Latest News

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche Presided over the Auspicious Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava Trikaya Puja, Amitayus Empowerment Puja and Fire Offering Puja to Perfect Completion in Bhutan

On June 20th to 22nd, 2016, upon the sincere invitation of Dorji Family and sentient beings in Bhutan, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche visited Bhutan and presided over the auspicious Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava Trikaya Puja, Amitayus Empowerment Puja and Fire Offering Puja.

Bhutan’s state religion is Tibetan Buddhism; it is also a sacred place where Padmasambhava used to perform retreats.

Bhutan, which has been called “Shangri-La under the Himalayas” and whose state religion is Tibetan Buddhism, is a sacred place where Padmasambhava used to perform retreats. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s performance of earth terma Tantras here, therefore, has great auspicious significance, and the blessings produced are unfathomably powerful.

Before accepting the invitation to go there, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche first asked permission from His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang; only after receiving it did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then proceed to Bhutan to propagate the Dharma. Moreover, he only performed pujas that he had first obtained consent from the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. This was a sign of the incomparable reverence and respect Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has for his guru, as well as his natural ability to exude the rigorousness and humility befitting of a very admirable master practitioner!

As many as 331 people attended the puja, including Khenpo Namdol of the Drikung Kagyu Order, lamas and khenpos of Bhutan’s local Drukpa Kagyu Order, esteemed guests and believers from Bhutan, and disciples and honored guests from Taiwan. The esteemed guests attending the puja included 92-year-old Ms. Ashi Tessla Dorji, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s aunt and wife of former Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Palden Dorji; the Princess of Bhutan, daughter of the third King of Bhutan and younger sister of the fourth King of Bhutan, also Chairwoman of the International Buddhist Association; Bhutanese Ambassador Tobgye S Dorji—also Chairman of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development—and his wife; proprietor of the Gangtey Palace Hotel, which was converted from the palace of the third King of Bhutan; Mr. Dasho Sherub Tenzin, former Cabinet Secretary to the Royal Government of Bhutan; proprietor Aum Thinley Lham of Layrab Choling Monastery in Thimphu, capital city of Bhutan, as well as her daughter Miss Chencho; the Bhutanese delegate to Tibet and his daughter; former Chief Justice of Bhutan; a member of the Old Bumthang Dzong Bhutan royal family and first General Manager of Bhutan Airlines; founder of the Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs; and members of the Dorji family, who invited Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to preside over the pujas in Bhutan.

As the visit coincided with Bhutan’s rainy season, according to the local weather forecast, from June 20th to June 22nd there would be a 90% chance of precipitation; in other words, it would be raining the entire week that the pujas were to be held. Prior to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s arrival, it had been raining non-stop in Bhutan for several days. Astonishingly enough, as soon as the guru arrived, an enormous discrepancy occurred between the actual local weather and what had been forecasted. Originally it was supposed to be raining, but suddenly that transformed to ‘mostly cloudy,’ and for several days before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche left Bhutan, the weather was quite clear and pleasant. In addition, while the pujas were being held, countless unfathomable auspicious signs appeared, showing that these auspicious pujas over which His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had come to preside would benefit sentient beings, that his awe-inspiring powers and great compassion were attuned to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and that the devas, nagas, Dharma protectors, and Dakinis had all come forth to give their support and praise.

A table of Bhutan’s local weather report. A 90% chance of rain had been predicted for the time that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was in Bhutan, but later that changed to a forecast of mostly cloudy skies. (Source: weather.com)

On June 20th, 2016, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over an auspicious Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava Trikaya Puja at Layrab Choling Monastery in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu. Before the puja began, a great bird just like the Garuda circled continuously above the monastery. The rains passed, the clouds dispersed to reveal a cerulean blue sky, and birdsong echoed throughout the valley, bringing joy to the hearts of sentient beings and gratitude at the compassionate arrival of the master practitioner.

Many members of the Dorji family participated in the puja, including the clan’s elderly matriarch (second from the left). She is His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s aunt, as well as sister-in-law to the third Queen of Bhutan.

Before the puja began, a large bird alighted atop a tree, joyously awaiting the master practitioner’s arrival.

Led and escorted by incense burners, musical instruments, and a jeweled parasol, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche walked along the flower-strewn white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols. After stepping up to the mandala, the guru prostrated himself respectfully before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and presented a khata to the wish-granting jeweled Dharma throne of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as an offering to the Buddha, and finally ascended the Dharma throne to bestow precious Dharma teachings upon the attendees:

“This is my first time in Bhutan. I thank the Dorji family for inviting me here to preside over the pujas. Today, the first day of the pujas, I will perform the Trikaya Offering Dharma. Bhutan is a very pretty, serene kingdom, and that should be very favorable for Buddhist cultivation. Those of us from other countries tend to be very busy with multiple engagements, so making a trip to Bhutan is not all that easy. I hope that this visit will have a good effect on this nation, the unity of Buddhism, and the Bhutanese people.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over pujas at Layrab Choling Monastery in Bhutan.

“Why have I chosen today to perform the Trikaya Offering Dharma? After Chukie showed me a photograph of the monastery’s yidams, I felt that this was a very good origination, because the yidams enshrined here are Amitabha and Padmasambhava.

“For human beings, Amitabha Buddha is a very important yidam. Both monastics and lay practitioners can be reborn in the Pure Land if they cultivate the Dharma of Amitabha. The Amitabha Sutra contains a vital line that reads, ‘In order to be reborn in the Pure Land, one must be a good man or woman who has made a vow and is not lacking in good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions.’ The words, ‘not lacking in,’ mean that in this lifetime, such a person never stops cultivating these things. ‘Good fortune’ comes from making offerings and giving alms, while ‘merits’ refer to precepts, meditation, and wisdom, which mean cultivating the Six Paramitas. ‘Good’ means the man or woman is carrying out the Ten Meritorious Acts, which are the root and foundation of all Buddhist practice. After possessing all these conditions, and making a vow, one can be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land.

“The first of the Ten Meritorious Acts is to refrain from killing. I require all of my disciples and believers in Taiwan, Japan, India, and China to eat vegetarian, because only then can they stop taking life. To be reborn in the Pure Land, one absolutely must go vegetarian. For now I won’t expound the other nine Meritorious Acts, but will speak of them sometime when I have a chance. The purpose of today’s performance of Amitabha’s Dharma is to help sentient beings form a very good affinity with the yidam.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Dharma, and compassionately bestowed teachings:

“The first of these two paragraphs includes a prayer to Amitabha Buddha that we may make prostrations before the Buddha without a discriminating mind. The second paragraph is a simple refuge prayer that says that the words and disposition of all the Buddhas are the same as Amitabha Buddha’s, so we are praying to take refuge before the Dharma and the holy ones. Why do we pray to take refuge? It is so that all sentient beings can be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land.

“While participating in a puja, you should give rise to strong cibei, or compassion, and bodhicitta. The word cibei cannot be translated very well into English; in Tibetan and Chinese, ci and bei have two separate meanings that connote different actions. Ci means to exchange your good things for the bad things of others, while bei means you are able to help sentient beings transcend beyond the suffering sea of reincarnation. Cibei—compassion—is the fertile soil in which all the Dharmas grow; without compassion, there is no Buddhism. Bodhicitta can only bear Bodhi seeds and fruit if it has this fertile soil of compassion in which to flourish. There are two types of bodhicitta: Worldly bodhicitta and ultimate bodhicitta. Simply put, bodhicitta is our impetus to learn Buddhism in order to benefit vast numbers of sentient beings. Anyone participating in a puja must give rise to compassion and bodhicitta; if you cannot realize them, it does not matter, but your mindset must include those two things. Compassion and bodhicitta are central to cultivating Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism; unless you have these two outlooks, neither school of Buddhism will have anything to do with you. Though you may not be able to cultivate them yet, you should at least have the intention to do so. Such an intention is the origination of developing compassion and bodhicitta.

After performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed teachings again:

“The section we recited just now is an introduction to Amitabha Buddha’s Dharma appearance. It is a prayer for the Buddha and His Dharmakaya to transform into a lotus, and for Amitabha’s Dharmakaya to radiate with infinite light. We make prostrations and give praise before Amitabha, the Immortal Venerable One. Amitabha used to be the Dharmakara before He attained Buddhahood, and was mighty enough to make five hundred great vows. When we make prostrations to the Pure Land, as long as they are made in earnest and we have heard Amitabha’s sacred name, the Buddha will protect us from an untimely death, and our lifespan, wisdom, good fortune, and merits will increase.

“We prostrate ourselves before the yidam Amitabha, whose Dharmakaya is the color of a ruby, which represents the three-Dharma vest He wears, symbolizing prudence, humility, and being devoid of greed; in other words, it signifies that we should never break the precepts. In His hand is a bowl filled with the nectar of immortality, also known as immortal nectar. We make prostrations to the yidam, praying that He will liberate the suffering sentient beings in the Six Realms.

“This section is to be performed by the guru. I will make an offering of my heart’s red seed-syllable with a mantra-wheel radiating light, to all of the Buddhas while blessing all sentient beings, who are then purified of their karmic hindrances. The sound of the mantra is loud, like thunder, and bursting with intense light. It immerses with the seed-syllable, benefiting all sentient beings. This is a part I will perform; it is enough for you all just to listen.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led all of the attendees in meditation. Then, while performing the Tsok, each of the attendees received offering items that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as the rare and auspicious causal condition to partake food with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas during the puja. After that, the lead ordained disciple made offerings to the guru by reciting Tea Prayer and Rice Prayer. After performing the Dharma for a while, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued his teachings:

“The point of making offerings to Amitabha was to enable all sentient beings and those participating in this puja to form a profound connection with the yidam. As for whether this connection between you and Amitabha Buddha will continue into the future is entirely your choice. A moment ago, we conducted a very important meditation. If you were able to enter a meditative state for even a single second, and if you strive to remember that state of mind, it will be of vital importance to you at the time of your death.

“Next, we will perform the Avalokiteshvara Offering. The Great Six-Syllable Mantra is the essence of all Tantric mantras, and to cultivate it one must first receive empowerment and oral transmission of it from one’s guru; in addition, one must integrate the generation and completion stages into one’s practice. Unless we undergo this learning process, we are simply mouthing this mantra with our greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt; as such, it will be useless. One of the Vajrayana pith instructions tells us that while chanting mantras, we can integrate the generation and completion stages, meditate, and cultivate diligently, then we will be able to become liberated in body, speech, and mind; and that if this fails, then it means Vajradhara was a liar. In other words, therefore, by cultivating in this manner we can definitely achieve liberation in this lifetime.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led all attendees in reciting Refuge Prayer and instructed the translator to explain the text of the prayer to believers. Just then, a local believer attending the puja started playing with his mobile phone. The guru immediately scolded him, told him to stop, and then bestowed teachings:

“The reverence you should bring with you when participating in a puja is not for me, but for the yidam, the Bodhisattvas, and the Dharma protectors. If you think you are here attending a party, then you should stay away. If I see others playing with their mobiles, I’ll ask them to leave. I have 1,500 disciples, six Buddhist centers, thirteen companies, and more than 130 employees—but I have never used a smartphone. Therefore, if you use your iPhone during a puja, it means you have not come here to learn Buddhism. The fact that I don’t use an iPhone means I don’t need one. My hope is that all of you will respect Buddhism and the Three Jewels. The reason I am speaking with such a serious tone today is that this has been my way over the past thirty years of propagating the Dharma. If the Bhutanese believers present don’t like this style, you don’t have to invite me back.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed teachings to Bhutanese believers in English:

“I did not come here for a holiday; Buddhism is my profession. As a Buddhist I come here to let more people understand how important Buddhism is. I am very happy to be here, because Bhutan is a Buddhist country. As you are Bhutanese, you should respect Buddhism more than we do. So I hope I won’t see anybody attending pujas playing with their iPhones, talking to their children, just like enjoying a picnic. It is better for such people not to come. I have no lack of disciples, and many people come to see me every day. So if you don’t feel happy and think I am too serious, I apologize, but I learned to teach this way from Buddhist textbooks, Shakyamuni, and my guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, so I cannot change it. I am sorry.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the Dharma and led all attendees in chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra.

Despite it being the middle of Bhutan’s rainy season, as soon as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began performing the Dharma, sunlight shone down from right above the monastery’s position in the center of the valley, in contrast to the surrounding mountains that were still draped in thick, black clouds. While Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, the wind picked up, and his compassionate Dharma voice rose and fell on the breeze, filling the void and bountifully benefitting all sentient beings.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued bestowing teachings:

“Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara represents all compassion. A moment ago I might have seemed rather strict while reprimanding that believer, but actually, I was doing it out of compassion. Any guru who does not understand cause and effect is not qualified to ascend the Dharma throne to preside over a puja. Every second spent participating in a puja is very important and precious for our future lives; it is written in every Dharma text that while in attendance a puja, we must not allow our bodies or minds to grow lax.

“We must be respectful toward the Three Jewels. Respect represents offerings, which are prerequisite for accumulating good fortune, which in turn is necessary in order to learn and practice Buddhism and change your future lives. All good fortune begins with respect. If you do not believe that you have to be respectful when participating in a puja, then that means you are subject to ignorance, one of the three poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Although you have participated in a puja, your disbelief in cause and effect will cause you to have a chance of falling into the Animal Realm in your next lifetime. In other words, your lack of respect while participating in this puja will cause you to turn into a pet, for you possess some good fortune.

“Next, we will perform the Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava was even stricter than I am; as you can see, his appearance is much sterner than mine. This is because Padmasambhava knew that otherwise, sentient beings would not fear him, and therefore not respect him. If they did not respect him, they would not listen to the Dharma or have faith in Buddhism. Thus, while I am performing this ritual, you all should all be reverent toward Padmasambhava. For practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava is an extremely important guru; had he not journeyed to Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism would not exist. Ever since then, Padmasambhava’s good fortune and merits have protected this land—including Bhutan. You all therefore should treat Padmasambhava with great respect.”

While performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s pupils showed auspicious transformations—a ring of black surrounded by a transparent one, encircled by another ring of black—looking exactly like the Padmasambhava behind him. All of the attendees were full of admiration.

After completing the ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in chanting the Padmasambhava Mantra. The guru’s compassionate Dharma voice accompanied the crisp ringing of the bell, echoing magnificently around the mountain valley. While performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s appearance changed into the solemn and mighty visage of Padmasambhava; his pupils showed auspicious transformations—a ring of black surrounded by a transparent one, encircled by another ring of black—looking exactly like the mighty Padmasambhava himself, blessing sentient beings with boundless compassion. Upon seeing this auspicious transformation, all of the attendees were deeply moved and full of admiration.

The seats outside the monastery were filled with Bhutanese believers and Glorious Jewel disciples, all participating in the puja together.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the lead ordained disciple to lead everyone in Dedication Prayers, and performed the Dharma Protector Achi Ritual. He then continued to bestow teachings:

“Today’s puja has come to a perfect completion. I thank you all for your participation; without it, I would not have had the causal condition to benefit sentient beings. Therefore, today you have all taken part in a virtuous collective karma. I hope that the good that comes from it will continue to expand exponentially, benefiting even more sentient beings. It is also my hope that all monastics here will have sufficient resources for practicing and be able to achieve attainment in this lifetime. In addition, I hope all of Bhutan’s believers can live in harmony under the protection of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gurus, and Dharma protectors, and that they can all be reborn in the Pure Land after this lifetime. Thank you, everyone.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche blessing the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s aunt (wearing yellow) after the perfect completion of the puja.

After the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche walked out of the monastery. One after another, local believers approached to pay their respects by presenting khatas, imploring for blessings, and expressing their utmost gratitude and joy.

After the conclusion of the morning’s puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, whose every thought is for the benefit of sentient beings, continued to prepare for the following day’s empowerment puja by performing the preliminary Dharma. Upon its perfect completion, the guru headed to the dining hall to eat. Everywhere Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went, believers flocked to him to implore for blessings. In addition to the monastics and believers who had participated in the puja, those present included hotel managers, chamberlains, concierges, cooks, musicians, and entry-level employees, and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately bestowed blessings upon them all, one at a time.

Everywhere Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went, Bhutanese believers earnestly implored for blessings.

At 3:00 in the afternoon, in response to an invitation by the local nobility, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche proceeded to Zangto Pelri Lhakang Temple where he performed the Dharma.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully paid homage to Padmasambhava in the Zangto Pelri Lhakhang Temple.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and performed the puja in the Zangto Pelri Lhakhang Temple

Inside the temple, Padmasambhava’s Dharma images were everywhere. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne to chant the Vajrasattva Mantra. Afterward, the guru bestowed precious teachings:

“Each of these yidams here inside this temple is an emanation of Padmasambhava. The ritual I just performed is called the Vajrasattva, which is an extremely important yidam within Vajrayana Buddhism. Vajrayana practitioners wishing to achieve attainment must master the Vajrasattva and chant the Hundred-Syllable Mantra a hundred thousand times to perfect completion. Chanting this mantra once is the equivalent of chanting the mantras of a hundred thousand Buddhas. Anyone who breaks the Samaya Commandments cannot be saved even through repentance, except by way of the Vajrasattva Dharma method. Receiving this invitation by believers to come to this temple and see how solemn it is has made me very happy; it shows that the Lineage Guru here teaches the Dharma very strictly. I urge you all to continue adhering to your Lineage Guru’s rigorous attitude toward Buddhism, and keep practicing diligently.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche tirelessly bestowing blessings upon the Bhutanese believers.

Before leaving the temple, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spent quite a while bestowing special blessings upon its monastics. After the guru walked outside, a crowd of local believers immediately and reverently approached to implore for blessings. One by one, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately blessed them for a long time, and accepted their offered khatas.

On June 21st, 2016, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued his schedule by presiding over the auspicious Amitayus and Empowerment Puja at Layrab Choling Monastery in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu. After compassionately bestowing the Amitayus Empowerment in the morning, the guru went on to perform the Amitayus Dharma in the afternoon. On the day of the puja, a torrential rain began to fall on the city center, as well as the puja venue; the ground was muddy and strewn with puddles. Shortly before the puja began, however, the downpour suddenly stopped and the sun came out. While the attendees were reverently welcoming Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, four or five large, black birds flew over from the forest next to the monastery and perched on a branch nearby, completely unafraid of the people present. They were like emanations of the great golden-winged Garuda, quietly and respectfully awaiting His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s arrival, and by the time the guru got there, all of the puddles on the ground had gradually dried up.

Despite it being the rainy season in Bhutan, the weather suddenly cleared while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was there to propagate the Dharma.

Disciples lining up to welcome His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

The Princess of Bhutan, Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck (center), attending the puja.

Led and escorted by incense burners, musical instruments, and a jeweled parasol, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche walked along the flower-strewn white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols. After stepping up to the mandala, the guru prostrated himself respectfully before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and presented a khata to the wish-granting jeweled Dharma throne of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as an offering to the Buddha. Before performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon the attendees:

“Today we will be performing the Amitayus Empowerment. Its Dharma text was transmitted from the lineage of Ushnisha Machig Drubpejema. Amitayus is Amitabha’s Sambhogakaya; if you cultivate along the Vajrayana and Bodhisattva Paths, the Sambhogakaya will bless and help you. To have been reborn in this lifetime as a human, able to practice Buddhism, you must have cultivated the Ten Meritorious Acts in a previous life. However, after being born in this lifetime, all the evil acts you’ve committed in body, speech, and mind have done damage to your longevity. To put it more simply, if you do not keep the Five Precepts and adhere to the Ten Meritorious Acts in this lifetime, then you will cut short your original lifespan.

“Where does this lifetime’s longevity come from? In Buddhism it is said that longevity is one part of one’s good fortune, while the other part is wealth. The definition of wealth is not how much money you have; rather, it refers to the amount of material goods you have to use in this lifetime. In the sutras, Shakyamuni Buddha talked about the ways in which human life can end. One is dying with longevity but no wealth; another is dying with wealth but no longevity. Yet another is passing away while having both longevity and wealth, and the last is dying with neither.

“Both dying with longevity but no wealth or with wealth but no longevity are referred to in the sutras as ‘dying an untimely death.’ The main point of the Dharma being performed today is to prevent these from happening. Those who die with both wealth and longevity have committed many evil acts in this lifetime. In the Avatamsaka Sutra it is written that people who scheme to harm others for their own gain all the time will not be allowed by the Heaven Realm to continue existing in this world.

“For people who have already made a firm resolution to become liberated from reincarnation in this lifetime, the Amitayus yidam brings great blessings and is very helpful. Besides good fortune, our longevity also depends on our earth, wind, water, and fire. We are born with these four elements, and we use them continuously throughout our lives. As soon as they fall out of harmony, we will grow ill. Another purpose of the Dharma being performed today is to help you replenish your four elements. All of your actions of body, speech, and mind consume these elements, so you must regain and balance them. If you are unhealthy, then learning and practicing Buddhism is impossible.

“Not only do the four elements in our bodies need to be replenished, but so does our consciousness. Some people love to indulge in flights of fancy, including those who like using computers and iPhones so much these days. Such devices diminish our ability to concentrate, and consume our consciousness very quickly. In modern times, more and more people in other countries suffer from mental illnesses, especially in developed nations. This is because they indulge their consciousness by losing themselves in greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt; as such, their consciousness is consumed very quickly, which causes them to develop psychological disorders.

“If you have come to participate in today’s puja with a compassionate, repentant mindset, a resolve to become liberated from reincarnation in this lifetime, and respect for the Three Jewels, then this empowerment will certainly be of use to you. What does ‘empowerment’ mean? It is based on an ancient Indian tradition. Back then, whenever a king wanted to pass his crown on to a prince to become the country’s future monarch, a precious, treasured vase filled with purified water would be used. The water was then poured from the top of the prince’s head, indicating that the lineage had been passed on to him. Thus, ‘empowerment’ means that after you are empowered, the yidam has given you the authority to practice this Dharma. Someone is sure to ask, ‘So can I chant this mantra even if I’m not empowered?’ Of course you may, but you will not achieve attainment in it, because the yidam has not given you the authority to do so. It would be like a student wishing to go to school: He or she needs to register first, right? The teachers cannot begin to teach that student until they know who he or she is.

“Another implication of empowerment is that by being empowered by the yidam and the guru, your body, speech, and mind are purified. This means that after you receive the empowerment, such defilements as greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt will leave you, revealing your original, pure nature. Whether you are learning Buddhism, practicing, or receiving an empowerment, you need a pure Buddha nature in order to receive blessings; only then will they be effective.

“This section I was just explaining counts as the preliminary practice. In contemporary terms, the preliminary practice includes any preparations that we must thoroughly complete before doing anything else. In Buddhism, what are we practicing? We are practicing how to amend our minds. If you understand how to amend your minds while attending this puja, then merits will appear for you. Only if you participate in the puja with this sort of motive can you truly receive the blessings of the yidam, the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the guru, and only then will the puja be beneficial to you. I hope that these teachings will help.”

Always thinking about how to benefit sentient beings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma tirelessly.

After performing the ritual, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow teachings:

“The four lines I recited just now said that we must form an aspiration, but what sort of aspiration should we form? We should aspire to develop bodhicitta. Though we say you are the ones who have come to participate in today’s puja, it is actually the sentient beings in the Six Realms that have had connections with you over the course of your past lives; they can also benefit from your attendance. This includes the ones in the Six Realms. This is the giving of Dharma. What is the purpose of the merits produced by participating in today’s almsgiving? It is the hope that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood. This is the Bodhisattva Path. In other words, we are using our time today to come here and participate in this puja, and the merits we obtain from this act of almsgiving are not for the fulfilment of our own selfish desires; rather, they are for all sentient beings—and not simply so that they can benefit in this lifetime, but so that they can attain Buddhahood in the future. This is the true spirit of Vajrayana Buddhism.

“These next four lines I am about to recite concern kindness, compassion, joy, and giving, which are very important and vital to achieve for all practitioners. It is written in the Diamond Sutra that those cultivating the Bodhisattva Path must break free of the notions of four forms, which are humanity, sentient beings, self, and time. How is this done? In the Ratnakuta Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said that it is done by cultivating kindness, compassion, joy, and giving. This preliminary practice is the fundamental concept of the entire Vajrayana Vehicle.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said modestly, “From the perspective of my limited experience in cultivation, it could take more than a year to explain these eight lines, so today I have just given you a brief overview.

Bhutanese honored guest offering the mandala and imploring for the Dharma.

After performing the Dharma for a time, the ritual of mandala offering was conducted. The Khenpo representing and leading the monastics from Bhutan and the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, and local esteemed guests offered the mandala to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and implored for the Dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued his teachings after performing the ritual:

“You should visualize your flesh, blood, temperature, qi, and consciousness as being in the five realms. Your lifespan’s consumption, dispersion, destruction, warping, splitting, breaking, and theft by demons can be blessed by the essence from elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and void, as well as all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gurus, yidams, Dakinis, Dharma protectors, and so on.

“The line, ‘Longevity depends on the control of bindus,’ means you cannot dictate your longevity; it is decided by the karma you have created throughout your past lives. These words refer to the fact that if you hope to live longer, then achieving mastery in the Amitayus will allow you to do so. The point of living a long life is not so that you can enjoy power and wealth; rather, it is to benefit sentient beings and yourself. What does ‘the control of bindus’ for longevity mean? The body of every sentient being is formed from the essence of one’s father combined with the blood of one’s mother. These two bindus—one white, the other red—begin to be used and consumed continuously as soon as you are born. Once you have exhausted your red and white bindus, you will die. The ‘control of bindus’ here means that by cultivating the Amitayus, one can gain control over one’s red and white bindus and keep from consuming them so quickly, or even stop consuming them altogether. This is Tantra, and will not be transmitted today, but if you want to age slowly, this is what you must learn.

“The essence from the combined forces of the longevity, good fortune, wealth, life, health, powers, and qi of all sentient beings in the Six Realms is collected together and assimilated into longevity objects; namely, longevity pills and longevity wine. Many gurus, when performing this Dharma, do not explain this part, but it is very important. After I have finished telling you about it, whether or not you are able to succeed in it is not important; the important thing is that you have planted a seed in your Eighth Consciousness.”

The Princess of Bhutan (first from the left), another of the puja’s esteemed guests, is the youngest aunt of the current king and Chairwoman of the International Buddhist Association.

Performing the Amitayus Puja will help sentient beings increase their longevity and wealth, as well as accumulate resources for practicing Buddhism.

After telling the attendees to sit up straight, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “If you slouch, your central channel of the body will be blocked; only if it is straightened out can these blessings enter you.” He continued to perform the ritual and spoke about visualization, and then descended the Dharma throne to personally bestow blessings upon all of the honored guests, believers, and disciples in the venue using the treasured vase. The Bhutanese believers and disciples all knelt to implore for the guru’s compassionate blessings.

As the sun illuminated the earth, the rain puddles that had accumulated in the temple courtyard completely dried up. This was in stark contrast to what had been predicted in the local weather report, and was an auspicious sign resulting from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s performing the Dharma with his boundless auspicious compassion and bodhicitta, as well as the fact that all of the heavenly beings and Dharma protectors had come to bestow blessings. All of the attendees were moved to tears. As the puja proceeded, birdsong continued within the temple unabated as sparrows flocked to chirp happily. All of these sentient beings were filled with joy and grateful praise because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had come here to perform the Dharma.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led all of the attendees in chanting the Amitayus Mantra. Then, while performing the Tsok, each of the attendees received offering food that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as the rare and auspicious causal condition to partake food with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas during the puja.

All of the attendees joyfully eating the offering food that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued the ritual and instructed the attendees to recite the Dharma text three times.

“You have spoken this promise, but whether or not you keep it is up to you. If you don’t, you will not be punished; neither the yidam nor your guru would punish you. It just means that you will face a lot of hindrances to achieving attainment in your future cultivation. This morning’s empowerment is complete; this afternoon I will perform the Amitayus.”

The Princess of Bhutan reverently listening to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma teachings.

After the completion of the puja in the morning, Bhutanese honored guests and believers presented khatas to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to show their gratitude.

The temple host imploring Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to light lamps.

At 2:30 in the afternoon, led and escorted by incense burners, musical instruments, and a jeweled parasol, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche walked along the flower-strewn white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols. After stepping up to the mandala, the guru prostrated himself respectfully before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and presented a khata to the wish-granting jeweled Dharma throne of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as an offering to the Buddha, and ascended the Dharma throne.

The Amitayus Puja lasted all day. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once again ascended the Dharma throne.

As soon as the puja began, Ms. Dorji, who had invited Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to Bhutan to preside over this puja, addressed the attendees:

“Good afternoon, everyone. This year is very auspicious, because it not only commemorates Padmasambhava’s birth, but the King of Bhutan has seen his first prince be born this year, and it also marks the four hundredth year since the founding of the Drukpa Kagyu Order and its leadership in this country. For these reasons, our entire nation celebrates, and we also thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for coming to Bhutan!”

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said:

“Over the course of this puja, the host at the temple and the hotel specially got out his family’s precious relic—one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teeth—and implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to bless it, thereby helping the puja attendees to form a causal connection. This tooth was presented to the mother of the temple’s and hotel’s host by the third King’s queen during the monastery’s consecration, and the family had kept it safe for a very long time.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave instructions for a recitation of the Sutra of Recollection of the Three Jewels to be done in Tibetan by the Khenpo and in Chinese by the Glorious Jewel monastics.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche first performed the short mandala offering to the Buddha’s tooth sarira, and gave instructions for a recitation of the Sutra of Recollection of the Three Jewels to be done in Tibetan by the Khenpo and in Chinese by the Glorious Jewel monastics. Also as an offering to Shakyamuni Buddha, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself chanted the Amitayus Heart Mantra, and bestowed blessings upon the host of the Buddha’s tooth. When the guru began to chant the mantra offering, the dense, dark clouds that had been above the monastery suddenly cleared, allowing brilliant, warm sunlight to shine down. In addition, in a ring around the sun was an auspicious rainbow.

As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to chant the mantra offering, the clouds above the monastery dispersed to reveal the sun, which was surrounded by an auspicious rainbow.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began performing the Amitayus Puja and bestowed teachings:

“The prayer recited for you just now includes a supplication for blessings for the Buddhist activities of the guru and the yidam: May the guru live longer so that his auspicious activities will succeed, and may all disasters and troubles that would cause the presiding guru, his benefactors, and disciples an untimely death and so on be eliminated. May all Dharma activities go as planned, all hindrances to cultivation disappear, and all of the myriad sentient beings be liberated. These blessings can prevent us from suffering an untimely death, the eight major forms of disaster, and sixteen calamities, so that we can live in a peaceful world devoid of drought, war, and so on, without planting any evil causes, which include hindrances to our Buddhist practice and having too much money or power. Practice is also very difficult for people who are overly busy.

“May these blessings eliminate all adverse conditions. In fact, my cultivation is never influenced by them; the causal conditions that can hinder your practice are known as ‘adverse conditions.’ What are they? For example: If you originally promised your guru you would conduct a retreat, but suddenly your wife told you not to; or if your business suddenly went south—both of these can be called adverse conditions. Nothing has ever been able to hinder any of the twelve retreats I have completed. For monastics, adverse conditions include being afraid of not having benefactors and therefore not practicing diligently in accordance with the Dharma. You should all learn to persevere in cultivation the way the Venerable Milarepa did. May our longevity and wealth continuously grow, like the moon in its first quarter, until finally we can achieve the fruition of the Buddha of Infinite Light. Before that, may Amitayus always be our yidam through lifetime after lifetime, and may we never stop praying for blessings. Also, may both stages be blessed—good fortune and wisdom, as well as our Buddhist activities—so that we may succeed without hindrance.”

Then, while performing the Tsok, each of the attendees received offering items that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as the rare and auspicious causal condition to partake food with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas during the puja.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recited the Repentance Prayers and said:

“You should repent for not wanting to participate in any more pujas. Your minds are clouded by fundamental darkness, whether due to your own actions or because you have told others to do as you do. For example, you snack during the puja while telling people that they should eat, too; you have fun playing with your cell phone and asking others to play with you; you wish to leave in the middle of the puja, so you try to get others to leave with you—for all such behavior, you should pray for the yidam’s forgiveness.

“My ability to perform the Dharma so quickly is not due to my familiarity with it, but rather that whenever I’m at a puja, I do not have any distracting thoughts, so am able to perform the ritual from within a pure state of samadhi. Because I am not doing it for fame or profit, my Buddha nature is naturally revealed in my performance. It also has to do with my breathing technique. I began eating vegetarian when I was thirty-six years old; now I am sixty-nine, yet am still relatively healthy. In Vajrayana terms, anyone able to master the Anuttarayogatantra can chant mantras quickly. I probably only take one breath for every twenty of yours, so that saves a lot of time. Meat-eaters chant more slowly than others. You can go home and experiment to see how many mantra lines you can chant within a single breath. There is a method called ‘vajra chanting,’ which requires a calm and focused mind while chanting.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presently demonstrated ‘vajra chanting’ of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra.

“I am very happy to be able to preside over pujas for two days straight here in Bhutan. This is the nation of the Drukpa Kagyu Lineage, whereas my lineage is the Drikung Kagyu; however, both originated with Phagmodrupa; both are Kagyu. A few years ago, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang instructed me to give support to a Phagmodrupa monastery in Tibet by renovating its Buddha statues. Phagmodrupa is our guru, for all of us. I once made an offering of a statue of him, which is why I obtained the causal condition to preside over this puja in Drukpa lands today. It’s like I said yesterday morning—this is Buddhist unity; it is a very good omen.

“I would like to give special thanks to the Dorji family for their invitation. Without it, I would not have been able to come here. My cultivation does not involve trying to exploit conditions; I only go someplace if the causal condition exists. I believe that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and gurus are all very happy that this puja could be held.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the statue of Amitayus performed in the day’s puja to the Dorji family, who had invited him there. After compassionately asking questions of their children, and bestowing blessings upon them, the guru led everyone in dedication prayers, Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land, and Dharma Protector Achi Prayer, as well as bestowed longevity pills and wine upon all of the attendees before resuming his teachings:

“All of the English versions of today’s Dharma next need to be handed back in. Unless you are able to eat vegetarian for the rest of your lives, you won’t be able to cultivate the Amitayus anyway. One of the believers present has begun eating vegetarian, so he may take his Dharma text home with him.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked him about it, and he replied that he had indeed stopped eating meat recently.

“Shakyamuni Buddha once said that eating meat stops the seeds of compassion from growing. There may be mention in the sutras of eating thrice-purified meat, or meat that has been purified five or even nine times, but there are prerequisites for that: It can only be done at a location in which not even a blade of grass can grow. The most direct consequence of continuously harming sentient beings is that you are sure to have poor health. I am already sixty-nine years old, but I have no high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or cholesterol-clogged arteries. My knees are still strong enough that I can perform the Dharma for this long. All of this is essentially because I eat vegetarian.

“In forming this connection with you all today, it is my hope that you will listen to the words of Shakyamuni Buddha and stop harming sentient beings. If you can eat vegetarian, then you may keep your copy of this Dharma text. If you cannot, then please return it; you will merely have formed a connection with Amitayus, and won’t be able to achieve attainment in this Dharma method. All of the prayers written in this text can be achieved. Today we have had the causal condition to see a sarira—one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teeth. It is written in the Ratnakuta Sutra that Shakyamuni Buddha said such relics are passed down so that sentient beings can form connections. They are not to be worshiped; worshiping a sarira of the Buddha does not produce nearly as many merits as even just listening to a single line of teachings from a guru who practices in accordance with the Dharma.”

The temple host got out a precious sarira—one of the Buddha’s teeth—and implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to bless it.

“Today, it is a very good thing that the temple host has provided us all with a wonderful opportunity to form a connection between us all and this sarira, the Buddha’s tooth. I hope the host wouldn’t mind allowing everyone here to approach so that they can pay tribute to such a magnificent relic.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the host whether or not it was okay for the believers outside to come in and view the sarira. After he agreed, the guru told the attendees that they may enter the temple to pay their respects, and granted the host ten packages of vajra knots of Ushnisha Sitatapatra, each containing a pair of nectar pills.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sought consent from the host to allow the attendees to enter the temple so that they could pay their respects to this sarira of Shakyamuni Buddha.

“My teachings are very strict, but they are for your own good. My guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, has said that my strict approach is in line with the teaching style of ancient Tibet. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang once joked that when he was little, whenever his teachers made prostrations before him, he would immediately turn and run, because it meant the teachers were going to beat him. In continuing the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s lineage, I have naturally taught my disciples according to the same style. It is relatively hard on a guru, but ultimately very beneficial for the disciples’ and believers’ future. Therefore, I maintain the teaching methods of Shakyamuni Buddha and Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava conducted retreats here in the past, and he was also very strict; for this reason, I am convinced that Bhutanese teachings are very strict as well. I hope you all can obtain blessings and help from the Dharma so that your future lives are full of happiness. Thank you, everyone.”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the attendees all stood with their palms clasped to express their gratitude in unison to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as he descended the Dharma throne. Outside the temple, thanking the guru for having compassionately bestowed blessings and performed the Dharma, local believers pressed forward to respectfully present khatas. These Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche accepted graciously while bestowing blessings upon the believers, one at a time.

After the puja, the Princess of Bhutan Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and presented a Khata.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately blessing the Princess of Bhutan Ashi Kesang WangmoWangchuck.

Before leaving the temple, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spent quite a while bestowing special blessings upon its monastics. After the guru walked outside, a crowd of local believers immediately and reverently approached to implore for blessings. One by one, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately blessed them for a long time, and accepted their offered khatas.

On June 22nd, 2016, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the auspicious Acalanatha Fire Puja at the former Gangtey Palace. The venue was generously provided by the Gangtey Palace Hotel, which is owned by the Dorji family and was converted from the imperial palace of the third King of Bhutan.

It had been hot and sunny that day, but as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche arrived at the location in which the Fire Offering was to be performed, an enormous halo appeared around the sun, radiating outward like iridescent pedals. Before the puja began, three large, black birds circled in the air above the venue, where they remained during the puja for a very long time.

Clouds gathered quickly from all directions, surging densely into the shapes of dragons. Golden light shone all around, spilling luminously through gaps in the clouds, its warmth blending with a refreshing breeze that carried it slowly into the puja venue. Cooled by the breeze, none of the attending believers and disciples felt hot anymore. Meanwhile, the large cloud-dragon continued to rise into the air above the Fire Offering Puja until it was over.

As the Fire Offering Puja began, thunder resounded five times through the heavens, and once again upon the puja’s perfect completion. The rumbling sound was very deep, an indication that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were so moved by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s boundless compassion that They had appeared.

When the puja began, the sky was alive with the sound of thunder resounding five times, and once Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had performed the Fire Offering to a perfect completion, thunder again rumbled once deeply through the heavens from far away. All who heard were awed, thinking it sounded like ten thousand galloping horses or a group of excited dragons. This showed that Acalanatha had arrived. All of these signaled the Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ praises to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s infinite compassion and numerous Buddhist activities that had benefited so many sentient beings.

Local Bhutanese lamas and believers lining up to welcome His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and continued bestowing teachings:

“I will be performing a Tibetan Buddhist Fire Offering for sentient beings here in the Gangtey Palace gardens. It is written in the Buddhist Canon that fire offerings are divided into three mandalas of varying sizes. The one being held today is the fire offering of the large mandala. Fire offerings include four Dharmas—subduing, placating, increasing, and vanquishing—and today I will be performing the fire offering of subduing.

“The Dharma method of subduing can rid sentient beings of hindrances to their cultivation. Anyone participating in this ritual who is sufficiently respectful toward the Three Jewels can avoid all disasters and illnesses. If one performs the fire offering of subduing a lot, then over time he or she can help places achieve harmony, escape natural disasters, and even avoid war. Some people might say the fire offering was transmitted to Tibet from India, but that is not completely accurate, because in Buddhism all sorts of methods can be used to make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The special characteristic of the fire offering is to supplicate the yidam to approach the mandala,

“The special characteristic of the fire offering is that it involves imploring the yidam to approach the mandala, as well as fire deities and Dakinis, so that by way of this medium we can make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the Ten Directions and give alms to all sentient beings. In this ritual, various offering items are tossed into the mandala as offerings, each of which has its own special significance and function. Some offering items are used to reduce suffering caused by illness, while others can help us increase our wealth.

“The yidam we are imploring today is Acalanatha, whose head-Buddha is Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. If you have not mastered the Dharma of Avalokiteshvara, then you will not be successful in imploring Acalanatha. Acalanatha is the leader of the Eight Great Wisdom Kings. His body is black and blue, and on his face is a wrathful expression. In his right hand he holds a sword, raised high. In his left hand is a rope made of silver and gold, at the end of which are two hooks. The sword represents the Buddha’s wisdom, which is as sharp as a fine-edged blade and can cut away our afflictions. The hooked rope symbolizes the Buddha’s ability to bring us back from our hindrances of affliction and knowledge so that we can receive the Dharma.

“In the Drikung Kagyu Order, Acalanatha’s form is one of kneeling down on his left knee, but not his right. On both his legs are pressing down the demons of affliction, death, the heavens, and illness. This means that by cultivating this yidam, we can subdue all four of these demons, thereby lessening any hindrances to our practice. This is why we are praying to Acalanatha as our main yidam during today’s fire offering.

“In Tibetan Buddhism, upon completing a three-year retreat and mastering the Anuttarayogatantra, a practitioner typically will perform a fire offering in the hope that from then on it will help him to accumulate resources, merits, and good fortune more rapidly to benefit sentient beings. Unless one has completed such a retreat, it is impossible to perform a fire offering for ordinary believers and disciples. Moreover, any presiding guru of the Kagyu Order must at least master the Simplicity Yoga of Mahamudra, , and must also have completed a retreat in the Dharma methods of subduing, placating, increasing, and vanquishing. Once a practitioner has attained the wisdom of Emptiness, he can benefit sentient beings by performing this fire offering. Without these conditions, a practitioner is merely burning some objects.”

After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had finished bestowing teachings, the attendants assisted him in donning Dharma vestments weighing several kilograms because they were decorated with bones, as well as a Dharma hat. Thus clothed, the guru continued to perform the Dharma tirelessly, despite the heat of the day. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “This location is a perfect choice for performing today’s puja. While sitting in this Dharma throne, I am facing a temple, and below is a mountain valley containing a river. This is an extremely auspicious place.”

Wearing Dharma vestments and a hat, both decorated with bones with weight of several kilograms, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the puja tirelessly, despite the heat of the day.

“While performing the ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continuously manifested a wrathful appearance, looking both fierce and stately at the same time. It was extremely auspicious. Next, the guru descended the Dharma throne to approach the fire offering mandala, where he placed some Kusha-grass. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “The purpose of this part was to cleanse this mandala and to respectfully welcome the fire deities to sit in the center of it and accept sentient beings’ offerings.”

While conducting the ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately bestowed upon the attendees offering items that had previously been blessed so that the local esteemed guests, believers, and disciples could toss them into the mandala themselves as offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and alms for sentient beings. The guru continued performing the Dharma for several hours, constantly chanting mantras and blessing all sorts of offering items, which he placed on the attendees’ plates about five thousand times in rapid succession.

The vestments worn by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche while performing the fire offering ritual were decorated with bones and looked very dignified. Each bone decoration had been cut very precisely and was extremely sharp. Each time the guru reached forward to bestow offering items upon the attendees, the pointed corners of the bones would prick his flesh, and after more than five thousand times of this, his skin was completely red. Despite being sixty-nine years of age and lacking cartilage in his right shoulder, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continuously chanted mantras, performed visualizations, recited from the Dharma text, and blessed offering items, which he put in the plates held by more than one hundred and fifty attendees. It is difficult to imagine how physically draining this repetitive action must have been. Exhausting his strength for the benefit of sentient beings, the guru exhibited the great auspicious bodhicitta of a Vajrayana Tantric practitioner. This Mahasiddha’s aspiration to help sentient beings was absolutely amazing, and even Heaven and Earth were moved!

The attendees tossed offerings items that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche into the fire offering mandala as offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and alms for sentient beings.

So that all attendees could receive their offering items in a timely manner, and constantly caring for each person’s pace and situation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continuously used his eyes to bestow blessings upon sentient beings. More than a hundred and fifty Bhutanese believers—men and women, old and young—held out their plates respectfully, constantly chanting mantras in gratitude to the guru. For many of them, this was their first time participating in a fire offering. However, thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious blessings, all received their offering items in an organized fashion, smiling and filled with a profound joy, gratitude, and praise.

The mandala’s flames transformed continuously into all sorts of auspicious signs, emitting a booming sound as they burned fiercely.

During the ritual, the mandala’s flames flickered and danced, at times a meter high, looking as though the fire deities had come down to make an appearance. The fire transformed continuously into all sorts of auspicious signs, emitting a booming sound as they burned fiercely. When the puja was over, all of the esteemed Bhutanese guests voiced their praise and joyous, overflowing gratitude together in Chinese: “We thank you, Rinpoche!” Next, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in a recitation of the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land. The guru’s compassionate voice echoed across the entire mountain valley, blessing countless sentient beings all around.

Upon the perfect completion of the Fire Offering Puja, without taking a break, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow teachings:

“Today’s Fire Offering Puja was very successful, it gave you an opportunity to have good exercise and reduce a few kilograms. After the puja, don’t go out and eat a big meal with lots of meat. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are always against people eating meat. Today, I do my utmost to pray to the gurus, yidams, and Dharma protectors to help all sentient beings and people in this nation. I hope that this land can enjoy peace and prosperity and that all of you fulfill your wishes. Thank you.”

In unison, all of the attendees expressed gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After leading the disciples in performing the Dharma Protector Achi Prayer, the guru resumed teachings:

“After a Dharma is performed, a ritual must be conducted to thank the Dharma protectors for sheltering us and allowing our puja to go smoothly. Dharma Protector Achi is our Uncommon Dharma Protector in the Drikung Kagyu Order, but in Tantrayana, she is an emanation of Vajravarahi’s body, speech, and mind. For those of us practicing Tantrayana, Vajravarahi is a very important yidam; every Dharma method we cultivate has to do with her.

“Every time a fire offering is performed, it requires a great deal of human, financial, and material support, as well as aspired benefactors. For all this I offer my heartfelt gratitude to the Dorji family, who have organized everything very well indeed. All of the pujas I have performed here in Bhutan over the past three days have gone smoothly and come to a perfect completion. I hope that this family will continue to protect and support the Dharma through lifetime after lifetime, and accumulate a great amount of good fortune and wisdom. The virtuous karma produced by these pujas can also be shared by all of you Bhutanese believers who have attended; whether you came here to get some exercise or to participate in the pujas, you all have a share in this good karmic effect. May the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas continue to protect this land and its king. Thank you!”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, in unison all the attendees expressed their gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the Dharma and bestowing teachings upon them. They stood to pay reverent homage as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne. The three-day pujas came to a pure and perfect conclusion under the blessings and protection of Lord Jigten Sumgön, the lineage gurus, the Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi. The pujas produced merits for countless sentient beings and filled all of the attendees with Dharma joy.

All of the Tantras performed by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche during this visit to Bhutan to propagate Buddhism were auspicious earth terma Tantras of the Drikung Kagyu Order. Any presiding guru wishing to perform them must first have a solid foundation in both Exoteric Buddhism and Tantric cultivation, have attained the fruition of a Rinpoche, and be completely endowed with compassion of Emptiness and ultimate bodhicitta in order to help sentient beings be freed from suffering and obtain happiness; only then can the Dharma performance truly benefit them.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche blessing the water brought there by an elderly man so that it could be taken home and shared with his family members.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the Bhutanese believers vied with one another to present khatas to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in an expression of overflowing gratitude.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche donated all of the mandala offering money from these pujas to the land of Bhutan so that it might benefit local sentient beings. In all his actions, words, and thoughts, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche demonstrated what it means to give alms and make offerings completely. With the most respectful and purest of intentions, the guru made offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and helped the local residents and sentient beings, all of whom gained a profound sense of the greatness of his compassion and bodhicitta.

In this ancient, unsullied nation, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed auspicious Tantras from a pure Dharma lineage that were deeply endowed with the unfathomable power of his blessings. In this way, the guru spreads the Right Dharma everywhere, benefiting countless sentient beings and promoting unity among Buddhists all around the world. This visit to Bhutan was indeed an auspicious event in the Buddhist community.

Updated on July 12, 2016