The start of a New Year is always a good time to reflect on the past year’s achievements and the planning for the year to come. Certainly there were many achievements to celebrate! Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche had a very successful tour with the European, Russian and South American Sanghas, as well as a few engagements in the US and Canada. Most importantly, there was the successful opening and inauguration of the RIC. Many steps were needed to make this a reality, including the purchase of the property, the legal structures for the Stiftung Landguet Ried (SLR) and Ripa International Center (RIC), and the renovation in particular of the West Building and preparation of the property for its new uses. An enormous effort was made by many, most especially by Georg, and a few devoted Sangha, who literally gutted the West building and rebuilt it, repainting all the walls, redoing the floors, as well as purchasing the furniture and linens for the rooms. What was not done by professional plumbers and electricians, was done by this small but very hard working group. Quite a lot of cleaning out was required! Given the short time to the opening, it was nothing short of a miracle.
The opening was quite an achievement, with many of the Ripa masters and retinue present, as well as the presence of a number of dignitaries. There were many Sangha who came from all over the world, and the programs were quite rich: we began with a festive Lasang, then a Yeshe Tsogyal Drupcho, the first Sutrayana course, an Enriching Gesar Drupcho, two fire pujas: Enriching Gesar and Pacifying Gesar, Tsa Lung, and Nyunge. Indeed, it was an auspicious beginning! After four weeks of programs, the Center was really feeling like our own Ripa Center in the West! The SLR also succeeded in its initial programs too, which have helped to secure a portion of the finances for the RIC, but by no means all. Here we still have much work ahead of us, and the recently launched giving program announced by Ursula is a key part of the RIC’s continued success (Click here for more information).
We also succeeded in establishing the RIC Teams, which have already been very busy with new projects and responsibilities in their new roles. The next major event was the recent Winter Dzogchen Retreat followed by a Guru Rinpoche Wang and Tsok with the Tibetan community. The Retreat was a very special teaching on Tregchod, or “cutting through,” and the week itself saw the birth of a new warmth in our Sangha. Since it was a relatively small group, everyone was necessarily occupied with one task or another in addition to the Retreat activities, but somehow it was all a beautiful magical dance.
We would like very much to highlight that the RIC is now welcoming you to come for upcoming programs this year – the next major event will be the Saga Dawa festival – an annual event for the greater European Buddhist and local Swiss communities going forward, as well as other teachings with Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche in the Spring, and His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche and Tamdrin Lhunpo Rinpoche in the Summer. The dates for the European Spring Tour to the Padma Lings, the Summer and Winter Retreats are included in this newsletter so that you can plan your year ahead.
RIC is a living reality now – please come and use it for Dharma activities as much as you can! You are welcome to come to the RIC outside of programs – for example self-directed practice (such as Ngondro accumulations), PL weekends, and longer stays, according to the rules. For more information please see: https://ripa-international.com/membres2/ric-infos?lang=en or speak with Gabriela G.: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A living center needs first of all practitioners and supporters, but it also needs a set of rules and an awareness of economic necessities. We understand perfectly well that in the beginning phase the provisional state of rules and organization has been quite confusing – and work on settling these aspects. We plan for instance to make rules and overview on responsibles available in the member section of the RIC website.
This is based on the arrangement between the RIC and the SLR as discussed with the Sangha in Ripa International Summer Retreat 2012. The arrangement for managing the place and the finances is as follows: SLR is responsible for the physical location (grounds and buildings), for which the RIC pays a fee (or individuals or groups pay a fee) for various services. Likewise there are arrangements between the RIC and SLR, whereby SLR pays RIC for certain functions and service level. In other words: SLR is the “hotel”, RIC is the “event manager” renting the place. Both vehicles have no other purpose than to support Ripa activities, but in order to secure an economic basis, SLR attempts to rent the place to third parties whenever RIC has no activities going on. The payments do not quite even out, but this is how things work in general. These legal structures were necessary in order to be able to complete the purchase of the property and enable the RIC to have a home according to Swiss law and the local canton and community rules.
None of the many achievements listed, nor our very bright future would be possible without you, the Sangha. Now that Ripa has a “home” in the West – let’s be sure to share this gift with others, and help to spread the Dharma in the West! We are all contributors on many levels, and your continued engagement and efforts are most welcome.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year, a Happy Losar, and a healthy, prosperous and spiritually fulfilling year ahead. We look forward to seeing you all soon!
Heinz and Katharina