17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.


Travel Log—In Nepal and India with Lama Puntso

See the original in French

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Invitation

“I would like to announce that I will be guiding a retreat of the 14th Shamar Rinpoche’s guru yoga at Sharminub from December third to tenth of this year, and I would like to invite you to come join me if you wish to and are able to. You can take part in the full retreat or come for only a part.”
This invitation from Jigme Rinpoche immediately reminded me of the instructions Gyalwa Karmapa gave in India to the heads of the various Kagyu centers in Asia, Europe, and the USA, “Build connections amongst yourselves; get to know each other.” There is an intention to develop, a will to meet others that needs to be cultivated, along with the motivation to find the means to do so. If Jigme Rinpoche guides a retreat at Shamar Rinpoche’s monastery, it’s an opportunity for Westerners and Tibetans—practitioners all—to meet one another, exchange, and practice together. It is also the occasion for all those who make the journey to directly experience Sharminub and what it is. What’s more, Lama Nyima took care of the logistics and more than one hundred and fifty people signed up.


In 2003, in a valley situated at the foot of Nagarjuna Mountain in Kathmandu, Shamar Rinpoche initiated the construction of a great monastery christened Shar Minub. It is a project of great scope: preservation of the monastic tradition; deepening of philosophical study as well as meditation. There is an additional, unforeseen activity developing today: taking in orphans following the major earthquakes in Nepal. As I heard Jigme Rinpoche say, “Since they are coming, we have to welcome them properly.” …In fact, what does Sharminub mean? “Shar” indicates “to rise,” “nub” carries the meaning “to set,” in other words “diminish,” and “mi” is a negation. The result: that which rises but does not set.

The first phase of the project reached completion with the construction of the Nera Jana Temple. The purpose of this temple is to reestablish the quality of the Vinaya (monastic discipline). It can house up to twenty senior monks who will carry out a ten-year meditation retreat.

The monastery’s second building, Sarnath Temple, is a teaching space for monks and laypeople. Knowledge of Buddhist texts is necessary to attain the ultimate goal, but it is also useful for everyday life; this is why its conservation is important.
This temple consists of two levels. On the upper floor, a room designed to welcome five hundred people will house a 3.7 meter-tall (12 foot), marble Buddha.
On the ground floor, an auditorium will host Buddhist conferences. The right wing consists of two parts: on one side, a small temple to “realize wishes,” which will contain all sacred objects and relics for blessing, and, on the other side, a research center. In short, Shamar Rinpoche didn’t skimp on his plans; the world needs places like this so that the Dharma can simultaneously take root and blossom.

The Voyage

I didn’t need much time to make my decision; I would take part in this retreat. I’ve never been to Sharminub. During Shamar Rinpoche’s cremation in 2014, I had decided to stay at Dhagpo and “hold down the fort.” This time, I have the opportunity to go. The causes and circumstances came together…I imagine it will a bit like one of Dhagpo’s courses away from Dhagpo. We’ll see. But, more than anything, it will be the opportunity to continue to connect and to get to know others, as the Gyalwa Karmapa advised.

Anyway, I’m taking you with me virtually. I promised Dhagpo I would write a daily chronicle. I hope that time (the days are short) and technology (which is unreliable in Nepal) will allow us to stay connected from day to day. Off we go…

Lama Puntso

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