Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tibetan Lama to stop in SB


During a 17-day speaking tour along the West Coast, Tibetan lama Namkha Rinpoche will visit Santa Barbara for a series of teachings and meetings next week, culminating with a free event at La Casa de Maria.

Born in the Tibetan province of Kham, Rinpoche began studying texts, learning the art of Tibetan rituals and meditating at a young age after his father, a respected lama in his own right, saw signs of a reincarnated Buddhist teacher in his son, according to a biography.
After being given Buddhist and yogic education secretly to avoid repression by Chinese officials, he spent seven years in solitary retreat at a monastery and later isolated himself in a cave.
After organizing prayer festivals to support the Dalai Lama in 1998, Rinpoche caught wind that police planned to imprison him and fled to Nepal, crossing the Himalayas on foot.
Since then, he has dedicated his life to teaching Buddhist principles, opening centers in Holland, Spain, Lithuania and Sweden, as well as in his new home country of Switzerland.
Now 40, Rinpoche — which means “precious one” — is on his first trip through California and will arrive in Santa Barbara on Monday for a series of appearances.
“Namkha Rinpoche is coming here to give Buddhist teachings and additionally speak about the humanitarian projects that are underway in Tibet: schools for the children being built, hospitals under construction, care for the elderly and the necessity for rebuilding several Tibetan monasteries,” his tour organizer and Santa Barbara resident Marguerite Gaffney said in a prepared statement.
His first appearance will be at The Center of Heart Church, 487 N. Turnpike Rd., on Tuesday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., where he will hold a teaching session titled “Cultivating Compassion.”
On Wednesday, Rinpoche will participate in “Understanding the Pain, a Body and Healing Ceremony” at the Dance Arts Performance Space, 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Two days later, on Friday, he will appear at Yoga Soup, 28 Parker Way, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for “Green Tara Teaching and Instruction.”
During an event that is not open to the public on Saturday, July 5, Rinpoche will travel to the Los Prietos Boys Academy for a two-hour session with youth.
Finally, his trip culminates on Sunday, July 6, with a free public teaching on forgiveness at La Casa de Maria, 800 El Bosque Rd., from 4 to 6 p.m.
“Our goal really is to create a dialogue for people around the world, not just those who are religious,” said Blake Lannon, marketing director for La Casa de Maria, a nondenominational retreat center in the hills above Montecito. “…It’s just so important to have people who are peacemakers here with us.”
Space is limited to 150 people and advance registration, at, is required. During his teaching, titled “Forgiveness — the Key to Resiliency,” Rinpoche will be joined by Dr. Ed Bastian, president of the Spiritual Paths Foundation.
Organizers said the event will focus on practical lessons on why forgiveness is a central aspect of Buddhism, followed by a blessing by Rinpoche.

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