Sunday, May 16, 2010


The East Coast appears to be the hot spot for lineages to set up their North American seats. There's Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, NY, seat of the Dalai Lama; Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, NY, seat of the head of the Karma Kagyu school, the Gyalwa Karmapa; Tsechen Kunchab Ling in Walden, NY, seat of the Sakya Trizin. Going a bit further south, but staying in the East, we come upon another -Lotus Garden, tucked into the Shenandoah Valley in Stanley, Virginia, the North American seat for Mindrolling International. Mindrolling follows the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Lotus Garden was founded in 2003 by Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche who was born into the Mindrolling linage. The only time I have referenced Mindrolling was in the Six Mother Monasteries of Nyingma. Mindrolling Monastery was established in Tibet in the 1600's along with a family lineage. Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche descends from this lineage, daughter to the 11th Mindrolling throne holder, the late Trichen Jurme Kunzang Wangyal.

Over at The Chronicle Project, some great audio of Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche speaking on a variety of issues is featured in A conversation with Her Eminence Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. I listened and transcribed her words which followed the first question in the interview. You can click on the link in the article title and listen while you read. The following are Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche's thoughts and words regarding the cultural implications of Vajrayana Buddhism in the West:

"This is a very crucial topic....because we just don't say it that Buddhism is spreading in the West because of any other simpler or more mundane reasons other than the fact that it has come to the point where the West must realize what is happening. So, it's not a question of just the flourshing of the Dharma into a certain region or country of the world, but karmically, sentient beings karma and the karma of the world, is going through a transition where the container that is being formed in which the future Dharma has to be held is fast pointing to the Western directions. So people feel very happy when they hear the words 'The Dharma is coming to the West' or 'The Westernization of Buddhism,' it's a fairly popular thing to say these days. But I don't think it often brings about an awareness in the minds of people of a sense of responsibility that comes with it, that which must be realized by the teachers as not being only speaking in English or translating certain things, but it is about the continuity of the stream of the essence of Dharma that must begin to unfold in a country in the most pure and authentic ways, which requires much more dedication, much more understanding of what it means when the Dharma is coming to the West from the teachers . Teachers have to realize that responsibility. Students have to realize that it's not just a simple thing to be happy about- 'Oh, Dharma is coming to the West, how nice, how good.' And that that expression of your happiness and joyfulness is not the only thing that is sufficient at this point. They have to understand that you are now building something of which you have the courage to hold, again, in the most pure and authentic ways. So this calls in for the need for both teachers and students of this and the next generation to understand the profoundness and the depth of what it actually means when we talk about Westernization of Buddhism. It's about having received it in its most authentic way and then continuation of it in a very changed world, but upholding the values, the principles, the profoundness, the truth and the purity in an unbroken way, in an unbroken lineage."

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