Date: 06/25/06 19:42:24
To: CASonline
Subject: [CASonline] Part Three: CAS @ Dharamsala 2006


Part Three: CAS of Thousand-Arm Chenrezig @ Dharamsala 2006


We were at Dharamsala on the holiest day of the Saka Dawa. Saka Dawa is the day when Lord Buddha manifested Perfect Buddhahood and the great Nirvana. We were so awfully fortunate to be able to do much good on this holiest of days.

Early the morning, our friend, Gen Tenzin Choesang came down to Gyuto :C the Tantric College of Upper Lhasa, from Namgyal Monastery, His Holiness?.s personal monastery with two vehicles and brought us back up to the Tsug Lha Khang, the central temple complex of the Tibetans in-exile.   

The place was filled to maximum capacity with thousands of Tibetans arriving from every corner of their exiled quarters in India to come to the place to make offerings at this central holy complex and the place where His Holiness resides. We saw many Tibetans throwing themselves in front of the main temple in full-length prostrations. Some of the Tibetans were from places faraway from Dharamsala and we heard many of whom have saved for months and years even to come here to pay their respects and to make whatever little offerings they can afford to His Holiness?.s main temple. Such pure devotion must really be so rare in the world in this days and age !!


Along with the devotees came hundreds of ?<professional?\ beggars, who thronged along with their entire family in-toll. The beggars were almost all Indians. Some of them appeared genuinely in need of help with just one limb or leg remaining. Many of ladies carried lovable babies, with mucus dripping from their little noses. With upturned palms raised towards us and then towards the mouth of the little babies in their cradles, they indicated their plea for whatever rupees from us to be given to their babies. Many of the exiled Tibetans actually generously offered they could to the beggars especially on the holy day. We heard that some of these beggars consciously chose to be beggars as it pays even better than the average Indian job available! Those beggars whom we felt were genuinely in need of help, we saved whatever little morsel of food left from our dinner table for them, wrapped snuggly around petite serviettes. We were invariably greeted with much gratitude and profuse thanks when they saw the sincerity and much care that come with our little snacks and the few rupees. There was one sister who ran after our car sent to fetch us, belonging to His Holiness?.s personal monastery that was particularly touching and still well-forth deep feelings within bb?.s hearts even when typing now. The sister was, much like other so many of the other beggars, [ I actually pondered for so long but could not think of a better word than the somewhat derogatory ?<beggar?\ ] and carried a lovely baby. A few of us fussed over the cute but very dirty baby, whether really lacking in scrubbing or deliberately make-up thus we don?.t know !! The dear sister, or mother maybe even ( !! ), must have felt so touched to have the relatively well-dressed and scrubbed clean foreigners giving so much of their attention and cuddling to her little baby !! ?<Amitofuo !!?\


The beings @ CAS requested to make one thousand lamp offerings at His Holiness?.s main temple, dedicated to all our beloved mother sentient beings the world over. We were so glad to light the lamps ourselves with much help from the devout nuns in-charge.


One big disappointment of our trip this time is not to be able to gain a Private Audience with His Holiness, the heart of so much goodness that happens. Initially, we planned to travel to Kalpa, Rekong Peo, one of the furthest flung corner of India, to receive the Great Chenrezig Initiation from His Holiness, the very human incarnation of Chenrezig or ?<Guan-Yin?\. But before we could set out on the punishing 48 hour journey, we heard that His Holiness is on the way back, to engage in strict retreat before He sets out again to Jordan in less than 6 days?. time, to attend a Nobel Prize Laureates?. meeting, a confluence of great minds and hearts of humans that still lives. We received a kindly and somewhat apologetic letter from His Holiness?.s personal secretary but of course, we will not dare to disrupt His Holiness?.s retreat for the world !!


We managed however to pass a very holy Buddha statue, prayed to by Rikzin?.s devout grandmother for more than 6 decades, the afore-mentioned crystal lamps, oozing with so much attention and love, one pair of torch lights with its dedication list ( at request from the sponsor herself ), a few thin slices of gold bars, some cash offerings and so much more to His Holiness. Rikzin?.s grandmother requested to offer the Buddha statue to His Holiness now that she has amputated one leg due to chronic diabetes and having sold her house to finance her operation. ( We came back to Singapore and visited her where she is happy but having just suffered from a mild heart failure ). The cash offerings are from friends who could not come with us. The gold bars are from friends who bought them with whatever retirement savings from their life-long work. I think the beings truly have carried loads and loads of so many of our friends?. devotion all the way from into His Holiness?.s hands.


We were then with Trisur Rinpoche when His Holiness?.s sent His personal attendant with much blessed pictures, holy pills, protection chords and so much gifts and blessings for us from where He was doing His important retreat for the world. How unworthy and undeserving are these naughty creatures @ CAS, albeit of and belonging to Thousand-Arm Chenrezig !!


At Namgyal, His Holiness?. personal monastery, the beings managed to offer, on behalf of all our friends who contributed to what finally amounted to a quite fat stack of cash, the bets lunch offering to the 400 plus, His Holiness?.s privileged monks as well as much offerings each. We duly make all the dedications for our friends in front of the main statue of Lord Buddha in the main temple and who have entrusted much trust in us. It is such honour and joy to enjoy the wonderful lunch with His Holiness?.s monks. The elder, senior monks who lunched beside us were indeed a perceptible pillar and backbone of the monastery.


At Dharamsala, too, we met up with Geshe Ngawang Tobden, one of Khensur Dorje Tashi Rinpoche?.s students, who so kindly gave us so many presents and who adamantly refused whatever little offerings we struggled to shove into his unwilling hands which were energetically waving about, at the same time, insisting that he has everything he needs already! We heard Geshe-la, in addition to being a wonderful Senior Teacher, at His Holiness?.s personal monastery, is attracting much genuine spiritual seekers in Taiwan. He is one wonderful pupil worthy of being known as Khensur Dorje Tashi?.s student indeed, unshakeable strength, honesty and goodness.


After more than a decade, we finally managed to get to meep up again with Kirti Tzenshab Rinpoche. Rinpoche passed a rare transmission of one rare Kalachakra commentary to His Holiness, via the late Ling Rinpoche, who was Himself the 97th Ganden Tripa, the great Throne-Holder of Je Tzongkhapa and head of the Gelugpa school. Kirti Tzenshab Rinpoche had not aged since we last received initiations and teachings from Him in Singapore. He was filled with much perceptible compassion and blessings and gave us some transmission of Kalachakra there and then. We requested Rinpoche to live-long and offered everything for His holy activities for good of all.


After a busy morning, we left for Shuksep nunnery. This nunnery clings to a small clearing near a cliff, s short distance below Namgyal Monastery. The founder of Shuksep was a recognized realized adept. She was one of Tibet?.s relatively rare female adept. She managed to have His Holiness?.s Regent climbing high up to Her residence for blessings, guidance and advice. The late 16th Karmapa came to Her too and was exhorted to place His famed ?<Black Crown?\ three times specially in Her honour. Now, her famed, flourishing nunnery is reduced to less than 3 small hut-like structures housing less than 70 nuns, all studying under three able Khenpos, dispatched there by the great Panor Rinpoche, all the way from south India. The Khenpos, treated with immense respect and care by the most devout and devoted nuns, were actually pupils of Khenpo Tsering Dorje, the first batch of graduates from Penor Rinpoche?.s excellent monastic center in south India and whom was hosted by CAS in Singapore twice while on transit.


The very kindly and friendly Khenpo Tsering Dorje was brought to the canteen at Nanyang Technological University?.s canteen for the delicious vegetarian food, to the coffee shop opposite bb?.s flat for lunch and coffee, to Orchard Road and to Sentosa ( one of Singapore?.s premier tourist spot ) where He remarked that He found Sentosa?.s light enchanting, beautiful yet familiar as they reminded Him of the Bardo?.s manifestations !! That?.s, we think, realization and bringing experience and fruits of practice into one?.s life. We could not forget Penor Rinpoche?.s letter too wherein He assured all beings who came into contact with Khenpo Tsering Dorje great benefits for this life and the next. Later, we found a DVD showing Khenpo?.s hosting of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at His pristine retreat center at Arunachal Pradesh with the ministers of the region.        Holder of Je TzongkHolde


At Shuksep, light drizzles fell from the sky and disappeared when it touches skin or ground without causing any wetness. The nuns told us that in the Tibetan tradition, this is known as a rain of flowers. We offered the nuns as much financial support as we could as well as the very precious photographs of Lama Takhyung Barwa. The practice of the great Lama Takhyung Barwa is the sole cycle of the Wrathful Guru from the Longchen Nyingthig cycle. This is the influential and famous cycle of Guru Padmasambhava?.s Terma specially focused upon by the shy and devoted nuns of Shuksep.


We could not contain our great joy at seeing HH Penor Rinpoche?.s Spiritual throne in Shuksep. We left Lama Takhyung?.s holy photo in front of Penor Rinpoche?.s picture on His throne, the purest ?<katags?\ we brought along and all our longing, devotion and prayers.


Few days later, we traveled to Nechung Monastery, main seat of the State Oracle of Tibet, where we found the monastery nearly deserted. The whole monastery, saved for one lonely monk in the office, were on official holiday, camping out high in the mountains, due to the Saka Dawa. We managed to make another one thousand lamp offerings and dedicated to all in the world. We chanced upon their Resident Philosophical Teacher under an ancient tree just outside their monastery. The Teacher was from Drepung Loseling and we had a fruitful discussion about the philosophical view studied in the monastery. We make our offerings and left.


Within the Protector Shrine Room there, we distinctly felt the presence of the great Nechung within the sealed compartment. We gave all our prayers for flourishing of Lord Buddha?.s teachings and welfare of all beings while saying our prayers to the great Lama Takhyung Barwa, the form that Guru Padmasambhava assumed when He finally tamed the ?<Five Great Kings?\ as well as Nechung Dorje Drakden, their integreated emanation and Chief Minister.


We attempted to scale the high mountains to meet the Oracle but aborted it due to doubts about our prowess on steep slopes amongst others. One disappointed being @ CAS remarked about how she traveled all the way there to have missed seeing the handsome Oracle who is becoming much of a legend outside the Tibetan circle with plenty of interviews conducted in world-circulated magazines.


Disppointment transformed 4 days later, the beloved Oracle walked into the Japanese Restaurant with two attendants and His little sister while we were just finishing our Udon and Green Tea. The dear Oracle remembered the unruly beings @ CAS ( unforgettable anyway !! ) and a minor scuffle of sorts broke out with yet more photo-ops. We waited for long for the Orcacle and His company to take His orders so that we could offer His meal. We decided then that He might take another fifteen minutes and so left after leaving Red Packets filled with nice offerings for Him. We did not forget to leave every prayer and wishes for His unique, distinguished service for the Dalai Lama too.


The Gyuto monk who drove us :C Lama Gyatso -- to all our unending destinations within and without Dharamsala truly deserve some special accolade for ?<Perfect Patience?\ !! Without seemingly perfect equanimity and patience, he tolerated our mindless chatters, gasps, shrieks, guffaws, mantra mumblings, irritating tourists lusts for snapshots, ( hence to stop here and there to stare and grin into camera lens ) and the endless, endless rounds of waitings outside the Japanese restaurants ( there is one there !! ), the Men Tsee Khang, at Dzongsar, etc etc. etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.


Another saintly administrator at Gyuto, Lama Thubten / that elder monk who always appeared during our breakfast / Lama Tharpa who served in the monastic store / the kitchen-staff-monks were shining examples of absolutely selfless service. We felt very amazed at how they could be so unruffled amidst the confusing whirls of thick work.  Whilst maintaining serene composure, at the same time, they were skilled, effective. From what we could see in our more than one week?.s stay at Gyuto, their working hours are long and not really any less challenging than most of our work here in Singapore. We seriously wondered if this is what Trisur Rinpoche meant by having subdued one?.s mind, having brought Dharma into one?.s path through having practiced the Dharma properly. Well, if the monks could do it, surely we could too if we practiced properly and diligently through our precious Teachers?. instructions !!


We have read that some of the ?<working-monks?\, entrusted with roles of cooking, driving and such hard chores, manifest signs of great spiritual realizations in both Tibetan and the Chinese traditions !! Some of them left boulders stuck in the monastery?.s pillars, left footprints ( the Tibetan?.s yogis?. favourite showing of their mastery over illusory phenomenal ) and in the Chinese tradition, two ?<kitchen-monks, from ancient China, ( ?<Han Shan?\ and ?<She De?\ ) were famed and recognized emanations of the great Bodhisattvas Manjushri and Samantabhadra !! We seriously calculated the possibility of Lama being one or the other !!


The Gyuto Monastery?.s administrators have been totally and completely indulgent, looking after our every meal which were always served in truly sumptuous styles, helping us to contact the nuns at Shuksep, our transports, our very frequent changing of cash into small notes, big notes, not-so big notes, and all. Our point: ?<We love you, Gyuto !!?\  



Part Four should see us with Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk, a Teacher of the Dalai Lama and the Sakya Trizin, the great Teacher and Buddhist Master :C Denma Locho Rinpoche. Plus, we finally did climb some mountains to get to our retreat monks. We touched too, in Part Four or Five, Guru Padmasambhava?.s Foot-Print.


A home-video edition chronicling our Dharamsala trip is on the way. Our pictures are up at CAS @ Thousand-Arm Chenrezig?.s Website:  The captions of the photos are not out yet though.


?<Amitofuo !!?\

?<Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung !!?\


bb & all happies @ CAS of and beloinging to Thousand-Arm Chenrezig