His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings

July 24, 2012

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the 1,011 disciples of Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in reciting Amitayus Mantra in turn for 24 hours without interruption, and after that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued conducting the Tsok offering and tea offering rituals. Then the eight offering girls sang the offering-song in front of the mandala, followed by the rituals such as the Dharma Protector Achi and the Great Six-Syllable Mantra conducted by the guru.

After the rituals, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said: This is the first Puja during which we have more than 1,000 people chanting the mantra of a specific yidam in Taiwan continuously for 24 hours without interruption in the history of the Drikung Kagyu Order.  It is a very difficult task to gather together more than 1,000 people and have them do something with the same mind as one. We would not have had such an opportunity to do so had it not been for the great blessed rewards of the Drikung Kagyu Order and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

If each disciple has recited the Amitayus Mantra at least thirteen thousand times, then we’d have recited it 13 million times. Added to this number, the number of times that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and Khenpo Namdol, the two Lamas – Dawang and Tenzin, and the ordained practitioners have recited, the total should be 15 million times. The number is not the main point. The important thing is that we chant the Mantra with pure thoughts, and in this way the pure mind-continuum can be continued just as described in the Dharma text. The mind-continuum does not stop when the 24-hour continuous chanting is finished or when the Puja has achieved perfect conclusion. Rather, it will go on and on. As long as you have not attained Buddhahood, the merits of this mantra-chanting will be with you life after life. It is a very good origination that the Drikung Kagyu Order has had such a Puja for the first time today. Hopefully, it will not be the only one, and there will be many more such Pujas in the future.

Today, those of us who have attended this Puja are filled with Dharma joy, as we have continuously chanted the Amitayus Mantra for 24 hours that helped make the Puja a perfect success! The attendees expressed their gratitude in unison to Most Venerable Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the auspicious Dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed everyone that it was His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, as well as Khenpo Namdol, the two Lamas – Dawang and Tenzin, who deserved their gratitude. So the attendees thanked His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Khenpo Namdol, the two Lamas – in unison, respectively.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said: the origin of this Puja was the birthday of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not aroused the thought to make offerings to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, there would not have been such a Puja; furthermore, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not met His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang because of the insistence of his friend, then there wouldn’t have been this Puja at all. We also need to thank Khenpo Namdol and these two Lamas for their help in the rituals, in addition to many people’s assistance that made it possible for us to have the causal conditions to have this Puja. So you should have a heart full of gratitude, thanking His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Drikung Kagyu Order for their blessings and protection so that you can live and work in peace. We also would like to thank all of you who are here today. Being able to attend this Puja is a blessing, and don’t think that you can do that simply because you want to recite the Buddhist sutras or make prostrations to the Buddha, because causes and conditions are rather complex. This is an opportunity for you to realize that everything does not come by easily.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center has never set up a special board in honor of “major donors” or allowed charity sales. Nor does it mean that you should bring something here and take back something else as an exchange. You have already received something once you have attended the Puja. The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center always holds its pure Pujas according to the Dharma. No commercial atmosphere should be mixed in a puja, because with involvement of money it would not be pure. A puja would not feel right with strong commercial atmosphere surrounding it, as if it is a place where conditions are exchanged. When a puja is held in Tibet, no board would be set up in the middle of the venue with all names of major donors listed on it, nor would such donors be invited to sit in the front. There is no such a promise either that you would get something if you come to attend the puja. If there is money, then they’d hold the puja. If not, then they’d find some donors with aspiration to sponsor it. We should be practicing Buddhism strictly in accordance with what Buddha Shakyamuni had taught us rather than relying on our own invention. It would be wrong if you do something that was not taught by the Buddha.

You have just observed the ritual of the eight offering girls singing the offering-song. The melody which the eight offering girls were singing was not composed by humans. Rather, it was written by a Dakini who composed it as an offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as gurus throughout all generations. The offering-song by the eight offering girls is featured in the Grand Puja held by the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center every year. What were the causes and conditions for it? Many disciples who recently took refuge do not know. It is possible that even Khenpo Namdol would not know, either. In 2002, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang presided over a Grand Puja with 10,000 attendees at Taoyuan. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was making preparations for this Puja, a thought suddenly occurred in his mind and he initiated the idea of arranging eight offering girls who would wear Tibetan dresses with eight auspicious treasures in their hands as ushers to lead His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang into the venue. This thought was originated spontaneously in the mind of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who had not seen or heard or been taught anything similar. This was an inspiration that came as a result of his cultivation in the past lives. Years after starting to practice Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche came to realize that in fact this was mentioned in the Dharma texts and in conformance with the rituals.

Two or three years after seeing the arrangement of the eight offering girls, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang transmitted the melody to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The eight offering girls have been singing the offering-song in the pujas held by the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center since then. We don’t know if other Buddhist centers have such a melody. But the offering-song that the eight offering girls sing at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center was bestowed upon us by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Some people started using 12 offering girls, but nothing is mentioned in the Dharma texts about 12 offering girls. This was something that they have invented on their own. Why should there be eight offering girls? The Amitabha Sutra mentions the “water of eight merits.” Furthermore, you have all heard of “eight great Bodhisattvas,” “eight auspicious treasures,” and many other instances that use the number “eight.” Why is “eight” used instead of another number? There is a reason, which cannot be revealed unless a practitioner has attained the fruition of the Anuttarayoga Tantra. So we cannot talk about that part publicly. Khenpo Namdol should know, so may the two Lamas. I’ve mentioned this not for the sake of criticism but to let you know that you should not invent something if it is not described in the Buddhist sutras.

You should really treasure the affinity. The “affinity” mentioned here does not refer to the romantic type between a man and a woman. That kind of affinity is not important, and it’s nothing to be treasured, as it comes and goes and changes over time. The affinity that should be treasured is one’s affinity with Buddhism, the opportunity to be in contact with the Dharma. You truly need to cherish it, as it may be gone instantly if you don’t. Once you miss it, it’s very difficult to have it again. So don’t assume that it doesn’t matter if you just miss one puja. One puja you miss is one opportunity missed forever. Nor should you think that attending the puja is not important. It may be that it’s not important to you. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not had the opportunity to meet His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, which was made possible through constant encouragement of a friend, he would not have started on the path of practicing Buddhism in this life. There were many obstacles on the path of learning Buddhism where things happened beyond your imagination. Back then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not have to listen to the advice of his friend. If that had happened and he had not met His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have come into this life in vain even if he had cultivated in past lives and no matter how well he had cultivated if he had not treasured that affinity. Even though everything has its origination, it’s important that you have to decide yourself whether you’d want to treasure and continue this affinity or not.

Thinking of Three Grace Root Guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, choking with emotion: His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has been busy even today – his own birthday, doing many things for the Drikung Kagyu Order and benefiting sentient beings. The reason that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is still talking so much after the perfect completion of the Puja is to tell you that you should truly be grateful. Causes and conditions are very complicated. It’s not like if you’d like to come to a puja and you can come, or if you’d like to have something and you can have it, as there are so many factors involved behind everything. You must have a heart of gratitude, and do not take everything for granted. Stop talking nonsense anymore, and stop thinking that committing a fault is nothing serious. In practicing Buddhism, you should not commit a fault at all. Committing even one fault is something very serious.

During this Puja, starting at 10:00 a.m. on July 23rd, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted the consecration of the statue of the Thousand-armed and Thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara and Amitayus ritual before leading the disciples in chanting the Mantra until 2:00 p.m. Then from a bit after 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. he remained in the Dharma throne and kept chanting the Mantra. On July 24 at 9:30 a.m. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again ascended to the Dharma throne, performed the ritual and led the disciples in chanting the Mantra as offerings to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang until after 12:00 p.m. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the Amitayus Puja, led the disciples in chanting the Mantra and performed the rituals for as long as 12 hours, in disregard of the fact that he was at a senior age of 65 and that such hard work required a lot of physical stamina. This not only showed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s sincerity in making offerings to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, but also further demonstrated the Vajrayana disciple’s absolute and selfless reverence for his Three Grace Root Guru. Completely and whole-heartedly devoted to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Drikung Kagyu, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche served as the best model for the disciples in learning Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s infinite gratitude and reverence for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was extremely admirable and inspiring!

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Updated on September 18, 2012