The Courtenay Sangha

Geshe YongDong (GesheLa) began teaching small groups of students from his home in Courtenay B.C. in 2002. The classes quickly grew to an average of 10-12 on a weekly basis, and workshops held in the tiny living room regularly attracted 15 – 18 students. There were many requests to have a drop-in meditation practice and more workshops. It was soon evident that we were ready and needed a bigger space.

Several dedicated students and sangha members, committed themselves to pay a monthly annuity towards the rental of a room for a centre. The necessary paperwork was completed to create “Sherab Chamma Ling”, and after a long search, a rental room was agreed upon. Donations paid the rent and any maintenance items needed for the upkeep of the centre. With the help of caring members, our centre had become a reality.

We began to create the Tibetan Bὄn Buddhist Society in November 2005 and the first AGM was held in February 2007. Our first executive was elected and to many this was our first experience with a society, so it was and continues to be a learning process for all of us. The Tibetan Bön Buddhist Society is a registered non-profit, tax-exempt charity administered by volunteers.

It took a few more years and paperwork, but we finally received our “tax revenue” number form the B.C. government and we were then able to give tax receipts for donations made. Regular business meetings are held once every four months and the Annual General Meeting of the society is held yearly in February.

More information on and about our society, the constitution, by-laws and membership forms can be viewed Here. In 2008, a new, larger and more central location was found for our centre on 5th Street at England, right in the heart of Courtenay.

Students and sangha members formed work parties and spent many hours first cleaning the space, hammering, painting and all the other necessary jobs to get the centre ready.

On 28th September 2008, we had our “official” opening to the general public.

Our centre hosts, meditation practice, weekly teachings, Ngondro practices and special sangha social events on a regular basis. In addition it is used to hold business and AGM meetings; GesheLa uses it to do spiritual and astrology consultations, several fund raising committees now use the space to meet and carry out fund raising projects such as making prayer flags.

The centre assumed the responsibility of hosting the two annual weekend teaching retreats which have turned out to be an overwhelming success. Sherab Chamma Ling has hosted several visiting monks from other centres and from the Tibetan Bön monastery Menri, in Dolanji India.

In addition to teaching at Sherab Chamma Ling, GesheLa travels on a regular basis to teach other groups of students’ at different locations on Vancouver Island and the mainland. These include groups on Quadra Island, Cortez Island, Gabriola Island, Nanaimo and Pt. Alberni, as well as talks and day workshops at the Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo B.C. GesheLa travels regularly to teach in the U.S. at the Yeru Bon Center in L.A. and at the Ligmincha centers in Charlottesville, Virginia and Houston, Texas. He also teaches in Costa Rica and Colombia, and several countries within Asia.

GesheLa has several short video recordings of his teachings which are posted on YouTube.

All activities of Sherab Chamma Ling and Geshe YongDong can be found on our calendar.

The calendar is updated on a regular basis and includes the date, location, and topic of teaching and other information.

As a fund raising project, Sherab Chamma Ling produces Tibetan Bon Prayer Flags. One size is available for sale: a set of 10 small flags are available – $10.00 each and a set of 5 small flags- $5.00 set. Flags are available from the centre.

Our prayer flags can now be found hanging in several different parts of the world! In addition to prayer flags, our centre sells several Dharma items including practice booklets, Tibetan Bon Thangkas, Malas, wall hangings etc. GesheLa has recorded a few CD’s of his teachings and chanting which are available for students.

GesheLa’s CD’s include:

  • Tibetan Bön Three Heart Mantra – teaching & chanting
  • Ngondro (Preliminary) Practice – teaching & chanting
  • Introduction to Tibetan Meditation – teaching
  • Spirit Chant – YungDrung Bön chants
  • Ah Om Hung – meditation chanting
  • Phowa Chanting – chanting with GesheLa
  • Introduction to Tibetan Meditation – teaching & guided meditations

Our centre continues to survive on the support and donations of students and friends. Without the generous assistance and encouragement from these kind people we would not be able to offer the sacred Tibetan Bὄn teachings.

We thank you all very much.

If you would like to help us to continue and reach the goal of building a permanent international meditation/retreat centre here in Canada, please click here to visit our donation page.

The main goal of GesheLa, the Society and sangha members is:

  • To purchase land and/or buildings to create a Tibetan YungDrung Bön international teaching and retreat centre known as: Sherab Chamma Ling, Tibetan Bön Buddhist Centre.

In addition to this, the Society has the following goals:

  • To create and maintain the teaching and meditation retreat centre, “Sherab Chamma Ling”; to preserve Bön, the native religion of Tibet and its culture; to spread Bön teachings by cultivating practitioners and scholars in the west; and, to support and sustain a Spiritual Director and visiting teachers.
  • To support and sustain the Spiritual Director/Resident Lama, and visiting teachers.
  • To serve the community by providing an environment in which members may benefit themselves and others through the teaching and practice of Buddhist philosophies.
  • To provide opportunities and venues for public worship and observance of religious holidays for practicing Buddhists.

Special Thanks & Recognition

A sincere thank you to H.H. Menri Tritzen, H.E. Nangzhig Kabygon Rinpoche, GesehLa’s root teacher – Venerable Gyaltshab Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and all the Bön monks of Menri, Nangzhig and Norbutse Monasteries, who have said many chants and prayers and offered good wishes and help in the establishment of this centre.