The center’s programming is based in the teachings of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni who was born into a royal family approximately 2,600 years ago in the Shakya region of India. As a young man he left the palace and his family to embark on a spiritual quest to understand the nature of suffering. His practices and travels finally brought him to a seat of kusha grass under the Bodhi tree where he vowed to sit until he understood the nature of his own mind. It was during the long night that he worked with his mind and attained enlightenment. He came to know the nature of his mind and an understanding of the causes of suffering. He taught for 45 years until his death and has left us a wealth of teachings that are as relevant today as they were in his times.
Our meditation center is named after Yeshe Tsogyal, a woman who was born and lived in the 8th century in Tibet. Togyaling, which is pronounced “so jal ling” and means “place of Tsogyal”. Her name means “victorious lake of wisdom”.
Before receiving Buddhist instruction, Tsogyal suffered rape and the worst kinds of abuse. She is an example of a real woman who used meditation practices to work with her mind and heart and not only over come the trauma she had experienced, but attain complete enlightenment. Tsogyal lived to be an old woman and over the course of her life taught many students. She teaches us that no matter how painful our lives are, through the practice of meditation we can manifest peace and harmony in our minds and bodies, thus contributing to greater peace in our families, communities and the world at large.
His Holiness Penor Rinpoche
Founder of Namdroling Monastery and the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute (Shedra), His Holiness Pema Norbu "Penor" Rinpoche (1932–2009) was the Lineage Holder for the Nyingma and Palyul Lineages and was the 11th throne holder of the Palyul Lineage of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was said to be an incarnation of Vimalamitra and was widely renowned in the Tibetan Buddhist world as a master of Dzogchen.
He was one of a very few teachers left from his generation who received all his training (in the traditional sense) in Tibet under the guidance of what Tibetan Buddhists consider to be fully enlightened teachers. HH Penor Rinpoche spent his life practicing and realizing the teachings of the Buddha, insuring that the teachings would not only not be lost, but that they would expand to the farthest corners of the world.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
Karmapa means “the one who carries out buddha-activity” or “the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas”. In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously control their rebirth to continue their activity for the benefit of all sentient beings. The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was born in 1110. He was the first of the great Tibetan masters to establish an incarnating lineage. Since his death in 1193, successive Karmapas have incarnated in this way—as much as sixteen lifetimes so far—and all have played an important role in preserving and promulgating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, is the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. As a scholar and meditation master, as well as painter, poet, songwriter and playwright, the Gyalwang Karmapa embodies many of the activities that Karmapas have engaged in through the centuries. As an environmental activist, computer enthusiast and world spiritual leader whose teachings are often webcast live, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa has brought the Karmapa lineage’s activities fully into the 21st century.