Happy Year of the Dragon!

Nuns prepare tea during drubchen.

The Gebchak community wishes you a very happy Losar, the Tibetan New Year! May we welcome the Year of the Dragon with all its auspicious qualities.

The Gebchak nuns: The nuns are staying centered and engaged in their bodhisattva practices of inner transformation despite drastic changes in their surrounding Tibetan community. They are busy this winter with continual drubchens – ten-day prayer ceremonies that the nuns perform together. As the main temple no longer stands they are crowding into an older and smaller shrine hall for these drubchens, or carrying out the practices in their own retreat rooms. A few of the drubchens they perform are Amitayus (Long Life), Mahakala, Vajrakilaya and Guru Yoga. The nuns dedicate these for the welfare of all beings, keeping in mind all those they have a connection with.

Wangdrak Rinpoche in the Tibetan winter.

Gebchak Wangdrak Rinpoche: Wangdrak Rinpoche has just returned to Nangchen after a two-month stay in Singapore. Rinpoche led a shamatha meditation retreat at Poh Ern Shih temple over the 2012 New Year weekend, followed by ten evening teachings on dependent-arising and preliminary practices. Rinpoche was also present to celebrate Chinese New Year on January 23. These Dharma activities in Singapore were a delight for all and Rinpoche is very pleased with his students’ efforts in practice. Rinpoche has now returned to Nangchen, after a few days’ visit with students and friends in Shanghai.

Yushu orphans: The orphans are still living in tent colonies. The junior group of children (14-and-under) are living in two tents, one for the girls and one for the boys. The older children are living more independently in five different tents. All of them are healthy and busy with school and play. Several relatives and neighbors live with the children as custodians, so they are nestled in a community with plenty of attention to go around.

Nuns in the winterscape of Gebchak.

For a slideshow of the orphans during this winter, please go here.

A new school year began with the turn of Chinese new year. All children in Yushu are attending classes in makeshift buildings while a new school is under construction. When construction is finished, the government will decide if high school students are to be accommodated in Yushu or sent away to other schools. Four of our oldest orphans will be affected by this decision. In the meantime, their main hope is for the next summer to come and they are passing the cold winter days in anticipation!

Wangdrak Rinpoche is intent on building a permanent shelter for these children. The situation in Yushu has been uncertain since the earthquake of April 2010, but Rinpoche now feels positive that a building could be maintained. It would certainly provide a sense of security for these children and allow their custodians to take better care of them.

At the start of this Tibetan New Year (February 22), Wangdrak Rinpoche and all at Gebchak Gonpa wish you a very blessed and peaceful year of the Dragon! Tashi delek!

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