Ngakmang ཨ་ལ་ལ་ཧོ

upstate_rainbowWe all come to agree that we need farmers, builders even writers, singers and actors.

However just like a rainbow in the sky is there  sometimes and we do not plan on any such and it serves no direct purpose, but some of us love to see it and enjoy looking at and at times even take pictures of.

If you agree there should be something as useless and as necessary in the same time as that, a community of spiritual practitioners that have a “job” of in conventional terms to do nothing. Then this fundraiser is of interest for you.

You can participate in several ways,

Read and pass it on,

Resolve to become one of this marginal “profession”

And obviously reach out to contribute in any of the ways you feel is right or directly helpful.

Go-fund-me fundraiser page:

https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang

This community conceived by many and not even in this instance or recently. It does not mean participants are a type of “priestly” character or a teacher of others of sorts.

However people aiming to join in should strive to lead a simple way of life and be of spiritual inclination.

Here for example is a definition that I have written online recently for the difference between what can be defined as a tradition of spirituality and an organized religion.

“Historically Christianity almost completely served as a societal control mechanism along with army, police, royalty… While Buddhism in big part always attempted to place it’s self outside the society bounds as an ultimate self help for any interested individual, without interest to create or run countries and convert others”

And one more:

“The key differences in this are all at one point really, setting aside philosophy and purpose. One is really presented as a set dogma. Meaning: an injunction “Believe this”. Other is presented for a very complex situation that has to evolve as a condition. Meaning One has to have a persistent question of what is the meaning of all of this, one has to persist in it and in the same time one has to accept that the current faculties may not be able to handle the answer and need to be refined, that too has to go on as well …”

http://www.choying.org/tag/choying Some writing on “Ngakmang” -a mantra practitioners village.

I have written about these questions a little bit for last 3+ years, there is quite a lot more that anyone can always add, as my writings are mine alone please to do not feel that even I, myself feel strongly about these. However these ideas are the only ones “I” have access to.

May it be of liberating benefit!

Go-fund-me fundraiser page:

https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang

Picture is of rainbow above the area of Palyul Temple in Upstate NY by Janet Borges

 

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Passage of Time

Passage of Time by Sherab Gyatso Alex, on the heartfelt effects of meeting with Penor Rinpoche, the grand lama of the oldest lineage of Buddhism in Tibet. -An article published in LEVEKUNST art of life. And a small write-up on the picture from 2004.

Passage of Time by Sherab Gyatso Alex, on the heartfelt effects of meeting with Penor Rinpoche, the grand lama of the oldest lineage of Buddhism in Tibet. -An article published in LEVEKUNST art of life.
“I journeyed upstate to ask with my head bowed and palpable taste of angst: “Rinpoche, I really would like to become a monk and there seems a lot of obstacles to that”. With very happy air Rinpoche bowing his head in approval again and again spoke smiling, telling me that I should not worry, for it is clear to him that over time, slowly, slowly all the obstacles will be resolved and everything will be better.”
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About the picture of Kyabje Penor Rinpoche (1932-2009) in the armchair outside the main temple of Palyul NY Upstate Retreat Center.
2004, or according to the Tibetan lunar calendar year of the Wood Monkey and Rinpoche turned 72 it was an interesting experience in the Upstate Retreat Center. Up to that point we were instantly used to Penor Rinpoche leading all chants with the deep voice, coming to the Temple often, offering empowerments and teachings, even if you did not experience this for long this was instant polaroid-like picture of your “mental image” of how things are. In 2004 however, Rinpoche came to the retreat center at the time of Summer Retreat but was said to be unwell, resting at the residence and was seldom seen in the Temple, everyone was alarmed and in the same time it felt like Rinpoche is watching us all ever more attentively, there was a great sense of happy calm and in the same time of profound sadness. It was raining quite a bit and was also colder the usual. Palyul Tulku Thubsang Rinpoche offered most of the retreat’s empowerments. The picture is taken on one of the last days of this month long retreat when Penor Rinpoche came to the temple and people were taking pictures. Kongpo Lama Sonam Wangchuk (1959-2007) followed Kyabje Rinpoche with the camera and made a whole roll later giving me the roll to develop he told me that I can have any pictures I like. This one stood out because even 10 years later it reminds me perfectly of the these feelings of great calm and concern that permeated that time.

Steve makes it out of the crowd and past the horizon

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Myself and Steven in front of the Palyul Retreat center temple on the Buddha’s Festival day of Chokor Duchen that selebrates 1st historical teaching given by Buddha Shakyamuni.

A while back I undertook to work non-stop hours, In fact there was a time when I had two jobs that I worked 7 days a week and I think it went on for a stretch of six months at one time, before I took a single day off.

In one job I had to cook a hot steam table of Food Emporium Supermarket that used to be on 68th street and Broadway. That I did two days a week. In my effort to enter into the supermarket experience from my recent cooking experience I also took a deli counter job in Gourmet Garage of West Village and that I did the other five days a week. Coming off five years of cooking in a full service restaurant and having run a kitchen, none of the duties were hard to perform and I actually took these jobs in order to have an easier career.

In the West Village I have often had customers that were regulars and I got to know their names, what they do at work and were they go on vacation, or what books do they read and what TV shows they watch. Crucially, some of the regulars had special requests, as in my sandwich should be made like this and like that, not too much mayo and a one and a half pieces of provolone cheese only. None of these requests ever bothered me and my goal was to in fact try and remember the specifications so that the customers would not have to repeat them selves.

One of the customers, Steve had an interesting personality, he was pretty paranoid about the sandwich that was very exacting and never changed that it was very easy to memorize, but had to just be really made the way he wanted and I was able to win his sandwich trust completely to the point  when he waited for me to make while standing aside. Having taken off the list the “sandwich issue” Steve turned out to be very courteous and intelligent person who is a theater actor with interest in Buddhism, art and literature.

After making Steve’s sandwich for a good number of months we connected on facebook and later on when I moved to run cheese department and moved stores completely I would see that he seems to follow my posts sometimes and that went on for about five years. In 016 he reached out to me and said he really wants to come to the Palyul Retreat Center and as I have written many times that I would be only too happy to help anyone make it there, I just had to do it.

Steve took a lot of pictures, appeared to be extremely happy and for sure had to accumulate a ton of jump-start material on Buddhism.

As back in the day of the deli talk we talked about journey that takes place after death and I suggested to him to get a book popularly known as “Tibetan Book of the Dead” and most commonly available one is a slim volume made available by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche through the Shambhala: https://www.amazon.com/Tibetan-Book-Dead-Liberation-Through/dp/039473064X

-Copies on amazon for a 0.01 and you only really need to pay the shipping..

Then after Steve came through the Upstate Retreat, I had to set him up with my favorite “manual” type of book that does include nearly anything for many interested people to contemplate for years…

https://www.amazon.com/Enlightened-Journey-Buddhist-Practice-Everyday/dp/1570620210

Much like choice above copies of this unique book can be had for a penny, and I have obtained a few to give away.

Then there is loose rambling of your’s truly, the misleader of wrong views, no matter how well intentioned, not available for a penny too, but I am happy that I was able to articulate some sort of a book, so it is out there:

https://www.amazon.com/Whats-What-Hearsay-Buddhist-perspectives/dp/1534887237

So, this is quite a journey that at the outline is pretty magic, to be able to fish out a picky sandwich customer out of a hundreds of customers and put him through facebook posts and with no direct effort into the Tibetan Buddhist Temple to receive teachings and liberating empowerments to rest in the sun on the lawn. To set him up with a bunch of books to take home.

Well, I had very little to do with all this, thanks for coming through on this Steve, I wish that complete non judgmental positivity increases in you life without bounds.

Upstate NY Summer Retreat

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What can happen, a job, family, vacation. You end up expanding a lot of energy at the job, get used to that the most. Family comes along and say there is a vacation. A week-long vacation in so many ways for so many people have to confirm to their “process” of what the nine to five is all about. Schedule, advance booking, expectations met, almost met, dashed. Upon your return to “normal” to the routine of every day, there is a chance to formulate the complaints and compliments of the choices made for that brief one week period of time away, designated as time for rest but all too often spent as time attempting to rest because familiar routines are not in place.

Now imagine some one with an interest viewed by society as not normal, crazy in fact. Some one wishing to stay in a cave, seriously. All this spiritual pursuits of the area of life designated as “not-for-profit” as in the type of a corporation with the tax exempt status. If one were to look these matters online the loudest chores of voices heard: “You must run your not-for-profit as a business, it is business and must become one, to be a success”.

At the above one shakes head and thinks, oh geat time to get my business going, or this is unfortunate because I am lousy at business and now looks like this is just another business type where I will fail.

At the outset though it is important to consider that this cycle of life, what we call the Samsara is sustained by constant actions of like and dislike, all the time going for one extreme or the other, in fact this is what in worldly terms is thought of to be healthy, the like of pleasure and dislike of pain, it is just ever-so-pervasive that Buddhist ideas of them to be sustained by causes and conditions and possibility of freedom from pleasure and pain through knowledge about causes and conditions and of freedom become hard to understand.

Myself living in proximity of great Buddhist center, the Palyul Retreat Center of upstate NY I am able to now and then get away and stop by in there. There are many thousands of people that call it home, or home-away-from-home. To come through during Summer one month retreat, which is possible in one week study blocks or as a visitor during the weekends is sure to put you in touch with the spirituality of no goal, of sitting down and minding your speech, mind, body, surprisingly in an organized way, but that part is up to you.. –There maybe a few hundred people around you and quite a few very busy walking back and forth. It’s a very unique place.

In the Shadow of Buddha

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The Stupa of Migyur Dorje in Palyul Retreat Center in McDonough – just north of Binghamton NY is casting  a shadow on a hot afternoon. Stupa represents awakened mind. Probably the best thing one can have next to completely actualized awakening. To be in the shadow of Buddha 🙂

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Hollow Road

Most of the Palyul Retreat Center in upstate NY is located on unpaved road called: Hollow Rd, there is some traffic in direction of the village called Smithville Flats but much less in the direction of McDonough. We were slowly driving towards McDonough and in the middle of the road there was a turtle. On the right side there was completely dry, due to recent luck of rain, drain channel. So it is likely that the turtle was looking to make it somewhere, somewhere better.

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We picked it up and drove a half mile backwards to a beautiful stream.

Usually a lot of ceremonies that require a body of water end up right there. Imagine 2007 Kalachakra ceremony by Third Penor Rinpoche, the mandala got swept and thrown into there.20160619_163325

It looked like a most perfect spot for a Turtle that hitched a ride with us for about 2 min.

Country air. Trees that provide shade. The environment feels very pure and restful. I would not mind if turtle rescue was my job.

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Sang Offering

Picture above is of the Sang Offering, that should look like a big bonfire, with clouds of smoke. We had one like that on Saturday, in the evening after the main Kalachakra Ceremony, the only thing, it was burning pretty high during tremendous downpour of rain! In fact stronger rain would come down, higher the fire would flare up, the only common sense way in which fire was affected by the rain was quite strong smoke, otherwise it looked like fire was nourished by water.