Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ven. Robina in the Big Apple and Beyond

Venerable Robina's Teaching Schedule ~ next stop: USA
NEW YORK CITY, Dec 6-11; 
BOSTON, Dec 20-Jan 8; 
SANTA CRUZ, Jan 10-17; 
FLORIDA, Feb 3-16. 
More details here!

Monday, November 18, 2013

We Are The Fruits Of Our Past Action

"For me one of the things I loved most when I heard it was karma. It's been like an anchor. If I'm responsible, that forces me to change. I can't change the fruits that have now ripened, but I can learn from those. Learning from experience is something I find very tasty. You are the fruit of your own past action." ~Ven. Robina Courtin (more from this interview here)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Liberation Prison Project - It All Started With Just One Letter

Arturo Esquer, a young Mexican-American ex-gangster sat in a prison cell in California's Pelican Bay. Sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, Arturo has spent every day of his adult life behind bars. Shortly after arriving in prison, he began reading books on Buddhism, and in 1996, after reading Introduction to Tantra, by Lama Yeshe, Arturo wrote to FPMT to ask if there was any way for him to be sent Mandala magazine regularly. 
Venerable Robina Courtin, who was the editor of Mandala at the time, sent Dharma books and copies of Mandala to Arturo. Within the year, he received Refuge and Lay Vows from Venerable Robina. This was followed by ongoing teaching, correspondence and eventually Bodhisattva Vows. Soon, Arturo's practice had a wider impact, and other prisoners began to write. Within a year, Venerable Robina was corresponding with 40 men incarcerated in prisons all over the US. Although the Liberation Prison Project wouldn't formally come into existence for another 4 years, the stage had been set.
References: History of Liberation Prison Project, Interview with Arturo Esquer, Mandala Magazine (July, 1998)

Friday, November 8, 2013

35 Years Serving My Lamas

In this wonderful interview, Venerable Robina Courtin discusses her journey of over 35 years as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. Since ordaining in 1978, she has worked tirelessly to fulfill the vision of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, her heart lamas. Her forthright and down to earth teaching style has hooked many a student. Read the interview in full here.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Impermanence ~ Ven. Robina Courtin

"The very first level of reality according to the Buddha is impermanence - that things change moment to moment - and why do we have to think about that? First because it’s true, but second, because we don’t think it’s true. We think the opposite: that is permanence, so there’s a big conflict. So we are ignorant in other words, and that’s why we suffer. For example, I’ve got a beautiful cup, my grandma’s cup: beautiful, antique, so special, up on the mantlepiece. Everyday I look at it, having attachment, believing it’s going to be there - totally expecting it to be there because I’m so attached to it, right? Then one day I look, and it’s broken. Then I break; have a mental breakdown. Thinking of who I’m going to sue; I cry, freak out, feel guilty, anguish, sorrow - all the drama!

"Buddha’s saying, ‘Don’t be silly Robina, you’re not suffering because your cup broke. That’s just natural. Cups break; that’s their nature. You’re suffering because you didn’t want it to break; because you thought it wouldn’t break.’ So the reason we suffer is because our mind is full of misconceptions about the cup. That’ it; that’s all Buddha’s saying: the mind believing in non-truths is the cause of suffering.”

-Venerable Robina Courtin from teaching at Institut Vajra Yogini, 
  Nov. 6, 2013 Session 11 (lightly edited)