Chenrezig Institute Origins
Our story begins with a SPECIAL AND HISTORIC EVENT. Two Tibetan Buddhist lamas are far from home, TEACHING BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY AND MEDITATION in a balmy, sub-tropical Queensland hideaway ideally named Diamond Valley, in the distant continent of Australia.
: Word has spread throughout Australia and the lamas are surrounded by a couple of hundred young people who are eagerly looking for spiritual meaning as they start to navigate life. They have a sense that this teaching is at the heart of their path – curiosity about Buddhist meditation is the reason they’re here.
It is the mid-seventies, September 1974 to be precise. Little do these vibrant young people realise they are turning the first auspicious pages of a much, much larger story; they are experiencing the growth of the first buds of Tibetan Buddhism in Australia. The two lamas are Lama Thubten Yeshe and his heart disciple Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, precious teachers to four Australian students who persuaded them to visit.
Each day for a whole month, students leave their tents early to attend sessions in the makeshift gompa, a large circus marquee. Teachings often go late into the night. They become accustomed to the ebb and flow of the retreat and, importantly, the message of compassion, wisdom and loving kindness that Buddhism is giving them.
Towards the end of the course, the students want more, a way to continue this search, a meeting is called, land offered and pledges made; and at the conclusion of the course, Lama Yeshe leads a procession of students along the valley and uphill through the trees to a large tract of adjoining rough land, which has been donated by those four devoted students.
A ceremony to consecrate the land is completed and extensive offerings made on 28th September 1974.
This property is named Chenrezig Institute for Wisdom Culture.
At this point it is nothing but a name and a large tract of steep land. But there are big ideas, which are to be quickly transformed into reality. A core group of students stays to clear and build.
And so the work begins, to turn Lama Yeshe’s vision into a beautiful meditation centre to benefit all. Watch here, a truly historic video made during the course in Diamond Valley
Here also is a wonderful video in which Lama Yeshe himself explains how his centres (including Chenrezig Institute) were established in the west: Lama Yeshe 1982
Read here a lovely talk by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche about the countless benefits of Chenrezig Institute – given at the centre in June 2018 LZR – the benefits of CI