Saraha's Arrow Newsletter vol. i.a
vol. i. a

Welcome to "Arrow," the newsletter of the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute.

This  first ever edition is published
today, on the first day of Losar, 
or Tibetan New Year
Feb. 11. 2013 (AD) / 2140 (Buddhist)
this is the Year of the Water Serpent

About Arrow...

The Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute, or simply "Saraha," is an active center for the teaching and practice of Buddha Dharma in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

First of all, Arrow, this newsletter, will try to bring to life in words Saraha's direction and developments over time. Combining this purpose with the coincidence of today's launching date, which is the first day of Losar, or Tibetan New Year,
the idea of Arrow as a timeline
will be the theme of this first issue.

Arrow's second purpose will be to embody, in the form of written contributions,  the individual voices of people who are connected with the Institute, especially the voices of its teachers, the Tibetan Buddhist Lamas HH Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, Lama Tsering Gyaltsen, and Lama Sonam Tsering, as well as the voices of the many other people who are involved in Saraha's daily life.

It is hoped that this format will provide contributors with a meaningful way to offer their wisdom to others, an authentic diversity of views that will enrich readers, and also help prevent innocent Arrow from becoming inescapably afflicted by editorial droning, such as this.
In any case, thank you so much for your kindness and patience, even for reading so far. We hope Arrow will be beneficial and meaningful for all.

The Bow (still) vibrating

Arrow's timeline starts with the past. Since this is a first issue, "the past," rightly, should include everything, from the time of Saraha's earliest conception, and from there onwards, up to the present day.

Although this is too big an order for a newsletter, at the bottom of this "Bow" section are links to some other materials where you can look to fill in the gaps.

So, on to some highlights...

Since its establishment on August 16, 2011, Saraha has applied for and received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit status; and also applied for and received non-profit status for its real property at 477 E. 40th Ave. Eugene, Oregon, 97405; created all the names, accounts, logos, trademarks, signs and symbols of a now already rather extensive electronic domain (web at , Facebook at Saraha Nyingma, etc); built/constructed and converted the previous church building which it purchased, transforming it from its previous to is present state; planted, cleared and done landscaping outside, including the construction of a dedicated fire ceremony and prayer flag garden; conducted one Vajrayana empowerment event, three cycles of teachings, two special individual teachings, and three fire ceremonies led by a total of six different visiting Lamas and two translators.

Saraha has established a daily offering practice, and almost-daily public group meditation practices at the Temple. In December 2012 we instituted a four-day per week Tibetan language class, which includes online as well as in-person Tibetan teaching resources, and is taught by our new resident teacher Lama Tashi Deleg. Saraha also conducts a weekly book group and a monthly public orientation meeting.

Saraha conducted its first formal mass-mailing fundraising campaign in Dec., 2012, and created an official membership program for Saraha in that month as well. All these programs and most of this work at Saraha has been administered by, and mostly actually carried-out by, an entirely volunteer labor force.

Saraha has instituted a facility rental program and is administering a constant stream of occasional as as well as regular rental events at the Temple. To date, renters have included yoga classes, and various spiritual non-profit organizations, as well as several different local Buddhist congregations.

Click HERE for an article in NW Dharma News with the inspiring story of how the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute was founded in connection with the purchase of its Temple building residence.

Click HERE for more information on the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute's background, including its purpose, the origin of its name, the connection of this name to the Institute, the answer to the question "Why the arrow?" and the correct way to pronounce the word "Saraha."

The Arrow flying

Part 1:  Current Programs and Activities at the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Temple
Saraha's online  calendar is the first stop for people wanting to know what we are doing these days.  Events range from regular nightly group meditation and Tibetan language classes, to special events and meditation retreats. Clicking upon an individual event should afford a pop-up window describing its content.

Today, being the first day of Losar, or Tibetan New Year 2013, our first Losar in the Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Temple, we celebrated events under the guidance of resident teacher Lama Tashi Deleg.  Apart from leading the practices, Lama Tashi heroically, tirelessly and almost single-handedly cooked and prepared all the special foods and ritual items used in today's Losar practice.

Today's events included practice of the "Heart Essence of the Lake-Born" Guru sadhana, and "Riwo Sang Chod" offering practice.

For more about the philosophy which guides our choice of events and programs, see page 2, or the "Paths of Learning" section of the Saraha Vision Statement, HERE.

Part 2:  Work on New Projects at Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute

Apart from the visible and publicly-attended activities at the Institute, Saraha is working behind the scenes to prepare for ithe future. These  works in progress, sometimes alternating between grime and glamor, include:

  • restoration, refurbishment and new construction of the downstairs bathrooms at Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Temple.
  • sanding and refurbishing of the eight heavy support beams in the main shrine room of the temple.
  • extension of landscaping projects around the temple building, and throughout the surrounding 2+ acres of forested property.
  • creation of new public education and training courses, included on-site programs for children's Buddhist education.
  • expansion of our text library of Buddhist books, in both the Tibetan and English languages.
  • expansion of our online resource library of Tibetan language and Buddhist teaching materials.
  • preparing for summer retreat events at Saraha in the Summmer of 2013
  • preparing the visit of the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour to Saraha in July of 2013
  • expansion of our membership program.
  • expansion of our fund-raising sources, through venues such as grant writing, etc.
These are things we are working on right now. Kind-hearted volunteers who have the chops and/or the patience (preferably both) to help Saraha do these things are welcome to contact us and join the effort.

The Target (still) approaching

Arrows automatically include the idea of targets, of somewhere to go. All Buddhist traditions have Enlightenment as their target, or goal, and all the organizations, such as Saraha, that wise Buddhists and aspiring to be wise Buddhists make, try to attend to this same goal.

In this sense, the target is the arrow's future. Regarding the three times of past, present and future then, although we may regard them as being separate, they are not. Just as the signal moment of the arrow striking its target is never actually divided from the myriad moments which led it to occur, according to the law of karma, the key to the future is the fact that the three times are functionally inseparable.

This means, that which is practiced in the present, and becomes the past, is infallibly reflected in the future. Enter the Buddhist emphasis on practice.

We might sincerely wonder then what we are to practice, and where we are to go. Fortunately, we Buddhists are blessed by the tradition of having wisdom guides, and blessed again by the examples of Buddhas, enlightened beings and countless students who have followed their teachers' guidance and attained the goal of Enlightenment. These are inseparable blessings of the past.

Now capable and interested to learn, with budding wisdom that acknowledges Enlightenment, maturing into faith which adheres like an err-less arrow to its path. These are blessings of the present.

We, the ground crew at Saraha, count ourselves blessed and try to remember these connections every day as we undertake all kinds of activities, some of which seem grand and others small, trying to live by our faith, to understand and fulfill our teachers' compassionate intentions, instructions and visions, to wake ourselves up and help others likewise, and to steer this newly-launched ship of Saraha ahead.

We hope you will be blessed in every way, in the coming New Year and always, forever. This, for the present, is what we want to say about the future.

The Archers

...release the arrow

This is Arrow's the fourth and final section, The Archers, which consists of a selection of submissions from Saraha teachers and Sangha members.

Comments from Saraha founding teacher Lama Tharchin Rinpoche (as part of his donation of items for Saraha raffle fundraising)

...My wish is that we can create a place for Dudjom lineage holders for future generations. Our focus is on education in particular, because we have the best incomparable Mindroling Khenchen Tsewang Rigdzin teaching us. That is our great fortune. Through our local lamas, Lama Tsering Gyaltsen, Lama Sonam, Lama Tashi, and myself, whatever we can do to establish our goal of promoting the Dudjom Tersar, we will do. With Saraha Institute, our main focus is on education, shedra. Our own generation is aging now, but through the Vajrayana Foundation and Saraha Institute, we can establish the Dharma for future generations of lineage holders. This is our aim. In order to establish this kind of goal, we need to come together, just like during the time of Guru Rinpoche, King Trisong Deutsen, and Shantarakshita. If we put our entire effort and energy into the Dharma, we can create a Dharma bank for the whole world. We can work together to accumulate a vast ocean, planting a seed for the Dharma to grow and ripen in America in the future, creating a comprehensive and solid foundation for education and practice....

A message from Saraha founding teacher Lama Tsering Gyaltsen  with guidance for Arrow newsletter contents, and a New Year's poem 

(click links in the text below  to visit Lama Gyaltsen's requests)

Tashi De leg. I think we can put the Saraha vision statement in the newsletter. And put in short prayers of HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje and HH Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, and information about Saraha's fund raising projects.  Also, a short life story of HE Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and that of HH Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche (sorry, the editor could not find or make this item in time, will try to find include in next edition.)  

At the end of the newsletter, please put in the prayer "dzamling chi dang" and the prayer "khenlob chosum" 

Thank you so much doing this. LTGyaltsen

(Lama Gyaltsen had also previously sent us a wonderfully Losar poem he specifically wrote as an aspiration for Saraha and to welcome in the New Year.  You can read Lama Gyaltsen's poem  HERE.)

Submission of poems in Tibetan calligraphy by Saraha resident teacher Lama Tashi Deleg

A poem by the Tibetan Buddhist master Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa.
A poem by Tibetan Buddhist master Gedun Chopel.
A poem of auspiciousness for Saraha by Lama Tashi himself.

(Click HERE for poems. English language translations forthcoming.)

Submission by Anonymous regarding learning the meaning of compassion at Saraha

...I realized on an experiential level that it is not my compassion, or your compassion, or his, or hers, or theirs. It is Compassion. It is the essence of True Nature that pervades all beings. It emanates from my root lama, Lama Sonam, Lama Tharchin, Lama Sonam, Lama Tashi, and the Saraha sangha...(click HERE for full submission)

Submission from Saraha Tibetan language student Geoff Kassner regarding the particular value of learning Tibetan for Dharma

...The Tibetan word ‘Jampa’ is one of my favorite examples. Its common translation into English is “love.” However, this is an incomplete translation.  ‘Jampa’ means, “I want you to be happy.” In English, I can say, “I love my car.” In Tibetan, this is crazy thinking since it would be ridiculous to wish our car be happy. Ask any Tibetan if it makes sense for someone to love their car, and they will laugh at you.... (click HERE for full submission)

Submission by Anonymous regarding some life and Dharma experiences

...Lama Tharchin Rinpoche taught outer circumstances as “…a thorn for the Samadhi meditation.” 
Gingerly sitting on barbed thorns, flying every which way down tributaries of distraction once the little teeth bit and sunk in.
Now—still precious little wisdom or discipline. But—late afternoon light beaming like amber over the vulture shoulders of a room full of seven-point postures; Junction City prayer flags laid out all five colors in ripstop fabric before evening session. 
Blessed space and even breath on all sides. Burning off of winter and movement toward Losar; the slow removal of thorns.... (click HERE for full text)

Submission by Anonymous, poems about arrows

... Narrowing the arrow down to nothing, 
By becoming so unequivocally specific, 
At the unseen moment it disappears completely
Immediately, naturally the point emerges... (click HERE for full text)

Submission by Pema regarding the alien-ness of early morning

... Sounds are muffled, people speak in shy, hushed voices as if afraid to break the spell of sleep. The lingering effects of their dreams remain apparent on their faces, resulting in expressions of peace, confusion or frustration on their tired faces as they move slowly and purposefully through the thick and sleepy air.... (click HERE for full text)

Submission by Saraha student Sandra Bishop regarding The Spiritual teacher

...It is often said in Tibetan teachings that no one ever attained enlightenment without following a spiritual master. In this day and age we have libraries full of books on the dharma and spiritual practices. We have quick access through the Internet to online courses and teachings from great masters and self-professed teachers at all levels of spiritual mastery. But there is nothing that can take the place of direct interaction with an authentic spiritual master....(click HERE for full text)

Finally, the prayers requested by Lama Gyaltsen

the prayer dzam ling chi dang...

At this very instant, for all 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