Teachings – Practices

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All teachings and ceremonies are conducted by Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche, with the assistance of Lama Namsai in Australia and many other monks in Malaysia.

The word “Rinpoche ” in Tibetan means “Precious”. Rinpoche is precious to us because with infinite compassion He teaches us the paths leading to liberation and Buddhahood. The word “Lama” is an abbreviation for “Lana Mepa” which means “Unsurpassable”. Lamas are unsurpassable in their kindness to us because they show us the ways to eliminate suffering and to attain the highest happiness.

Rinpoche uses skilful means to guide us on the path to enlightenment and teaches according to the levels of the students and their areas of interest. At the beginning of each session, Rinpoche stresses the importance of observing the correct motivation, that of benefiting all limitless sentient beings, not just oneself. All teachings end with dedication prayers and questions (related or unrelated to the session) and answers. Rinpoche always makes sure that all points raised during teachings are clearly understood.

  1. Morning prayers

They start at 7.30 am with prostrations.

The monks chant the devotional prayers to the Barom Kagyu lineage and lead a 20- minute meditation. The prayers “Homage to the 21 Taras” are recited to dispel fear, bad dreams, bad health, disputes etc… Medicine Buddha prayers and visualisation to promote good health are then followed by dedication prayers. The morning session concludes with the supplication that Dharma activities will flourish all over the world and bring showers of blessings to all limitless sentient beings.

  1. Evening prayers

They begin at 5.30 pm with the Mahakala practice.

The monks use bells and drums. Praying to Mahakala the protector deity and Dharmapala removes past, present and future obstacles on the path to enlightenment. This practice is particularly recommended for whoever has a business, is sitting exams, etc…

Weekly Buddhist  programs @ Sefton Centre:

Friday 7.30pm-9.30pm

Rinpoche gives explanations to “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche based on his wealth of wisdom and his own personal experience.

In Rinpoche’s absence Lama Nansai conducts the Chenrezig practice. Chenrezig is the embodiment of the Buddhas of compassion. The Chenrezig practice enables one to swiftly attain Buddhahood.

Saturday 8.30am-9.30am

Rinpoche and Lama Nansai show how to recite the Tara prayers, to use Tibetan ritual instruments and to do Mudras or sacred hand gestures.

Sunday 2.30pm-4.00pm

Ngondro practice or preliminary practice. This provides solid foundations for our Dharma practice by purifying body, speech and mind and by engendering the Bodhicitta mind which is essential for reaching supreme enlightenment.

Weekly Buddhist programs @ Chatswood Centre:

Saturday 4.00pm-6.00pm

Starting from November 2011 Rinpoche will give teachings on Lojong or the 7 points of mind training and the foundations of the Boddisattva vows. As usual during the session Rinpoche leads a 20- minute meditation.

Buddhist ceremonies are performed on special occasions such as Tibetan Losar, Chotrul Duchen, Saka Dawa Duchen, etc…

  • Milarepa Tsogh offering and butter lamp offering ceremony: this has the effect of dispelling the darkness of ignorance so that we can attain Buddha’s luminous wisdom.
  • Amitaya Long life puja : During this ceremony the monks pray to the Amitaya Buddha, the Buddha of long life, wisdom and merit.
  • Chod ceremony: the word “Chod” means “cut”, cutting the ego and the five poisons of attachment, anger, ignorance, jealousy and desire. This is a powerful healing and blessing ceremony during which the monks chant melodious tunes and play the Tibetan drums, cymbals and bells.

After attending a Chod ceremony many people have reported increased concentration (useful for students sitting exams), better sleeping patterns, feelings    of peace and calmness and cure from physical and mental sicknesses.

  • Mahakala Puja: Mahakala is a protector deity who removes obstacles. Powerful chanting is peformed by monks who also play drums and bells. To enhance our practice of generosity, offerings of food, incense and precious medicine are burnt during the fire puja.
  • Milarepa Puja: this is to improve the Guru yoga and Samaya bonds and to bring showers of blessings.
  • Naga Puja: these take place on some auspicious days, near a river. They have 2 purposes: firstly to avert the occurrence of natural disasters such as earthquakes, to bring about abundant crops and to stop droughts/ floods, secondly to heal skin diseases and pains from arthritis etc…
  • Che Loh ceremony: it is usually performed at Losar time, the Tibetan New year to dispel negativities from the previous year and to promote positive energies for the following year. The monks will pray that all sentient beings will enjoy happiness, prosperity, excellent health and long life.
  • Tuh ceremony: it starts with a washing of hands and feet with blessed water. This symbolizes the purifying of negative karma and the cleansing of our mind. The monks chant prayers dedicated to Vajrasattva while accompanied by bells and Tibetan drums. This is a healing and blessing ceremony.

[A Buddhist retreat provides a chance to put aside the concerns and demands of normal routine. Leaving behind the noise and clutter of everyday life enables us to begin to relax and deepen our awareness. Many people who go on a Buddhist retreat increase their sense of grounding, calm and contact with themselves. Eventually, many find these qualities transfer to everyday life, leading to increased expression of our human potential. Attending a retreat provides an opportunity to share time and inspiration with people from all walks of life who are keen to learn about and practice Buddhism.

Retreat activities may vary, but are likely to include meditation, some periods of silence, talks, workshops, and discussions.]

(excerpt taken from the Melbourne Buddhist Centre website on Retreat).

By doing retreats we accumulate a tremendous amount of merit and so retreats are highly recommended by Rinpoche.

Phowa retreats: lasting 5 days, they prepare us for our ultimate death. Methods for transference of consciousness such as visualisation and recitation of mantras are taught so that at the time of death, we do not experience fear and attain enlightenment.

Nyung Nay retreats: these last about 2 to 3 days and usually take place over a long weekend.This is a fasting retreat during which we are not allowed to drink ,eat or talk on the second day. This retreat is beneficial for purifying negative karma and bringing about good health. The meditation centres on the recitations, mantras and guided visualisations of the Thousand-Armed Chenrezig, the embodiment of all the Buddhas loving kindness and compassion.

Amithaba retreat: lasting one week. During the retreat, we recite the “Aspiration for birth in the pure realm of Sukhavati” prayers and meditate on the Amithaba Buddha or “Buddha of infinite light”.

On request Rinpoche and Lama perform blessings of babies, pets, sick/old people to promote their long life and excellent health. Old/newly built houses can be blessed thus bringing peace and happiness for the people and animals living in these houses.

During the wedding ceremony, Rinpoche and Lama Nansai pray that the newly weds will be blessed with a long, harmonious and happy life together and that all hindrances are dispelled. Rinpoche or Lama Nansai can help you to choose an auspicious day for your wedding.

In Tibetan Buddhism, death is an extremely important event. For 49 days after the departing of a person, the monks will pray daily for the deceased to experience a smooth journey through the Bardo and to achieve a rebirth in the high realms. The Phowa prayers are extremely powerful as they purify the deceased of their negative Karma. Prayers are dedicated to Dorje Sempa Buddha, Medicine Buddha and to Amithaba Buddha.

Please, contact us for any further information.

There are no charges for attending ceremonies / retreats. Rinpoche prefers to give everyone the opportunity to practice generosity and earn merit.

Your generous donation will contribute in 3 ways:

  1. To assist with the running costs of Dharma centres in Australia and in Malaysia
  2. To provide much needed support to the nuns of Chodrak Nunnery, Tibet
  3. To provide free medical care to the people of Yushu (a city near Chodrak that was badly affected in the 2010 earthquake) at the Medical Centre.