Urban Dharma NC | Events
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upcoming special events

recent special events

Saturday, Oct. 14, Family Matters: Tradition, Transmission, & Translation in Three Movements





Saturday, Oct 14 10am-12 & 2-6pm

In their first ever co-teaching event, Dorlop Dr. Lye & Lama Karma will be offering a day-long Kagyu Lineage program in three movements at Urban Dharma’s new location in downtown Asheville.

Family Matters will begin with transmissions from the Drikung & Karma Kamtsang – in the form of reading-transmissions (Tib. lung) & explanations on two teachings most representative of the respective branches of the Kagyu family. After lunch, the two teachers will engage in a critical discussion of the diversity of traditional notions of lineage, devotion & the student-teacher relationship & how these notions should be translated into our lives as practitioners of the Practice Lineage.

The last movement will offer practical instructions on key aspects of the Kagyu approach to meditation. This late afternoon session takes into account the insights of the day – offering a translation of these ancient & faraway teachings to contemporary lives in these Appalachian mountains.

Saturday, Oct. 7, Generosity, fourth of “The Four Buddha Qualities: A Series of Four Blessings”

10am-Noon, 2-4pm each day of the series
Suggested Donation: $40 members, $50 non-members, per day

Urban Dharma is offering a series of four vajrayana-style blessings (Tibetan: jenang) of four buddha-qualities of compassion, clarity, protection and generosity. These are also the four buddha-figures we have enshrined at our Temple: Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, Tara and Jambhala respectively.


Generosity 10/7  * location change, 77 Walnut St., accessible through gate and walkway by Zambra’s restaurant

Generosity is the gateway to satisfaction and abundance. When we share our presence, time, care, and resources with others, we develop greater capacity for the good to manifest in our lives. Conversely, a clenched fist has no capacity to receive.



In this series, Dr. Lye will utilize the vajrayana ritual-form of “blessing” to present these four sublime qualities – qualities that are both universal and innate to each of us. Although one could attend any of these blessings as a formal transmission to practice the vajrayana practice of deity-yoga, this series will focus more on the “formless” and informal practice of these four sublime qualities in our day to day life, day to day interactions and training of the heart.



Clarity 9/3

The Buddha identified confusion as the source of our suffering. Confusion, however, is merely the clouds that gather and disperse within the vast sky-like nature of our mind. When clouded, our innate clarity becomes inaccessible. The spiritual path, therefore, is simply a continuous commitment and joyful effort in regaining this innate clarity.


Dr. Lye will introduce this principle and practice through the ritual-form of a vajrayana blessing of Manjushri, the Buddha of Clarity. You can take this blessing as a formal transmission for the practice of this buddha-quality, or you can attend to learn about this innate clarity and its relationship to the clouds of confusion that seem to so often overwhelm us.

Moving Forward: A Celebratory Vegetarian Potluck

August 19, 5-9 pm

Join us in celebrating our new future with a vegetarian potluck. News of UD’s next chapter and the exciting work to come will be shared and discussed. All are welcome! Please bring friends and family!



Compassion 8/6

Unbounded compassion is both the means as well as the result of freedom from suffering. When we are finally free, there is nothing but the freedom to care for all with nothing holding us back. And there is no way to be free without daring to care.


Dr. Lye will introduce this principle and practice through the ritual-form of a vajrayana blessing of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion. You can take this blessing as a formal transmission for the practice of this buddha-quality, or you can attend this as an opportunity to simply open your heart to compassion.

His Eminence Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche, Drikung Kagyu Lineage
A weekend of very special practices, June 24-25, 2017
Suggested donation: $35/$55 (members/non)



Meeting the Indestructible Mind: Initiation into the Practice of Vajrasattva
Saturday 6/24, 9:30AM-5:30PM

In the vajrayana-level of Buddha’s teachings, Vajrasattva (Tib. Dorje Sempa, The Indestructible One) is the quintessential embodiment of the awakened state. Vajrasattva is our innate pure nature as well as the great purifier of the temporary stains of confusion and suffering that arise to obscure it. Vajrasattva is also called “The Lord of the Mandala of Peaceful and Wrathful Buddhas ,” and his meditation is the most effective means for uncovering our innate nature by removing all obscurations of negative karma, illness, mental disturbances, and obstacles. 

His Eminence and Dr. Lye will give instructions on the practice of Vajrasattva as well as the “four powers” of purification.


Wrathful Indestructible Conqueror
: Initiation into the Practice of Vajravidarana
Sunday, 6/25 10AM-5:30PM

Vajravidarana (Tib. Dorje Namjom, The Indestructible Conqueror) is one of the “five purifying Buddhas” in vajrayana. He is the wrathful aspect of Vajrasattva, and is practiced specifically to eliminate spiritual contamination and contagion. Vajravidarana’s mantra is one of the key mantras used for cleansing rituals known as “trusöl” – a special ritual for removing emotional defilements, enmities, misfortunes, negative influences arising from planetary influences and spirit disturbances, and all factors against congenial life. After the initiation, His Eminence will also perform the “trusöl” as well as give basic instructions on how to practice this mantra.


H.E. Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche is the future regent of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and the most important teacher of the younger generation of Drikung Kagyu reincarnate-lamas. The origins of his reincarnation-lineage goes back to the time of the founder of the lineage. Tritsab Rinpoche was then the first successor to the founder, Jikten Sumgon (12th century). His last incarnation was responsible for identifying and educating both the current heads of Drikung Kagyu. Following in the footsteps of the great masters of The Practice Lineage, Tritsab Rinpoche completed the traditional 3-year retreat when he was barely 19. Our own Dr. Lye had the great fortune of meeting Rinpoche right as he completed his retreat in 1999.


Since then Tritsab Rinpoche has continued to receive teachings and transmissions of Drikung Kagyu and other lineages while also passing on these transmissions to others. This will be Rinpoche’s first visit to Asheville, his second to the United States.

TOWN HALL MEETINGS -6/20, 6/21, 6/22, at 7 PM

Urban Dharma is at crossroads, and we need your help. Which direction forward Urban Dharma will now choose, lies in our collective heart. We need to hear from yours.


Urban Dharma- Asheville’s only downtown Buddhist temple- provides a sacred space 6 days a week for the public to use for their daily practice, meditation & sanctuary. We have thrived in serving this community for the past 6 years & kept our doors open & programs running due in large part to a hidden subsidy that is no longer available. We face a steep financial shift that will nearly double our expenses & with the renewal of our lease approaching, we have a difficult task ahead. Our spiritual director Dr. Lye is personally committed to staying in our present location and is inviting the community to decide and think anew how to financially support this effort.


Please join us for one of our three town-hall style meetings at the temple where we will present our campaign, “Manifesting Our Future” and provide a forum for sharing and discussion. We want to hear your stories, your reasons, for wanting us to continue our future in this location and this community. As a community, as individuals, what does Urban Dharma mean to you? Please come and share!


Wellness Day – Saturday, June 10

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body -Join us for a day of wellness with Dr. Hun Lye and our Wellness Program teachers. Dr. Lye will give an opening talk entitled, “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body” followed by a two-hour class by our wellness teachers. All levels and abilities are welcome to participate in the dynamic meditative movements of yoga and qigong. Complimentary snacks and tea will be available after class.


Urban Dharma Wellness Event June 10 2017

Giving & Taking
The Tibetan Buddhist Practice of Tonglen

Sundays 5/7, 5/14, 5/21 & 5/28
2:30 – 5 pm



Giving and taking – tonglen – is a Tibetan meditative practice for cultivating compassion for self and others, fearlessness in the face of painful emotions, and clarity of purpose. Over four Sundays, Dr. Lye will guide participants in this practice-oriented program for establishing a daily practice. Studies have shown that maintaining a daily practice of only 18 minutes can help with pain and stress management, increased  communication skills and an overall sense of well-being.

Suggested donation: $100 for all 4 Sundays ($80 for members)

[Although full participation in encouraged, you can choose to attend as many Sundays as you are able to.]

Vajrakilaya Practice Intensive

Friday 2/24, 7-9pm
Saturday 2/25, 9am-6pm & Sunday 2/26, 9am-6pm



Vajrakilaya is the fierce embodiment of the awakened activities of all buddhas. He is renowned for being the most effective practice for destroying the dark fog of confusion and materialism and for overcoming forces hostile to compassion and kindness.


From the website: “Vajrakila, Heruka (Tibetan: dor je phur ba, trag tung. English: Vajra Peg, Blood Drinker). Also known as Vajra Kumara (Vajra Youth) or Vajrakilaya, he is the activity aspect from the set of Eight Herukas (Tib.: ka gye) of the Mahayoga Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and a principal meditational deity for both the Nyingmapa and Sakyapa, later taken up by the Jonang and many of the various Kagyu Traditions. The study of Vajrakila can be divided into three major subjects: (1) the early Nyingma and Sakya Traditions, (2) the later ‘Revealed Treasure’ (Terma) traditions and (3) the Purba Drugse Chempa of the Bon Religion.


“The unique iconographic feature of Vajrakila is the three-sided peg (purba) that is held, pointed downward, with the two principal hands at the heart. Typically Vajrakila has three faces, six hands, four legs and wide outstretched wings behind. He embraces the consort Dipta Chakra who has one face, two hands and two legs.”


In the Tibetan tradition, the days towards the end of a year are considered a time of potential turmoil and unrest, both internally and externally. This is a season when the accumulated negative karma of individuals and communities manifests strongly and traditionally monasteries serve as centers of intensive spiritual practice especially during this period for the benefit of all. It is also a way to begin a new year – a new cycle – by first purifying the negativities of the previous year. This year, the new year – Year of the Fire Rooster – begins on February 27.


NOTE: Pre-registration at is necessary for this intensive, which is only open to those who have received the Vajrakilaya Empowerment. If you do not have this Empowerment, but is interested in participating, please contact us as soon as possible.

What’s Karma Got to Do With It?

January 7, 14, 21 2-5pm
Suggested donation per Saturday: $35 ($25 sustaining members)



“The Buddha’s teaching on karma (literally, “action”) is nothing other than his compassionate explanation of the way things are: our thoughts & actions determine our future, & therefore we ourselves are largely responsible for the way our lives unfold. Yet this supremely useful teaching is often ignored due to the misconceptions about it that abound in popular culture, especially oversimplifications that make it seem like something not to be taken seriously.”


Over three Saturday afternoons, Dr. Lye will unpack this important concept & show how the Buddha’s teachings on karma can help us live good & happy lives for ourselves & for others. Dr. Lye’s often humorous & highly-relatable presentation will help us see how a clear & realistic understanding of the Buddha’s teachings on karma can lead to a transformative way of life despite an overwhelming feeling of living in difficult, challenging & threatening times. It would be most beneficial to attend all three sessions, but you may attend as many as you’re able.

Milarepa’s Songs


On November 12 we will start a very special new program on Milarepa’s Songs. Dr. Lye will be offering a 4-weekend series on these profound vajra-songs by also integrating the teachings with a vajrayāna sadhana (meditation liturgy) – The Guruyoga of Milarepa – arranged by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, the supreme-head of Drikung Kagyu Lineage. Instead of the usual way of practicing the sadhana – which often emphasizes the more ritualistic or liturgical aspects – Dr. Lye will be introducing to participants a more contemplative and experience-based approach to practicing this sadhana.


Milarepa was an 11th-century Buddhist poet and saint, a cotton-clad yogi who avoided the secular and religious institutions of his time and wandered from village to village, teaching enlightenment and the path to Awakening through his spontaneously composed songs. Wherever he went, crowds of people gathered to hear his sweet sounding voice “singing the Dharma.” Milarepa exchanged a life of sin and maliciousness for one of contemplation and love, eventually reaching the ultimate state of Awakening. His thousands of extemporaneously composed songs communicate profound visions in a lyrical, simple, and lucid style. Milarepa is also remembered and honored as a key fore-father of the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu or the “Oral Lineage” or the “Precept Transmission” tradition emphasizes the unbroken transmission of the oral instructions of realized teachers to devoted students who in turn become realized teachers themselves. They are also more known for their great meditators and renunciates rather than their learned scholars.


Schedule for the Series

Saturday, November 12: 10am-Noon & 2-5pm (Teachings & Guided Meditation)

Sunday, November 13: 10am-Noon (Teachings, Guided Meditation & Milarepa’s Feast-offering)

[Suggested donation: $25/$35 sustaining-members/non-members]

Sundays, 2-5pm, November 20, 27 & December 4, (Teachings & Guided Meditation)

[Suggested donation: $15/$30 per Sunday]

September 30 – October 8


Urban Dharma Turns Five


Hop over to the Fifth Anniversary Celebration page by clicking anywhere on this sentence!


Saturday May 21, 2015

3-4:30 pm


Celebrating Vesak!

Commemorating the Holiest Day in the Buddhist Calendar


Bathing Baby Buddha for Vesak wesak2


Vesak/Wesak/Vaishaka or Saka Dawa Düchen (Tibetan) commemorates the birth, awakening & passing away of the Buddha. It is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar, celebrated with the simple but beautiful gesture of bathing the baby Buddha, offering of lanterns, lamps and flowers, and telling of the Buddha’s life-story.


siddhartha&maya maxresdefault


Bring your family – especially younger ones – to Urban Dharma for this joyous celebration. Come for the whole program or drop in for whatever length of time you can.


  hanamatsuri1 wesak



3:00-3:20pm     Seven Branched Worship (chanted in Sanskrit)

3:20-3:40pm     The Story of Siddhartha – the Boy who became Buddha

3:40-4:00pm     Bathing of the Baby Buddha

4:00-4:15pm      Guided Loving-kindness Meditation

4:15-4:30pm      Blessings & Dedication


This celebration is free to attend and open to all. If you can, please bring flower-offerings and/or food to be donated to MANNA, our local food-bank.

Saturday April 30 & Sunday May 1


Generating the Bodhi Mind

A 2-day Bodhisattva Vow Transmission

In the unique Bodhisattva Vow transmission tradition of the Drikung Kagyü Lineage


Khenchen Rinpoché – A Brief Introduction

Rinpoche at UD 2012

Born in the sacred mountain region of Tsari in southern Tibet in 1946, Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoché came to the United States in the early 1980s & established many Buddhist centers around the country, chief among them being the Tibetan Meditation Center, currently in Frederick, Maryland. Khenchen Rinpoché is a teacher with profound insights, a senior monastic-preceptor with impeccable ethical conduct, a skilful meditation teacher, an author of many published books & a translator of many Drikung Kagyu practice-texts, & commentaries on Kagyu meditation practices. It would not be an exaggeration at all to say that it is primarily the hardwork of Khenchen Rinpoché – who spent more than twenty years continuously in the US – that laid the foundation for all the current flourishing of Drikung Kagyu centers in this country. Without Rinpoché, none of this would have been possible. Furthermore, Urban Dharma is most fortunate that Rinpoché is one of our two spiritual advisors and one of the main teachers of our founder and spiritual director. Khenchen Rinpoché’s warmth, simplicity, deep realization & embodiment of the teachings, & superb command of English are well-known among students. [A longer biography of Rinpoché can be found here.]


2016 Program at Urban Dharma

“Generating the Bodhi Mind” – the supreme resolve to attain full awakening for the benefit of all beings – is the formal commitment to living altruistically from this lifetime & into all future lifetimes. It is thus a most profound moment in one’s journey to full awakening, to the state of buddha. The Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in particular has a unique and uncommon tradition of bestowing the relative and ultimate aspects of the Bodhi Mind in a deeply moving and profound 2-day ceremony known as the “Drikung Thuk-kyed Chenmo” (‘bri gung thugs bskyed chen mo, “The Great Drikung Generation of the Noble Mind”), rarely offered in the West. Over these 2 days, Khenchen Rinpoché will share with us his own experience and realization of the Bodhi Mind (bodhicitta) while bestowing on us the Bodhisattva Vow in the distinct tradition of Drikung Kagyu.


Weekend Schedule & Details

The most ideal way to participate in this is to attend both days of the program. Otherwise, it is acceptable to attend just the first day (and not encouraged to only attend the second day).


Saturday 10-Noon & 2:30-5 pm
Transmission & Teachings on Relative Bodhi Mind
On this day, the “Relative Bodhi Mind” (bodhicitta) in its two aspects of aspiration and engagement Bodhi Mind will be taught and transmitted. As the great 8th century Indian Buddhist master Śāntideva taught:
Bodhicitta, the awakened mind
Is known in brief to have two aspects:
First, aspiring, bodhicitta in intention;
Then active bodhicitta, practical engagement
As corresponding to the wish to go
And then to setting out.
Thus on this day, Rinpoché will teach all aspects of understanding, meditation and practical training in relative Bodhi Mind and will also confer the Bodhisattva Vow.


Sunday 10-Noon & 2:30-5 pm
Transmission & Teachings on Ultimate Bodhi Mind
“Absolute Bodhi Mind” is direct insight into the absolute nature of things. It is the realization of the co-emergent nature of mind, the inseparability of emptiness and awareness. This is also expressed as the realization of the empty nature of mind as well as the innate infinite buddha qualities within it, the buddha/awakened state itself. Although the buddha state cannot be given from one to another like a gift, it can be pointed out or introduced to by a qualified and blessed teacher to those with sufficient virtuous karma and devotion. The indispensable virtuous karma here has to be accumulated through the practice of Relative Bodhi Mind. Thus, attendance of the first day of this program is necessary to receive the transmission of the Absolute Bodhi Mind.


Suggested donation: $60 per day (Sustaining Members $40 per day).

Registration is at the door. To pre-register, please click HERE. Door opens at 9:00 am on each day. Space is limited – please arrive no later than 9:30 am each day.

monthly calendar

Click on the individual programs listed on any given day for further information.

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