Saraha's Arrow Newsletter vol. i.d


Vol. i. d: Offerings

The Newsletter of the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute
This edition of Arrow, the quarterly newsletter of the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Insititute is published today, Jan. 5, 2014 (AD) / 2140 (Buddhist year-count)
in the Year of the Water Serpent
Contents: Arrow Vol. i. d : Offerings
Namo Gurubye, Namo Buddhaye, Namo Dharmaye, Namo Sanghaye.

grasplessly untying
radiant and undying
for the Dharma and Beings,
this edition of Arrow is dedicated
to the subject of sacred offerings.

I The Bow: (what happened...)
Since Sept. 25, 2013 ... HE Ayang Rinpoche Phowa Retreat, Weekly Video Events, Keith Dowman Seminar, Jigme Wangdrak Rinpoche Empowerment, Lama Tsering Gyaltsen Webcast #1, Dharma Teachings Audio Publication, University of Oregon Architecture Seminar Class Results...
II The Arrow: (what's going on...)
Oregon Ways of Offering When the Sun is Low., Pleas and Thanks..

III The Target: (what's coming up...)
Losar Events, Children's School...

IV: Some Archers: (words from the Sangha...)
Sarahapa Poem, Two Poems from Nyima, On Buddhist Offering...Some submissions from those connected to Saraha on this issue's theme, ' Offering'...
About Saraha and Arrow:
The Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute, or simply "Saraha," is a center for the teaching and practice of Buddha Dharma in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

Arrow brings to life Saraha's direction and development over time, and embodies the individual voices of its teachers, including HH Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, Lama Tsering Gyaltsen, and Lama Sonam Tsering, and students who are connected with the Institute.
May Arrow will be beneficial and meaningful for all!

I: The Bow (what happened...)

From Sept. 27-Oct. 6, HE Ayang Rinpoche, lineage master of both the Nyingma and Kagyud schools of Tibetan Buddhism, visited and led a ten-day first-ever onsite meditation retreat at Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Temple. Unbounded thanks to Rinpoche for his teachings and guidance.   Thanks to the many volunteers who worked to make this event run smoothly and happily. And the sponsors/businesses, who donated stuff to help the economy run. For some photos from this event, click HERE.
New Video Thursdays at Saraha...
On Thusday, Oct. 10, Saraha conducted the inaugural event in a continuing weekly series of video screenings  "Video Thursdays,"  on the 12-foot-wide projector screen in the temple shrine. Our first video was a record of Dharma activities of HH Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje in India, as well as of Rinpoche's historical visit to Saraha Temple (then the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene) on Nov. 8, 1980. See Saraha's online calendar for upcoming video events...

On Sunday, Oct. 13, renowned author and translator Keith Dowman visited Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Temple and taught on the subject "Radical Dzogchen."
On the weekend of Oct. 19-20Tulku Jigme Wangdrak Rinpoche visited Saraha to confer the Vajrayana empowerment, transmission and teachings of Throma Nagmo, and also lead an inaugural session of Throma practices at Saraha. Click HERE for some photos from this event.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, at the request of the Vajrayana Foundation in California, Saraha founding teacher Lama Tsering Gyaltsen together with translator Heidi Nevin gave the first in an ongoing series of Buddhist teachings on the Preliminary Practices of the Dudjom Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. These teachings were recorded and webcast worldwide. This was the inaugural video webcast of Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute.
In November, Saraha began employing the audio sharing network known as Soundcloud to offer recordings from its archive of audio teachings online. So far, the results have been very positive, with over a thousand of people from 43 countries around the world tuning in to listen to precious Dharma teachings. Featured among these teachings are a magnificent teaching by HE Yangthang Rinpoche on the origin of Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute, as well as the value of practicing Buddha Dharma, and a rich and elegant benchmark teaching on the topic of "Tsok" or "Collections of Pure Offering" by Saraha founding teacher Lama Tsering Gyaltsen on Nov. 23.  Click HERE to visit Saraha's Soundcloud teachings online...
On Dec. 6, braving record-setting cold and snow in Eugene, Professor Kevin Nute and his students from the University of Oregon's department of Architecture class 484 visited Saraha to present the results of their semester-long study of Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Temple and temple grounds, and their inspired visions of Saraha's architectural future. For some photos of their beautiful design projects, click HERE.
Finally, on Jan. 3-4 (now in 2014) Saraha conducted "De Chod" or "Offering at the Transcendence" ceremonies commemorating the 2nd anniversary of the Parinirvana of the incomparable Buddhist master HH Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche. Ceremonies included the offerings of prayers, wholesome substances and the recitation aloud of teachings from Rinpoche's spiritual masterpiece Cascading Waterfall of Nectar...

I: The Arrow (what's going on...)

Ways of Offering When the Sun is Low

Although this year's Winter in Oregon is coming on strangely dry and mild, historically it seems the best strategy for riding out the usual months of frigid drizzle is to have a seasonal plan, to have something special to do.

These days, apart from operating its calendar of regularly-scheduled events, Saraha is busy working behind the scenes to address the recorded results of the many special teaching events it conducted and hosted during the finer-weather parts of last year.  Lest the original teaching moments be lost in time, we think It is crucial that previous teachings be diligently recorded and preserved, and then fitted, ordered and offered again for students' consideration and review. Practically we are doing this by means of Saraha's library, files and digital media offerings, as well as additions, such as video teachings, to our regularly scheduled events.

Hopefully, this will be Saraha's contribution to the deepening of the teachings, to the traditional cycle of learning, contemplation and meditation which inevitably leads students to the understanding, experience and realization of enlightenment. By offering, opening and re-opening these teaching materials in different ways, Saraha is trying to create pathways to realization.  This is our tending to the seeds of enlightenment in the Winter.
Pleas and Thank You
Please hear us. Saraha is a registered non-profit organization supported almost entirely by donations and volunteer efforts. Please, please help Saraha by donating your time, effort, money, goods and good intention to keep us alive.  You can do this by donating online HERE. You can do this by contacting the office (see below) to make a donation. You can do this by becoming a Saraha member, which has myriad advantages in any case. You can do this by volunteering to help with cleaning, maintenance and various projects at the temple. You can do this by attending events, or even just thinking, acting and speaking well of us. Please direct your kindness toward Saraha.

And Thank You to those of you who have already started doing what we are begging you to do in the previous paragraph, those who have helped Saraha in the past year. There is no way we could have made it through without you.

I: The Target (what's coming up...)

  • Stainless white stallion, valiantly appear! Tibetan New Year ( Losar) the Year of the (Male Wood) Horse, arrives on March 2, 2014 this year.  There will be friendly gatherings. There will be colorful offerings. There will be Dharma ceremonies. Once again there will be large meals including Khabtse, fried dough, molded into clever shapes...
  • Saraha is meant to focus on Dharma education. We have long held the intention of creating Dharma teaching programs for children, who benefit greatly and assimilate the wise and peaceful teachings of the Buddha easily, naturally and profoundly. We are therefore delighted to report that this goal will begin to begin to take form very soon. Saraha founding teacher and President Lama Sonam Tsering has announced that we will be inaugurating a Children's Dharma Education Program starting in March of this year.  Hooray!  Stay tuned for further details...

IV: Archers (words from the Sangha...)

Contributions and offerings on the subject of offerings...

Sarahapa, forefather of the Siddhas
Your name is the crown of this Dharma assembly
With every auspicious cause complete,
                      now by one empowering condition,
Here the youthful Lotus fresh blossoms anew!

Among the teachings of the stainless Buddha,
            both general and specific
Are the New Treasure teachings of the sole father, Dudjom
Who is inseparable from the Lake-Born second Buddha.
Through these precious teachings may all beings benefit!

…thus,on Oct. 22, 2013, I, Chag-gong Jigme Wangdrak, an afflicted person who is merely a descendant of the family lineage of the great treasure revealer Dudjom, in immediate response to the request of Jigme Pema Thrinley, the manager [of Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute], wrote down this verse using my I-Phone ...

For a moment

For a moment, the BART train
has a demon’s scream –
The NYC riot grrl poet asks for info about AA
on Facebook –
The lurching gray-haired woman is actually a man
w/ horrifying burnt face.  
I smile into his gentle eyes.


paintings of sunflowers
on the ghetto fence


Poems by Nyima...

Buddhists should understand the practice of offering, which is so important in all Buddhist traditions. Three types of offering are often categorized: the offering of material goods, the offering of refuge or freedom from fear, and the offering of the Dharma. Of these three, the offering of the Dharma, because it encompasses the causes leading to the results of the other two types of offering, and especially because it leads to the supreme goal of enlightenment, is considered supreme.

As for how to offer, ideally the act of offering should be embraced by the "threefold purity", meaning that offering should be performed without grasping anticipation or grasping reluctance or regret towards that which is offered, towards the recipient of the offering, or towards the act of offering itself. This style of giving entirely contradicts worldly practice, where even trivial acts of generosity immediately engage us in a vibrant web of pride and second-guessing, hope and fear.

Still, there is hope that we can attain proficiency in the positively hopeless offering of the intended type. Why? Because the whole situation, the whole embattled territory of giving and not giving is in the end made up by us in our own minds. By changing our practice, minds, thinking, we can change how everything goes about. That is the way it is.

Generosity is not an ancillary practice of Buddhism, nor is it just a time-honored fly-in-the-ointment fundraising staple of the Buddhist faith. Neither is it just "being nice." Offering is a direct antidote to the principal affliction of samsara, grasping. If we talk about the "three poisons," those of ignorance, agression and greed, that power samsara, grasping is the hallmark of them all. Grasping as reductive mental fixation is ignorance. Grasping is the blind protective stance that erupts forth into aggression. When insatiable grasping monarch mind prevails, greed rules the world. Grasping is samsara's poisonous signature.

Offering, especially offering purely to the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is most excellent because it encompasses the goal of graspless wisdom attainment with the practice of graspless offering. This is a magnificent practice that we can do at any time, not just when we are looking for an empty envelope to enclose an offering check. We can practice this with all our personal phenomena, not only all the "stuff" we have in the garage, closet or bank, but all of our senses, all of our thoughts, our whole "life," the whole cycle circle circus of it. Even look purely at grasping itself and offer that. What a kick. Offering offering. Offering thanks. Thanks to offering, for offering...

These thoughts on "offering" were written at the last minute by Arrow's editors because the subject of offering has been coming up in their minds a lot these days, and also because they didn't think there were enough submissions to properly fill up this "Submissions" section of the Arrow newsletter.

Notwithstanding, the editors offer a sincere apology to Saraha founding teacher Lama Tsering Gyaltsen for failing to complete in time a translation of the essay entitled "Colored Neither White Nor Gold: the Unique Practice Lineage of the Nyingma" that Lama Gyaltsen prepared specifically for this edition of Arrow. With Lama's guidance, we will attempt to translate well and include this essay in Arrow's next edition.

In Conclusion


Finally, Saraha founding teacher Lama Tsering Gyaltsen requested that the following Dharma teachings be inserted here, please read and practice them..

The following stanzas from Nagarjuna's "Letter to a Friend"

Stanza 5:

May your body, speech and mind always rely
On wholesome deeds, the tenfold virtuous path.
Avoid liquor and intoxicants at all costs.
Lead a life of virtuous deeds and you will find true joy.

Stanza 6:

Know that possessions are essenceless and ephemeral---
Generously give to monks, noble
brahmins, to the poor and to your friends.
There is no greater friend than giving itself.

Stanza 13:

Carefulness is the way to deathlessness,
while carelessness is death, as Buddha taught.
And thus, so that your virtuous deeds may grow,
Constantly and respectfully, be careful.

'The Mirror Clearly Showing What to Adopt and Abandon' by H.H. Kyabje Dudjom RinpocheOm svasti prajnabhya!

Incomparable guide of this fortunate aeon, king of the Shakyas,
Embodiment of all the buddhas, the lake-born Lord of Oddiyana,
King and subjects, and all the vidyadharas of the kama and terma lineages—
To you, this perfect field for gathering merit and wisdom, respectfully I bow!
Two communities of sutra and mantra practitioners, shaven-headed monks and long-haired yogins,
With the view of the Middle Way and the conduct of the vinaya,
And the ultimate union of the generation and completion stages, the Great Perfection—
This is the great secret tradition of Ancient Translations in the Land of Snows,
With its six qualities of greatness. For those vidyadharas who have set out upon this path,
With its teachings of the oral transmission, terma revelations and pure visions,
I will now carefully set out a few points of conduct as guidelines,
Describing what should be adopted and abandoned, daily and on special occasions,
So pay attention with a mind that is clear and attentive...

(Clean up your conduct and click HERE for full text)

The prayer prayer dzam ling chi dang... by HH Dujdom Rinpoche

at this very instant, for all the people and nations of Earth,

Let not even the words "disease," 'famine," "war" and "suffering" be heard,

But may virtue, merit, wealth and plenty increase

And auspiciousness and well-being ever abound

and the prayer khenlob cho sum...

May the great tradition of the Abbot Shantarakshita,
the Master Padmasambhava, and the Dharma King Trisong Detsun

Increase and spread throughout the three realms of this world.

May the appearance of the Three Jewels and the mindstreams of beings

Remain inseparable and bring sublime well-being throughout the three times.

Composed by Kyabje Dudjom Yeshe Dorje


This Arrow Newsletter and its contents are published by Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute, who retains copyright to its content, including text and images. Content may not be reproduced in any form for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the publisher.

Mailing Address:  Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute
                                 1430 Willamette St., #37
                                 Eugene, Oregon, USA
Tel:                           +1(541)359-3588

This editor of the current edition, Arrow Vol. i. d, is the Saraha Office Staff ....

Saraha is a registered 501(c)(3) designated non-profit religious organization based in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
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