His Eminence Ratna Vajra Rinpoche's Teaching Tour of Australia

Sakya.com.au, November 17, 2006

Sydney, Australia -- After the eventful opening of Sakya International Buddhist Academy (SIBA - Tsarchen Choeling) by His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche on 9 September 2006, the inaugural three month retreat program has begun in great earnest. Only two months old, SIBA has already become an important Tibetan Buddhist learning and practice centre.

It has already seen the ordination of seven Australians as Buddhist monks and nuns who, together with other lay students are reading Tibetan and learning to do thangka painting murals around the new Gompa.

At the request of Lama Choedak Rinpoche, His Eminence Khondung Ratna Vajra Rinpoche has arrived in Australia for his first teaching tour of Australia. He was welcomed at Sydney airport by Lama Choedak Rinpoche, Aeonpo Kyabgon Rinpoche and Khenpo Ngawang Damchoe on 26 September. A traditional welcome ceremony was held at Sakya Dolma Choeling, at the beautiful shrine hall in Eastwood, where Sylvia Johnson, the president of the centre and many others were present.

His Eminence has visited and taught at centres in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Melbourne, New Zealand, SIBA and will soon visit Sakya Losal Choe Dzong in Canberra. His Eminence is the eldest son of His Holiness Sakya Trizin and is a star graduate of Sakya College of Buddhist philosophy and Ritual studies at Sakya centre in Rajpur. The main high light of his visit is the one month teaching on Bodhisattva's Way of Life at Sakya International Buddhist Academy, which was opened in September by His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.

He speaks in fluent English and teaches with great care and kindly allows questions and answer sessions. His Eminence teaches directly in English from the root text of Shantideva. He sits with 30 keen students including twelve ordained members of the sangha during self study and he teaches two sessions daily. Before each teaching session begins he picks a name of a student from a bowl who has to give a revision of the previous teaching session as they do in traditional Shedra seminary.

The students at SIBA have been groomed to go through such meticulous study skill during their three week intensive study of Mahayana Sutralankara with Lama Choedak Rinpoche. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche will also conduct Hevajra cause Initiation, Vajrapani Bhutadamara initiation and teachings and the whole month's teaching will culminate with teachings on the Bodhisattva Vows. His Eminence will conduct a Bodhisattva Vow ceremony on His 33rd Birthday on 25 November 2006.

To mark the successful conclusion of the two month visit to Australia, His Eminence will be bestowing Amitayus Long Life Initiation and preside over the celebration of the International Human Rights Day and anniversary of the awarding of Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 10 December 2006 at Balmain Town Hall in Sydney.

This event will be jointly organised by many Tibetan Buddhist organisations in Sydney and the Tibetan Community of NSW. His Eminence's first teaching tour of Australia and New Zealand is co-ordinated by Sakya Losal Choe Dzong and all its sister centres across the region under the guidance of Lama Choedak Rinpoche.