Where do I start?
You took the first step, you made it here. Now, what’s the next step? Within Tibetan Buddhism, the first step is to start listening to teachings. It is by means of oral transmission that Buddhist wisdom has been transmitted from master to student, from centuries ago to our present day, in an uninterrupted lineage.
Where are the teachings offered?
You can listen to teachings at Chagdud Gonpa Odsal Ling, a center founded by H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (1930-2002), one of the most respected lamas of Tibetan Buddhism. In São Paulo, there are two practice centers: Temple Odsal Ling, in Cotia (SP), and the Urban Center, in Jardins, in the city of São Paulo – both are directed by Lama Tsering Everest, a lama ordained by Chagdud Rinpoche and his interpreter for eleven years.
When are the teachings offered?
Every Tuesday at 8PM, at the Urban Center, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 8AM, at the Temple, we perform the Red Tara meditation practice (read more below), followed by a teaching, whenever Lama Tsering is present.
Lama Tsering frequently offers multi-part teaching series and multi-day retreats at different points of the year. Check our site frequently or register to receive regular notices of our events via email.
What type of Buddhism is practiced at Odsal Ling?
We practice Vajrayana Buddhism from the Nyingma School (the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism). Amongst the Vajrayana meditation practices realized at Odsal Ling is the Red Tara practice.
What is the Red Tara practice? Can I participate even though I am only a beginner?
The Red Tara practice is a Vajrayana meditation practice performed under the guidance of a qualified lama. Even beginners can participate in the practice on Tuesday nights (in Portuguese), at the Urban Center and on Sundays at the Temple.
May I participate in the daily practices?
Yes. From Monday to Friday, we perform Red Tara practice at 6AM at the Temple and 7AM at the Urban Center.
What is the next step?
After listening to teachings and having contact with Red Tara practice, you can begin to delve more deeply. The best way to do this is to request guidance from the lama.
How can you receive a Lama’s guidance?
Listening to the teachings and participating in retreats is the best way to begin. Over time, you can also schedule a personal interview with Lama Tsering to receive guidance.
Is there etiquette for entering the shrine room?
When you visit either the Temple or the you will notice that many students perform prostrations (respectful bows) upon entering the shrine room or when the lama enters. This gesture is a sign of respect and humility. It is traditional to perform three prostrations on each of the abovementioned occasions. But, you are not required to perform prostrations, if it makes you uncomfortable.
What are the basic rules of conduct inside the shrine room?
Try to sit with your back erect. Do not point your feet at the altar, the lamas or the other practitioners. Do not put sacred texts directly on the floor (use a cushion, when available). Do not walk over fellow practitioners, practice benches, texts or sacred objects. Turn off your cell phone.
Do I need to wear Buddhist clothing or use ritual instruments?
Traditional clothing (such as chuba and zen) is worn during more elaborate ceremonies. To listen to teachings, it is not required to wear it. When you have become more familiar with the practices, you may choose to wear these items when you perform your meditation practice.
It is also common to use ritual instruments such as bells, dorjes, and drums, which are traditional Tibetan musical instruments, during certain ceremonies. But, their use is not mandatory. Another common practice object is the mala, which is a cord of beads used to count the recitation of mantras.
More important than any external object while doing meditation practice, however, is pure motivation - the intention that, by engaging in one's practice, one can help bring both temporary benefit and ultimate benefit to all beings.
May your practice flourish. May all beings be benefit!
This post is also available in: Português (Portuguese (Brazil))