New Audio Teaching: How to practice the Buddhadharma . . . Pathgate Teaching Updates:     England: 18th December 2019 - 5th January 2020 ...    For details visit: Teaching Schedule

How to practice the Buddhadharma (news)

How to practice the Buddhadharma

Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche teaching at the Pathgate Dharma Centre

In the New Year Audio Teaching, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche reminds us what we should focus on in the year ahead. Reminding students that the greatest of all acts of virtue is to care for our parents, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche explained that when we have the strong motivation to care for those who genuinely care for us, then both heaven and earth will support us. We should give our parents no causes for concern, and should maintain our own health so we are able to care for them.

If we ignore the consequence of our actions, then we will act in ways which cause us future suffering, so we need to act in a sincere and genuine way, with a foundation of humility. The only reason Buddha came to the world was to show us how to be liberated from the repeated conditions of birth and death; liberating ourself and performing the greatest act of filial piety, which is to liberate our parents from the condition of birth and death. To do so, we follow the guidance of Buddha, which is not a conceptual process, it is a practice that has clear guidelines.

To benefit from the teachings and from the presence of the lama, our motivation is the key; if you are sincere, your mind is at peace. In a sincere mind there is no non-essential activity. To have non-essential thoughts in your mind when you attend the teaching, you will only hear a small bit of the teaching. The rest of what you believed you have heard will be made up of your own interpretation according to what you believe. Only through a quiet and sincere mind will you be able to hear the teaching in its entirety without being distracted by non-essential activities of a busy mind which will only give rise to the arising conceptual opinions and associated emotions.

Why is it so important to have a mind free from non-essential thoughts? Because once you have non-essential thoughts in your mind the next thing is curiosity, and where there is curiosity you will get distracted. The only curiosity you should have in your mind is how to improve yourself - and that comes from the teaching of Buddha.

In all the practices of the teaching of Buddha, it’s not about looking for anything from outside, it’s about discovering your true nature. It’s not about convincing people of what you are doing, it's about the actual practice itself.

To listen to this and other Audio Teachings, or to download them as MP3, please visit Audio Teachings by Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche.

Review of Pathgate Activities 2018

Review of Pathgate Activities 2018

The opening of ‘Bodhi Dargyeling’ in Pitesti, Romania

During 2018, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche continued to support Pathgate students around the world, travelling without a break to give Teachings at Pathgate Centres and venues across Europe and Asia. While in Romania, on 19th April 2018, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche fulfilled a request to visit and open a new Buddhist Centre, ‘Bodhi Dargyeling’ in Pitesti, 120km north west of Bucharest.

Students practising Tibetan dance for the Guru Rinpoche Film

The main pause in Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche’s travel schedule came in the summer, when he spent nine weeks leading the Pathgate Summer Retreat in England, with students gathering from around the world to participate. In addition to the daily routine of teachings, prayers and pujas, physical activity, quiet sitting and audio teachings; students all took part in work on remastering ‘The Life of Guru Rinpoche’ film. Many students spent their evenings rotoscoping, while others worked on costume production and took part in filming at our in-house green screen studio, built with a suspended harness to film flying dakinis, and props to simulate boats, thrones, animals and the like. Outdoor filming often started at 5am, and often continued on into the evening. Work on ‘The Life of Guru Rinpoche’ film also continued throughout the year, with location filming on the English coast, in the Lake District and Scotland, safaris in England and India, location filming in India, and shopping trips for costumes, fabric and props in England, Italy, Romania, Singapore, China, Japan and Australia. Many costumes were purchased, or made to order in Cheng Du, the gateway to Tibet, and others were made by lay and ordained students working throughout the year.

Chapter Two of the film has now been released and has been seen and commended by HH Karma Kuchen Rinpoche. Please click here to see film releases to date.

Daily Audio Teaching continues to be offered each evening at the Newcastle Pathgate Centre and have been made available to Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche’s students around the world via a student website.

Some of the students sponsored by the Pathgate Partnership Programme

The Pathgate Partnership Programme continued to sponsor education and facilities for the young and the ordained. Essential support continues to be offered to the elderly and the homeless. All this is made possible by the generous support of students and friends of Pathgate Institute worldwide. If you wish to support the Pathgate Partnership Programme and become a Friend of Pathgate International, you may do so by clicking Make a Donation.

The Filming of ‘The Life of Guru Rinpoche’ in India 2018

The Filming of ‘The Life of Guru Rinpoche’ in India 2018

View of Amber Palace from Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur, North India

This project began when Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche, received permission from his root guru, the late Holiness Penor Norbu Rinpoche, to translate the Tibetan script of the film ‘The Life of Guru Rinpoche’ into English. The original film has 15 chapters and was produced under the direction of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche. The entire film was shot in India and the cast were all monks from the Namdroling Monastery.

The Pathgate Editorial Committee has been working on remastering the film in high definition with new visual effects to replace some of the original footages to enhance the production value of the film. As part of this process, the original painted backdrops that are usually used in theatrical stage production are being replaced by digital 3D environments. To achieve this, we needed more location shooting in India that would properly reflect the relevant architecture within the film. There was also a need to film additional footages that require a cast of more monks and Tibetans. Under the directive of Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche, it was decided that we would visit Namdroling Monastery as part of the shoot.

Hence, Thubten Loday Gonpo, an ordained member of the Pathgate sangha from the UK and a lay student from Singapore visited India in October 2018. After filming in North and South India at locations such as palaces, forts, grasslands, forests, mountains and waterfalls, they spent the last week of their trip at Namdroling Monastery in Mysore.

Zangdog Palri Temple at Namdroling Monastery

‘When we arrived at Namdroling Monastery, we first went to pay our respects to Tulku Ajam Rinpoche, a long-time friend of our teacher, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche. Tulku Ajam Rinpoche was a key person heavily involved in the technical aspects of the original film, and he had entrusted Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche with the master copy of the original film for the remastering process.

Tulku Ajam Rinpoche then kindly directed us to the Trustee office of Penor Rinpoche Charity Foundation, where we were introduced to Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche, the managing trustee and his team. After Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche spoke with His Holiness Gyangkhang Rinpoche, the Chief Abbot of Namdroling Monastery, he assured us that Namdroling Monastery would give us their full support to get the footage that we needed. When Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche watched the film, he requested for “Penor Rinpoche Charity Foundation” to be added in the opening credits. Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche assured us that he would organise what was required and as we thanked him for his kind support, he replied that it was their duty, and that Namdroling Monastery and Pathgate Institute are one and the same, because we both are working towards fulfilling the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche’s wishes.

Thubten Loday Gonpo with Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche and Lopon Ngawang

We were then taken on a personal guided tour of The Golden Temple and the Zangdog Palri Temple to see the recent work and restoration completed at the monastery. This included the newly built Relic Stupa of His Holiness the 3rd Drubwang Rinpoche in the Zangdog Palri Temple as well as the new Mandala paintings on the ceilings of the Golden Temple that took them three years to complete. At various locations during the tour, the trustee team pointed out to us that the water tower, the T.T. Namdroling Hospital, the Junior High School, and various buildings within the campus of the Shedra - Ngagyur Nyingma Institute (Higher Buddhist Studies & Research Center) - were supported by funds contributed from Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche. Even Khenpo Sonam Tsewang from the Research and Development committee of the Shedra handed us a book as a gift to pass on to Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche in appreciation of the funds that he gave the committee to start off their work years ago. It was heart-warming to hear such fond memories that the monastery has of Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche despite that in the last 10 years since the passing of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche, Lama Dondrup has only visited the monastery once in May 2013 for the cremation ceremony of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche.

Inside the Golden Temple at Namdroling Monastery

While at Namdroling, we were very touched that the administration of Namdroling Monastery has worked very hard in preserving the legacy and the tradition laid down by the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche. We frequently heard about the compassionate activities of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in taking care of the needs of the ordained community at Namdroling. These activities were very consistent with the activities that Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche does for the Pathgate ordained community.

On the second day at the Monastery, Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche assigned us the support of Lopon Ngawang for the duration of our visit. Lopon Ngawang is fluent in English and guided us around the Monastery’s premises for filming, giving us access to areas that are usually out of bounds. Following a directive from Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche, we were tasked to capture footage of the Tibetan hospital staff. Lopon Ngawang, who holds the role of the hospital administrator, facilitated for this to happen and soon the Tibetan hospital staff were enthusiastically waiting in line to contribute their part.

Namdroling Monastery

On the last day of the Bum Nga retreat which also happened to fall on the same day of Lhabab Duchen - the festival which commemorates the descending of Lord Buddha back to earth after giving three months teaching to Queen Maya and the heavenly beings in the Thirty-Three Heaven - we received a directive from Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche to film the Tibetan participants of the Bum Nga retreat. With the facilitation of Lopon Ngawang, all the Tibetan Bum Nga participants were soon gathered around enthusiastically waiting to be filmed. They were quickly joined by a large group of teenage Tibetans who were also eager to have their faces captured for the film.

The caretakers of the various temples in Namdroling Monastery were equally supportive and allowed us entrance into different temples after closing hours in order to complete the filming. They kindly provided us not just access within the premises, but also allowed us to take as much time as needed.

On occasion we had the opportunity to practice khorwa (circumambulation) and to sit quietly in the Zangdog Palri temple. Sitting before the Relic Stupa of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, we got a sense that His Holiness’s blessing is still very much present and brought us a sense of peacefulness and quietness that helped settled our minds.

The Great Relics Stupa of HH Penor Rinpoche at Namdroling Monastery

At a lunch hosted by the Trustee of Penor Rinpoche Charity Foundation, we were given an account of an event that took place at the Monlam Chenmo in Bodhagaya. Khenpo Karma, who was very impressed with what he saw, recounted to us that he had witnessed Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche protecting the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche when a huge crowd out of their eagerness to seek blessing rushed along a narrow pass in a disorderly manner towards the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche. Before they could reach the throne of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche stepped in between and held on to the bodies of the first two persons and used them to stop the charge of the massive crowd right there in their tracks. According to Khenpo Karma’s depiction, the sudden stoppage of the forward momentum of the crowd caused many who were still rushing from behind to bounce backward. Besides this incident, several other senior figures at the Monastery have mentioned to us that when they were much younger, they had often sighted Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche by the side of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche and expressed how uncommon it was to have the opportunity to be at such close proximity. Hence within the monastery, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche is also fondly referred as the ‘body protector’ of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche.

We were also very fortunate to be taken to the lake where the original film shot the footage of the young Guru Rinpoche being born in a lotus. Lopon Pema recounted to us that when they shot this scene, some Tibetans were passing by on the other side of the lake and started to prostrate. Despite the passing of time, we were very touched to hear the accounts of how much hard work and how little resources they had back when the film was first shot. We deeply respect the dedication that was involved in the original production and this inspires us to uphold our commitment to the remastering of the film.

Filming monks

Towards the end of our visit in Namdroling Monastery, we had to complete the task of filming 50 monks. With the kind support of Tulku Choedharr and the Shedra’s treasurer Lopon Penpa Tsering, they helped organized Bum Nga participants and Shedra monks to gather at the filming location for us to capture their footage. We were also very touched when Lopon Pema, who was also a cast in the original film, stepped forward to voluntarily have his footage taken.

On the morning that we were to leave Namdroling Monastery, we stopped by Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche’s office to thank him and his team for their kindness and warm hospitality for accommodating our requests. Tulku Choedharr Rinpoche then extended his farewell gesture by offering us monastic gifts and entrusting us with precious items to offer to Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche.

We were also able to visit the Ani Gompa (nunnery) and had the opportunity to pay our respects to the recently constructed stupa of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche. Seeing the many construction works undergoing, we were reminded of the many past supports that our teacher Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche had contributed to the Ani Gompa, thus making the premises conducive to the nuns’ living and practice environment.

Relic Stupa of HH Penor Rinpoche in the Ani Gompa

I am truly humbled and grateful for the kind support and warm hospitality received at Namdroling Monastery during our visit. We were told how fortunate we were as there were previous requests from foreign students who sought permission to film the Monastery and their requests were declined. This made me reflect that the kindness and support that were extended to us by Namdroling Monastery is clearly a direct result of deep trust and high regard of our teacher Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche in the monastery.

Following this trip to India, we were also very humbled to have the opportunity to show H.H. Karma Kuchen Rinpoche the first two chapters of the film in Singapore. His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche was very pleased with the progress of the film and commended the quality of the work done to date. We were tremendously encouraged to hear His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche commending Pathgate’s work and extremely grateful for the continuous lineage support for this production, which was the wish of the late Holiness Penor Rinpoche.’

Abandon Opinions to Bring Peace to the Mind (news)

Abandon Opinions to Bring Peace to the Mind

In the Audio Teaching ‘Abandon Opinions to Bring Peace to the Mind', Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje shows by example how we are creatures of habit, and habitually have opinions of others; giving rise to emotion, and never leading to happiness or peace of mind.

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje explains the story of a monk from the time of Lord Buddha, who had difficulty learning and was finally taught by Buddha himself. Lord Buddha’s advice to the monk was:

“Guard your thought. Guard your speech.
Do not let your body act in any way that will cause suffering for you or others.
If you do this way there will be a time where you will come upon the attainment of deliverance.”

Watching with mindfulness over our body, speech and mind, we can abandon unhelpful habits and stop the mind from wandering into having opinions. In this way we can remove the urge to seek mundane happiness in pursuits that only bring us more suffering, and instead can cultivate peace of mind and lasting happiness.

To listen to this and other Audio Teachings, or to download them as MP3, please visit Audio Teachings by Lama Dondrup Dorje.

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje’s New Year Teaching Schedule 2017

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje’s New Year Teaching Schedule

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje with students in Osaka, Japan

Following the conclusion of the Pathgate Winter Retreat in Newcastle upon Tyne, England; Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje travels to give Teaching in Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece and Romania in January 2017.

In February, Teachings will take place in Poland, Italy, Greece and England; before Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje returns to Asia in March to Teach in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

To see details of upcoming Teachings, please visit the Teaching Schedule.

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje’s Autumn Teaching Schedule

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje’s Autumn Teaching Schedule

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje offering Mandala

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje will spend the autumn months travelling to give teachings to students overseas.  In November Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje will give teachings in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.  In December, he will return to Europe to give teachings in Romania, Italy and Greece, before concluding the year with a Winter Retreat in England.

To see details of upcoming Teachings, please visit the Teaching Schedule.

The Path of How to Attain Liberation - News

The Path of How to Attain Liberation

Thangka of Shakyamuni Buddha

The Audio Teaching ‘The Path of How to Attain Liberation’ continues on from the teaching on ‘Living a Meaningful Life’, and describes the way in which we need to follow the example of Lord Shakyamuni Buddha if we wish to depart from the cycle of birth and death.  

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje describes to students the discipline in overcoming our many habits, and explains that when we talk of ‘departing from home’, it does not mean departing from the house where you live, but departing from the habits that you have become accustomed to.

Emphasising the importance of applying ourselves in actual practice, Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje described the darkness of obscuration and the need to remove such mental poisons as anger and arrogance.  To practise Dharma in the world requires you to have interaction with people, and here Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje describes four things we need to avoid for us to have better relationships with others, emphasising that a proper step to enlightenment is being in the world, interacting with the world and yet not being disturbed by the world.

To listen to this and other Audio Teachings, or to download them as MP3, please visit Audio Teachings by Lama Dondrup Dorje.

Living a Meaningful Life - News

Living a Meaningful Life

Shakyamuni buddha thangka

When we spend our life obsessed with an endless cycle of attachments and aversions, focussed on our own happiness and on what we want, rather than what we need; the true potential of our life is wasted and leads us away from the path of real happiness. As a follower of Buddhadharma, we should endeavour to bring meaning to our life by keeping the presence of Buddha in our mind, by maintaining the discipline of regular practice, and by following our teacher’s instruction and sharing the benefit of our practice with others.

Within our mind are many aspects. There is the Buddha nature which is our true nature; that of the hungry ghosts, which represent grasping, greediness and stinginess; that of the hell realms, the source of anger, hatred, and negativity. There are also aspects the same as those of the animals, which are ignorance and stupidity; that of the demi-gods which represent competitiveness; that of the gods whose minds are so pre-occupied with enjoying the fruition of the merit they generate that they are unaware of the true nature of suffering in the world.

When the focus of our mind is on Buddha, we can in time awake the qualities of the Buddha nature from within, and in those around us. Practising in this way will bring meaning to our life and give rise to benefits for both ourselves and others.

To listen to this and other Audio Teachings, or to download them as MP3, please visit Audio Teachings by Lama Dondrup Dorje.

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje’s Spring Teaching Schedule

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje’s Spring Teaching Schedule

Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje with students at the Pathgate Dharma Centre in Athens, Greece

In May, Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje will be Teaching in England over both the May bank holiday weekend and the Spring bank holiday weekends, and will also visit Romania, Greece and Italy to give teachings.

In June Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje will give teachings in Hong KongSingapore and Romania before returning to England where the Pathgate Summer School will take place in Newcastle upon Tyne from 30th June to 30th August 2015.

To see details of upcoming Teachings, please visit the Teaching Schedule.

Autumn Teaching Schedule for Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje

Autumn Teaching Schedule for Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje

en. Lama Dondrup Dorje teaching in Nagano, Japan

After spending the summer in England, leading the Pathgate Summer School, Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje will be travelling overseas to give teachings around the world. In September, teachings will take place at venues in Portugal, Greece, Hong Kong and Singapore.

During October, Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje will give teachings in Italy, England and Romania, before returning to Japan to give teaching there at the end of the month.

To see details of upcoming Teachings, please visit the Teaching Schedule.