The celebration of the 796th Anniversary of Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön's Parinirvana was held at Phyang Monastery, Ladakh, on June 3, which corresponds to the 25th day of the forth month in the Tibetan Calendar.
His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and all the monks and devotees around Phyang celebrated the anniversary. At 6:00 am in the morning, the extensive Lama Chopa Puja was conducted, followed by a Tsok offering. Many people from nearby villages and from Leh came to pay homage to Jigten Sumgön and made offerings for the Parinirvana Day. His Holiness also made an offering for all the monks that had gathered for the puja.
On the following day, as a tradition a Bum Khor blessing tour, whereby the essence of the 84.000 teachings of the Buddha in twelve volumes is being carried around in a procession. In the past, the Bum Khor blessing tour was undertaken by carrying the books in a walking procession from Phyang Monastery around through eight villages. Nowadays this Bum Khor tour is being undertaken by vehicles carrying 105 volumes of the teachings of the Buddha, a statute of Lord Jigten Sumgön and of Padmasambhava.
His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang joined the Bum Khor for the first time as requested by the village people. The tour took almost twelve hours. His Holiness and his entourage stopped at eight different villages, offering the blessing of the representation of body, speech and mind of the Buddha. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang blessed the communities and performed cleansing ceremonies at every village.
He planted trees at the source of the big spring water and also prayed for natural harmony, peace and prosperity for all. The villagers had prepared tea and snacks at every corner of the villages and Phyang village offered lunch for all present, accompanied by traditional dances.
Right after lunch His Holiness visited a temple just below the ruins of the Royal Palace of Phyang. The temple, which was built high up on a rock cliff by the renowned Translator Rinchen Zangpo (958–1055) still houses Rinchen Zangpo’s original paintings. There His Holiness made prayers, a water purification and consecration.
Thereafter the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and his entourage was invited by Thang Nag village where the Muslim community prepared tea and snacks at their Mosque. His Holiness gave a short speech, expressing his delight to be invited at the Mosque. He also expressed that it is wonderful that different religions benefit many beings in the world today. It is like the splendor of spring flowers. His Holiness said that the Muslim community has many good deeds such as strict rules for prayer and fasting that we need to learn from them. He mentioned that perhaps many Buddhist monks here might be surprised to see, that there is no statute in the Mosque. He said that indeed they should not be surprised, because on the ultimate level in Buddhism there is no form. His Holiness expressed the view that the religions differ from each other on the relative level, but on the ultimate level there is no difference between Allah, God, and the Dharmakaya. When we talk about the absolute it is like an open space, there is no form, it is beyond thought and beyond words. He also mentioned that we are all one big human family. Everybody wishes for peace and happiness. In order to accomplish this we respect each other and practice our own religions. Many problems come from converting to another religion. Therefore we should practice our own religious practice and respect the value of each other's religion. His Holiness expressed his great happiness about the fact that today we share this value.
At 4:00 pm, His Holiness was invited by the Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. He visited the main temple for prayers and consecration. Subsequently the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang gave a short introduction on Buddhism and its early history. He said that though the activities of the army are rather violent, it is still very important to have a good motivation in heart. The army should think about the welfare of the people and their country, and peace and prosperity for the country. In this this way the army can also do many virtuous deeds in the world. At 6:00 pm His Holiness and his entourage returned to Phyang Monastery.