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The birthday-celebration puja for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Dharma Lord of the Drikung Kagyu Order, came to a perfect completion.

On July 30th, 2017, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Dharma Lord of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism, paid a visit to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei. On this exceptionally auspicious day, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led 1,400 disciples and believers from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in giving a joyous welcome to His Holiness and wishing him a happy birthday. During the puja, His Holiness presided over the Guru Yoga. Lama Samten and Lama Sonam Nyima of the Drikung Kagyu Order were also in attendance.

First, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the ordained disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Cultural Exchange Association in mandala offerings to His Holiness.

Next, His Holiness led the attendees through the Guru Yoga. During the ritual, he said that he was using a different method of chanting the Guru Yoga mantra, and demonstrated how it was done. The attendees chanted with him for a long time. To be able to chant mantras under the guidance of His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in this lifetime was a rare and auspicious causal condition.

Then the birthday celebration began. The Tsok Ritual was conducted and the eight offering girls sang, after which the ordained disciples pushed out a dining cart. On it was arranged a double-layer peach cake. Above the luscious, round birthday peaches was written the word ‘LONGEVITY’ in large letters, surrounded by two further layers of delicate and adorable little birthday peaches. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully invited His Holiness to descend the Dharma throne to cut the cake, attending him closely by his side the entire time. The puja participants joined together to sing joyful renderings of ‘Happy Birthday’ to His Holiness in both Chinese and English, and everyone present was touched by the warm gesture.

During the Tea Offering and Rice Offering rituals, the attendees all were granted offering items that had been blessed by His Holiness, thus allowing them the rare and auspicious causal condition to share food with him, with their guru, and with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Next, the Auspicious Dharmadhatu Prayer and the Praises of the Seven Taras were recited, and then commenced the Lamp Offering Ritual, during which the Glorious Jewel monastics lit lamps as offerings to the Buddha on behalf of sentient beings. Afterwards, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the disciples to recite the Long Life Prayer for both His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land, and An Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve.

His Holiness said, “I am very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Dharma masters, and the lay practitioners of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center; it is quite auspicious that we can all be here today to perform the Guru Yoga together. This year is greatly significant in that it is the 800th Anniversary of Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön’s Parinirvana. Furthermore, I am deeply thankful for today’s use of peaches, which represent longevity, to celebrate my birthday—a gesture that links tradition with modernity.”

After visiting the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center early this year, His Holiness followed a very busy itinerary for propagating Buddhism around the world. He traveled to many places, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Bhutan, South Africa, America, and Europe, after which he returned here to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taiwan. On August 3rd, His Holiness and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will travel to Myanmar together to participate in a two-day international symposium on Buddhism. After that trip, His Holiness will continue on to Europe, India and Nepal, and then will return to Taiwan to take part in the bicycling event, “Cherish the Grains and Love the Farmers”, together with the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s disciples.

His Holiness took this opportunity to express his utmost thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for all the assistance he has given him and to the Order, and especially for the many things he has done in support of Sravasti’s construction. Currently the project’s main sponsor is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Originally it was going to be consecrated this year, but due to last year’s torrential rains in Nepal, many places were flooded. Also, the new government there has established new regulations, so many of the buildings have not been finished according to plan; as a result, the consecration date has been changed to next year. However, five hundred of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s disciples will be there this year.

His Holiness has many different projects in the works, but Sravasti is the main one. This is due to the fact that 2,500 years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha went there for summer retreats for twenty-five years, and spoke the Dharma and expounded more than eight hundred sutras there. It is therefore a place of very powerful blessings and great auspiciousness; however, it is also currently India’s most underdeveloped region. His Holiness has a dream: To make Sravasti into a sacred site for all Buddhists from every corner of the globe, as well as the primary center of Buddhist activities—just like Mecca is for Islam. The goal is not merely to develop a sacred site; there will also be new buildings constructed throughout the entire village of Sravasti.

His Holiness plans to have the Three Vehicles of Buddhism all conducting summer retreats together at Sravasti in the future. Traditionally, summer retreats are conducted during the months of July, August, and September. Activities will begin next summer with twenty-five Hinayana groups. The following year, Mahayana Buddhism will be added. In the third year, Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and Bhikkhus from the Himalayan region will join. This will occur during the same three months every year from then on. In the future, monastics will conduct their summer retreats at Sravasti; in the winter, lay practitioners will go there to transmit the Dharma. This is already the third year that His Holiness has expounded Shakyamuni Buddha’s Dharmapada, focusing on the subjects spoken of by the Buddha while He was in Sravasti.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led all the attendees in three cheerful shouts of “Happy Birthday, Your Holiness!”

Next, the disciples thanked His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for compassionately performing the Dharma and bestowing auspicious teachings that allowed countless sentient beings to reap boundless benefits. Rising to their feet, they paid reverent homage as the two gurus descended the Dharma throne. Afterward, His Holiness and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche shared precious longevity peaches with the attendees, and everyone felt incomparably grateful!

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once said that holding a puja during irregular natural phenomena such as eclipses, earthquakes, typhoons, and so on can benefit innumerable sentient beings. While the medium-strength Typhoon Nesat and the smaller Typhoon Begonia have been hitting Taiwan one after the other, the guru has accumulated good fortune for sentient beings by presiding over this puja in celebration of His Holiness’s birthday and to perform the Guru Yoga, during which blessings were bestowed upon sentient beings. The evening before the puja, storms pummeled every part of Taiwan, and many headlines warned that this was the first time in fifty years that two typhoons had converged on the country from both sides. It was also advised that every area should brace for strong winds and torrential rains, and it was announced in cities and counties all over Taiwan that schools and businesses would be closed the following day. However, during the night, Typhoon Nesat unexpectedly and quickly left Taiwan without a trace. On the morning of the puja, the sky was clear and the sun shone brightly; only a slight breeze was left. This sudden calmness was in sharp contrast to the tempestuous weather the night before. Upon the perfect completion of the puja that afternoon, the sunset’s golden light spread through the sky over Taipei. The Buddha’s light shone across the land, bringing protection to sentient beings. His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once again demonstrated that the two of them, as guru and disciple, were walking hand-in-hand along the great Buddhist path, benefiting countless sentient beings.

Related Link:
His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – July 30, 2017

Updated on August 3, 2017