New To it All

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gaelic
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New To it All

Post by gaelic » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:28 pm

Hello everyone, and peace with you all,

Basically I am new to Buddhism, don't know really anything about it much at all, except that many many Tibetan Buddhist have been a source of inspiration to me. I have been a Sufi Muslim (by conversion) for 14 years, and after a lot of soul searching, I have not been able to bring myself to continue this path because of certain intellectual and moral issues. Actually, I watched video a while ago about the Dalai Lama helping to build a school for Tibetan Muslims and it really was beautifully inspiring to me, a stark contrast between the gesture of the Afghan Muslims blowing up the Buddha statues. The Dalai Lama really inspires me a lot, accept I do have some issue with the Dorje Shugden thing, I don't understand that, if there are actually no gods then I don't see the big deal. I'm not passing judgement I'm just saying.

I watched a documentary on the Buddha's life, it was so beautiful it made me cry really, especially the part of the young girl giving him the food when he was in the emaciated state, and when Mara called for a witness and the Buddha touched the ground and said that the earth was his witness. Oh, it was just so moving how they told the story in the documentary, beautiful.

I also watched the movie about Guru Milarepa, where he learns black magic and destroys the village where he had suffered a lot, and when he seen the results, he turned to the dharma. They didn't have the second part of the movie, but I read his story about how he goes to Marpa and becomes a great Yogi.

And I watched a film by Wade Davies (a fellow Canadian) where he meets an old lady that had been in solitary retreat for 45 years reciting Om Mani Padme Hun, I really felt that was amazing.

Anyway, I have tried to study what I can on my own, I know some things, like about the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism, but I don't know much about them in detail.

So I don't know what I should do now. Basically, I live in a very secluded rural area on the east coast of Canada, and there are no Buddhists here that I know of. Gampo Abbey is about 8 hours drive away, I'd like to go there sometime, but not before I know more first.

Right now, I do silent meditation focusing on my breath for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night, trying to still my mind (I find this very beneficial and have noticed some very positive changes in my attitude), and I have a mala and a hand mani wheel and I recite Om Mani Padme Hun 1000x morning and 1000x evening and throughout the day. I have been doing this for about 2-3 weeks.

So that is where I'm at, if anyone can give me more advice and/or info, that would be much appreciated, thank you, slainte mhath!

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Ayu
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Re: New To it All

Post by Ayu » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:55 pm

Welcome gaelic.

Here is a website run by a German Buddhist monk. I know him personally, he is a very good and intelligent teacher. I think he is able to explain the Shugden-case best: http://info-buddhism.com
Also, you'll find further informations there.

And there are some live webcasts with the dalai lama from time to time.
These are some old ones: http://dalailama.com/webcasts

And there will be a new one on Saturday 18th of January 2014 (17th of January 2014 at 10:17 pm New York time)
http://new.livestream.com/DalaiLama/test-1
For example.

Have a good time in here,
Ayu
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: New To it All

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:46 am

Welcome. It sounds like you have a wonderful start already :)
It took me several years to start feeling like I had some kind of vague direction, and even now it's very vague :rolleye:
However, practicing daily meditation, reading dharma books and challenging what I think I know, this alone has produced great benefit for myself and others. You can't go wrong at least continuing what you're doing already.
It's like being in a prison for a long time... even one fresh breeze is restorative. You want more!

I've seen several people on here in a similar situation as you, home practitioners whose only center is a great distance away.
But if you can manage to sneak out there once or twice a year for some kind of retreat, I bet you'll find support and guidance.
Also watching/listening to teachings online is useful too, like the links Ayu provided.
There are several threads with links here, if you look around, such as this one http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=2984

Good luck, hope to see you around more often :)
Namo Amitābhāya

on hiatus since November 2017

pensum
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Re: New To it All

Post by pensum » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:12 am

If you are hoping to visit Gampo Abbey, then i would recommend learning a little about the abbott, Thrangu Rinpoche, who is a marvellous teacher, one of the most respected lamas in the Karma Kagyu lineage. He has authored numerous books and has various teachings available on his website: http://www.rinpoche.com.

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:00 am

Thank you all so much for your responses. I just attended a Shambhala open house and found it helpful. It does not appear however that they teach any further programs.

I am interested to in certain rituals, like chod, sang, sur, and others. I listened to Lama Tsultrim on a vid speaking about 'feeding you demons' and it makes a lot of sense to me. I just don't know what to do exactly to go forward.

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:06 am

also I want to know exactly where does Shambhala fit into Tibetan Buddhism? From what I understand, this is secular teaching stemming from Kagyu and Nyingma lines. Is it traditional, and is it beneficial? Also, I have read some things about Trungpa Rinpoche on wikipedia that are a bit disturbing, are those things true? And what's up with the fellow he appointed to be the leader of Shambhala, that seemed like a pretty disturbing individual, if the allegations against him are true (I know that Shambhala is headed by Trunga Rinpoche's son now, but I'm just wondering).

Also now I was given the link to Thrangu Rinpoche and that he founded Gampo Abbey (thanks so much for the link). I also want to know about the Karmapa, who I believe is also from the Kagyu line. Basically I want to know more about the structure of the leadership in the various schools. Thank you everyone so much!

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Ivo
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Re: New To it All

Post by Ivo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:21 pm

Also, I have read some things about Trungpa Rinpoche on wikipedia that are a bit disturbing, are those things true?
There is nothing disturbing about Trungpa Rinpoche. There are just a lot of disturbed individuals trying to fathom what he did, and who he was (unsuccessfully). Please, don't worry about him, he is perfectly fine.

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Re: New To it All

Post by Punya » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:32 pm

Well, that's not everyone's opinion and it's good to consider the pros and cons for yourself gaelic. Here's one DW thread on the topic of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... it=trungpa.
Just as the trunk of an ordinary tree
Lying in the forests of the Malaya mountains
Absorbs the perfume of sandal from the moist leaves and branches
So you come to resemble who whomever you follow.

~Words of My Perfect Teacher

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Re: New To it All

Post by Silent Bob » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:53 pm

Ivo wrote:
Also, I have read some things about Trungpa Rinpoche on wikipedia that are a bit disturbing, are those things true?
There is nothing disturbing about Trungpa Rinpoche. There are just a lot of disturbed individuals trying to fathom what he did, and who he was (unsuccessfully). Please, don't worry about him, he is perfectly fine.
Thank you, Ivo. CTR has also been dead for over 25 years and apart from his brilliance as a teacher, many if not most of the members of the current Shambhala organization never even met him while he was alive to keep things stirred up. Shambhala is a perfectly good container for those who feel at home there, and by the same token, not everyone would feel as though the approach of any one of the other schools was a good fit for them. Please don't rely on wikipedia or DW to give you direction in such an important matter.
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:09 am

Its nothing personal, I'm just asking questions. I didn't realize it was such a touchy subject. Just since I'm coming in from the outside, you can realize my concern about reading on wikipedia that he used cocaine and made two people strip naked by force in front of a group. Kind of makes me not want to get involved with such a group that doesn't mind that, assuming its true of course. Also the stuff written about Ösel Tendzin is more than a little disturbing.

So is it in Tibetan Buddhism you don't question the Guru?

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Re: New To it All

Post by justsit » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:11 am

Re: Silent Bob -
:good:

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Ivo
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Re: New To it All

Post by Ivo » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:10 am

gaelic wrote:Its nothing personal, I'm just asking questions. I didn't realize it was such a touchy subject. Just since I'm coming in from the outside, you can realize my concern about reading on wikipedia that he used cocaine and made two people strip naked by force in front of a group. Kind of makes me not want to get involved with such a group that doesn't mind that, assuming its true of course. Also the stuff written about Ösel Tendzin is more than a little disturbing.

So is it in Tibetan Buddhism you don't question the Guru?
I am not sure if you are a troll or not, since this has been discussed ad nauseam on the Internet and any kind of search will provide you with more information than you can digest. However, I will asume that your interest is genuine and your posts sincere.

In short, the relationship wita a teacher in Tibetan Buddhism is a personal responsibility of the student. At the advanced stages of the path, the actions of the teacher will be aimed to bring the student out of all his/her comfort zones, and any genuine student would, and should know that. This generally does not work well in a society based on "democratic principles" and is part of a different time and culture, when and where this approach had been well understood. Trungpa Rinpoche was uncompromising in this, and coming to the West he was of course seen as controversial because of it. He had students who had the capacity to take this approach and benefit from it, and others who lacked this capacity. The latter became vocal, of course. This does not change the fact that he definitely was one of the greatest and most realized masters Tibet has ever produced. Ösel Tendzin was part of his activity and only himself and CTR were actually qualified to comment on this story. They are both dead.

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:26 am

Ivo wrote: I am not sure if you are a troll or not, since this has been discussed ad nauseam on the Internet and any kind of search will provide you with more information than you can digest. However, I will asume that your interest is genuine and your posts sincere.
Wow, this is a touchy subject. I don't really care if they're dead or not, since if they actually did what the wiki article says they did, and their followers are willing to defend such actions as part of the exotic teaching methods, well I know I don't want to have anything to do with that. Anyway, I just wanted to know more about it, since the Shambhala group is the closest group to me, and I quite enjoyed the open house (for which I drove an hour to attend). But to be honest, I don't want to be associated with people who will assume that someone they don't know is a troll in order to defend another human being who is ultimately no better than anyone else. I don't want to be like that, and I had enough of that with the religion I have been involved with for 14 + years. I don't want to discuss Shambhala anymore on this forum, or Trungpa Rinpoche.

Rather, I will ask the other things I was asking about;

- I am interested to in certain rituals, like chod, sang, sur, and others. I listened to Lama Tsultrim on a vid speaking about 'feeding you demons' and it makes a lot of sense to me. I just don't know what to do exactly to go forward.

- Also now I was given the link to Thrangu Rinpoche and that he founded Gampo Abbey (thanks so much for the link). I also want to know about the Karmapa, who I believe is also from the Kagyu line. Basically I want to know more about the structure of the leadership in the various schools. Thank you everyone so much!

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Re: New To it All

Post by Ivo » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:02 am

...and their followers are willing to defend such actions as part of the exotic teaching methods...
I am not a follower, nor student of Trungpa Rinpoche. I do not even come from the same lineage, my background is Nyingma, not Karma Kagyu. And those teaching methods are traditionally Buddhist, nothing really exotic about them.
But to be honest, I don't want to be associated with people who will assume that someone they don't know is a troll...
If you read my post closely, you will see that I actually assumed just the opposite. However the way you react makes me have second thoughts. :smile:
...in order to defend another human being who is ultimately no better than anyone else.
If this is your view, then it is really easy - you will not have any problem finding a Guru, just go to the first person you meet next.
...I also want to know about the Karmapa, who I believe is also from the Kagyu line.
You may be surprised to find out that Trungpa Rinpoche is held in very high regard within the Kagyu lineage, and that he has been proclaimed a principal Kagyu lineage holder by the 16-th Karmapa.

And since you ask also about Thrangu Rinpoche, it may interest you to listen to this talk he gave on Trungpa Rinpoche: http://www.chronicleproject.com/chronic ... poche.html

Take care!

pensum
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Re: New To it All

Post by pensum » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:30 am

Chogyam Trungpa not only wrote several important Buddhist classics such as Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and Myth of Freedom (i can't recommend these two books highly enough), he was indeed a heavy drinker, enjoyed partying, sex etc. After Trungpa passed away, the man who assumed the regency (it is uncertain whether he was actually appointed by Trungpa), Osel Tendzin, who was openly bisexual, had unprotected sexual relations without informing his partners that he was HIV positive, infecting at least one sangha member. No matter how people might want to spin it, this is all common knowledge and none of the people that i have met who knew both or either of them personally have ever denied it, some justify the behaviour, others condemn it, but the basic facts remain. It is up to you to decide whether this colours your opinion of the Shambhala organization in its present form.

At present there are two Karmapas, one recognized by Tai Situ Rinpche who holds the monastic seat and another recognized by Shamar Rinpoche. It's a long involved story how this situation came to be and played out, but the 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje is quite a remarkable young lama. I haven't personally met the other incarnation however those who have say that he too is quite impressive.

It is easy to get caught up in all the politics and melodrama, no doubt it is rather fascinating; unfortunately such can also be a major distraction or even turn one off the Dharma completely. At the end of the day though we must each individually decide what is best for ourselves, what interests us, who inspires us, what we will accept, what we will reject, etc. no one else can do that for us. The tradition within Buddhism itself is to encourage the student to carefully examine the guru and vice versa. And Shakyamuni himself encouraged others to not accept what he said on faith, but to closely examine it and accept or reject it according to reason and personal experience.

There is an old Tibetan saying, "when visiting a lama do not leave your common sense at the door with your shoes," which i have found to be very good advice.

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:02 am

pensum wrote:Chogyam Trungpa not only wrote several important Buddhist classics such as Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and Myth of Freedom (i can't recommend these two books highly enough), he was indeed a heavy drinker, enjoyed partying, sex etc. After Trungpa passed away, the man who assumed the regency (it is uncertain whether he was actually appointed by Trungpa), Osel Tendzin, who was openly bisexual, had unprotected sexual relations without informing his partners that he was HIV positive, infecting at least one sangha member. No matter how people might want to spin it, this is all common knowledge and none of the people that i have met who knew both or either of them personally have ever denied it, some justify the behaviour, others condemn it, but the basic facts remain. It is up to you to decide whether this colours your opinion of the Shambhala organization in its present form.

At present there are two Karmapas, one recognized by Tai Situ Rinpche who holds the monastic seat and another recognized by Shamar Rinpoche. It's a long involved story how this situation came to be and played out, but the 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje is quite a remarkable young lama. I haven't personally met the other incarnation however those who have say that he too is quite impressive.

It is easy to get caught up in all the politics and melodrama, no doubt it is rather fascinating; unfortunately such can also be a major distraction or even turn one off the Dharma completely. At the end of the day though we must each individually decide what is best for ourselves, what interests us, who inspires us, what we will accept, what we will reject, etc. no one else can do that for us. The tradition within Buddhism itself is to encourage the student to carefully examine the guru and vice versa. And Shakyamuni himself encouraged others to not accept what he said on faith, but to closely examine it and accept or reject it according to reason and personal experience.

There is an old Tibetan saying, "when visiting a lama do not leave your common sense at the door with your shoes," which i have found to be very good advice.
Thanks very much for this, proper response, fair and balanced. And that is a perfect saying. That is what I had always assumed, that questioning the actions of someone, especially if they are illegal, was not a taboo in Buddhism. And I don't have anything against any particular person, everyone can make mistakes, even huge ones. But I can take the good and leave the bad. I liked the Shambhala open house I attended, and will most likely go again. I really appreciate your responses, good info.

One thing I wanted to ask about pensum, was sort the hierarchy in they various schools, like ok, for the Kagyu, who is the Karmapa, what role does he play? Like I know for Gelugpa there is the Dalai Lama, Penchen Lama, and others. I think the Penchen Lama is actually the spiritual head of the school or am I mistaken in this?

And for the Karmapa, is the young one you mentioned the one centered in Bodhgaya? With glasses? Is it him who had the dream of the yellow and blue flag (if you know what I mean)?

And do you have any advice on what I should do to practically go forward with the Dharma? Like I mentioned before, I am pretty secluded where I live, so meeting people in person isn't going to be very easy or regular. Any advice in that? I really appreciate it, thank you!

pensum
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Re: New To it All

Post by pensum » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:50 am

gaelic wrote:Thanks very much for this, proper response, fair and balanced. And that is a perfect saying. That is what I had always assumed, that questioning the actions of someone, especially if they are illegal, was not a taboo in Buddhism. And I don't have anything against any particular person, everyone can make mistakes, even huge ones. But I can take the good and leave the bad. I liked the Shambhala open house I attended, and will most likely go again. I really appreciate your responses, good info.

One thing I wanted to ask about pensum, was sort the hierarchy in they various schools, like ok, for the Kagyu, who is the Karmapa, what role does he play? Like I know for Gelugpa there is the Dalai Lama, Penchen Lama, and others. I think the Penchen Lama is actually the spiritual head of the school or am I mistaken in this?

And for the Karmapa, is the young one you mentioned the one centered in Bodhgaya? With glasses? Is it him who had the dream of the yellow and blue flag (if you know what I mean)?

And do you have any advice on what I should do to practically go forward with the Dharma? Like I mentioned before, I am pretty secluded where I live, so meeting people in person isn't going to be very easy or regular. Any advice in that? I really appreciate it, thank you!
Yes, 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje is the one in Bodhgaya and wears glasses. It was the previous Karmapa, the 16th, who dreamt of the flag.

Though there are strong hierarchies in Tibetan Buddhism, lamas also tend to have a lot of individual freedom in regard to their teaching style and activities. You may find it helpful to watch the documentary on the 16th Karmapa and hopefully doing so would answer a few of your questions. It's available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZqVLO_ZOPs.

Depending on your personal temperament being somewhat isolated can be both either a blessing or a curse, or a bit of both. Obviously it makes it a little more difficult to get personal teachings, but it also frees you up to study and practice without getting caught up in all the social cultural trappings which are almost inevitable in a sangha, though of course such situations themselves can be beneficial or harmful depending on one's attitude and the individuals involved. Nonetheless, it is quite traditional to visit a lama, get teachings and then go off and practice on one's own before returning to clarify one's understanding and get more teachings. Also these days, thanks to the internet, there are lots of teachings which are streamed live, such as those of Namkhai Norbu http://www.shangshunginstitute.net/webcast/, and others which are recorded and made available, for example Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's (his father, Tulku Urgyen, was very close to the 16th Karmapa); there are also excellent home study courses available online, such as Ka-Nying's excellent Tara program which covers the entire Buddhist path from beginning to end. These latter two are available at https://www.dharmasun.org. The Bon lama Tenzin Wangyal also streams teachings live and has lots of teachings available on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/ligmincha. And you can even find many teachings by the Karmapa himself on Youtube as well.

If you are in the Maritimes then there are lots of options as there are numerous centres in upstate New York, the head of the Taklung Kagyu, Phakchok Rinpoche, has a centre in Cooperstown, http://www.phakchokrinpoche.org, while the Nyingma centre Padma Sangye Ling is in Sidney Center, NY http://www.padmasambhava.org and there are numerous others in NY and the neighbouring states. You are already familiar with Gampo Abbey. There are several small centres in Montreal. Toronto has a large Tibetan population, and several centres including Riwoche Temple http://www.riwoche.com, as well as a Karma Kagyu centre http://www.ksdl.org/blog/. So there are lots of options available.

You might want to check a few things out online, watching some videos, reading some of the teachings that are available and when you find something that interests you and feels right look into when there is a retreat reasonably close that you could attend in order to get some personal experience and instruction.

If you have any further questions feel free to send me a private message.

ngodrup
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Re: New To it All

Post by ngodrup » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:53 pm

In Shambhala you can learn sang, but you will not learn chod or sur.

You will learn quite a lot about Shine and Lhatong silent sitting meditation.
You may also learn tong-len.

There are rituals, but it will not be easy to learn them.
You may do better to approach a Lama who specializes in the aspects you wish to practice.

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:00 am

pensumin wrote:
Yes, 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje is the one in Bodhgaya and wears glasses. It was the previous Karmapa, the 16th, who dreamt of the flag.

Though there are strong hierarchies in Tibetan Buddhism, lamas also tend to have a lot of individual freedom in regard to their teaching style and activities. You may find it helpful to watch the documentary on the 16th Karmapa and hopefully doing so would answer a few of your questions. It's available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZqVLO_ZOPs.

Depending on your personal temperament being somewhat isolated can be both either a blessing or a curse, or a bit of both. Obviously it makes it a little more difficult to get personal teachings, but it also frees you up to study and practice without getting caught up in all the social cultural trappings which are almost inevitable in a sangha, though of course such situations themselves can be beneficial or harmful depending on one's attitude and the individuals involved. Nonetheless, it is quite traditional to visit a lama, get teachings and then go off and practice on one's own before returning to clarify one's understanding and get more teachings. Also these days, thanks to the internet, there are lots of teachings which are streamed live, such as those of Namkhai Norbu http://www.shangshunginstitute.net/webcast/, and others which are recorded and made available, for example Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's (his father, Tulku Urgyen, was very close to the 16th Karmapa); there are also excellent home study courses available online, such as Ka-Nying's excellent Tara program which covers the entire Buddhist path from beginning to end. These latter two are available at https://www.dharmasun.org. The Bon lama Tenzin Wangyal also streams teachings live and has lots of teachings available on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/ligmincha. And you can even find many teachings by the Karmapa himself on Youtube as well.

If you are in the Maritimes then there are lots of options as there are numerous centres in upstate New York, the head of the Taklung Kagyu, Phakchok Rinpoche, has a centre in Cooperstown, http://www.phakchokrinpoche.org, while the Nyingma centre Padma Sangye Ling is in Sidney Center, NY http://www.padmasambhava.org and there are numerous others in NY and the neighbouring states. You are already familiar with Gampo Abbey. There are several small centres in Montreal. Toronto has a large Tibetan population, and several centres including Riwoche Temple http://www.riwoche.com, as well as a Karma Kagyu centre http://www.ksdl.org/blog/. So there are lots of options available.

You might want to check a few things out online, watching some videos, reading some of the teachings that are available and when you find something that interests you and feels right look into when there is a retreat reasonably close that you could attend in order to get some personal experience and instruction.

If you have any further questions feel free to send me a private message.
Thank you very much I will pm you soon.

gaelic
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Re: New To it All

Post by gaelic » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:03 am

ngodrup wrote:In Shambhala you can learn sang, but you will not learn chod or sur.

You will learn quite a lot about Shine and Lhatong silent sitting meditation.
You may also learn tong-len.

There are rituals, but it will not be easy to learn them.
You may do better to approach a Lama who specializes in the aspects you wish to practice.
Thanks for this, I really appreciate it. Do you know any lamas who specialize in these who I can contact via email?

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