreat. WE have a record number of people registered for the retreat and it looks as though it will be a really nice group here at Mahamudra. All the other retreats are also filling up. I look forward to seeing new and old friends.

A very happy and auspicious new year to all my new and old students......