Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shower of Blessings: 41st Anniversary in the United States

In a world where some people think twenty or twenty-five years is a "long time," I thought it might be interesting to take notice of an anniversary that will visit us on Saturday, April 24th this year, and I want to personally invite you to help commemorate that anniversary.

It doesn't look like much, I know, but please be assured that it means everything to me. This is the first copy of the first edition of the first English language translation of Shower of Blessings, prepared for use at the first performance of the liturgy in United States history, the 10th day of the 3rd month, 1969. As you see, this was done on one of those old, purple ink mimeograph machines, in a basement at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tarthang Rinpoche did not like the purple ink, so here is the hastily produced second edition, and this one had "production values," as you see (the crossed dorje, and some line illustrations inside). It had a red, Accopress binder, which was considered a luxury. As with most things from the era, the translation was by John Reynolds, the money was handled by Joel Shefflin, and the actual work was done by some guy who I forget.

According to the Western calendar, the date was April 27, 1969, and  while nobody really knew what to expect, there was still great excitement. This was to be the very first Nyingma puja in the West, and Tarthang Rinpoche would teach everyone exactly what to do! Only twenty-five people attended, but from that modest foundation an uninterrupted tradition began that has remained -- and will remain, unbroken -- to the present time.

This month's "Guru Rinpoche Day" marks the 41st anniversary of that first observance, so I hope everyone who reads this post will join in, at 6:00 p.m., wherever you are, to perform the Shower of Blessings, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Forty or forty-one years isn't a very long time either,  for something that has lasted -- and will last -- through centuries. Still, I thought it might be useful to take notice of the continuity that runs deep and pure beneath the clear and authentic Nyingma lineage in the West.

May it be auspicious!

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8 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to tell us when Tarthang Tulku first came to the USA?

Editor said...
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Old Berkeley said...

I have a suspicion about "some guy" you forget.

What you have done to help establish the Nyingma lineage in America will never be forgotten.

Bless you, Tenpa Rinpoche. You are like a seed that never stops growing.

Anonymous said...

I was (re)born four days after that first American Nyingma puja, in a place where there was no Dharma. I left that country for another where I found it. Now I found you, my dear Rinpoche, in this virtual world - virtual like the "real" one. "In a blink of the eye that required more than 40 years." I am writing this with my eyes still wet after reading Stupa, long (and so beautiful) story.
But it’s not fair... I gave you a link to the rabbits and you give me every day a link to the liberation. I can never thank you enough for all your kindness. Tonight I will join you in prayer.

Editor said...

There is no place without dharma.

politikalyogi said...

Gomchen Cho Drak says..

Was it printed by Rick or Merrill P.?

Where are you in the Mohave because I am driving through to Taos, N.M. and I would like to see you.


Editor said...
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Nickie Scott said...

Interesting this is. I was sitting in a jail cell somewhere in northern California close by getting ready to spend a period of time for selling drugs. After getting out of jail a few years after getting out I came to see Rinpoche at Padma LIng and ended up at Odiyan for seven years at the beginning. Always felt that Rinpoches net of mercy saved me from endless rounds of prison life and endless pain and suffering. Now every morning I practice Shower of Blessings from a translation that Bhakka Tulku had done. The wheel of Rinpoches blessings continue to unfold in magical ways. Thanks for this post.