November 7: Lama Zopa Rinpoche asked that I try to set up a center in Mongolia as a legal entity. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has given the name for the Dharma teaching dimension of the center as Ganden Do-ngag Shedrup Ling.
Ven. George Churinoff and I stay in one apartment where Rinpoche stayed before; it is rented for the center. When Ven. Thubten Gyatso and Deborah Bloomer, the new director, arrive at the end of this month they will also stay here.
The weather got really cold for a few days, went down to minus 24 degrees Celsius. Since then it snowed and then it has warmed up again. Now it is usually a couple of degrees above freezing during the day and 5 or 10 degrees below during the night. It is often quite sunny. When it gets down to 15 degrees below it is a new experience, but most of the buildings are warm inside.
I thought that it would be really difficult to be vegetarian here. In fact there is a good selection of food: you can even have English breakfast at Churchill’s in the morning and pizza delivered for lunch! But actually George does all the cooking and I am gaining weight. The sour cream is amazing.
Ven. George teaches regularly, one class three times a week for a group of 60 to 80 lay Mongolians. They enjoy his teachings immensely. The classes last three to four hours and are held in Bakula Rinpoche’s monastery. Batbold Baas is the translator, a devoted Dharma student and an excellent translator with lots of upbeat energy, who is appreciated by all.
The next class that Ven. George leads is for a group of 25 of the young monks at Bakula Rinpoche’s monastery. This class is also attended by their regular lay teacher who takes copious notes and really appreciates the classes. Then there is a meditation class for a small growing group of non-Mongolians, mainly made up of VSO staff (the British equivalent of the US Peace Corps).
There will be many activities happening at the new center and all are to be run under the umbrella entity of FPMT-Mongolia center. On November 6, complicated negotiations were finally concluded. Ven. George and I came back to a celebration of hot chocolate and the TV result that the Queen has not been thrown out by the Aussies. We missed the final of the rugby!
The work on the building is going full force. Creating a center in Mongolia feels like a very timely and powerful mission: the deep latent connection with Lama Tsongkhapa, suppressed for so long, is now allowed to freely manifest.Tags: mongolia