Maui – An Island of Pleasure and Pain – The Emily Dahl Foundation

Maui – An Island of Pleasure and Pain

Pictured here is The Venerable Lama Gyaltsen Tamang, who is the Master that initiated me to the teachings of the great Shantideva in the year 2020.

The suffering on the Island of Maui has been immense. 

From the major event of Covid to the incredible destruction caused by the recent wildfires - the impacts on the Island of Maui are real and weigh heavy in the minds of the residents. 

In fact, the whole world is experiencing unprecedented amounts of suffering in the minds of many. 

The powerful teachings given at the Maui Dharma Centre by Lama Gyaltsen are important for those seeking freedom from suffering. 

It was wonderful to spend time this week with Lama Gyaltsen, one of my teachers of the truth of the way things are.

In one of the teachings this week Lama Gyaltsen highlighted this daily prayer of Shantideva. 

A prayer that can be performed each morning by those seeking happiness: 

May I be a guard for those who need protection
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be
a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awaken

One of my favourite sayings from Shantideva, and is often given to others by The Dalai Lama, who chants this mantra multiple times, daily. 

"For as long as space endures, And for as long as living beings remain, Until then may I too abide, To dispel the misery of the world." 

History - Maui Dharma Centre 

The Maui Dharma Center was founded on December 9, 1974 by the highly respected Tibetan Buddhist Lama, His Eminence The All Pervasive Lord of Refuge, Kalu Rinpoche (1904-1989). Kalu Rinpoche established the Center in the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana tradition emphasizing the Karma Kagyu and Shangpa Kagyu lineages while encouraging the non-sectarian philosophy. Rinpoche determined the purpose of the Center, gave teachings and advice, directed which prayers and practices should be sustained, and in 1982, sent the late, All Good Venerable Lama Tenzin (1938-2001) to be the first resident teacher. In 2003, our current resident teacher The Venerable Gyaltsen Tamang arrived to continue the vision of Kalu Rinpoche. For 50 years, the Center has hosted many highly esteemed teachers from all the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Through the blessings of the late Kalu Rinpoche and the dedication of its successive resident teachers, the Maui Dharma Center has become a respected place for the practice and study of Tibetan Buddhism.

Current Resident Teacher & Spiritual Director

The Venerable Lama Gyaltsen Tamang was chosen by the late All Good Lama Tenzin to succeed him as Resident Teacher and arrived on Maui on the full moon day of June 2003. 

Like Lama Tenzin, Lama Gyaltsen’s Root Guru is Kalu Rinpoche. A very close disciple of Kalu Rinpoche, Lama Gyaltsen was born in 1968 in Sonada, Darjeeling, India. He entered Rinpoche’s monastery at a very early age and received a monastic education but never became a fully ordained monk. He completed the traditional Kagyu 3-year retreat and is trained in the Mahamudra traditions of the Karma and Shangpa Kagyu lineages. 

Lama Gyaltsen represents the new generation of Tibetan Buddhist teachers in the West. He is accessible, articulate, fluent in English, artistic, humorous and a master storyteller. Lama Gyaltsen maintains a full schedule of leading ritual practice, meditation, and oral teachings. He serves the community as Spiritual Friend and Mentor to people of all faiths. 

Sherman Dahl
The Emily Dahl Foundation 
October 2023