This Week at Kurukulla Center                          November 29, 2010 - December 05, 2010
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Dear Kurukulla Community,

Thanks for your continued interest in Kurukulla Center. As you probably know, our senior teacher, Geshe Tsultrim Chophel, stopped breathing last Sunday evening, November 21. Our week at the Center has been filled with prayers and pujas, and there will be more to come, see below. What is amazing, though not in any way unexpected, is how beautifully the community has come together at this time, to support the Center, to support one another. As we continue taking Geshe-la's teachings to heart, and actually practicing Dharma, living Dharma, it is our strength as a community--a community that Geshe-la was instrumental in developing--that will keep our hearts and minds open and virtuous. Thank you for being such an incredible community, one I as well as the whole Management Committee are honored to work for.

Our precious teacher, Geshe Tsultrim Chophel

Geshe Tsulga-la

Many students have been wondering, "How should I think about Geshe-la's passing?" We have not received direct advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, because he is on a strict retreat, here is a link to what Rinpoche said when Geshe Jampa Gyatso passed away three years ago

In a few days, we will share a small bit about some of the events of the last week for those who were not able to attend. Then in the following weeks there will be more to come, including a short biography of Geshe-la in Mandala Magazine and an exploration of his incredible work for the Dharma in the West.

We will be sharing more information and images about the last week's events soon, but we wanted to let everyone know that Geshe-la offered us many crystal-like relics of various colors, and some of these will be on display for students.

Geshe-la's Holy Relics

We will be having pujas every seventh day, just as they are doing in Sera Monastery as well. It will most likely be at 10:00 am every Saturday for the next six weeks, but please check our homepage for the most updated calendar.

We will be continuing to offer recitations of the King of Prayers and the Manjushrinamasamgiti every weekday at 5:30 pm, as these are prayers that have been advised by Geshe-la's teachers to do through the next forty-nine days. These prayers are powerful for our own accumulation of merit and the overcoming of any obstacles that might prevent us from continuing to receive teachings from our precious guru in future lives.

We will try to give as much notice as we can for any and all events happening, though the next few weeks' schedules might change without too much warning, so please check our home page regularly for the latest updates.


 Lama Tsongkhapa Day

Je Tsongkhapa

Tuesday, November 30 is Lama Tsongkhapa Day. We honor the anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa, 1357 - 1419, the founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, with a Guru Puja and extensive light offering from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. All are welcome!


Renowned as both scholar and realized meditator, Lama Tsongkhapa's legacy includes 18 volumes of works with hundreds of titles. He is the author of The Middle Length Lamrim, the text used in our Basic Program "Path to Enlightenment"class, as well as the comprehensive Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path (Lamrim Chenmo). For a short biography of Je Tsongkhapa, see Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. To learn more about recommended practices for this day from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the spiritual director of the FPMT, our mother organization, see the FPMT website.



For this special practice we need miniature LED indoor/outdoor lights (Christmas lights). Clear are preferred, but color are okay, too. We are asking only for LED lights because they present less of a fire hazard, last longer and are more energy efficient.


If you would like to make a financial offering toward lights you are welcome to do so, just mark it clearly Lama Tsongkhapa Day. Please drop all offerings off at Kurukulla Center by 10:00 am Tuesday, November 30, or earlier, if possible, so they can be put up before the evening puja. 



Class Homework

Geshe Tenley has agreed to start assigning homework questions, or we will be suggesting additional readings, for both Sunday and Wednesday classes. These assignments will be sent out only to people who are signed up for the "Basic Program" email list. If you click the "Update Profile/Email Address" link at the bottom of this email, you can make sure you're on that list. Alternately, you can just "Reply" to this email and ask us to add you, and we can do it from our end.


Merit Box

Merit Box

For everyone who is engaging in a Merit Box practice, we are extending the collection date until December 7. It would be wonderful if you converted all coins to either cash or checks. Please indicate "Merit Box" in the memo line of your check. You can also make a secure online donation directly with a credit card by using the Virtual Merit Box.

If you don't know what the Merit Box Project is, you can read about it here, and get ready to include a Merit Box practice in your daily practice for next year! See Debra or Tsültrim for more information.


Kalachakra Initiation in Washington DC


We had mentioned a few weeks ago that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will again be giving the Kalachakra Initiation, this time in Washington DC, July 06 - 16, 2011. Originally tickets were to go on sale December 1, but they have not fund-raised as much as they had hoped, and if tickets were to go on sale with their current fundraising efforts the tickets would cost $475 each (which is still less than the last time it was offered in Toronto). In an effort to lower prices they are extending their fundraising efforts, they will announce actual ticket prices December 1st, and tickets will go on sale December 15. If you would like to contribute to their fundraising efforts or read more about it, you can visit their website.



Translating the Dalai Lama

There was a recent interview with Thupten Jinpa, who received his Geshe degree and has served as the English translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the past 25 years, done by Krista Tippett and American Public Media. It is a great interview and we thought you would all enjoy it. If interested, you can find it here.


Thank you again for your wonderful support.

Much love,

Debra Thornburg

  Debra Thornburg


Calendar of Events

Monday, November 29

Prayers for Geshe Tsulga
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Join us for recitations of Chanting the Names of Manjushri and King of Prayers, prayers requested of us both by our precious teacher Geshe Tsulga-la, as well as by his teachers at this time. Feel free to join us online.

Buddhism in a Nutshell with Tsultrim DavisTsultrim Davis

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Buddhism in a Nutshell is an introductory course on Buddhism for beginners or those wishing to learn about Buddhism as practiced at Kurukulla Center. The course is organized by our parent organization the FPMT. It presents basic Buddhist philosophy and principles within the Tibetan Mahayana context, and provides simple meditation instruction. It is a series of four courses that will meet Mondays 11/15, 11/22, 11/29 and 12/6. This is a great way to introduce friends and family to Buddhism, we encourage you to invite your friends!


 All welcome!


There is no Introduction to Buddhism for the next several weeks. It returns December 20.



Tuesday, November 30

Buddhist Holiday: Lama Tsongkhapa DayLama Chopa
Guru Puja (Lama Chopa) with Light Offerings
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tonight we offer a Guru Puja in honor of Je Tsongkhapa, the renowned 14th/15th century Tibetan scholar and yogi, an emanation of Manjushri, who is the founder of our Gelug-pa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

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 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. 

There is no Morning Meditation with Tsunma-la today. The Tuesday session returns next week, December 7. 



Wednesday, December 01


Prayers for Geshe Tsulga-la
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Join us for recitations of Chanting the Names of Manjushri and King of Prayers, prayers requested of us both by our precious teacher Geshe Tsulga-la, as well as by his teachers at this time. Feel free to join us online.


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, December 02


Prayers for Geshe Tsulga-la
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Join us for recitations of Chanting the Names of Manjushri and King of Prayers, prayers requested of us both by our precious teacher Geshe Tsulga-la, as well as by his teachers at this time. Feel free to join us online.

Discovering Buddhism - The Spiritual Teacher with Tsunma-la (Sue Macy)Ani Tsunma-la
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

The Spiritual Teacher is from our Discovering Buddhism program. Taught by resident nun Tsunma-la, it covers the importance and role of a spiritual teacher in Buddhist practice, the ideal qualities of a teacher, and how students can gain the most benefit from the student-teacher relationship.

The course meets five Thursday evenings: Nov 11 & 18 and Dec 2, 9 & 16. It is recommended you attend all five sessions but it is not required.

Discovering Buddhism (DB) is an advanced beginner's program designed by the FPMT to explore the core Buddhist teachings in a cohesive and comprehensive way. It is designed for beginners who have had some background and anyone interested in a systematic program. There are readings, meditations and homework assignments. And it can be assured that Tsunma-la will also make it fun!

If you are unable to join us at our center, you can listen on-line to the live broadcast.


Friday, December 03


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. This morning we will explore equanimity, the final of the four immeasurables. These four (love, compassion, joy and equanimity) are powerful antidotes to negative mental states. 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 fall - 6:30 to 7:00 am - at your home or ours!


Prayers for Geshe Tsulga-la
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Join us for recitations of Chanting the Names of Manjushri and King of Prayers, prayers requested of us both by our precious teacher and as well as by his teachers at this time. Feel free to join us online.


Saturday, December 04


Puja for Geshe Tsulga-la

10:00 am - 11:45 am

Today marks the second "seventh day" after Geshe Tsulga-la stopped breathing, and we will be performing a puja parallel with Sera Monastery in India in recognition of that day. We are not yet sure of which puja we will be performing, but as always we encourage you to bring traditional offerings for the altar--cookies, fruit, flowers, tea lights (unscented), or saffron are suggested--as a way of cultivating positive merit and a strong, positive connection with our gurus. All are welcome. 


Sunday, December 05

Confession & Prostration to the Thirty-five Buddhas with a senior student

 35 Confession Buddhas9:00 am - 9:45 am

This powerful purification practice contains the elements of "the four opponent powers" and includes prostration, recitation and visualization. This practice is highly recommended by our teachers. For development along the path it's very important to "weed our garden" or purify the negative seeds on our mindstream. This session is a great opportunity to learn by doing.

Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand Day 2 with Geshe Tenley

10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Pabongka Rinpoche's Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand is the seminal lam-rim or stages on the path to enlightenment text of the 20th century. It is a transcription of a 24 day lam rim teaching given in 1921 and lays out the steps one follows to reach liberation and enlightenment. Offered as a "practical teaching," it is less scholarly than Je Tsongkhapa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, popularly known as The Lam-rim Chen-mo and so is the text from which most modern lamas teach lam-rim.

Geshe Ngawang Tenley will teach the second chapter, or day, of the text. The second chapter is titled The Greatness of the Authors and establishes the authenticity of the lamrim, the subject-matter of the text. That is, it originated from Shakyamuni Buddha and was passed down through impeccable meditator-scholars.

     Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies

     68 Magoun Avenue
     Medford, MA 02155

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes!