Drawing Near To The Solitary Hero! (How To Carry Out The Solitary Hero Vajra Bhairava Retreat Practice)
Upon the request of Venerable Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche, Geshe Lobsang Dhargey (translated by Artemus (Art) Engle) will hold a five-day Dharma teaching sponsored by DNKL Dharma Center of Redding, CT and Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Center of New Jersey from August 11 to August 15 at the Jewel Heart Buddhist Center, located at 260 West Broadway in the Tribeca section of New York City.
This event is devoted to the spiritual practice of the Solitary Hero (S: ekavīra, T: dpa’ bo gcig pa) aspect of the Glorious Vajra Bhairava, a Highest Yoga Tantra tutelary deity also known by the name Yamāntaka. While there will be an opportunity to discuss elements of the sādhana practice, the principal topic for the teaching will be the procedure for carrying out a Solitary Hero Vajra Bhairava retreat practice.
The Tibetan word for a religious retreat is nyenpa (T: bsnyen pa), which is a translation of the Sanskrit term sevā. The Sanskrit term is derived from a verbal root that has a range of meanings, of which the most relevant ones include “to dwell or stay near,” as well as “to serve” and “to worship.” The Tibetan translation emphasizes the sense of a form of spiritual practice that enables one to “draw near to” or “approach” one’s tutelary deity.
After presenting an overview of a range of different kinds of retreat practice, the teaching will focus on what is called a “fitness retreat,” which in Tibetan is called lérung gi nyenpa (T: las rung gi bsnyen pa). After having received a Tantric deity’s initiation followed by instruction on how to carry out the deity’s sādhana ritual, a practitioner is generally obligated to complete this most basic form of retreat practice. The term “fitness” indicates that this type of retreat qualifies the practitioner to carry out various kinds of Tantric activity. Of these, one of the most important activities that one becomes fit to carry out is the self-initiation ritual, which provides the immediate benefit of allowing the practitioner him or herself to restore both the Mahāyāna Bodhisattva vows and the unique Tantric vows.
Note: This teaching is only open to those who have received one or more initiations of Highest Yoga Tantra from a qualified Lama (e.g. Yamāntaka)
About Venerable Geshe Dhargey and Artemus (Art) Engle:
Geshe Lobsang Dhargey:
Geshe Lobsang Dhargey was born in 1969 in the Bomdilla district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, North East India. At the age of ten, he entered Sera Mey Monastery, which is one of the largest Tibetan monasteries. He then began his long monastic training under the Venerable Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa, his personal tutor and Spiritual Director of DNKL.
Geshe-la received his ordination as a novice monk in 1982 from the late Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, the senior tutor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the 97th Throne Holder of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He then received the vows of a fully ordained monk, a Bikshu, in 1994 directly from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
After 15 years of study, Geshe-la appeared for the All Gelupga Monastic University examination in 1998 and was awarded the highest monastic degree, that of Geshe Lharampa. For the final part of this examination, Geshe-la had to go to all the three great monastic universities of the Gelugpa tradition, namely Sera, Ganden and Drepung, to engage in philosophical debates with the finest of monk scholars.
As tradition mandates, after successfully completing studies in Buddhist Sutra, Geshe-la went to Gyumed Tantric College in 1999 to study Buddhist tantra. In 2002, he topped the debate examination conducted by those monks who held Geshe Lharampa degrees at Gyumed Tantric College. He received the Ngagrampa degree in Buddhist Tantric Studies. Geshe-la also served in the “Education Development Committee of Sera Mey Monastery” from 1999 to 2001.
Geshe Dhargey is a gifted Buddhist teacher who has taught not only in Sera Mey Monastery but also in the West and is now the Resident Teacher at Do Ngak Kunphen Ling in Redding, CT.
Artemus (Art) Engle:
Art Engle began Tibetan language studies in Howell, New Jersey in early 1971 at Labsum Shedrup Ling, the precursor of the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center. From 1972 to 1975 he participated in a three-year project to the translate Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam.
Became a student of Sera Mey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche in April, 1972 when he first came to the U.S., a relationship that spanned more than thirty years. Served as his personal interpreter for the first few years following his arrival in the U.S. Enrolled in the Buddhist Studies program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison from 1975–1978 and received a PhD degree in 1983. Has taught Tibetan language and Buddhist doctrine at the Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Center in Howell, New Jersey since the mid 1980s. In 2004 became a Tsadra Foundation Grantee. Have been a Tsadra Foundation Translation Fellow since 2005.
Art is also a student of Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche for the last decade and served as his interpreter for a number of teachings over this period.