An Introduction to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche Brief Biography
His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is the abbot-guru of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taiwan. In 1988, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took refuge in the Drikung Kagyu thirty-seventh throne holder, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. He is a non-reincarnated Ngakpa Rinpoche of Han ethnicity to have attained fruition through genuine cultivation in this lifetime.
In 1997, to promote the Right Dharma, benefit sentient beings, and further the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, Rinpoche single-handedly founded the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei. Subsequent branches of the Buddhist Center were established one after the other in Touliu, Taichung, Hsinchu, and Kaohsiung. In 2008, the guru inaugurated another Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Kyoto, Japan. To date, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has over 1,500 disciples and countless believers, making the Glorious Jewel the largest Buddhist center in the Drikung Kagyu Order.
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche regularly presides over Chod Pujas and regular Sunday pujas at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei, as well as Refuge Pujas. At all of these, the guru bestows teachings in person, and participants include disciples from all over Taiwan, Mainland China, Japan, India, Europe, and elsewhere. At the same time, as gatherings of the fourfold assembly of Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, Upasakas (male lay practitioners), and Upasikas (female lay practitioners), every puja comes to a perfect and solemn completion.
On several occasions, His Holiness has praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s utmost respect for his guru and devotion to the Order as being greater than many people would be able to muster, and has stated publicly that the two of them, guru and disciple, would continue to walk the Dharma path together, benefiting even more sentient beings in the future.
The Origin of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Aspiration to Construct the Glorious Jewel Temple and Related Unfathomable Stories
His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had all along been instructing and exhorting Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to construct his own temple in which to transmit his auspicious, pure Dharma lineage, which would benefit even more sentient beings. Furthermore, out of compassion for the myriad sentient beings still trapped in reincarnation’s sea of suffering, Rinpoche had always placed utmost importance on helping them. As a result, to extend their wisdom life, he vowed to construct a Glorious Jewel Temple big enough to accommodate 2,000 people in the hope that it would allow greater numbers of believers, who are eager to learn Buddhism, to benefit from the Dharma. Once Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple has been built, it will not only be able to further his auspicious, pure Dharma lineage, but will also be able to help even more sentient beings with Buddhism. This will contribute greatly toward purifying people’s minds and stabilizing society.
Since 2015, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began searching for a suitable location in which to build the Glorious Jewel Temple. After more than a year, it was finally decided that the temple would be constructed in Zaoqiao Township, Miaoli County. Promising beautiful scenery, a quiet, secluded environment, and convenient access to transportation, it was a rare and auspicious site. Moreover, behind this gem’s appearance was an unfathomable and wondrous process.
A Believer’s Parents Appear in a Dream
Auspicious Signs of a Treasure Land Manifest
In 2016, in response to an invitation from a Glorious Jewel disciple, a believer came to participate in the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This auspicious puja has been held annually fourteen times, and even though there have never been any advertisements for it in the media, each instance has attracted more than twenty thousand attendees. During this propitious grand puja, the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche liberates countless sentient beings, helping them to be free from suffering and to obtain happiness.
Because this particular believer’s mother had recently passed away, he was attending the puja in the hope that she and other deceased family members could be liberated by the guru. The night before the grand puja, he had had an extremely vivid dream; in it, he had seen his deceased parents standing in the middle of a glorious, magnificent palace. The believer had not known at the time where this beautiful, sacred site was. Then something miraculous occurred! The next day, upon arriving at the venue in which the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness was held, he was surprised to discover that the dream palace in which his parents had been standing was none other than the auspicious, magnificent, and solemn mandala of the grand puja itself! This incredible coincidence moved the believer to ecstatic praise. By the end of the puja, he was absolutely convinced that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately liberated his mother and other family members to a good place. He was extremely grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!
When the believer heard of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s vow to find a plot of land on which to construct the Glorious Jewel Temple to benefit vast numbers of sentient beings, he quickly contacted the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to inform them of this location in Longsheng Village in Zaoqiao Township, Miaoli County. After all the good fortune and causal conditions were in place, it was determined that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s temple would be located there. According to local elders, this precious piece of land had always been well-maintained, but had never been used for anything else; it was as if it had been waiting for a master practitioner to use it for the promotion of the Dharma and to benefit sentient beings. The virtuous causal condition that led to the finding of this gem of a location had resulted from none other than Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s selflessness and great compassion! With blessings and protection from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as His Holiness’s well wishing and assurances, construction of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple was bound to be an auspicious and complete success, bringing benefits to all!
A Diagram Comparing the Original and Current Topography at the Glorious Jewel Temple
From descriptions by local elders and information collated from aerial photographs, it can be seen that the temple was built in situ, and its area has not been expanded; the original landscape has always been maintained so as to protect the existing ecology.
Birds Flying and Fish Jumping Joyfully
The Groundbreaking Ceremony Is a Perfect Success
His Holiness had constantly been inquiring about the progress of the temple’s construction, and was overjoyed to learn of its confirmed location. He had stated that November 7th would be a good day for its groundbreaking ceremony, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made arrangements for it to be held on that day.
After inspecting the area, His Holiness chose a location in which to conduct the grand groundbreaking ceremony. He then led Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Khenpo Namdol, and Lama Samten in a further confirmation of where to perform the ritual and place the Earth Mother.
When His Holiness ascended the Dharma throne, birds gathered in the surrounding trees, chirping excitedly. His Holiness smiled and exclaimed, “So many birds!” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche replied, “They’ve all come because they are very happy to hear you perform the puja.”
His Holiness led Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the Three-Part Torma Ritual, the Yidam Hevajra Earth Mother Ritual, the Earth Mother Groundbreaking Ritual, the Smoke Purification Offering, and the Food Offering for Devas, Nagas, and the Eight Groups of Beings. During the groundbreaking ceremony, a flock of birds suddenly flew overhead, chirping in beautiful song, fish surfaced and leaped in the pond, and rosy clouds gathered in the sky. These various manifestations of auspicious signs recorded in the Dharma text were an indication that this was indeed a suitable place in which to cultivate!
Even earlier, in August of 2016, the first time the Glorious Jewel disciples surveyed the proposed site for the new temple, a neighboring landowner had said that the pond there did not contain even a single fish. Nevertheless, on the day that His Holiness and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to perform the groundbreaking ceremony, droves of fish leaped from the water. These fish were truly remarkable; knowing that two master practitioners had come to help them, they were jumping for joy over and over.
After performing the ritual for a while, His Holiness and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne to take turns wielding the red-ribbon-tied hoes during the ceremony, and placing pieces of earth into a glass jar. His Holiness held up the jar of soil they’d dug up and examined it closely for a long time. Next, His Holiness performed the smoke offering, during which white smoke continuously billowed skyward, a sign of auspiciousness. Immediately afterward, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed three grand prostrations on the sand and dirt in front of His Holiness while imploring to offer the mandala, and thanked him for his auspicious Dharma performance.
Upon completion of the groundbreaking ceremony, His Holiness bestowed precious Dharma teachings: “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cares deeply for the ordained disciples; in finding this peaceful location, he has prepared a wonderful place of cultivation.” Just then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the disciples, “Did you hear that?” The disciples immediately responded in unison with an expression of gratitude for His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.
His Holiness continued, “Earlier, we have also performed the smoke offering, the food offering for Devas, Nagas, and the Eight Groups of Beings, and so on to perfect completion. This location is very special in that it is a mountain valley without a lot of wind, but the breeze that does enter here, despite the surrounding trees, is very good, and blows continuously.” His Holiness’s remarks gave us even more confidence that the site of the Glorious Jewel Temple was an auspicious piece of treasured land in complete harmony with nature, and that the entire construction process would go smoothly!
After the rituals came to a perfect completion, Rinpoche respectfully and sincerely asked His Holiness where exactly the stupa and temple should be built, as well as His Holiness’s private lounge. The whole time, Rinpoche was the epitome of a respectful and grateful disciple toward his guru. In Tibetan Buddhism, the relationship between a guru and his disciples, as well as the blessings he bestows upon them, last through lifetime after lifetime, ever unbroken. Rinpoche’s loyalty and respect for His Holiness are both praiseworthy and deeply moving! Furthermore, the blessings and well-wishing granted through His Holiness’s performance of the ritual were further evidence that after Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple was built, it would definitely be able to benefit innumerable sentient beings, and that Rinpoche’s pure Dharma lineage would flourish forever!
The Will of a Vajra Guru is Steadfast
An Architectural Master Gives Praises
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple will be designed personally by internationally renowned master architect Mr. Li Tianduo, known as the ‘godfather of aesthetics’. He believes that architecture has a responsibility, which is to further develop the environmental elements of nature and human culture, and then to integrate the buildings into the environment. During a previous trend in the architectural world of classical architecture, Master Li used surrounding materials in a most low-key, uncharacteristic way to create a building that integrated into the environment and gave a sense of calm, thereby instigating a wave of modern minimalist architecture in Taiwan. Though Master Li claims modestly that his creations are nothing more than “green leaves”, each one of them has ended up a stunning and extremely admirable “red flower”.
Every Saturday afternoon, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sacrifices his own leisure time to receive and bestow help upon disciples and believers. A certain young couple sought an audience with Rinpoche, and he compassionately gave them advice and help so that they would have something to rely on to get through their time of hardship. Later, both husband and wife took refuge in the guru. The husband (Dharma Brother Lin) happens to work at Master Li’s architectural firm.
On April 2nd, 2017, at a regular Sunday puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that His Holiness had always wished for him to be able to build a temple in this lifetime. This was because in Tibetan Buddhism, it is tradition for a Rinpoche who has met certain conditions to have his own temple so that he could transmit his Dharma lineage and further the spread of Buddhism. However, because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples were not proactive or motivated enough, and felt under pressure, the guru announced that only disciples who had already donated could continue to support the temple project, and that no other disciples’ donations would be accepted. He went on to say that he himself would cover any of the temple’s construction costs that had not yet been paid for. It did not matter how arduous the task might prove; in order to carry out His Holiness’s instructions, Rinpoche was even willing to sell his own house and car!
The following day, Dharma Brother Lin headed to his office for work and mentioned this to his boss, Master Li, who expressed surprise at the fact that an abbot-guru was willing to shoulder such a large burden on his own, and spoke admirably of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s perseverance and resolve. Deeply moved, Master Li sent Dharma Brother Lin back to ask Rinpoche if there was anything he could do to help. As a result, Rinpoche and Master Li met face to face on April 8th, 2017, soon after which the architect took on the responsibility of planning and designing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple.
Prior to their meeting, Master Li paid a special visit by himself to the Glorious Jewel Dongfeng Coffee Shop to drink coffee and have a detailed look at this coffee shop that Rinpoche had designed himself. Upon returning to the office, he said to Dharma Brother Lin, “Your Rinpoche really has good taste!”
All of this had resulted from Rinpoche’s wholehearted compliance with His Holiness’s instructions and constant benefits to sentient beings. These had moved the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas into bringing about all the virtuous causal conditions that led to the appearance of master Li Tianduo who, recognizing Rinpoche’s taste, decided to assist in the construction of the Glorious Jewel Temple.
With Compassion and Protection
The Guru Cares for His Disciples More than Their Own Parents Care for Them
It is written in the sutras that disciples must conduct retreats under the guidance and protection of a meritorious guru. However, in modern society, it is not at all easy to find a quiet, unpolluted place, where the air is fresh, in which to do so. For more than a decade, the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had silently been searching both home and abroad for a suitable location for his disciples to conduct retreats. This search took him all over northern and central Taiwan, as well as places such as Yilan and Su’ao. He even ventured as far away as New Zealand. In spite of stormy weather and muddy roads, the guru tirelessly explored every potential location in person. All in all, he looked at hundreds of such sites, always hoping to find a suitable place for his disciples to practice.
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche treats his disciples, and all sentient beings, as if they were his own sons and daughters, and for more than ten years, he quietly made preparations for them. Now, the causal conditions have finally matured, and the guru’s Glorious Jewel Temple is being planned so that the temple and a retreat center will be built together. Not only will this allow Rinpoche’s auspicious, pure Dharma lineage to be transmitted, but it will also provide monastics with a place to conduct retreats and cultivate. To construct a temple large enough to accommodate two thousand people is no easy feat, and requires an enormous amount of mental energy, physical strength, and money. Despite being in his seventies, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche aspires to vast bodhicitta and takes on this gargantuan responsibility all for the sake of promoting the Dharma and benefiting sentient beings. In the sutras there is mention that when constructing a temple and making offerings to the Three Jewels, a great many merits can be gained. May the public come together to participate in this auspicious and rare Buddhist activity so that vast numbers of sentient beings can obtain Dharma benefits.
Compassionately Benefiting Sentient Beings Equally
With a Vow to Liberate Them All from Suffering
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate aspiration is to not just help his own disciples and believers, but to help all sentient beings, both with form and without. The guru treats all sentient beings equally, hoping that all may someday be able to leave reincarnation behind, thus escaping suffering to attain happiness.
(1) Taking careful measures to protect life
After finding this precious site for the Glorious Jewel Temple, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made great effort to protect its surrounding environment:
● The total area of the temple site in Miaoli is 12.3 hectares, about 30.4 acres, of which 1.9 hectares are for the constructions of temple buildings and facilities. As Rinpoche compassionately protects living creatures, he has not expanded the area for the temple park. He has designated only the land range, developed originally by the prior owner of the land, for the temple constructions. It is his expectation that in this way the impact on the environment will be minimum. Consequently, the area in actual planning for the temple and its retreat center is only 0.652 hectares, about 1.6 acres. This shows that what Rinpoche believes in about protecting environment and living creatures is not just a slogan. He practically implements it in life.
● The Glorious Jewel Temple will preserve the surrounding forest so as to reduce its impact on the local organisms’ habitat.
● The temple will minimize the need to excavate and disturb the soil. By keeping the current ridgeline intact, the temple buildings will be hidden in the valley from view.
● There will be no destroying bee hives, no harming animals including birds and insects, no deliberate chopping of trees and branches, no spraying of pesticides and insecticides, no use of chemical fertilizers, and no “life-release” activities.
● There will be no carrying of any food containing meat, and no large kitchens set up.
● Recreational activities are prohibited.
● There will be no large incense burner, and no fossil-fuel-burning vehicles on temple grounds. Electric cars will be available to transport the elderly and frail, pregnant women, and anyone with limited mobility to avoid air pollution.
● Graywater will be recycled for reuse so as to reduce water pollution.
● For the garbage sorting and recycling facility, all kitchen waste is to be sealed with green electricity and put into cold storage so as to prevent bad odors from being emitted; it will then be collected and recycled along with other types of refuse.
(2) Sentient beings in the wood used to carve the Four Great Heavenly Kings statues
To create the statues of the Four Great Heavenly Kings that will be placed at the entrance to the Glorious Jewel Temple, African beechwood was chosen. The enormous logs were imported all the way from Africa to the port of Taichung, and after being cut to size in a timber factory in Daxi, Taoyuan County, they were prepared for engraving by artisans.
Before any initial cuts were made to the logs, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche specially implored his guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, who was promoting Buddhism overseas at the time, for advice on which rituals to perform and when to perform them. This was yet another demonstration of the profound respect Rinpoche has for his guru and the Dharma.
First thing in the morning on the day of the rituals, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche traveled from Taipei to the timber factory in Daxi, where he performed a smoke offering. Afterward, the guru said it was written in the sutras that any tree standing taller than a person has sentient beings on it. These trees had been chopped down, shipped across the ocean to Taiwan, and then been cut and carved. Through all of these various processes, many sentient beings had without a doubt been harmed and frightened, so Rinpoche was performing the Dharma to help and console them. He also said that he had given Dharma benefits that day not only to the sentient beings on the Glorious Jewel Temple’s Four Great Heavenly Kings statues, but to all the sentient beings on all the timber stored in the warehouse, and had helped the woodcarving artisans as well.
There is another story to tell here: While performing a smoke offering, fresh, fragrant leaves should be burned. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche informed his disciples about the smoke offering to be conducted in the timber depot in Daxi, they began to look for such leaves. After searching for quite some time, however, they were unable to find any that were suitable.
Coincidentally, on the afternoon before the guru was to perform the ritual in Daxi Township, just as the disciples were making preparations at the timber depot, they heard the song, “Maiden’s Prayer,” being broadcast from outside. They then heard sawing and brushing sounds. When one of the disciples went outside to take a look, he saw that it was the township cleaning crew, tidying up the trees in the road’s median strip. The crew members were standing atop their vehicle, using saws to lop off excess branches. This disciple was very knowledgeable about forest trees, and could immediately see that the leaves on these discarded eucalyptus branches were both fresh and fragrant. He therefore hurried back inside to tell his fellow Dharma brothers, and after getting permission from the cleaning crew, they brought all the cut-off eucalyptus branches for sorting. The next day, while performing the smoke offering, these were the fresh, fragrant tree leaves Rinpoche used.
The disciples marveled at Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with great gratitude. Quite naturally, all of the master practitioner’s endeavors to benefit sentient beings always come to a perfect and auspicious completion.
(3) The trees on the temple’s construction site, and organisms in the pond
After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple passed its environmental impact assessment without any problems, a soil and water conservation project had to be completed for proper drainage and flood control. First, several large trees (called large-diameter timber in professional jargon) had to be moved, as did the pond’s denizens; these would be put back in place after the construction was finished. Caring deeply for sentient beings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not only transplanted the trees properly, but even entrusted a local fish farm with the temporary care of the organisms from the pond. Moreover, prior to their being moved, the guru instructed his disciples to write down all of the pond’s denizens on the list of names of sentient beings to be liberated during the December 2018 Chod Puja so that he could perform the Dharma for them and appease them before they were relocated.
To everyone’s surprise, nearly ten thousand organisms were found to be living in the pond at the base of the Glorious Jewel Temple, including various types of fish, crayfish, turtles, dragonfly larvae, and so on, as well as more than 8,800 tilapia. Rinpoche appointed some disciples to supervise the entire process, stressing that no harm must come to these creatures. Worried that the owner of the fish farm where they would be kept might try to sell the tilapia at market, Rinpoche reiterated his command that they be well cared for and that they were not to be sold. He even instructed disciples to make regular visits to see how the pond denizens were doing and report back to him.
(4) A jubilant golden carp
The most unusual occupant of the Glorious Jewel Temple’s pond was a golden carp, which had been discovered by some Dharma brothers inspecting the site. Every time a waterfowl had tried to eat a minnow near the bank or the surface of the pond, this gold-colored carp would swim to the surface and thrash its fins and tail to create noise. It was as if it were trying to drive away the waterfowl to protect the tiny fish, apparently not at all afraid of the birds.
On January 4th of this year (2019), Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was promoting Buddhism in Japan when he suddenly made an early-morning overseas phone call to ask whether a golden carp had been found in the pond. Prior to this, the disciples had not made any such report, so it had not been made known to the guru. Nevertheless, he called that morning all the way from Japan to ask about the golden carp’s existence, and said that they must be sure to take very good care of it. The disciples then reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about the golden carp and how it would surface to protect the little minnows. Now, the carp is being specially taken care of, and has even gotten a bit fatter. On January 23rd, the day of Rinpoche’s announcement that the temple’s construction would commence, this golden carp happily swam to the surface and stuck its head out of the water, leaping over and over, its intelligent eyes flashing, just as is described in the proverb, “a golden carp jumping over the dragon gate”. Everyone present marveled at the unfathomable sight!
“A golden carp jumping over the dragon gate” — an auspicious sign celebrating the commencement of the Glorious Jewel Temple’s construction on January 23, 2019!
Keeping the Precepts, Abiding by the Law, and Revered by the Elders
He Is Followed by Those Who Hear of His Great, Compassionate Vow
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche chose the beautiful site near Longsheng Village in Zaoqiao Township, Miaoli County, for the Glorious Jewel Temple, and its construction plans were approved on January 10th, 2019. In accordance with regulations, before the job could begin, an explanation session had to be held during which the ideals and concepts behind the guru’s temple would be illustrated to local residents.
At 10:00 in the morning on January 21st, 2019, said session was held at the Zaoqiao Community Center. The village head was very enthusiastic that day, and had invited about thirty villagers to participate. Because the young people had to work or go to school during the day, most of those in attendance were elderly, some of whom brought their grandchildren with them.
The session began with speeches from the township’s mayor and the village head. The mayor praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for being an authentic, compassionate master practitioner who not only would continue to promote the Right Dharma into the future, but would also boost the local economy. The village head added that the guru’s Glorious Jewel Temple had abided by the law in all respects, pointing out that construction had only begun after government authorization had been granted, which was very rare. He asked his fellow villagers to be generous in their support of such a law-abiding temple and of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.
Next, the Foundation representative gave a report on Rinpoche’s deeds toward helping sentient beings, as well as on the ideals behind the temple’s construction:
(1) The temple will serve a simple function.
(2) It will be in harmony with the land and environment.
(3) It will preserve the natural ecology.
(4) Constraints will be placed on various types of pollution.
(5) Green, energy-efficient transportation will be employed.
(6) Local traffic will be unhindered.
(7)The temple will contribute to the local economy.
When the local residents were given an opportunity to express their opinions, the first to speak was an elderly lady. She said that when she had heard about the aspiration, ideals, and concepts behind Rinpoche’s construction of the Glorious Jewel Temple, she had been filled with admiration, and very much approved of the project. She also wished to give a donation toward it, and asked the volunteers to provide a method for doing so. The second local to speak was a middle-aged woman who said she had learned in the brief about the new temple that it would be open for one hundred believers to visit per day. She was very pleased to hear this, and hoped the construction of the Glorious Jewel Temple would be completed soon so that she could sign up to worship.
Most of the villagers attending the meeting that day were of the older generation, and more used to hearing Hokkien or Southern Min spoken, so they had a harder time understanding the Mandarin Chinese spoken by the Foundation volunteers when giving their report. Nevertheless, after listening for about half an hour, they had developed trust and admiration for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Right Dharma, and wished to support the project and worship at the temple. They were worthy of respect and praises. This also showed that the guru’s continuous efforts to benefit sentient beings for more than twenty years had truly moved them; therefore, upon hearing of Rinpoche’s deeds toward that end, they had immediately given rise to great respect.
The Guru Compassionately Creates Virtuous Connections
Visitors and Locals Interact with Joy
After the Glorious Jewel Temple was given the go-ahead on January 10th, 2019 by the Miaoli County government to commence construction, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not only announced that construction would start on January 23rd, but also that tours of the temple would be held every Saturday, beginning on January 26th. Except in the event of extreme weather, each Saturday two to three tour buses would set out from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Centers in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Douliu, Kaohsiung, and so on, to arrive at Longsheng Village of Jianqiao Township in Miaoli County, where the Glorious Jewel Temple is located. Disciples and honorable believers who had supported the temple project would all be allowed to take part. Moreover, their entire round-trip bus fare would be personally covered by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.
Rinpoche’s intention is to allow disciples and believers who have supported the temple to visit the site in person and observe the construction’s progress. In arranging such visits, Rinpoche takes complete responsibility for them all.
Furthermore, in the early days of the Glorious Jewel Temple’s building application process, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had promised local villagers and the Miaoli County government that visiting disciples and believers would boost the local economy by patronizing restaurants, booking accommodation, utilizing connecting transportation services, purchasing local produce, and so on. The villagers and county officials were unanimous in their excitement at hearing this news. Thus, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s organizing of tours of the Glorious Jewel Temple is a fulfilment of that promise.
The village head and local residents were very happy to hear this, and actively made plans and arrangements to improve the meal catering system for everyone so that there would be no impediments. Every week when people went there to visit, the sociable, down-to-earth villagers always welcomed them with a smile. They said hello and engaged in friendly small talk with each other, and it was always a warm and lively scene. The auspicious causal condition behind this joyful interaction had come about thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate arrangements.
After each tour of the guru’s Glorious Jewel Temple, visitors went to the community center for lunch. There the villagers had carefully prepared delicious meals that were excellent value. Everyone present was full of gratitude and joy, painting the perfect picture of harmonious interaction, as close as any family members. Furthermore, a small farmers’ market was organized at which a luscious assortment of agricultural products and handicrafts were available. Faced with such a wide variety of quality products at reasonable prices, the disciples and believers displayed an astonishing voracity for shopping, and bought every last one of them. Later, having heard that tour groups would be visiting the Glorious Jewel Temple every week, local farmers came in droves, setting up more and more stalls full of wonderful wares. Incomparably happy and grateful, everyone thanked Rinpoche for taking such good care of them, and developed great respect and appreciation for the guru’s having fulfilled his promise, as well as his immense compassion.
An Introduction to the Construction of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple
１. The Glorious Jewel Temple is located near Longsheng Village in Zaoqiao Township, Miaoli County, not far from the Miaoli high speed railway station, the Zaoqiao train station, and National Highway No. 3; as such, transportation there is very convenient. The total area of the temple site in Miaoli is 12.3 hectares, about 30.4 acres, but the area in actual planning for the temple and its retreat center is only 0.652 hectares, about 1.6 acres, which is about 5% of the total area. The rest of the acreage will remain as it has always been. The temple’s main purpose is to preserve Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious and pure Dharma lineage, and it will also provide monastics and others with a place in which to conduct retreats and cultivate. The guru once stated that practitioners in retreat have to make sure they have clean, unpolluted air to breathe; only a very small area of the temple grounds will therefore be developed so that they will have a good environment in which to practice. Rinpoche truly has put a lot of thought into this!
２.Before the county government would grant authorization for the temple’s construction to go ahead, first it had to pass an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and then a soil and water conservation project evaluation. The EIA involved five different meetings. From the initial information-gathering sessions to the later answering of any questions the EIA committee members might have, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche met with his disciples to work out all the details, repeatedly explaining his plans and concepts. Throughout the entire process, Rinpoche never grew tired or impatient, no matter how arduous it was. Afterward, the EIA committee members all gave their approval to Rinpoche’s project. The soil and water conservation project also passed without a hitch. Thus, on January 10th, 2019, after all the administrative processes were complete, an official letter of approval was granted for the construction of the temple.
３.From its environmental impact assessment, to its soil and water conservation, to its construction, and so on, all procedures to do with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Buddhist Temple have been completely legal. Moreover, the project has been publicly praised by the Zaoqiao Village head. The temple has been built on land that was long ago cleared for cultivation, and this area has not been expanded; the original landscape has always been maintained so as to protect the existing ecology and all its plants and animals. The Glorious Jewel Temple will be an all-vegetarian venue without any large-scale kitchens, and any food waste will be sorted, placed into cold storage, and transported to be dealt with off of temple grounds so that there will be no bad odors that might attract small animals. Furthermore, all killing, “life-release” activities, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers will be prohibited there, as will gasoline and diesel vehicles. The temple’s roads will be equipped with rumble strips, and slipways will be added to the flood control reservoirs to provide animals with places to gather and drink. Thus, the Glorious Jewel Temple’s environment will be safe, friendly, non-toxic, and harmless.
４.Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cherishes greatly all donations made in support of the temple, not taking a single cent of the Foundation’s fund for personal use. All work within the Foundation is carried out by volunteers, and administrative expenses are kept to a minimum. All external procurement projects must be carefully reviewed by volunteers to prevent any unnecessary waste, and contractors must all be informed of the concepts behind Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple and reminded that all of the funds were raised through the hard work of people who had vowed their voluntary support; it is hoped that these vendors would acknowledge the donors’ good intentions and make their prices as affordable as possible. The Foundation’s procurements and projects are all formally tendered and rigorously reviewed, submitted to the board of directors for approval, and in strict adherence to the law. At present, the Foundation has spent more than NT$100 million on initial stage land purchases, engineering projects, soil and water conservation projects, and so on, but rest assured—Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is reviewing all of these expenditures very carefully.
５.For the construction of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple, no funds have been raised from advertising or promotions, nor has Rinpoche done anything to cater to public taste. One time, a wealthy person promised to give a donation provided that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed to go out to eat with him and tell his fortune, but Rinpoche refused. The guru has quietly conducted all the temple’s fundraising in the most difficult, stringent of manners, always upholding Buddhist principles.
６.Following Rinpoche’s instructions, the soil and water conservation project commenced on January 23rd, 2019, and was estimated to be complete by August of this year. The entire construction project, from start to finish, will cost NT$900 million; this will cover the cost of land purchases, soil and water conservation, the construction of the temple and retreat huts, and environmental cleanup, as well as the enshrinement of the Buddha statues, sutras, and so on. As of the end of February 2019, the Foundation has raised NT$544 million, so another NT$400 million still has to be raised. Currently, while more and more construction projects are being carried out, the list of expenditures has grown, so Rinpoche has a truly arduous burden to bear; for this reason, we hope you all will continue to pledge your support to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple, and encourage honorable believers from all walks of life to do the same.
The Ideals and Concepts Behind Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Construction of the Glorious Jewel Temple
1. The temple will serve a simple function.
With a building area of 0.7 hectares, the temple’s construction will have minimal impact on the environment. It primarily will provide monastics and others with space to conduct retreats and practice, and will support around thirty permanent residents. The goal is for the main temple to be able to hold 2,000 people, and for a blessing puja to be held there every month or two. No accommodation, beverages, or food will be provided, and ordinarily a maximum of 100 visitors will be allowed per day.
2. It will be in harmony with the land and environment.
The Glorious Jewel Temple will preserve the surrounding forest so as to reduce its impact on the local organisms’ habitat. The temple, retreat huts, and other buildings and facilities will be built in a valley on level ground and use existing roads for access in and out, thereby minimizing the need to excavate and disturb the soil. By keeping the current ridgeline intact, the temple buildings will be hidden in the valley from view.
3. It will preserve the natural ecology.
While on temple grounds, people must comply with certain regulations: No destroying bee hives, no harming animals including birds and insects, no deliberate breaking or chopping of trees and their branches, no spraying of pesticides and insecticides, no use of chemical fertilizers, no activities of “life-release”, no carrying of any food containing meat, and no recreation activities. All large trees growing on the grounds and animals living in the pond will temporarily be moved and nurtured elsewhere, to be brought back at a later date.
4. Constraints will be placed on various types of pollution.
There will be no large incense burner, thereby reducing air pollution. There will be no large kitchens to serve food to believers participating in pujas, thereby reducing the amount of oil and smoke produced. There will be no vendors, shops, or accommodation allowed; all such commercial activity will be prohibited, so as to reduce the amount of noise pollution. Graywater will be recycled for reuse so as to reduce water pollution. For the garbage sorting and recycling facility, all kitchen waste is to be sealed with green electricity and put into cold storage so as to prevent bad odors from being emitted; it will then be collected and recycled along with other types of refuse at regular intervals.
5. Green, energy-efficient transportation will be employed.
No parking lots will be provided on temple grounds. To get to the temple, believers and disciples participating in pujas or engaging in everyday worship may either connect to public transport at the Miaoli high-speed railway station or walk. All fossil-fuel-burning vehicles will be prohibited on temple grounds. Electric cars will be available to transport the elderly and frail, pregnant women, and anyone with limited mobility.
6. Local traffic will be unhindered.
In order to keep the current roads system unobstructed and reduce any burden on local residents and their environment, on puja days, volunteers and security guards will be mobilized to direct traffic on major sections of nearby roads.
7. The temple will contribute to the local economy.
After pujas at the temple let out, the attendees will not be allowed to remain on the grounds to eat or stay the night. Those who are in need of restaurants may take advantage of local dining and accommodation venues, and may also pay villagers to make use of their private open spaces for temporary parking.
From the concepts behind the construction of the Glorious Jewel Temple, it is evident how much importance Rinpoche places on protecting the environment. This arises entirely from the equal compassion he has for all sentient beings. Not a single sentient being is to be harmed, and all should be protected and loved—including every single blade of grass, tree, insect, and fish. The environment in which sentient beings exist should not be damaged, all the surrounding woodlands should be preserved, buildings should be built using only what materials are absolutely necessary, and excavation and disturbance of the soil should be kept to a minimum in order to safeguard their natural habitat. All commercial activity is prohibited, as are large incense burners and the driving of fossil-fuel-burning vehicles on the grounds, so as to protect the ecology and keep the air clean and fresh. Furthermore, to prevent any burdens on the environment caused by human activities and residence, there will be a limit to the number of visitors allowed and wastewater and garbage will be recycled and reused to the extent possible to reduce the impact on the environment.
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Temple Will Promote Religious Programs in the Future
The Glorious Jewel Temple will continue to promote Buddhism. To maintain its purity and solemnity, participants must all eat vegetarian. No special honors will be given to any of its major donors so as not to discriminate between rich and poor; all sentient beings will be helped in a spirit of true equality. Moreover, all commercial activity is prohibited, nor will excuses be concocted for profiting such as charging fees for lighting lamps, selling liberation tablets, or any other methods of collecting money from people. In addition, no “life-release” activities will be conducted that might affect the ecological balance of the environment.
Future plans include four major parts: Blessing Pujas, lectures on Buddhism, monastic education, and Buddhist cultural exchange.
1. Tibetan Buddhist Blessing Puja:
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will personally preside over these auspicious pujas, performing such Dharma methods as Placating, Subduing, Increasing, and Vanquishing to bestow blessings upon all the people and pray for world peace, thereby planting virtuous causes so that sentient beings can all accumulate vast good fortune and find relief from disaster.
2. Lectures on Buddhism:
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will bestow teachings on the Right Dharma, transmit methods of practice, and teach people how to implement Buddhism in everyday life, learn introspection, and cultivate a spirit of generosity. He will teach people to stop committing evil and start doing good, promoting peace and harmony in society and bringing benefit to sentient beings.
3. Monastic education:
Importance will be placed upon monastics’ cultivation within the temple so that they can diligently practice the Dharma. Furthermore, lay practitioners will be led in sutra-reciting and mantra-chanting so that they can accumulate good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions.
4. Buddhist cultural exchange:
Taiwanese and Tibetan religious and cultural exchange will be promoted. Because grand pujas in Tibetan Buddhism involve so many different kinds of blessing rituals and their mandalas are so solemn and refined, Tibetan khenpos and lamas will regularly be invited to Taiwan to assist in preparations for our Association’s Blessings Pujas. This will include the setup of mandala arrangements, ritual procedures, and the revision of music and Dharma texts, as well as giving instructions to performances on Tibetan musical instruments and the making of Tibetan Buddhist tormas.
In the Sutra Foretelling the Consequences of Good and Evil Karma, it is written that building a temple or a shrine and making offerings to the Buddha and the monastics can bring ten kinds of auspicious merits:
1. Peace and bliss in body and mind, for all time, and protection from unexpected horrors.
2. Frequent reception of the finest and softest of beds and bedclothes.
3. A pretty appearance with solemn, dignified clothes, as well as a body that is often clean, fragrant, and pure.
4. If born in the Human Realm, then being born as a king, a king’s minister, or into a prominent family, and enjoyment of success in all endeavors and a fulfillment of all wishes.
5. If reborn as a Chakravartin, free and unhindered rule of all under the Four Heavens.
6. If reborn in the Human or Heaven Realms, feeling at ease with the Five Desires.
7. Being reborn in the Heavens of Six Desires according to one’s aspirations.
8. Being reborn in the Heavens of Forms according to one’s aspirations.
9. Being reborn in the Heavens of Formlessness according to one’s aspirations.
10. Accomplishment in one’s aspiration to cultivate the Four Results, and even in attaining Buddhahood.
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be separated from the happiness that is free from sorrow.
May all beings remain in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.
Updated on June 8, 2019