Newsletter February 2024

LOSAR 2024

Tuesday February 6 – Saturday February 10


Hey, everyone, it's Losar! Also known as Tibetan New Year, Losar is the biggest cultural festival of the year in Tibetan Buddhism. It actually predates the arrival of Buddhism, coming from Tibet's indigenous Bon religion. This will be the Year of the Wood Dragon.


Tenzin Wangyal, a lama of the Bon practices, describes his experience of Losar when he was a young monk in Tibet:

 "We went to the local spring to perform a ritual of gratitude. We made offerings to the nagas, the water spirits who activated the water element in the area. We made smoke offerings to the local spirits associated with the natural world around us. . . Our way of relating to the elements originated in the direct experiences by our sages and common people of the sacred nature of the external and internal elements. We call these elements earth, water, fire, air, and space."


Bruce Newman, a Buddhist teacher with Tashi Choling in Ashland, describes, with his usual candor and humor, the traditions of Losar as he first encountered it, in his book A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism:

“Then comes Losar, the biggest holiday for Tibetans, consisting of three days of constant partying. Even the monasteries get into the spirit of things. Everyone puts on their finery, including jewelry that looks as though it should be used for weight training rather than ornamentation, and visits the lamas to offer them huge trays of (for us Westerners) almost completely inedible food.”


 LOSAR at Dorje Ling

Here at Dorje Ling, we will follow ODD's protector Vajrakilaya pujas from Tuesday to Thursday, February 6th-8th, from 12:30 to 5:45 pm; and on Saturday February 10th, the Vajrasattva practice from 10 am to 2 pm. Note that to join from home, you must register in advance.


Info, Registration, and Zoom link for Losar


Our traditional Losar Cleaning Day will be on Friday, February 9th, beginning at 10:00 and continuing until 5:00, with a pizza lunch break. Please come help for any amount of time, and RSVP so enough pizza can be ordered!


On Saturday, February 10th, after the practice concludes, we will party! Put on your finery (or don't - just come as you are!), bring food for the potluck and perhaps something for the Dharma Share table (read more about that in the Sangha section below.)


We want to make this a family-friendly event. If you are bringing children, wonderful! Please let us know so we can plan for them, and we will definitely have some children's dharma books to read together and enjoy.


We really hope everyone will come - it’s the most special time for the sangha to gather! Make it your Tibetan New Year’s Resolution to attend some events at your dharma center this year, starting with Losar.

Chinese Astrology

from Asha Deliverance, in Ashland:

February 10th ushers in The Year of the Wood Dragon, bringing positive direction, Initiated from the noble heavens. The Dragon has the power to change the world, successfully implementing innovations with intelligence, honor and a true sense of purpose and duty. The Wood element empowers the Dragon with vitality, creativity, introspection, morality and ethics. This will truly be a year of positive change, directed from the power of the soul.

Practices this month

Ngondro Practice

Sunday mornings 

11:00 am - 12:15 pm

In person and on Zoom

In Tibetan Buddhism, Ngöndro refers to the preliminary, preparatory or foundational practices or disciplines common to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and also to Bon.

We practice the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro, which was written by Dudjom Lingpa and his reincarnation, H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche. It was Dudjom Rinpoche who asked Ven Gyatrul Rinpoche to establish Yeshe Nyingpo centers in the West (including Dorje Ling, in 1980).

Upon request by a student or students, Matthew will teach on the Ngondro following practice.

Ngondro Zoom Link

Meditation Class

Wednesday nights

7:00 - 8:30 pm

In person

No prerequisites needed,

everyone invited, and

drop-ins encouraged.

Matthew leads us in meditation practices. Currently, we are working from the text A Spacious Path to Freedom by Karma Chagme, with commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche, and translated by B Alan Wallace. We usually do three 15-minute meditations exploring a variety of techniques. Every couple of weeks, we do a guided meditation recorded by Alan Wallace himself.

Almost every week, new people who have never visited Dorje Ling appear - they are always welcome! This is a wonderful opportunity to meet new prospective members and give a short orientation to our center.

Lunar Day Pujas

This month, two new pujas!

First, a Special Troma Puja

at Orgyen Dorje Den

with Sangye Khandro

Monday, February 5,

5:00-8:00 pm Pacific

Information and Zoom link

Pujas resume for us

this month on February 19th:

Times: 4-6:30

Monday, Feb 19th

Guru Rinpoche

Saturday, Feb 24th

Chotrul Duchen

Attend in person

or zoom

Puja zoom link

Calendar Notes beyond these Practices

Sun, Feb 18 Riwo Sang Chod, the Smoke Offering, 2:00.

Sat, Feb 24 - Chotrul Duchen puja. Chötrul Düchen, meaning “Great Day of Miraculous Manifestations”, is one of the four Buddhist festivals commemorating four events in the life of the Buddha.

Sun. Feb 25 - Movie Matinee - Return to Gandhi Road. 2:00 pm, organized this time by sangha member Caleb Forrester.

Save the Dates: Coming in March

Saturday, March 2 - Sangha Work party and potluck lunch

March 19-26 - Ven Gyatrul Rinpoche's Decho. From Orgyen Dorje Den, in Alameda California: Please join us for this special 8-day gathering in honor of the lunar anniversary of Rinpoche's passing. Sangha from all of Rinpoche's centers are invited to attend, in person or on zoom. Details to Follow.

Resources and Links

Transitional Life Care provides informal support through the process of dying to individuals, families, caregivers, friends, and the community. They are a source of resources for those who wish to acknowledge and prepare for their own end of life, or who wish to help others. Julie Rogers, a student of Gyaltrul Rinpoche and a friend of Jampal's, founded TLC. It's an invaluable resource for all.

Many of us read about the disappearance of Sravasti Abbey's monk and teacher Geshe Dadul Namgyal on November 7, and the subsequent, difficult search. His body was finally found two months later. Thubten Chodron gave this reflective, potent talk on "Uncertainty and Closure" on January 24, a teaching which of course reaches beyond their story to our universal realities. "In samara there is no closure."

Uncertainty and Closure

ice by Dallen

Sangha News

We weathered the storm! Dallen Esselstrom shared this ice photo with us, and yes, maybe it's a little more gorgeous now that the ice has passed! All of us who live in the Portland area were impacted by that week of ice, temperatures in the teens, high winds, power outages, impassible roads, and so on. Dorje Ling lost power most of the week; Matthew had stored lots of firewood, so they got by, and there were no major tree falls, thank goodness. Within our sangha, however, several people had trees fall on their homes; many more had trees crash down on their property with various wild results, and some surely lost needed income due to not being able to work. Hundreds of trees down, a once-in-a-generation storm. And yet here we are now, anticipating a fresh start with Losar, and soon we will be seeing signs of early spring. With prayers and care for everyone still impacted, we look ahead.

Gifting and Gathering Dharma Items. We want to offer another opportunity to share our extra dharma items, and/or a chance to find a dharma item to take home, at our Losar gathering. We'll put out a Dharma Share table. Do you have a print stored in a drawer? Too many Buddha statues? So many khatas? Please consider what you might bring to share with other sangha members, if you are in that situation of abundance.

As for books, we still don't have our full wish list for the library written down. Maybe by next month! Jude is still hoping for someone to partner with her in caring for the library. If you have dharma books you want to donate, please send an email to Dorje Ling first, and thank you.

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