Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dalai Lama Bestows Yamantaka Initiation in California

An unprecedented and historic event took place over two days -- Friday, April 20th, and Saturday, April 21, 2012 -- when His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama bestowed the complete Highest Yoga Tantra Initiation of the Solitary Hero, Yamantaka, at Long Beach, California.

The well-organized event was sponsored by Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling, of Long Beach, at a total cost in excess of USD $300,000. Additionally, the organizers presented all initiates with a splendidly-produced practice book of some 230 pages, together with a cabinet photograph of His Holiness and practice supports.


This two-day initiation, which included a lengthy commentary on the work of the Seventh Dalai Lama, was followed by an open talk, attended by a sold-out crowd of over 10,000 people (yes -- including everybody's favorite vajra brother, Richard Gere).

The initiation was originally scheduled for April 2011, but because of logistics issues, had to be rescheduled. Congratulations to GSTDL for following through, regardless of the illusion of obstacles.

His Holiness gave Bodhisattva Vows and Tantric Vows to all initiates, took all the time necessary to present the practice in full detail, and required very serious, life-long tantric commitments.

What glorious, great fortune!

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32 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Yamantaka belongs to Higher Yoga Tantra and thus should be regarded in secrecy. By divulging details of this initiation and the person attending it is considered a transgression of one's own samaya vows. I hope you can be more mindful where matters of HYT is concerned when posting in this blog which is accessible to the general public. Thank you.

Editor said...

Thank you for your counsel.

Anonymous said...

I was there and this article didn't divulge ANYTHING that wasn't made public knowledge, and certainly didn't divulge any person attending. Much of the info is from HHDL's own website and GSTDL staff.

Chodon conceição Gomes said...

http://dalailama.com/news/post/792-his-holiness-bestows-yamantaka-initiations-and-talks-about-peace-in-troubled-times

Cliff said...

Celebrating great good fortune!

GK Sandoval said...

The Yamantaka initiation has been in my sangha's discussion circles for over a year now. I was disappointed that the initiation was cancelled last year. Not for myself, because I knew that I was not ready, but for all the people who had invested time, money & merit to attend.

So, I was very happy to hear that it was going to offered again and that some of my fellow sangha members were able to go to Long Beach for this auspicious event.

May it benefit all sentient beings!

Anonymous said...

It was an amazing spiritual experience!

The atmosphere was quite intense (in a good way); it felt like as if Lord Manjushri and Yamataka were present throughout the initiation process.

Many Thanks to all who made this a Reality!

Anonymous said...

Hello All:

I was so fortunate to be there. It is true, Manjushri and Yamantaka were there. The energy was apparent from the very beginning. It was a lovely if burning experience for me. His Holiness is incredibly loving and I just feel in love with him. I am not prone to gushing but I am in awe at this compassion. And by the way his translator Geshe Thunpen (?) was of the charts intelligent and erudite.

Hendon Harris said...

I believe I have located a very old image of Yamantaka in
the State of Colorado USA. I know this sounds off the wall
but please google this site and judge this image or images
for yourself. "Ancient Buddha Tree of Life Lotus Flower
Colorado". On the face page of this site you will see two
mandalas. The mandala on the right contains the image
of Yamantaka and the mandala on the left contains the
Ancient Tibetan style Three Jewels of Buddhist. The Dali
Lama is correct. There is an ancient link between the Hopi
and Navajo people that goes a long way back into North
America's past.

Hendon Harris said...

Learn about the 8 Wrathfully Deities of Buddhist of which
Yamantaka is one. I am reading Robert Beer's book "The
Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs". It's an extremely informative work and clearly demonstrates the
importance of art and the importance of many different shapes to the celebration and worship of Buddhism. I don't
believe you can really appreciate Buddhism until you understand and appreciate the art forms and patterns used
over the years by the masters.

Hendon Harris said...

Have you noticed that the shape of the horns on Yamantaka's head closely resembles the horn configuration
of the North American Bison. Why is that the case? How
were Tibetans familiar with this shape of horns when the
horns of the Yak and the Water Buffalo most familiar to them were not used for Yamantaka's horns?

Hendon Harris said...

Did Hwui Shan and his group of four other Buddhist missionary monks make it to North America in 458 from
India via China? Mainstream scholars say not. However, there are clues here that indicate the presence of Pre-Columbian Buddhists. The Manji originated in India as did Buddhism. The Manji means Whirlwind in Sanskrit. Then how is it that the North American Hopi tribe in their own language call this identical pattern (the Manji or swastika) the very same thing-The Whirlwind. What a remarkable coincidence! But it doesn't stop there. How did the ancient Vedic wedding ceremony (The Seven Step Seven Vow Wedding Tradition) make it
halfway around the world from ancient India to where it
has been and still is practiced today by numerous Native American tribal cultures as their very own ancient tradition? Who could have brought these customs to
North America from India? Personally, I'm inclined to believe as a child of Christian missionaries myself that the zeal of Buddhist missionary monks anxious to share their faith was the most likely reason men from India came so far at such great personal risk. Religious belief
has caused ordinary people throughout history to perform extraordinarily.

Hendon Harris said...

Did Hwui Shan and his group of four other Buddhist missionary monks make it to North America in 458 from
India via China? Mainstream scholars say not. However, there are clues here that indicate the presence of Pre-Columbian Buddhists. The Manji originated in India as did Buddhism. The Manji means Whirlwind in Sanskrit. Then how is it that the North American Hopi tribe in their own language call this identical pattern (the Manji or swastika) the very same thing-The Whirlwind. What a remarkable coincidence! But it doesn't stop there. How did the ancient Vedic wedding ceremony (The Seven Step Seven Vow Wedding Tradition) make it
halfway around the world from ancient India to where it
has been and still is practiced today by numerous Native American tribal cultures as their very own ancient tradition? Who could have brought these customs to
North America from India? Personally, I'm inclined to believe as a child of Christian missionaries myself that the zeal of Buddhist missionary monks anxious to share their faith was the most likely reason men from India came so far at such great personal risk. Religious belief
has caused ordinary people throughout history to perform extraordinarily.

Hendon Harris said...

Did Hwui Shan and his group of four other Buddhist missionary monks make it to North America in 458 from
India via China? Mainstream scholars say not. However, there are clues here that indicate the presence of Pre-Columbian Buddhists. The Manji originated in India as did Buddhism. The Manji means Whirlwind in Sanskrit. Then how is it that the North American Hopi tribe in their own language call this identical pattern (the Manji or swastika) the very same thing-The Whirlwind. What a remarkable coincidence! But it doesn't stop there. How did the ancient Vedic wedding ceremony (The Seven Step Seven Vow Wedding Tradition) make it
halfway around the world from ancient India to where it
has been and still is practiced today by numerous Native American tribal cultures as their very own ancient tradition? Who could have brought these customs to
North America from India? Personally, I'm inclined to believe as a child of Christian missionaries myself that the zeal of Buddhist missionary monks anxious to share their faith was the most likely reason men from India came so far at such great personal risk. Religious belief
has caused ordinary people throughout history to perform extraordinarily.

Hendon Harris said...

Native America tribal headdress come in two basic styles. The one most familiar to us is the one comprised of one or more beautiful eagle feathers. However, the less common headdress is the one worn by the tribal Medicine Man. Its made up of Bison hide and several other items but its outstanding feature are the two Bison (Buffalo) horns on the top.
You know-almost exactly like the horns on the top of another powerful Buddhist religious symbol's head--Yamantaka. Coincidence? Mandalas, Mantras, Manjis, Medicine Men, Medicine Wheels, Medicine Shields, Monuments
carved in stone--Does anyone see a pattern here?

Hendon Harris said...

The number 108 is very significant in all Vedic based religions including Buddhism for several reasons which
you can discover for yourself by "googling" the question.

Then why is it that the ancient North American Anasazi culture built all their cultural centers (cities) north and south along the 108th Meridian West all the way south to the west coast of Mexico where evidence of this civilization disappeared? Was this highly advanced culture Buddhist and were these people the source of the numerous Vedic symbols and customs found all over the Pacific Southwest and elsewhere in North America? The Hopi and Navajo tribes were the people with the most contact with these ancient people. The breakup between the Anasazi and the Navajo/Hopi people does not appear to have been pleasant. The literal interpretation of the name Anasazi in the Navajo/Hopi languages means "enemy ancestor". And although there are numerous language similarities between the language spoken by Tibetan Buddhists and
the languages of the two tribes mentioned above the
similarities are in the contrasts because numerous words
which have the direct opposite meaning in the others language. Assuming this is correct then why would these Native American tribes go to such efforts to
modify their language to signal their separateness unless
there had been an unpleasant breakup of the relationship? If this is what happened in North America it
was not the only time it happened. By historical record we know that Buddhism once a major religion in Greece,
Pakistan, Afghanistan and in India has lost its one time influence in those places while gaining in other parts of Asia. But that was not always the case. Much remains to be learned of the power and influence of ancient Buddhism in places that are for the most part now unknown and undiscovered.

Hendon Harris said...

The Canadian Goose in flight is an impressive sight. Obviously I'm not the only one who thinks so. Google:
"Canadian Goose Bisti Badlands" Tucked away in a remote area of the Four Corners region south of Farmington is a fabulous collection
of highly unusual large rock forms/ carvings. There are numerous rocks that look incredibly like Chattras (Sanskrit for mushroom) which are one of The Eight Auspicious Symbols
of Buddhism-The Parasol. There is also at least one more example of a Phallic Symbol there that's identical to those found at Arches National Park Utah. You can access this remarkable image by googling:
"Ian Parker Hoodoos". Upon arriving at the site go the the 3rd
and 4th line of images. The pictures are titled "Hoodoo Pool" and "Hoodoo Reflections". The Phallus Symbol is in two colors to
emphasize what it is and its behind but framed by two rocks on either side.
I mention the phallus specifically because it along with the chattras provide a tie in to Vedic culture. However, there is so much possible art to see there its breathtaking! Check the Bisti Badlands out for yourself. You'll be glad you did!

Hendon Harris said...

Trees and wood have always been important in Buddhism back to its ancient beginnings. This is seen in the Tree of Life which was the center of all early Buddhist temples (stupas). If you have any questions about this google: "Importance of Trees and Wood in Buddhism". In the
rock carved chaitya halls the stone
ceilings

Hendon Harris said...

If you'd like to see possible evidence that the Buddhist Chattra (Parasol) was used in ancient
North America first google "Gandhara
Chattra" for a picture of the architectural style of chattras on a stupa. Then google "Mexican Hat Rock
Images" or look at the various mushroom rock images in the Bisti
Badlands. Google: "Were the Anasazi
People Buddhists?"

Hendon Harris said...

A distinctive construction technique
shows up on Anasazi rock carved caves in North America that also show up on Buddhist carved rock cut caves in ancient China half a world away. Google: "Were the Anasazi Buddhists?"
for the pictures in both places that
show this feature.

Hendon Harris said...

For more possible evidence of ancient Buddhist art and architecture in North America google "Bisti Badland
Images". For an image of a possible Dvaravati temple google: "Bent Hoodoo by Ned" and then compare that image to "Isan Home to Ancient Dvaravati Ruins" For more spectacular rock images see "Canadian Goose Bisti" Sleeping Lizard Bisti" and "Flying Turtle Bisti" I believe the Flying
Turtle was intended to be
an image of The Two Golden Fish when it was done by the original artists. There are numerous examples there of huge petrified wood longs featured on raised earthen berms. How could that be simply natural?

Hendon Harris said...

I realize that asking the question Were the Anasazi People Buddhist? might be considered provocative by some. However why are there so many clues that point in that direction?
Why do the fire pits found in the Anasazi ruins bear such a strong resemblance to the fire pits used in the Homa or Havan fire sacrifice ceremony to pray to and worship Agni the
god of fire. We know the "sacred fire" is not a foreign concept among Native Americans from ancient times even to today because they still use it and walk around it in their celebration
of the Vedic wedding ceremony--The Seven Step Seven Vow Wedding celebrated here in North America up to today. Since this is a Vedic custom is it a leap of reason to believe the
sacred fire is in fact Agni the same worshipped by Vajrayana Buddhists?
And how about the Native American Ghost Dance? In 1888 a Paiute elder and medicine man taught that if Native Americans were to successfully survive the overwhelming "white
man's culture" that they all needed to return to the religion of their forefathers. This return to Native American traditional fundamentalism was called the Ghost Dance because this
ceremony was a centerpiece to this revival of ancient practices. This practice spread quickly throughout all the tribal communities. It was a nonviolent teaching. However, the Lakota
Sioux put a slightly more aggressive slant to it. This may have been the reason that in just 2 years 153 Lakota Sioux men women and children were killed during a Ghost Dance at
Wounded Knee in 1890. This event effectively ended the Ghost Dance movement at that time although a few tribes still use it privately. Is it a coincidence that the Ghost Dance is
such a significant part of Vajrayana Buddhism that many claim has numerous ties to Pre Columbian America? Are these practices connected? Goggle: "Were the Anasazi People Buddhists".

Hendon Harris said...

The Dalai Lama has recently written a letter in the front of a book written on the topic of the great similarities between the Navajo tribe of North America and the people and culture of Tibet. This book is Navajo and Tibetan Sacred Wisdom: The Circle of the Spirit written by Peter Gold in 1997. Would it not be safe to assume that His Holiness either endorses this hypothesis or at the very minimum leans in this direction for him to allow his name to be used in this book? Read the book and decide for
yourself.

Hendon Harris said...

The chessboard grid originated in China as the Shi (Yi) board. The game of dominoes originated in 12th
Century China. Then why are these symbols showing up here in North America? Google: "Joseph Needham
Chessboard Grids" for several articles that will clearly show the chessboard grid here on this continent. For evidence of two or
possibly three domino patterns:
Google Maps or Bing Maps: "Diamond Lake Oregon". When you arrive at the lake scroll left (west) a short
distance and you will clearly see a
two (2) and a five (5) domino tiles
that have been created by deforestation just like the chessboard grids were also created.
How is that possible unless pre
Columbian Asians were here? What
other explanation is there?

Hendon Harris said...

While there are those of discussing whether or not there were pre Columbian contacts between the Hopi
tribe and Tibetan Buddhists I don't
believe there is that conversation going on in the Hopi or Tibetan communities. I believe that they have already taken a position on that issue. Google: "Hopi Prophecy" This article discusses the prophecies of both cultures and how they dovetail. A couple of sentences jumped out at me. "When the iron eagle flies and horses
run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered over the earth and the dharma will go to the land of the red man." Tibetan Prophecy
"When the iron bird flies, the red robed people of the East who have lost their land will appear, and
The Two Brothers from across the great ocean will be REUNITED".
To be reunited you have to have been together in the past. It sure
sounds to me like both cultures have acknowledged their prior ancient connection in that prophecy. What do you think?

Hendon Harris said...

The Chinese Imperial Journal (The Liang Shu) written in
499 AD based on the report of Buddhist monk Hwui Shan states that he left Gandhara, India in 458 AD to travel to Fu Sang to covert the indigenous population. He further reported that his mission was successful and that Buddhism changed the lives and customs of the people. To put this into perspective the highly advanced Gandhara Buddhist culture where Hwui Shan originated was located in what we know today as the Kabul Afghanistan area. Because of its geographic location Gandhara was on one of the overland Silk Roads linking China with Greece, Rome and the rest of the Middle East. Because of this Gandhara was the beneficiary of
the science, technology and particularly the art influences from these different cultures traveling through.
As the result Gandhara is especially known to this day
for its incredible art. Google: "Gandhara Art Images".
But Gandhara was the source of so much more such as
Buddhist theology and technology which is precisely why
they had so much to offer to a less advanced civilization
to help them in their conversion efforts. These tools included water retention, irrigation and flood control methods that were commonly known in India and China
at the time. Also included in their "gift" bag was the
then "state of art" medical and farming techniques which
they also shared to win favor with the people they were
working to convert. Their efforts were successful and evidence of some of the improvements they brought remain to this day in the Four Corners area of the Pacific
Southwest. Gandhara was famous for its incredible stupas (temples) with multiple chattras (parasols). Google: "Gandhara Stupa Chattra images" for examples.
A possible example of this is "Mexican Hat Rock Utah".
It's my belief that this formation on the banks of the San Juan River is likely such a stupa. The reason it's called
Mexican Hat Rock is because of the last Chattra that still
remains in its original position. The other original chattras have fallen but can be seen in an aerial photograph lying at the bottom of the hill.
One of the major attack points to discredit Hwui Shan's
report by main stream Eurocentric scholars is Hwui Shan's mention of The Land of Women who had snakes
as husbands. As a point of fact it's well known and established as fact that Native American tribal cultures in
the Four Corners area such as the Hopi and Navajo cultures Are Matriarchial Cultures! Women play an untypical role of authority in these cultures. Google "Hopi
Matriarchal Society" for references. As far as their husbands being snakes---Hopi men have a strong identification with snakes. This is best illustrated by their
bi-annual Snake Dance which is completely a male activity. Females have nothing to do with this activity.
Google: "Snake Dancers' Rock Images" for photos and
details on this event. The other parallels between their
culture and Buddhism are so numerous they can only be
denied by a refusal to discuss them at all. Fortunately
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
Aldous Huxley

Hendon Harris said...

According to Dr Stephen Lekson, Univ
of Colorado, western scholars of the
Pacific Southwest do not give theories
of the ancient Four Corners that include elements of migration or diffusion serious consideration. His
essay "Diffusions & Histories/ The
Southwest in the World" clearly points
out the hurdles faced by those who
wish to have such theories considered.

Hendon Harris said...

Torana is the Sanskrit name for the temple gateway arch used in Buddhism, Hinduism and the other religions of Vedic India. Arch formations such as Delicate Arch, Anasazi Arch, Rainbow Bridge and scores of others are found in the Four Corners area of the Pacific Southwest. The common wisdom is that these arches are simply natural caused by erosion. But really? It's been reported that since 1970 42 arches have crashed to the ground in Arches National Park. Doesn't that seem like a higher failure rate than one would expect from rocks that had their origin in prehistoric times? I believe that these arches, land
bridges and rock windows may have Vedic roots.
Rainbow Bridge (arch) is a sacred site to the Navajo and other regional Native American tribes. Because
of the creation of Lake Powell 300,000 tourists each
year now easily access a site at the bottom of Navajo
Mountain which until recently was in the middle of
the wilderness and thus only visited by the most motivated. What troubles the tribes the most is that
many of these tourists are walking under the arch on
ground that is sacred to them. This concept of the
ground under the arch being sacred seems to be a
belief common not only to Native Americans but also
to the devotees of all the religions that originated in
ancient India.

Hendon Harris said...

The Buddhist religious arch is known as a "Torana" from Sanskrit the language of ancient India. The Torana or "gateway arch" plays a significant role in all the Vedic religions of India including Buddhism. I suspect that in the
early days of Buddhism when Buddhism and Hinduism were in closer cultural alignment that the Torana played a more significant role that it does today.
Much has been written recently about the apparent connections between the religious beliefs of
the Native Americans and Buddhism.
The arch or Torana seems to be yet another connection. Scores of
arches like Delicate Arch, Anasazi Arch, Corona Arch and Rainbow Bridge cover the Four Corners landscape. Common wisdom is that
these are the result of random erosion. But are they? In Arches
Natl Park Utah 43 of these arches
from a total of approximately 2300 have crashed to the ground since
1970. That seems like a much higher failure rate than one would
expect from rocks that are hundreds of thousands of years old
or older. And how about the fact
that Rainbow Bridge is a sacred
place for the Navajo, Hopi and several other tribes. Google:
"Rainbow Bridge Hendon Harris".
The ground UNDERNEATH Rainbow Bridge is so sacred to the Navajo
that they recently unsuccessfully
sued the U.S. government to prevent the 300,000 tourists coming there as the result of the creation of Lake Powell from walking under the arch. That belief ties directly back to Vedic beliefs of the purpose and sacred function of the Torana.

Hendon Harris said...

Sacred ceremonial masks are common
not only in Buddhism but also in
the Navajo, Hopi, Apache and other
Native American tribal cultures of
the North American Four Corners region. Previously I have written on the numerous similarities between the religious beliefs of the people living in these areas separated by the Pacific Ocean. Masks are another such connection. Google: "Buddhist Symbols, Customs and Monuments in North America" for more information.

Hendon Harris said...

Google: "Hamsa Vedic Swan Goose" for images and information on the flying vehicle of Vedic goddess
Saraswathi. Then google: "The Flying Canadian Goose
Bisti Badlands" for what I believe is a huge rock carved
tribute to Hamsa in New Mexico done hundreds of years
ago by Vajrayana Vedic artists.

Hendon Harris said...

There is increasing evidence of Vajrayana Buddhism in N America. For more information on this topic google: "Hendon Harris Disqus", "Rainbow Bridge Hendon Harris" and "Pre Columbian Buddhism in N America". Evidence carved into rock lasts a long long time. Fortunately for us rock carving and working with rock wherever they traveled was a prime passion of ancient Vajrayana Buddhist devotees. Google: "Mushroom Rock State Park Kansas" for just one ancient location in N America of Buddhist Chattras (Mushroom Rocks). Balancing Rock has also had a long history in Buddhism. Today its now called "rock stacking" and it's done today in Asia by modern Buddhists. Some things change but prime practices of religions like working with rock in Buddhism go from it's inception in India to the present day. Google: "The Most Incredible Balanced Rocks in the World" for images of what I believe were in their ancient past platforms or foundations for Buddhist pagodas. For examples of these pagodas today on balanced rocks google "Golden Pagoda Myanmar" and "Wat Phra That Hin Kio Doi Din Ki".