Renovation project almost complete! | First GP class at newly remodeled KMC on Wed. Dec. 13!

In case you haven't discovered this yet, we have a growing number of talks and guided meditations on our Kadampa Meditation Center Colorado YouTube channel, including short talks and 30-minute guided meditations.

https://www.youtube.com/@kadampameditationcentercol6595/videos

Here are a couple of them:

Enjoy the meaningful conversation, great insight, and advice from Gen Dornying, our Kadampa teacher in Leeds, UK. It is special.

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

Buddha’s Enlightenment Day is coming up soon, on April 15, and it is a time when Kadampas around the world celebrate with two days of Drop of Essential Nectar, sometimes known as Nyung Nä (or Nyungnay). This is a purification, prostration, and fasting retreat in conjunction with 1,000-armed Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. The retreat is free of charge, any donations welcome.

Click here to register 

For two days, starting at dawn, we observe the eight Mahayana precepts, which include not eating after lunch and, for those who do the full fast, not eating or drinking at all on the second day. (The hunger pangs are helpful for reminding us about the gazillions of people who don’t get enough to eat or drink on any day, ever.) It is also possible to attend for either day, and to eat lunch and/or drink liquids on both days.

What “prostration” means

The Tibetan word for prostrations is “chag tsel” – ‘chag’ means sweeping away delusions, negative karma, and obstructions, and ‘tsel” means requesting all good qualities. Prostrations work best if we are not holding ourselves as unworthy or at a distance from enlightened beings, but when we recognize that our Buddha nature, our limitless potential, is already connected to full enlightenment, and that one day we will become a Bodhisattva and then a Buddha of Compassion ourself.

I do love Nyungnay, with its emphasis on keeping compassion and bodhichitta in our heart all day long – a real vacation from our self-cherishing mind! As well as feeling the transcendent power of Buddha Avalokiteshvara, his thousand arms reaching out to everyone without exception. Prostrations are good fun. They may be one of the best types of exercise, and the only type of exercise taught by Buddha. It is well worth learning how to do full-length prostrations and get some practice in because you can then do these at home whenever you like. (Prostrations last somewhere between 30 minutes and 45 minutes each session).

The sky is the limit

When prostrating, we don’t need to think that it is just me in one meaty body making one feeble little distracted prostration onto the carpet (oooh, look at that dust! … at least I’m getting some exercise …) in front of some image of Buddha. No, there is a great deal more going on than that! The sky is the limit!

One thing we can do, along with our mind of faith and respect, is to think that from every pore of our body we manifest another body, which in turn manifests countless more, until the whole universe is filled with our bodies all making prostrations. Already some mind-expansion is going on and you’re going to have more fun. It is inspiring to think that you are already in a very pure space, as you are in the company of all enlightened beings, and you are prostrating to all of them.

We can imagine that we are also in the company of all living beings, and that they are all prostrating along with us – and it can be helpful to start by focusing on specific people in our life who are currently experiencing suffering, believing they are next to us prostrating. These human beings and animals are in turn are surrounded by all the other human beings and animals in the universe, also prostrating. And so on. This takes the same amount of time as making one corporeal prostration on the carpet, but the outcome in terms of good karma and purification is altogether more extraordinary.

More about prostrations

The Drop of Essential Nectar prayers and meditations are also beautiful and uplifting, and I and other Sangha members will be able to answer any of your questions on the day.

As for Buddha’s Enlightenment Day, you can find out more about that here.

Look forward to seeing you there. Happy Buddha’s Enlightenment Day! May you all swiftly realize your full potential and become enlightened too.

Love,
Kadam Lucy

Meditation even on something as simple as our breath brings about a sense of inner peace and tranquillity. This is a very welcome break from feeling agitated or unpeaceful.

An experience of peace alone does not transform our lives. However (1) the experience of inner peace that is associated with (2) the heartfelt wisdom insight that this is the peace of my own Buddha nature, my pure potential for the supreme and lasting peace and happiness of enlightenment, is the very basis for all deep and lasting spiritual transformation.

Allowing ourselves to abide in that experience every day before, during, and after our meditation session is a key component to success in Dharma or spiritual training. As a result of our increasing familiarity with this experience and correct self-identification with our Buddha nature, our view of ourselves will gradually and quite naturally change.

If we are feeling a little, or a lot, stuck in our spiritual life, it simply indicates that we currently lack this basic familiarity. As a result, we try to practice on the basis of our present default experience and view, which happens to be an ordinary limited self who isn’t changing, indeed can’t change.

This growing familiarity with our own Buddha nature is one we can all gain, and it will open the door to a whole new perspective on how we approach our Dharma practice. Instead of feeling like we are practicing in abstract, going through the motions in the hopes of some future “Aha!” moment, we will come to view our practice as a here and now dynamic and experientially-based engagement with our own path or journey.

Independence upon this new view of our extraordinary potential, our intention will move from ‘I intend, tomorrow’ to the intention that is moving our mind continually and spontaneously to the full actualization of this pure potential; and over time not just for ourselves but for others as well.

Independence upon this deepening intention, our actions will be increasingly in alignment — they will become the actions of someone who is joyfully dedicated to accomplishing this goal, coming from the confidence that I have the potential and that this is what I and others need.

Ultimately, this liberating and upward spiral of positive change will transform into the view, intention, actions, and life of a Bodhisattva — what is known as the Bodhisattva’s way of life — until one day we definitely realize our highest potential of enlightenment.

For more on this subject, check this out.

Many medical studies now show how effective meditation is in combating both stress and sickness, including one by Dr. David Eisenberg and his colleagues at the Harvard Medical School that lists an increasing number of medical benefits from the practice of meditation:

Our mind and body are closely connected. This mind-body connection is not so mysterious, we instinctively understand it. Why else would we say things like, “I worried myself sick,” or, “My head’s about to explode.” According to Dr. William Collinge, the WebMD on CNN.com, there is mounting medical evidence to support the role of mind/body medicine in promoting health:

At the heart of mind/body medicine lies the age-old practice of meditation, a quiet, simple technique that belies an almost extraordinary power to boost disease resistance and maintain overall health.

One major reason I think we feel discouraged when it comes to thinking about changing our mind is because we perceive ourselves as being fixed, as being someone who can’t really change, or not that much anyway. Easier to switch on the TV or go to bed.

When we think of ourselves we actually have a mind of ignorance. This delusion currently accompanies all our perceptions, including our self-perception. This ignorance believes us to exist in the way in which we appear. And right now we appear to have a whole selection of negative qualities. We may appear to ourselves to be a depressed person. Or an anxious person. A fearful person. An angry person. A loser. A victim. An unloveable person. An ordinary person. And so on. That is how we appear to ourselves, and our mind of ignorance basically assents to that appearance. It believes it’s the truth. This is the truth — I am this! I am angry, I am faulty, I am anxious, I am incompetent, I am no good … We are holding ourselves in this fixed way and thinking it’s the truth.

So then we try to practice meditation and Buddhism on top of that … ?! For example, we hear or read something that inspires us and it’s like a breath of fresh air, “Oooh that feels so good, I CAN change!” But then we walk back out on the street or into work, and we take a look at ourselves, and we are looking at somebody who can’t change. On the one hand we get it, “I can change!”, but on a deeper level there is an inner perception, “I’m fixed in this way, I can’t change.” We are actually grasping at ourselves as someone who can’t change.

So guess what happens if we don’t address that? We don’t change. We can’t change because we are holding ourselves as being fixed. That is our real meditation, what we are really familiarizing ourselves with — we might spend 5 minutes developing the aspiration to change as in the meditation above, and the remaining 23 hours and 55 minutes familiarizing ourselves with being a depressed loser, holding onto ourselves as being a FIXED person with nothing to offer. “You probably don’t even want this unloveable person loving you, right?”

If we are trying to change based on this strong self-grasping ignorance, this self-fixing mind, it is no wonder that we fail, and it is no wonder that we get discouraged. Then it can get even weirder because, in a strange sort of way, it becomes comforting to us that we can’t change. Simply because we think it’s the truth, I am a loser, I am a fixed person, an anxious person, etc — that’s who I am! It’s not a happy place but it feels like a secure place, it’s what we know, it’s where we feel comfortable. Then the idea of changing is unsettling because at least I know this. It’s like asking the person clinging onto the side of the burning building to jump into the net far below — they don’t want to, better the devil you know.

So self-sabotage kicks in. Consciously, we set out to change — subconsciously we undermine ourselves because we don’t want to change. In fact, we are setting out to provewe can’t change. Like the example of someone who is always late given in this article on discouragement, or, another common example, someone who is trying to lose weight but they just keep snacking … And there is a comfort in that moment as we open the fridge door, isn’t there?! It’s like ‘You see, I can’t do it … I can’t do it … so then I don’t have to!!!’

Even though it is going directly against the fulfillment of our wishes, there is a strange relief there because it is affirming our limited view of self. “I’m stuck. I don’t like it here… but that’s the way it is.”

So, first thing to do is identify this problem. Then we can overcome it.

Step one in transforming our mind — gaining power over our lives and destinies — is to start by focusing on the breath. One reason for this is that we are all breathing, whereas we’re not all necessarily experiencing universal love or an insight into the ultimate nature of reality. So the breath is the easiest object to find and serves the purpose of allowing us to gain some control over where we put our thoughts. Thmeditation and realityis way, they can no longer suck us down like quicksand.

Trust clarity

It’s worth noting too that a still body of water reflects everything very accurately — the trees and the birds for example – we can trust those reflections. But when water is churned up, everything is distorted and reflections become deceptive. Similarly, when the mind is quiet and settled, relatively free from strong delusions and distractions, it is not only naturally peaceful but naturally still and clear, and as a result it reflects reality far more accurately. This is unlike our delusions, which arise from inappropriate attention and distort and exaggerate like a storm ruffling a lake. With anger, for example, we effectively don’t know what is going on. Our delusions are never reliable — on the contrary, their job is to deceive us. That’s one reason why I like this Kadampa motto:

Always rely upon a happy mind alone.

Meditation is therefore not an escape from reality — it puts us far more in touch with the truth of what is going on inside, and by extension outside, in our lives.

Plenty more where that came from

So as soon as our mind quietens down and we get a mini-vacation from our delusions and distractions, we feel some peace within. It is really important to recognize that this peace is the seed of lasting happiness and freedom, that there is plenty more where that came from; and to identify with the sense of potentially boundless serenity inside, like an open endless sky, more than with the passing clouds.

IMG_6770I was watching the sky yesterday, on a sunny-cloudy Denver day in Cheesman Park, and the dramatic clouds were making the sky even more beautiful in a way because I was feeling the space of the sky, the clarity that IS the sky. It is all pervasive, it is not in any conflict with the clouds, clouds have room to be, they come and go. They come from the clear light like all other cloud-like thoughts — the only difference is that they arise in dependence upon unrealistic or inappropriate attention and so their suggestions are not to be trusted. Stop identifying with them and the pain associated with them also goes, and we are no longer stuck. And then we realize we can transform them — for example, the pain of grief or disappointment can remind us of everyone’s pain, and become the object of our vast blissful compassion, metamorphosized.

For the longer article, click here. 

Kadam Lucy, the Resident Teacher of Kadampa Meditation Center Colorado in Denver, explains the practice of patience and how it enables us to live in the present moment. This in turn allows us to experience deeper inner peace and access more subtle levels of mind.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what meditation is all about and how it’s possible to do it, especially in a very busy life, or if you want to answer other people’s questions about meditation in a really relatable way …
… here is a must-listen podcast. (It’s also available on YouTube and Apple). 

Whether you meditate already or not, I think you’re going to find Kadam Adam Starr’s conversation with Garry both encouraging and interesting, not to mention practical. And very entertaining.

No time? Well, I listened out on a walk, and my walk was very enjoyable as a result. Or listen on your work commute. And you’ll discover that it is going to SAVE you a lot of time. And stress. And sanity. Etc. 

Mindfulness is about the present moment, being in touch with it, not forgetting it. Presence of mind. All of Buddha’s teachings, or Dharma, help us stay in touch with the present moment. For example, with love we focus on people who are here and now, wishing them to be happy, even if they are in another country, or even deceased (they are still somewhere). With patience we wholeheartedly accept what is happening in the here and now without thinking it should be otherwise. With wisdom we appreciate the moment by moment unfurling of mere appearance, which is arising, due to karma, like waves from our root mind.

Be here now, or we are quite capable of missing out on our entire life. As John Lennon put it:

Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.

Where else can we be other than here? What time can we be other than now?

Breathing meditation

One of the easiest ways to get in touch with the present moment, especially for beginners, is basic breathing meditation.

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the founder of KMC Colorado, was a completely accomplished meditator who has spent much of his life in Tibet, India and the West in meditation retreat. He used his combined understanding of meditation and the exigencies of modern life to teach thousands of distracted Westerners everything they need to know to be successful at meditation themselves. These instructions are taken from his book How to Transform Your Life, which is available for free download!

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practicing a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.

We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.

Happy meditating!

Hello everyone,

How can I get you excited about our August retreat in the Rocky Mountains?! Because I know it’s going to be incredibly good fun and meaningful to boot, but some of you have never done retreat with us and may not understand why. So,just to throw out some benefits:

1. Experience more peace of mind – go on a real break
2. Immerse yourself in nature in stunning surroundings
3. Enjoy the combination of genuine relaxation and spiritual growth
4. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones
5. Everyone is happier on meditation retreat!

Who can attend? Although some of the meditations will get quite profound, this retreat will have something for all levels of interest and experience, and you can attend at your own pace and capacity.

By late August, we will all no doubt be eagerly anticipating a welcome respite from the heat of the plains! Venerable Geshe Kelsang calls Festivals and retreats “meaningful vacations”. Some vacations promise much, but deliver little. Not this one!
In a retreat, we have a chance to go deeper, to really be able to let go of our usual busyness, preoccupations, and worries, experiencing a spacious and life-enhancing perspective. We can take our spiritual practice up a notch. Even with poor concentration, we are generally more peaceful, relaxed, and happy on retreat than in our ordinary fast-paced, externalized lives.

I have done several years of solitary meditation retreat, and love guiding retreats like this, helping people become good meditators. So I’m looking forward to it and really hope you will join me.

THE TOPIC ~ The Union of Sutra and Tantra

All Buddha Shakyamuni's 84,000 teachings are included in Sutra and Tantra.Kadampa Buddhism, or modern Buddhism, emphasizes the union of Sutra and Tantra, which provides us with a holistic, complete, and quick path to enlightenment.

I am basing this 4-day retreat on the teachings of the Summer Festival at
Manjushri KMC. The exact content is therefore to be determined, but I do know I will be teaching and guiding sessions on the really essential practice of Lamrim, the stages of the path to enlightenment (the bread and butter of a Buddhist meditation practice), and how to start integrating this into a simple Tantric practice.

Buddha’s Sutra teachings on the wish for lasting mental peace and freedom (renunciation), the good heart of compassion and bodhichitta, and the wisdom realizing the way things are (emptiness) are the foundation of Tantra, giving us the motivation and the wisdom needed to practice it. Buddha’s Tantric teachings give our spiritual practice vision, bringing our Sutra insights alive. Sutra and Tantra are mutually supportive, and both accelerate and perfect each other.

If you have any questions, please hit reply to this email or catch me at a class. Otherwise, you can just go ahead and register! Try to get your deposit down before the July 1st early bird discount.

With love,
Kadam Lucy

Building a Bodhisattva Community 
A letter from Kadam Lucy

Dear friends and supporters of KMC Colorado,

If any of you have passed by our building lately, you will have noticed that most of it has gone! It has been knocked down by complete strangers with sledgehammers!

This could be a major shock if we didn’t know that the builders were going to stick around long enough to build it back up again! But just as we have to dismantle the delusions in our mind, such as aversion and greed, to build the beautiful minds of liberation and enlightenment, so we have to dismantle this property to make space for a spectacular urban temple for world peace. And spectacular it will be. I am including here a picture of the recent opening of the temple in Mexico just to give you a bit of an idea – ours will not be quite as large as this, but it will be every bit as beautiful and full of people.

Which brings me to the main point of this letter – why are we spending so much time, effort, and money on this project? For people. So that we can build a community of kind-hearted, peaceful Bodhisattvas – people who want to free not just themselves but all living beings from suffering and its causes by realizing their indestructible potential for enlightenment.
While we wait for construction to be completed, rooting for our fearless leader Kate as she oversees this multimillion dollar project, and our other managers who are also working on hyperdrive, we are “popping up” all over town. Our branches are also doing really well so far, bringing meditation classes to more and more people where they are at. These branches are like the spokes and our main Center is like the hub – together they keep the wheel of Dharma, or Buddhism, turning throughout Colorado.

As Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says:

“Our intention in teaching Dharma is not just to spread Buddhism. We are trying to help the people of this world by giving them special methods to solve their daily problems and to achieve the permanent happiness of liberation. In itself, the flourishing of Buddhadharma is not important unless it benefits others. This is the main purpose of Buddhism.”

Our aim is to bring authentic inner peace into the hearts of everyone in our communities so that they too can spread it amongst their families and friends. Everyone has an indestructible potential for joy and freedom, and with our classes and other activities our sole intention is to help people realize this. This is real Bodhisattva activity; and I am so glad that you are all a part of this. Thank you.

Join us for a very meaningful day
To help us fulfill this vision and keep growing our Bodhisattva credentials, I am teaching a day course on the Bodhisattva’s way of life on Saturday April 29th. This will take place in the gorgeous Evergreen, and consist of three teachings and meditations on how to become a Bodhisattva and practice in our daily lives the six perfections of giving, moral discipline, patience, joyful effort, concentration, and wisdom. We’ll have a welcome chance to discuss and hang out in a relaxing location, and lunch and refreshments are also provided. I really hope you will join us!!! Click the image for information.

Do let me know if I can help you with anything – you can reach me at rt@meditationincolorado.org.

Lots of love and prayers,
Kadam Lucy
Learn More & Register

A Rocky Mountain Retreat Adventure Awaits You
A letter from Kadam Lucy

Dear students and friends of KMC Colorado,

By now you’ve probably heard that we’re doing a meditation retreat in the mountains – the first one in a few years, but following in the long and noble tradition of popular retreats held by KMC Colorado. We found a new facility that we really like the look of, near Decker; and the retreat takes place over the New Year, thus doubling up as a fantastic alternate NYE celebration! (Includes roasting marshmallows by the fire …)

We are putting this retreat on for YOU! So I wanted to say a bit about it in case you can come.

First of all, the teachings and guided meditations will allow us to discover a lot of peace and happiness, love and wisdom. There is a Kadampa tradition of doing retreats in January, and I have done them every year for 40 years. In a retreat, we have a chance to go deeper, really able to let go of our usual busyness, preoccupations, and worries, experiencing a realistic, spacious, and life-enhancing perspective that will continue to benefit us and others in 2023. We can take our spiritual practice up a notch. Retreats are the best possible way to start the New Year, and my hands down favorite times.
I hear a lot of people complaining that life is too busy – and ordinarily it can feel that way; but a lot of that feeling of busyness comes not from all that we have to get done but from not having sufficient mindfulness and mental peace. These qualities, which improve on retreat, give us all the time, space, and freedom from surplus worrying thoughts we need to do what needs to be done. Even with poor concentration, we are generally more peaceful, relaxed, and happy on retreat than in our ordinary fast-paced, externalized lives.

Secondly, this spiritual vacation will also be a great time to make and strengthen friendships with some very cool people. Our Sangha community is supportive and there for us through the ups and downs of our lives – we are very lucky to have it!

Talking of which, we are inviting families and will have some events for the kids, as well as a video link room.

Thirdly, the location is beautiful and there’ll be time for strolls and hikes and just soaking up the mountains. The facility is in the so-called “Banana Belt”, experiencing a lot of sunshine and blue skies. But bring your warm coats and hiking boots as well because this is Colorado. Accommodation is not fancy, but it is comfortable and warm; and the (vegetarian) meals will be delicious.

This is not a five-star hotel, which is just as well as it means we can keep it as affordable as possible. If you’d like to come but need some financial concessions to do so, please reach out to her at, Kate: ad@meditationincolorado.org.

Feel free to bring The New Eight Steps to Happiness, if you have it (paper or electronic), and you can also get one in the bookstore at the retreat. If you have any questions, please hit reply to this email. Otherwise, you can just go ahead and register below! Try to get your deposit down before December 7th to get the $75 early bird discount.

To find out a bit more about retreats, check out this article: Doing meditation retreat.

Thank you for reading this. I am so much looking forward to spending this quality time with you!!!

With love and prayers,
Kadam Lucy
Learn More & Register

A World of Loving Kindness
A letter from Kadam Lucy

Dear students and friends of KMC Colorado,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying classes back at the Center. Personally, I love being back with all of you in person. This Saturday (and Sunday) is a very big weekend for us – Buddha Maitreya empowerment, teachings, and practice -- so I wanted to say something about this and invite you to partake!

Buddha Maitreya is the Buddha of loving-kindness, meaning that by connecting with him we can quickly improve our own innate potential for loving kindness.
REGISTER FOR EMPOWERMENT

In general, the only real or lasting solution to our human problems is a spiritual one – if we purify and transform our minds, we purify and transform our world. In Dharma we learn to identify the real enemy of living beings – which is the delusions of hatred, greed, confusion, fear, selfishness, and so on, not each other. The best way to be happy is to develop love. And the weekend is all about love.
Every day should be about love! Love makes the world go around. Love destroys the insanity of an uncaring world. Love is a universal truth. When it comes down to it, everyone is seeking to love. Everyone needs love.

As Shantideva says:
“All the suffering in the world comes from wishing just ourselves to be happy
And all the happiness in the world comes from wishing others to be happy.”

If we learn to love others, we can achieve our life’s purpose. By relying on the blessings and Tantric practice of Buddha Maitreya, we can quickly attain the state of enlightenment ourselves, meaning that we will be able to work effortlessly and joyfully for others’ benefit day and night, even emanating countless forms.

When we practice Tantra, we see clearly how such a thing is not some fantasy, but entirely possible. Understanding the creative power of our mind and the true nature of reality, we are able to look beyond the ordinary to our own and others’ extraordinary potential and future.

Tantra gives our spiritual practice vision and brings our Sutra meditations alive. We see what it is going to be like to be free from suffering, enjoy everything with a blissful mind, and have the ability to help all living beings continually. In these degenerate times, Tantra is a vital practice for enabling us to fulfil our potential to overcome our delusions and develop pure and peaceful states of mind.

This weekend will give us a lot of inspiration and energy. It will also be a lot of fun to hang out with the Sangha!

Cannot wait to see you there!

With love and prayers,
Kadam Lucy

© 2024 KMC Colorado is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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