Image of Geshe Chaphur

Experiential Songs of the Dzogchen Masters

IMG_4259

Public Talk

Friday, August 14, 2015 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.

$15 Suggested Donation

Teaching

Saturday, August 15 : 10 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday, August 16: 10 am – 1:00 pm

About the Teaching

Chaphur Rinpoche will be teaching the meaning and essence of all of songs from the ancient Dzogchen wisdom tradition using experiential methods. The retreat will involve the actual singing and chanting of these precious melodic treasures. As we join together in song, this shared energetic power will gently guide us on the effortless path of Dzogchen.

Geshe Chaphur was born in Amdo Ngaba in Eastern Tibet. As a young boy he was recognized as the reincarnation of a great master: Chaphur Phuntsok Wangyal Rinpoche, by His Eminence Bon-Gya Rinpoche and other high lamas. He received his Geshe degree in 2008 from Menri Monastery, the principal monastery for the Bön tradition, and the home of HH Menri Trizin, the head of the Bön sect and Menri Lopon Rinpoche.

Fees for the Teaching

$150 General Public

$125 Ligmincha Members, Jung Center Members & Full-time Students

Registration

Pre-Register via Paypal:

Public Talk

General Public

Ligmincha/Jung/Students

If you prefer to pay at the retreat, please email us at info@LigminchaTexas.org and indicate if you are planning on attending the Public Talk, the Retreat, or both.  At the event, payment can be made by Check (preferred) [make out to Ligmincha Texas, Inc.], Paypal (for credit cards), or Cash.  Financial hardship alone should not prevent a practitioner from attending teachings. Special payment plans are available. Please call 713-444-3457 or email info@LigminchaTexas.org.

Read More

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:  

Read More

Reconnecting with Your Joyful Essence: An Introduction to the Tibetan Practice of Soul Retrieval – A Year long free webcast series

WebcastGermany2What better way to bring in the New Year than to make a yearlong commitment to heal your soul and revitalize your life? In this daylong “Internet retreat,” Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will introduce his yearlong course on soul retrieval. In two 90-minute teaching sessions, Rinpoche will explain the source of these teachings, what it means to retrieve your soul, and how to identify signs of soul loss. He will guide the practice of the “Three Precious Pills” to help you reconnect with your inherently joyful nature. Two additional guided meditation sessions will be led by a senior teacher.

REVISED SCHEDULE—THE TRUE SOURCE OF HEALING

  • June 13, 2015 (Saturday). The True Source of Healing, Part 5: “The True Source of Healing: Your Own Inner Refuge.” FULL-DAY LIVE WEBCAST*.
  • June 27, 2015 (Saturday), 12-1:15 p.m. Eastern time: “Dream Yoga.” Broadcast live from the annual Summer Retreat at Ligmincha’s Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Nelson County, Virginia (not a public talk, but webcast is open to all).
  • July 11, 2015 (Saturday), 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The True Source of Healing, Part 6: “Tapping Into Relationships to Nourish Your Soul.”
  • Aug. 15, 2015 (Saturday), 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The True Source of Healing, Part 7: “Overcoming Loneliness: Finding the Friend Within.”
  • Sept. 12, 2015 (Saturday), 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The True Source of Healing, Part 8: “Nourishing Your Inner Being: The Heart of Soul Retrieval.”
  • Oct. 10, 2015 (Saturday), 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The True Source of Healing, Part 9: “Nourishing Your Inner Being: Questions and Answers.”
  • Oct. 24, 2015 (Saturday), 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. Topic to be announced. Broadcast live from the annual Fall Retreat at Ligmincha’s Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Nelson County, Virginia (not a public talk, but webcast is open to all).
  • Nov. 14, 2015 (Saturday), 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The True Source of Healing, Part 10: “The Power of Warmth: Physical Healing Through Meditation.”
  • Dec. 12, 2015 (Saturday). The True Source of Healing, Part 11: “Healing from the Source: Cutting the Root of Your Pain.” FULL-DAY LIVE WEBCAST*.
  • January 1, 2016 (Friday), 11 a.m.-12 noon Eastern time: “Guided Meditation from the Experiential Transmission Teachings, Part 2.” Broadcast live from the Winter Retreat at Ligmincha Institute at Serenity Ridge, Nelson County, Virginia (not a public talk, but webcast is open to all).
  • January 2016 (date and time to be determined). The True Source of Healing, Part 12: “Soul Retrieval as a Lifetime Practice.”

For more information on the webcasts, please go to http://www.ligmincha.org.

About This Series

These practices of Soul Retrieval can help you tap into the ultimate source of healing. Done daily through the entire year of this course, they have the potential to transform your life. They can help you to:

  • Avoid losing your vitality when faced with difficult life challenges.
  • Revitalize your personal life, family life and professional life.
  • Recognize powerful internal and external sources of healing.
  • Experience healing on all levels—physically, energetically, psychologically and spiritually.
  • Come home to your inherently joyful and creative nature.
  • Bring increased happiness and well-being to others.
  • Progress on the path to higher liberation.

The practices in this course draw from the ancient Tibetan Bon Buddhist teachings of Soul Retrieval. They omit traditional soul-retrieval ceremonies and rituals and focus, instead, on the most essential elements of the core teachings.

How to Participate

To take part in this free course, simply join us from your home computer or at one of Ligmincha’s participating practice groups or centers worldwide. By registering at the link above, you will receive your own, unique link for viewing the next scheduled webcast teachings on your computer, as well as email invitations to future webcasts in the series. Each webcast is free and open to all and requires no prerequisite. However, to make the most of this course and its truly life-transforming potential, students are strongly encouraged to view all 12 live webcasts and/or the recordings of those webcasts throughout the year; and to put what they learn into practice daily between sessions. Students who participate in the live webcasts will have access to additional, downloadable course materials.

For added support, monthly group webcast viewings, as well as regularly scheduled group meditation practices based these teachings, will be available in many locations worldwide. Check back closer to the date for a list of locations. If there is no group available in your area and you are interested in starting one informally, email webcast@ligmincha.org to indicate your interest and learn more.

Read More

An Evening of Tea and Meditation: Sipping Into Silence

Tuesday, Sep 29, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Join Alejandro Chaoul and Chris McKann in an engaging lecture, meditation, and tea tasting. The practice of drinking tea can be deeply contemplative and a complement to a meditative practice. Along with learning and experiencing the different varieties and benefits of tea, participants will learn a simple, take-home technique for a meditation that can become an everyday practice. Meditative tea drinking offers an easy opportunity to integrate a calm and aware state of mind into your daily activities. Note to students who attended previous “Evenings of Tea and Meditation”: This evening will be similar but not a repetition. Different teas and different aspects of meditation teachings will be presented.

Chris McKann, Alejandro Chaoul

Tastings are taught by Chris McKann, owner of The Path of Tea, who has participated in more than 1,000 tea tastings in the past five years.

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism since 1989 and has studied with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. He is an Assistant Professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program where he teaches Tibetan meditation to cancer patients, their families and caregivers, and researches the effects of Tibetan mind-body practices with cancer patients.

Member Pricing: $30.00

Non-member Pricing: $40.00

For more information, please visit us at www.junghouston.org.

Read More

Meditation and Happiness: Skills for a More Meaningful Life

Dates: Two Fridays, October 2-9, 4-6 p.m.

“Achieving durable happiness as a way of being is a skill. It requires sustained effort in training the mind and developing a set of human qualities, such as inner peace, mindfulness and altruistic love.” — Matthieu Ricard

 

Positive emotions such as happiness, contentment and peace are often viewed as experiences that happen to us or as fundamental personality traits that we either have or do not have. This new course taught by Tibetan meditation expert Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., offers an alternate view of happiness as a skill that can be cultivated through meditative practice. Weaving together philosophy, science and spirituality and drawing on Dr. Chaoul’s more than 25 years of training and meditative experiences, this course will explore the role meditation can play in enhancing positive emotional states. Participants will engage in simple meditation exercises and practice skills designed to rest one’s “monkey mind,” reduce stress and pave the way towards greater happiness.

Co-Sponsors: Asia Society Texas Center, Ligmincha Texas Institute for the Tibetan Meditative and Healing Arts, Rice University Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University Department of Religion

Registration:

Fee: $108 For Rice alumni: $97

(www.gscs.rice.edu)

 

Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., who has trained with Tibetan lamas since 1989, is an assistant professor and director of education in the integrative medicine program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is involved in research using Tibetan mind-body techniques with cancer patients and facilitates meditation for cancer patients and their caregivers, as well as staff and faculty. Dr. Chaoul is also associate faculty at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He holds a Ph.D. from Rice University focusing on Tibetan spiritual traditions.

Read More

Art, Body & Mind in Mark Rothko: A Retrospective

 

Tuesday, October 6, November 3, December 1, 2015; and January 12, 2016

6:30 – 8 p.m.

Presented by Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., Meditation and Tibetan Yoga Teacher, Ligmincha Center for Texas Institute for Tibetan Meditative and Healing Arts; Director of Education, Integrative Medicine Program, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; and, Associate Faculty, UT Health’s McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics

Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970), born in Russia (now Latvia) and a leading figure of the New York School, is perhaps best known for the extraordinary Houston chapel which bears his name, a unique site where art, spirituality, and human rights converge. It is a sanctuary for meditation, chanting, music, and other meaningful communal acts.

To celebrate the exhibition Mark Rothko: A Retrospective, the MFAH has partnered with the Rothko Chapel to present this special series of four Art, Body & Mind programs which will be held in the exhibition space, surrounded by Rothko’s paintings. Each Art, Body & Mind program in this series is titled in response to a different quotation by Mark Rothko, and will include a talk and meditative practice.

“Experiencing Meditation”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 6:30 – 8 pm

“A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience.” – Mark Rothko

 “A Journey of Calmness & Clarity”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

“The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer. As examples of such obstacles, I give (among others) memory, history or geometry, which are swamps of generalization from which one might pull out parodies of ideas (which are ghosts) but never an idea in itself. To achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.” – Mark Rothko

“Stillness, Silence & Movement”

Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

“I do not believe that there was ever a question of being abstract or representational. It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing, and stretching one’s arms again transcendental experiences became possible.” – Mark Rothko

“Being Present: A Spiritual Experience”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

“The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point!” – Mark Rothko

Important

Participants should convene in the Lobby of the Beck Building. Everyone will be escorted into the exhibition Mark Rothko: A Retrospective for the program. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and footwear, and are welcome to bring a yoga mat or zafu (meditation cushion). Chairs will also be available.

About Alejandro Chaoul

Alejandro Chaoul was born in Argentina, a very Catholic country, grew up Jewish and attended a Presbyterian school. He later became Buddhist, married a Catholic and his children have been raised with an open mind and heart in spirituality. Alejandro began to study with Tibetan Bon and Buddhist Masters in 1989. Since 1995, he has taught Tibetan meditation and mind-body techniques in the US, Mexico, Latin America and Europe. In 2006, Chaoul obtained his Ph.D. in Tibetan Religions from Rice University (Houston, TX). He is a senior student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche  and teaches at the Ligmincha Institute, serving also as Director of Research for Ligmincha Institute and on the Board of the LigminchaTexas Institute for Tibetan Meditative and Healing Arts. Chaoul currently teaches courses in spirituality and health at the UT Health’s McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics and does research at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, using Tibetan meditation and mind-body techniques with cancer patients, where he is assistant professor in the department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine. Chaoul is the author of Chöd Practice in the Bön Religion and numerous articles on mind-body practices in integrative cancer care, Tibetan meditation and ritual practices, and the intersection of humanities, spirituality and medicine. He also serves as an advisor to The Rothko Chapel.

Tickets:

Free for MFAH members

Free for Rothko Chapel members

For more information, please visit us at www.MFAH.org

Read More

Deepening Your Meditative Practice

Thursday, Dec 17, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Explore how the Tibetan understanding of well being can enrich your meditation. We will develop a sense of embodied meditation using such methods as awareness of breath, visualization, concentration of the mind, and the perception of sounds as embodied energy. The growing sense of completeness one develops through these practices will then become integrated into your life outside of meditation and shared with others. Our aim will be to achieve a relaxed yet aware state of mind and a healthier lifestyle beyond the meditation cushion.

Alejandro Chaoul

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism since 1989 and has studied with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. He is an Assistant Professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program where he teaches Tibetan meditation to cancer patients, their families and caregivers, and researches the effects of Tibetan mind-body practices with cancer patients.

Member Pricing: $35.00

Non-member Pricing: $45.00

To register,  please visit us at www.junghouston.org

Read More

Dzogchen Kunsang Nyingthig: Continuation of Heart Drops of Dharma Kaya

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.

Read More

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

Read More