His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – July 30, 2017

On July 30th, 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.

On this exceptionally auspicious day, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led 1,400 disciples and believers from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in giving a joyous welcome to His Holiness and wishing him a happy birthday. During the puja, His Holiness presided over the Guru Yoga. Lama Samten and Lama Sonam Nyima of the Drikung Kagyu Order were also in attendance.

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 made prostrations before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas above the mandala and reverently presented a khata before ascending the Dharma throne. H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully 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 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, and then the Mandala Offering Ritual was conducted. After performing grand prostrations before His Holiness, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the ordained disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Cultural Exchange Association in mandala offerings to His Holiness.

His Holiness led the attendees in a performance of the Guru Yoga. During the ritual, he said that he was using a different method of chanting the Guru Yoga mantra, and demonstrated how it was done. The attendees chanted along for a long time.

Next, the Tsok Ritual was conducted and the eight offering girls sang, after which the ordained disciples pushed out a dining cart. On it was arranged a double-layer peach cake. Above the luscious, round birthday peaches was written the word ‘LONGEVITY’ in large letters, surrounded by two further layers of delicate and adorable little birthday peaches. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully invited His Holiness to descend the Dharma throne to cut the cake, attending him closely by his side the entire time. The attendees joined together to sing joyful renderings of ‘Happy Birthday’ to His Holiness in both Chinese and English, and everyone present was touched by the warm gesture.

After the Tea Offering and Rice Offering, the attendees all were granted offering items that had been blessed by His Holiness, thus allowing them the rare and auspicious causal condition to share food with him, their guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas.

Next, the Auspicious Dharmadhatu Prayer and the Seven Praises of Tara were recited, and then commenced the Lamp Offering Ritual, during which the Glorious Jewel monastics lit lamps as offerings to the Buddha on behalf of sentient beings.

Next, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the disciples to recite the Long Life Prayer for both His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land, and An Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve.

His Holiness bestowed precious teachings:

“I am very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Dharma masters, and Dharma friends of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center; it is quite auspicious that we can all be here today to perform the Guru Yoga together. This year is greatly significant in that it is the 800th Anniversary of Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön’s Parinirvana. Furthermore, I am deeply thankful for today’s use of peaches, which represent longevity, to celebrate my birthday—a gesture that links tradition with modernity.

“Early this year, at New Year’s, I made a visit to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. After that, in the spring, I went to Jambi in Indonesia, the first destination of the Venerable Atisa. I had been there year before last. It is the place where the Venerable Atisa had visited to learn the Dharma upon first arriving in Indonesia and met Serlingpa; this year I will go to a different location in Indonesia, where the Tara Temple exists. The Venerable Atisa’s main yidam is the Tara. After that, I will travel on to Vietnam and Bhutan, and then visit South Africa, where a Drikung Buddhist center has been established. To date, we have 145 centers around the world. Next, I will go to America, Europe, and then back here. On August 3rd, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and I will travel to Myanmar together to participate in a two-day international symposium on Buddhism. After we get back, I will go on to Latvia, Estonia, and Hungary, and then return to India and Nepal. After that, I will come back here to take part in the bicycling event.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my utmost thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for all the assistance he has given me and to the Order, and especially for the many things he has done in support of Sravasti’s construction. Originally it was going to be consecrated this year, and Bhutan’s religious leader was to be invited, but due to last year’s torrential rains in Nepal, many places were flooded. Moreover, the new government there has established new regulations, so many of our buildings have not been finished according to plan; as a result, the consecration date has been changed to next year. However, five hundred of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s disciples will be there this year.”

His Holiness asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche if the number was indeed five hundred, and he confirmed, “Five hundred will attend.”

His Holiness continued: “Sravasti is a very auspicious place; 2,500 years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha went there for summer retreats for twenty-five years. As far as we know, the Buddha expounded more than eight hundred sutras there. It is a place of very powerful blessings and great auspiciousness. As you all know, Bodh Gaya was where Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment, and Varanasi was where the Dharma wheel was first set in motion. However, Shakyamuni Buddha never stayed at any sacred site as long as He was at Sravasti, though these days this place has been forgotten in Mahayana Buddhism, and virtually none of its practitioners have gone there. This is because in the ninth and tenth centuries, Muslims occupied that area, so the line was broken. Master Xuanzang and others visited this place in the past, too; they left behind a few small temples and houses. Later on, Mahayana Buddhism forgot this place, and no Tibetan Buddhists went there either. The next building to be constructed there was after His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche passed away, when stupas were erected in eight sacred sites, and one of them is there. A Nepalese Dharma master also built there, but no one else did, so now it is up to us to do it. Currently our main sponsor is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and next year the project will be completed. Once it is, we are again preparing to invite Bhutan’s religious leader there; this was our original plan.

“I have many different projects in the works, but Sravasti is the main one, because this is an extremely auspicious location. It is currently India’s most underdeveloped region, so is in need of development. I have a magnificent dream: To make Sravasti into a sacred site for all Buddhists, from every corner of the globe. Bodh Gaya is no longer under Buddhist administration; it is managed by Hindus. If we can do our best to seize this opportunity to go forward with the Sravasti plans, then it not only will become a sacred site for the world’s Buddhists, but also the primary center of Buddhist activities, just like Mecca is for Islam. Our goal is not merely to develop a sacred site; we hope there will be new buildings throughout the whole village and county of Sravasti.

“To this end, plans for the first projects we will be working on next year have already been submitted to the Indian government, Ministry of Culture, and office of the prime minister. Activities will begin next summer when twenty-five Hinayana groups arrive from countries including Germany, England, and Australia. Furthermore, two larger temples, in Thailand and Myanmar respectively, will each be sending four Bhikkhus. Twenty-five groups, comprising 108 members in total, will begin to conduct their summer retreats.

“Traditionally, summer retreats are conducted when the white lotuses are in bloom, during the months of July, August, and September. The following year, we will add in Mahayana Buddhists, including practitioners from China, Japan, and Korea. In our third year, Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and Bhikkhus from the Himalayan region will join, so that by then the Three Vehicles of Buddhism will all be conducting summer retreats together, and this will happen during the same three months every year from then on. We have requested members of the Indian Ministry of Culture and other related departments to arrange lodging, and I will be in charge of providing food and airplane tickets for the Bhikkhus. Next year we will begin with these plans. Year after next, we plan to establish a Sravasti development organization that will include personnel from the Indian Ministry of Culture. An organization will be established in each Buddhist region, and this will continue going forward.

“At Sravasti, in the summer, monastics conducted their summer retreats, while lay practitioners received Dharma transmissions there for five days each winter. This is already the third year that I have expounded Shakyamuni Buddha’s Dharmapada, focusing on the subjects spoken of by the Buddha while He was in Sravasti. Right now I am just giving an overview so that you and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche are all aware of the current situation. This year we have invited His Holiness Drukchen, so perhaps he will come! The lamas from the monastery over at Jangchubling will not be attending this year’s winter puja, because this is not just a Drikung Kagyu place; rather, it is a sacred international Buddhist site. The Drikung Kagyu Order is merely organizing it. For example, this year two of the Drukpa Kagyu Order’s main monasteries will be organizing the puja, while next year monasteries of His Holiness of the Sakya might be invited to coordinate. The year after next there will be different monasteries organizing the pujas. The subject of the pujas will be the Dharmapada, and a Dharma text has been compiled for it. This is how Sravasti will operate. Thank you, everyone, for holding this puja and conducting the Mandala Offering, the Tsok Ritual, the birthday celebration, and so on. May you all be healthy, have good fortune, and live a long life.”

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Let us join together in wishing His Holiness a happy birthday.”

All the attendees cheerfully shouted, “Happy Birthday, Your Holiness! Happy Birthday, Your Holiness! Happy Birthday, Your Holiness!”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the disciples thanked His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for compassionately performing the Dharma and bestowing auspicious teachings that allowed countless sentient beings to reap boundless benefits. Rising to their feet, they paid reverent homage as the two gurus descended the platform. Afterward, His Holiness and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche shared precious longevity peaches with the attendees, and everyone felt incomparably grateful!

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once said that holding a puja during irregular natural phenomena such as eclipses, earthquakes, typhoons, and so on can benefit innumerable sentient beings. While the medium-strength Typhoon Nesat and the smaller Typhoon Begonia have been hitting Taiwan one after the other, the guru has helped sentient beings to accumulate good fortune by holding this puja to celebrate His Holiness’s birthday, during which the Guru Yoga was performed and blessings were bestowed upon them. The evening before the puja, storms pummeled every part of Taiwan, and many headlines warned that this was the first time in fifty years that two typhoons had converged on the country from both sides. It was also advised that every area should brace for strong winds and torrential rains, and it was announced in cities and counties all over Taiwan that schools and offices would be closed the following day. However, on the day of the puja, the sky above Taipei was clear and the sun shone brightly, in sharp contrast to the tempestuous weather the night before.

It is only thanks to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate support, protection, and blessings that the Glorious Jewel disciples have had this precious, virtuous causal condition to meet His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang in person, participate in such an auspicious puja to celebrate His Holiness’s birthday as well as the Guru Yoga presided over by him, and to listen to magnificent Dharma teachings. During the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche constantly remained in attendance at His Holiness’s side, concentrating on his every move and showing by example the attitude a disciple should have toward his or her guru. This naturally revealed the incomparable respect and gratitude Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche felt toward his guru, and granted the disciples a most valuable lesson.

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Updated on August 27, 2017