Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche’s visit to PTC Monastery October 2018

PTC had a wonderful visit from Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche October 20-22, 2018. Videos of his teachings are available at this link Note: this link may no longer be active.). There is a fee for most of them to help support visiting teachers and livestreaming of teachings. However, the public talk with Q and A (Note: this video may no longer be available.) on October 22 at 7:30pm (the final video) is free of charge. (If a password is requested, type in FREE. Note: On the free video, there is no audio until Kalu Rinpoche’s arrival at about 19 minutes.)

Meanwhile, for a brief summary of the main points of Kalu Rinpoche’s teachings at PTC, click “continue reading”:

Highlights of Kalu Rinpoche’s teachings at PTC October 2018:

We are very fortunate that while he was at PTC, Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche gave several teachings in fluent English and answered many questions. His teachings were laced with humor, sometimes at his own expense. He shared many personal stories, and connected with the audience in a frank, open, heartfelt way that resonated throughout the room. Among the points Kalu Rinpoche emphasized:

The purpose of all the Buddha’s teachings and all the practices is to be content. It is important to start with shamatha (calm abiding) meditation in order to build a strong foundation for our practice, and to continue shamatha as much as we can, even as advanced practioners.

We need a teacher or instructor to guide us along the path, and in order to fully realize the path, we need devotion. He repeatedly defined devotion not as worship of the teacher, which he discouraged, or even as a set of specific prayers, but rather as a constant sense of inspiration, motivation, connection, presence, and mental clarity based on our relationship with our teacher.

In order to develop renunciation, the basis of the path, we need to begin by dissolving pride. This leads to dissolving our illusions, which leads to dissolving self-clinging, “up to the very sensation of I” — which in turn brings clarity, joy, and stability to our practice and leads to realization of the nature of mind. We also need to understand the reality of suffering and of impermanence through contemplating the four thoughts and analyzing our own experience.

Asked how to cut through anger on the spot, he confessed he doesn’t have a magic solution, but what helps him when he feels himself getting upset (“sorry, this is not good for my image!”) is to think of impermanence. “And on the side, you have to do practice. That is the reality, and you have to keep going, and that is that.”

He stressed several times that Buddhism is a very individual path. “There is no graduation in Buddhism. There is no box. Every individual has their own journey.” He advised that we keep our practice simple and, “Like it or not, you need to do retreat, at least one or two days at a time, and keep that routine as part of your life. There is no shortcut. If there were, I would have taken it.”

He also advised us, “Be impatient with samsara, and be patient when practicing the dharma.”

At the end of his visit, Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche assured us he would never forget us, and we look forward with great longing to his next visit, which we hope will be soon.

The current Kalu Rinpoche,  born in 1990, is the reincarnation of his predecessor, the first Kalu Rinpoche, who was Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s root teacher and under whose guidance PTC Monastery was established in 1978.