Meena with her son
Many of our readers will know Minna from her work on Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s teachings on the The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicharyavatara) by Shantideva, the eighth century Buddhist monk and scholar.
We are sitting on the bus taking us from the Bodhicharya Summer Camp in Casa da Torre to Braga in northern Portugal. All around us is chatter and laughter and the sound of children having a wonderful time.
Minna says that in her home town in Helsinki, Finland, there is a Bodhicharya Study Group which has been running for about 6-years. There is also a Palpung Centre to which Rinpoche attends when he is invited. Besides these, there is a Samye Dzong and a Nyingma Centre. In the Study Group, there are only five-people, but maybe this is because there are also so many other Buddhist activities in the city, she tells me.
When the conversation turns to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Minna says, There was a time in my life when everything was quite sorted out and everything was going nicely and I had moved from another town to Helsinki. My son was about seven-years old and he went to his first class in school and we had a nice place to live and I had nice work. Everything was there.
What was it that brought a change to her life? Continue reading
Bodhicharya Summer Camp
14-20 July 2014
Casa da Torre, Braga, Portugal
The Camp was hosted for the third year running by Bodhicharya Portugal at Casa da Torre, near Braga, from 14 to 21 July. With around 110 participants from 20 different countries, mainly European, the atmosphere was lively, the discussion animated, a chance to renew old friendships and make new ones.
Ringu Tulku’s teachings continued and concluded the study of Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s magisterial text, Mahᾱmudrᾱ, The Moonlight: Quintessence of Mind and Meditation, which he had started four years previously in Lusse, France. He made it clear from the outset, however, that study of a text is only the beginning: we must use this study to work on ourselves, which is the main meditation. Ultimately it is our practice and we must integrate the teaching at the level on which we find ourselves. Throughout the week’s teachings, he stressed the Dharma as a living reality, and this somewhat forbidding text was made accessible to us by our knowledge that our teacher had been there himself and was reporting back from the land of realisation for samsaric beings at an earlier stage on the Path. And yet he managed, consistently, but without any diminution of the text’s austere wisdom, to open it up to our understanding.
We are sitting in the quiet quadrangle of Casa da Torre. There is the sound of birds in the distance. In the centre of the square is a white statue of Saint Mary, mother of Jesus. The Casa da Torre is situated four miles north of Braga in Portugal and is a Jesuit centre for Spirituality and Culture. We are attending Ringu Tulku’s summer camp and people from many different countries have arrived to listen to the teachings on Mahamudra – The Moonlight by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal.
On the bench beside me is Tanya: born in Croatia, having been brought up in Bosnia before moving to Serbia, she speaks to me in perfect English and in a pleasing Eastern European accent, I like to say I’m from Yugoslavia.
I met Ringu Tulku Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado where I lived for about eight-years or so. I met him in 1998. Tanya was there with her husband who wanted to study at Naropa University. Not being interested in Buddhism at that time, although she was interested in studying dharma while he studied, Tanya worked as a nurse in a hospital. However, she did meet some of the senior students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche while she was in Boulder, but because of her lack of English at that time, her understanding of Buddhism was limited.