Speech by Kyabje Gyang Khang Chotrul Rinpoche at the beginning of Summer Retreat, New York, 2021



Today we begin our virtual summer retreat of 2021 that will lasts for one month. To all of you who have joined this virtual summer retreat through the Internet; most of you are our old or senior students who have been with Palyul Ling for some time, and there may be some who may not have been to the retreat before. Many would have joined this virtual summer retreat from different countries with different time zones, but it is morning here in New York, therefore I’m going to wish you all a very good morning.

His Holiness had set up this centre with a lots of difficulties in hope to spread the words of dharma. One of the main purpose of establishing this retreat is to benefit our Western students who are connected and devoted to us, it will make it easy for them to practise and study dharma here. As a result they will be able to subdue their own mind and the afflicted emotions like desire, hatred etc. All the difficulties we face either in this life or in the future lives are created by our own afflictive emotions; so it will be beneficial to practise the dharma in the hope of reducing these emotions. For this reason, His Holiness had established this one-month summer retreat.

His Holiness conducted this summer retreat by himself until he had passed into Parinirvana. Then His enlightened activities have been continued by His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, our senior Khenchens all the attendants of our late Holiness including other khenpos, lopons and the volunteers and those who are working in this centre as well. Likewise there are many people who supports and has the aspirations to continue this activities making it easier to perform this summer retreat throughout the years.

Since 2020, because of the pandemic, we were not able to gather together to do our practices and studies. Yet we were able to stream the teachings of ngondro through webcast and streaming via the Internet. And this year in 2021 while the pandemic situation may be getting better in some countries, it may not be the normal yet to meet face-to-face. I know many of you have wished to come here personally and be in the retreat centre but due to the local and countries regulations we cannot do so, Nevertheless, we are able to carry on this summer retreat virtually through the Internet, which would be of benefit to many.

His Holiness Yangsi Rinpoche is also doing well in Tibet. He is doing well in his education. We are all hoping that Yangsi Rinpoche will visit us when he grows up, and we are working hard towards his visit. So, it is definite that the fortunate times like the sunshine will surely allow Yangsi Rinpoche to visit us soon.

There is no need for all of us to worry about our Yangsi Rinpoche because his holiness Karma Kunchen Rinpoche is taking the full responsibility of looking after his education and all of the other matters. So in this way Yangsi Rinpoche is doing very well. Similarly his holiness Kuchen Rinpoche is also in good health, and of course, he is always working to benefit the Buddha-dharma worldwide and specifically the Palyul lineage. Therefore with regards to Kuchen Rinpoche you also don’t have to worry about him.

As a responsible students . For our Yangsi Rinpoche and his Holiness Kuchen Rinpoche and all the masters who are here to uphold the Buddha-dharma in this degenerative times, we must always recite all these long life prayers and also pray to the three jewels for their good health and long life from our side. In this way we should always be supplicating for the long life of all the masters who are here to uphold the Buddha-dharma.

Recently Because we don’t have enough merits, we have faced the great loss of Tulku Thubzang Rinpoche passing into Parinirvana last year. He too was a great holder of the Palyul lineage, and he was carrying on all the enlightened activities as instructed by our late His Holiness. In this way he was able to complete most of his dharma activities. Eventhough we no longer have him with us right now because of the lack of merits, we should always engage in the prayer of requesting for the swift rebirth of Tulku, so that his incarnation, like the new moon, will come back again to benefit us.

Therefore, always engage in practicing the prayer for the swift rebirth of Tulku Thubzang Rinpoche, which is very important. Of course it was a big loss for dharmic world in general and to all of us. It also shows us that everything which is compounded is impermanent but it is also showing us as an example that the enlightened activities of the Buddhas are in perpetuity.

As we all are dharma practitioners we have to pray that all the linage lamas who are with us right now live long, and also any lama to whom we have created dharma connection with and those who have passed away, we have to make this aspirational prayer for their swift rebirth. Of course you are all doing this every time; I’m just reminding you the importance of doing these long-life prayers and swift-rebirth prayers.

All who have joined this virtual summer retreat know that Buddha-dharma has been in this world for about 2500 years. Within the realm of Buddhist teachings, there are various topics of study such as when you eat, how you should be eating; how you should be walking; and even the minor things that we have to do on a daily basis, we have to learn how to do them properly. This way it covers a wide range of different teachings. You can also see in the past how the great masters received their teachings. It was not easy. They have to walk for many days or months, while trying to gather enough provisions, and they continue to walk whether it was sunny or raining or snowing. Therefore, we need to go through all these difficulties to meet with the Lamas. And once after meeting the Lama; because of the various dispositions and the capabilities of the student; and even the student who showed up with all these difficulties to see the lamas, sometimes the lamas were reluctant to give teachings to a particular student. A very good example is found in the biography of Jetsen Milarepa of how he went through all these difficulties to receive dharma teachings.

But in these modern times of ours, many things have changed in the world. And especially through the Internet if you want to know about the dharma you can search for the meaning and find it easily. In this way it has become so easy to access all these teachings, and now you can also see so many masters and lamas who are giving teachings through the Internet. Therefore these teachings have become so easily accessible to all of us. You can almost be in your own bed and then listen to all these dharma teachings. But in the previous years you have to come to our retreat center, and you have to sit upright and then focus for about one hour and listen to the teaching and do all the practices. But now through Internet you don’t have to go through these kind of difficulties. You can just relax in the comfort of your bed and then you can drink your coffee and sometimes if the teaching is so boring you can just turn on your TV and watch it, and if you find it interesting to listen then you can listen to it. This way, nowadays, it has become so easy for you to receive these teachings.

So be mindful of your mind and always try to tame it, that is the main practice. One thing is that people think that dharma is only for the religious and it has to be practiced by people who are following a religion. Many think In order to do the practice, one have to meditate in the house in front of the altar, and outside of this scheduled practice, then they no longer need to "practise"; but in reality this is not the truth. And in the same way Buddha-dharma is a teaching about the way of life so it is not only for those who want to be religious. It is also for anyone who aspires to relax and be happy. Through this, you can see whether in reality you are practising dharma or not. If you practise the dharma then definitely you will find the joyfulness and you are able to enjoy life. So in this way you can see the importance of practising the dharma.

Generally, if you look our nature then what happens is that, if you are not practising dharma then if you meet with the things you like then you are so overwhelmed, excited and happy, where as, at the same time if you encounter some misfortunes or suffering that you’re not able to confront then you may even think of commiting suicide. This happens because we don’t know the real nature of all the phenomena. If you don’t know the actual nature of all phenomena then you are just caught up in the external apparent of all these things. When something appears then you just have the judgement of either seeing something as nice or bad. In that way you are projecting yourself upon all these different external apparent things, and you have an attachment to this projection. And in that way you are always engaged in either attachment or an aversion, like if someone is so nice to you or favourable to you, then you are so excited and if you encounter something you don’t like then you become upset. All this happens because you do not understand the true nature of all phenomena.

Due to this reason when Buddha first turned the wheel of dharma he taught about the four noble truths: the truth of the suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the cessation and the truth of the path. Firstly, the truth of the suffering is; whether you are follower of the dharma or not, the reality is that not only the human beings but even the animals, they don’t want to suffer. If you don’t want suffering then what you have to do is find the cause of the suffering. And then try to relinquish that cause of the suffering. If you are going to see that the cause of the suffering is none other than your own mind which is so caught up either with attachment, anger or aversion, then in that way you will know the causes of all the sufferings. This happens because of the lack of understanding of the true nature of reality and not being able to give up on attachment, anger or aversion.

After understanding the truth of the suffering then you look for what is the cause of the suffering; the cause of this suffering is none other than our three poisons; the desire, anger and ignorance. Why we have these three poisons is also due to our thinking that there is some kind of truly existing reality outside. So we include the existence to the phenomena. Even if the outer existence is not attractive you include and see that as attractive. This is the misperception through which you run after or avoid. Through this kind of activities you accumulate karma, and this is how we suffer. That is the reason why the Buddha’s first teaching was on the Four Noble Truths.

What we experience is the truth of suffering. And the causes of the truth of the suffering is our afflictive emotions. So by understanding cause and effect, Buddha said that we must eliminate these causes. If we eliminate the cause then there is something blissful, ultimate happiness and joyful that can be achieved as a result. And how you can achieve that ultimate joy or the happiness is by practicing all these different stages of path; and this is how you are going to achieve the ultimate joy or happiness.

Now, how to practice this path to achieve the result? For that first you have to study from a Lama. Listen to the teachings and study from the Lama then contemplate on the meaning of what you have studied, and then you have to put them into practice.

What this means is that you must make your mind fall for the dharma and do all the practices. So in that way this is how you will be benefiting from dharma; just knowing the dharma won’t help. What you really need to do is to put them into practice and why we have to practice is as I said earlier that even the animals, they also want happiness, they do not want to suffer, but they do not know what causes the suffering and what causes the happiness. So in that way you can see what the Buddha-dharma is teaching us about and how you can achieve happiness and how you can abandon the causes of suffering. It is not only Buddhists who should be following the Buddha-dharma but this is something the whole world actually needs to understand and be able to practice. Why it is so is because most of the people think that happiness can be achieved through the materialistic world, and that is why there is great advancement in technology and material comforts. People are so easily distracted and are always engaged in external matters; trying to find happiness in that way. But then later on they realize that happiness is not only the result of external development or external phenomena. We need to see that happiness is generated within our mind. Whether it is happiness or suffering the mind becomes the main factor that experiences it. So that is why some people may use the dharma teaching but they’re not labelling as Buddhist teachings; they give all this advice, especially, to those who may have some mental health issues. You can even see that Buddha-dharma is being used to help those people who have mental illness. You can also see that yoga or tsalung practices are being used to heal different kinds of sickness. Whether you are a Buddhist follower or not, it is important to see the importance of our mind, as it plays a very important role that we experience in this life. So seeing that with reasonings, you can see the importance of the necessity to practice the Buddha-dharma.

As you all know that our late His Holiness had been giving all these practices and advice. As for pith instructions, people usually think that if you want to receive the pith instruction the Lama should be whispering in your ear so that nobody hears except you. That’s not the pith instructions.

One of His Holiness’ main instructions had always emphasised on this: ”you always should be very calm and stable person, just like a rock.” So that means you shouldn’t be excited or happy when things are happening as you wish, and not to get depressed, sad or mentally ill when things are not happening as you wish. The reason this is happening is that we don’t know the true nature of the dharma or the true nature of the phenomena. Not knowing this fact, some people go through depression and get mentally ill when encountering with things they don’t like.

So again to put all these teachings into practice is not that easy, it is something difficult. But then it is also something very practical. I’m not talking about teachings on dzogchen.
Let’s say when anger arises in you, that time you just look at the nature of the anger and see it for what it is. If you just look at the nature of the anger instead of getting carried away by the anger then you will see the anger will become feeble and the same anger will not have any power to disturb you. So, in the same way if you have desire growing in your mind then, at that time if you look at the nature of the desire then definitely the desire will not become bothersome to you and the desire will also become weaker and more feeble. This way the anger or desire will gradually mitigate itself and this will definitely reduce the power of these afflictive emotions. If you do this practice on a regular basis you will see a big change in yourself. In that way whether there are things that excite you or certain things that make you depressed, you should not be like a weather, always changing, or you will become more unstable person.

Why we are facing all these problems and issues is that we are unable to know and understand reality. And if you don’t know reality then we have all these misperceptions, and once you have this misperception you have a thinking that something is truly existing and something is truly established.

When someone praises you then instantly you become excited and happy and at the same time if you are aware that there is also someone who is dispiriting you, then the praise won’t bring that much of excitement to you; and the same way if there are people who are backbiting or dispiriting you then during that time think that there are some people who like you and are praising you, so in that way this will not bring this kind of stress or suffering. Hence, you will gradually balance both these excitement or suffering in your life. If we are able to balance our life then we will have a more joyous and meaningful life. For this reason the Buddha also in his first turning of the wheel of dharma taught the four Noble truths; the suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of the suffering, and then the path to bring the suffering to an end. That is why it is very important to practise the Buddha-dharma by taking small gradual steps.

For this reason our late His Holiness established this one-month retreat. As we begin this one month retreat I was requested to give some teachings. I also have a responsibility and because of this, I have taken the time to do so. Anyway, you all have been here before and some of you may be in the eighth or ninth year, and some may be ready to receive the teachings to recognize your mind. If you have recognized the nature of your mind it is your responsibility to continue meditating on the nature of your mind and then be able to practise as much as possible otherwise just by being able to recognize your nature of mind and if you are not able to continue practising on it, then there are many chances that you will either be practising the meditation but then instead of resting on your ‘Rigpa’, you may just be resting in the awareness. Or even though if you’re meditating there’s a meditation called ‘dull meditation’ whereby it becomes so dull and you will not be able to meditate on the clarity of your mind.

If you have to recognize the nature of your mind then you must be able to practise and through that practice, as the essence of your practice what you need to do is you must be able to reduce your afflicted emotions and to tame your mind. That is something very important. All these teachings of course you have to receive from individual teachers and then whatever teachings you have received, it is your responsibility to put them into practice. In that way if you see that your desire, anger, and so on are reducing, then that is the purpose of practising the dharma. Otherwise nowadays through the Internet you will get to learn the dharma and you may be an expert in all of the terminology and know the dharma by heart. But then if your desire, anger, and so forth, are still intact, without being able to reduce or tame them, then it will be that the dharma practice is not effective.
So all the difficulties that our late His Holiness had gone through by buying this big piece of land and propagating the dharma without thinking about his personal difficulties that he had to go through; the main purpose of all the hard work of our Holiness is to hope that whoever is engaged or connected with the centre would be able to reduce their afflictive emotions, and then this would be of some benefit. Otherwise if you just become so adapt to just talking about dharma and leave your mind just as an ordinary person then it doesn’t serve the purpose. Thank you!

Gyang Khang Tulku
July 11, 2021









































































































































































































































































































































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