At the invitation of the Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC), H.H. the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang arrived in San Francisco on August 14th, 2015, where he was welcomed at the airport by Bhumang Rinpoche, TANC president Kelsang Jungney, and other devotees.
On the 15th, His Holiness was received by an assembly of ordained and lay followers under the auspices of TANC. Following opening prayers, TANC offered His Holiness a mandala offering with supports of enlightened body, speech, and mind, to request that he turn the wheel of the Dharma.
His Holiness said, “As Buddhist followers, what we first need to understand is the meaning of the word Buddha. The word Buddha is a Sanskrit word. The Sanskrit word carries ten different meanings, and it is hard to capture all of them with a single translation. In Tibetan, this word was translated as 'sang-gye,' and it is an excellent translation. The first syllable, 'sang' means to get rid of or to clean away, so the first half means to abandon the afflictions and the two obscurations, along with their habitual imprints. The second syllable, 'gye' means to open or to ripen, so it means that the two types of wisdom have fully blossomed like a lotus flower. In otherwords, it indicates that the Buddha's abandonments (of what should beabandoned) and realizations (of what is to be realized) are fully complete.”
Following this, His Holiness gave teachings on, along with the oral transmission for, the lineage and visualization of Drikung phowa practice.
In the afternoon, His Holiness gave an Amitayus empowerment according to the Machik Drupay Gyalmo tradition. In the course of the empowerment, he commented on the importance of looking afterone's health, saying, “There are many causes and conditions that bring about along life. These include extending one's life through long life empowerments, mantra recitation, and meditation in samadhi. But medicine and diet, exercise, and so on, are also beneficial and are important to pay attention to.”After the empowerment, the Drikung Kagyu members of the Bay Area and TANC offered a mandala offering with supports of enlightened body, speech, and mind to express their gratitude to His Holiness.
The following day, on the 16th, TANC's president Kelsang Jungney welcomed His Holiness to the Tibetan Community Center, thanking him for coming and explaining the center's current situation and TANC's plans for the future. His Holiness then gave a lecture on his book, A History of the Tibetan Empire, during which he mentioned: “A History of the Tibetan Empire is based primarily on the Dunhuang documents, the Old Book of Tang and New Book of Tang, and imperial-period pillar and rock face inscriptions. Being interested in the Dunhuang documents, I traveled around the world, and Inoticed that there are many Dunhuang manuscripts held in the national libraries of France and Britain and there were many people studying the Chinese manuscripts, but aside from a few Western scholars, there was no one studying the Tibetan manuscripts. I thought to myself that there should be at least one Tibetan studying these manuscripts, and so I began researching the history of Tibet's imperial period. The imperial period refers to the dynasty of 43 generations that ruled Tibet for 1,232 years. For a single dynasty to rule for so many generations over such a long span of time is particularly rare in comparison to the political history of countries like India and China, and so on. This is a crucial point, and it is very important that we realize this.”
Following his talk, His Holiness gave detailed answers to questions from the audience. Before leaving, His Holiness gave TANC US$ 3,000 to help with their work of promoting Tibetan religion and culture.
In the evening, His Holiness arrived at the Gyuto Foundation, where he taught on and gave the oral transmission for Vajrasattva practice to the majority-Tibetan crowd. Following this, thecenter's lama Ven. Thupten Donyo welcomed and thanked His Holiness and explained the center's history, requesting His Holiness to return again and again in the future.