International Drikung Kagyu Council
Honoured to organise the 800th Commemoration of Lord Jigten Sumong's Maha Parinirvana.
On the invitation of Ladakh Buddhist Association His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, the 37th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage arrived at the Leh airport. His holiness was accorded a grand reception at the airport by H.E Thuksay Rinpochey, H.E.Tokdan Rinpochey, H.E.Stakna Rinpochey, H.E.Tsamtrul Rinpoche, Tsewang thinless President LBA, Rinchen Namgyal President LBA youth, Tsewang Dolma President LBA women wing, LAHDC headed by Dr.Sonam Dawa CEC, Head of all gompas along with lamas around Ladakh, Ex-MP and MLCs and head of different religious communities.
The cavalcade was received by sertang from different gompas, phoks kalchor from different parts of ladakh and school students and general public were all lined up from airport to chowkhang vihara and Chowkhang Vihara to Phayang Gonpa.
The world environment day was celebrated at the chowkhang as His Holiness was the chief guest on the occasion Sh.Tsewang Thinless President LBA welcomed His Holiness to ladakh and later on His Holiness gave a detailed speech on the environment related issues. After the occasion His Holiness left for his residence at phyang gompa were he will be taking rest for few days and then will be delivering sermons and blessing the public at khungroo,disket,shachukul and Leh. June 5th is the World Environment Day. His Holiness gave a talk on environment preservation at the Phyang Monastery. Responding to His Holiness’s talk, students from the SECMOL school drew pictures to illustrate how they would like the natural environment to be in 20 years. His Holiness viewed students’ drawings and encouraged them to realise their dreams.
On June 6th, local residents gathered in the Phyang Monastery and engaged in a discussion with His Holiness regarding how they would like to fulfil the younger generation’s dreams regarding the future of their village.
On June 7th and 8th, at the Phyang monastery, His Holiness along with local residents participated in the first environment preservation training on Nature Restoration Action. Dr. Qiu Yiru, an expert in environment preservation from Taiwan, led the training. He talked about the Ladakh plateau desert observation research, soil restoration, the need to install and use bio-toilets, and the use of contour lines to identify locations to build water reservoirs.
5am on June 9th, His Holiness left the Phyang Monastery for the Lamayuru Monastery. His Holiness and his retinue had breakfast in the Khalatse village in front of Lamayuru. After breakfast, His Holiness gave a brief talk at the Khaltse Monastery. Local residents also had an opportunity to take photos with His Holiness.
Then, His Holiness went to the Drikung Kagyu Lamayuru Monastery. This is where he completed the five fold Path of Mahamudra retreat 36 years ago. Monastics invited His Holiness to seat on his throne according to tradition, offered mandala to him, and prayed for His Holiness to remain in this world for eons and eons.
In October 1978, His Holiness built a retreat center at the Lamayuru Monastery and practiced Mahamudra there under the guidance of the then retreat master of Lama Yuru, mahasiddha Jungka Sobha Rinpoche (1911 – 1980).
His Holiness recalled that his retreat began with the practice of Amitayus and then proceeded to the four preliminaries. He shared that Jungka Sobha Rinpoche held him up to high standards according to tradition and did not give him any preferential treatment. His Holiness remembered that Jungka Sobha Rinpoche told him,“ When prostrating, your whole body needs to touch the ground. Do not care how long it takes you to complete your prostration.” His Holiness continued, “Jungka Sobha Rinpoche did not treat me differently, which helped me tremendously because all teachings of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage ask practitioners to follow Drikung Kagyu’s traditions.”
The Lamayuru Monastery preserved the wooden board that His Holiness used when practicing the four preliminaries. Under strict supervision of Jungka Sobha Rinpoche, His Holiness accomplished 330,000 full prostrations. His Holiness recalled, “I woke up 5am in the morning and slept around midnight. I had a brief break at noon and slept 5 to 6 hours per day. The rest of my time was fully devoted to practice.” His Holiness shared that he accomplished 110,000 prostrations for reciting refuge and Bodhicitta, another110,000 prostrations for mandala offering, and a third 110,000 prostrations for observing the Bodhicitta vow. Each round of practice took 35 to 40 days to complete.
His Holiness took a picture at the living room of his retreat hut. He pointed out that the inner room was where he practiced the four preliminaries. His Holiness and his retinue practiced Dharma in the inner room. The Lamayuru Monastery preserved the Kangyur that His Holiness used during his retreat.
His Holiness and his retinue also visited that cave behind the main shrine hall of the Lamayuru monastery. This is where Naropa used to meditate. His Holiness and his retinue then went to the Atitse Monastery. Naropa also meditated in a cave there. In the evening, His Holiness and his retinue returned to the Phyang monastery.
Khyungru means the big golden bird. It locates in a remote region Northeast of Leh. In the morning of the 10th, His Holiness and his retinue left the Phyang monastery for Khyungru. They went through Leh, Hemis, and the 5300-meter high mountain pass. He briefly stopped at three monasteries and arrived at Khyungru towards evening. His Holiness stopped at the Ngala Monastery, a Drukpa Kagyu monastery in the morning, gave a brief teaching. The second stop of the day is the Takthok Monastery, a Nyingmapa monastery that used to belong to His Hoiness Taklung Tsetrul. HH had breakfast here and Monastics offered mandala to His Holiness. Then, His Holiness and his retinue went through the 5300-meter high mountain pass of the Wari La Mountain. Then His Holiness arrived at the Tangyar Nubra Village and performed a ceremony outside of the village by spreading water to purify the soil and making prayers for local residents. After the ceremony, local residents invited His Holiness to the Tangyer Monastery, a Gelug monastery. His Holiness received mandala offering there. In the evening, His Holiness arrived in Khyungru. The director of the Drikung Kagyu monasteries in Ladakh, the 79-year-old Togdan Rinpoche and local disciples received His Holiness and his retinue with great joy. Disciples invited His Holiness to seat at his throne in the Khyungru Thongdoll Phug Monastery according to tradition and offered mandala to him. In the morning, His Holiness performed the inauguration ceremony for the new shrine hall of the Khyungru Thongdoll Phug Monastery. He also performed the outer, inner, and secret purification for the monastery and prayed that the monastery will remain for eons and eons to benefit sentient beings. Monastics from nearby Drukpa Kagyu and Gelug monasteries attended the ceremony as guests. After the inauguration ceremony, local disciples hosted a big celebration. They wore their traditional outfits and offered songs and dances to His Holiness and expressed their gratitude. His Holiness gave a talk on environment preservation. In the early morning, His Holiness went to the old location of the Khyungru Thongdoll Phug Monastery on the cliff. In 1993, His Holiness went to a retreat in an old retreat cave there and left very precious hand-written manuscript. The manuscript is still preserved in the cave. His Holiness and Togdan Rinpoche practiced Dharma in the cave and reviewed stories of Drikung Kagyu Mahasiddhas. As the teaching continued, more and more disciples gathered in the monastery. Disciples from these remote areas felt great satisfaction and pleasure for having the opportunity to receive the Drikung Kagyu Monkey Year Phowa Chenmo from His Holiness. After the conclusion of the teaching, His Holiness and his retinue had a picnic by a creek nearby. An antelope stuck out its head and peaked at His Holiness and his retinue from the mountain behind the monastery. Jun. 14th, In the morning , His Holiness and his retinue left Khyungru for Digar Monaster, a Gelug monastery that locates at an even higher altitude. His Holiness blessed the monastery. His Holiness also visited a local hospital and blessed doctors and nurses there. Before His Holiness left Digar, he bestowed a teaching and blessed local residents early in the morning. Then he went to the Khema Monastery and had lunch there. The Khema Monastery is very small. Disciples had to sit outside. Regardless of the size of the monastery, His Holiness still went there and bestowed a teaching to local disciples. After lunch and a 3-hour car ride, His Holiness arrived at the Samtenling Gelug Monastery in Nubra and received mandala offering there. An auspicious rainbow appeared in the sky near where His Holiness stayed that evening. In the morning, His Holiness had breakfast in another Gelug monastery, the Deskit Monastery. Then he went to visit a huge statue of Maitreya behind the monastery and performed ablessing ceremony there. Then His Holiness went to the Deskit Valley to host another Summer Teaching. He first blessed the generator and then planted a tree. He blessed the tree by spreading rice around it. Sun shower occurred for few minutes in the area where His Holiness planted the tree. After that, His Holiness got seated in his throne and bestowed the Ta-Chag-Chung-Sum empowerment to more than 10,000 local disciples at the request of representatives of local disciples. After the empowerment, His Holiness immediately headed to the next stop. On the way to his next stop, an elderly grandmother and her family stood in front of their house to receive His Holiness. His Holiness stopped his car and blessed the family. He then went to an even more remote village and bestowed a teaching there.
After that, His Holiness went to a military camp and bestowed a teaching to Buddhist soldiers. The camp has a small Buddhist Monastery because a large number of the soldiers are Buddhists. After leaving the military camp, His Holiness and his retinue again went through a mount pass. It is the mountain pass of the highest motor-able road in the world, Mount Khardung La. They arrived back at the Phyang monastery in the evening. It is a day for His Holiness to rest and prepare for the annual Summer Dharma Assembly of Leh that would take place between June 18 to 21. His Holiness and his disciples experimented on some new plant cultivation techniques and had a joyful and relaxing day.
His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup interacted with the youth of Ladakh and talked about the menace of social inequality and rising suicide cases. A talk on social inequality and the rising suicide cases, organised by the Ladakh Buddhist Association, was held at Sindhu Sanskriti on June 19.
In the interaction session, His Holiness pointed out that Buddhist religion is a casteless religion and added that there was nothing written about it in any Buddhist scriptures. He said that castes were created on the basis of a profession which continued to exist even today. During the rule of the kings in Ladakh, many people started migrating to Ladakh, and it was one of the ways to keep control on them. “Ladakh was a small society then and caste was one of the ways to stop them from entering into Ladakh,” said His Holiness. Before the 8th century, this inequality did not exist at all, adding that to consider others as inferior was not a good intention. And, hence, he emphasised, the practice should end for the good of all.
The Buddha said:
By birth one is not an outcaste,
By birth one is not a Brahmin;
By deeds alone one is an outcaste,
By deeds alone one is a Brahmin.
Talking about the rising suicide cases among the youth in Ladakh, His Holiness said we were not able to cope up with the sudden change. “Ladakh is witnessing a change that is very sudden and there is a lot of competition going on and youngsters are exposed to many things which lead to mental problems and then commit suicide,” he said.
He pointed out that one of the reasons is that our social fabric is deteriorating. “Today, the relation among the people of Ladakh is decaying and the economy is going up.” His Holiness said that we should conduct more and more discussions and seminars against the ills of a caste system. It will gradually change, he said.
Emphasising on training the youth, he said there should be coordination between the body and the mind so that the youth became strong enough to resist suicide tendencies.
At the request of the Ladakh Buddhist Association ( LBA ) and Ladakh Gonpa Association (LGA), His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup bestowed a great annual teaching at the courtyard of the Shiwaytsal Choglamsar of Leh, Ladakh. The Teaching started on June 18th and concluded on June 21st, during which His Holiness bestowed the great Drikung Bodhicitta vow, Drikung Phowa Chenmo, and the Buddha Amitayus empowerment. More than two thousand monastics including Rinpoches, monks, and nuns as well as over one hundred thousand lay disciples attended the teaching.
The annual summer teaching took place in the largest outdoor venue in Ladakh, the courtyard of Shiwaytsal Choglamsar.
After concluding the first day’s teaching, His Holiness hosted a small signing ceremony at the Phyang Monastery. This is for 7 housewives from the Phyang village to join the Farmstay Ladakh project and show their commitment in leading an environment friendly lifestyle and running sustainable business. After the signing ceremony, His Holiness and the Ice Stupa team went to the land in front of the Phyang Monastery to check the working conditions of the irrigation equipment that applies water melt from the Ice Stupa to farmlands. They did not return to the monastery until sunset. In this coming Winter, the Ice Stupa project will continue in Phyang. It will also be replicated in Shachukul and Kugxu where in remote mountainou area of western Ladakh. In addition, visual art will be used to draw more attention and support from the public.
On June 19th, as an important preparation for the oral transmission of the Drikung Phowa Chenmo, His Holines bestowed the Great Drikung Bodhisattva vow according to the tradition of the Vast Conduct, which has been passed down from Buddha Shakymuni to Maitreya, Asanga......Serlingpa, and Atisha. The sadhana composed by Chen Nga Sherab Jungne was used during the transmission in general. Two types of Relative Bodhicitta exist: The aspiring Bodhicitta, which is the aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit all sentient beings; and the engaging Bodhicitta, which is the translation of aspiring Bodhicitta into actualactions.Four conditions need to be fulfilled in order to generate the aspiring Bodhicitta: 1) accumulating merits through the practice of the noble 7 branches; 2) taking refuge in three jewels and cultivating Bodhicitta; 3) cultivating the Four Immeasurables; 4) visualizing the guru who bestowed the Bodhisattva vow as Buddha Shakyamui. After one receives transmission of the aspiring Bodhcitta, he or she can move forward to receive the transmission of the engaging Bodhicitta. The sadhana composed according to Bodhisattvacaryavatara (A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life) is used to transmit the engaging Bodhicitta. The ultimate Bodhicitta is the wisdom mind that realizes emptiness. In other words, it is the Mahamudra or Dzogchen in the Tandra tradition or the Prajna Paramita in the Sutra tradition.
His Holiness mentioned that Lord Jigten Sumgon once made the Sevenfold Prayer of Vajrayana offerings according to the Tantra tradition at the Drikung Thil Monastery. The purpose of this offering is to accumulate merits. Many extremely precious objects were offered. For example, the tormas used in this offering was as high as a one-floor building. During the oral transmission of the Great Drikung Bodhisattva vow, lamas and disciples were holding each other’s hand through their ring fingers. This is because a channel of the body goes through the ring finger. Connecting with each other through the ring finger establishes the permanent connection between the Vajra guru and the disciples. It symbolizes that the pure lineage has never be interrupted and the guru and disciples will stay together until all attain Buddhahood. June 20th is 15th day of the 4th Tibetan month, the day when Buddha Shakyamuni realized enlightenment and passed into maha parinirvana. On this day, His Holiness bestowed the Drikung Phowa Chenmo transmission to about 100,000 disciples. Phowa is the direct transference of our consciousness to the Pureland at the time of death. A great guru can perform Phowa for someone and guide his or her consciousness to the Pureland when this person is in the bardo. One can also practice this approach when alive. The Phowa transmitted this time is the second type of Phowa. When receiving the oral transmission, one needs to visualize oneself as Vajravarahi, who is red in color. Inside one’s body, stands a straight blue central channel as wide as one’s pinky finger. The central channel extends from the crown to the pubic region. At the heart level of the central channel, one needs to visualize a four-pedal lotus flower upon which rests a red bead of the size of a pea. This bead represents one’s mind (or consciousness) and is ready to jump up. On top of one’s head, sits Buddha Amitabha in Buddha Maitreya’s position. The toe of Buddha Amitabha blocks the opening of the central channel at one’s crown. Guru Padmasambhava and other lineage lamas surround Buddha Amitabha. This lineage of Drikung Phowa Chenmo can be traced back to Buddha Amitabha. During the reign of the Tibetan King Chisong Dezan, one of his administers, Nima, accidentally burned down his entire house when moving. 13 family members a long with many animals died in this fire. Nima experienced deep grief. Therefore, King Chisong Dezan asked Padmasambhava to help release Nima’s grief. Padmasambhava then travelled to the Pure land to consult with Buddha Amitabha, from whom he received the teaching and transmission of the Phowa that stands a grass as evidence and passed it down to Nima. Inanition, Padmasambhava cut his finger and used his blood as the ink and Yesh Tsogyal used her hair as the brush. Together they wrote down this teaching on leaves and hid it in the Black Mandala Lake. 300 years later, Nima took birth as herdsman Nyida Sangay. Whenever an animal died, he cried and felt heartbroken. He prayed for Buddha and Budhisattvas to help him. One day, Buddha Amitabha appeared in front of him and taught him this Phowa approach. He also revealed the Phowa Terma hidden in the Black Mandala Lake and passed it down to Namkha Gyaincain and eventually to Khenpo Phuntshogs Rnamrgyal of the Drikung Yangri Gar Monastery. Since then, the Drikung Kagyu Lineage has taken the lead in spreading this Terma Phowa. Gradually, the tradition of transmitting this great Phowa in the Monkey year, the year when Padmasambhava was born, was established. In the 1980s, after His Holiness had completed his Mahamudra retreat, he received the teaching of the Northern Treasures from His Holiness Taklung Tsetul, the Nyingma lineage holder. In 1992, after the establishment of the Jangchub Ling, His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul bestowed a teaching and empowerment on The Eight Heruka Sadhana according to the Northern Treasures tradition as invited by the monastery. His Hoiness Taklung Tsetrul passed into maha nirvana on December 23rd, 2015 and his body had been transported to the Do Naga Shadrup Choskhor Ling on June 19th, 2016. The monastery asked His Holiness to host a commemoration of His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul. Responding to the request, His Holiness arrived at Do Ngag Shadrup Choskhor Ling 4pm on June 20th. He offered white khatak to the body of His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul and led the practice of Guru Yoga according to the Northen Treasures tradition. He prayed that the Dharma activities of His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul will be completed and His Holiness Taklung Tsetrul swiftly takes another re-birth so that more sentient beings can be benefited. On the last day of the summer teaching, His Holines bestowed the Buddha Amitayus empowerment according to the Mahasiddha Thangtong Gyalpo tradition. In the evening of the 21st, His Holiness attended the banquet hosted by LBA and enjoyed cultural performances presented by local residents. An government official informed His Holiness that disciples from almost all regions of Ladakh attended the summer teaching, making it one of the largest Summer Teaching in Ladakh’s history. His Holiness used this opportunity to promote environment preservation, hoping that more support can be gained for the Ice Stupa project and the People’s Alternative University of Ladakh that will be launched soon.
On June 24th，2016, as invited by the government of Ladakh, His Holiness Tinle Lhundup participated in the celebration of the Sindu Darshan Festival as the chief guest and gave a speech. The festival is a celebration of River Sindhu, also known as the Indus. Therefore, it took place at the shore of River Sindhu.
Lake Mansarovar, which is to the north of Mount Kailash, the main peak of the Gand Tisey Mountains, gave birth to the Sindhu River. It flows through western Tibet, the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, towards Gilgit-Baltistan, and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Punjab, Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindhu.
As the main peak of the Gandise Mountains, Mount Kailash is the most famous holy mountain that commands great reverence from Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Bon religion, and Jainism. It is the source of the Sindhu River and many other major rivers in Asia. Along the shoreline of the Sindhu River, the world’s first agricultural civilization developed. Also, Buddhism took birth in Gandhara, where River Kabul and River Sindhu merge.
The Sindhu Darshan Festival is a holiday celebrated by Hindus along the shoreline of the Sindhu River in Pakistan. It is believed that because of the enormous blessing of the Sindhu River, one can purify his or her illness and sins by taking a bath in it. 5 years ago, a new ministration took office in Ladakh. As a result, Hinduism started to become popular in Ladakh and the celebration of the Sindhu Darshan Festival was adopted. His Holiness shared:
Buddhas neither wash sins away with water,
Nor remove beings' sufferings with their hands, Nor transfer their realizations to others; Beings are freed through the teachings of the truth, the nature of things.
This year, the host of the Sindhu Darshan Festival asked the Ladakh government to invite His Holiness, who is a highly respected public figure in Ladakh, to join the celebration. His Holiness agreed and utilized this opportunity to promote the importance of caring for the environment of the Himalayan region.
As a United Nation Mountain Partnership Ambassador, His Holiness shared that as a result of climate change, the ice in the Himalayan region has been reduced significantly, which adversely affected both the environment of the Gang Tisey Mountains which is the source of many major rivers in Asia, and more than 1.6 billions people who live along the shorelines of these rivers. His Holiness pointed out that Ladakh residents, regardless of their religious belief, should cherish and protect this sacred river and take efforts in improving the environment in this area for the benefit of many beings. His Holiness went to the Public Safety Office of Ladakh to attend the luncheon hosted by the Ladakh Mountain Association. Then he and his entourage set off to return to Leh along the shoreline of the Sindhu River. He stopped at the Alchi Village and viewed the stone engravings outside of the village. Last Winter, the Skyubuchan Monastery invited His Holiness to perform the inauguration ceremony for its new shrine hall. On the 25th, His Holiness performed the outer, inner, and secret purifying ceremony for the new shrine hall of the Skyurbuchan Monastery. The next day, he hosted the inauguration ceremony for the new shrine hall.
On the 27th, His Holiness went to Takmachik to host the inauguration ceremony of the Museum of Ladakhi Traditional Culture. In addition, he visited a food factory that processes sea-buckthorn. His Holiness and his entourage returned to the Phyang Monastery in the evening.
In the morning of June 28th His Holiness flew out from Leh to New Dehli. The same night, he flew out from New Deli to Singapore to host the 6th Ami Dewa Mantra Recitation Retreat.