On June 16, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and his entourage arrived at Lamayuru Monastery for the Snake Year Teachings 2013.
His Holiness was accompanied by hundreds of cars from different villages of the region, and also by two councillors from Ladakh Hill Council, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Tsering Morup with the security personnel and pilots provided by the government. On the way, His Holiness stopped at nine different villages where he was received with warm welcome on the roadside. Each village had erected a welcoming banner gate and served tea for the reception. The monks from Lekir Monastery of the Gelug School, came all the way down from their monastery to welcome the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang in a traditional ceremonial procession. The abbot of the monastery made a mandala offering. At each stopping place His Holiness gave blessings and short teachings as well as the transmission of different mantras.
The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang also stopped at the new Lamdon School at Khaltse where he gave a short speech. He visited the classrooms, where he was surprised to see illustration of animals, fruits, and vegetables only with English captions. He suggested to the teachers to add also Tibetan descriptions. The teacher requested His Holiness’ support on this, and His Holiness promised to provide the Tibetan captions for the school.
On June 18, at 6.30 am the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang consecrated and blessed the newly built Puspa Hari Teaching Ground Temple and the statues. At 10:45 am His Holiness arrived at the teaching ground. He was accompanied by H. E. Togden Rinpoche, H. E. Ontul Rinpoche, Ven. Rigyal Rinpoche, Ven. Karma Ratna Rinpoche, and Ven. Sönam Jorphel Rinpoche.
At 10:50 am the chief guest of this Function, the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Jenab Omar Abdullah landed by helicopter nearby Lamayuru Monastery. When he reached the stage, His Holiness and the Chief Minister exchanged khatags as a greeting gesture. Thereafter, the official Opening Ceremony by His Holiness’ and the Hon'ble Chief Minister commenced with the lighting of the Auspicious Lamp inside the temple. Besides the Chief Minister, also the Hon'ble Minister for Urban Development and Urban Local Bodies of Jammu and Kashmir Nawang Rigzing Jora and most of the Ladakh officers took part in the opening ceremony. Around two thousand people of Ladakh and many tourists attended the function.
The welcoming speech was given by H .E. Togden Rinpoche, followed by speeches of the Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Rigzin Spalbar, by the Hon'ble Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, and by the Hon'ble Chief Minister Jenab Omar Abdullah. In his address, Jenab Omar Abdullah pointed out that since he first visited Lamayuru at the age of seven, he is very much attached to this place. Every year he comes to visit Ladakh several times. Ladakh is a beautiful region, which still preserves its age-old cultural heritage, and keeps the brotherhood of all mankind for world peace and happiness.
In the end, His Holiness gave a concluding speech pointing out that Lamayuru is famous because of its ancient history, which goes back to 500 BCE. Lamayuru is the oldest monastery in Ladakh. He added that Buddhism first came to Lamayuru before it reached Tibet. During the flourishing of Buddhism in Kashmir the ancient Lamayuru Monastery was blessed by Arhat Nima Gongpa, who was ordained by Ananda, one of the principal disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni. Later in the 10th Century, Mahasiddha Naropa came from Kashmir and meditated here for a long time. Two of his mediation caves can still be visited in the Lamayuru area and one in Zanskar. Not much later, Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo arrived in this region and built five temples at the place of Lamayuru Monastery. His Holiness expressed his aspiration that through the Snake Year Teachings the ignorance, attachment and hatred of all beings may be pacified, and he prayed for peace and harmony around the globe. He also conveyed many Tashi Deleks for everybody coming here for this rare and wonderful occasion.
At 1:25 pm the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had lunch with all the Rinpoches, the Chief Minister, and the officials at the top of the monastery, and below in the dinning hall all the other guests were having lunch. At the side of the teaching ground four different kitchens offered lunch for all the people attending the teachings.
On June 19 at 9:30 am, when His Holiness and the Rinpoches arrived, monks and nuns had gathered at the teaching ground. His Holiness made the preparations for Marpa Chökyi Lodrö's special heart practice of Ushnishavijaya. Thereafter at 10:30 am, the actual Snake Year Teaching ceremony commenced. Before the onset of the teachings, the Snake Year Teaching Committee of Lamayuru offered tea, fried rice, and Droma in a traditional ceremony and made the mandala offering requesting the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to turn the wheel of dharma teachings.
His Holiness paid homage to the Buddha and began his teachings with the life story of Buddha Shakyamuni and related the core of the Buddha’s teachings. When the Buddha himself was asked to summarize his teaching, he explained: Commit not a single unwholesome action, cultivate a wealth of virtue, tame this mind of ours, this is the teaching of all the buddhas. His Holiness gave teachings in Tibetan, translated into English by Ven. Khenpo Tamphel and into Ladakhi by most. Ven. Rigyal Rinpoche.