Dzogchen Teachings with Yangton Lama Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Geshe Tenzin Yangton

Introductory Lecture: Friday, October 9, 2015, 7—8:30 PM

Suggested donation $15

Weekend Retreat: Saturday, October 10, 10AM to 5 PM

Sunday, October 11, 10 AM to 1 PM

Location: Ligmincha Texas, 4200 Westheimer Rd, Suite 215

Registration Fee: $150 ($125 for Ligmincha members)

Registration: Please email us at

On SatuTapihritsa01rday, Lama Tashi will teach The Invocation of Tapihritsa, These teachings expresses the essence of dzogchen, the “great perfection,” with Tapihritsa representing the true nature of reality. This is a powerful teaching that guides the practitioner to realize the nature of mind.

On Sunday, Lama Tashi will bless us with the special soul healing teachings of the long life empowerment rituals. The Long Life rituals help to facilitate healing and bringing harmony when times are troubled.

Everyone is welcome to join us for this powerful dzogchen teaching and empowerment from the Yungdrung Bon Buddhist lineage of Tibet.


Yangton Lama Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche was born into Yangton lineage in 1954 in the remote region of Dolpo, northwest Nepal. He is the Head Lama of Yanggon Thongdrol Phuntsog Ling Monastery. Lama Tashi is known as an accomplished meditator and scholar. Lama Tashi received his Geshe degree in 1986 graduating from the first class of geshes at Menri Monastery.  After receiving his degree, he returned back to his native village. There he constructed Yanggon Thondrol Phuntsok Ling Monastery in 1988. He relocated the temple in 1993, and constructed a prayer-wheel room, kitchen, monk’s residence and treasure room (storeroom), thus reestablishing a perfect environment for the three-year retreat practitioner and practitioners in general.


Geshe Tenzin Yangton is the resident lama at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, the headquarters of Ligmincha InternatiGeshe_Tenzin_Yangtononal. Born in 1974 in a remote village in the Dolpo region of western Nepal, he is part of the ancient Yangton lineage. In 1990 he became a monk at Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu, . In 1992 he enrolled in the Bon Dialectic School at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, attaining the Geshe Degree in 2006. He has served as an assistant to His Eminence Ponlop Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, head instructor of Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Geshe Yangton has been resident lama at Serenity Ridge since June 2014.

Financial hardship alone should not prevent a practitioner from attending teachings.  Special payment plans are available. Please contact us at

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Meditation and Happiness: Skills for a More Meaningful Life

Two Fridays, October 2 and 9, 2015

4 – 6 PM

Rice University Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

“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: General Public $108; Rice alumni $97


Alejandro CDr-Alejandro-Chaoulhaoul, Ph.D., who has trained with Tibetan lamas since 1989, is an assistant professor and director of educ
ation 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.

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Art, Body & Mind in Mark Rothko: A Retrospective

Four Tuesdays:
October 6, November 3, December 1, 2015; and January 12, 2016, 6:30 – 8 pm

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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.


Free for MFAH members

Free for Rothko Chapel members

“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


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.

For more information, please visit

AboAle Crestoneut 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 Re
search 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.


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Deepening Your Meditative Practice

Thursday, December 17, 2015, 6 – 8 PM

The Jung Center

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

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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.


  • 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

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 to indicate your interest and learn more.

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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

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

visit our website at:

Special payment plans are available. Please inquire at

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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.


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.

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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