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A European Journey to Promote Buddhism: An Account of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Visit to Latvia and Hungary to Benefit Sentient Beings

Under instructions and blessings from His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and in acceptance of an invitation from Ms. Victoria Baukova of the Drikung Ngaden Choling Buddhist Center, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led ninety Glorious Jewel disciples and believers to Riga, Latvia. There, from June 2nd to June 3rd, the guru presided over the auspicious Amitabha Empowerment Puja and Amitayus Puja; in addition, he transmitted the Amitabha Meditation Practice. On June 5th, he held a fire offering at the Peace Pagoda in Zalaszanto, Hungary. During the three-hour puja, it rained, thundered, and lightninged sporadically, and hailstones fell from the sky; all manner of unfathomable, auspicious signs were evident. Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the attendees gave their heartfelt thanks.

• May 31st (Thursday), 2018 •

At 11:00 in the evening of May 31st, Rinpoche led his disciples from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center on a journey to Latvia, arriving as a group at the Latvian capital of Riga on the afternoon of June 1st in time to prepare for the puja the following day.

• The morning of June 2nd (Saturday), 2018 •

Under the blessings and protection of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Lineage gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi, the pure pujas came to a perfect completion. Participants included forty-two local residents and ninety believers and disciples from Taiwan, America, the Netherlands, and France, as well as Khenpo Namdol from Yunnan. The pujas were most auspicious and successful.

At 10:00 in the morning on June 2nd, 2018, at the Baltic Beach Hotel in the Latvian capital of Riga, the Amitabha Empowerment Puja commenced. Led by a procession of music, prayer flags, incense, and a jeweled parasol, the attendees reverently welcomed His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as he ascended the Dharma throne.

First, the ordained disciples led everyone in a recitation of the Refuge Aspiration Prayer and the Four Immeasurables. Next, Khenpo Namdol and members of the Drikung Ngaden Choling Buddhist Center offered the mandala to, and implored the Dharma from, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on behalf of all sentient beings.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon the attendees.

“I had the affinity to come here today thanks to permission granted by His Holiness and an invitation extended by Ms. Victoria when she made a special trip to Taiwan earlier this year. Last year (2017) I journeyed here with His Holiness, and he has hoped ever since that I would be able to come again to continue promoting Drikung teachings. Before arriving, I asked His Holiness over the phone, ‘Do you have any instructions regarding my visit there?’ Pointing out that there are some differences between Eastern and Western culture, he told me that I should refrain from being so strict and stern. I am therefore going to try to smile a bit more during these pujas. I am known for being the strictest guru in the Drikung Kagyu Order, so today I am going to attempt a slight change.

“Today I am going to grant you all Amitabha’s Empowerment. Last year His Holiness taught the Phowa here, which is a Tantra passed down from Amitabha himself. Therefore, if you want to achieve attainment in the Phowa, you must first receive Amitabha’s Empowerment. The definition of an empowerment is as follows: First of all, in ancient India, when a king wanted to transfer his monarchy to his son, he would fill a bottle with clean water and pour it over the son’s head. This meant, ‘I am passing on the throne to you.’

“Secondly, receiving an empowerment signifies having obtained the yidam Amitabha’s permission and authorization to practice this Dharma method. Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted the Dharma on Earth in the hope that sentient beings would be able to attain Buddhahood and become liberated from reincarnation. The Amitabha yidam’s aspiration is to help us to achieve this very quickly, in this very lifetime. As long as we practice Amitabha’s Dharma in this life, and aspire to be reborn in his Pure Land, then from the time we are reborn there to the time we attain Buddhahood, we will no longer experience the suffering of reincarnation.

“Normally, once an empowerment is granted, believers receiving it must uphold many precepts. However, because His Holiness instructed me not to be so strict, today I am going to help you all to form a very deep connection with Amitabha through empowerment. I hope that in the future you will have the causal condition to follow a guru who is not so strict, and may continue to learn Amitabha’s Dharma method.

“In Tibetan Buddhism, one must have attained the fruition of a Rinpoche in order to grant empowerments. The Amitabha Empowerment is a Dharma method transmitted to me personally by His Holiness. This morning I will begin by empowering you all in the Kriyayoga and Charyayoga. Tantra is divided into four parts: Kriyayoga, Charyayoga, Yogatantra, and Anuttarayogatantra. Strictly speaking, Yogatantra and Anuttarayogatantra empowerments are almost never granted to believers and disciples.

“Once you have come to understand the significance of an empowerment, I will ask you what motivated you to attend today’s puja. Your motivation will influence your future cultivation and fruition, so is very important. Tantra in Tibetan Buddhism is also called Vajrayana. A vajra is a symbol of great firmness that cannot be destroyed by anything in the mundane world. In other words, nothing mundane can destroy a Vajrayana practitioner’s mind or his or her motivation to cultivate, benefit sentient beings, and attain Buddhahood. Those cultivating Vajrayana are also said to be practicing the Bodhisattva Vehicle, which is also a method of attaining Buddhahood. Today I am granting you empowerment in the Kriyayoga and Charyayoga; as long as your motive is not to seek mundane benefits, then you are bound to have opportunities in the future to learn Vajrayana and achieve attainment.

“One’s motivation is also referred to as the preliminary practice. The Refuge Aspiration Prayer, that you recite frequently, is a motivation. Reciting does not simply involve voicing the words; it is imperative that you achieve the proper state of mind. The preliminary practice is the equivalent of preparations made prior to any mundane affair; if done well, then there will certainly be good results. Originally I wanted to keep talking on this matter, but I worry you might think me too strict, so I won’t; instead, I will commence performing the Dharma.

“I hope you can all abide by the first line of the Dharma text: ‘Pay reverent homage to the guru and the yidam.’ Many of you present do not know me very well, nor are you all that familiar with the merits of the yidam Amitabha. I will give you something simple to think about that might help you to give rise to respect for your presiding guru. I am seventy years old this year, yet it took me about twenty hours to travel here from Taiwan. On top of that, I brought with me a small portion of my disciples; this cost quite a bit of money. I did this without asking for anything in return; His Holiness had instructed me to come, so I came. In Tantra, the Samaya means the following: First, one must do whatever one’s guru commands. Secondly, one must fulfill one’s promise to the yidam to constantly benefit vast numbers of sentient beings on his behalf. Thirdly, one absolutely must not break one’s vow to help sentient beings. Thus, I had to come, for I had promised Ms. Victoria that I would.

“It is not that you should respect my ordinary human form; you must respect my commitment to the Samaya precept. We do not reverently pay homage to Amitabha because he is a Buddha, but because no amount of mundane wealth can buy the Dharma he taught us. This is why we must revere him. Revering the guru and yidam is the equivalent of making offerings; only by making offerings can you accumulate good fortune with which to learn and receive the teachings of Buddhism.”

Next, Rinpoche began to perform the puja, beginning with a recitation of a supplication to transmit the Dharma.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Right now I am performing a purification ritual. Prior to performing the puja, purification must be done. Before you entered, I had already performed more than an hour’s worth of preparatory rituals in order to establish protection over this place and prevent events that should not occur or interfere with our ability to listen to the Dharma. The nectar water you drank before entering is for cleansing your body, speech, and mind. To be more cautious, I will sprinkle purifying nectar water in the mandala once more.

“The object just brought outside is called a torma. Chanting mantras and blessing it turns it into a sort of food offering for ghosts and deities in the void to eat; after they do, they will not enter this venue to interfere with the puja out of jealousy. We recite that section in the hope that ghosts and demons living in the mountain forest and drifting along will, upon eating the torma, leave this purified place and refrain from harming us. With it we also urge them not to hurt anyone who has come to participate in today’s puja, and we hope sentient beings in attendance will be able to avoid various afflictions and that we can be removed from all plagues and deities of sickness.

“The next part to be recited is meant to protect the entire puja venue. In addition, you should not try to imitate the ‘hum’ sound I made earlier; if you do, then the ghosts will not leave, and instead will do you physical harm.

“The ritual to be performed next is an offering to the yidam, the gurus, and the Dharma protectors. By participating in the puja, we are able to share offering goods with the Buddha, the yidam, and the gurus. You may all eat some now.”

“In the process, the Tsok, Tea Offering, and Rice Offering Rituals were performed. Each of the attendees received a portion of offering food that had been blessed by H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as the rare and auspicious opportunity to share a meal with the gurus, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas.

After performing the Dharma Protector Ritual, Rinpoche continued:

“Prior to the empowerment, the text discusses what the mindset of participating sentient beings should be: In order to help countless sentient beings, puja participants should aspire to auspicious Bodhicitta. It would take a very long time to explain this term in a way that you could understand. A simple explanation is this: Apart from being able to come here yourself, your motivation for taking part in today’s puja should also be the hope that all sentient beings will have opportunities in the future to participate in this sort of puja as well.

Shakyamuni Buddha taught us the Dharma in order to break away and distance ourselves from these eight types of suffering. I follow the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and His Holiness, so my suffering from old age has come on a lot more slowly than it does for most people, and has not been nearly as bad. I can still drive a supercar thanks to help from Buddhism, but this is just a byproduct, not the main purpose of practicing.

“The third is not admiring or seeking the Right Dharma. What does it mean to seek the Dharma? An example is how Ms. Victoria invited me to come here.

“The fourth is having scattered thoughts: You are here, but your mind is elsewhere.

“The fifth is closing your senses to receiving the Dharma. For example, you have listened, but have not really paid attention.

“The sixth is feeling tired and annoyed. You wish time would fly a bit faster so that you can eat your lunch sooner. This might especially be true given that today is Saturday, and the weather outside is beautiful. For this reason, I plan on speaking a bit longer.

“If your mind is not plagued with these six types of thoughts today, then your motivation is fine. You should try to visualize today’s transmitting guru as being the same as Amitabha—not in body, but in terms of the purity of my innermost, original Dharma nature. Furthermore, you should view all those who have come here to listen to the Dharma today as family members; these people who are jointly participating in the puja with you will one day be reborn together in Amitabha’s Pure Land.

“The things I just spoke of are uncommon motivations for learning Tantra. We might have to go a bit past our scheduled time today, because old men in their seventies tend to be a bit long-winded.

“Now follow along as I recite in Tibetan, to initiate an aspiration and receive the Right Dharma. These four lines are not a mantra, nor do they comprise a vow; they are simply a prayer that the yidam will bless us and, by way of this empowerment, allow us an opportunity to leave the vast suffering sea of reincarnation. After this, I will recite the Seven-Branch Offerings on behalf of you all.

“Next is the repentance.

“Why do we wear these red headbands? It is because we are receiving the blessings of the yidam’s pure Dharma. However, ordinary people see with eyes of flesh, which are full of many desires. We tie a red headband around our eyes to signify that we are covering up our mortal eyes. Thus, when a guru chants mantras, he opens up the pure Dharma eyes that every sentient being innately possesses so that he or she can see the yidam.”

Next, the empowerment ritual was conducted. After instructing the attendees to place a flower on their heads at the location of their crown chakras, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “When we leave to be reborn in the Pure Land, this is the passageway through which our consciousness exits. Because your crown chakra has not yet been opened, placing this flower on it signifies that you can open up a hole there when you have a chance to perform the Phowa for yourself in the future. This is not a myth; it can genuinely be done. Of course, you first have to learn the proper way of practicing it; it is not a matter of drilling a hole in one’s skull through surgery. This is Tantra; I’ll talk more on that later.

“Next, we remove the headband so that we can use our Dharma eyes to see the mandala. When the guru gets out a treasure vase filled with nectar water, you should visualize pure Dharma water being poured down through your crown chakra, which I mentioned a moment ago. Receiving this empowerment will transform the afflictions of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body into the Five Wisdoms.

“Next is Amitabha’s thangka. When I chant this, it represents the empowerment bestowed upon us by Amitabha and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, which purifies our bodily hindrances.

“Next comes the kapala, which contains nectar water. When I chant this, I visualize the kapala touches your throat, signifying that your throat channel has been unbound and you are receiving the mantra’s essence.

“Next, I will use a mirror. It would take half an hour to explain what this means, and you don’t have the patience for that, but the gist of it is that it is good for you. When I move this mirror, you should visualize the hindrances to your mind as being purified and that you are obtaining an empowerment of the mind with the original wisdom of thought.

“Next is the empowerment of words. It purifies all our external and internal hindrances, making it possible for us to one day realize that clarity and Emptiness are one and the same.

“These few lines mean that with the yidam’s blessings, may I completely and joyfully serve the yidam and make offerings to the guru with my actions, words, and thoughts, remaining his disciple through lifetime after lifetime; may I depend on and serve the guru, never leaving his side, and that I supplicate my guru for instructions at any time. Ordinarily, you should chant this with me three times, but I am afraid you might not be able to do all the abovementioned, so I’ll only lead you in chanting it once. Also, being a disciple through lifetime after lifetime means that until the time that you attain Buddhahood, the guru who is transmitting this empowerment to you today will always help you. This is a Vajrayana guru’s vow. If you definitely want to learn Buddhism, then his oath will be fulfilled.”

Next, amidst the chanting sounds of the Amitabha Mantra, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne and used a treasure vase to tirelessly bless the attendees one at a time, thus granting Amitabha’s empowerment.

Rinpoche ascended the throne again and joked, “Time has gone only a little bit over; not too much. Usually, I am quite punctual, but after having flown here from so far away, it was a matter of course that I would talk a bit more.”

Upon the perfect completion of the Amitabha Empowerment, the attendees paid reverent homage as H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

• The afternoon of June 2nd (Saturday), 2018 •

At 2:30 in the afternoon, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne at the same venue to transmit the Amitabha meditation practice, and led everyone in a long chant of the Amitabha Mantra before bestowing precious Dharma teachings.

“This afternoon I will transmit the Amitabha meditation practice. In the sutras, Amitabha’s name is translated as meaning ‘the Buddha of Immeasurable Light’ or ‘the Buddha of Immeasurable Life.’ He is a yidam introduced by Shakyamuni Buddha, who speaks of Amitabha’s merits and fruition in three different sutras. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, practitioners must first practice Exoteric Buddhism for ten years. ‘Exoteric’ refers to the theoretical knowledge regarding the Dharma spoken by the Buddha. Therefore, all the sutras expounded by Shakyamuni Buddha, which include such practices as making prostrations before the Buddha, lighting incense, reciting prayers, and so on, are included in Exoteric cultivation.

“Traditionally, Exoteric Buddhism has served as the equivalent of a foundation for cultivation, just as a foundation is needed when building a house. Only if the foundation is sound can one begin to receive transmission of Tantra. However, because people in this modern day and age do not have much time and are constantly very busy, I will just go ahead and transmit the Kriyayoga and Charyayoga of Tantra to you, and then later when an opportunity presents itself, I will expound the Amitabha Sutra to you.

“It is written in the sutras that before Shakyamuni and Amitabha had attained Buddhahood, they once practiced the Bodhisattva Path together in the same world and in the same lifetime. Because the two Buddhas practiced different Dharma methods and initiated different aspirations, they did not attain Buddhahood at the same time. Amitabha’s Pure Land came into being as a result of Amitabha’s aspirations. In the instant he attained Buddhahood, he made forty-eight vows, which became his conditions for reaching Enlightenment as well as for establishing the Pure Land.

“If you wish to be reborn in other Buddhas’ pure lands, then you must eliminate all your good and evil karma in this lifetime. However, you only have to eliminate your evil karma to be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land even if you still possess good karma. Sentient beings that are reborn there will continue to practice the Dharma until they attain Buddhahood. In the process, they will no longer experience the suffering of reincarnation.

“Who, and under what conditions, may be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land? In the Amitabha Sutra, it is written that such people must be good men and good women. ‘Good’ means that in this lifetime, you have observed the Ten Meritorious Acts. Briefly, they include refraining from killing, stealing, excessive drinking, harsh speech, divisive speech, frivolous talk, false speech, greed, hatred, and ignorance.

“Refraining from greed means that as lay practitioners, we should not try to think up various ways of obtaining that which does not belong to us. Among Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings in the Ratnakuta Sutra, it is mentioned that lay practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path may do business, make money, save up money, and buy houses, but that monastics may not.

“Refraining from hatred means not being vengeful, and refraining from ignorance requires believing in cause and effect. ‘Cause and effect’ is not a purely Buddhist phrase, nor was it invented by Shakyamuni Buddha. It is a natural law of the universe.

“If you wish to cultivate the Ten Meritorious Acts, then the first thing you must do is to refrain from killing. If you are still a meat-eater, then there is a chance that you will kill.

“Next, these good men and women must not be lacking in good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions. What we call ‘good fortune’ comes from making offerings and giving alms, such as how I made all those offerings to the yidam this morning on your behalf; this was so that you could accumulate good fortune. Where do merits come from? To accumulate these, you must observe Buddhist precepts.

“Once we are able to keep the precepts, we can naturally practice meditation; only through observance of them can we achieve a meditative state. While keeping the precepts and meditating, then, we will naturally be able to unlock our innate wisdom, which every sentient being possesses. After that, further cultivation will allow us to attain Buddhahood sooner rather than later. It is also only due to our having unlocked our wisdom that we are able to benefit vast numbers of sentient beings. Once we have met this condition, and have vowed to the yidam Amitabha that we wish to be reborn in his Pure Land, he is sure to receive and lead us there just before we stop breathing.

“In the Amitabha Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha spoke of how all the Buddhas in the Ten Directions praised Amitabha’s merits. Therefore, my transmission to you of Amitabha’s meditation practice this afternoon can purify your actions, words, and thoughts; this is part of Tantric Kriyayoga and Charyayoga. Westerners like the idea of ‘meditation,’ but for the most part their concept of that word cannot encompass its true meaning. In China, Bodhidharma transmitted and passed down Zen Buddhism, and in Tibet the four major Orders each have different terms and practices regarding meditation. In the Drikung Kagyu Order, it is known as Mahamudra.

“I remember back in 1997, the first time I went to conduct a retreat at His Holiness’s retreat center in India. That time I was to remain in retreat for a month and a half. Roughly a fortnight into it, His Holiness called me outside and informed me that he was going to orally transmit the Mahamudra pith to me. After hearing this, the very first thing I did was to kneel down and implore him to allow me to return to my retreat hut so that I could chant the One Hundred Syllable Mantra a hundred thousand times before receiving transmission of the Dharma. As you might guess, the One Hundred Syllable Mantra has one hundred syllables; thus, chanting it one hundred thousand times means chanting ten million syllables. I completed this in twenty days, and only then did I come out to receive the pith from His Holiness. In the end, he only spoke a few words to me. This is an indication of the fact that the more profound a pith is, the simpler it is.

“Why did I do this? First of all, I was being humble; second of all, I was worried that all the karma I had accumulated through my past lives would hinder my ability to receive the Mahamudra. This was part of my own experience in cultivation; you do not need to do it this way. I remember there used to be a Drikung Kagyu Mahasiddha who once said that the gurus of the past and Lord Jigten Sumgon had already done everything that should be done to help sentient beings, so as long as they were willing to listen to their gurus’ teachings and put them into practice, they would not need to cultivate as painstakingly as the gurus had.

“Buddhist meditation is not a matter of seeking certain things or hoping to obtain anything, nor does it involve discarding certain things. It is simply a matter of using meditation to slowly gain a clear recognition of the abilities we innately possess. One day, by way of a great deal of Buddhist training, we will be able to see through to our pure nature, and in that moment, we will attain enlightenment. How long does this take? It is different for everyone. The concept of Zen might take a really long time to explain before you understood even a little of it.

“The character ding in the Chinese word for meditation does not refer to being completely devoid of thought. To give a simple example, Latvia is situated beside the ocean, so it is fair to assume that many Latvians frequent the beach. Think about this for a moment: When you feel burdened with a lot of afflictions and unhappy, then sitting at the seaside and concentrating on the ocean will make you feel as though a lot of your thoughts have suddenly stopped. Some people misunderstand this to mean that they feel peaceful, like a very tranquil sort of sensation. This is not peacefulness; we feel this way because when we look at the ocean with our eyes, its vastness in contrast to our distracting thoughts makes us feel as though they have stopped. This is a rather forced explanation of what it is to experience meditation. Why am I talking about this section? It is because what is taught next will help us with this.

“Open up the text of the Amitabha Meditation Practice. Before visualizing, you should sit quietly with your legs crossed. You can do this with both legs or just one. Where you sit should not be an overly loud location, and it should have good airflow, but not be too windy; that would be bad. You should not meditate straight after exercising or eating your fill. Because you are beginners, it would be best to find a set time each day to practice it.

“When you have just begun to meditate, you should not sit in too bright a room, nor should it be too dark. For those of you who can sit cross-legged, it is best to drape a blanket over your legs. If you cannot sit in this position, it is also okay to find a chair to sit in. Whether you are sitting with your legs crossed or in a chair, you must sit up straight with your left palm underneath your right and your thumbs touching lightly. Place your hands very naturally just a smidgen above your stomach, but do not let your arms bow forward or slump backward; in this way your chest will naturally straighten. Do not let your head hang down or lift your chin too high; pull it slightly inward. Lightly touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth, and keep your mouth shut, but not too tightly. You should breathe very naturally; there is no need to think about any special breathing techniques.

“Once you have gotten the position right, you can begin practicing meditation. Some people like to close their eyes while meditating, but doing so is incorrect. The proper way is to emulate the eyes of Buddha statues, half open and with your gaze slightly lowered. After you have been sitting quietly for a minute or two, and have begun to feel as though your thoughts have subsided somewhat, you can begin to practice Amitabha’s meditation method. Because of your novice level, you cannot possibly prevent any thoughts from arising, so it is fine just to feel as though you aren’t thinking about as much.

“Meditation is relatively difficult for people who still eat meat. Our Lord Jigten Sumgon ate vegetarian. If we eat the flesh of sentient beings, then their nutrients will enter our cells, affecting our blood circulation and giving us such illnesses as high blood pressure and cancer. If we have harmed any sentient beings in this lifetime, then our hands and feet are prone to injury.

“After sitting quietly for a minute or two, we can begin to visualize in accordance with the Dharma text. When you first start out, what you visualize is certain to be vague, but as long as you recite from this text and contemplate its words somewhat, it will be helpful to you.

“While chanting, we visualize that all sentient beings are no different from Amitabha and are chanting his mantra with us. After all of this is complete, we can begin to chant Amitabha’s mantra. While doing so, we must use prayer beads. You should decide how many times to chant it; for example, you can plan to chant it a thousand times in a day. One cycle through your prayer beads is 108 times, so ten cycles is about a thousand times. Once you have finished chanting the mantra a thousand times, you can begin to chant the seed-syllable ‘HRI’. This part is very important, so you should calm yourselves and listen closely.

“Next, we visualize that this ‘HRI’ sound is coming from the mouth of the Amitabha in our heart chakra, not from our own mouth. Once the sound is emitted, it enters the Amitabha in front of us through his mouth and goes to his heart chakra. The seed-syllable then continues down until it reaches this Amitabha’s navel chakra, and once there, it travels back to enter the navel chakra of the Amitabha in our heart chakra. From there this ‘HRI’ syllable rises up to his heart chakra, to his mouth, and then back across into the mouth of the Amitabha in front of us, in a continuous cycle. Because you are not yet skilled enough, you may begin by simply chanting the ‘HRI’ syllable after you have finished reciting the words in this text.

“When we chant the red ‘HRI’ cycle, we visualize that its five-colored light reaches Amitabha in the Land of Utmost Bliss. We then visualize that myriad Buddhas, identical to Amitabha but of various sizes, emerge from his body and blend into our own like raindrops. While imagining the Buddhas bestowing blessings upon us, we may visualize them as small as a mote of dust or as big as a mountain. As we visualize the throat chakra of Amitabha in the Pure Land, ‘HRI’ seed-syllables fall around us like rain, enabling our spoken words to be the same as those of the Buddha.

“We then visualize Amitabha in the Pure Land with a string of red vajras emerging from his heart. If we visualize like this in earnest every day, then we will very naturally grow healthier; our bodies will stop committing evil and will not suffer any further harm from sentient beings. The words you utter will no longer contain harsh speech, et cetera, and people will believe what you say. If you keep having the vajra bless your heart, then eventually your practice will be as solid and un-retrogressing as a diamond. There is a lot more to say regarding the benefits of this method to body, speech, and mind, but I sense that some of you are already growing impatient, so I will go ahead and wrap up my teachings from this Dharma text.

“Finally, we visualize that all sentient beings are transformed into five-colored light. Previously, we visualized that all sentient beings are no different from Amitabha, so they are all completely integrated into the Pure Land, which is Amitabha’s Land. They then are integrated into the Trinity of the Western Paradise (Amitabha, Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani). We visualize Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani as merging into Amitabha’s mind, after which Amitabha transforms into five-colored light and enters our minds. We visualize ourselves as turning into ‘HRI’, and then visualize this ‘HRI’ seed-syllable as transforming into five-colored light.

“You can see, on the first page of the Dharma text, that the final syllable of Amitabha’s Mantra is ‘HRI’. This character contains two circles, and we visualize the top one as turning into five-colored light and then entering the bottom one, which in turn also turns into five-colored light as it moves into the upper stroke of the character. From there, we visualize everything slowly turning into five-colored light. We visualize the lower stroke of the seed-syllable as turning as fine as a horsehair. As we do so, our attention is on it. It does not matter how long our thoughts dwell on this.

“Now I’ll reiterate what this Dharma text can be used for. Tantric cultivation is divided into two parts; one is the generation stage, which helps us to accumulate good fortune. At the later part of meditation, we visualize the seed-syllable ‘HRI’ as gradually disappearing, which equates to the completion stage, thus helping us to practice and unlock the doors to wisdom. Therefore, all Dharma texts contain both generation and completion stages. If we practice in accordance with our guru’s teachings, then we are certain to be able to achieve attainment in this lifetime. Once other thoughts appear, it means we have exited meditation; at this time, we should visualize that we are Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, though this does not mean we are Avalokiteshvara in the flesh. It is of utmost importance that we understand very clearly that our true nature is that of Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara. Afterward, we visualize the Trinity of the Western Paradise (Amitabha, Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani) atop our head. This concludes my teaching on the Amitabha Meditation Practice.

“If you cannot remember this explanation I have given today, it doesn’t matter; as long as you recite every day, it will be helpful to you. Finally, we perform a dedication to share all the merits we have cultivated today with sentient beings in the hope that we may constantly accumulate good karma and have chances to help them to be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land. We should think of ourselves as already being there, and hope all other sentient beings can be there, too.

“The next part contains two lines that are very important for Vajrayana practitioners: We should view all sentient beings as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Based on this, if you consume the flesh of sentient beings again, it is tantamount to eating the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. All of the sounds we hear are Amitabha’s mantra, so when people scold you or say things you do not wish to hear, you should think of their words as such. How, then, can you dislike them? We should train ourselves to think of all our thoughts as Amitabha’s wisdom, which helps sentient beings to leave the suffering sea of reincarnation. A little while ago I mentioned body, speech, and mind. For beginners, these concepts might seem rather difficult and vague, but the point is to begin practicing. As long as you take the first steam, and keep going forward, one day you will discover that you have very naturally succeeded.

“Originally, I had prepared to give a Dharma image of the Trinity of Western Paradise to each person participating in today’s puja, but my disciples brought the wrong photos; the ones they brought are not of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. After I return to Taiwan, I will send the right images to Victoria; any of you who want one should register with her. Any attendees who wish to obtain a copy of the Dharma text I’ve transmitted this afternoon should treat it with respect; do not leave it lying around. You cannot recite it to anyone who has not listened to the Dharma today or received the empowerment, nor can you let any such person read it. This Dharma text does not represent a secret of any kind, but because it is Tantra, it would not be proper to let anyone see it who does not have enough affinity or good fortune.”

Next, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples in a performance of the Dharma Protector Achi prayer and dedication. Afterward, local believers lined up to present khatas to him, which Rinpoche compassionately received while bestowing blessings upon them one at a time.

After the afternoon’s transmission of the Amitabha Meditation Practice came to a perfect completion, the attendees paid reverent homage as H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

• The morning of June 3rd (Sunday), 2018 •

Under the blessings and protection of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Lineage Gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi, the pure puja came to a perfect completion. There were 126 participants, including thirty-six local residents, Khenpo Namdol from Yunnan, and 90 believers and disciples from Taiwan, America, the Netherlands, and France. The puja was auspiciously successful.

At ten o’clock in the morning, the Amitayus Puja was held at the Baltic Beach Hotel in the Latvian capital of Riga. Preceded by a procession of musicians, prayer flags, incense, and a jeweled parasol, the attendees all clasped their palms together out of respect as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne.

After the ordained disciples had led everyone in a recitation of the Refuge Aspiration Prayer, the Four Immeasurables, and a supplication to receive transmission of the Dharma, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed precious Dharma teachings.

“This morning I will perform the Amitayus. This Dharma text was passed down from Mother Buddha Machig Drubpejema, and transmitted to me by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Amitayus is Amitabha’s Sambhogakaya. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have three bodies: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya; each of these forms is helpful to sentient beings. The Nirmanakaya represents everything that involves the Buddha or Bodhisattva; this could include sutras, pagodas, and even a guru who transmits the Dharma. All can be said to be the Buddha’s or Bodhisattva’s Nirmanakaya. In the Amitabha Sutra it is written that once a person vows to be reborn in the Pure Land, Amitabha’s Nirmanakaya will come to receive this person on his or her deathbed. Sambhogakaya Buddhas and Sambhogakaya Bodhisattvas help to protect and support practitioners of the Bodhisattva Vehicle, while Dharmakaya Buddhas are what will appear before you to lend assistance just prior to your attaining Buddhahood. A brief explanation of Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya is that while we are in elementary school, we cannot be taught by a high school teacher, and while in high school, we cannot be taught by university professors; only once we are in university can we learn from them. I hope that this simple analogy can help you to understand the concept of these three forms. To explain it using quotes from the sutras would take a very long time indeed.

“Amitayus, whose Dharma I will perform today, is Amitabha’s Sambhogakaya. This means that if you are determined to cultivate the Bodhisattva Path in this lifetime, and have already set foot on it, then Amitabha’s Sambhogakaya will help, protect, and support you constantly through your Buddhist practice. Even if you are a believer who does not plan on cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, participating in this puja will still be able to benefit you in certain respects.

“Everyone hopes to live a bit longer, or keep on living forever, but that is impossible. Even though there is Tantric method called ‘the Immortal Body,’ only a handful of people in history have ever achieved attainment in it. Padmasambhava, with whom you are all relatively familiar, was one of them, and the Drikung’s Dharma Protector Achi is another. The thirteenth throne-holder of the Drikung Kagyu Order cultivated this Dharma method as well, and of course there are a few other master practitioners who have, too.

“The most important lesson in Amitayus’s Dharma text is about how humans often die accidentally; in Buddhism, this is called ‘untimely death.’ It is hoped that by way of this text, all such occurrences can cease, so that genuine practitioners can have their longevity extended in this lifetime, giving them enough time to cultivate and benefit sentient beings. Most of you believers can, as a result of having participated in this puja, recover some of the longevity that was originally your due.

“Even though how long we live in this lifetime was decided by whatever good fortune we accumulated in our past lives, the good and evil deeds we do in this lifetime are also a determining factor. Doing good deeds will extend our longevity, while committing evil acts will shorten it. What forces and elements cause our longevity to grow? In the sutras, Shakyamuni Buddha taught that the lifespans of sentient beings are made up of two things. One is longevity; if you have not killed in your past lives and have done a lot of good deeds, then in this lifetime there will be a direct, positive correlation between your longevity and your past actions. The same is true, but conversely, if you have committed many wrongdoings. The second part that makes up a lifespan is wealth. Wealth does not simply refer to money; it includes health, all of your activities, and everything you possess. Shakyamuni Buddha said that when people die, they are in one of four situations. The first is having longevity but no wealth. Such people tend to live a long time, but are in poverty, and this includes those who starve to death. Being poor is not just limited to those in developing countries; poverty can be seen in first-world countries, too. The second situation is dying with wealth but without longevity. Sometimes we see people with money who suddenly die from heart disease, a stroke, or cancer. Another situation is dying with both longevity and wealth; this sort of death occurs as a result of war, accidents, and epidemics. Finally, there is the situation of dying with neither wealth nor longevity.

“How do we achieve a balance between our wealth and longevity in this lifetime? We should make effort in giving alms and making offerings; this is the wealth part. For the longevity part, we should work hard to refrain from killing, eating the flesh of sentient beings, and destroying the natural environment. Yesterday I transmitted the Amitabha, so today I am performing the Amitayus in the hope that it will help you to have enough time in this lifetime to learn Buddhism. This is a brief introduction of the concept; now that you have an understanding of it, I’ll begin the ritual.

“The preliminary practice is to recite the prayer. May the Lineage Gurus grant us Amitayus’s rare xidi (accomplishment), and may the Dharma protectors help us to eliminate all our adverse conditions. With single-minded devotion, sincerity, and grief, we pray that the yidam will take pity on us and all sentient beings in the void by allowing us to be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land.”

After leading the attendees in a chanting of the Amitayus Mantra for a long time, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued:

“Just now we prayed to the yidam to bless our glorious gurus so that their longevity and Buddhist activities will flourish. We pray that all the countless sentient beings will be freed from untimely death, the Eight Catastrophes, and the Sixteen Terrors. We hope we can enjoy a peaceful time devoid of drought and war. For me, my disciples, and our benefactors, may untimely death and all disasters be extinguished, and may all we seek in our Buddhist practice be fulfilled. May we avoid evil causes and adverse conditions, and may we see an increase to our longevity, good fortune, and wealth. In the end, may we attain the fruition of the Buddha of Immeasurable Light. Until we attain enlightenment, may Amitayus be our yidam through lifetime after lifetime, never leaving us and constantly blessing us with these two types of accomplishment.

“The ritual I’ll be performing next is not often performed by a lot of gurus. This part is the embracing. The wrongdoings we have committed in this lifetime have done damage to our longevity. It has been scattered, broken, bent, and stolen by demons and ghosts. In the sutras it is written that if people who love eating garlic, shallots, and onions chant mantras, Dharma protectors and deities will not approach them. One sort of demon and ghost really likes the scent of those foods, so when you are asleep, they will inhale it from your mouth, which is the same as having your longevity sucked out of you. Some people like to beg ghosts and deities to help them achieve their desires, and for this reason, these demons and ghosts steal away their longevity.

“Our body’s make-up comes from our father’s white bindu and our mother’s red bindu (blood), and is divided into earth, wind, water, and fire. Earth includes our muscles and bones; water is our blood and all our internal secretions; fire is our energy; and wind is the qi flowing through our body. If these four major elements fall out of balance, then a person will grow sick and lose some longevity. When people grow older, the equilibrium between the four major elements begins to continuously erode. This is most easily seen when older people get cold very easily due to a constant reduction in their fire element. In a moment, I will perform this part, and your guru and Amitayus will help you to recover some of the four major elements that you have lost.

“If you hope not to age so quickly, then you must learn Tantra. However, to do so you must first take refuge and follow one guru, without switching from one to the next. For example, in my Buddhist practice in this lifetime I have followed just one guru: His Holiness. I will only leave if he orders me to; otherwise, I absolutely will not leave his side. This is the reason I was able to learn the Tantra that can replenish my four major elements. Today I have accidentally revealed to you a Tantric secret. Ordinarily, such things are rarely spoken of in public. Maybe I’ve said more because my affinity here is a bit better. However, I won’t speak any more on the subject; to do so would not be good for you.”

After performing the ritual for a while, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche donned a Dharma hat and said, “In the section I performed just now, the guru prays for the yidam’s blessings. Once the yidam has blessed him with enough of the four major elements, the guru can then replenish sentient beings with them.”

Rinpoche instructed everyone to sit up straight and not slump against the backs of their chairs. He then said, “The first part strengthens your earth essence, the second part strengthens your water essence, the third part strengthens your fire essence, and this next part will bless you all so that you can restore your wind essence. This section helps you to embrace the longevity of the void, and helps you to increase your elements.”

Next, the Tsok and Tea-Offering rituals were performed. Each attendee received offering items that had been blessed by H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as the rare and auspicious opportunity to dine during the puja with the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne to bless everyone in person. In the process, he constantly rang a bell while chanting the Amitayus Mantra, his compassionate gaze both profound and far-reaching, benefiting all sentient beings. The attendees were all sincerely thankful, and reverently received the guru’s auspicious blessings with palms clasped and tears of gratitude.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again ascended the Dharma throne. Next, the ordained disciples and honored guests who had been chosen by ballot when they entered the venue offered the mandala to the guru on behalf of sentient beings.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples in a performance of the Dharma Protector Achi prayer and dedication, and then personally led all the attendees in a singing of the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land.

Upon the successful performance of the Dharma, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche resumed his teachings.

“The pujas held here in Riga over the past couple of days have been quite successful. First, I’d like to thank Ms. Victoria for her invitation. She has been very busy, and went to a great deal of trouble to hold these pujas. I also am grateful to the believers here for helping to organize them. Every year in August or September, I hold the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, with 25,000 attendees. This will be its fourteenth year. Besides disciples and believers from Taiwan, people from all over the world come to participate in this puja. I hope that next year we will see some Latvian participants there, too. All you have to do is purchase a plane ticket and make a hotel reservation. As long as my health holds up, I will continue to hold the grand pujas, but I don’t know how long I’ll be able to.

“Even though this visit has been very busy, it has made me very happy. Tomorrow I will leave Riga for the Hungarian capital, and the day after I will preside over a fire offering puja at the Drikung Kagyu Peace Stupa. Last time I came it was August, but this year I’ve come at the end of May. The weather at this time of year is different. In the hotel room in which I am staying, the sun comes up at four o’clock and can be seen all the way until eleven at night; this is a phenomenon I hadn’t seen before. This must be a very good place to live.

“I once asked His Holiness why such a relatively large proportion of Latvia’s small population are interested in learning Buddhism. He said it is because there is a lot more tolerance in this country toward all religions. I hope my trip here has been helpful and beneficial to Latvia, both to the land and its people.

“This time I brought some nectar pills with me. They come from the Drikung Kagyu’s primary monastery—Drikung Thil Monastery in Lhasa. Some of you probably know of a master practitioner of the Drikung Kagyu Order named Drubwang Rinpoche. About eleven years ago, he instructed me to do a certain task every year. Drikung Thil Monastery has a tradition; at the end of every year by the Tibetan calendar, its resident Bhikkhus continuously chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra for forty-five days straight, twenty-four hours a day. For historical reasons, this tradition was interrupted for several decades. It was therefore Drubwang Rinpoche’s hope that I would serve as this puja’s benefactor each year so as to help to restore and revitalize this tradition. Every year, with my support, the puja begins anew. Supporting it means paying for all of this 45-day puja’s expenses, including everything the monastics need to eat and use. For this reason, they make annual offerings to me of a bag of nectar pills. In Tibet, when people receive this sort of auspicious nectar pill, they place it in a vessel and wear it around their necks for protection.

“What are nectar pills used for? They are made of herbal medicines, and have been continuously blessed by the yidam. Even for someone who has not believed in the Buddha in this lifetime, if a nectar pill is placed on this person’s tongue before death, then he or she will be prevented from falling into the Hell, Hungry Ghost, or Animal Realms. If someone has a serious illness, but has lifespan such that he or she should not die, then having him or her eat a nectar pill will help this person find medicine and a doctor who can cure the illness. We usually eat one prior to conducting a retreat in order to eliminate any hindrances. I am now going to give you each three nectar pills. Come up, and I will give them to you one at a time.” (The attendees, filled with incomparable joy, broke into thunderous applause.)

Amidst the sounds of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra being chanted, the attendees walked up to the dais one by one to receive an incomparably precious nectar pill from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s hand, each expressing thanks.

Rinpoche instructed, “If any Latvian believers wish to receive a Dharma photo of me and of Amitayus, you may approach the mandala.” With heartfelt delight and gratitude, the local believers lined up to present khatas to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who compassionately received them and personally bestowed blessings. Afterward, he instructed the ordained disciples to place long life pills, long life wine, and Dharma photos of himself and of Amitayus at the entrance.

Next, Ms. Victoria spoke in English:

I would like to say some words to Rinpoche, the words of gratitude for such wonderful teachings that we had during these three days, almost three days. Thank you so much for accepting our invitation. These teachings have happened only because of the great blessing and provision of Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche. We are extremely grateful that Rinpoche came all this long way because normally teachers coming here are from India or Tibet, which takes about 8 hours of flight, and Rinpoche took 18 hours of flight to come here and he was teaching the next day. This had extra power and no normal human beings can do that, so we are extremely happy. Thank you.

For those people who don’t know the activities that Rinpoche really spreads all around the world and he is attending to students from many countries, like Taiwan, Japan, Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Tibet, and now Rinpoche’s teachings came to Europe, to Latvia. Thanks to Rinpoche, the purest teachings of Drikung Kagyu Lineage sound far and wide, giving comfort and showing path to Buddhahood to countless sentient beings.

We rejoice the precious Amitabha and Amitayus Pujas have sounded on the shore of the Baltic Sea. We are very aware these teachings served not just for people in this room, but also in the air, in the sea, under the ground and everywhere around. We do hope and are sure that these teachings will bring prosperity and good health and a lot to the whole country.

And we also ask forgiveness from Rinpoche and the Dharma Protectors for our forgetfulness and all the mistakes that we made during the practice and meditation. We ask forgiveness for our meager offerings and lack of discipline. We hope very much that the health of Rinpoche will never decline and he will teach again, again and again, and his life and his activities will never face any difficulties and obstacles.

And a lot of thanks and good words to the all Taiwanese practitioners who came here a long way too. Rinpoche mentioned his teachings were held so successfully only because of the help of the Taiwanese practitioners. We are very much aware only due to your diligence and discipline that everything was arranged in such a nice way. So thank you so much indeed. Thank you, everyone.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, all attendees expressed their gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having performed the auspicious Dharma and bestowed teachings. They stood and paid reverent homage as the guru descended the Dharma throne.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had flown 8,191 kilometers from Taiwan to Latvia, a journey of nearly twenty hours, and the very next day had presided over two days of pujas. The 71-year-old Rinpoche tirelessly promoted the Buddha’s precious Right Dharma in mainland Europe, bringing Dharma benefits to countless sentient beings.

• The afternoon of June 3rd (Sunday), 2018 •

From 2:00 until 5:20 in the afternoon, at the same venue, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped thirty local believers to resolve all of their mundane suffering, and bestowed upon them Dharma teachings and guidance.

• June 4th (Monday), 2018 •

At 1:00 in the afternoon, Rinpoche departed on a flight for Hungary, accompanied by his disciples from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

• The morning of June 5th (Tuesday) •

On June 5th, 2018, with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s compassionate permission, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over a fire offering puja at the Peace Stupa in Zalaszanto, Hungary for the first time. Attendees included the Drikung Kagyu Order’s Khenpo Namdol, Drupon Lundrup, and Drupon Jigmet (“Drupon” refers to a retreat teacher), as well as Ven. Bop Jon, a Korean Dharma master who aspired to build the Peace Stupa. In addition, 105 local believers and a total of 87 believers and disciples from Taiwan, America, the Netherlands, and France attended. The auspicious puja came to a perfect completion, bringing Dharma benefits to countless sentient beings.

At 9:30 in the morning the weather had been clear, but suddenly rain began to fall. It stopped just before the puja commenced, and once again brilliant sunshine illuminated the scene of the fire offering. Accompanied by melodious music and preceded by an entourage of prayer flags, incense, and a jeweled parasol, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche entered the venue. All of the attendees clasped their palms in respect.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and assumed a wrathful appearance no different from that of the Acalanatha yidam, and then began to chant mantras and perform rituals. Attendants assisted him in donning a bone-decorated Dharma vestment weighing several kilograms, as well as a Dharma hat. Afterward, the guru methodically placed kusha grass around the fire offering mandala. Within only a few minutes after it was lit, the flames had already risen to several feet high. As it roared, the fire continuously changed, and wave after wave of rich sandalwood smoke wafted toward everyone’s nostrils.

While performing the fire offering, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never stopped chanting mantras and blessing various offering items, quickly placing a share in each attendee’s plate so that they could toss these offerings into the burning mandala. It was an opportunity for them to make direct offerings to the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the yidam, and give alms to all sentient beings in need of assistance, thereby rapidly accumulating good fortune and wisdom life with which to practice Buddhism.

While giving out the offering items, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed special teachings for the Korean Dharma master regarding visualization methods. He also instructed that while receiving the offering items, Khenpo Namdol, with the monastics and Glorious Jewel disciples in tow, should go first, followed by local believers. This allowed the attendees to circle the mandala in an orderly fashion and give rise to utmost respect during the solemn ritual.

As Rinpoche performed the puja, dark clouds raced in from all directions to gather thickly above the stupa, and hailstones of various sizes began to fall to the rolling sounds of thunder, soon turning into a heavy rain. Thanks to Rinpoche’s compassionate, awe-inspiring power, the fire offering went forward as normal, and the attendees’ reception of the offering items was not interrupted. After a while, the downpour eased, and the dark clouds dispersed without a trace, and again it was sunny and clear. These rapid changes in the weather were unfathomable, and meant that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, devas, nagas, and Dharma protectors had granted their praise and support. Repeatedly amazed by these auspicious signs, the attendees gave rise to great heartfelt faith and reverence. Meanwhile, the sharp, clear chirps of birds continued to ring out until the end of the puja.

Rinpoche asked whether any of the attendees worked in the farming industry, and nine of the Hungarian believers raised their hands. The guru said that he would grant them special blessings, but only if they grew rice, wheat, and vegetables and did not raise livestock. One of the local believers said he grew grapes, and asked whether it was okay to receive blessings. Rinpoche compassionately granted permission, giving these nine farmers the offering items he had blessed so that they could toss them into the fire offering mandala. He also instructed them to register with the Khenpo to receive some of the fire offering’s ashes so that they could spread them onto their fields; this would help their crops to yield a more abundant harvest and not be plagued by as many pests. However, he said that no harm must befall any animals within the bounds of their farmland, or else the blessings would not be effective. One farmer asked what he should do if there was no fence surrounding his farm. Rinpoche said he should think up a way to deal with that himself.

So that all the attendees could receive offering items in a timely fashion, Rinpoche paid close attention to their pace and how they were doing, all the while blessing them with his gaze. Despite not having any cartilage left in his right shoulder, he continuously chanted mantras, visualized, recited from the Dharma text, and handed out offering items over a thousand times, enduring unimaginable physical strain. The ritual lasted for three hours, during which Rinpoche did not take a single break. He put all his energy, without holding back, into benefiting sentient beings. Had he not possessed great Bodhicitta and auspicious Vajrayana attainment, performing the puja for such a long time would most certainly have been physically unbearable for anyone, let alone for a seventy-one-year-old. Nevertheless, from beginning to end, Rinpoche did not appear the least bit tired. His accomplishments in cultivation are truly astonishing!

Upon performing the puja to perfect completion, Rinpoche bestowed teachings:

“During this fire offering, the sun has come out, it has rained, and it has hailed, and these are signs that sentient beings have received our alms and that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have accepted our offerings. I have made offerings and given alms on behalf of all of you participating in this puja as well as countless sentient beings; from now on, this place and surrounding areas will be auspicious. I hope this puja will benefit local residents and the people of this country. Those of you here today should know that there is a stupa here as well as a Drikung Kagyu monastery; I hope you can visit here more frequently, for that would be helpful to this land and its people.

“On this trip I traveled from Taiwan to preside over two days of pujas in Latvia, and only arrived here in Hungary yesterday so that I could hold the fire offering puja today. This year I am seventy-one. I came here to do this because His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang brought me here last year (2017). At the time, while eating a meal near the stupa, I saw a mountain deity imploring me to return to perform a puja. His Holiness saw this deity, too, and agreed that I should. This is why it has rained so hard today; nevertheless, the flames of fire offering could not be extinguished. This is not because of my power, but because of your faith, which prevented the fire from going out. I hope you all can have auspiciousness and peace in the future!

“I am leaving this week, but two Drikung Kagyu Khenpos will continue to reside here, so you should all get to know them. The first is named Drupon Lundrup, and the second is Drupon Jigmet. Please give them your warm greetings.”

Rinpoche called forth and introduced the two Khenpos, helping to form good connections for all. The fire offering had come to a perfect completion, and all the attendees thanked H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for auspiciously performing the puja and bestowing teachings. Rising to their feet, they paid reverent homage as the guru descended the Dharma throne.

Local believers said that prior to that day, it had not rained for three weeks. The rainfall’s drenching of the thirsty land was actually due to the protection provided by the master practitioner’s good fortune, thus bringing benefits to countless local sentient beings.

During the three-hour puja, the sun shone, thunder rumbled, and torrential rain and hailstones fell. Upon the puja’s perfect completion, the sun came out again. These auspicious signs were incredible.

• The afternoon of June 5th (Tuesday) •

At 2:00 in the afternoon, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led his disciples into the monastery and compassionately performed the Vajrasattva to eliminate hindrances from everyone’s path to cultivation. Rinpoche led the attendees in chanting the Vajrasattva Mantra and recitations of the Dharma Protector Achi ritual, Long Life Prayers for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, the Dedication, and the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land.

Afterward, brilliant light spread throughout the inside of the main hall of the monastery. The two resident Drikung Kagyu Khenpos joined Khenpo Namdol to respectfully offer a perfect mandala to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in sincere gratitude for his having traveled so far to perform the puja.

Rinpoche said, “After performing these pujas, I’ll be leaving Hungary this week, but these two Khenpos will still be here to teach you all the Dharma. Furthermore, I wish everyone auspiciousness and good health.”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, all the attendees stood to pay reverent homage to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as he left the venue.

• Afterword •

Before Rinpoche left, he told the ones in charge of the place, Drupon Lundrup and Drupon Jigmet, that while performing the puja, he had seen a black dragon in the right front corner of the monastery. Rinpoche therefore instructed the Drupons to make sure that they performed the Dharma there daily, and make offerings of milk to the dragon.

After Rinpoche performed the fire offering, local dragons, mountain deities, and the devas, nagas, and others of the eight groups of beings all received the offerings, so, many things would gradually get better in various ways for the locals. The Drupons reported to Rinpoche that previously they had performed the rituals there every day, yet had not been able to pacify those beings, so they were extremely grateful to Rinpoche.

Three days later, the Drupons were happy to send the following news:

“It had not rained for weeks at the stupa in Hungary, but ever since Rinpoche performed the puja here, there have been heavy rains every afternoon. After each downpour, a rainbow appears in the same exact location. This has happened for three days straight, and is quite extraordinary. We are extremely grateful to Rinpoche for coming to the stupa to perform the puja. We believe these auspicious signs show that the devas, nagas, others of the eight groups of sentient beings, and Dharma protectors have all received Rinpoche’s blessings. We also are overjoyed that Rinpoche was able to come here to perform pujas, and truly believe in what he said: That this place will get better.

A heartfelt ‘thank you’ from Drupon Lundrup and Drupon Jigmet!”

The two Khenpos expressed profound amazement at the auspicious signs that had appeared while Rinpoche was performing the puja. They said that these were very special occurrences that had heralded an end to the local three-week drought, all thanks to the performance of the puja.

Khenpo Namdol of Yunnan praised Rinpoche’s mastery and accomplishments. The various phenomena that had appeared—sunshine, rainfall, thunder, hail—were not normal; they had been extremely special manifestations, and were auspicious signs shown by the guru’s attainment in the four major Dharma methods of subduing, placating, increasing, and vanquishing. That it had even hailed during the rituals showed Rinpoche to be a master practitioner of the Vanquishing method. Moreover, the rain that had fallen to moisten the land would allow everything to revive and flourish.

Under the protection of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Drikung Lineage gurus and the blessings of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s trip to Latvia and Hungary to promote the Dharma had been a complete success, bringing benefits to countless sentient beings. By spreading the pure, Right Dharma in Europe, he had helped local believers to give rise to respect, extend their virtuous connections, and accumulate good fortune with which to learn Buddhism, thus guiding them onto the auspicious path to Buddhahood!

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Updated on June 14, 2018