After a seven-year break Venerable Gyalton Rinpoche was travelling in Europe again, and we had the great delight of hosting his visit for a week here in Brynmawr In August. Gyalton Rinpoche is from our main monastery, Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat in India, so it felt like welcoming him back home. Things have changed since his last visit, which was in 2009 when the Centre was still in Cardiff. At that time Lama Rabsang and the sangha were looking hard for a property to purchase and make into a Dharma centre, and they asked Gyalton Rinpoche’s advice. Rinpoche recommended looking for old churches, and very soon afterwards this Centre in Brynmawr was found and purchased, so welcoming Gyalton Rinpoche to the place which was found with his help felt very special! When we mentioned this to him, he did not think much of it and was very modest about his part in the process of finding this place, but he remembered the event.
We had the privilege of also giving Rinpoche a bit of free time in between his teachings, so we showed him the beautiful nature in the Welsh valleys, which he seemed to enjoy.
Rinpoche’s teachings started with a Dharma talk on “The Essence of Buddhism”. He made it very clear that the word “Buddhism” sounds very limited and conceptual, and he preferred to use the expression “Buddha Dharma”, which means the Buddha’s teachings, not an ideology or religion. Rinpoche talked about the Four Noble Truths: (1. All existence is suffering / unsatisfactory. 2. The cause of suffering is craving. 3. There is cessation of suffering when craving ceases. 4. There is a path that leads to the cessation of suffering) as being the core of Buddha Dharma.
It is very important to explore and take a good look at what the Buddha taught about suffering. It is crucial to recognize and also know what it is, but by only turning towards our lives and reflecting the teachings against them , we don’t really see what is meant. Unless we have truly have understood suffering, what it is and how it manifests, we won’t take steps to get ourselves out if it. This evening talk was again a great reminder to look at our own lives in order to learn what the Buddha taught about suffering and the way out of it.
After the Dharma talk the evening was clear and there was no rain in Brynmawr, but we saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky over the valleys, and of course took it as an auspicious sign!
At the beginning of a three-day Medicine Buddha practice retreat Gyalton Rinpoche kindly bestowed Medicine Buddha empowerment on us and gave refuge vows to a lady who had flown in at the last minute from Ireland. The practice retreat was an amazing opportunity to go deeper into the practice, and as is said when doing any practice in a group, the merit is more than the sum of its parts. Very rarely is there a chance to practise with a Rinpoche for so many days in a row! Lama Karma, the chanting master and Lama Tenpa, Rinpoche’s attendant, kept the chanting going, and they also took care of all the preparations for the empowerments.
More photos of the visit HERE