Last week’s featured “mystery temple” (see article) was the Buddhist Church of San Francisco, which is located on Pine Street near San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood. Instructions for responding to this week’s Temple Tour challenge are shown at the bottom of this column.
This week’s “mystery temple” is, as was the organization featured in this Examiner’s third temple tour challenge, another East Bay Buddhist Center. Its members also come from the same Buddhist tradition.
Established in 1978 by The Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism, this “mystery temple” became a permanent Bay Area fixture when its leaders purchased a beautiful building in Alameda, California. (Click on individual photo and slideshow links to see full photographs.)
Rinpoche had come to America in 1972, at the request of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to teach others the principles and practices of Vajrayana Buddhism. Born near the Tibetan border in China’s Sichuan Province, he was recognized in 1932 as a tulku (a consciously reincarnated spiritual being) when he was only seven years old.
Reinstated as the Dhomang Monastery’s Tulku at a crucial period in Tibetan Buddhism’s storied history, Rinpoche was able to study with many of Tibet’s most respected Lamas before being forced to flee to India in 1959 when the Chinese government invaded his homeland. (A brief overview of the invasion is presented on the Dalai Lama’s web site.)
After relocating to the U.S., Gyatrul Rinpoche was appointed in 1976 by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987) to be his spiritual representative and Director of the Pacific Region Yeshe Nyingpo. (This appointment was yet another great honor for this esteemed Rinpoche. His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche was one of the greatest Buddhist scholars, poets, and masters of meditation of the 20th century, and was the much revered former Supreme Head of the Nyingma Tradition of Tibet Buddhism.) Gyatrul Rinpoche has, since that 1976 appointment, founded several Buddhist centers along the West Coast of the United States.
In Alameda, thanks to the guidance of Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche, those who visit the “mystery temple” being profiled this week will find an active schedule of meditation practices and other programs, including:
- Evening Sitting Meditation (practice and instruction on Natural Liberation presented by the long-time student of Gyatrul Rinpoche, Les Collins; open to all every other Wednesday from 7:00-9:00 p.m.);
- Evening Vajrasattva Practice (a new sadhana practice of Vajrasattva from Kunzang Nyima, which has a special connection to Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche and helps to ensure good heath and long life by purifying one’s mind of defilements and repairing one’s samayas; open to all each week on Thursdays from 7:00-9:00 p.m.); and
- Guru Rinpoche Days and Dakini Days (gatherings by the sangha on the 10th and 25th days of the Lunar calendar to renew their individual samaya commitments through meditations associated with the Dudjom Tersar tradition on Guru Rinpoche and the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal).
Each of these programs is designed to fortify those who participate with the wisdom, inner strength, and patience necessary to make our world a kinder and more compassionate one.
Have you figured out the name of this week’s “mystery temple,” yet? Send in your hunch to the Bay Area Spirituality Examiner by following the instructions below.
Readers are invited to submit their guesses about the name of this week’s featured temple, along with any personal memories of the “mystery temple” via the comments section below the article.
Next Week: The name of the eleventh “mystery temple” will be revealed, along with a new mystery temple profile.