A Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies & Meditation
The regular religious activities
of the Phende Shedrub Ling Buddhist Center
1. One-day Teaching and Workshops
On the weekend we give teachings on Buddhism to achieve a happy and meaningful life. The topics include: love and compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, mind training, meditation, the six perfections, wisdom and the altruistic mind.
In order to have a happy and prosperous life within oneself, and for the world to be at peace and a better world, we each have a responsibility to tame our afflicted mind. We have to meditate on love and compassion, patience, mind training, etc. to tame our own mind. To do a meditation well, we have to learn about Buddhist subjects. Therefore, in Tibetan Buddhism, we very much emphasize learning, initially, Buddhist teachings. One-day teaching sessions will be offered on these topics. These one-day teaching sessions will last for 1-1/2 or 2 hours.
2. Series Teachings
Series teachings are designed for people who would like to explore Buddhist topics a little more deeply. Buddhist teachings and philosophy are very vast subjects. It is difficult to understand the overview of the entire Buddhist teachings from learning only a few topics of Buddhism.
If you explore more topics of Buddhist teachings, it will help you to better understand the Buddha's wisdom, and that will bring joy and happiness into your life. These programs will have 8 classes and will be held once every other weekend. The length of each of these sessions is 1-1/2 or 2 hours.
3. General Meditations
One of the main causes of a calm and happy mind within ourselves is understanding how to meditate and experiencing the essence of meditation. Meditation is the art of living in the present moment. There are many different meditation techniques, including those that calm our minds, those that help us analyze different situations, and those that help us identify with our potential to experience an enlightened world.
Every Tuesday evening at 7 pm, we will come together and sit to do a meditation. Geshe Jampa will lead and give short instructions for the meditation. On Tuesdays, we will do different meditations alternating these topics with deity meditations mentioned below. Topics will be love and compassion meditation, mindfulness meditation, wisdom meditation and silence meditation.
4. Deity Visualization Meditations
Deity visualization meditation is one of the most important practices in Tibetan Buddhism because deity meditation is part of the practice of Tantra, also known as Vajrayana. We will achieve enlightenment swiftly from the Tantric path. Emptiness is one of the key meditations while we are practicing Tantra.
We meditate on the channals, winds and drops, and also meditate on divine pride and pure appearance during the deity visualization. Divine pride, in our visualization, means we ordinary beings will transform into the Buddha whose mind, body and speech are totally pure and enlightened. When we transform as a Buddha, we will never hurt others and always try to help others because we have been a pure and enlightened being for that period of time.
There will be a few deity meditations conducted at our Center. Those deity meditations are Chenrezig meditation, Green Tara meditation, Vajrasattva meditation, and Medicine Buddha meditation. Deity meditation is held on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm alternating with the meditation topics listed above.
If someone is a great yogi or an advanced practitioner, then external fantasies will not affect their mind in daily life. But, for those who are still exploring teachings, and early practitioners, it is very important to have a quiet and peaceful external environment for meditation.
To avoid the stresses and frustrations of the mind and body from our very rapidly changing world, city noises, a distracting life, never ending chords of family life and busy and long days in the work place, it is good to have a relaxing meditation for a few days at a retreat location with spiritual friends. So, every year we organize one or two, spring and fall, retreats.
6. Chanting and Prayer Services
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, we chant many different sutras. This helps us to think and meditate on the meaning of the sutras. We also chant the many different mantras of the Buddha and Tantric deities. All the mantras have their own significance, as the mantra Om Mani Peme Hum signifies love and compassion.
We pray to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas to ask for the granting of blessings for success in our spiritual development. But it does not contradict the theory of karma. If we know how to perform a prayer well, that prayer should always go along with a pure mind. When we perform prayer with a pure mind, for even a few minutes, that will bring huge blessings from the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. If we pray with only a selfish attitude and negative mind for a many hours, there will be no chance of receiving the blessings from the higher beings. Thus, we carry out chanting sessions occasionally on weekends.
7. Tibetan Language Classes
All the vast and advanced teachings of Buddhism were remanded in the Sanskrit and Pali languages. Buddhist teachings in both these languages were carefully translated into the Tibetan language by many great Tibetan translators. In the field of Buddhism, the Tibetan language is the only one that agrees with Sanskrit.
However, Sanskrit is an antiquated language and it is used very rarely. In India, there are only small numbers of scholars and several schools and colleges that utilize Sanskrit. It is considered an ancient language and is not used by majority in India.
The Tibetan language is actively and currently used by all Tibetans and in all the Himalaya regions. So, it is important to learn the Tibetan language if you would like to explore more and advanced topics in Tibetan Buddhism. The greater knowledge of the Tibetan language will give greater opportunities to understand Tibetan Buddhism.
Nobel laureate, H.H. The Dalai lama, has stated, "Even though the Tibetan language is not that much use in the ﬁelds like business and legal studies, its use is paramount in studying the teachings of the Buddha (Kagyur) and commentaries (Tengyur) contained in more than 300 volumes."
So, we conduct Tibetan language classes at levels 1, 2 and 3. The level 1 teachings will have 10 classes, and the duration of the each class is 2 hours. These classes will be conducted on weekends.
8. Children's program
When children are young, it is important to provide education to them. It is especially important to introduce the inner values such as kindness, compassion, tolerance, mindfulness and so on, which are taught in Buddhism. Through that those children will become more peaceful, more compassionate, respectful to others and therefore more able to contribute positively to our society. Our aim is that this will help to achieve world peace and prosperity.
For that reason, we will have events for children where we teach these ideas through art, music, play, stories, meditation and prayer.
All the major religions teach the importance of helping sick and needy people. In the Buddhism, we are taught the importance of meditation, but at the same time, we are taught that helping other sentient beings is a top priority for Buddhist followers. In the Buddha's lifetime, he himself helped and treated sick people. Buddha expressed the importance of giving food and clothes to those in need.
We are dedicated to help helping patients at local hospices and individuals at homeless shelters through visiting and spending time with hospice patients and by donating food and water to homeless shelters. We are committed to the educational support of Tibetan children who are from poor families in exile in India. We also would like to help Tibetan elders in old-age homes who need support from others.
In monasteries, many monks who fled from Tibet for further study in India, become ill and need surgery and major treatment, but they are unable to afford expenses for these services. So we will help them to get medical treatment. We also want to help to local poor Indian people near the Tibetan settlements in India.