* Please note these teachings are not being organized by Gonpo Ludup Study Group, but by our friend Lauren Ross in LA, who is hoping to start an LA-based FPMT study group. We are helping Lauren promote the teachings and creating the Facebook event page to help get the word out. Please contact Lauren directly for any questions about the LA events: email@example.com
THURSDAY, JULY 27
7:30pm: Screening of Chasing Buddha documentary
9:00pm: Optional group discussion FRIDAY, JULY 28
6:30pm: Teachings/Q&A with Ven. Robina
9:00pm: Optional group discussion
SATURDAY, JULY 29
9am: Optional guided meditation
10am: Teachings/Q&A with Ven. Robina
2pm: Teachings/Q&A with Ven. Robina
5pm: Optional group discussion
SUNDAY, JULY 30
9am: Optional guided meditation
10am: Teachings/Q&A with Ven. Robina
2pm: Teachings/Q&A with Ven. Robina
5pm: Optional group discussion
Schedule subject to change Vegetarian lunch provided Saturday and Sunday Coffee/Tea provided all dates
There are various registration options available based on dates of attendance and what pricing structure works best for each attendee.
* No one will be turned away for lack of funds.
All events held at The York Manor (4908 York Blvd, LA, CA 90042) located at York Blvd & Ave 49, on the border of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, next to Occidental College.
An Interview with FPMT nun Ven. Gyalten
Palmo by Gonpo Ludup’s Vanessa Nguyen
Vanessa:First of all, how should we call you?
Ven Palmo: Palmo is good.
Vanessa:When were you first exposed to the Buddhism?
Ven. Palmo: At the end of 1999.
Vanessa:Can you describe that first experience?
Ven. Palmo: It started with my friend who was helping her dying mother. She introduced me to a book called Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpche, which gave Buddhist techniques that would be beneficial for me to help my parents when they were dying. I used to read it when I was riding the bicycle at the gym or sitting at home.
“Your life is a Dharma practice. Whether it’s kids, aging parents, a traffic jam, or a difficult political situation, you can turn anything into a Dharma practice.”
Then my friend bought a flyer home that advertised a teaching by Ven. Robina called “Be Your Own Therapist.” My friend and I trucked out there and listened. There was nothing that came out of Ven. Robina’s mouth that I didn’t agree with. It connected me with some of the ideas I had in the 70s that I set aside during the 80s and 90s. It felt right.
Vanessa:Was there one thing the stood out from Ven. Robina’s teaching?
Ven. Palmo: Not one because she talked about the mind, karma, rebirth. I already believed in rebirth and karma. Everything made sense about watching your mind, being in more control of your mind. It bridged the time when I was more spiritual and bought me back on track. In the 70s I wanted to be enlightened, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. Buddhism actually clarified ideas from before and corrected me where my mind was steering off in the wrong direction. In the 70s I was opening my heart and becoming kinder and more loving, much of what I heard was a way back to that.
Vanessa:How can Buddhism benefit people regardless of their religious or spiritual background?
Ven. Palmo: It gives people tools to work with during difficult situations and that helps them to be more skillful in ways that would be of benefit to themselves and others. One of these tools is meditation. With meditation, we can recognize mistakes in our thinking and make adjustments to obtain more peacefulness and clarity. In cases of difficulty, we can use calmness to resolve problems more effectively.
“There are different kinds of meditation that can be done, even when sitting on the bus or in your car.”
Vanessa:Can you meditate without studying Buddhism?
Ven. Palmo: Sure. Meditation is not Buddhist at all. It’s one of the tools Buddhists and some Christians and others use. There are different kinds of meditation that can be done, even when sitting on the bus or in your car.
Vanessa:How can we meditate while stuck in traffic?
Ven. Palmo: I used to meditate on developing equanimity while driving to and from work. The first step is recognize that everybody wants to be happy, and does not want to suffer. Every time I stopped at a light I would observe the people around me and think they’re just like me, just wanting to be happy. Whatever they were doing, whether I agreed with it or not, was to try to be happy.
Vanessa: What if that person cuts us off and gives us the finger?
Ven. Palmo: Well, then we can try practicing patience. You need to become aware of your mind. Let’s say that person cuts you off, or they’re upset with you because you’re going too slow and gives you the finger. You have this whole dialogue in your mind. You can ask, “Why is this making me upset?” Look inside to see what’s happening. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I ask myself, “Why am I getting upset?” And what I see is that I’m taking it personally, thinking this is my space or my lane. I can get annoyed because they are driving recklessly or somehow they are getting in MY way . It’s the unsatisfied mind you can see when you have the expectation that there should be no obstruction on the road and everyone should behave nicely the way you expect. The truth is you getting angry only harms you by making you miserable and doesn’t do anything to the other person.
Vanessa:Speaking of expectations, many people developed fear and anxiety after their expectations weren’t met after the election results. How can Buddhism help us ease those unwholesome states of mind?
Ven. Palmo: That’s a really tough question. There are different levels of anxiety depending on the individual. There can be more anxiety if you’re an undocumented immigrant, Muslim or supporting a woman’s right to choose. But I think there are tools that can help each individual. People need to come to a place where they that can hear Buddhist teachings and consider certain practices. Part of it is looking inward and recognizing the results of our actions. For example someone asked Lama Zopa Rinpoche, “What do you think of Donald Trump?” Rinpoche said, “He is your karmic appearance.” We have to look at that and ask what does that mean and how can we can remedy it.
“Every time I stopped at a light I would observe the people around me and think they’re just like me, just wanting to be happy. Whatever they were doing, whether I agreed with it or not, was to try to be happy.”
Vanessa:What kind of remedy can we use to ease the post election anxiety?
Ven. Palmo: I like to watch the news because I like to watch my mind watch the news. The key is to start meditation with concentration, like breathing, because it helps to calm the mind. You learn to watch what aggravates you and use techniques to stop it if you want. We embellish what is happening with stories, our own stories, and latch on to them. All of a sudden we have exaggerated things until we’re irritated or fearful, which causes us to suffer. Lama Zopa said, “It’s your mind and it’s your choice to be happy or miserable.” Having a happy, calm mind doesn’t mean being complacent or not working to help others. Getting upset and angry ourselves doesn’t help anyone.
Vanessa: If someone has little or no experience with meditation what advice would you give him or her?
Ven. Palmo: Start with breathing meditation and make the time to sit down every day, even if it’s short. When you try to focus on the breath at first you may think your mind is getting worse. You will see how crazy the mind is. When we jump into anger about something, we don’t see the thought process that brings up those negative emotions. By doing mediation we can get things settled enough in order to deconstruct the destructive patterns, and use antidotes we have learned to settle the mind. When you start meditation let go of any expectations, and don’t worry about the results. Too much worrying in advance is useless. The worry doesn’t help.
“The truth is when people start to meditate, it always looks worse than expected. The first step of meditation happens when you notice how wacked out, crazy your mind is. Noticing it is a cause of celebration!”
Vanessa:What advice do you have for someone who has difficulty meditating in one posture or has a racing mind?
Ven. Palmo: Practice slowing the mind with short meditations until you become accustomed to longer sessions. If there are body issues and you can’t sit cross-legged, sit in a chair. There’s also walking meditation.
Vanessa:Is it possible to travel the path to enlightenment without meditating?
Ven. Palmo: You can start on the path to enlightenment without meditation, but if you expect to finish it meditation is a must. Meditation actually helps to gain realizations. You can gain some insights while you’re moving, but realizations come from time on the cushion. It depends what you do with your mind, but you do need to learn how to gain control of your mind. That’s where meditation can help. The truth is when people start to meditate, it always looks worse than expected. The first step of meditation happens when you notice how wacked out, crazy your mind is. Noticing it is a cause of celebration!
Vanessa:So people should rejoice when they see that their mind is going crazy during meditation?
Ven. Palmo: Yeah! Because you’re finally seeing what you’ve been doing all the time. By seeing it you then can begin to change it.
Vanessa:Orange County is known for conspicuous consumption such as nice cars, houses, etc. Do those conditions pose a challenge to one’s Buddhism practice?
Ven. Palmo: No. I have a nice house in San Francisco and I drive an old Mercedes to get to far places. But if you’re life is consumed with your possessions then it could become a problem. The more resources one has, the more they can help benefit others.
Vanessa:The Buddha left his wife and child in the middle of the night. Some people would see that as abandonment. How would you explain the Buddha’s actions?
Ven. Palmo: Today it would look like abandonment. But what I think is that he saw the suffering of the people in his kingdom. He wanted to end suffering, including the suffering of his wife and son. Everyone was going to experience the sufferings of getting old, getting sick, and end up dying, no matter how good their conditions were. If you look at the bigger view, he did it to find a way to end suffering for his wife and child and all other sentient beings.
“The thing to remember is that the changes we experience in Dharma practice comes slowly. The best thing to do is go slowly. I would say relax; don’t worry. If you are consistent change will come.”
Vanessa:How can one who works full time to support a family commit to a Dharma practice?
Ven. Palmo: It is more difficult. Each person needs to figure out how to use his or her time. The truth is having a family is a huge Dharma practice. Your life is a Dharma practice. Whether it’s kids, aging parents, a traffic jam, or a difficult political situation, you can turn anything into a Dharma practice.
Vanessa:What advice would you give to some who gets overly excited about Buddhism and immediately jumps into intense meditations and retreats?
Ven. Palmo: I would tell people to be careful. Usually when somebody gets too excited and jumps totally into retreats and does this and that, it’s simply because they want a quick result. And often in the West, we think results should happen in a flash, like turning on a computer and Googling something. We expect all kinds of amazing things to happen because we’re reading about amazing experiences others have had. This can lead to disappointment. The thing to remember is that the changes we experience in Dharma practice comes slowly. The best thing to do is go slowly. I would say relax; don’t worry. If you are consistent change will come.
Gonpo Ludup is an FPMT study group. The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) is a worldwide network of Buddhist centers and activities founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe, and under the spiritual direction of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. We aspire to bring Tibetan Buddhist teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche to Southern California.
FPMT study groups are groups which are using this status as a probationary period before a group becomes a legal entity and a full FPMT center. FPMT Study Groups are not yet affiliated with the FPMT, and therefore do not have the same responsibilities as a center, financially or administratively. FPMT Study Groups are required to work towards becoming an FPMT center within a period of two years.
“His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.”
“Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered Sera Monastic University in Tibet where he studied until 1959, when as Lama Yeshe himself has said, “In that year the Chinese kindly told us that it was time to leave Tibet and meet the outside world.” Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, together as teacher and disciple since their exile in India, met their first Western students in 1965. By 1971 they settled at Kopan, a small hamlet near Kathmandu in Nepal. In 1974, the Lamas began touring and teaching in the West, which would eventually result in The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Lama Yeshe died in 1984.”
“Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and meditator who for 30 years has overseen the spiritual activities of the extensive worldwide network of centers, projects and services that form the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) which he founded with Lama Thubten Yeshe.
“Rinpoche’s vision is vast and includes the proliferation of many charitable and beneficial activities. Among many projects dear to Rinpoche’s heart are the two Maitreya Projects: under Rinpoche’s guidance, FPMT plans to build two large statues of the future Buddha, Maitreya, in Bodhgaya and Kushinagar in India; The Sera Je Food Fund, which offers three vegetarian meals a day to all 2,500 monks studying at Sera Je Monastery in south India; Animal Liberation events around the world, at which creatures, big and small, are freed from immediate harm or blessed every year– the total number of animals liberated to date (by Lama Zopa Rinpoche or those inspired by him) is over 200,000,000 and counting! Rinpoche is also utterly dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama wherever and whenever possible.
“Rinpoche’s kindness is legendary. More details of Rinpoche’s ongoing philanthropy can be followed through the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund News.
“Born in the Mount Everest region of Thami in 1946, Rinpoche was recognized soon afterwards by His Holiness Tulshig Rinpoche and five other lamas as the reincarnation of the great yogi Kunsang Yeshe. Rinpoche was taken under the care of FPMT’s founder Lama Thubten Yeshe, soon after leaving Tibet, in Buxa Duar, India, in the early 1960’s. Rinpoche was with Lama Yeshe until 1984 when Lama Yeshe passed away and Lama Zopa Rinpoche took over as spiritual director of FPMT.”
ABOUT GEN DON
Don Handrick is a graduate of the first Masters Program of Buddhist Studies, the FPMT’s seven-year study program inspired by the traditional geshe studies at the great Gelugpa monastic universities. Since 2006, Don has been the resident teacher at Thubten Norbu Ling Buddhist Center in Santa Fe, NM, and he also teaches regularly at the Ksitigarbha Tibetan Buddhist Center in Taos, NM. Don also serves as a Buddhist teacher for Liberation Prison Project, which includes teaching Buddhism at a local prison in New Mexico. In 2015, Don led the month-long November Course at Kopan Monastery and in 2016, he began spending a portion of each year visiting other FPMT centers as a touring teacher.
ABOUT THIS ONLINE CLASS
We are using Zoom video software for these classes. Once you click on the June 28 drop-in meditation link (https://zoom.us/j/492644115), you will receive a prompt to download Zoom on your computer. It takes about two minutes, depending on your Internet speed.
ABOUT VEN. PALMO
Ven. Gyalten Palmo grew up in San Francisco and started studying Tibetan Buddhism 16 years ago. She has studied closely under Ribur Rinpoche, His Eminence Choden Rinpoche, Geshe Ngawang Dakpa and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and completed FPMT’s five-year Basic Program. In 2012, she was ordained by Choden Rinpoche at Sera Jey Monastic University in India. As an FPMT-registered teacher, she has been teaching Discovering Buddhism regularly since 2013 at Tse Chen Ling Center, our San Francisco center. Ven. Palmo loves studying and sharing the Dharma with others.
The Medicine, or Healing, Buddha is the manifestation of the healing energy of all enlightened beings. Medicine Buddha practice is said to be particularly beneficial both for mental and physical healing as well as for world peace, and also for success. These pujas are especially beneficial for those who are experiencing physical or mental illness or those who have recently passed away. We also always dedicate to the long lives of our teachers, and for the well-being of our local & global communities, friends, family and loved ones.
If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to email the names of your friends and loved ones who are sick, struggling, experiencing any type of obstacle, or those who have recently passed away, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will include them all in our prayers.
“The seven Medicine Buddhas manifested in order to pacify the obstacles to the achievement of temporary happiness, liberation and the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment,” says the great Tibetan Buddhist Yogi Lama Zopa Rinpoche. “They are powerful in healing diseases as well as for purification. The Medicine Buddha practice can be used to help purify those who have already died and liberate them from suffering. It is also very powerful in bringing about success, both temporary and ultimate.”
FPMT nun Ven. Katy Cole returns to Laguna Beach for a week of introductory meditation, practice classes, pujas, and more. In each meditation class Ven. Katy will cover basic meditation techniques and then lead participants through a guided meditation, based on Ven. Sangye Khadro’s classic book, How to Meditate. In our half-day retreat we will focus on meditations and practices to purify negative karma.
Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Ven. Katy Cole has a Masters in Clinical Psychology and has been a Buddhist nun for 12 years. She ordained with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala in 2004. Since 2003, Ven. Katy has served in a variety of positions supporting Lama Zopa Rinpoche‘s FPMT: as Liberation Prison Project‘s spiritual program coordinator and chaplain coordinator and on LPP’s US Board of Directors; as one of the monastics at Rinpoche’s home in Aptos, looking after the hundreds offerings completed there everyday; and as assistant to the caretaker at Lawudo Gompa, Rinpoche’s family’s home and FPMT retreat center in the Nepalese Himalayas. In 2008 Ven. Katy completed a one-year retreat at FPMT’s De-Tong Ling Retreat Centre on Kangaroo Island, just south of Adelaide in South Australia. She has also completed several retreats at Lawudo Gompa, as well as various Vipassana retreats for 10 years before meeting her Tibetan Buddhist teachers.
Please see links below for information of all events Ven. Katy will be leading during her visit in Laguna Beach.
Wednesday, May 10 Medicine Buddha Puja Lead by Ven. Katy * CANCELLED 7-8 pm VEN. KATY’S FLIGHT WAS DELAYED AND WE’VE HAD TO CANCEL TONIGHT’S PUJA. WE ARE STILL ON FOR OUR FIRST MEDITATION CLASS, TOMORROW NIGHT AT OM LAGUNA BEACH.
OM Meditation Studio
Offered by Gonpo Ludup Study Group
Perfect for beginners. No experience necessary.
DEATH AND REBIRTH
JUN 4-JUL 23
With FPMT Teacher Ven. Gyalten Palmo
THIS COURSE IS ONE OF OUR “LOCALS-ONLY” LIVE ONLINE COURSES. WE WILL MEET FOR 6 SUNDAYS AT OM LAGUNA BEACH. VEN. PALMO WILL BE TEACHING ONLINE LIVE FROM SAN FRANCISCO.
Gonpo Ludup Study Group is delighted to host our fifth module of FPMT‘s Discovering Buddhism series, Death & Rebirth, with FPMT teacher Ven. Gyalten Palmo.
Although this course is part of the Discovering Buddhism series, anyone is welcome to attend — you do not have to have attended the previous modules. Each class will consist of teachings, meditations and Q & A with Ven. Palmo. There will also be optional homework and readings each week.
ABOUT MODULE 5
Explore the process of death and rebirth and its impact on how we live our lives. By reflecting on death you can learn to fulfill your purpose in life, resolve conflicts, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.
ABOUT VEN. GYALTEN PALMO
Ven. Gyalten Palmo grew up in San Francisco and started studying Tibetan Buddhism 16 years ago. She has studied closely under Ribur Rinpoche, His Eminence Choden Rinpoche, Geshe Ngawang Dakpa and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and completed FPMT’s five-year Basic Program. In 2012, she was ordained by Choden Rinpoche at Sera Jey Monastic University in India. As an FPMT-registered teacher, she has been teaching Discovering Buddhism regularly since 2013 at Tse Chen Ling, our San Francisco center, since 2013. Ven. Palmo loves studying and sharing the Dharma with others.
$108 suggested donation for the course.
No one turned away for lack of funds. Contact Kate at email@example.com for scholarship details.
DATES & TIMES
Class 1 | Sunday, June 4, 10–11:30 am
Class 2 | Sunday, June 11, 10–11:30 am
Class 3 | Sunday, June 25, 10–11:30 am
Class 4 | Sunday, July 9, 10–11:30 am
Class 5 | Sunday, July 16, 10–11:30 am
Class 6 | Sunday, July 23, 10–11:30 am