Lama Lena in Northampton
“Total presence is the unstructured, natural radiance of your own mind.”
-Shabkar’s The Flight of the Garuda, Verse Seven
Keith Dowman, translation
About the Event
Introduction to Dzogchen
with Jan Owen
Friday, April 12 - 7 to 9 pm
The Flight of the Garuda
with Lama Lena
Saturday, April 13 - 11 am to 1 pm & 3 to 5 pm
Sunday, April 14 - 11 am to 1 pm
Toward Harmony Tai Chi & Qigong
16 Center Street, Studio 527
Northampton, MA 01060
Everyone is welcome.
Friday night Lama Lena's long time student Jan Owen will give a public talk entitled 'An Introduction to Dzogchen'. This will be an opportunity to be introduced to, or refresh your experience of, the Dzogchen teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. If you are new to Dzogchen, this introduction will help to prepare you for the weekend teachings on The Flight of the Garuda. (See below for more information about Dzogchen and the Flight of the Garuda.)
Saturday and Sunday Lama Lena will continue teachings from The Flight of the Garuda that she began in Northampton in 2015. You can benefit from and receive practical meditation instruction from her teachings this year whether you have been with us at previous teachings or not.
This weekend is designed to be attended as a whole, but if you are unable to attend all three days, you are welcome to come to whichever sessions your schedule allows.
There is no fee for the event. You are invited to make a donation, if you so choose. Please see below for more information.
Seating is limited. If you'd like to join us, please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know which sessions you plan to attend, and to reserve a seat. Unreserved seats will be given away on a first come, first served basis.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time of each session you attend, in order to check in and get settled. All reserved seats not claimed by 15 minutes before the start time will be given away to anyone who is waiting.
Please bring your own cushion if you wish to sit on the floor. We will have chairs available.
Please click here for directions.
If you have questions, please call us at 413-586-8880 or email us at email@example.com.
The word Dzogchen is usually translated from Tibetan as "Great Perfection," or "Total Perfection." It describes what has historically been the highest, most secret, and most direct path to realization in Tibetan Buddhism.
In essence, however, Dzogchen is beyond any cultural or religious category. It is, as Lama Lena says, "outside of time, not born, not dying" and cannot be described in words. It is simply directly perceiving your self - your own true Nature.
About The Flight of the Garuda
The Flight of the Garuda is a collection of lyrical verses composed in the 19th Century by the wandering Tibetan yogi Shabkar. It contains Shabkar's heart advice on directly perceiving the Nature of Mind, and conveys the essence of the practice of Dzogchen.
Lama Lena began teaching from The Flight of the Garuda here in Northampton in 2015. Each year she has gone a little further into this text, offering instruction on how to put each verse into practice. This year, after reviewing the previous year's material, she will begin teaching from the 7th verse of the text. You can benefit from and receive practical meditation instruction from her teachings this year whether you have been with us at previous teachings or not.
This is a rare opportunity to receive this teaching and to learn a practical method for directly perceiving your own True Nature.
About Lama Lena, Bruce Frantzis, and Toward Harmony
It is a great honor to host Lama Lena (Yeshe Kaytub) for a weekend of teachings at Toward Harmony this spring.
Lama Lena is a student, practitioner, and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen and has been living and breathing The Flight of the Garuda for many years. Jan is her longtime student.
We were introduced to Lama Lena and her root teacher, Ven. Wangdor Rinpoche, by our teacher, Taoist lineage Master Bruce Frantzis.
It is Bruce's opinion that Dzogchen and Taoism may have arisen from the same source, since they have much in common. Bruce has been a student of Wangdor Rinpoche for many years and encourages his own students to study with Rinpoche.
Bruce asked Rinpoche if he would give teachings at a retreat we attended many years ago. After that we were fortunate to study with Rinpoche and Lama Lena at Rinpoche's own events in the States while he was still able to travel. Five years ago, Kathryn spent two months in northern India studying with both of them.
We are now fortunate that Lama Lena is herself carrying the teachings to the US and has agreed to include Toward Harmony again in her travels this year.
About Lama Lena
Lama Lena has been studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen for over 40 years.
Beginning in 1972, she spent three years studying with Lama Thubten Yeshe in Nepal and seven years in retreat and practice in a cave above Tso Pema in northern India under the tutelage of her root teacher, Ven. Wangdor Rinpoche.
For 25 years she traveled extensively with Wangdor Rinpoche as his translator and assistant.
Lama Lena has also studied Chinese medicine and had a private practice in the San Francisco Bay area.
In 2005 she returned to Tso Pema to assist Wangdor Rinpoche and now lives there in one of the caves in the mountains above the lake.
When she is not traveling, teaching, or translating, she works to provide medical assistance to the Tibetan refugee community as well as the local Indian villagers and mountain tribespeople.
At the request of H.E., Zigar Choktrul Rinpoche and Ven. Wangdor Rinpoche - as well as many Western and Tibetan dharma students - she has been traveling and teaching from the lineages she holds.
For more information about Lama Lena and Wangdor Rinpoche, please visit:
Here you can watch short videos of Lama Lena to get a sense of her and her teaching style.
The Dharma cannot be sold or have a price put on it. Therefore, in accordance with Tibetan custom, there is no set fee for the teachings.
Rather, it is appropriate to make an offering based on what you can manage and the value the teachings have for you.
No one will be turned away for lack of money. Offer what you can, if you can. Think of it as "sliding scale."
If you are unsure how much is appropriate to offer the teacher, a reasonable rule of thumb is roughly the amount you earn in one hour for each hour of teachings.
Traditionally, white scarves (katak) are used to wrap offerings for presentation directly to the lama at the end of the teachings. These are blessed by the lama and returned to the individual, being placed around her/his neck.
Offerings can also be presented in envelopes which will be available at the door.
To read more about Dzogchen, see:
Namkhai Norbu. The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen. Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion Publications, 2000.
Namkhai Norbu. Dzogchen: The Self- Perfected State. Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion Publications, 1996.
Shabkar Tsogdrug Rangdrol. The Flight of the Garuda: The Dzogchen Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Compiled and translated by Keith Dowman. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2003.