By Tenzin Dongchung
NEW YORK CITY, US, 16 June 2013
Sogyal Rinpoche, world-renowned author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and the founder of Rigpa, an international network of over 100 Buddhist centres, visited the newly-inaugurated Sherpa Community Hall in Queens, New York, to give an exclusive teaching to the younger generation on Sunday.
The audience included Tibetans and Sherpas, and also members of the Bhutanese, Mustang, Manang, Sikkim, Yolmo, Tamang, and Gyalsumdo communities. Rinpoche spoke of the challenge that the younger generation faces in relation to Buddhism.
While many connect to Buddhism on a cultural level, this connection does not extend to Buddhist practices and teachings. Rinpoche asked the audience to seek to understand the meaning behind practices. When asked how Buddhism can help to cope with the stress of daily life, Rinpoche taught and practiced some meditation techniques with the audience.
The global Buddhist television network VajraTV and the United Sherpa Association had jointly requested Sogyal Rinpoche for the teaching. Sangay Sherpa, the General Secretary of the United Sherpa Association, said that such events are organised in order to preserve our culture, and are aimed at the younger generation.
On the decision of the two organisations to collaborate, Sonam Sherpa, the former board member of United Sherpa Association and the advisor to VajraTV commented, “Tibetans and Himalayan community both share the same religion: Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore, just as Tibetans work hard to preserve their culture, Sherpas do the same.”
For him, this event symbolises how similar the communities are and how much they can achieve by working together. Thupten Chakrishar, the founder and CEO of VajraTV commented, “In the recent years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has worked to promote the concept of Gangchenpa, which translates literally to people from the land of snows.” Gangchenpa includes the Tibetans and all the people who reside on the border regions of Tibet. The unity among the Gangchenpas will inevitably help to promote Buddhism.
For Thupten, Sogyal Rinpoche’s teaching to the members of all the Himalayan communities is one way to contribute to the concept of Gangchenpa, and therefore to follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision.
About the author
Tenzin Dongchung is a graduate of Tibetan Children's Village School, India, and Wellesley College, US.