Lama Yeshe Ling

Lama Yeshe Ling is a small Dharma Centre in Ontario, Canada with a big heart. We are a multi-location community with programs offered in the cities of Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo, Oakville, Hamilton, and Burlington, and due to very generous benefactors, for the past year we have rented a home near Lake Ontario which we call The Centre for Compassion & Wisdom. If there is anything different about Lama Yeshe Ling, it is that most of our members, including most of our volunteers, don’t necessarily consider themselves to be Buddhist.
 
The story of Lama Yeshe Ling begins in 2000 when Lillian Too introduced a friend from Toronto to Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Rinpoche offered her gifts, asked her to start a study group in Toronto, and gave the study group the name Lama Yeshe Ling. Lama Yeshe Ling did appear in Mandala Magazine for a few issues, but not much happened and eventually the study group in Toronto was closed. 
 
Our next chapter begins when Venerable Thubten Wangmo came to live with Lynn Shwadchuck in Kitchener Ontario for several months, attracting a regular group of about 20 people to the teachings she offered while she was there. After Venerable Wangmo’s visit, and after doing the Medicine Buddha retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 2001, Lynn started a study group in Kitchener with the Discovering Buddhism program. Lama Yeshe Ling took rebirth.
 
In 2002, Dekyi-Lee Oldershaw moved back to Ontario from the Chenrezig Nunnery in Australia to care for her father and started teaching monthly Dharma classes in Oakville and Healing workshops in Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton. Lamp on the Path, a non-profit organization with a Universal Education and Healing mission arose from Dekyi-Lee’s work. Many people from this fledgling community attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Kalachakra teachings and initiation in Toronto in 2004. In 2005, Lamp on the Path hosted the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour in Burlington and this group of friends, with a Universal Education rather than Buddhist orientation, worked together in regular meetings for months planning for the Relic Tour. An important feature of these meetings was the extensive motivations, visualizations and dedications, which provided guidance, energy, and a sense of goodness and purpose. The results of these meetings were close friendships and a strong sense of community. 
 
Directly after the Maitreya Project Relic Tour, Dave Gould started a Discovering Buddhism group in Hamilton and several months later the Oakville and Hamilton classes asked to become a study group. FPMT Centre services (Claire Isitt at that time) asked us to join with Kitchener Waterloo to become Lama Yeshe Ling also, making us a multi-location study group. 
 
Another defining event occurred when Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche accepted Dekyi-Lee’s request to come to Lama Yeshe Ling to teach in the summer of 2006. A similar planning team formed to host Rinpoche’s visit. Ultimately, Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche transformed into Lama Zopa Rinpoche when Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche became seriously ill shortly before the time he was to arrive in Canada from Israel. What a time that was! Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught for most of the 10 days he stayed here. Several months after that, we again hosted the Maitreya Project Relic Tour. Lama Yeshe Ling graduated from being a Study Group to becoming a Dharma Centre in 2008 in order to welcome Geshe Thubten Sopa of Arya Tara Institute in Germany to come and teach here. Geshe-la stayed with us for five months and then continued his travels.
 
Because of Dekyi-Lee’s interest and emphasis on Universal Education and healing, we have reached a large number of people in the Oakville-Burlington-Hamilton areas who embrace the values and practices of compassion, wisdom and healing, without considering themselves to be Buddhist. Recognizing the crucial need for being inclusive and the importance of supporting and being supported by so many good hearted people, we created The Centre for Compassion & Wisdom. Among other things, this has given us a Universal Education vehicle for offering the inaugural 16 Guidelines for Life facilitator training in North America. Lama Zopa Rinpoche recommended the 16 Guidelines written by the ancient Tibetan Dharma King Songsten Gampo as one of the first Universal Education projects.
 
Having a Centre named after Lama Yeshe is special: I recall when Lama Zopa Rinopche visited here, Venerable Tsenla related how Rinpoche was always very pleased to say "Lama Yeshe Ling" – how wonderful! So it may seem curious that we would create an additional name, The Centre for Compassion & Wisdom. Yet as well as traditional Buddha Dharma, we feel connected with Lama Yeshe’s mission for Universal Education: preserving the essence of Buddha's teaching without the barriers of language, culture or tradition, in order to effectively reach and inspire far more people. We are discovering how to be a Universal Education FPMT Centre as we go, with all the usual joys and lessons of any Dharma centre. Interestingly, despite our universal outlook, a popular ongoing program we offer is the weekly puja (alternating between Tara, Chenrezig, Medicine Buddha and Vajrasattva) where friends gather to bask in the glow of the expanding good heart, supported by all the holy beings, and for all of our events we dedicate always to be guided by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, in accordance with the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

 

 

Lama Yeshe Ling Tibetan Buddhist Group is an open hearted community that empowers people to discover and develop their inherent potential for compassion, wisdom and inner peace.  In fact, that is our mission statement. We offer programs in various sites from Toronto west to Kitchener/Waterloo and south to Hamilton, and maintain The Centre for Compassion & Wisdom in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Lama Yeshe Ling is part of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) an international Tibetan Buddhist organization started by two Tibetan masters, Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the 1960's. In the early years, FPMT was a tightly-knit family of a handful of students looking for answers and two ground-breaking lamas who had profound answers to give. It grew as students decided to bring back what they had learned to their local communities, and FPMT centres began springing up around the world. We are now an international community of over 150 centres, retreat centres, publishing houses, monasteries, and social service projects, and we are still a family.

The Lama Yeshe Ling community is particulary drawn to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's example of authentic practical compassion and wisdom. Recently His Holiness the Dalai Lama said this about Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the FPMT.

 "May whoever comes into contact with this community discover what they are truely seeking; be it healing, friendship, meaning, confidence, an entryway into deeper understanding, a vehicle for kindness, or simple good-hearted fun."

Teachers

 

Inspiring Founders and Examples

 

His Holiness the 14 Dalai Lama of Tibet

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Yeshe, Founder of the FPMT

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of TibetKyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of the FPMTLama Yeshe, Founder of the FPMT

Guru is from the Sanskrit; it means “heavy, weighty.” A guru is someone who is weighty in the sense of having a substantial presence, someone weighty with good qualities. A qualified Guru will be able to teach you from their own imediate, experiential realizations, because they have become a living embodiment of the Buddha's teaching. This sublime quality inspires, allowing you to open up and discover Dharma truths, and your own true nature easily and without confusion.

A relationship with a Guru is different from being a student of Buddhism in relationship with a Buddhist professor or Dharma instructor or meditation facilitator.  The Guru represents your own potential physically manifest to your senses; the Guru provides direct access to your own latent Buddha potential. The Guru is not only what you seek outside of yourself (through a healthy relationship with your Guru), but is what you seek inside yourself (through a deep heart commitment and practice of his or her teachings and advice). Problems you may have with your Guru amount to problems you have with your own Buddha potential so it is traditional to carefully evaluate a candidate Guru prior to making a heart comittment.

Whether the Guru, who is the active expression of the buddhas’ infinite kindness, manifests to us as a teacher of the Dharma or in the form of ordinary beings, situations, even inanimate objects in our life, whatever the outer form, the guru always serves to reveal to us our minds, our best and worst inner natures, so that we can grow in wisdom and compassion, and surpass our limitations on the path to awakening. It is simply up to us to open our minds to these manifestations of the Guru in our lives.

 

Teachers

Geshe Sherab of Kopan Monastery, Nepal

 

 

Venerable Geshe Sherab, Kopan Monastery, NepalVenerable Geshe Ngawang TharchinVenerable Robina CourtinVenerable Amy Miller (Lobsang Chodren)
Geshe Sonam NgodrupVenerable Connie Miller 

 

Geshe Sherab Biography

Visit the March 2017 event information page here.

Geshe Sherab was born in Nepal of Tibetan parents, and received his education at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, the spiritual centre of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). He completed his studies at Sera Je Monastic University and at Gyume Tantric College in India. He has lived in the USA working at the FPMT Central office and several nearby Dharma Centres in Taos, New Mexico. He returned to Nepal after several years in the U.S.A. to become Headmaster of Kopan Monastery.  Geshe-la has retired from the Headmaster role in order to have more time to devote to meditation and to teaching internationally.  For the last few years, he has been travelling and teaching at FPMT Centres in USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe.

Mandala magazine has a story of Geshe Sherab here.  You can download and listen to several recordings of Geshe Sherab teaching here.

Learn more from www.geshesherab.com.

Several community members have met and studied with him personally and two share their impressions of him below...

Suzanne Rhodes met Geshe Sherab at Kopan Monastery where he ran the English reading groups that she participated in with the young monks.  She writes...

"He's amazing, warm hearted, generous, accessible, and articulate.  He also spent an afternoon going through the Eight Verses of Mind  Training that he zipped through in 2 hours!  He's extremely concise yet so humorous.  He kept punctuating the important bits by stopping and asking ‘did you get it? did you get it?’ while laughing.  This happened so much throughout his teaching that it became our own way of underlining stuff in our discussion group as it really seems to stamp ideas and concepts onto the mind.  He is so easily understandable as his English is great and we really enjoyed him as a teacher because of his light hearted presentation".

Florence Sicoli also met Geshe Sherab at Kopan during a meditation retreat there. She writes....

"I offer here two brief personal observations about Geshe Sherab. During his teachings, a quality that really impressed me is his enthusiastic intellect. This surfaced when students asked questions, particularly difficult questions. Geshe-la seemed to delight in engaging students in heart-felt debate, very much in the style of the animated monks’ daily debates in front of Kopan’s main gompa. This is not to say that he presented himself to us as all knowing. On the contrary, he  frankly admitted if he did not know the answer to a question and quickly added he would consult with his colleagues. Then he would return the next day to tell us what he and the senior monks had discussed about the question. I really admired Geshe-la’s dynamic approach to explaining and discussing dharma".

"Also, during a private meeting when I sought advice from him on a family issue, I found Geshe-la to be very approachable and conducted himself  with a wise, gentle demeanour. He quickly grasped my issue, and his counsel helped me develop the compassionate mindset necessary for me to find positive, respectful ways to approach this ongoing issue."

Here is a portion of an interview with Geshe Sherab taken from the online edition of The Hindu, one of India's national newspapers.

"Love and compassion will help destroy the ‘inner terrorist’ of each person and this purging of negativity from individuals is the only lasting solution to hatred, bigotry and terrorism", Geshe Lama Thubten Gurung (Geshe Sherab) of Kopan Monastery (Nepal) has said.  He was speaking after inaugurating the Pre-Parliament Summit of the Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held at Melbourne, Australia, in 2009. The Summit was organized here on Sunday by the School of Bhagavad Gita.

"Rules and regulations can bring only an outer peace, that too temporarily. If there is hatred and the feeling of revenge inside man’s mind, it is bound to come out some time and then outer peace will disappear. Real peace has to come from a person’s mind", he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geshe Ngawang Tharchin Biography

Geshe Ngawng Tharchin

Geshe Nawang Tharchen was born in Northern India in 1966. After moving to Southern India, he attended the Central School for Tibetans in Mundgod until he was 14, at which time he decided to enter Drepung Nyagre Khangtsen Monastery.

Geshe-la became a novice monk in 1981, and in 1992 was ordained by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama. He was awarded the degree of Geshe (Lingtse Tsoramp) in 1999, and futher studied for an additional year at Gyüto Tantric University, also in India.

In 2001, Geshe-la began teaching with Dagyab Rinpoche in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. He became the resident Lama at Chodzong Buddhist Center in Germany beginning in 2003 and completed his term at the end of 2004.

In addition to being part of the Drepung Spiritual Arts Fund Raising Tour in 2007, Geshe-la has also taught in Malaysia and Singapore.

Geshe-la has lived in Toronto, Ontario for the last three years and is focused on English studies (he is of course fluent in Tibetan and Hindi) and is eager to continue teaching Dharma to students in our area.

 

The designation ‘Geshe’ is the equivalent of a Ph.D (doctorate) in buddhist studies and is awarded after a minimum of 18 years of intense study including a three year, three month retreat. It is attainable only by monastics. The term "Geshe-la" is the correct form of address meaning "Honoured Geshe".

 

Venerable Amy Miller (Lobsang Chodren) Biography

Amy J. Miller (Ven. Lobsang Chodren) first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in the spring of 1987 during a course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Since then, she has spent a great deal of time engaged in meditation retreats, study, teaching, and Buddhist center management throughout the world. Prior to meeting the Dharma, Amy was a political fundraiser in Washington, DC and also worked for Mother Jones Magazine in San Francisco, California. 
 
Amy also trained as an emotional support hospice counselor during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and offers courses and retreats on death and dying and end-of- life care. 
 
From 1992-1995, Amy managed Tse Chen Ling Center in San Francisco, California. She then served as Director of Vajrapani Institute, also in California, from 1995-2004. From 1998-2002, she was also the Manager of the Lawudo Retreat Fund (which supports the center in which the sacred cave of Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche is located) in the Mt. Everest region of Nepal. In 2004, after resigning as Director, Amy completed a seven-month solitary retreat at Vajrapani. For most of 2005 and 2006, she organized international teaching tours for and traveled with the esteemed Tibetan Buddhist master, Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche until Rinpoche’s death in 2006. Amy then became a touring teacher for the FPMT (the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). From 2008-2014, Amy was Director of Milarepa Center in Barnet, Vermont. 
 
Amy has also had the good fortune to visit Tibet in 1987 and again in 2001 as a pilgrimage leader for the Institute of Noetic Science in the United States. She has also led pilgrimages to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Darjeeling, and Sikkim for the Liberation Prison Project and Milarepa Center. 
 
Amy was ordained as a Buddhist nun in June 2000 by the great Tibetan master, Ven. Choden Rinpoche, and has been teaching extensively since 1992. Her teaching style emphasizes a practical approach to integrating Buddhist philosophy into everyday life. She is happy to help people connect with meditation and mindfulness in an effort to gain a refreshing perspective on normally stressful living. Amy’s courses and retreats focus on establishing and maintaining a meditation and mindfulness practice, death and dying, overcoming anxiety and depression, battling addiction, dealing with self-esteem issues, and cultivating compassion and loving kindness. She is also often involved in leading a variety of retreats. 
 
Amy is the co-author of Buddhism in a Nutshell, and a contributor to Living in the Path, a series of online courses produced by FPMT. 
 
Based in the United States, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amy teaches and leads retreats and pilgrimages around the world. Her teaching schedule and other information can be found at www.AmyMiller.com.
 
 

Venerable Connie Miller Biography

Venevenerable Connie Millerrable Constance Miller is an American nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Ordained by Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in 1978, she has been teaching Buddhist philosophy and practice in FPMT centers in Europe, Asia, and America since 1982. She assisted our namesake, Lama Yeshe, in establishing the project entitled Universal Education, now known as Essential Education, and served as its Director for a number of years following its inception.

Respectfully known as the ‘Mother’of Essential Education, Connie translates Buddhist philosophy and wisdom into simple terms to benefit all cultures and walks of life. In May of this year she co-facilitated ‘What is EE?’ at the Latin American Essential Education Conference in Mexico and will be teaching and training at the EE Gathering in Toulouse, France this summer.

Venerable Robina Courtin Biography

Ordained since the late 1970s, Robina Courtin has worked full time since then for Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche's FPMT. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala magazine, executive director of  Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom.

Hamilton

Discovering Buddhism Study Group

The Discovering Buddhism program takes a break, in favor of the program offered by Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Geshe Ngawang Tharchin (see below)

Study, discuss, and practice Buddha's teachings from the Graduated Path to Buddhahood, with the FPMT program called Discovering Buddhism.

For location please contact Lama Yeshe Ling at (905)-296-3728 or by email from the Hamilton contact page.

The Centre for Compassion & Wisdom Oakville/Burlington

Our Oakville/Burlington Group now meets at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Burlington

Anyone is most welcome to participate in any activities of this group, begun originally in Oakville when they were led by Dekyi Lee Oldershaw, former nun and founder of Lamp on the Path. The Centre for Compassion & Wisdom now holds meditation courses, events at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 3455 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, ON (west of Walker’s Line).

Programs designed to deepen compassion and wisdom for those not interested in traditional Buddhism are offered by the Centre.

Check our Calendar and our Home Page for dates and further details. For events that require advance registration, please call us at 905 296-3728 to leave a voicemail and we will contact you to confirm your registration.

The Centre Shop

SHOP HOURS:  The Shop is open whenever the Centre is holding an event....which is most evenings. Please drop by when you come for an event and check us out!  Prices are reasonable and cash and cheques accepted.

The next time you visit the Centre please check out our great little shop. A new shipment of books and jewellery and other items from Nepal have just arrived.  There are “OM Mani” rings, bracelets, hand-crafted prayer beads/malas, incense, postcards & handmade greeting cards, photos, beautiful Tibetan embroidered hanging brocades and hemp bags & wallets, silk shawls, Buddhas, Tibetan singing bowls, CD’s, katas/silk white blessing scarves, Buddhist rings and pendants, batik prints, original framed art and much more.

From Malaysia we have an assortment of full length as well as wrist malas made of crystal, tiger eye, quartz, amber, green stone and lapis lazuli (from $8 to $60); new CD’s: The Heart Sutra, Om Mani Padme Hum, The Chant of Metta (Loving-Kindness), Medicine Buddha Dharani, The Wisdom of Manjusri Bodhisattva, The Great Compassion mantra, and Mantra of the Green Tara; hand-held & table mounted Om Mani Prayer Wheels; Tibetan sacred art tables, and for those of you wishing to advance your mantra and or prostration counting to the next level, handheld electronic digital counters.

Thanks from our Centre Shop co-ordinator volunteers.

Waterloo

Kitchener Waterloo Study Group

 

The Lama Yeshe Ling Tibetan Buddhist Study Group in Kitchener/Waterloo has been meeting for over 8 years.

After the summer break, our Kitchener Waterloo group will meet again in September for discussion and meditation.

Please contact us here for location details, and we will get back to you.

By donation

Practices

These are the practices we do or have done, on a regular basis at Lama Yeshe Ling.

Chenrezig

We practice Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit - the Buddha of Compassion about once a month.

 

More to come...

 

Diamond Cutter Sutra

We have practiced the Diamond Cutter Sutra, with group recitations, and by the Sutra Circle for success in some of our projects, on the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

For more detail on this Sutra, and to download this sutra, visit here.

 

 

 

Five Tibetan Yogas

Five Tibetan Yogas

 

Green Tara

Green Tara

More to come...

Guru Puja

Guru Puja

Heart Sutra

We recite the Heart Sutra prior to most teachings.

 

You can download a copy of the Heart Sutra here.

 

 

 

Lam Rim

Lam Rim Meditation with Guru Shakyamuni Budha

More to come... 

Medicine Buddha

The Medicine Buddhas dedicate their powerful blessing to helping us with the suffering of illness and injury; but also to help us with many of the challenge of daily life.  You can read more of the very beneficial results of Medicine Buddha practice as taught by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the following links.

Link to Mandala article on the practice of Medicine Buddha.

Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche regarding Medicine Buddha 
http://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/teachers/zopa/contact/pdf/Medicine_Buddha.pdf

Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book: Health
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=360
 
Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book: Healing
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=306
 
Teachings at Medicine Buddha Puja (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=562&chid=1215
 
Healing Course
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=690&chid=1762
 
E-letter No. 66: November 2008 (scroll down for the benefits of Medicine Buddha Practice)
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=499
 
E-letter No. 67: December 2008 (scroll down for the benefits of Medicine Buddha Practice)
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=502

Teachings From the Medicine Buddha Retreat
http://www.lamayeshe.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=132

Lama Yeshe Ling does a group practice of the Medicine Buddha healing practice about once a month, recommended to be done on the 8th day of the moon, however we most often do it on weekends.

Here is a link to the practice we do for the regular Medicine Buddha at Lama Yeshe Ling.
http://www.fpmt.org/images/stories/teachers/zopa/advice/pdf/medicine_buddha_puja_readeroct07lttr.pdf

Here is a link to a brief practice you may do if you have received the Medicine Buddha initiation, including an alternate visualization you may do if you have not received the initiation:
https://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/education/prayers/medicine_buddha_sadhana_c5.pdf

 

Sanghata Sutra

The Sanghata Sutra is a direct teaching by the Buddha that promises to transform all who read or recite it. It is one of a special set of sutras called 'transformative teachings' that function to transform those who hear or recite them.  In general, the recitation of Mahayana sutras is one of the six virtuous practices specifically recommended for purification, and the recitation of this sutra in particular has far-reaching karmic consequences that last for many lifetimes. The recitation can bestow a powerful blessing on the place where it is recited. 

At www.sanghatasutra.net, visitors can learn all about this sutra, read stories of how others have been changed by the text, and get tips on reciting the text. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen Guidelines

Based on an original text from King Songtsen Gampo in 7th century Tibet, the 16 Guidelines offer a practical introduction to secular ethics, starting with Humility and ending with Courage. They are divided into four wisdom themes: How we think (the power of the mind); How we act (that every action brings a result); How we relate to others (that we are all interdependent) and How we find meaning (impermanence).

Learn more here.

Sutra of Golden Light

 

Reciting the Sutra of Golden Light is a practice that brings peace. Peace and protection to the individual, peace and blessings to the place where it is recited, and peace to the world through promoting enlightening government leadership. It is one of a special set of sutras called ‘transformative teachings’ that function to transform those who hear or recite them.  You can read more about the Sutra of Golden Light here and here.

 

 

 

 

Transformative Mindfulness

Transformative Mindfulness

More to come...

Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva

More to come... 

White Tara

We do a group practice of the White Tara healing practice about once a month.

You can download a copy of the text we use,  from a page of advice Lama Zopa Rinpoche composed for the SARS scare a few years ago.