News: A Buddha Way to Live

Dismantling zero tolerance and other wisdom

 
Margo Pierce


Venerable Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche, a famed Tibetan teacher, visits Cincinnati this week



Bloomington, Ind. — A major figure in Tibetan Buddhism is coming to Cincinnati with blessings.

He also brings a challenge for lawmakers and citizens of the Buckeye State to reconsider a popular, almost fanatical belief — zero tolerance.

At a time when Ohioans shame drunk drivers with DUI license plates, legislate harsh mandatory minimum sentences and condemn lawbreakers with "three strikes, you're out," Venerable Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche believes we're not solving problems, merely creating more.

"According to Buddhist teaching, 'zero tolerance' is not good," he says through an interpreter. "Buddhism talks about practicing patience, tolerance. So all this trouble in the world, any kind of trouble, it is all because of a lack of tolerance and patience."

Laws distinguish between offenders and victims, but all have something in common, according to Rinpoche: suffering.

"There's a lot of suffering right now in the world," he says. "By contemplating on these sufferings, we generate a wish that beings may be free from the sufferings.

"The wish that all beings be free from suffering — compassion — is not necessarily an Eastern thought, an Eastern view.

Even in the East, there are many people who are not trained in religion, are same as general people — they get angry. You need to develop compassion. When someone comes right in front of you who (is) suffering, who needs help, you will be able to help this person. Without compassion, we only help those people who are family or friends — and those people we don't know, we don't help them."

The road to Cincinnati
Rinpoche is one of two monks of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism who founded Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling Buddhist Monastery in Bloomington in 1996. His return to the Midwest from India for three weeks of teaching, initiations and private interviews includes four days in Cincinnati at Gaden Samdrup-Ling Buddhist Monastery in Winton Place.

Hundreds of highly qualified masters and tens of thousands of people of many different nationalities revere Rinpoche as a supreme "supramundane" protector. The Dalai Lama's tutor recognized him as the 12th incarnation of the lineage of Dagom Rinpoches.

Buddhists believe in reincarnation, an ongoing cycle of birth, death and rebirth. While Buddhists don't recognize an individual higher power, or God, as Christians do, the best way to describe Rinpoche in Western terms is that he'd be considered a reincarnation of one of the 12 apostles.

Through reincarnation, humans learn and work to achieve enlightenment — a Buddhist belief that all people can end suffering by awakening to the realization that it's possible to achieve liberation, or nirvana, through the purification and training of the mind. Harmlessness and moderation are the foundation of this practice.

"If you literally explain what is meant by enlightenment, the word in Tibetan is 'sang gya,' " Rinpoche says. " 'Sang' means to purify all the negativities, defilements and delusions, and 'gya' means one has attained all of the qualities and wisdom.

"The goal of the Buddhist view or Buddhist thought is to attain the enlightenment of the all-knowing state. Enlightenment belongs to every being; it's not something that is only for the Eastern people. It is for everybody, Eastern and Western people, they all can attain the enlightenment.

"If you want to attain enlightenment, then you have to practice the Buddhist thoughts, philosophies. It's the same if you want to go from here to Cincinnati: You need to learn the roads and driving skills. If you do not learn the driving skills and roads, then a person cannot drive to Cincinnati."

As the fourth largest religion in the world, Buddhism is exceeded in numbers only by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, according to www.religioustolerance.org/ buddhism.

Rinpoche doesn't believe following another faith tradition is an obstacle to receiving the benefits of Buddhism.

"The most important benefit the monastery brings is bringing advice and spiritual teachings help the minds of people," Rinpoche says.

It is by following the middle way that anyone can achieve this.

"Whatever the extreme, whether it is extreme suffering or depress or extreme happiness, it is very important to stay in the equanimity," he says. "First of all, it is important to understand the extreme (negatives) are the downfalls and shortcomings of these things. Then, try to come up a little higher than that. Even the most enjoyment or extreme happiness or pleasure are also suffering nature are not good. So one needs to see the downfall and shortcoming of this thing and try to bring it down farther.

"Coming from both sides, we need to reach the middle way. To achieve that, one needs to accumulate experience."

Getting started
Gaden Samdrup-Ling provides Cincinnatians of all faiths and walks of life an opportunity to gain that experience and training.

"The Buddhist view is not something related to a region or a culture like Easter region or Eastern culture," Rinpoche says. "The principle advice in the Buddhist teaching is to obtain peace in the mind. If a person is initially 'zero tolerance,' somebody who gets angry very easily, after training and engaging in the practice and at the same time he attains the path, he doesn't get angry any more. That is the trained mind. That's an example."

As a teacher, Rinpoche, 55, offers such training around the world. After serving as the headmaster of Gyume Tantric College in Hunsur, India, he founded several monasteries and centers for Buddhist studies. He has taught more than 100,000 disciples in India, Nepal, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Singapore and Mongolia. One of his students, the Venerable Kuten Lama, is the resident teacher who shares teachings at the monasteries here and in Winton Place.

Rinpoche's schedule of public appearances in Cincinnati includes:

· "Four Noble Truths," 7 p.m. Thursday — the objective of this discourse is to present the best means to bring about wisdom and liberation by pointing out the very truth of things, to point out the way things really are.

· Vajrasattva Initiation, 7 p.m. Friday — Vajrasattva, the deity of purification, offers the opportunity to develop spiritual practice and overcome sufferings and misfortunes caused by the karma from past lives.

· Yamantaka Initiation, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday — an initiation to the practice of tantra and a strong antidote to the removal of obstacles and ignorance, the root cause of all delusions.

Rinpoche explains the benefits of these sessions.

"By receiving these things (people) receive blessings of these things," he says. "It helps them to transform their minds."



Gaden Samdrup-Ling Buddhist Monastery is at 4529 Mellwood Ave., Winton Place. For more information, call 513-542-7116 or visit

 
Margo Pierce


Venerable Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche, a famed Tibetan teacher, visits Cincinnati this week



Bloomington, Ind. — A major figure in Tibetan Buddhism is coming to Cincinnati with blessings.

He also brings a challenge for lawmakers and citizens of the Buckeye State to reconsider a popular, almost fanatical belief — zero tolerance.

At a time when Ohioans shame drunk drivers with DUI license plates, legislate harsh mandatory minimum sentences and condemn lawbreakers with "three strikes, you're out," Venerable Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche believes we're not solving problems, merely creating more.

"According to Buddhist teaching, 'zero tolerance' is not good," he says through an interpreter. "Buddhism talks about practicing patience, tolerance. So all this trouble in the world, any kind of trouble, it is all because of a lack of tolerance and patience."

Laws distinguish between offenders and victims, but all have something in common, according to Rinpoche: suffering.

"There's a lot of suffering right now in the world," he says. "By contemplating on these sufferings, we generate a wish that beings may be free from the sufferings.

"The wish that all beings be free from suffering — compassion — is not necessarily an Eastern thought, an Eastern view.

Even in the East, there are many people who are not trained in religion, are same as general people — they get angry. You need to develop compassion. When someone comes right in front of you who (is) suffering, who needs help, you will be able to help this person. Without compassion, we only help those people who are family or friends — and those people we don't know, we don't help them."

The road to Cincinnati
Rinpoche is one of two monks of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism who founded Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling Buddhist Monastery in Bloomington in 1996. His return to the Midwest from India for three weeks of teaching, initiations and private interviews includes four days in Cincinnati at Gaden Samdrup-Ling Buddhist Monastery in Winton Place.

Hundreds of highly qualified masters and tens of thousands of people of many different nationalities revere Rinpoche as a supreme "supramundane" protector. The Dalai Lama's tutor recognized him as the 12th incarnation of the lineage of Dagom Rinpoches.

Buddhists believe in reincarnation, an ongoing cycle of birth, death and rebirth. While Buddhists don't recognize an individual higher power, or God, as Christians do, the best way to describe Rinpoche in Western terms is that he'd be considered a reincarnation of one of the 12 apostles.

Through reincarnation, humans learn and work to achieve enlightenment — a Buddhist belief that all people can end suffering by awakening to the realization that it's possible to achieve liberation, or nirvana, through the purification and training of the mind. Harmlessness and moderation are the foundation of this practice.

"If you literally explain what is meant by enlightenment, the word in Tibetan is 'sang gya,' " Rinpoche says. " 'Sang' means to purify all the negativities, defilements and delusions, and 'gya' means one has attained all of the qualities and wisdom.

"The goal of the Buddhist view or Buddhist thought is to attain the enlightenment of the all-knowing state. Enlightenment belongs to every being; it's not something that is only for the Eastern people. It is for everybody, Eastern and Western people, they all can attain the enlightenment.

"If you want to attain enlightenment, then you have to practice the Buddhist thoughts, philosophies. It's the same if you want to go from here to Cincinnati: You need to learn the roads and driving skills. If you do not learn the driving skills and roads, then a person cannot drive to Cincinnati."

As the fourth largest religion in the world, Buddhism is exceeded in numbers only by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, according to www.religioustolerance.org/ buddhism.

Rinpoche doesn't believe following another faith tradition is an obstacle to receiving the benefits of Buddhism.

"The most important benefit the monastery brings is bringing advice and spiritual teachings help the minds of people," Rinpoche says.

It is by following the middle way that anyone can achieve this.

"Whatever the extreme, whether it is extreme suffering or depress or extreme happiness, it is very important to stay in the equanimity," he says. "First of all, it is important to understand the extreme (negatives) are the downfalls and shortcomings of these things. Then, try to come up a little higher than that. Even the most enjoyment or extreme happiness or pleasure are also suffering nature are not good. So one needs to see the downfall and shortcoming of this thing and try to bring it down farther.

"Coming from both sides, we need to reach the middle way. To achieve that, one needs to accumulate experience."

Getting started
Gaden Samdrup-Ling provides Cincinnatians of all faiths and walks of life an opportunity to gain that experience and training.

"The Buddhist view is not something related to a region or a culture like Easter region or Eastern culture," Rinpoche says. "The principle advice in the Buddhist teaching is to obtain peace in the mind. If a person is initially 'zero tolerance,' somebody who gets angry very easily, after training and engaging in the practice and at the same time he attains the path, he doesn't get angry any more. That is the trained mind. That's an example."

As a teacher, Rinpoche, 55, offers such training around the world. After serving as the headmaster of Gyume Tantric College in Hunsur, India, he founded several monasteries and centers for Buddhist studies. He has taught more than 100,000 disciples in India, Nepal, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Singapore and Mongolia. One of his students, the Venerable Kuten Lama, is the resident teacher who shares teachings at the monasteries here and in Winton Place.

Rinpoche's schedule of public appearances in Cincinnati includes:

· "Four Noble Truths," 7 p.m. Thursday — the objective of this discourse is to present the best means to bring about wisdom and liberation by pointing out the very truth of things, to point out the way things really are.

· Vajrasattva Initiation, 7 p.m. Friday — Vajrasattva, the deity of purification, offers the opportunity to develop spiritual practice and overcome sufferings and misfortunes caused by the karma from past lives.

· Yamantaka Initiation, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday — an initiation to the practice of tantra and a strong antidote to the removal of obstacles and ignorance, the root cause of all delusions.

Rinpoche explains the benefits of these sessions.

"By receiving these things (people) receive blessings of these things," he says. "It helps them to transform their minds."



Gaden Samdrup-Ling Buddhist Monastery is at 4529 Mellwood Ave., Winton Place. For more information, call 513-542-7116 or visit www.ganden.org.

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