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November 13, 2003

3 years, 3 months, and 3 days

My sister has been one of the best companions I have ever met in this life.

Me, Lama Tashi Namgyal, and mi hermana Elisabeth.

I'm going to Wappinger Falls, New York to see my sister into three year retreat, the traditional retreat of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Here's the lama with all the gory details (excerpted):

Elisabeth Talsky, who is going into three year three month retreat on
Sunday, took vows this morning and has already begun to receive the
preliminary transmissions for the retreat. I spoke with Ani Sonam this
morning, who has been with Lama Norlha and has lived at Kagyu Thubten
Ch�ling since its very inception in the late 1970's, and who participated in
the first three year three month retreat cycle beginning in 1981 or 1982 <
who said how impressed she was with Elizabeth over all as a dharma person.

In particular she said how impressive her chanting was, that she had a great
voice and was going to be a great Omze (chant master), that she seemed
already to have memorized almost all of the morning and evening pujas
(amounting together to approximately four hours of rather fast non-stop
chanting), that she picked up the cymbals this morning (which is what the
chant master plays) and was a natural, and finally that she had learned how
to perform all of the duties of the shrine master during pujas (which are
many and varied, including torma making, etc.) She said how impressed she
was with people like Elisabeth who showed up a year before retreat and
prepared themselves properly, as opposed to people who showed up at the last

What all of this means is that Elisabeth will enter retreat being
able to chant without any problem virtually all of the daily practice that
is maintained throughout the retreat the variety of pujas and prayers I
mentioned in my last e-mail and will only have to learn the core
curriculum, which they will be taught progressively during the retreat and
which the retreatants will practice in their rooms by themselves during the
four main meditation periods. So going in, Elisabeth is in very good shape
with respect to what she is going to have to know and do on a daily basis.

If you would like to support Elisabeth's retreat in any manner, by making a
one time contribution, by making a monthly contribution, by check or by
credit card or by automatic monthly credit card deduction, Sonam says it can
all be done. All contributions, if they are made payable to Kagyu Thubten
Ch�ling (KTC for short), are tax deductible. Contact:

Kagyu Thubten Choling.
245 Sheafe Road Wappingers Falls, New York 12590 U.S.A.
Phone: (845) 297-2500 � Fax: (845) 297-5761

Sonam emphasized that no amount of dollars should be considered too little.

In all cases, either on your check or in your letter, you need to indicate
that your contribution is being made in support of Elisabeth Talsky's
retreat. (Her name really is spelled with an "s")

Thank you all very kindly. May blessings be upon you, and may you always
meet with auspicious opportunities for the study and practice of dharma!
Many Tashi Deleks and Sarva Mangalams, I remain affectionately and

Lama Tashi Namgyal

...I got all my sista's with me!

November 4, 2003

beware the time cat!

Halloween recap, for those remote or absent:

Rowan Robin:


Is that a peacock, or a peahen?


Silver foxiness:


Pippi serves dinner:


Dishes with an attitude.