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Posts Tagged "ven. robina courtin"
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RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TEACHER
By Ven. Robina Courtin
Every single thing we do in life has to be learned from someone else. How grateful we should be to our parents, friends and teachers! But instead, we take it all for granted, assuming arrogantly that it’s their job to show us what to do. The process of learning how to become a Buddha is the same as learning anything. The steps are the same.
Wanting to learn: I remember the day, the time, the place, when I learned how to make a cake from my mother. It’s vivid in my mind. I was 28 at the time, and a hippie. I’d been living in England and went home to Melbourne, Australia and decided that I wanted to make something like a carrot cake.
The crucial first step was that I was ready to learn. This is so important. When we’re kids we feel that we’ve been dragged into learning, that we haven’t chosen it, so our hearts are closed. And because we’re not doing it willingly, we happily find fault with the teachers, whom we see as forcing information down our throats.
Checking the teacher: So, whom to ask? Clearly my mum was the person. I’d eaten her cakes for years and knew they were good. I’d checked other cake-makers and was confident she could hold her own. My sisters were excellent cake-makers, and they had learned from her. And according to my mother’s peers she was a professional.
And she was a skillful teacher. I knew she had the knowledge, yet during all those preceding years she hadn’t forced me to learn. She waited for me to be ready. She had my best interests at heart and knew how to explain the process. Everything was in place. I was ready to learn, I’d checked the teacher and checked the product. And clearly I had a strong connection with her. So I was completely confident. I went to my mother and requested: “Mum, please show me how to make a cake.” How delighted she was! …
Shen Phen Ling Study Group, based in Albury/Wodonga, Victoria, Australia, hosted Ven. Robina Courtin in late June. Ven. Robina gave a weekend teaching on “Courageous Compassion” in the small rural town of Yackandandah, located in northeastern Victoria, not far from Albury/Wodonga. For the teaching event, study group members transformed an old courthouse into a beautiful gompa.
An “eclectic assortment of people” turned up for the teaching. In addition to more experience students, a few people with no prior experience with Buddhism attended. “Taking it all in her stride, Ven. Robina presented an engaging discussion that weaved in humor, personal experience and audience participation,” study group coordinator Julie Klose shared with Mandala. The audience was inquisitive and participated in energetic and topical debate Julie reported.
“After covering the fundamentals of wisdom on Saturday, Sunday’s teaching focused more on compassion and great compassion. Not only did we get valuable individual advice and guidance over the weekend, but we also gratefully received instruction and guidance for our small bur keen study group,” Julie wrote.
Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT activities, teachers and events from over 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.
By Lisbeth Elvery
Many of us had never met Ven. Robina Courtin before, much less traveled under her tutelage throughout strange lands. However, any vague sense of trepidation was – certainly for me – washed away on that first night the “Chasing Buddha” pilgrims met in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Ven. Robina, an ordained Buddhist nun with over 20 years’ experience integrating Tibetan Buddhist practice with the Western way of life, has been leading these pilgrimages throughout Nepal and India since 2001. Her main project and the key beneficiary of the funds raised from the pilgrimage is the Liberation Prison Project.
… Twenty-three budding pilgrims from throughout the United States and Australia came together for four weeks in late October/early November 2003. It was a journey that was to take us to the sacred Buddhist sites of Nepal and India. On a spiritual level, we would travel much further …
Geshe Lama Konchog came to Kopan Monastery in 1984, where he spent nearly 18 years devoting himself to teaching the monks and nuns there. Before arriving at Kopan, Geshe Lama Konchog had spent twenty-five years meditating in caves in the Tsum region of Nepal. Geshe Lama Konchog was born in Tibet in 1927 and educated as Sera Monastery. He was known then for his profound commitment to Dharma practice. But it was only after his death in 2001 that his extraordinary qualities were revealed to a wider circle of Dharma practitioners and students. His disciple Geshe Tenzin Zopa detailed the accomplishments of this modern-day Milarepa and shared them with Ven. Robina Courtin for this story published in Mandala March-April 2002.
A new Postcard from Robina, Ven. Robina Courtin’s blog about her travels and teachings around the world. “A month has passed since I was at Maitripa in Portland. It’s Tuesday March 6 and I’m in tropical Queensland, settling in for a month’s editing retreat. Kathleen Surawski has kindly offered me her house: a raised wooden structure with a deck, on a cliff overlooking the ocean at Point Lookout, on the tip of Stradbroke Island, just off the main coast, 20 miles east of Brisbane.”
The latest Postcard from Ven. Robina is released. Covering teachings and travels in the USA from Soquel to Santa Fe to Portland and Seattle. This post includes a photo of Ven. Robina, former editor of Mandala, with managing editor Laura Miller, and editor Carina Rumrill.
The latest addition to Postcards from Robina, Ven. Robina Courtin’s blog from travels and teachings around the world, details her recent visits to Boston, New York, Maine and California.
The producers of Chasing Buddha, a documentary film about Ven. Robina Courtin, shown in January at the Sundance Film Festival, have offered it to the Milarepa Prison Project for Buddhist Practitioners (a project of Mandala) which she coordinates. “We are happy that the project use it in any way they wish to raise funds for their work,” said the film”s director and co-producer, Australian Amiel Courtin-Wilson, a nephew of Ven. Robina.
The film is scheduled for showing on SBS television in Australia this year, and will show at other film festivals in the US, Europe and Australia.
Having already won an award for his film work in Australia, Amiel was delighted that Chasing Buddha was accepted at Sundance. “Documentary work is generally swept under the carpet, so it was even more exciting to have Chasing Buddha placed in the World Cinema section along with other dramatic feature films,” said Amiel.
The film is an exploration of an aunt “who has always occupied a mythological position in the family landscape.”
Amiel and his cameraman Vincent Heimann traveled with Ven. Robina throughout the United States for three months in early 1998, and filmed her at Kentucky State Prison in Eddyville, interviewing some of the men, including several on death row.
Ven. Robina Courtin has a way with words and is a fantastic story teller. In her latest addition to “Postcards from Robina,” her blog from travels around the world, she details her recent stays in India, New York and Boston.
Ven. Robina Courtin’s 16th installment on her Postcards from Robina blog chronicles her latest (nearly missed) journey to India, her recent time in Australia (including family visits, participation in Vajrayana Institute’s recent Mind & Its Potential conference, and her 50th high school reunion), plus other musings and insights.
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Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
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