International Drikung Kagyu Council
Honoured to organise the 800th Commemoration of Lord Jigten Sumong's Maha Parinirvana.
On March 26, 2017 His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and entourage left Phyang Monastery in the morning at 8:30 for Kukshok where the Ice Dripping Project is being carried out. Kukshok is one of the remote places near Lamayuru where Buddhist and Muslim communities live harmoniously side by side. The Sindhu river flows through the valley and lots of Walnut trees grow there. In the past people had to go there by horse but now there is a direct motorable road. H.H. has been there for five times.
During one of H.H.'s visits there in the past, he was informed by the people about the difficulties of water shortages and they requested him to find a solution for the problem.
H.H. came up with the idea of making Ice Stupas in the region. A survey was made at that site, but due to the lack of financial support the Ice Stupa project was delayed for two years.
This time with the financial support from Swedish Society for Tibetan Schools and Culture, we appointed three monks from Lamayuru to carry out this project. They worked very hard, transporting the pipe line and other necessary equipment for the Ice Dripping Project, operating in freezing cold weather at 20 degrees below zero. The work was done in collaboration with the village people and they were able to successfully complete the Ice Dripping Project. H.H. had kindly visited there for the blessing and celebrations.
The Ice Dripping Project at Kukshok is not the same as the Ice Stupa, as the water is drawn downwards and underground through a pipeline, pressurising the water into an upward outlet, throwing it into the sky. Then in turn it drops down and freezes, taking on the form of a Stupa. The Ice Dripping is made by driving the water downwards through the pipeline and then upwards into the air, before dropping down again into the dripping systems, which creates a huge formation of ice.
The Ice Dripping at Kukshok is the property of the people of that village, and it belongs to all Buddhists and Muslims living there. It was successfully completed thanks to their collaboration work. For example, when the Muslims observe their fasting during Ramadan, the Buddhist people go to take care of the works, and when the Buddhists are in a Mani retreat, the Muslims will go and continue the job. Because of their hard work and sincere collaboration the Ice Dripping Project has been a great success, and it is wonderful that the water is now saved from flowing away in vain during the Winter time. All the people in the region are surprised about this innovation and they all came to see His Holiness and received him with a warm welcome.
Next morning when they went to inspect the Ice Dripping Project, there was a steep cliff-like formation of dripping water, covered by snow and ice. There was no way to get close to the Ice Dripping Project, so they did the opening ceremony on the right side overlooking from the east, first starting with the Mangalacharan sutra and cutting the ribbons. Then they did the air and mountain purification, the smoke puja and the Serkyem. Thereafter special tea was served for all and a group photo session was organised.
The Kukshok village is not under the District of Leh. It is under Kargil District and most people are Muslims. No special invitation was sent, but one of the board members, Hussain Ali, took part in his rightful role as a representative of the Ice Dripping Project, so everyone was happy. It is an obvious sign of the good feelings created by the success of the Ice Dripping Project. Another member of the Ice Dripping group, Ven. Khenpo Sherap gave an introductory speech on the project, and thereafter all the Buddhist and Muslim representatives came forward to express their appreciation and thanks for the innovative ideas introduced through the project. A request was made to each and everyone to maintain stability and live harmoniously together.
In the end H.H. gave a speech and advice regarding the Ice Dripping Project and why it had been delayed. H.H. said that he really appreciated the way in which Muslim and Buddhist people work and collaborate together on the project, contributing to its success. H.H. rejoiced and gave thanks for their work and added that these days the world is full of turbulence, war and natural calamities, therefore all religions should work together for world peace and stability. This is the responsibility of the people of the 21st Century. In terms of the Muslim religion, it is the second largest religion in the world and it benefits thousands of people. Whichever religion it is on this earth, if it benefits sentient beings then it is an authentic religion. If it harms people then it is a non-authentic religion. It is very important to think about society first, and then one’s own religion and one’s own activity. This should be done accordingly so the purpose and meaning of our lives will not be wasted. Then there will be peace and happiness on earth. H.H. prayed for peace and prosperity for all. After that, auspicious dances were performed by the local people.
H.H. was happy and he chose the typical local dances that will be performed during the Indigenous Cultural Shows in 2018. H.H. and his entourage left for Phyang Monastery.