The Abbot of Drepung Loseling Visits the West

The following article is from the Spring, 1991 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

In June 1990, the abbot of Drepung Loseling Monastery, Venerable Rizong Tulku Rin- poche, made his first trip to the West under the auspices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The purpose of his visit was to consecrate the land in North Georgia donated to Drepung Loseling for the establishment of a branch monastery in the United States.

Rizong Rinpoche designated a beautiful site for the monastery on a hilltop, land that was once sacred to the Cherokee Indians. The next day he performed an ancient fire ritual to consecrate and purify the area. The three-hour ceremony was attended by seventy-five people, both neighbors and members of the Dharma community from Atlanta.

Afterwards Rinpoche expressed his hopes for the center in this way: During my two-month visit in the U.S., I had the opportunity to stay with people in their homes, which gave me an understanding of this great nation and its culture. My impression of the people is that they seem to be friendly, well educated and disciplined. They appear to be very open minded and respectful of other cultures. People seem to have so much freedom. Perhaps due to this there is a small but flourishing Buddhist community. There seems to be a growing interest in Buddhist teachings, and for this reason it is appropriate that Drepung Loseling Learning Center is being established in the mountains of north Georgia.

"My hope is that it will be a genuine learning place for all interested people. Our efforts will be directed toward assisting and benefiting the students and practitioners. To expedite this, I will send Jampa Rinpoche, a very learned, highly accomplished teacher. It is our hope that he will arrive in the spring of 1991."

During his stay in Atlanta, Rizong Rinpoche spoke at the Southern Center for International Studies, an independent center for thought and opinion, where he discussed the situation in Tibet and the Dalai Lama's approach to world peace. He also visited the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and had a warm dialogue with the abbot Dom Armand Vellieux. Rinpoche also gave teachings to the Buddhist community in Atlanta and in several other cities, including Raleigh and Waines-ville NC, Little Rock, Miami, Chicago, Detroit and New York City.

Currently plans are underway to raise funds to bring Ven. Jampa Rinpoche to Georgia to teach and tour the cities in the south where there is interest in Buddhist teachings. For more information, contact the Drepung Loseling Monastery Learning Center, 656 Murphey Highway, Mineral Bluff, GA, 30559.

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