FALL 2006 'RAISING THE ROOFS' RUN
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has announced that he will be running the Chicago
Marathon on October 22, 2006 as a benefit for the shedra (school) at Surmang,
Tibet. The goal is to provide $50,000 to "raise the roofs," that
is, to get the roofs completed on the shedra buildings, including the lhakang,
which contains the main shrine room and classrooms. Surmang monastery is
the home monastery of the renowned Trungpa lineage of Buddhist meditation
masters. The shedra project is the largest rebuilding effort at Surmang
since the monastery's destruction in 1959.
August 2006 ~ Front entry to the lhakang
(shrine room and classrooms)
The Surmang shedra will be open to both monastics and lay people, men and
women, adults and children. Both scholastic and dharma teachings
will be offered. There are no schools at present in the remote Surmang
valley, where the illiteracy rate is more than 90%.
Khenpo Tsering Gyurme, on-site manager of the shedra project,
says that, if this funding is provided, and weather permitting,
the roof work, which will cap the major structural elements of
the shedra buildings, can be completed this fall. That would
permit the focus to shift next year to finishing work and preparing
for the start up of educational programs. This is the third
year of construction on the shedra, which is a collaborative effort
between the Tibetan community at Surmang and the international
Shambhala sangha. The Konchok Foundation, whose President
is Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, is serving as the collection point
for donations to Surmang.
Please give generously to support the Sakyong
in his run for the Surmang Shedra
Please consider giving $1, $5 or $10 for each of the 26 miles
of the Marathon. For all donations over $100, we still have remaining
packets of special Surmang Dutsi, prepared by the Surmang Monks
last winter as well as the protection cords prepared by the 12th
Trungpa Rinpoche. We also have brocade wrapped relics from the
wall of the ruins of the Castle of Adro Shelumbum (Surmang living
quarters of the 11th Trungpa Rinpoche)
The Sakyong has agreed to
do a special calligraphy in honor of his running the Marathon
for the Surmang Shedra. We will hold an online auction for this
calligraphy on our website after the Marathon, and we also plan
to make high quality copies of it and provide them to all donors
of $10.00 a mile or $260.00.
You can donate
online. This page also contains information for
Americans and Canadians on how donate by check.
We also have lovely art, Dharma Art, and "teacher photos" abvailable
at our online donation
To get a copy of a free 20 minute DVD about the Surmang shedra,
please contact Ginny Lipson
September 2006 ~ complex Surmang
lhakang concrete forms
You might enjoy reading these excerpts from comments about Surmang made by
members of the Mukpo family at a Konchok reception in Halifax in June.
Lady Diana Mukpo. I, for one, when I went to Surmang
Dutsi Til, was so impressed by the cheerfulness of the people, who in spite
of having so little, had such inherent spirituality. In their faces,
I could see Trungpa Rinpoche's smile.
We have had Trungpa Rinpoche and they had nothing, yet they've still been
able to maintain their spirituality, without any material resources to speak
of at all. Without physical resources, amidst tremendous political hardship...I
see the completion of the shedra project as a huge expansion of the Shambhala
Kingdom. Not only are they receiving benefit from us, but we can have
some sort of cross-benefit.
We can go and take teachings from them, in the long run, and they're going
to be able to more freely access here. I see it [as] not even that different
[from] building SMC or Karmê-Chöling. I see it as a complete
expansion of our world, and in fact, further expanding to our Tibetan family
the richness of our world.
I hope that all of you will consider coming when it opens. Because
it was somewhat [a] physical hardship, but on the other hand, the kindness,
the generosity, the open-heartedness of the people, was [a] magical experience
that was extremely powerful. I hope you can all share in that.
Gesar Mukpo. There is no doubt that the benefit of
rebuilding a shedra will affect the entire community of Surmang, not just the
monastery. It'll affect the local villages through work, through education,
and just making the community vibrant again....[In] 1980, there was absolutely
nothing there. So it's come a long way.
...We're very fortunate to have Karma Senge Rinpoche with us. I was
struck when I first met him in Tibet, that what he was saying reminded me a
lot of things that I've heard before from my father. I said something about
that to Dr. Levy [and] he said, "Well, you know, it is the same tradition." It
took a little while for me to realize, but what's going on there is exactly
what's going on here. I would hope that, if we were in the same situation,
they would offer us any support that they could. What we're doing is,
we're helping our community, we're not helping some distant remote poor people. We're
encouraging the growth of our community....If you can help, do. But
please do it out of developing a connection with the lineage.
Ashoka Mukpo. Our world here would not exist, quite
obviously, if it wasn't for the blessings that we received from Surmang monastery,
which is where the Vidyadhara learned and where the Vidyadhara was taught....
...We [are] making an investment in the buddhadharma and in our world...The
teachings that are going to come out of Surmang with this renewed shedra could
be of great benefit to all sentient beings, and certainly of great benefit
to our sangha.
David Mukpo. ... There [are] a lot of things that
we can say about Surmang, like the fact that 95% of the people don't get an
education. Or the fact that we should start giving back to Trungpa Rinpoche's
...The only way for that to actually happen is if we start doing it. I
feel like we can get easily caught in talking about it, and not doing it, and
this is a perfect opportunity for us to not just give back to Trungpa Rinpoche's
vision, but give back to a community that's full of the most cheerful and wonderful
people you'll ever meet, that share the same path as us, and the same vision.
July 2006 ~ L-R: Khenpo
Tsering, Trungpa Rinpoche, Aten Rinpoche
Trungpa XII Rinpoche is presently spending time with his
family in Derge and is expected to soon return to his studies at Surmang Namgyaltse. He
is now 17. Konchok Foundation is contributing financially to his support.