Congratulations to the Winners of Emotional Rescue Scholarships

SEATTLE_ER Event_NW Blog FEATURED IMAGECongratulations to the winners of two scholarships who will receive this weekend’s Emotional Rescue training with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at Nalanda West.

Nalanda West is pleased to have been able to donate these two Emotional Rescue scholarships through Compassionate Action Network (CAN), who selected Clara Koch and Lara Gandara-Flynn to receive the program scholarships.

As part of the selection process, applicants shared what they planned to do with information learned in the Emotional Rescue training.

A Teacher Faces Difficult Emotions

One of the scholarship recipients is Lara Gandara-Flynn, a 25-year veteran teacher in the Everett community. Ms. Gandara-Flynn recently lost a young student in a gang-related incident. She said that she often struggles to remain compassionate with students when their anger at extreme poverty and gang violence spills into their lives at school and sometimes even ends up aimed at her. She looks forward to learning the Emotional Rescue 3-step Plan to help herself and her students navigate this challenging emotional landscape.

We have appreciated working together with Compassionate Action Network to help offer a positive way forward for the two deserving recipients of these Emotional Rescue scholarships. A few tickets are still available for this weekend’s program with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Register here.

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Emotions: What makes them workable?

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche talks about the power of emotions.

On April 30, OmTimes Magazine posted an interview with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, renowned Buddhist teacher and author of “Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You.” 

The interviewer asked Dzogchen Ponlop, “What is it about our emotions that makes them workable? They seem to be at the very center of our suffering. How can the energy of emotions empower you?

Rinpoche responded with a concise and clear explanation of emotions. He began by saying, “At heart, your emotional energies are a limitless source of creative power and intelligence that’s “on” all the time—like the electrical current we put to so many uses.” Enjoy the complete interview here.

Book Tour: Emotional Rescue with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

The 2016 North American Tour for the book launch of “Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You” will conclude in Seattle, where Dzogchen Ponlop will give a talk and weekend workshop based on the book at Nalanda West on May 20 – 23. To register, click here.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a widely celebrated Buddhist teacher known for his warmth and wit. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is founder and president of Nalandabodhi, an international network of Buddhist centers.

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Emotions: do we need to be rescued from them?

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche speaking on his “Emotional Rescue” book launch tour

On April 27, Conscious Talk Radio interviewed author and celebrated Buddhist teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche about his recently released book, “Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You.”  Program hosts Brenda Michaels and Rob Spears asked Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche why do we need rescuing from our emotions?

“We are usually overwhelmed and overpowered by our emotions when we are not paying attention,” Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche said. “The idea of rescue here is  connecting with our emotions to get to a safer zone.” He went on to say that emotions are widely misunderstood, even the positive ones. “So we get into painful situations in our life, but the basic nature (of emotions) is positive energy. There is so much creative energy there, and that basic energy can liberate us.”

Listen to the full interview with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche here.

Book Tour: Emotional Rescue with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

As part of the 2016 North American Tour for the book launch of “Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You,” Dzogchen Ponlop will give a talk and weekend workshop based on the book in New York City this weekend. Nalandabodhi New York and co-presenter The Interdependence Project will host the special program.

On Friday evening, May 6, Rinpoche will give a keynote talk. Ethan Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, will then interview Rinpoche, followed by a book signing. On Saturday and Sunday, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche will teach on the 3-step Emotional Rescue Plan for working with disturbing emotions. With his usual warmth and humor, he will  share the methods presented in his new book. Teachers from both The Interdependence Project and Nalandabodhi will lead experiential exercises throughout the workshop.

The event will be held at the Baryshnikov Performing Arts Center in New York City. Click here to register. On Monday May 9th, positive psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman joins Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche for a conversation at The Rubin Museum of Art on managing negative emotions as part of the Rubin’s “Brainwave” Series.  Click here to register.

Next stop on the tour: Nalanda West in Seattle on May 20 – 22. Click here to register.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a renowned Buddhist teacher known for his warmth and wit. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is founder and president of Nalandabodhi, an international network of Buddhist centers.

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Emotional Rescue Tour: Next stop New York City

Join Dzogchen Ponlop for a talk and workshop based on his new book, Emotional Rescue

Join Dzogchen Ponlop for a talk and workshop based on his new book, Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You.

On Friday, April 4, before a lively crowd at Temple University in Philadelphia, Dzogchen Ponlop kicked off the 2016 Emotional Rescue North American Tour for his newly released book, Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You.

The widely celebrated teacher and author of Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind recounted a personal story about the early, untimely death of his father and how it set off his own quest as a teenager to find a way to relieve the powerful feelings of grief and discontent. With the help of his teacher, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop learned how to work with racing emotions and thoughts. When he saw the “big role the emotions played in the drama of this life,” he began to delve deeper into his mind to understand all that he could about the energy of emotions.

Methods that make a difference

“I realized that whatever approach I took to deal with my emotions,” he writes in Emotional Rescue, “I needed ways that would work with my whole life – methods that would actually make a difference. I needed to be able to see myself clearly and to feel the emotions that touched me and colored my world every day.”

Rooted in his experience of the Buddhist path, which teaches that the key to understanding your emotions is to get to know your mind, Dzogchen Ponlop created the 3 Step Emotional Rescue Plan to help familiarize us with the inner workings of our emotions. Using the steps Mindful Gap, Clear Seeing, and Letting Go, we move from being victims to partners to creative collaborators with these profound energies. “When we bring awareness to our emotions, something truly amazing happens,” he writes. “They lose their power to make us miserable.”

ER_DPR_Halifax_intro Fri_True KindnessFollowing the inaugural Emotional Rescue Tour presentation in Philadelphia, Dzogchen Ponlop gave a talk and two-day workshop on how to use the three steps of Emotional Rescue delineated in his book in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Washington D.C. One workshop participant likened the event to the experience of eating a Snickers Bar. “You get a taste of realization at the talk, like the taste of a Snickers Bar,” she said. “And like a Snickers Bar, you’ll want more, which is what you get in the workshop.”

Next stop on the Emotional Rescue book tour is New York City on May 6 – 8.

Nalanda West is already buzzing as we prepare to welcome Rinpoche’s Emotional Rescue tour to Seattle May 20-22.

Register for the Nalanda West talk and the weekend workshop in Seattle here.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a renowned Buddhist teacher known for his warmth and wit. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is founder and president of Nalandabodhi, an international network of Buddhist centers.


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Stepping into Awareness

Awareness Enabled Life Positioning

The inaugural Awareness Enabled Life Positioning workshop auspiciously debuted on the weekend of the Vernal Equinox at Nalanda West. Alongside approximately thirty participants, I spent Saturday and Sunday exploring my life, values, strengths and aspirations. Led by Mark Power, we examined our situations, reflected on our gifts and our talents, determined strengths that would support our dreams, and took steps to manifest these changes.

“What is it that I really want from my life?”

The question feels almost too big to even ask. Many in the workshop shared that they were on the verge of big changes in their lives or had already begun a process of evolution. We approached the question by means of a series of written exercises interspersed with moments of pause and reflection. Sometimes a poem was read aloud, sometimes Mark guided us in a short meditation. This particular reading moved me deeply:

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

David Whyte (The House of Belonging)
excerpt from “What to Remember When Waking”

In one of the first activities, we reviewed our lives and made note of formative experiences, both good and bad. An outcome of this exercise for me was the realization that although some of the high point were notable achievements, they were not, in and of themselves, fulcrums. Rather, the inflection points for fundamental changes in my life happened often at times of great suffering, in the lowest of low times. We chose a few instances from our own timelines to share with the larger group and created a collective lifeline which highlighted a sense of resiliency and commonality.

Community LifeLine

Community LifeLine

Later, we examined the characteristics that give our lives value and the character traits that define us as human beings. Quantifying where we stand today in terms of these values, we then contrasted that with where we would like to be in relationship to our core values. The discrepancies found here gave us a peek into what areas of our lives might need attention and where we might consider making a change in order to achieve fuller congruency in our lives.

I am an artist and creativity is something that I highly value, something that defines me as a person. I have been concerned that where I am creatively is not where I would like to be and over the weekend was able to identify three strengths I could focus on to help re-align my life with my creative ideal. It was with great pleasure that I spent time elucidating these strengths, Commitment, Structure and Play, in collage form. Creating postures evincing those same strengths was a challenge, but learning to embody the strengths makes a lot of sense. I want these strengths to become part of my skeleton, to incorporate them so that I stand with them on a cellular level.

Commitment, Structure, Play

Commitment, Structure, Play

Many thanks to Mark Power for facilitating a potent weekend of reflection and change. I am grateful that I was able to step into spring with increased awareness and focus because of the Awareness Enabled Life Positioning workshop.

It’s time. It’s almost too late.

Did you see the magnolia light its pink fires?
You could be your own, unknown self.
No one is keeping it from you.

Elizabeth Austen
excerpt from This Morning

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Three key points of Buddhist path

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering and several participants enjoy lunch together at Nalanda West.

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering and several participants share a meal during a weekend teaching at Nalanda West.

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering will return to Nalanda West on March 11 and 12 to discuss three key points of the Buddhist path. Over the weekend, Acharya will teach from the great Tibetan master Tsongkhapa’s work, “Three Principal Aspects of the Path.” These essential points condense the entire range of the Buddhist teachings, making an easy-to-remember template for practitioners of any level.

On February 19 and 20, at Nalanda West, Archarya taught on the Progressive Stages of Meditation from the text of the Indian master Kamalashila. Using accessible metaphors, Acharya helped participants understand the classic teachings. For example: Imagine your ego as a king or queen, he said, surrounded by an entourage of all your disturbing emotions. One by one, each negative emotion is defeated, which leaves the ego without its guardians. Unprotected, the ego is then easy to defeat.

Acharya is known for his calm demeanor and warm humor. Please join us for a delightful and illuminating weekend on March 11 and 12. Click here to register

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering is a resident teacher at Nalanda West and a visiting teacher of Nalandabodhi centers in the northeastern United States and Mexico City. Originally from Bhutan, Acharya moved to Seattle in 2006.


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Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche welcomes Sogyal Rinpoche to NalandaWest

IMG_4440Sogyal Rinpoche

On a wet wintry Seattle evening, December 11, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche welcomed Sogyal Rinpoche to NalandaWest with a traditional tea and rice ceremony. The two Tibetan teachers lit up the room with their presence and warm humor, sharing stories about their connection through Dzogchen Monastery. Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” then gave a weekend of teachings on the natural freedom of mind.

Over 120 people attended the two-day talks on understanding the nature of mind and the wisdom of meditation. Two senior students introduced Sogyal Rinpoche, describing his background as a student of several Nyingma masters of the 20th century and as a master of the Dzogchen tradition. They said Sogyal Rinpoche, who is known for his spontaneous and lively teaching style, focuses on pith instructions from Dzogchen and the wisdom that transcends conceptual mind.

Sogyal Rinpoche began his talks by elucidating the idea of finding inner peace and contentment. He emphasized the importance of working with one’s ego mind to purify perceptions and ultimately to realize the true nature of mind. If you transform your ego mind, he said, then you transform your perceptions, and you will experience life differently. Mind is the root of everything, he said, our happiness and our suffering. If we fall prey to negative emotions, then our mind becomes our nightmare. On the other hand, if we overcome negative thinking, then our mind becomes our best friend.

The tools to tame the mind were listed as being mindful, present and aware, meditation, devotion and prayer, loving-kindness and compassion. His two senior students led the group in meditation, followed by a special session of meditation with Sogyal Rinpoche.

On day two, Sogyal Rinpoche read and discussed questions and comments he received from his audience. He then gave a teaching on Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Buddhism to Tibet, and emphasized the importance of staying aware of the present moment, not lost in past memories or speculations about the future.

“When we leave our mind in its natural state,” Sogyal Rinpoche said,  “and do not alter it with thinking or grasping, then we can experience profound peace.”

Join NalandaWest January 8,9 and 10 for a weekend teaching on the Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness with Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen. Lama Tenpa has been one of the main teachers at Nitartha Institute and is a professor of Buddhist studies and Tibetan language at Naropa University in Boulder.

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Rooted in compassion

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NalandaWest volunteers are deepening their roots of compassion by continuing to help prepare and serve Friday Feast, a restaurant-quality meal offered every Friday night to Seattle’s homeless youth at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. Answering the call to compassionate action made by the 17th Karmapa in his May visit to Seattle, the volunteers first worked on Friday Feast with Venerable Pannavati, who was teaching a weekend workshop at NalandaWest. The enthusiastic volunteers returned to ROOTS on Oct. 16. Once again, they found the evening to be lively, fun and insightful — an experience that filled their own hearts as they were helping others.

Putting into practice lessons learned through meditation and mindful activity, the volunteers peeled, chopped and stirred ingredients for vegetable beef curry, a green salad, corn mixed with avocados and tomatoes plus a fruit salad for dessert. Before the event, each volunteer was asked to reflect upon their motivations and expectations and were encouraged to find an aspiration for the evening’s activity. One volunteer, originally inspired by the actions of Venerable Pannavati, vowed to spend more time talking with the homeless youth at the shelter. Another intended to focus on the youth but found her attention drawn to the grace and compassion shown to the patrons by the ROOTS staff. Others recalled the words spoken by the Karmapa to Silas Follendorf, an advocate for homeless youth, during his public talk in May. Answering a question asked by Follendorf, His Holiness said:

“The work you are doing is very meaningful work that’s bringing direct benefit and really directly sparking an experience of happiness for these people.”

There will be another opportunity to volunteer at ROOTS Friday Feast in November. NalandaWest welcomes anyone who would like to participate. For more information, please send an email to or call 206-529-8258.

NalandaWest is located at 3902 Woodland Park Avenue North, Seattle 98103.


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Volunteers put compassion to work

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Venerable Pannavati, left, and Nalanda West volunteers worked at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter to help prepare a meal.

With mixing bowls, spoons and spatulas in hand, a group of volunteers from Nalanda West and Venerable Pannavati, who was teaching a workshop at the center, recently put their compassion to work helping prepare ‘Friday Feast,’ a restaurant-quality meal served every Friday night at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter.

Inspired by the call to compassionate action teachings given in Seattle earlier this year by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the volunteers worked side by side with experienced, dedicated staff members of ROOTS. The menu for the evening included a green salad, baked chicken, sweet potatoes and peach cobbler for dessert.

Friday Feast began in 1996, by former ROOTS Executive Director Sinan Demirel as a way to honor the memory of his mother, a woman dedicated to service and hospitality. Since its inception, Friday Feast has served over 100,000 meals to the homeless in Seattle. Real Change has called it, “The best of all soup kitchens.”

Nalanda West volunteers said the experience was both eye-opening and satisfying. One volunteer remarked, “It was a pleasure to work with so many helpful, open, diligent people. As the saying goes, ‘Many hands makes light work.’ It was a great way to spend a Friday night.” Her enthusiasm was echoed by other volunteers and garnered so much interest that Nalanda West is planning a follow-up volunteer event in October. Check our website for details.


Book Event at Nalanda WestAnd speaking of upcoming events in October! Be sure to join us for a special program with acclaimed local authors Dr. Charles Johnson and David Guterson and poet Samar Abulhassan. The topic for the workshop will focus on Buddhist practice in the Creative Arts. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 3 at Nalanda West.

During the daylong workshop, we’ll hear readings and contemplations by the authors on how Buddhist practice informs artistic work and how that work in turn informs practice. Participants will also have the chance for writing and Q&A.

For more details or to register go to our events page!





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Compassion in playful action: game on!


Over 1600 people filled the Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center for the Karmapa's teaching on compassion in action.

Over 1600 people — including a number of compassionate action organizations — filled Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall for the 17th Karmapa’s teaching on compassion in action.

During His Holiness the 17th Karmapa’s public teaching, “A Call to Compassionate Action,” hosted by Nalanda West last May and held at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall, compassionate action organizations sponsored Call to Action tables during the event. The nonprofits shared their missions of kindness and encouraged attendees to act on His Holiness’ clear and heartfelt message to put love into action right now.

One of the organizations, Compassion Games International, has been working to create a culture of compassion since 2012, and will hold its annual Compassion Games Coopetition: Survival of the Kindest next month from 9/11 to 9/21 in communities and cities — including Seattle — around the globe.

Following the Karmapa’s teaching on compassion, John Ramer of Compassion Games said, “The truth is we don’t need to learn compassion; we just need to remind ourselves that we are all connected and this illusion of being separate is destroying our planet, destroying our lives. I thought the Karmapa spoke to that beautifully. Empathy into action is the best way to describe compassion to me. You can feel what another person is feeling. Then we have to take it into action.”

The other compassionate action organizations present at the public event included: Bodhi SeedsNitartha InstituteSeeds of CompassionYouth CareRoots of Empathy and Love City Love.

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