Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Art of Happiness - in Spain

The art of happiness
…developing patience, generosity, perseverance, joy, concentration, wisdom and kindness in everyday life and work...

Happiness: what every human being wants.
All human beings, independently from their culture or race, want to be happy and don’t want to experience suffering.
On the other hand, our happiness is very conditioned by external factors so that makes it an ephemeral and unsettled feeling.
Nowadays we can all experience the effect of the crisis in our happiness and optimism in ourselves and in those around us. We will help each others if we are capable of maintain our happiness and energy, we have to bear in mind that we can only give from what we have.
As we observe Tibetan Buddhist practitioners some questions might arise:
Why does it make them so happy with so little? Why don’t they feel bitter when they are assaulted or tortured? How do they achieve so much recognition (acknowledgement) without power and with China against them?
The biggest question is: How can we apply Buddhist Philosophy in our private and professional world?
What has been acknowledged worldwide by people of many different countries is that we can learn a lot from Tibetan Buddhism. There is a history of 2600 years focused in the nature of the human mind, managing of oneself and the search for paths to long lasting happiness.
The initiative
In 2006 I met Venerable Lobsang Namgyel at Kopan Monastery, in Kathmandu, Nepal, in an introductory course to Buddhism. His skills in the subject, his ability to deal with any topic, his capacity to discuss people’s problems and his great sense of humour inspired me to organize learning initiatives connected to Buddhism with him.
Last year we arranged a workshop in Toulouse which had a great influence on me and left long lasting effects on those who participated.

The workshop is limited to 12 persons only as we want to give much importance to discussion during the teaching times.
It consists in exploring the paths of happiness and the peaceful actions, as a way to be better and more effective persons.
The workshop is based in Buddhist philosophy, ignoring religion, and its practices, with a very unusual focus: possible learning for business.
Days go by with three different activities: teachings given by our guide; meditations and discussions. During the teachings our guide will introduce us to the different aspects of his philosophy, we'll discuss the topics in order to understand and to draw our own conclusions, we'll meditate to internalize and to learn a skill to manage our mind.
Our Guru
Venerable Lobsang Namgyel, from Australia, has been living in India and studying Buddhism here for more than 20 years with such Masters as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Denma Locho Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Geshe Sonam Rinchen. Having completed numerous Lam Rim (sutra) retreats, as well as many tantric retreats, Ven. Namgyel has 20 years of experience teaching Buddhism in FPMT Centres in India, Nepal, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Finland, France, Spain and the USA. He’s well loved by students for his humour and open heart.
Here’s what our beloved Ani Rita had to say after teaching with him at Root Institute India 2007:
“Wherever he goes and teaches, he is always asked to come back. Because he is in contact with his own good heart, he is able to touch people on a level that goes much deeper than just intellectual understanding. Having done a lot of individual retreats he has familiarized and integrated the topics in his way of living, and so teaches out of experience. Through his humour he relaxes people totally, and even difficult topics seem a piece of cake. He is especially loved for the deep concern that he has, and shows, for the wellbeing of the participants of the course, and puts a lot of energy and time into helping them to find a way to practice what suits them.”

The workshop will be from the 23rd to the 30th of August inclusive – starting in the evening of the 23rd and finishing after lunch on the 30th (it has been impossible to convince our master to shorten the course!).
It will be held at the centre in Granada, Spain.
In the centre they only serve vegetarian food. You will be asked to respect five precepts: to avoid killing/stealing/lying/sexual conduct/intoxicants and the course will be taught in English, although there are skilled people who speak English and Spanish who would be happy to explain particular concepts, if you find them difficult!
Silence will be maintained for half the day to encourage participants to reflect on their own situation in relation to the teachings.
Our contribution
This workshop doesn't pretend to be a business, but an invitation to study together and also as a way to provide some sponsorship for poor Buddhist nuns. On the other hand, Venerable Namgyel didn't wanted to settle a price, as for them it is contradictory to the Buddhist culture, so he asked me to decide the donation.
The food and accommodation cost per person is very cheap, approx. 35€ per day. Logistically it is very modest which helps to create the correct atmosphere for the workshop. Please contact Fernando for details of other expenses.
You are responsible for your own transport to and from the teaching centre. Food and room are supplied but anything other than that is not covered by the fees as stated above.
Fernando Iglesias Eciolaza
620 50 31 63