Thubten Lekshey Ling is a Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center founded by His Holiness Pema Norbu (Penor) Rinpoche, the late head of Nyingma tradition.
The Center received its name from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. The name means, "The Place of Elegant Exposition of the Teachings of the Buddha". In our mission, we try to uphold this vision through the study and practice of Dharma in all its scope, breadth and depth.
We conduct meditation classes, spiritual discourses, advanced study programs and courses in Buddhism that are open for all. Khenpos (abbots) and Tulkus (reincarnate lamas) from Namdroling Monastery (the largest seat of monastic institution of the Nyingma tradition outside of Tibet) regularly visit Thubten Lekshey Ling to deliver teachings and empowerments and guide disciples. In addition, we also have weekly programs covering meditation classes, discourses and study group sessions conducted by our local teachers. We also have regular sessions of group prayers and Vajrayana practices.
As a dharma centre, we have three missions - (i) to enable study and practice of Dharma with an open mind, (ii) to enrich the quality of living, through meditations and spiritual teachings applicable in daily life, (iii) to facilitate "path to awakening" under the guidance of authentic masters
1. To enable study and practice of Dharma with an open mind
Thubten Lekshey Ling maintains an open environment for all to come and learn about the teachings of the Buddha and delve into deeper inquiries on spirituality. Buddha advised that it is necessary to evaluate the teachings critically just as a goldsmith would evaluate gold. We facilitate an environment to listen to teachings with an open mind, engage in dialogues and debates and have Q&A sessions with teachers to clarify doubts. Personal discussions with teachers are also facilitated. Everyone is also encouraged to implement whatever part of teachings they find suitable to be adopted and see the benefit of such practices. The genuine path of dharma begins when one has already undergone this phase of evaluation and developed certainty on the path.
2. To enrich the quality of living, through meditations and spiritual teachings applicable in daily life
Those who are seeking for peace of mind can benefit from the teachings on Dharma and meditation. Simply meditating to calm the mind is often not a solution since stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, etc come back post-meditation as we face the real world. So, it is important to combine meditation with a proper understanding of mind and disturbing emotions. Buddhism not only has simple and effective meditation techniques, but also has unparalleled wealth of information and tools to understand our own minds and its disturbing emotions. Thus, there are certain teachings in Buddhism that anybody of any religion or an atheist can follow and combine along with meditation practice to reduce emotional turmoil, experience peace and love.
3. To facilitate path to awakening
For those who wish to take on a path to awakening into Buddhahood as an integral part of their lives, we facilitate complete cycles of teachings, empowerments and meditation practices. Unlike the popular belief, it is actually possible to take on the path towards enlightenment even for a non-monastic and it is possible to attain Buddhahood within this life. Dzogchen (Great Perfection, Mahasandhi-yoga) provides that path. However, it is important to rely on an authentic and unbroken lineage of teachings and an authentic Guru who could guide the disciple. As for the lineage, we follow the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism. Nyingma is one of the most authentic and unbroken transmissions of Buddhism and is unique in having Dzogchen teachings. Innumerable people attained enlightenment through these teachings. Even today, there are so many realized masters within this tradition, making this oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism one of the most vibrant and most effective. Within Palyul (one of the six great mother monasteries of Nyingma tradition) itself we can see so many masters of high realization. At Thubten Lekshey Ling, we are fortunate to have many of the great Palyul masters visiting regularly. Typically, a spiritual aspirant coming to the centre gets to meet and interact with different masters and eventually chooses a Guru whom he/she feels most connected to. It is possible to seek personal guidance from a Guru and engage in personalized practice that suits the nature of an individual aspirant.
Availability of various paths to suit the needs of individuals is a distinction at Thubten Lekshey Ling. The path of Ngondro, Tsa-Lung and Dzogchen is an option for those who are determined to pursue Buddhahood in this lifetime. There are also various Vajrayana meditations for those who are inclined towards mantra, deity and visualization meditations. There is also the study, contemplation and meditation of various Mahayana texts. This enables individuals to approach even their regular activities of life from a new perspective. Then, the performance of those tasks joined with wisdom and compassion becomes the path to enlightenment. And, for those who are looking for just peace of mind within this life, there are various shamata meditations along with teachings necessary to integrate those meditations into life.
The Nyingma Tradition and Dzogchen
In the eighth century, when Nalanda University of India was still at its peak of glory and India was blessed to have many highly realized Buddhist masters, Buddhism was transmitted to Tibet under the leadership of Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), Abbot Santarakshita and the Tibetan Emperor Trisong Detsen. Five hundred Buddhist masters from India travelled to Tibet to help in translation and teaching and thus to make the transmission authentic. This kind of well coordinated effort of translating the entire Buddhism is unparalleled in the history. The school of Buddhism thus established in Tibet during 8th Century is known as Nyingma. Thus, by the time the Nalanda tradition of India faded away, the entire Buddhism as practiced in Nalanda was well-established, preserved, practiced and enriched in Nyingma.
The single most differentiating factor of the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism is the Dzogchen practice. This is the swiftest and the most direct way of awakening to enlightenment. It is the spontaneous and natural perfection of pristine wisdom right at its primordial purity. As HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche explained,
"Dzogchen is a state, the primordial state, the state of total awakening that is the heart-essence of all Buddhas and all spiritual paths, and the summit of an individual's spiritual evolution."
Unlike other paths of awakening, Dzogchen takes Buddha-nature, the true and naked nature of our minds that is primordially pure, as the very path. We normally do not experience this nature as it is always clouded by conceptual formations and confusion. Dzogchen can not be known without being pointed out by a realized Guru. In His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama's words,
"Dzogchen practice is unlike other kinds of meditation where we use 'the mind'. These (other) types of meditation involve using our faculty of mind to its full, and with exertion. In Dzogchen meditation, the practice is done in a non-dualistic manner â€¦ the meditation is undertaken at a level where the mind is returned to the primordial and natural state." [Dzogchen - The Heart Essence of Great Perfection, pp 161]
Though all beings have this same primordial nature, due to confused perceptions. the world manifests in myriad ways of ordinariness and suffering. When one recognizes this primordial nature free from confusion, everything manifests perfectly and Buddhahood is spontaneously attained. For this reason, Dzogchen is known as the effortless vehicle towards natural perfection - free from contrivance and conceptualization. All the effort in the path of Dzogchen is then to sharpen one's faculties to enter the effortless vehicle, receive the pointing out and then to increase the familiarity with the original state.
All our programs are conducted free of cost. The centre is supported through the generosity of those who felt benefited by its activities and wanted to support the centre in making the benefit reach more people.