His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – January 22, 2017

On January 22nd, 2017, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Dharma Lord of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism, paid a visit to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei. His Holiness is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s root guru, and over the past thirty years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has conducted retreats and cultivated with his guidance. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is His Holiness’s most important Han disciple, as well as the firstNgakpaRinpoche of Han ethnicity to ever achieve such fruition in the Drikung Kagyu Order.

On this wonderful, propitious day, His Eminence RinchenDorjee Rinpoche led more than 1,500 disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in delivering a joyous welcome to His Holiness the DrikungKyabgonChetsang of the Drikung Kagyu Order. His Holiness was accompanied by Bhumang Rinpoche, KhenpoOrgyen from the Drikung Kagyu Institute at Jangchubling Monastery, Khenpo Tenzin Norbu from Ani Monastery, KhenpoPhuntsok Tenzin from Chile, Lama Samten, DruponSonamNyima, Lama Drubwang, Tibetan Language Secretary Lama Karma, the two AnisSherab and Yeshe from Germany, and His Holiness’s lay disciples Sally from America. In addition, the Ambassador of Bhutan and the Chairman of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Mr. Tobgye S. Dorji, and his daughter Ms. Chukie Om Dorji, as well as Mr. J. P. Singh from India also attended this distinguished puja.

With a welcoming contingent of incense burners, musical instruments, and a jeweled parasol leading the way, His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche set foot upon a white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols scattered with fresh flowers. His Holiness paid obeisance before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas above the mandala and reverently presented a khata before ascending the Dharma throne. H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made prostrations before the Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, a Dharma photo of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s opening words:

“First, we would like to welcome His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, and thank him for granting all our believers and disciples this opportunity to see him. We are also delighted that Bhumang Rinpoche is able to take the time to visit our Buddhist Center, and we welcome all of the Khenpos and Drikung Kagyu Lamas and Anis as well.”

All of the attendees welcomed His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Bhumang Rinpoche, and the Khenpos, Lamas, and Anis with thunderous applause.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: “His Holiness is very busy; 365 days a year, he is constantly traveling around the world to propagate the Dharma. His affinity with Taiwan is very profound. As his root disciple, I know that we must invite His Holiness here to see you all before year’s end. This visit can allow you to receive His Holiness’s blessings, which will reduce the hindrances you encounter along your Buddhist path.”

H.E. RinchenDorjee Rinpoche then instructed the disciples to recite the Refuge Aspiration Prayer, the Sutra of Recollection of the Three Jewels, the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones, and the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. Afterward, H.E. RinchenDorjee Rinpoche first made grand prostrations to His Holiness and donned Gampopa’s Dharma hat, and then led the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s ordained disciples and the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Cultural Exchange Association in an offering of the mandala before His Holiness.

After the mandala-offering, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the disciples to perform the Avalokiteshvara Ritual. All of the attendees then chanted the Great Six-Syllable Mantra along with His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Then, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully invited His Holiness to say a few words to the audience.

His Holiness bestowed precious teachings:

“Greetings Rinpoches, Dharma masters, and Dharma friends. I am extremely happy that this great Glorious Jewel family has been able to gather together today to chant mantras. This is wonderful. As you all know, the Great Six-Syllable Mantra is the king of all mantras. Why is that so? It begins with ‘om;’ the next syllable is ‘ma’ which, when as a slight extension, becomes ‘ah;’ and finally there is the syllable ‘hum.’ ‘Om, ah, hum’ represent an agglomeration of all Buddhas of the Three Times. ‘Mani padme’ is a Sanskrit phrase. ‘Mani’ means ‘treasure.’ Looking at the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, we notice a wish-granting jewel is held in Her clasped palms. This symbolizes that all of the wishes of sentient beings can be fulfilled. ‘Padme’ means lotus blossom. Buddhas all sit on lotus blossoms, so they are endowed with profound significance. Even though lotus blossoms grow in muddy marshes, they are never defiled by the mud, and bloom with great purity. Similarly, we sentient beings may be trapped in the mud of reincarnation, but our Buddha nature remains just as pure as a lotus blossom. It’s just that we don’t recognize it. If, through meditation, we can realize our Buddha nature, we will become enlightened to the pure state of mind that we inherently possess. So, this is the significance of ‘padme’, the lotus.

“There are eighty-four thousand different Dharma methods. Summed up, they all arise from causes and conditions. What is the origin of the sound of our chanting ‘ommanipadmehum’ here today? It is formed with our throats, our qi, the effort with which force these sounds out of our mouths, and so on. Only if we possess sufficient causes and conditions, however, are we able to do so; without them, we naturally cannot utter these sounds. Likewise, whenever we see an object—such as this Dharma text—where does its paper come from? It did not just suddenly come into being. Its manufacture requires a type of plant, and people to harvest it. Once the bark has been peeled away, the wood is refined, placed into a machine, and so on; only then, by way of human labor, is paper produced. Not to mention its very pretty colors; these can only be created by combining all sorts of elements—they do not simply exist independently. Therefore, everything we see, touch, and hear is a result of causes and conditions; it is all abstract, without its own self-nature. Rather, it is empty.Thus, all Dharmas are fundamentally Empty in nature. However when we speak of Emptiness, we are not referring to the absence of everything. Emptiness and form are one, as we can understand while reciting the words of the Heart Sutra: ‘Form itself is Emptiness; Emptiness itself is form. Form does not differ from Emptiness; Emptiness does not differ from form.’ They both are parts of an integral whole; all Dharmas originate from causes and conditions. Likewise,it is not in the absence of causes of conditions that these sounds I am uttering can come out of my mouth; they, too, arise from many causes and conditions.

“As you might have read in the King Asoka Sutra, back during King Asoka’s previous life, in the time of King Magadha, the Buddha was holding a bowl on the side of the road one morning when He saw two young children playing. Other people had placed offerings in the bowl. When the Buddha got there, those two children, who were playing in the sand, held up handfuls of sand and offered it with great sincerity to the Buddha. The Buddha saw that the cause and condition behind this offering would later result in one of these children becoming a king who would unite all of India and promote Buddhism.The Buddha instructed Sariputta to make a mixture of sand and cow excrement,and scatter it on the ground outside of a temple. this, too, was the working of cause and condition. That is how King Asoka came into being.

“Three or four years ago, I initiated construction of Sravasti, a very auspicious place previously unvisited and unknown by anyone in Mahayana Buddhism. Shakyamuni Buddha’s Sangha spent a full quarter of a century conducting summer retreats there. Sariputta was there, as was Maudgalyāyana and several sarira stupas. Everyone says the Buddha’s current sarira stupa is located in Kuśi-nagara, a relatively faraway place in Nepal. However, researchers have not yet found any evidence in support of that, but it should exist in the vicinity of Sravasti. You can’t say the Sangha were in one place, the sarira stupa in another, and the Buddha in yet another location, right? Or that the Sangha were somewhere else altogether? Nowadays people say it is in Kuśi-nagara, but it looks like there isn’t any ironclad evidence for that claim, so archaeologists will need to keep digging. What is important, though, is the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a very good causal connection with Sravasti.

“Why do I mention that? For more than twenty years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has given a lot of help to monasteries and temples great and small across Tibet. Recently, he paid a visit to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and made an offering to him of RMB1 million to go toward the reconstruction of Yangrige Monastery. At Gampopa Monastery, a primary temple of the Kagyu Order, construction is underway for a three-story tall main hall, and a major Buddha statue has been completed at PhagDru Monastery; for these accomplishments we must thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s years of unwavering effort and wholehearted support. Multiple locations in need are being attended by him, and he is constantly helping many sentient beings. Moreover, the khenpo who was originally in charge of Sravasti project conducted a retreat in Nepal and is now in Beijing, so it looks like the main benefactor of its current development projects will continue to be Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.”

(Enthusiastic applause erupted from the audience.)

“The Sravasti Cultural Festival has now been held for its second consecutive year. It started out with more than two hundred tents, each of very good quality and large enough to sleep more than twenty people. This year a further hundred have been made, so thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s sponsorship, there are now about three hundred. Actually, a row of tents behind those were sponsored by him as well. In addition to these, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has also assisted in other areas that were previously lacking. As I recall, the construction of the main hall will be completed about a month from today. As soon as the main structure and the ceiling are finished, the Buddha statues will be moved into it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche might remember these statues. Sixteen or seventeen years ago, he and I made our first trip to Kathmandu. At the time, one of Garchen Rinpoche’s primary disciples reported to me that there was a very fine set of statues portraying the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, sculpted in the Indian style and about the height of an eight-year-old child, which no one had bought yet because most people preferred Tibetan-style statues. The Indian-style statues stood vertically, and in more than twenty years, no one had bought them. The proprietor told us that if we wished to purchase them, we could do so at cost. In the end, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bought them. I originally sent them over to be housed in a temple in New Zealand, but after a few years that place no longer had sufficient causal conditions to keep them, so now I am preparing to ship them to Sravasti. The plan is to place a two-story high statue of Shakyamuni Buddha right in the middle, with the Eight Great Bodhisattvas surrounding it. Today, in fact, I asked someone to ship those statues of the Bodhisattvas from New Zealand to Sravasti.

(Enthusiastic applause erupted from the audience.)

“That’s how causes and conditions work. Even if you go out of your way to do something, your efforts will not bear fruit unless sufficient causes and conditions exist.As such, RinchenDorjee Rinpoche continues to contribute and make efforts without any ulterior motive, or seeking recognition. However, great outcome always appears. Lord Jigten Sumgön once said, if you deliberately try to do something, such an action is contrived; anyone can do that. However, if you do not go out of your way to do something, and your efforts naturally come to fruition, then that is an accomplishment. RinchenDorjee Rinpoche showed the best example; this is a very good omen.

“What I am building at Sravasti is just the first step; in the future, it will become a major holy place of pilgrimage for Buddhists all over the world. They will all come to help build it into one of the best cities in India, and in about twenty-five years it will become a very beautiful, greenified metropolis. It looks like we are going to be able to succeed, but there is a lot of work to do. I hope that Sravasti can one day be listed as a United Nations protected area, so that Buddhists around the world can have a firm, secure grasp on this holy site.

“Today is the first time I’ve announced publicly that I plan to hold the first summer retreatthere in 2018. Thanks to assistance from the Indian Ministry of Culture, we will begin by inviting four monastics from each of about twenty-five Hinayana temples in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, totally a hundred or so people. For the three months of summer, they will conduct a retreat in Jetavana, just as Shakyamuni Buddha did 2,500 years ago. Apparently, this project is coming along quite smoothly. It is my belief that by the time I go to Sravasti at the end of this year, clear-cut plans could be complete. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is such a major donor, I have invited everyone from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to attend the consecration ceremony later this year. I have not informed any other Drikung Kagyu Buddhist centers about it. Furthermore, around that time, there will be more than a hundred people participating in the Order’s eight hundred year anniversary event to be held at Jangchubling Monastery. The two events are only separated by two weeks, but they don’t have time to wait. Now that the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s people have this causal condition, it is my hope that you could all go. However, the hotels and restaurants being built there can only accommodate about five hundred people. Due to this limitation, only five hundred Glorious Jewel disciples will be able to attend, thus free tents will be provided if you so wish.

For Sravasti’s consecration ceremony to be held on November 10th of this year,I have invited His Holiness Drukchen as the main guest, and no one else; lamas and anis from all of his monasteries will organize this puja. Each year a different Order is invited; next year the lamas of Bhutan and various people of the Sakya Order will take turns to hold the puja. This year it is His Holiness Drukchen’s turn, and the Buddhist center invited from overseas will be the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. That’s all I have to say to you today. Happy New Year! I wish you all a joyous and prosperous year. Amitabha.”

Then, His Holiness bestowed upon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche two bags of precious nectar pills. The first bag, from Drikung Thil Monastery, had been provided as an offering by Akong Rinpoche; His Holiness had kept half, and was giving the other half to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The other bag was full of long life pills from the King of Bhutan, who had brought together all of the practitioners and lamas to perform the Amitayus Puja there. It had been made as an offering to His Holiness, who in turn was bestowing it upon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. These pills are extremely rare and auspicious.

Next, His Holiness held up a calendar and said, “One of my followers has created a calendar with all my photos. I’ll give it to this Buddhist center.” After receiving the calendar, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche praised it with admiration, saying, “His Holiness is quite photogenic!”

Then, His Holiness specially opened up the calendar to the April page and said, “This photo has a sort of flower in it grown from a tree called a ‘cannonball tree;’ under this sort of tree, the Buddha was born and entered Nirvana. In Chinese, its name is translated as the ‘sorrow-free tree.’ This photograph is of me standing next to it. I’ve never seen this sort of flower in Lumbini, but it can be found in Malaysia and Cambodia. It also grows in the palace grounds of one of Cambodia’s kings. Each day a single flower blooms, and at the end of its cycle, the resulting fruit is enormous. These huge blossoms do not grow from the leaves; rather, they all bloom from very fine tendrils sprouting directly from the tree trunk.

After thanking His Holiness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the disciples to recite the Long Life Prayers for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, as well as A Prayer for the Propagation of Buddhism, the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land, and An Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “We are grateful to His Holiness, Bhumang Rinpoche, the khenpos, and all the monastics for allowing us the good fortune to practice the Dharma with them.” In unison, all of the attendees expressed their gratitude to them.

At the perfect completion of the puja, all the attendees stood in reverence as His Holiness and H.E. RinchenDorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

Attending his guru in all matters with alacrity and without hesitation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave special instructions to each disciple to takehome a long life pill bestowed by His Holiness on their way out. After the puja, the disciples all received these pills respectfully, with both hands, expressing their profound gratitude to His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

It was only thanks to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate protection and blessings that the Glorious Jewel disciples had been given this precious, virtuous causal condition to meet His Holiness in person, participate in such an auspicious mandala-offering puja, listen to His Holiness’s and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, and receive the long life pills bestowed by His Holiness. Moreover, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche remained by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s side constantly, paying close attention to his every movement, and providing a fine example of how a disciple should attend his or her guru. This naturally revealed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s incomparable reverence and gratitude to his guru, thus granting the disciples a precious lesson.

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Updated on March 5, 2017