About Iron Knot Ranch

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Chagdud Tulku often said that the purpose of genuine spiritual practice is the cultivation of “good heart.” He used this simple term to describe the breadth of the compassionate wisdom mind we are all born with and never depart from. This compassionate mind is gradually revealed as we remove the layers of clouded perception and habit that often define our view of ourselves and our world. Through uncovering our inherent good heart we come to be of greater benefit to ourselves and others.

In this regard, Iron Knot Ranch is a response to the confusion and suffering that afflict all beings—a refuge and training ground for those who wish to make a difference. To this end we offer a variety of teaching and practice opportunities for residents and visitors alike, including the Bodhisattva Peace Training, developed by Chagdud Tulku to teach potent methods for the cultivation of good heart and sustaining compassion in the face of adversity.

 

One of the traditional methods for removing hindrances to the recognition of our true nature is the creation of representations of enlightened body, speech and mind. Just as one candle lights another, contact with such representations establishes a connection between our latent positive qualities and those actualized by enlightened beings.

We have just completed construction of seventeen twelve-foot-high prayer wheels, which contain hundreds of billions of mantra. One of these wheels is spun by hand, as has been done for centuries in Asia. The rest are solar-powered and turn several times a minute, day and night. These, and many prayer flags which encircle the land, radiate in all directions the blessings of enlightened beings.

We are also working on the completion of a traditional Tibetan lha khang (temple) to house ceremonies and teachings, and planning the construction of various stupas, monuments to the nature of mind.

Under the direction of our resident teacher, Lama Shenpen Drolma, we are engaged in the ongoing creation of such precious representations. This is also a powerful way to nurture the causes of peace and good fortune in difficult times and to pacify the negative forces of disease, war and famine. No matter who adds oil to the lamp, everyone benefits from the light. The virtue generated by these undertakings serves to illuminate a darkened world.

 

Iron Knot Ranch residents and visitors participate twice daily in group prayer and meditation practices whose purpose is to help participants generate loving-kindness, compassion, wisdom and a peaceful mind. Lama Shenpen and visiting lamas provide instruction and training in these and other meditation practices, at times in the context of the daily prayers and sometimes as weekend or week-long retreats. If you are interested to be notified of such opportunities, we can send you periodic email announcements.

Eight days a month, on special holy days, during certain extended retreats and on auspicious occasions such as the blessing and consecration of sacred representations of enlightened body, speech and mind, we do extensive ceremonies for the benefit of all beings: fire ceremonies, the lighting of butterlamps and feast ceremonies of food and drink. If you would like to make a one-time or regular contribution on one or more of these occasions and dedicate it to friends or relatives, we will read your dedication aloud in the course of the ceremony.

At any time, you may add someone's name to our prayer list, which is read aloud at our daily practice. There is one list for prayers for removal of obstacles and another for those who have died in the past 49 days.

This mandala of activity is based at the ranch but encompasses friends, family and those in need throughout the world.

 

Iron Knot Ranch offers a work-study program for those interested in pursuing fulltime study & practice, as well as a variety of retreat and practice opportunities for non-residents. Our staff is small but dedicated to the development of a retreat center that can accommodate the needs of an ever-growing number of practitioners.

Sponsorship is another way of connecting with the activity and intention behind Iron Knot Ranch. Everything we do is made possible by the generosity of like-minded individuals. You may help by sending contributions earmarked for specific projects, or general donations to support the ongoing maintenance of ranch life.

We also welcome skills and experience in sustainability rainwater catchment, gray-water systems, off-the-grid technologies and in fundraising and curriculum development.

We invite you to become part of the Iron Knot mandala.

May all beings benefit!


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