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New paths to enlightenment with Rinpoche

“Buddhism for busy lives” might seem an oxymoron, but Tibetan Buddhist master Kilung Tulku Tsultrim Rinpoche shows students how to to live modern lives more fully.

Rinpoche, who spent five months in the Seattle area last year, returns to Bainbridge May 31 to give a week of teachings that are structured for both neophyte and acolyte, event organizers Barbara Berger and Susan Brown say.

“Tibetan Buddhism is warm, loving and very human while stressing compassionate detachment,” Berger said, “avoiding the ‘roller coaster’ of emotional turmoil while still being present for life – perhaps even more present.”

Berger cites as one example of Tibetan Buddhist integration of religion with daily life a practice she learned from Rinpoche last year, using the forward motion of the ferry to chant.

She notes that Tibetan Buddhism couples such seemingly unattainable goals as universal kindness, compassion and equal regard for all beings with practical ways to achieve them.

Tibetan Buddhism also appeals to the senses, in contrast to the more austere Zen Buddhism. Berger points to the visual delights of Tibetan Buddhist art; the taste of feast offerings; the smell of incense used in ceremony; and the sound of bells, drums and rhythmic chanting.

“Tibetan Buddhism has a lush beauty about it that attracts me as an artist,” Berger, who is known for her illustrated children’s books, said. “It engages all the layers and dimensions of my mind with wholeness and completeness. Enjoyment of that beauty is an expression of our serene mind, bridging the gap between spirit and matter.”

Berger says that encountering teachers like Rinpoche, who embody Buddhist ideals, has encouraged her to stay with the practice she has pursued for more than three decades.

“That’s one way I know it’s not just an ideal,” Berger said. “That’s where Rinpoche is important.”

Although he wears the distinction modestly, Rinpoche was identified as the fifth reincarnation of an enlightened yogi and Dzogchen master when he was just a boy.

As a youth, Rinpoche received teachings from the greatest lamas of the Nyingma, the oldest of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

In maturity, Rinpoche heads the 200-year-old Kilung Monastery located in the Dzachuka region of Kham in eastern Tibet.

The title brings heavy responsibility; Rinpoche is rebuilding the monastery, nearly destroyed in years of Chinese occupation and colonization, and building a bridge and a school to serve the local population of about 2,500 nomadic shepherds.

To raise the funds for the projects, Rinpoche traveled throughout much of the 1990s, lecturing and teaching.

He stayed at the Dzogchen Monastery in India for several years, then a year in Kathmandu, Nepal, then traveling following year to America and in 1999 to the Philippines.

In early 2001, he visited Seattle and Bainbridge, teaching nearly 100 islanders over five months. Like last time, proceeds from this trip will support his work in Tibet.

Although Bainbridge is a place Rinpoche says he is particularly drawn to, he will leave again to continue work in his homeland.

“It is very special when he is here but we’re glad when he goes back to his home,” Berger said. “They really miss him when he is gone. And when he does go, it’s an opportunity for us to let his teaching sink in and to practice.”


The May 31 - June 9 Tibetan Buddhist retreat with Kilung Rinpoche opens with a slide show, “Nomads at the Top of the World: A Tibetan Lama’s Slide Talk,” 7 p.m. May 31 at Sequoia Center. From June 1-9, Kilung Rinpoche gives 14 different teachings, including: meditation instruction and practice; 21 Taras empowerment; medicine Buddha; Dakini teachings; sacred lama dance instruction; Dzogchen teachings; and Individual practice and consultations with Rinpoche.

Participants at all levels can attend individual sessions in the concentrated but “user-friendly” dharma teaching event. Suggested slide show donation/$10. Call 324-8829, 855-4893 or Detailed information:

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