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Ripa Programming News, Ripa International Summer Retreat 2015 Update, Ripa Planning Efforts, and an Open Invitation

JULY 2015
Dear Sangha,

As we prepare for the 2015 Ripa International Summer Retreat at the Ripa International Center (RIC) in Switzerland, we wished to share some practical points, some joint planning work that we are engaged in, an open invitation to join us in bringing the Ripa vision forward, and some news for the future.
  • Please remember that the deadline to register for the 2015 Summer Retreat is July 14th, all information, including registering either online, or via ‘pdf form,’ can be found on the Ripa International website here.
  • The first week is particularly oriented towards families. Two day seminar teachings on Medicine Buddha, Yeshe Tsogyal and Gesar will be given by Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche. Since this is the part of the retreat that is most dedicated to a general talk, it is an opportunity to not only welcome newcomers, but it is also equally for older students, to hear more broadly from Rinpoche since his coming out of retreat.
  • The second week has some slight changes, with Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche starting with the Yeshe Tsogyal empowerment, which is very advanced, where we will be given a new practice. It is very rare to receive this wang, which is for serious students, and an enormous honour. Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche will give the Guru Rinpoche empowerment following. This too is a very special and more advanced empowerment, intended particularly for overcoming obstacles. Therefore students should be aware of the preciousness of this opportunity, which is truly deepening our practice in most profound ways.
  • The third week of the Yeshe Tsogyal Drupcho will be held, outside of practice and teachings, in full silence.
  • The close of the retreat will include a Magnetizing Gesar Fire Puja on August 14th, followed the next day, August 15th, by a long life Tenshuk ceremony, for Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche. The latter is being organized by the Swiss Tibetan community; however we are invited to participate equally in the event. It will be possible to participate in the Magnetizing Gesar Fire Puja and Tenshuk from afar. The Magnetizing Gesar Fire Puja event, with ‘Participation from Afar,’ will be posted to the website separately, hopefully including the ability to pay online.
  • Between the first and second week there will be a ‘General Sangha’ meeting, on July 31st, to review bringing the vision of the Ripa lineage to the world. Since entering retreat, Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche has emphasized with us that he will be less involved in administrative affairs, so that he can step more fully into his true role as a Rinpoche and future head of the lineage, and that therefore much of the practical responsibility for ensuring the future of the Ripa lineage’s Dharma activities lies with us: we must ensure that we fully engage as students in bringing the Ripa transmissions we have received to life, that we grow our Sanghas, that we ensure the sustainability of the RIC, our mother center in the West, and that we recognize our unique global qualities as a Sangha, and work together to bring peace, harmony, positive conditions for all sentient beings, and particularly heart, to all that we do together. As the work of the Ripa lineage expands more globally to include Asia and South America, we need to be sure that we include our distant Sanghas in our thoughts and prayers, and that we expand and grow our hearts to step into a higher engagement that is broader in scope, beyond our personal and local situation, and with an understanding of our lineage’s ultimate role and work for the benefit of beings. His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, for example, has been giving teachings in Malaysia and Hong Kong this year. Thus, the Ripa teachers are going to places of great need, and which may not be particularly easy, in order to bring the greatest benefit to beings. Therefore, in order to ensure that we also inspire our teachers to return, we need to recognize how lucky we are to have such precious teachers, and do all that we can to ensure the auspicious tendril that will help us all grow and flourish together in the best way possible. Truly, we will be spending time on what it means to be a ‘Socially Engaged Buddhist.’

On a practical level, we will discuss:

  • The financial realities we are facing at the RIC, which would indicate a need to grow 1) Sangha businesses (ideas to be discussed below) and 2) to do much more fundraising
  • Planning regarding the Gompa at the RIC
  • RIC residency interests (including an informal vote for those who might be interested), as well as activities (such as supporting programs or businesses), personal practice commitment and support, and rules and requirements, including practicalities for Swiss, EU and non-EU Sangha
  • More broadly, we will review an organizing theme for Ripa, in consultation with the Rinpoches, to distinguish ourselves from Rigpa and other Vajrayana lineages, or organizations with a similar name; to create a lay Ripa culture globally that improves our collaborative processes and the building of our local communities;  to bring depth and resonance to our path and practices; and to bring greater coherence to our program offerings, and to our communications, please click here for the initial proposal
  • We will review revitalizing the local Padma Ling and Ripa communities, and Ripa practice (perhaps tying it into an organizing theme)
  • We will review the overall RIC purpose and functioning, and how it fits within overall structures and particularly with Stiftung Landguet Ried (SLR), and its future orientation and structure, discussing the implications and requirements for any organizational change, so that the overall RIC and SLR structures support the Ripa lineage in the best way possible, while ensuring what is necessary for sustainability
  • And, we will give an update on the Feng Shui analysis for the RIC, decisions, changes already implemented, and next steps, please click here to see the report….
As part of the meeting, we will review possible business ideas that could be hosted at our Center; some suggestions have included:
All Sangha are invited to be involved in a project; other ideas, beyond those listed above, may also be submitted. Critically, each project must have a complete and thorough business plan, so that the Ripa Council can evaluate the proposal to determine its merits and chances of success, and, thus, whether it will get an approval to move forward.

Also, regarding fundraising, specific projects will be reviewed (such as the Gompa, a small Stupa, Feng Shui improvements for the success and prosperity of the RIC, and Rinpoche’s House) , including along with it, strategies for fundraising, and which projects might be prioritized over others, as well as including more transparency in reporting on fundraising efforts, and how money is spent.

An email survey will be sent, to give all Sangha, not just those present, a voice in these discussions.

The Ripa Lineage has been very active this year, with Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche’s starting the year with the Ripa Sangha during the Ngondro Winter Retreat at the RIC, then returning for a European Spring Tour visiting Spain (Barcelona, Donosti, Tavertet), France (Paris, Ramatuelle), Switzerland and Germany), and then a visit to Mauritius. During that tour, there was the earthquake in Nepal, during which time His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche completely dedicated themselves to doing P’howa practices for the dead, Marme Monlam prayers, extensive community outreach, including having the monks travel to remote locations to assist in helping those in the greatest need with clearing roads, and getting food donated through the lineage to the local people. It was a very stressful time, as aftershocks and a second earthquake continued for a month after the initial ‘great earthquake,’ with very full days. Not long after that, Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche visited New York in May, and there was the annual Nyunge Retreat in May as well with Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche and Lama Tenzin, plus the Saga Dawa Festival at the RIC. Then, all three Ripa teachers were present for the opening of the Ripa Center in Moscow and the new Ripa Monastery in Kalmykia, followed by a remarkable trip by Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche to the Ukraine, where he encouraged all Sangha to practice Tonglen (please see the online article here). Too, His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche was in Malaysia in April, and Hong Kong just this month. And we are only half way through the year! The Ripa International website is kept up to date, with as many articles, in as many languages as we receive translation for, with news, which can be found here, and overall global programming here. To volunteer for translation, or any other activity, or to give general feedback, you may do so here. To make donations for the RIC Supporter Program, see this page; to Support RIC Events, see this page, and to make donations for the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund, visit this page. We are in the process of setting up online payments which we hope to have available to you before the Summer Retreat starts.
Upcoming events include the annual Summer Retreat at the RIC, and then Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche will visit Colombia, and the United States (California), Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche will return to Europe for a Fall Tour (starting in November, including RIC/PL Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, and Russia), emphasizing ‘Healing from our Confusion’ at the level of body, speech and mind. In October, His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche will bestow his Gongter at the monastery in Pharping, Nepal. Then, during Winter Retreat, it is likely that Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche will formally bestow The Boddhisattva Vow, in order to officially give us this transmission. Further planning has begun for next year, the year of the Monkey, Guru Rinpoche’s year, and thus a very auspicious year for practice and empowerments; it is also Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche’s year…. Empowerments that have not been given in Europe to date are in planning. Expect the activities of the Ripa lineage to continue to grow! Therefore, all are fully encouraged to help bring its activities to their auspicious and successful fruition!
We look forward to seeing you soon!!
Warm Regards,
Ripa Council, the Padma Ling and Ripa Presidents, and the RIC Team