Breath as Medicine – Teachings with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, February 5-7, 2016

A Photo of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

LECTURE

Friday, February 5, 7 pm

Lecture Location: Asia Society, 1370 Southmore Blvd., 77004

Lecture Fee: $10 ($5 for Asia Society and Ligmincha members)

To register please visit: asiasociety.org/texas

 

WEEKEND RETREAT

Saturday, February 6 & Sunday, February 7,

10 am – 5 pm

Retreat Location: The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd, 77006

Retreat Fee: $180 ($150 Jung Center and Ligmincha members)

To register please visit:  junghouston.org

Experience how Tibetan spiritual traditions utilize mind-body practices as a way to heal one’s body, energy, and mind. Over the last few decades, there has been a growing interest in mind-body practices and their therapeutic use. One of the most potent mind-body medicines is the use of breath, sometimes known as prana, qi, or rlung in Tibetan; in fact, many times these practices are called mind-breath-body practices. In this mini-retreat, Tibetan master Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will share his knowledge of these ancient practices and how to apply them in our modern Western setting.

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International, is an acclaimed author as well as a highly respected and beloved teacher to students throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. Fluent in English, Tenzin Rinpoche is renowned for his depth of wisdom; his clear, engaging teaching style; and his ability to make the ancient Tibetan teachings highly accessible and relevant to the lives of Westerners.

 

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TRANSFORMING YOUR WORLD THROUGH SERVICE

A Photo of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

From February through July 2016, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is offering a free, six-month Internet course on Transforming Your World Through Service. The course includes everything from free monthly live webcasts to multi-language discussion forums, recorded webcasts, MP3 audio recordings, and downloadable print materials.

All course offerings are free and open to all! You must register separately for each live webcast event, as well as for the course with its full support materials.

 

About The Course

Serving others is fundamental to our personal spiritual development. Our commitment to making a difference for others and the world can fill our life with love and joy, but requires a strong foundation of wisdom and compassion. This course will help you become as effective as possible in your service to others. You will learn:

  • The fundamentals of enlightened leadership.
  • Meditation practices for cultivating wisdom and compassion.
  • How to rise above your ego to connect with a sense of collective purpose.
  • The best ways to inspire others to serve.

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche strongly encourages all his students to participate in this course. Its teachings are based on his forthcoming book on the topic.

How to Participate

To take part in the free live webcasts, simply join us from your home computer or other device, or at one of Ligmincha’s participating practice groups or centers worldwide. Each webcast is free and open to all and requires no prerequisite. However, to make the most of this course, students are encouraged to view all six live webcast events of the series,and/or the recordings of those webcasts at the course site; and to put what they learn into practice daily between sessions. A chat screen on the broadcast page enables asking questions of Rinpoche or the webcast administrator during the webcast. Real-time translation is offered in multiple languages. Access these translations here.

 

Webcast Schedule

Each live webcast is scheduled for the second Saturday of each month and will take place from 3-4:30 p.m. Within a few days after each live webcast, the recorded webcast will be posted at the Ligmincha Learning course site. All times shown are Eastern Time U.S. (New York time).
View printable PDF of schedule soon

  • February 13, 2016, 34:30 p.m.—Part 1: The Value of Enlightened Leadership
  • March 12, 2016, 34:30 p.m.—Part 2: Cultivating Wisdom
  • April 9, 2016, 34:30 p.m.—Part 3: Generating Compassion
  • May 14, 2016, 34:30 p.m.—Part 4: Service and Spirituality
  • June 11, 2016, 34:30 p.m.—Part 5: Inspiring Others to Serve
  • July 9, 2016, 34:30 p.m.—Part 6: Questions and Answers

 

 

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Twilight Meditation at Rothko Chapel

Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., Bon-Buddhist Meditation
Tuesday, February 2, 6pm, Suggested donation $10
To register, please click HERE.

 

Learn about meditation in the ancient Bon-Buddhist tradition of Tibet, and how it can be a “medicine” for our mind. Dr. Alejandro Chaoul is an assistant professor and director of education at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine program, where he conducts research using mind-body techniques with cancer patients, holds group and individual meditation classes, and directs the education initiatives on integrative medicine. He is also an associate faculty member at The McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at University of Texas Medical School, where he teaches medical students in the areas of spirituality, complementary and integrative medicine, and end of life care. Alejandro is also on the Board and is a meditation and Tibetan yoga teacher of the Ligmincha Texas Institute for the Tibetan Meditative and Healing Arts as well as an advisor for the Rothko Chapel. A reception follows the program.

http://www.rothkochapel.org

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Dzogchen Kunsang Nyingthig: Continuation of Heart Drops of Dharma Kaya

Latri Nyima Dakpa need to return to India to be at Menri Monastery.  This retreat will be rescheduled in 2016.

 

Dzogchen, the “Great Perfection,” is the highest level of Bon teachings. Dzogchen teaches that the nature of our mind is like a cloudless sky. But do we truly realize this? Many of us hide our mind behind the shadow of five poisons; ignorance, attachment, anger, jealousy and pride. How can we come to realize our own nature?

Heartdrops of Dharmakaya is a text written by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, one of the teachers of Yongzin Rinpoche. It is a particularly powerful, direct method of Dzogchen.

In this two-day retreat, Latri Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche will return to Houston to teach the continuation of the Heartdrops of Dharmakaya.

 

Public Talk: Friday, October 23, 2015 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

$15 Suggested Donation

Times: Saturday & Sunday, October 24-25, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Location: Ligmincha Texas, Inc.

4200 Westheimer Road, Suite 215, Houston, Texas 77027

Fees: $150 General Public

$125 Ligmincha Members & Full-time Students

Registration: Please email us your intention to attend at info@ligminchatexas.org.

Payment can be made at the door by cash or check. To register in advance, please

visit our website at: www.ligminchatexas.org.

Special payment plans are available. Please inquire at info@ligminchatexas.org.

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Save+Nepal

Donate for Nepal Earthquake Relief

 

TritenMonksHelping1The earthquake that affected Nepal on April 25 damaged some of Triten Norbutse Monastery buildings.

Due to the structural damage, our monks and lamas, like all the other inhabitants in Kathmandu are forced to sleep outdoors. The buildings need to be inspected, assessed for repairs and deemed safe to return inside, before the monks and lamas can go back to sleep indoors.

MonksSleepingOutside

The immediate needs are tents, blankets and other equipment for outdoor living which may be prolonged. We also hear that the price of food in Kathmandu has gone up.

In the midst of all these problems, the monks and lamas are helping the community around them with their own labor, assistance, and prayers.

Please help us support their efforts, as well as the recovery of the monastery. 

Donate as generously as you can, any amount is welcome. All donation are tax deductible. Donations will be given directly to Triten Nortbutse Monastery in the most efficient and low cost way.

Save+NepalHOW TO DONATE
Write a check to Ligmincha Texas, mail it to:
Ligmincha Texas
4200 Westheimer, Suite 215
Houston, Texas 77027

Click here to donate with a credit card immediately:  

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Meditation leader helps conquer cancer fear

Image of Alejandro Chaoul
Alejandro Chaoul leads a mediation class at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

 

A group sits in a mostly empty room – some in their socks, one barefoot, a few on pillows, others on dull gray chairs – breathing. They inhale. They exhale. They chat. They savor silence.

On Tuesday mornings at M.D. Anderson, this is cancer treatment.

Sun spills through the blinds and throws precise rectangles on the floor, illuminating Alejandro Chaoul’s back as he leads the circle through meditation. On sheets of paper laid out in front of him, meditators have written down what they’re wrestling with. Anxieties, fears. Some have radiation scheduled later that week, others say they have trouble sleeping, even though it is their spouses who have cancer.

In addition to the physical effects of the disease, so much of this fight takes place in the mind.

Chaoul is a doctor, but of the Ph.D. variety, having earned his doctorate at Rice University in Tibetan religion. He started teaching free meditation classes at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as a volunteer 15 years ago, then worked part time through a research grant on Tibetan yoga for people with lymphoma before becoming full-time faculty. He never planned to work at a hospital, but his path mirrors what healing has come to mean in the health care world.

M.D. Anderson was among the first major cancer centers to look at “integrated medicine,” which marries biological treatments like radiation and chemotherapy with yoga, art and meditation. The hospital opened the Place … of wellness in 1998.

At first, it was more of a “side boutique,” driven by volunteers, said Lorenzo Cohen, who joined M.D. Anderson the year before with a background in research psychology.

Cohen studied how to track the impact of stress on the human body. He wanted to apply the same evidence-based practices of traditional medicine to the less visible parts of dealing with cancer. Patients were already exploring ways to cope with their illnesses, but few doctors were clinically studying it.

‘Meditation pills’

Eventually, M.D. Anderson opened the Integrative Medicine Center, which Cohen now directs, moving its services into the Mays Clinic, which also houses the Nellie B. Connally Breast Center and Laura Lee Blanton Gynecologic Oncology Center, among others. Rather than offering “complementary” services, Cohen said, he worked to break down the barriers between oncologists and people like Chaoul. Today, physicians can refer patients to a meditation class or a nutrition specialist on top of regular treatments.

“We’re trying to collect the evidence one way or another,” Cohen said. “Proving something ineffective is equally important to proving something effective.”

What Chaoul prescribes are “meditation pills,” deep breaths taken to dose a stressful moment. And though he teaches that “meditation is medicine of the mind,” he’s also aware of how New Age-y that can comes across.

“I found (the saying) in a really profound place – a tea bag,” he jokes.

One of the hardest parts about both cancer and the practice of Tibetan meditation, he said, is to recognize the impermanence of life. He asks patients and their caregivers to focus on the present.

Encouraged to teach

As a boy, Chaoul said existential attacks would swallow him at night, alone in the dark of his room: “I’m going to die and then what?”

He said difficult events in his life, like his parents’ divorce, propelled him to seek out the spiritual. Not that Chaoul didn’t already have spirituality in his life. He was born Jewish in Catholic Argentina and attended a Presbyterian school before moving to India in pursuit of Buddhist teachings. His first job was in advertising, but he soon turned to Eastern philosophy.

At 24, he traveled to India and stayed for almost a year, finding Indian and Tibetan meditation teachers and practicing several hours a day. When he moved back to Argentina, he helped coordinate the Dalai Lama’s trip there and accompanied him to Chile and Venezuela. Eventually, Chaoul found his way to Houston.

His teachers encouraged him to start teaching, so he began giving classes at Ligmincha Texas, a Buddhist center in Houston. There, he encountered Maria Alma Rodriguez, an M.D. Anderson lymphoma doctor who asked him to teach at the cancer center.

Chaoul said his father always wondered what he was going to do with a religious studies Ph.D. In 1998, before Chaoul starting teaching at M.D. Anderson, his father became a prostate cancer patient there.

“My father is a businessman. He has a classic view of the world,” Chaoul said. “It’s not until he became a patient that he said, ‘What you’re doing is pretty neat.’ I wish he didn’t have to go through that to think that.”

His father survived the cancer, but still does not meditate.

Where body, mind meet

At St. John’s Downtown, the Rev. Juanita Rasmus has eulogized several cancer patients. So when she learned she had a rare form of kidney cancer in 2009, her head was at once numb and spinning. Praying was hard when faced with death, she said, even for a pastor. The tumor was successfully removed, but each time checkups roll around, the anxiety returns.

“What the meditation class helped me to realize is that I’ve been holding my breath most of my life,” Rasmus said. “Working hard, trying to be a good girl, trying to please people. In many ways, the cancer gave me permission to care for myself first.”

Chaoul, 50, still practices Tibetan meditation by himself before the sun rises every day, but he also teaches nearly every day of the week, including classes for faculty and staff, medical students and the community at places like The Rothko Chapel, Jung Center, Ligmincha, Rice and the Asia Society. He has come to embrace working at the intersection of body and mind.

In class, it’s not quiet, a dull beep pulses somewhere else in the hospital, and the vents blow long, heavy blasts into the room. Distractions pull at our “monkey minds,” Chaoul tells the meditators, always swinging from thought to thought. There are so many outside things to notice – eyes flutter open when someone coughs – so focus instead on your breath, he advises; find grounding in yourself. Chaoul taps a bell, and the sound is so clear it circles the room.

For Naomi Rosborough, who has been attending Chaoul’s classes for years with her husband, a survivor of melanoma and prostate cancer, the meditation is not nirvana. But, she says, “it calms our spirits.”

Karen Chen

Karen Chen

Investigative Fellow, Houston Chronicle

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