Tashi Gatsel Ling Donates 120 Trees to Maine Youth Leadership

Sunday, June 5th, 2022 – Tashi Gatsel Ling Board Member, Tom Cannon was asked to speak to the Maine Youth Leadership Project and distribute 120 evergreen saplings on behalf of TGL with the support of Dakini Rising. This enabled the approximately 60 Maine high school sophomore students to learn about the importance of helping our environment breathe with the help of trees and how to plant and care for the trees after they took the saplings home. 

Following the presentation, students were asked to go outside the building and select a tree or two to bring home with them. They were encouraged to share their story with us when they were able to put the tree into the ground and each student was provided with suggestions on how to involve the community in their tree planting event.

Students were very enthusiastic and excited to be involved in this project, and it was such a pleasure to watch these future leaders walk away with one or two trees of their own to plant and nourish. Overall it was a great success and we are hoping we can replicate this in future years.

3 Day Meditation Retreat for 10 Bates College Students from their Dharma Society Meditation Club

Written by Isabel O’Connell, the Bates Student October 2022

When I went to commons right before closing on Friday night with Abbey Ende ‘23, Barry Kilmister ‘24 and Whitney Miller ‘26, Abbey turned to us and asked, “How are you guys going to explain what we just experienced?” I didn’t have an answer at the time, but I’m going to try now.

I spent three days in the woods with the Buddhist nun Tenzin Dasel ‘88. I’d mentioned this plan the week before I left campus to friends, who frowned in concern about the parallels between this concept and many horror movie premises. I drove my own car to Shortridge for the dual reasons of helping Barry bring our food and being able to leave if it was terrible. But it was not terrible. Honestly, this trip may have changed my life.

I had never meditated in my life. I’d always been the sort of person who did things very quickly or not at all, and who had a medically concerning high resting heart rate. But when I was having dinner with Maggie McCulloch ‘23, Joel Hallkaj ‘24 and Barry, I mentioned that I didn’t know what to do for break, and Maggie said, “just come on the meditation retreat with us.” I decided at the very least it would make for an interesting story.

I had no idea what I was in for. While I drove Bora Legunda ‘25, she read the itinerary out to me. My initial concern was over the 6:15 a.m. wake up to go to the beach to watch the sunrise. I’ve never been a morning person, but as it turns out, a nun standing in your doorway in the early morning really will get you out of bed.

We weren’t allowed to have our phones, so we spent our free time reading and talking and cooking. I woke up the last morning to laughter and I came downstairs to everyone sitting around in the living room. We all got so close so immediately, which weirdly reminded me of the Netflix reality TV show Too Hot To Handle, in which the cast gets so close so quickly. I remember thinking that seemed scripted but now I understand how quickly people can be pushed together in an isolated environment like that.

When Tenzin told us we were supposed to have a silent day, where we communicate only with our eyes and hand gestures, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had come on this trip to hang out with my friends, so I wasn’t super thrilled about not being able to talk for a third of it. But I weirdly loved it.

Anyone will tell you, I talk a lot. I spent my whole childhood monologuing; my little brother was rumored to not have spoken a word for the first few years of his life because he just couldn’t get a word in. But I found I was able to communicate just as much, if not more, without words. We held hands and smiled and were able to somehow have full conversations with our eyes. It felt as though we were living in a peaceful silent film.

Barry and I found pieces of wood shaped like rocks and skipped them in the ocean. Joel and Maggie and I watched the stars and I had never seen a sky that open. I wrote twelve pages in my journal in the sand. I thought about how much we speak just to fill the silence. Things would come up throughout the day that I felt like I needed to communicate, until I sat and thought and realized that so many of the things we say aren’t as pressing as we think they are. I kept thinking about how much love can be communicated with physical touch and facial expressions, and how the concepts that can only be communicated with words tend to only complicate things.

Don’t get me wrong, I will not be becoming a Buddhist nun. Tenzin, too, said she never thought she’d end up as a nun when she was at Bates (she literally played lacrosse with my mom at Bates!). But I have been meditating every day since I’ve been back on campus, and I feel like I don’t need to handle everything all at once in the same way I used to. Not everything is as pressing as we think it is, and I’ve been trying to take more time for myself. I visited my neighbor/friend Amelia Killackey ‘25 last night and she observed, “Your voice even sounds calmer.”

Everyone should come out to meditation club. Meditating works. I hate that my dad who’s been telling me to meditate for years was right about that.

New Year 2022 with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

The TGL community welcomed the New year 2022 with a great conversation with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. Jetsunma very kindly addressed questions pertaining to mind training meditation practices of Lojong and Tonglen.

You can listen in here: New Year with Jetsunma

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a bhikṣuṇī and leading master in the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. She is an author, teacher, and founder of the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh, India. 

Help TGLBC Bring Geshe Mas to Maine

Tashi Gatsel Ling Buddhist Center of Maine is delighted to be the first Dharma center in the United States to invite two Geshe Mas in January 2022 for a month long visiting teachers role. The Geshe degree was traditionally only awarded to males, but under the guidance of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, the first class of Tibetan and Himalayan females graduated with this degree after 20 years of study. Comparable to a PhD in the west, they hold Doctor of Buddhist Philosophy as well as high tantric studies. Please read more about this at Lions Roar  and see more photos here. 

Please join us in making this “Female First” a memorable event and amazing start to 2022. We are raising $5,000 to cover the airfare and their expenses while here and greatly appreciate your support. Your generous act of Dana will help authentic Vajrayana Buddhism continue to take seed in the west through ordained female sangha teachers guiding the way. Thank you for your kindness and support.

Lhabab Duchen

Join us for a Lhabab Duchen celebration on October  27, 6:30 – 8:00PM EST!

Lhabab Duchen is Buddha’s Descent Day. The 22nd of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar is the day when Shakyamuni Buddha returned to the world from the God Realm of Thirty-Three after sharing the Dharma with the gods and his mother.  This is one of the four great holy days of the Tibetan calendar and is a Buddha Multiplying Day when karmic actions are one hundred million times stronger.

This day is considered to be very auspicious for practice. To celebrate the occasion we will have a special program. Venerable Tenzin Dasel will offer a guided meditation, mantra recitation, and a short clip of the Khandro Cham, or Dakini Dances, being held at Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in India earlier that day.

Our special  Lhabab Duchen evening puja is being offered specifically for Tashi Gatsel Ling Buddhist Center to expand our offerings of the genuine Dharma for the benefit of all  members and all mother beings near and far.  All Dana offered during this auspicious occasion is especially beneficial and appreciated.  Offer your Dana here.

Access the event here.

Our center in pictures

While the center is closed currently, here is a gallery to show you around our center. Hoping we are able to gather in person again soon.

Maine Moment Back in Action

With Venerable Tenzin Dasel back in Maine, we are meeting every Monday 6.30pm to 8.00pm EDT for meditation and Dharma talk under the name Maine Moment. Ninety minutes of warm hearts, peace of mind, gentle breath, silent stillness, meaningful speech and some much needed laughter.