I started this blog in 2008 at the beginning of my three-year retreat at Palpung Thubten Choling monastery in New York, with Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s permission, as a way to keep in touch with fellow practitioners at Palpung Samten Choling, PTC’s affiliated center in New Hampshire, where I had served as resident instructor for seven years before retreat. With no phone, internet or email, I wrote the posts and snail-mailed them to be posted online.
I wrote about one post a month the first year, and hardly any in years two and three once the practices got really intense and we spent long periods in complete silence. When my retreat ended in April 2011, I started up again, posting only occasionally until 2017, when I started an online class, at the request of our Key West center, on Togme Zangpo’s 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.
Currently based in Richmond, Virginia, I work as a member of the PTC teaching staff with several of its centers online and/or in person, primarily Kagyu Shenpen Tharchin in Richmond and Kagyu Drupcho Chodzong in Washington, DC. My aspiration is to use the teachings I’ve received through the kindness of my teachers to help fellow dharma students develop a personal practice and apply the traditional yet timeless teachings of the Kagyu lineage to their own life experience,
I see my role as that of a friend or mentor encouraging others who share my enthusiasm for studying the Buddha’s teachings, reflecting on them, and developing a daily practice of meditation. In the words of Geshe Jampa Tegchok, commenting on verse 6 of the 37 practices: “Good companions also include our fellow Dharma students at our Dharma center or monastery. We listen to the teachings, discuss the teachings to eliminate doubts, and meditate and practice together. By supporting us along the path and encouraging us when we feel discouraged, our Dharma friends help us transform our minds in a positive way and progress on the path to enlightenment.”
You will find here a number of posts about what a three-year retreat is like, a lot of “Dharma pep talks,” and a study guide to the 37 practices of a bodhisattva, created as a way for participants in the 2017-2018 online study group to keep up when they missed a class and also, hopefully, as a support for anyone who is interested in studying this invaluable text. (We went on to study Gampopa’s Ornament of Liberation, but the study guide for that is sadly incomplete, though I do hope to get back to it.)
Wishing you a swift path to awakening, free from obstacles.
Linda Jordan, aka Lama (Yeshe) Chodron
Spring 2021 covid pandemic update: We are updating all the 37 practices class recordings from 2017-18, and starting to add optional closed captions. You can check those out via the 37 practices index link under “links” in the right-hand column.
Our regular Thursday dharma study group that begin in 2016 now meets just once a month, usually on the fourth Thursday from 2:00-3:00pm, and as of March 2021 we are going to revisit the 37 practices, covering several verses in each meeting. If you’d like to join us, contact me via email at ychodron108 via the massive email provider that begins with g.