His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – July 19, 2013

At 9:00 in the morning, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the Glorious Jewel Disciples to Phyang Monastery to participate in the Avalokiteshvara Preparation Empowerment over which His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would preside personally. When the puja began, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang stepped up to the mandala, followed closely the whole way up by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang sat in the primary Dharma throne at the middle of the mandala; then His Eminence Tritsab Rinpoche sat in the first seat to the right, His Eminence Togden Rinpoche in the first seat to the left, and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the second seat to the left. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma table and Dharma seat cushions were the same height as those of Togden Rinpoche. During the puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the Glorious Jewel ordained and lay disciples’ representatives to offer the mandala to, and implore the Dharma from, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang taught the attendees the correct attitude and visualization method with which they should receive that day’s Preparation Empowerment, instructed all of the attendees to pay attention to their dreams, and stated that the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment would be formally conferred upon them the following day (July 20th). His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang taught everyone that being able to have the difficult-to-obtain body of leisure and fortune in this lifetime was a rare thing indeed, and being able to listen to the Dharma was rarer still, but that rarest of all was being able to encounter a meritorious guru. Therefore, everyone must arouse the Bodhicitta and participate in the puja on behalf of sentient beings—not just the sentient beings of this lifetime, but all sentient beings from past, present, and future lives as well. Having the mindset of participating in the puja on behalf of sentient beings is very important; you are doing this not just for yourself. All of you have been able to come and participate in the puja only as the result of the virtuous causal conditions you have accumulated over past lives, and this is especially true for a puja in which Tantra is performed.

The scorching sun hung high in the sky. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took good care of the disciples by giving them special instructions that if they should feel uncomfortable as the result of exposure to the sun, they could come and rest beneath one of the side awnings. Worried that unsavory elements might sneak into the venue, the guru further reminded the disciples that they should keep a close eye on their personal belongings. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche takes great care of the Glorious Jewel disciples in everything, and for this they are all extremely grateful.

After the Preparation Empowerment was completed, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang descended the Dharma throne and entered the lounge to eat. Only His Eminence Togden Rinpoche and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ate in the same room with the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. After His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was served, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was served next, followed by His Eminence Togden Rinpoche. All of this—from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s proximity to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang while entering the room, to the ritual, to the seating and food arrangements—showed that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was an openly acknowledged grand Rinpoche of the Drikung Kagyu Order who has achieved auspicious attainment to benefit countless sentient beings.

After the meal was finished, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang very compassionately received all of the Glorious Jewel disciples. Orderly and reverently, they entered the main hall to wait. With His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in attendance, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang walked into the main hall and bestowed upon each of the Glorious Jewel disciples a protection wheel decorated with solemn Dharma images of the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara. The Glorious Jewel disciples lined up, each advancing in formation to receive His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s sacred gift. In spite of being exhausted, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stood by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s side the entire time, helping to put in order the sacred gifts yet to be handed out and continuously paying attention to the disciples’ forward progress. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang very benevolently received Glorious Jewel disciples both elderly and young with much good-natured geniality.

So as to spare his guru from feeling tired, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the disciples not to kneel down while receiving their protection wheels, and that they each must hold their hands out to receive the item as they passed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche carefully observed His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s movements while bestowing the gifts, from time to time placing the sacred objects where they were easy for the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to reach. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already prepared them without having to be told by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. The utter respect and reverence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche held for the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was quite obvious; in all respects, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche attached great importance to his guru. Despite having brought so many disciples there to participate in the puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not appear the slightest bit arrogant, but instead attended upon his guru wholeheartedly, truly embodying the perfect role model of a Vajrayana disciple acting according to his guru’s teachings. This caused the Glorious Jewel disciples to feel extremely ashamed, and they used this opportunity to reflect upon their deficiencies in attending upon their own guru.

If it had not been for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s continuous contributions to the Order and his guru, how could the Glorious Jewel disciples have been fortunate enough to meet in person with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and receive the sacred objects the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang bestowed upon them? They felt sincerely grateful to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having created such a precious and benevolent causal condition for them, for tirelessly leading them all the way from Taiwan to Ladakh to participate in this auspicious puja, and for helping them to accumulate the resources for practicing Buddhism. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had given much thought to this, and as a result the Glorious Jewel disciples felt extremely grateful for their guru’s boundless benevolence.

After personally bestowing one of the sacred objects upon each of the Glorious Jewel disciples, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang told them they could take their seats, and expressed interest in how their trip to Ladakh had gone.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang asked the Glorious Jewel disciples whether they had been able to acclimatize themselves to Ladakh, and if any of them had felt any discomfort. Extremely grateful for the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s concern, the Glorious Jewel disciples answered in unison, “None at all.” His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said humorously to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “They’ve all acclimatized pretty well, so next time how about you take them up Mount Everest!” The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang mentioned that recently an eighty-something-year-old Japanese person had climbed Mount Everest, which had been quite a feat. There was an elderly Glorious Jewel disciple present, so His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang asked her her age. The disciple answered that she was eighty-seven years old. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang asked if she had suffered any adverse effects from the altitude since arriving in Ladakh. The disciple answered that she had not, and that physically she felt fine; for this she was grateful to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang expressed interest in everyone’s itinerary over the few days since arriving in Ladakh, and inquired as to what they had planned for the following day. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche answered respectfully, “We’ll be coming to participate in the puja.” The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang then asked about their plans for two days hence. An employee of the travel services answered, “The plan is for everyone to board the airplane and leave three days from now, so currently we have nothing arranged for the day after tomorrow. We will heed His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions.”

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang recommended that everyone go to Achi Monastery. This was not the Drikung Dharma Protector Achi, but it was somewhat related. Achi Monastery’s history went all the way back to ancient times. It was one of the 108 monasteries built in western Tibet and Ladakh by the 11th century Buddhist scholar Rinchen Zangpo. Inside Achi Monastery could be seen artwork of the ancient Gandhara style, similar to the murals in the Dunhuang Caves. They were also associated with the murals done in the era of Alexander the Great; their painting style was from the same system as that used in ancient Greece. Nearby there was also a giant statue of Maitreya Buddha; on the cliffs next to it was painted a biography of Shakyamuni Buddha. The painting had been done with meticulous brushstrokes, and was very much worth a look.

In unison the Glorious Jewel disciples expressed their gratitude for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s blessings and teachings, and they thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for compassionately allowing them to have the auspicious causal condition to pay homage to the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. If it had not been for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, most of them would not have been able to get close to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang so easily, let alone receive the precious teachings and sacred objects personally bestowed upon them by the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. By what virtue and by what capability could the Glorious Jewel disciples have had such an auspicious causal condition? It had all been because His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had completely surrendered himself to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, acted according to the guru’s teachings, practiced diligently, and given protection and support to the Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Order without reservation. Having taken refuge at the foot of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma throne, the disciples were incessantly receiving profound blessings from their guru. Only by being lucky enough to fall under the protection of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great sea of boundless merits had the disciples been awarded this opportunity to listen personally to the Dharma nectar bestowed upon them by the Dharma Lord His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the disciples to return to their respective hotels, and told them that anyone feeling any physical discomfort could go visit one another that afternoon. Every single word uttered by a grand practitioner is Dharma meant to benefit sentient beings. After the puja, the Glorious Jewel disciples took the opportunity to share auspicious stories of how His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped sentient beings. Hearing of the guru’s compassion and merits caused the faith of many disciples to grow as they realized even more profoundly the benevolence, skill, and wisdom with which His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped sentient beings. It truly was unfathomable.

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Updated on October 3, 2013