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Gate Opens for Three Year Retreatants
Acharya Larry Mermelstein is shown here in the white smoke of the lhasang, which was part of the gate opening and graduation celebration on Sunday, July 11th for eleven, three-year retreatants at Sopa Choling, Gampo Abbey.

Acharya Larry Mermelstein is shown here in the white smoke of the lhasang, which was part of the gate opening and graduation celebration on Sunday, July 11th for eleven, three-year retreatants at Sopa Choling, Gampo Abbey.

Minutes before this photo was taken, seated in the the rear of Gampo Abbey’s black suburu with the hatch raised to serve as protection from the pelting rain, Acharya Larry Mermelstein had chanted the liturgy that officially released the fifth group since 1996 to finish a three year retreat of Kagyu practices at Sopa Choling, the dharma place of patience.

More than fifty visitors, friends and well wishers, coming from as far as Alabama, Colorado, and
Quebec followed him through the gate to greet the new graduates on Sopa Choling’s porch.

As the rain abated – and the sounds of traditional Tibetan musical instruments: gylings, radungs,
cymbals and drums filled the air — retreatants and guests circumambulated the building. Following
the procession, they then joined the lhasang ceremony.

The celebration concluded with a Sadhana of Mahamudra feast during which Acharya Mermelstein,
director of the Nalanda Translation Committee, addressed the retreatants. He thanked them on behalf of the entire committee.

“You have used our work more than most of us,” he said, referring to the numerous practices translated especially for the three year retreat. It was a tender moment, with palpable appreciation between practitioners and translators.

Acharya Mermelstein concluded by reading a congratulatory letter from Acharya Lodro Dorje, who expressed his certainty that in their post retreat life, the graduates would benefit their dharma brothers and sisters in the Shambhala Community greatly.

Laura Kaufman, (Drupon Cara Thornley), Nancy Huszagk, Mary DeRouen

Left to right / Back row: Lynele Jones, Elizabeth Richardson, Charles Whetsell, Yvan Larrivee / Middle row: Ning Su Ong, Jeanne Riordan, Linda Kreger, Yessica Ulloa / Seated: Laura Kaufman, (Drupon Cara Thornley), Nancy Huszagk, Mary DeRouen

The next three year retreat cycle is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011. For more information see
www.sopacholingretreats.org

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