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The Road Project


Over the years many people from around the world have responded from the heart when asked to help with capital projects at Pema Osel Ling Through this generosity and our lamas' guidance, we have accomplished so much. Thank you for your support and thoughts of good will! Pema Osel Ling is truly flourishing as a retreat center where everyone can find refuge and serious practitioners can find the path to enlightenment.


In 2007 our lamas presented us with a new request to finish paving the roads, install paths and landscape more of Pema Osel Ling. We still have a number of dirt roads and paths and areas without landscaping. With this in mind, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche and Lama Sonam Rinpoche offered the following words:


"The clearing of the path is spoken of in every text. Especially if you want to do retreat, you want to clear the path of obstructions. Think about the road as the path to enlightenment, saying "I am using this path to go to enlightenment to benefit all sentient beings." Fixing roads and paths has special merit, especially at Pema Osel Ling." - Lama Tharchin Rinpoche.


"Helping to pave the roads and paths at Pema Osel Ling is to make the best connection to this consecrated land, one that will endure for generations. Both outer and inner obstacles will be removed for us with this improvement. Not only will the dust and mud be reduced but the inner "dust" of our negative karma will be diminished as well. All those who use the roads and paths will benefit from each contributor's generosity for many lifetimes." - Lama Sonam Rinpoche.


It will cost $300,000 to pave all the roads, install paths and landscape. As of 2012 we have raised $170,000, a third of our goal, thanks to your ongoing support. To help raise the funds we are holding a raffle with the following prizes. The winning tickets for our raffle will be drawn when we have met our goal of $300,000.


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Scroll down to read a beautiful teaching from Lama Tharchin Rinpoche about preparing roads and the qualities of this unique phurba.


You can purchase raffle tickets for the road project using cash, check or credit card by calling the office (831-761-6273). You may make a tax-deductible donation to the project online with the link below.
Thank you for your support!


Clearing the Path to Enlightenment

With great generosity and love for Pema Osel Ling and all of us, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche has given one of his own practice items, a rare phurba, for a raffle to raise funds to pave the roads and landscape at Pema Osel Ling. Following is a talk he gave about why paving and clearing roads is so important and why he has donated this particular phurba.


“When you are entering into the Dharma path, first realize that everything is interdependent circumstances. The path can be like wandering around in samsara or it can be an enlightened path that goes beyond samsara. Dharma also means path. Without a path it’s hard to get where you aim to go. You can but it’s difficult. (laughs) When I escaped from Tibet it took one month and twelve days without a path through the mountains! You can do but it’s almost impossible. If the path already exists, you can travel much easier. There are many ways to travel: foot, bicycle, or car…and there are 9 different yanas or vehicles for the Dharma path. Anyone wanting to remove suffering and go beyond samsara to benefit all beings—that’s the main thing that all Buddhist practitioners go to.


Generally, when you become a practitioner, the interdependent circumstances—that clearing of the path, or cho-op—is spoken of in every text. Especially if you want to do a retreat, before you go you want to clear the path of any obstructions such as a tree that may have fallen down which you can cut up or rocks in the road you can remove or any kind of thing that makes the path uncomfortable. My own teacher, Lama Sherab Rinpoche, when he walked he always would pick up wood or rocks on the road, even little rocks he would kick out of the way. He had that kind of intention—to always think about the road as the path to enlightenment—saying: “I am using this path to go to enlightenment in order to benefit all other sentient beings.” That habit and motivation removes all kinds of obstacles.


There are obstacles such as rocks, ditches, trees and branches that also symbolize other outer elements’ obstacles to gaining enlightenment, such as: earthquakes, fire, floods, mudslides. There are inner, physical elements’ obstacles such as sickness and afflictive emotional obstacles and turbulence that won’t let you concentrate on your blossoming Buddha Nature. Obstacles like doubt, not trusting Dharma, not trusting in your Buddha Nature, and all these kinds of obstacles that arise from the mental level are secret obstacles.


When you start retreat, you have to symbolically remove these outer, inner and secret obstacles by building a small replica of Buddha’s stupa, build or clear a road, and free some beings that are going to be killed by buying their lives to make them free. Read the sutras or the ngondro preliminaries—all the retreat manuals have this listed. They all say this because it’s meaningful. In my own experience, one of my Vajra brothers in Tibet, Tsering, did three year retreat with HH Dudjom Rinpoche there at the retreat center in Gonpo, called Lama Ling. Tsering is an amazing, serious Dharma practitioner. From the bottom of the mountain there was a path that zigzagged up to the monastery. Tsering, by his own hand, made that path into a road that two cars could pass on. Unbelievable! By himself, with no helpers or dynamite, he broke all the rock with hammer and chisel and moved all the dirt by himself. It’s so incredible. However much effort you put in, that is how much obstacles you can clear to achieve your goal.


Fixing roads has special merit. Especially here at Pema Osel Ling [because] we have incredible holy supporting objects like the body aspect of Guru Rinpoche’s statue…it is so holy. And then we have Shedra and Drupdra. Shedra is the whole learning of the Buddha/ Dharma from beginning to end. In the West, we have a piece of Dharma here, a piece of Dharma there—this lama comes and gives a teaching, another lama comes with some other piece—but so many pieces without the whole Buddha/Dharma beginning to end. That’s my goal and gift for future generations—to support this pure lineage to save the Dharma. We have education, but it is not enough just to be intellectually educated—you need to put it into experience with your heart.


We have that kind of holy Dharma, not only the container, but the Center itself is the best land. Each time I visit Pema Osel Ling I go: “Wow!” It’s not only me or people’s effort, but the land itself naturally has some blessing from Guru Rinpoche, HH Dudjom Rinpoche, and the Dharma Protectors. How did we find this? It is perfect land, so beautiful! So shedra, the education/mind/speech aspect, and the mind part—how to experience this—is drupdra. So that support is symbolized by our statue and stupas. All of these holy objects need to be taken care of. It’s like we have a wish fulfilling jewel—how do we use it? In order to recognize that it is a wish fulfilling jewel you have to polish it. Then you have to make a wish. Otherwise, without recognition, without polishing, without making offerings, that jewel in your hand is like a piece of rock—you won’t get anything. How to take care of this land? How to make it beautiful? What is most urgently needed to make a beautiful pureland? Pema Osel Ling is Guru Rinpoche’s pureland! A pureland is supposed to be dustless. But we have a problem: there’s lots of dust!


Lama Sonam has this pure intention, and I do have great hopes that this sangha does have what we need. It’s time to make dust into dustless and pure. Each Lama has a different style. My experiences with HH Dudjom Rinpoche was that he had asthma. When people would try to do prostrations he’d say: “No, no don’t do that it raises dust.” It was one thing that bothered his physical health. Generally, he was so pure, incredible. So everything should be clean! If we can make roads without dust then we can landscape. Now it’s beautiful but we can improve it more. We can put in automatic water systems…. If the roads get done, everywhere you go, there will be no obstacles and no dust. It will be pure, fresh, clean. What we need now is to see that dust is our biggest problem to remove and make clean. Both outer and inner aspects of your practice are connected through interdependent circumstances to the outer environment. When you can keep it clean, your mind is clean, fresh, awake, bright—it feels so good!


There are two things uncompleted in my life that I wish before I die: That we have these roads without dust, paved and then we have a permanent temple. These two are my wishes. In my life I want to accomplish these two goals. When I’m dead, still I’m asking all of you to finish these two aspects. Otherwise I’m totally satisfied with all of our sangha. What I want to do with a genuine pure heart is to remove obstacles our sangha has. We don’t have rich material sangha, but in practice our sangha is very rich. It’s a very unusual sangha. Therefore, anyone who can be motivated can make an offering and a connection is my wish.


This phurba [I’m donating to be raffled off] is part of my habit. Any kind of Buddha’s image, statue, text, implements and support of the holy Dharma I buy when I have money—I don’t care how much they cost, these holy objects—they’re priceless. This phurba was a businessman’s and after I came to America I saw it and liked it a lot and saw that it was definitely old. That businessman got it from his relative in Tibet, a very accomplished Lama who used this phurba all his life for a support of his practice and shrine object. The businessman said he paid lots of money for it. No matter what he asked for, I wanted to buy this phurba and I paid at least double of what he paid.


It’s hard to find this kind of object—whether expensive or cheap. This is a namchak phurba. Namchak means “sky metal”—or iron not made by any human—it’s made by the Dharmapalas. It’s made by Dorje Legpa, blessed by Guru Rinpoche and tempered by the rudra’s hot blood. These three make it a namchak phurba. It’s very special. Since I’ve had it, it’s been my shrine object. It’s not a copy. I offer this shrine object phurba aiming to help the road project.


I’m not trying to make a commentary about myself, but the phurba is a thing of my family. When my ancestor, Tharchin Namkha Jigme, was in Amdo-repkong in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal gave teachings, empowerments and prophesied that he would be their representatives. Yeshe Tsogyal gave him instruction: Do Vajrakilaya retreat and make 1,900 wooden phurbas, then give the empowerment and give each of your students one phurba. So he did just as Yeshe Tsogyal said and the day he gave the empowerment exactly 1,900 people came.


That sangha established the Repkong monastery. My family lineage - all of them were mahashiddis of Vajrakilaya. My father had many miraculous displays of his activities. In Tibet when it hails it can destroy a field of barely - a whole years’ food. My father had a phurba that would protect against these storms. If a hail storm would come in the direction of the fields, he could turn it around. He was a phurba practitioner—a mahasiddha. I tell people that my family lineage, is like a sandalwood tree. But sometimes when you have bad luck, a branch comes out from the sandalwood tree that’s banana—and that’s me! (laughs) Except for me, my whole family are special phurba practitioners. I’m not an accomplished man, but I have great faith and trust since my childhood for Vajrakilaya. I received so many empowerments and teachings from HH Dudjom Rinpoche, Lama Sherab Rinpoche, Chechen Khandro Rinpoche and Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche.


I kept this phurba for a long time on my shrine trying to do my silly practice. Now I am offering this to anyone who can support and help raise the money for the project. This is like a little candy! Anyone who gets this phurba can do practice and it’s good for them and it will accomplish two goals. This is my offering.”


- Lama Tharchin Rinpoche