The Teaching Program of Dhargyey Buddhist Centre
The teachings that were given by Venerable Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey covered all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, with emphasis on the Gelug tradition headed by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and founded by Jamgön Lama Tsongkhapa.
Teachings included Nagarjuna’s Letter to a King (Suhrllekha), Kyabje Pabongka’s Enlightenment in Your Hand (Namdröl Lagchang), Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacaryavatara), Chandrakirti’s Introduction to the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara), Maitreya’s Ornament of Clear Realisation (Abhisamayalankara), Je Tsongkhapa’s Great Exposition of the Path to Enlightenment (Jangchub Lam Rim Chenmo), and Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen’s Mind and Mental Factors (Sem Jung) These were interspersed with numerous short teachings on Mind Training (Lojong) by various Gelug, Kadam, Kargyu, Nyingma and Sakya masters.
Tantric teachings and empowerments were given from time to time as deemed appropriate. A systematic practical course in the Tibetan monastic tradition of debate was begun in 1993 under the guidance of Thubten Gendun, who studied at Sera monastery and the Sarnath Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies. Gen Rinpoche taught solely in Tibetan, so students were encouraged to learn Tibetan language as well as Buddhadharma. To facilitate this, Tibetan language was taught at the Centre, principally by the class interpreter, Losang Dawa. Every Sunday morning meditation classes were given along with a short experiential teaching to serve as the meditation topic.
Gen Rinpoche’s remaining living teacher His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited and stayed at the Centre during his visit to New Zealand in 1992. He gave his first Buddhist teaching in NZ during that visit. Venerable Gyurme Khensur Ogyen Tseten, visited for several months in 1988 and in 1992-3. Both times he gave a wide variety of Buddhist discourses. Venerable Geshe Lobsang Doga was also a frequent visitor for Geshe Dhargyey from Melbourne’s FPMT Tara Institute.
Venerable Jampa Thupten Tulku Rinpoche, arrived and took over the role of public teaching for the Centre, after Geshe Dhargyey’s passing in 1995. Ven Thupten Rinpoche has taught many and varied classes. Ven Thupten Rinpoche’s teaching program has emphasized Buddhist practice in everyday life. He taught Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of life extensively from 1996 to 2007 reaching the end of the seventh chapter on Enthusastic Perseverance. This included referencing various commentaries and elucidating many points. Included was a very detailed discussion of Bodhisattva vows. Rinpoche also taught Mind and Mental Factors by Karchen Yeshe Gyaltsen, ‘Letter to a King’ by Arya Nagarjuna. He began Precious Garland (Rinchen Trengwa) by Arya Nagarjuna covering the first chapter. He also dwelt on Jewel Heap of Analogies of Geshe Potowa, and gave many short course teachings, most notably his annual Easter programme which included The 12 Links, Special Insight, Patience, Calm Abiding, 21 Tara Initiation and many others.
At the end of 2007 Ven Thupten Rinpoche took an extended sabatical from his role to allow him to honour a commitment he had made prior to coming to New Zealand. Rinpoche is currently living in a coastal spot 20minutes north of Dunedin and is still attending regular ritual observance of tsogs and Tara Puja.
Venerable Lhagön Rinpoche kindly agreed to reside here also arriving in 1998. As of 2008 he has accepted responsibility for directing, overseeing and advising on programmes and development of The Centre in Dunedin and the Dhargyey Group as a whole.
Both Ven Lhagon Tulku and Ven Thupten Tulku were with Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey when they fled TIbet in 1959. Tulku means recognised reincarnation. Both originate from the same small monastery in Kham -East TIbet- Za Samdrup Gompa and it is believed they were close friends over some lifetimes previously also.