Sunday, April 25, 2010

Letter from Thrangu Rinpoche to Monks of Thrangu Monastery

We have been struck by an earthquake in our homeland and in particular at our Thrangu Monastery. The monastic college, retreat center, temple, and dormitories have all been destroyed. Many monks were killed. Many others have been injured and faced with great hardship. Despite this, when we comfort ourselves, we must remember that no one did anything to harm us, nor did we do anything wrong. Instead this is just the way the world is—it is a natural disaster. You are all sad and upset, but instead of wallowing in grief, pray to the Three Jewels. Make good aspiration prayers. Dedicate your virtue to those who have passed to nirvana or died. Doing this will be very good.

When I first heard the news yesterday, I immediately informed the Gyalwang Karmapa and Tai Situ Rinpoche. Both of them developed bodhichitta, recited prayers, and performed purification rituals. His Eminence Situ Rinpoche also performed the Thousand Offerings and many other virtuous rituals. They recited many prayers of aspiration and offering refuge, and so we have received their words of blessing.

A terrible thing has of course happened to those who passed away, but if they had died in another place, it would have been difficult to get such great masters like the Gyalwang Karmapa and Situ Rinpoche to recite prayers on their behalf. In this great disaster, not only did these masters recite prayers, they also regard them with their eyes of wisdom. This is a great fortune, and so all of you please think of this from a broader perspective.

This is of course a terrible event for us, but as the Bhagavan Buddha taught in the True Dharma, the characteristic of this samsaric world is that the end of birth is death, the end of meeting is parting, the end of gathering is using up, and the end of building is falling down. There is nothing that will not meet one of these four ends, he said. This is just the way this world of ours naturally is. This is nothing that anyone else has done to cause us problems, nor is there anything that someone has done wrong to cause this. It just happened naturally. Thus the most important thing is to go for refuge and make aspiration and dedication prayers; it is important to think about this from a wider perspective and do positive acts.

Although I would like to come there, it is a long way and I am old, so I am not able to come immediately. However, I will do as many prayers and aspirations as I can. The monastery has been destroyed, but in general, sometimes things wax, and sometimes they wane. Since this is just the characteristic of samsara, if we do not let ourselves get discouraged, it is not necessarily bad. We and others just need to do the best we can.

I have told the lamas at my overseas centers that they absolutely must go to see the situation, help recite prayers and aspirations for the deceased, and help care for the sick and injured. I have also asked them to examine the damaged monastery buildings and to do their best to work together with you until the monastery has been rebuilt. This is important, so I would like to ask all of you to cooperate with them in looking at the buildings, meeting with them, and accompanying them. Please make a connection with them. My own thought is that we will do whatever is best for the future. I cannot blame you for being sad and grieving now, but I do ask you to please look from a wider perspective and give yourselves courage.

----- Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

This incredibly moving letter says everything that needs to be said. If you want to help this situation, please visit this link for further information.

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2 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

I was so moved by this tragedy i sat down and wrote a story about the last moments of a Monk in the Thrangu Monastery.

I am a tibetan, I am a simple monk, i live in Tibet in the Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery. My life is in service to the Buddha. Now my world has been shaken and my life lays in rubble and in ruin. I lay prostrated before the Buddha and i see my brothers and sisters around me also laying on the floor. I first thought they were prostrating before Buddha same as i was, but they are not moving, i am not moving, why are we not moving? I do not have any feeling in my legs or back, i cannot seem to get up to do my prostrations. My fellow monks and nuns around me are not moving either, I glance around moving my head carefully, looking up at the Buddha statue I am shocked to see the statue shattered. The roof of the temple is caved in and I can see the sky. This has been my home all my life and my fathers home before me, I can trace my family line back 1300 years of monastic life in this beautiful temple, now I lay here broken, unable to move and all is in ruins. Well just as the Buddha said about the impermanence of life this is surely proof of that. I try once again to move and try to sit up and I feel something pressing against my neck, pulling it out from under me to see what it is and it to seems almost poetic to find of all the holy books in this beautiful temple the one I am laying on is Bardo Thodol, best known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. As I glance through the plates of the Bardo Thodol I glance around at all my fellow monks and nuns laying helpless and motionless around me and start to recite the Bardo Thodol.

Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest.

Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.

I start to feel sleepy, tired, just wanting to rest, to close my eyes when i see a monk walk up to me and reach down to help me, I glance at his face I try to bless him and say Tashi Delek but I have not the strength, just as my eyes begin close i notice it is the Lama, it is the Buddha, it is His Holiness The Dalai Lama…………….sigghhhhhhhhhhhh……

Anonymous said...

Two days before the earth quake: