Friday, July 09, 2010

Tarthang Rinpoche Restores Swayambhu Stupa: Rejoice

"These signs and sufferings will awaken the mind of a man, and
disgusted with the human condition, favoured in his actions and
governed by sympathy and compassion towards the sufferers, he
will dedicate himself to the restoration of the Great Stupa. He
will aspire to the highest human achievement and fulfill his wish
to rebuild perfection." -- Padmasambhava

His Holiness Trulshik Rinpoche, Supreme Head of the Nyingmapa is in that helicopter you see in the above photograph, performing the re-consecration of the Swayambhu Stupa, following completion of the complete restoration sponsored by Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche. This is in fact the first restoration in over ninety years, and the fifteenth restoration in the last 1500 years.

Here you see the final step in the restoration: the pata, or hanging belt, with the great seal of the Tibetan Nyingmapa Meditation Center, in Berkeley, California -- the seat of the authentic Nyingma lineage in the West -- above which is the dedication plaque, composed by Trulshik Rinpoche in honor of the Great Being, Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche, the living emanation of Padmasambhava, and prophesied restorer of the stupa.

Here, the belt is being taken in procession around the stupa, before being hoisted and installed on the West or Amitabha side.
"And all living creatures engaged in the restoration of the
Great Stupa, after three reawakenings, are reborn with the body
of a man or god, a pure vessel for the nectar of Dharma, and
finally attain Buddhahood in the Western Buddhafield of
Sukhavati, the Pure Land of Bliss. Whoever has put trust in the
Great Stupa, whoever has found joy in the nature of the Great
Stupa, whoever has shown devotion to the Great Stupa and whoever
rejoices with the Bodhisattvas when the Restoration of the Great
Stupa has been completed, after seven rebirths, sits at the head
of the Vidhyadharas in the Infinite Palace of Lotus Light in the
Glorious Copper Coloured Mountain of Ngayab in the southwest. Any
living creature who envisions the Great Restoration with his eye,
or hears its vibration with his ear, or imagines it in his mind
or feels it with his body has all traces of unknowing action, the
stains of sixty-thousand great aeons of ignorance, removed from
his mind. All men engaged with the Great Being in the Restoration
of the Great Stupa either with or without understanding, trust or
devotion receive a part of his supreme realization and spiritual
power, and arriving at the end of human experience, they live in
the Reality of the Vidhyadharas at the feet of Orgyen Rinpoche

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17 reader comments:

Cliff said...

Wonderful! I am rejoicing! Thank you Tathang Tulku Rinpoche.

Stephen said...

Which stupa did Guru Padmasambhava refer to in the terma "The Legend of the Great Stupa of Boudhanath" - Swoyambhu or Boudhanath ? Please clarify. Thanks.

TENPA said...

It is called the "Legend of the Great Stupa of Boudhanath" for a reason. But, like everything else, there are broader references possible.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to Trulshik Rinpoche and Tarthang Rinpoche and to all the wonderful people and beings that made this restoration possible!

Such a wonderful event!

For the benefit of all sentient beings....

Learner said...

Berkeley, California -- the seat of the authentic Nyingma lineage in the West


TENPA said...


Learner said...

Nyingma Buddhism is in fact sectarianism?

TENPA said...

Berkeley, California is in fact the seat of the authentic Nyingma lineage in America, and Odiyan, in Sonama County, California is the root temple, similar to Samye in Tibet.

Learner said...

The authentic Nyingma lineage is to work 12 hours a day six days a week and a half day on Sunday? The authentic Nyingma lineage turns a cold shoulder to anyone that cannot keep up with that schedule?

TENPA said...

I guess things are more liberal now. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there is no way that only 12 hours a day and a half day on Sunday would have been allowed. Goldbricking like that is why most people never get anything accomplished.

Learner said...

There is no real contact with Rinpoche for anyone to really know what is to be done work wise. It is all third, fourth, fifth hand. The only thing I got accomplished was done by myself for the most part. Rinpoche, from what I heard, is not taking on new students. I am not sure how you are using the term goldbricking, but to attract volunteers strickly on the ground of offering work and then disallow any of their thoughts seems to me to be goldbricking itself.

TENPA said...

Well, in some senses, Rinpoche hasn't really taken on "new students" in decades, so I don't know what your expectations were. Whatever they were, obviously you quit before they were realized.

Quitting isn't his fault. Quitting is your decision.

As to taking direction from his students, this is just fundamental respect. Some of those people have been with him for 40 years. Do you think you know best or they know best? If you respect the lama you also respect his senior students. This is fundamental throughout the whole of Tibetan Buddhism.

In reading through your various comments, it seems to me like you have some work to do on yourself. Tarthang Rinpoche is no different from Padmasambhava. You need to examine why you are cultivating this discontinuity with Padmasambhava.

In the meantime, there are oodles of lamas around who will help you lick your wounds, massage your ego, and stick you in a comfortable time slot where you can feel your "needs" are being met.

That's what it is about for you, right? Comfort? Easy? Over-arching "explanation?"

Maybe it seems harsh to you, but the fact is, many people cannot hack Vajrayana 101 --- but, because they think they are somehow entitled, they resist accepting their own failures and just working from there.

If you fail, it is no shame. It is actually very good, you know?

Learner said...

I do not feel I have cultivated discontinuity with Tarthang Tulku.

You must understand that individuals born in the west may not have any contact with dharma until they find themselves at a dharma center. At that point those individuals should examine the dharma to see if it is correct for them. It should not be a matter of taking it all or leaving it all. If new individuals examining the dharma makes senior students uncomfortable and they deem that examining individual entirely unfit for buddhism, there is a problem.

There are oodles of lamas yes. These lamas are mostly in larger cities. If a person can afford to go to bigger cities financially and afford the possible tension that may cause family members, great. If not the individual likely faces some form of forced attrition for engaging in misunderstood practices, or will be regularly asked, "why are you just sitting around?"

Meditation, for me, has never been about comfort and easy.

What is vajrayana 101? Is it inner and outer tantra? Is it dzogchen? Is it Kum Nye? Is it TSK? It is not clear what is vajrayana at Odiyan.

I don't resist my own failure. Most people don't have the courage to tell someone their failures. And if they do, most time it doesn't get that person anywhere.

TENPA said...

We say that we are "living" but actually, as each second passes, we are dying.

We do not know the hour or even the means of our own death, but it is certain that death will come.

When death arrives, nothing prevents this. There is no more time to consider what must be done. Things like friends, families, homes, occupations and so forth are meaningless at the moment of death. Actually, they are worse than meaningless. They are just another obstacle.

The most valuable thing you can do for yourself and others in this life, regardless of who you are or who they are, is to practice dharma in accordance with dharma. If this requires what we consider "extraordinary effort," or even if it is merely what we consider "uncomfortable," this has to be balanced against the terror one will surely feel at the moment of death and the enormous expenditure of the bardo, with its bewildering sights and sounds.

Even now, when you have a dream you consider a nightmare, you wake up sweating and feeling anxious. Sometimes people even cry out in their sleep and so forth. Imagine the after death experience, which seems rather more intense and enduring than a mere nightmare.

In the presence of an enlightened master or even merely entering his mandala, one sometimes feels the necessity to form ideas or attitudes about what considers a "new experience."

These ideas and attitudes don't help very much at first, but as one learns to work them, they actually become the means of enriching one's connection to the dharma.

We work with what challenges, yes?

Odiyan is a mandala. It only appears as a temple with various people and so forth. Actually, it is a mandala. So, when you enter this mandala, you are entering something which is both unfamiliar and very familiar all at the same time.

All of the activity of the Odiyan mandala, and I do mean ALL, as in every single aspect, is directed to one purpose and one purpose only. That purpose is to enable your liberation from suffering in one lifetime and one body. There is no other purpose.

The Odiyan mandala is not confined to the physical place in Sonoma County, but extends in all ten directions. The activity to benefit beings is not confined to printing, building, or so forth. Actually, the sphere of enlightened activity is limitless.

Conventionally speaking, Tarthang Rinpoche is a completely realized dzogchen master of the highest possible order. In actual fact, Tarthang Rinpoche is IDENTICAL with Padmasambhava himself.You can find no greater teacher alive today. This is widely understood by all Tibetan lamas.

Do not allow anything to stand between you and the lord of the mandala. Do not allow anything to prevent you from joining the enlightened activity.

Life is so very short. Why are you just sitting around?

Go back and try again. Keep trying. Never stop trying.

Do whatever it takes.

You know, if you step out of a helicopter in the middle of a war zone, if you lose your head it is almost certain you will lose your life. You will have to act firmly, calmly, and decisively. You will also have to act quickly. This we can understand.

Sometimes, it takes effort to learn how to be relaxed while being thoroughly engaged in a matter. But, once you do learn, life becomes very fruitful, very productive.

If I knew a faster or better way for you to encounter the enlightened activity of a fully realized being and come to know the nature of your own mind, I would tell you.

As it is, you have already found this on your own, so you are very fortunate.

Nicholas said...

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche is perhaps the kindest and most gentle being I've ever met, and I look unto him as my father. It is not necessarily true that Rinpoche doesn't see anyone, from my own experience, the distance between us existed only in my mind.

A lot of people have remarked to me that it seems completely crazy to expect anyone to work so much, but as "Tenpa" said, how else can anyone expect results? During my time at Odiyan I certainly lamented over the long hours and seemingly endless stream of work to be done, again, all in my mind, my coddled western mind that rebelled against discomfort and reasoned against working for a greater cause. Since I myself "quit" for political reasons and to relieve the sangha there of the burden of dealing with me, I have not yet found another organization that was as hard working, as devoted, as self-sacrificing as Tarthang Tulku's team. On the surface, sure, it may seem easy to criticize individuals or the whole group, but when we step back and look at what has been accomplished in these terribly degenerate times, that criticism simply has no ground. We want teachings, we want Dzogchen, we want to skip to Atiyoga, because we're used to buying our way into just about everything in the West, but when we get it we're either deluded into thinking we have the view or we retreat because it's just too simple to realize. I applaud continually the efforts of Kyabje Tarthang Tulku and all of his students and volunteers that continually and relentlessly exemplify faith and devotion, something we as Westerners have yet to fully understand and demonstrate. We don't have our own lineage of Western teachers, we weren't brought up around a Buddhist framework. If we truly are tired of samsara, if we truly have cultivated compassion for all mother sentient beings, we must be willing to put in the work to free ourselves from the bonds of cyclic existence. If we quit early because it's too hard, we haven't spent enough time contemplating the Four Thoughts. We have to be honest with ourselves...

Nickie Scott said...

The two accumulations are at the heart of the dharma path and Rinpoche has provided a golden opportunity for living beings to gather merit and wisdom in vast amounts. Instead of complaining about hard work and long hours people should be trying to work even more unselfishly to benefit living beings by benefitting the dharma. This precious human life is so short and there is so little opportunity to gather merit and wisdom. Any chance we get we should put full energy into accumulating these precious provisions. Some practitioners have enough faith to see the teacher just once in life and then dedicate their whole life to accomplishing the teachers wishes. Since the Guru is the sole source of accomplishments in our life we should be happy to get just one glimpse of the Guru's eyes or even just one glimpse of a picture should set our heart in motion and spur us towards working for the benefit of other living beings.

Editor said...

Very well said, Nickie