This Week at Kurukulla Center                                   October 11, 2010 - October 17, 2010
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Dear Kurukulla Community,

Thank you for your continued support of Kurukulla Center and the many acitivites we offer.  The magnanimity and dedication of you, the Kurukulla community, are what let us continue to share the Dharma in so many diverse ways.

Geshe-la Update

 Geshe Tsulga

This morning Geshe-la generously continued his amazing teaching on the final chapter, Dedication, of Shantideva's Way of the Bodhisattva.  He reminded us this morning that although we might show devotion and faith, if it hasn't transformed our minds, the teaching has not benefitted us very much. The fault is neither from the side of the teaching nor the teacher, but from our relationship to the teachings and to our practice and living of them.  Making requests and prayers to the buddhas are important activities, but we still need to do the work ourselves, it is our responsibility.


Geshe-la has said that if we want to work to generate the causes and conditions that are most beneficial for his continued good health and long life, we need to embrace this responsibility, and recommit ourselves to our practice of Dharma, the transformation of our hearts and minds.  To help facilitate this deep introspection we are going to be offering Geshe-la "Commitment Cards" after class next Sunday October 17, which you can read about below.   Until then we continue our other practices dedicated to Geshe-la's long life, and this week's tallies are:


Varjapani mantras - 109 malas
White Tara mantras - 65 malas
Animal Liberation - 176 lobsters


Please feel free to participate in these practices, and you can dedicate the merit from any practice to Geshe as well.  You're welcome to email us with any questions.



Commitment Cards

We recently requested from Geshe-la if we could offer him a long life puja before he left for India but he declined, saying it would not be of much benefit.  As mentioned after class this morning, he expressed a small amount of disappointment with regard to our Dharma practices and commitments to study, and suggested that what would be of most benefit to cultivate the best conditions for his continued good health and long life, for him to stay and teach, would be for us to really re-examine our practice of Dharma and recommit ourselves to living the Dharma in every moment of our lives.


To that end, Assistant Director Sean Gonzalez has worked with the sangha and the rest of the Management Committee to develop a "Commitment Card," wherein we can take a sincere look at our practice of Dharma and push ourselves to do better. These are designed to be cards we fill out and offer to Geshe-la, and all of the merit accumulated through our recommitment is dedicated to Geshe-la.  He will sign them and they can go on our altars as reminders of our commitment to our teacher. We will be offering these to Geshe-la next Sunday, October 17.


This is an exciting opportunity to remind ourselves how important the Dharma is to our lives, and how important Geshe-la is for sharing the Dharma with us.  We invite you to read a letter from Sean to the Kurukulla Community which describes the Commitment Cards in much greater detail and includes all the information you need to know about them on our website.



Upcoming Recitation of The Sutra of Golden Light


On Sunday, October 24 we will not have regular class, as all of the Sangha will be attending teachings with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Toronto.  However, Center member Askold is sponsoring a recitation of The Sutra of Golden Light, to be dedicated to the continued long life and good health of our precious teacher Geshe Tsulga-la.  It will be in place of class Sunday morning, starting at 10:00 am and lasting until 1:30 - 2:00 pm, with a few breaks scheduled in.  Copies of the text will be provided. 


We highly encourage everyone to come, even if they are not able to stay for the whole time; the longer one can stay the better, but Lama Zopa has said that to recite even one line from The Sutra of Golden Light is of immense benefit.  You can read more benefits as described by Lama Zopa on the FPMT site, as well as download a copy of the sutra. This is a wonderful opportunity to benefit all sentient beings with the performance of an important, sacred text and an opportunity to offer a treasure-house of merit to Geshe-la, we hope to see you there!



Upcoming Tara Initiation


We are very fortunate that Geshe-la would like to offer a Green Tara Initiation before he leaves for India for the winter.  It will be in place of class on Sunday November 7, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. The commitment that Geshe-la will expect of all attending the Green Tara Initiation is to recite the ten syllable mantra (OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA) 100x daily (one mala). If one is already reciting the mantra 100x or more daily, then that's enough; no need to add this on top of that.  One can only attend the initiation if one is committed to reciting the mantra.  If one cannot commit to doing this, then one cannot attend the initiation, even as a blessing. 


According to Lama Zopa, "There are so many inner obstacles to the development of your mind, and these inner obstacles create many outer obstacles. Therefore, for the success of your practice, you must rely upon a special buddha such as Tara. All the actions of the buddhas have manifested in this female form, Tara the Liberator". We encourage you to reflect on your practice and if you are able to keep Geshe-la's commitment please attend the Initiation, it is a wonderful opportunity.



Tara Pond


Work on completing our backyard pureland continues apace as the Tara Pond moves closer and closer to completion every day.  For more photos of the Tara Pond progress, please view our album on Facebook.

Tara Pond detail


Through your dedication and generosity we have been able to raise enough funds to cover the expenses of the stupa itself, but as the project grew into the beautiful circumambulation path and the elaborate Tara pond, so did the budget.  The importance of your continued support as we finish this transformation of our backyard cannot be overstated.  Please specify "Stupa project" on any offerings you would like to contribute to the successful completion of this project which has been a number of years in the making. 


Kurukulla Center Membership


I sent out an email a few days ago asking for your end-of-year support, through memberships and special gifts and we'll be sending out a similar email again! We have slightly changed our membership categories to more closely parallel FPMT's, you can see the Membership categories and sign up online at our Membership page. Thank you for giving it due consideration and for your generous responses, it is your kindness and generosity that allow the Center to continue to offer so many amazing opportunities to study and practice the Dharma.  Please do what you can. Thank you again.



Kurukulla South

 Tsultrim Davis

Last week saw the successful second installment of Kurukulla South, our venture to offer Dharma to Center members, old and new, who live south of Boston and in Northern Rhode Island. This current series of classes, exploring the three foundations of the path as taught in Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Virtue and Reality, being taught by co-SPC Tsültrim, will run through November 2. 


Similar to all of our classes, we offer the Dharma for free and neither charge nor have a suggested donation for any of these classes. That said, we could use your support as we continue this project, as we do have some fees, such as space rental, etc.  If you're as excited as we are about this new venture, and sharing the Dharma to a wider audience, we encourage you to donate to this project, being sure to mark any donation with "Kurukulla South" in the memo field or on the envelope.  Thanks!   



Two Pujas this week

Green TaraLama Chopa As you will notice in the Calendar of Events below, we have two pujas this week.  There is a Tara Puja on Friday October 15th at 7:00 pm and a Guru Puja on Sunday October 17th at 4:00 pm.  Pujas are opportunities to earn great amounts of merit and strengthen our connection with our gurus, the buddhas, the Dharma.  We encourage everyone to attend, we hope to see you there.




Halloween Candy


Every year Kurukulla Center is known for giving our great Halloween candy, and let's not make this year an exception!  If you would like to make an offering to our Halloween, there is a collection box in the entryway where you can drop off any candy you bring by. Geshe-la blesses all of the candy before we give it out, so it is a wonderful chance to share blessings with the community. Ven. Tsunma-la, who distributes it every year, says to "Get the good stuff!"



Lobster Liberation


Geshe Tenley, Haim and others released 176 lobsters on Friday around 3:30PM, 190 pounds, in the ocean, approx. 1 nautical mile out of Gloucester, with circumambulations, prayers and dedication done beforehand.  If center members are interested in holding another lobster liberation, Haim has agreed to do one, so email him at if you're interested.


Lama Zopa encourages us to support and perform animal liberations as well as other practices to benefit animals, and you can read a teaching he gave about it on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.



Day-long Yoga & Meditation Retreat Lotus

with Wendy Cook & Elizabeth Brown


We are very excited to be able to offer our space for two day-long yoga & meditation retreats, on October 30 and November 13.  These retreats are being organized and taught by former KKC Director Wendy Cook and Elizabeth Brown, another local yoga instructor. Not only are these retreats a great opportunity to re-align your body and mind, but proceeds will go to the Center, so we especially encourage you to attend!  You can find out more information as well as download a flyer from our Calendar page.



Relics Tour in Worcester


The Maitreya Project Relics, which Kurukulla was lucky enough to host last year, are just down the road in Worcester at the Linh Son Temple this weekend:


Friday, Oct 15 - 6pm: Opening Ceremony
Saturday, Oct 16 - 10am to 7pm
Sunday, Oct 17 - 10am to 5pm


Linh Son Temple is located at 16 Ruthven Avenue in Worcester, MA.




Thank you again for your wonderful support.

Much love,

Dr. Nicholas Ribush, Director

  Nick Ribush

Calendar of Events

Monday, October 11


There is no Introduction to Buddhism with Ven. Ani Yeshe this week, it will return October 18.



Tuesday, October 12

Morning Meditation with Tsunma-la (Sue Macy)Ani Tsunma-la

6:30 am to 7:00 am

Start your day on the right foot by calming your mind, setting your day's purpose to be a meaningful one and remembering to just breathe! Resident nun Tsunma-la leads basic meditations that help stabilize the mind by learning to focus on the breath. By using these simple techniques, you can bring a sense of tranquility to your day. If you plan to join Tsunma-la in the meditation hall (gompa) at Kurukulla Center please arrive a few minutes early. We will start promptly at 6:30 am. Feel free to listen live online.


Yoga & Meditation with Wendy CookWendy-la

7:00 pm to 8:45 pm

These classes include therapeutic movements, standing postures, back strengthening postures and hip openers. The last twenty minutes are spent in guided meditation, including breath awareness, visualization, and analytical techniques to enhance our inner good qualities. Suitable for both experienced and new students, you are welcome to attend on a drop-in basis. Please arrive a few minutes early and wear comfortable, fitted and modest clothing.


Improve Your Life From Within, an Introduction to Buddhism with Tsultrim DavisTsultrim Davis
[Kurukulla South at Dancing Crow Yoga Studio, 98 Derby Street Suite 440, Hingham MA]
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
What is Buddhism and why practice it? Why is Buddhism one of the fastest growing religions in America and why are so many Americans turning to it to find true happiness and real meaning in their lives?

The answers to these and many other questions will be explored at a new series of evening classes designed both for complete newcomers to Buddhism and for those familiar with the basics of the tradition.  All are welcome.



Wednesday, October 13

Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas with Venerable Geshe TenleyGeshe Tenley-la

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Geshe-la continues an explanation of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas by Togme Sangpo (1245-1369.) Come and discover what it means to model your actions after those of a bodhisattva. All are welcome. A copy of the text will be distributed in class and a commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is available on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive website. Other contemporary commentaries are available for purchase in our bookstore. Feel free to listen live online.



Thursday, October 14 

Discovering Buddhism: Presenting the Path with Tsunma-la (Sue Macy)

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Resident nun Tsunma-la continues teaching the Discovering Buddhism program with the third module: "Presenting the Path." Think of this series as understanding how to GoogleMap your mind--how to figure out the directions to get from where you are now to your eventual destination, complete enlightenment. This overview of the Buddhist path will give you a summary of the most fundamental ideas in Buddhism.


The course meets on six Thursday evenings: Sept 9, 16 & 30 and Oct 7, 14 & 21. It is highly recommended you attend all six sessions but it is not required. Feel free to listen live online.

Presenting the Path is the third of fourteen modules in our
Discovering Buddhism program. This is multi-session series that meets Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. It is not necessary to have attended the earlier modules in order to attend the later ones. If you would like to receive the handouts, homework and materials for this course, please click the link at the bottom of this email, "Update Profile/Email Address," and be sure that "Discovering Buddhism" is selected, or email us and we will manually add you to the list.

Discovering Buddhism (DB) is an advanced beginner's program designed by our parent organization, the FPMT, to explore the core Buddhist teachings in a cohesive and comprehensive way. Designed for beginner's who have had some background and anyone interested in a systematic program. There are readings, meditations and homework assignments. This is a highly practical program that is grounded in authentic Buddhist tradition. And it can be assured that Tsunmala will make it fun! More information about the 'Discovering Buddhism' program is available here, or you can email with any specific questions.



Friday, October 15

Morning Meditation with Tsunma-la (Sue Macy)

6:30 am to 7:00 am

Resident nun Tsunma-la continues the Morning Meditation series on Fridays with a variation on the stabilizing meditations that have been offered earlier. The focus is now using our analytical mind to investigate core Buddhist concepts as a way to deepen our understanding of them. Today we explore our impermanence as it manifests in our breath and our body. If you plan to join Tsunma-la in the meditation hall (gompa) at Kurukulla Center, please arrive a few minutes early. We will start promptly at 6:30 am.


You are also welcome to participate from your home by listening on-line to the live broadcast.
The class continues each Tuesday and Friday through the summer - 6:30 to 7:00 am - at your home or ours!


Tara PujaGreen Tara

7:00 pm to 8:30 pm 

Tara is a female Buddha and represents the enlightened activity of the Buddhas. Once a month, we pay homage to her by doing practices for this specially loved Buddha. Practices to Tara are said to remove obstacles to both our spiritual and worldly success. Since most of the recitation is done in English, the Tara puja is easily accessible to those unfamiliar with this type of chanting ceremony practice.

It is customary when attending a puja to bring offerings such as flowers, unscented tea lights, fruit or cookies, or to make monetary offerings to the ordained sangha or to Kurukulla Center itself. Although we encourage you to do so, it is not required.




Sunday, October 17 


Dedication - Chapter 10 from Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life with Venerable Geshe TsulgaGeshe Tsulga-la
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life
, written by master Shantideva, concludes with Chapter 10 and its inspired verses of dedication. His Holiness the Dalai Lama frequently recites verses from this chapter in his own dedications so many of the words and sentiments may be familiar.

Over the last number of years Geshe-la has offered commentary on every chapter except for the tenth, so this will be an opportunity for students to have received teachings on the entire text from Geshe-la. He has asked that we come to class prepared, having already read the chapter. If you do not have a copy you can download a PDF of it here. You can also purchase a copy of A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life from our bookstore.
Feel free to listen live online.


This course is from the Basic Program, a multi-year program offering a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of core Buddhist texts. Prior participation in theBasic Program or a background in Buddhist philosophy is recommended. If you would like to receive the handouts, homework and materials for this course, please click the link at the bottom of this email, "Update Profile/Email Address," and be sure that "Basic Program" is selected, or email us and we will manually add you to the list.


Guru Puja (Lama Chopa)Lama Chopa
4:00 pm to 5:45 pm
The word puja means "to please" and has the connotation to please through offerings and practice. The Guru Puja lays the whole path to enlightenment on our mindstream, connects us more strongly to our teachers, allows us to accumulate skies of merit and purifies eons of negative karma. We perform this practice on the 10th and 25th of the lunar Tibetan calendar, a time that is special for making the "tsok" offering, a particular ritual inserted into the Guru Puja. We chant the first 2/3rds of this puja in Tibetan and the last 1/3 we recite in English.

To create merit, positive connection, it is traditional to bring offerings for the altar, which then becomes the basis for the visualized offerings made during the puja; cookies, fruit, flowers, tea lights (unscented), or saffron are suggested.

All are welcome.


     Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies

     68 Magoun Avenue
     Medford, MA 02155

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes!