His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – July 18, 2013

At 8:00 in the morning, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the Glorious Jewel disciples to Phyang Monastery to participate in Master Marpa’s 1001st Annual Commemorative Puja as well as the consecration ceremony for Hevajra Monastery. Before the ceremony began, the Glorious Jewel disciples lined the streets to give a respectful welcome to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Five-color khatas were tied to the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s car, the first to enter the venue, closely followed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s car to which three-color khatas were tied. Protected by a jeweled parasol, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang walked into the venue preceded by Dharma music and incense burners. As they entered, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche followed closely behind His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, who ascended the dais to take a seat in the exact center. His Eminence Tritsab Rinpoche sat in the first position to the right of this main seat, His Eminence Togden Rinpoche sat in the first position to the left, and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sat in the second position to the left. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s sitting cushions and table were the same height as those of His Eminence Togden Rinpoche.

As soon as the ceremony commenced, the master of ceremonies gave an introductory statement about the origin of this distinguished puja. Because Master Marpa had been a Kagyu Lord, and Hevajra was a Dharma method from Master Marpa’s tradition, the day’s auspicious celebration was therefore being held to commemorate the 1001st anniversary of Master Marpa’s birth as well as the inauguration of Hevajra Monastery. The ceremony kicked off with a traditional folk dance. Next, after the young lamas recited The Manglacharan, a famous local performer from Ladakh sang The Auspicious Dharmadhatu Prayer in Tibetan.

Several local secular and religious VIPs from Ladakh made some brief remarks. During the ceremony, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang mentioned the many things His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had done to assist the monasteries and residents of the Ladakh region. By way of thanking Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang presented him with a sacred image of Master Marpa, as well as a precious piece of wooden artwork. Next His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang bestowed gifts upon the people from all walks of life who had provided support for this auspicious puja. During the puja the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang gave all the attendees precious Dharma codices which His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had only recently finished compiling, and which included many important prayers and practicing methods.

After that the guest of honor, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, gave a speech, and an English interpretation was provided for the many international attendees present. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang began by welcoming the Rinpoches, honored guests, and believers who had come from both India and abroad, and gave an introduction to the life of Master Marpa. Master Marpa had been a grand practitioner who lived in the 10th century and practiced Buddhism all over India and Nepal. Master Marpa made at least three pilgrimages to India, during one of which the practitioner had encountered his Root Guru Naropa at Nalanda University. Master Marpa had introduced Tantra to Tibet, and had also brought back many precious Sanskrit and Pali sutras which he later translated into Tibetan. This had earned him the honorific, “Marpa the Translator.” Master Marpa was the Lord of the Kagyu Order.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang explained the history of Phyang Monastery as well as the origin of its name. The region that included areas both inside and outside of Ladakh was ruled by a Ladakh monarch in the 15th century, so the name “Phyang” originally meant “external rule.” Master Marpa’s tradition primarily involves the transmission of the Hevajra; however, Hevajra Dharma texts are extremely difficult to obtain. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang specially put in order the Hevajra Dharma texts of the Drikung Kagyu Order and the Sakya Order, combining them into one collection. After this was done, a complete Hevajra Dharma text had been compiled. The Hevajra Monastery was originally constructed as a place for ordained practitioners in the Ladakh region to learn the Hevajra Dharma method. Starting on August 12th of this year (2013), a week-long Hevajra General Puja will be held annually. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang encouraged any practitioners who wish to learn the Hevajra Dharma method to grasp this auspicious opportunity, but also reminded prospective practitioners that they must first complete the necessary preparations and preliminary practices before practicing this Dharma method.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang mentioned the contributions His Eminence Togden Rinpoche had made to the Ladakh region, which had been extremely helpful to the local people both socially and in terms of propagating Buddhism. Every year His Eminence Togden Rinpoche would invite His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to visit Ladakh to spread the Dharma. Back when the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang first left Tibet, it had been thanks to the much assistance His Eminence Togden Rinpoche had given that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was able to arrive safely in Dharamsala. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang mentioned Togden Rinpoche’s advanced age, and that everyone should be appropriately respectful and attentive. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang also pointed out that in society these days there were many instances of young people not respecting their elders. On this point the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang gave a special reminder to everyone that they should respect the knowledge and cultivation of elderly practitioners, and that practitioners should continue to use the Bodhicitta to bountifully benefit sentient beings.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang told the attendees that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had come from Taiwan, and having donated about US$74,000 toward the construction of Phyang Monastery, was that project’s main sponsor. His Dharma title was “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche;” most people understand “Rinpoche” to mean someone who has been reincarnated, but “Rinpoche” means “Precious treasure of the world.” How was the honorific, “Rinpoche,” added to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s name? It happened because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is an extremely important person, a very precious treasure; so, in fact, it is possible for anyone to be awarded this title. There is a tradition in Tibet whereby chancellors, whenever writing letters, would often refer to the recipients as “Rinpoches.” Even if those people were neither reincarnated gurus nor ordained practitioners, but rather lay practitioners, they all could use the name “Rinpoche;” it indicated that such people were very important and precious. Similarly, Drubwang Rinpoche, too, was not authenticated as a reincarnated Rinpoche; however, he has engaged in true practice his entire life and has become a grand practitioner, so we call him Drubwang Rinpoche. Before awarding the title “Rinpoche,” one must look at the person’s spiritual characteristics, behavior, bearing, contributions to society, and so on. The title can be awarded to anyone; the person does not necessarily have to be a reincarnated Rinpoche.

So how does one become a true Rinpoche—an authenticated, reincarnated Rinpoche? Authenticating a reincarnated Rinpoche is very difficult. Prior to authenticating someone, an examination must be held. Because of this, a meeting was once convened by the Religion Department in Dharamsala during which it was decided that reincarnated Rinpoches of any order—including the Gelug Order, the Nyingma Order, the Sakya Order, and the Kagyu Order—must all possess their own past histories; otherwise, those Orders could not produce any new Tulkus or Rinpoches. This was a resolution made by everyone and the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. In recent years, many Orders have produced quite a few new Tulkus or Rinpoches; doing so does not contribute to Buddhism, but rather does it a disservice. Tulkus or Rinpoches must be genuinely authenticated, and must possess proof of their own past histories as well as the histories of their lineages. If they do not, such people will not be allowed authentication as new Tulkus or Rinpoches. The leaders of all the Orders signed this agreement in Dharamsala, so in the future no new Rinpoches will be authenticated unless they possess histories of their own lineages. At the time, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was also present at this meeting and signed this document.

Regarding the traditions of the Drikung Kagyu Order, it has roughly two hundred monasteries in Tibet and Ladakh, each one of which has an authenticated reincarnated guru. In these regions nowadays, however, only about half of them are authenticated Rinpoches. The way to authenticate a Tulku is, when a Rinpoche from the previous lifetime is found, a monastic companion who was close to that Rinpoche will report to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang does not then confer authentication or grant a letter of authentication immediately, but rather will perform a special Dharma of Protector Achi. Protector Achi is the Dharma Protector yidam of the Drikung Kagyu Order. During the ritual, names are written on pieces of paper and placed in a bowl, which is then shaken until one of the names pops out. This is how to authenticate a Tulku. As a result, our Drikung Kagyu Order has only ever authenticated reincarnated Rinpoches with historical lineages; it has never authenticated a new Rinpoche. This has been the way of it going back eight hundred years, and it remains true to this day. In the future, too, we will not authenticate any more new Rinpoches.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was very thankful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who had come from Taiwan and had provided support for the construction and renovation of many Tibetan monasteries, not just one. Moreover, many of them are quite ancient, including Drikung Thil Monastery, which is both very famous and extremely old. On a past trip to Tibet, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sponsored the construction of a tin roof for the monastery. Later it was found that this was not good enough, so the roof was changed to copper. In the end the copper was in turn replaced with gold-plating. This was no easy task; such a renovation required an enormous sum of money, especially given the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was still constructing this monastery. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has continued to make financial contributions to Jangchubling Monastery on an annual basis. Now we do not require such large sums of money for construction projects in Dehra Dun; however, there is still a great need to rebuild monasteries in Tibet, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has continued to invest funds for that purpose.

Phagmodrupa Center serves not only as the core of the Drikung Kagyu Order but also as a center for the Kagyupa; they all pay homage to this center. Currently, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hopes to construct a three-story statue of Shakyamuni Buddha at the Phagmodrupa Center. In order to build it, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has prepared a large sum of money in Taiwan; however, because the Chinese government keeps extremely tight restrictions on transferring funds to Tibet from overseas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche must transfer the funds for the construction of the Buddha’s statue by way of the relevant Chinese government-sponsored organization.

Similarly, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also hopes to renovate a monastery in the Kham district, the birthplace of the Glorious Jewel’s Dharma lord—Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön. Furthermore, by way of subsidizing the China National Tourism Administration, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche are planning on gradually building a museum there, as well as renovating other monasteries in the area. Public libraries and museums are very important for the local people. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has made great deal of contributions. Thus, these are the primary ways in which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has contributed and provided assistance in Tibet and India.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang did not originally plan on constructing such a large monastery here. Near the present site of this monastery there used to be a few pagodas, as well as a terrace commemorating King Gesar. At the time the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang instructed the monks to just build a small temple, and then went to India. Upon returning to Ladakh the following year, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang discovered that the monks had removed the pagodas, the terrace, and all related objects, and in their place had built a large monastery. Its construction and so on had all been completed according to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s design, and the result was a great and truly elegant monastery decorated with beautiful, stately paintings. However, when viewing such a large monastery, people might give rise to prideful thoughts; this is no good, and goes against the teachings of Buddhism. This is a very good monastery, and was only completed as the result of everyone’s hard work and contributions. Therefore, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang offered thanks to everyone, and stated that the merits resulting from the monastery’s construction would be passed down through generation after generation.

The consecration ceremony came to a perfect completion amidst a joyous atmosphere, and the organizers invited the attendees to stay for lunch. As His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Eminence Togden Rinpoche, and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche entered the lounge for the midday meal, traditional folkdances and other performances continued to be presented in the venue. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately blessed food to distribute to the Glorious Jewel disciples, all of whom were very grateful. During the meal, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang continued to enjoy the folk performances, only leaving the venue after the programme was finished. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche followed the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang outside, Tibetans crowded forward to implore for blessings, lining both sides of the street for two kilometers. One by one His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately blessed and fulfilled the wishes of each of them, and upon seeing an elderly Tibetan in a wheelchair pushing from the crowd toward the car, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the driver to stop so that the guru might bestow blessings upon this elderly person.

Because the sun was shining so brightly that day, after the ceremony His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave a special instruction to the travel services which had prepared tea that was good for relieving the summer heat, and told the disciples that they must drink it that evening as well as the next morning. Caring deeply for the disciples, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche arranged everything for them meticulously. In addition to being sincerely grateful, the disciples felt incomparably full of praise. According to the weather report, the temperatures in Ladakh were supposed to be quite cool, so the travel services had gone out of its way to tell the Glorious Jewel disciples participating in the puja group that they should bring warm clothing with them. However, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had known everything that would happen far in advance, so the guru had prepared the refreshing tea in advance for the disciples in order to help alleviate their discomfort from the summer heat. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great wisdom is truly incredible!

That evening, an auspicious sign—a halo around the moon—appeared in the sky above Leh. The moon’s halo emitted three layers of soft, purple radiance, shining forth like the protection and liberation constantly bestowed upon suffering sentient beings by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Everyone who saw this auspicious sign felt extremely elated and moved, and sang praise to the greatness of Buddhism.

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Updated on August 31, 2013