Friday, March 30, 2012

Tenga Tulku, 1932 - 2012

Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche has entered thugdam, this photographic evidence of which is intended to bring benefit to all sentient beings. Official time of death is given as 3:24 a.m. Nepali time, 30 March 2012. So great is Rinpoche's realization that practices performed in the presence of even this image will bring supreme benefit during this special period.

A full account of Rinpoche's passing is given at the Benchen Monastery site.

A Brief Supplication for the Swift Rebirth
of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche


Surpreme emanation Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche,
even though you have merged your intention into one with dharmadathu,
for the sake of the doctrine and beings, in general and in particular,
may the moon-like face of your emanation rise again soon!

Composed by Sangye Nyenpa

This supplication was composed by H.E. Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche in the early hours of 30th March 2012, in the presence of the precious remains of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche. Immediatedly translated by Sherab Drime (Thomas Roth).

 Sky over Rinpoche, a few hours ago.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kunzang Dechen Lingpa's Anniversary

In the formless basic space of phenomena, the wisdom mind of the Ever Excellent;
In the infinite form kayas and pure lands of Great Bliss,
And in the arrayed Dakini continent of Oddiyana;
You who play in everlasting delight, Lord, please nurture us.
You, incomparable Kunzang Dechen Lingpa,
In order to tame sentient beings who cling to phenomena as permanent,
Displayed the dissolution of the composition of your form body.
We children disciples are tormented by this suffering.
Therefore, to dispel our devoted lamentations,
We request, from the vast space of wisdom compassion,
Please transform swiftly the display of your emanation,
And fulfill completely the wishes of sentient beings, we pray!

As requested from Assam by the students of the Holy Lama which was conveyed by Lama Sonam Tobgyal through a letter with a silk scarf, on the auspicious fifteenth day of the Second Lunar Month, I, Thrinley Norbu, immediately offered this prayer. May the purpose of this prayer be fulfilled exactly as it is wished!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Come, Not Gone

Generally speaking, the "ides" of March refers to the middle of the month. The notion that one should beware the middle of March comes to us from Julius Caesar's assassination, in 44 B.C. -- the subject of a prophecy that Caesar should stay home.

Doubting prophecy, Caesar made haste to the theatre. On his way, he encountered his oracle and taunted, "The ides of March has come." The oracle replied that although it had come, it had not gone. Nevertheless, Caesar continued to the theatre, where he was stabbed twenty-three times.

Tibetan oracles, astrologers, and seers all over the world are noting a forthcoming natural disaster of considerable proportion. Many believe the event will take place in March -- from an astrological perspective, the period 27 through 30 March being likely -- with geological upset being the agent. 

So, this means a major earthquake, or volcanic eruption. 

Whether this could result in another tsunami or not is in some question. Links to old Tibetan prophecy indicate a fire-water-earth nexus. Heretofore, this has been reckoned as uncertain, but numerous other  interpretations are certainly possible.

Just a few days ago, the State Oracle of Tibet predicted a substantial, natural calamity to take place this coming summer, in northwestern India.

Lama Dawa has also predicted calamity -- a major earthquake, or possible landslide -- and has gone to the extent of circulating a special "earthquake practice" to his students, based on the seventh section of the Sampa Lhundrub. We take the liberty of reprinting this herewith:

from the southwest visualize Nyima Odser surrounded by dakinis of the four elements

This visualization is specific for earthquakes. Visualize that I am yellow Guru Rinpoche with both hands making the ‘earth touching’ mudra. I am sitting cross-legged. My legs cover the whole area which is in danger. From my body a yellow light spreads and travels to the King earth spirit, Topochey (lord of gravity) and the twelve tenma goddesses. The light also travels to the earth lords Sadzin Lhakpa and Wangchen (he-who-holds-the-earth) and his ministers Sri Badra. Once the yellow light reaches them, they are compelled into action and work to stabilize the elements, particularly the element of earth and water. Your visualization should extend to cover the entire area that is being affected and should be infused with the non-partial view that you are protecting all areas and all beings.
Maintain this visualization while reciting the prayer and mantra at least twenty-one times.

When our borrowed illusory bodies are endangered by fearful obstacles posed by the elements of earth, water, fire and wind,

if you are supplicated with a mind free of doubt, you, Orgyen, will appear with the goddesses of the four elements.

There is no doubt that the elements will be pacified in their own place. I supplicate Padamasambhava of Odiyana.

Grant your blessings that my wishes be spontaneously accomplished.


At the end, dissolve the visualization into the surrounding environment.

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"Eating, sleeping and moving about
Are common to all animals,
But the honoring of whores,
Delight in the life, wealth and feasts of others,
The distractions caused by the clamor of war and plunder,
And risking one's life by ocean travel --
These are merely what distinguish
The higher forms of existence.
Please know this!"
                                                                                --Jigme Lingpa,
              lHo-phyogs rgya-gar-gyi gtam brtag-pa brgyad-kyi me-long,
People say we are followed here by karma. Other people say it isn't so; we are merely adorning this-way, that-way propensity. There being no universal agreement, maybe it isn't  completely inaccurate to think we all have a chance at unencumbered chancefulness. 

Yet again, maybe it just is what it is, without a whole lot of art and angst.

You cannot solve, by self-conscious means, a problem that requires no solution. To employ such means merely exacerbates the illusion of a problem. 

Nevertheless, we try. 

I know we try.  

We think about spiritual stuff. We think about religion. We take up reading commentaries on commentaries. We frequent the company of magicians. We begin dressing differently, behaving strangely, and cleaving to diverse, odd propositions. We believe in an ocean, so we get in a boat.

Whatever we think is happening, is not happening. The notice of "happening" is, in fact, the crux of the problem that requires no solution. The very idea that you can sit around and discover or record something or anything is a thoroughly mistaken approach. Similarly, intellectual recourse to labeling or dismissing everything as emptiness is also a mistake.

The greatest single obstacle to meditation, is meditation. Meditation clutters up clarity. It is like cops and robbers. There are "good" thoughts; there are "bad" thoughts. There is the mind that wanders away from Meditation Jail, the mind that is dragged back to Meditation Jail. There are even lawyers who can plead the case, and come up with an excuse for anything.

Try as you might, you cannot wish yourself out of that prison.  The thing is, you are already out of  prison, but unwilling or unable to let the imaginary walls dissolve naturally of themselves. Your imagination may be quite rich. Your fortitude may be remarkable. But, no matter what you do, you are analyzing. You are engineering. 

You are trying to escape.

Better you should sit and shine. This is not shine like "shine your shoes." This is shine like luminosity. Who or what can imprison luminosity? 

Really, in such circumstance, escape is unnecessary. You could even say escape is impossible. How do you escape from space?

Shine, and stop wasting your time.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

A Footprint You Can Hear

Question. How do you get a very large, very heavy, very special bronze bell to this remote, sacred mountain?

Answer. If the mountain is Sri Pada, in Sri Lanka -- sacred for the footprint of Buddha -- and if you are Kyabje Tarthang Tulku's daughter, you call out the Air Force!

It took a special mission of some twenty officers, and the military helicopter you see in the photo, to airlift the bell, together with some three tons of contruction materials.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the officers, all of whom clamored to volunteer for the mission.

With extensive pre-planning, and through her own determined leadership, Rinpoche's daughter, Wangmo, was able to see the project through for her father, and all sentient beings. 

Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International is but one of the several vehicles Kyabje Tarthang Tulku -- the living manifestation of Guru Rinpoche himself -- employs to perform inconceivable acts of generosity throughout the world. This is done without regard to sectarian bias or prejudice of any kind. 

Like all of Rinpoche's projects, the scope is vast and the impact is immediate. You are strongly encouraged to click the link, above, and find out how you can participate in historic events like this one.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This Is Kalu Rinpoche: Work With It

One suspects it is a bit like having a famous father who has now passed away. People keep coming up, saying, "I knew your Dad. What a swell guy he was! Make him proud, O.K?"

You can agree in principle, and you can agree in sentiment, but Dad was Dad, and you are you. Dad is dead, and you are living.

It is something Kalu Rinpoche lives with every day, as people keep trying to stuff him into the mold created by their perception of his predecessor. I have even heard lamas of mutual acquaintance say things like, "Yes, well, I was a little disappointed when I met him. I was expecting an old man."

Too bad. 

Kalu Rinpoche is not a kindly, wise, old man, the icon of a past generation:

Kalu Rinpoche is a kindly, honest, and courageous young man, on his way to becoming the icon of his own generation:

Not long ago, Kalu Rinpoche took the unprecedented step of publishing a statement on YouTube, where he tearfully confessed issues in his life that were seemingly presenting themselves as obstacles. The issues ranged from drug and alcohol experimentation -- at a level that would bore most American high school students -- to the confusion of adolescent sexual exploitation, and a highly charged allegation that one of his tutors tried to murder him.

Speaking plainly, it took nerve, it took guts, and it took a mighty heart to clean out the blackmail pipeline before polecats could reach the tap. I don't have anything to say about what he did or didn't do, but I might have plenty to say about older individuals -- some charged with his welfare -- who put a sheltered, innocent, kind-natured boy in compromising situations, just so they could have a weapon to use against him later.
[Full Disclosure: I've never met the younger Kalu Rinpoche. Field Note: I dislike to commit the same sin I have just decried, but I was quite friendly with his predecessor. At times, I was directly responsible for his physical security, and well-being. We traveled together, and did events together. We spent time in one another's company, and came to enjoy that time. When I see his young successor -- the son of a man and woman I also knew and liked -- treated so downright wrongly, it causes me to think of politics.]
Kalu Rinpoche is also thinking about politics. Since his widely publicized statement on YouTube, he has been occupied with trying to sort out issues relating to transition at Sonada. He has a heavily entrenched mob to face, well dug in; grown fat by virtue of positions engineered between the death of the former Kalu Rinpoche and the maturity of the present Kalu Rinpoche.

On his Facebook pages --- here and here -- he often muses about the situation, sometimes bewails the situation, and occasionally throws his hands up at the situation. You can see the same statements on his blog, as well. I do not see anything out of character in these statements. His predecessor was also disillusioned with samsara at an early age, cultivated renunciation mind, and wound up spending a considerable number of years in retreat.

Recently, his statements have become overt requests for assistance. This past Monday, he remarked:
"I need your help and your love because I am working on Sonada things... ."
From 1962 on, Sonada was built with generous overseas assistance from (primarily) the United States, France, and Taiwan. As an institutional matter, those who built the place are the biggest stakeholders. That Kalu Rinpoche's seat at Sonada belongs to Kalu Rinpoche -- not to some ad hoc committee,  expedient custom, or popular acclaim -- is, I think, without question. Failure to vouchsafe that circumstance, and follow the rules he chooses to make, insults not only Kalu Rinpoche, but insults the legion of stakeholders all over the world.

Here is what has people chafing. You can click these images for the larger versions:

This seems a commonsense approach to command and control of a multinational organization. Since Kalu Rinpoche has proposed these rules, and since he is having some apparent difficulty enforcing these rules, it behooves those of us with some connection to the affair to answer his call for "help and love."

Even if you have no connection, Kalu Rinpoche is still a gifted teacher for this age. I urge you to follow this situation and receive the benefit of his sublime character.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Only Ourselves to Blame

A year has passed since the terrible events in Japan. Does that seem like a long time? Consider the above. Consider the impact. This was not caused by natural catastrophe. This was caused by human ignorance.

Pray to Guru Rinpoche for relief of this insult to life. Or, even better, realize that this, too, is a Lama, and learn from it without prejudice.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guided Meditation (Above) Bhutan

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ancient Fires

"[W]hen Buddha nature is covered by the nest of the passions, It is called sentient beings. When Buddha nature is separated from the passions, It is called Buddha."                                                                             --Nagarjuna

Men, women, and children are burning themselves alive in Tibet. They are protesting Chinese suzerainty. Their tormented acts of martyrdom are the strangled symptom of a dying culture. These Tibetans feel -- rightfully or wrongfully we dare not judge -- that the only voice left to them is the scream of flame.

The sound has carried. Over many mountains and rivers, it has reached us.

Smoke, ash, and anguished cries are common among all battlefields, old and new. These are among the tocsin's peals of warfare. These are the heralds of hegemony. In a world of equality, all hegemony is unjust; leaving misery as its sign, and deep, deep karmic consequence as its cost.

I speak with sympathy today of the ancient fire that burns in the hearts of the oppressed. I do not know if my words will ever reach those in Tibet who even now contemplate self-immolation. Yet, although I am uncertain of my words, I am very certain of my prayers.

I pray that you preserve Tibetan culture by preserving your own life. From the point of view of your oppressors, one less Tibetan is one less problem. Why help brutish beings by hastening your own extinction? Don't you realize that your death is a joy to your enemies and a horror to your friends?

Your life -- your vibrant, lofty embrace of being Tibetan at this very place and time, with whatever joy and misery that entails -- is the greatest single obstacle to China's genocidal plan. Can you understand this? Can you let your life be your offering in a way that does not diminish the dwindling number of Tibetan people remaining in this world?

Demons abound in the time of demons. Men endure as men can. The swirl of human smoke now rising from Tibet may please demons, but it will not appease demons. Please, do not become the servant of this fire. Your death can never satiate fire's appetite for ruin. Your death only spreads the suffering -- enlarges the suffering -- until it cannot be contained by this world.

Your life may speak in whispers, but whispered truth meets with agreement everywhere. After all, truth is truth. By bearing witness to truth, you can bring unjust men to their knees. Truth, like an arrow, flies straight to the center, and demands no elaboration.

An arrow's whisper extinguishes the ancient flame.

I pray you come to know the manner of this arrow's effortless release.
"Beyond the beliefs of any religion, there is the truth of the human spirit. Beyond the power of nations, there is the power of the human heart." -- Kyabje Tarthang Tulku

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let's Talk About Rabbits

This is March, isn't it? Rabbits are galloping and frolicking about, happy as you please --- ever hear of the March hare? --- but, come April, many of them fall to forlorn circumstances.

Easter comes in April, and numerous idiots think it would be cute to buy an "Easter Bunny" from an unscrupulous pet store, or vile, underground trafficker in rabbit flesh. Either way the rabbits are exploited and made miserable by the residual, sub-conscious effect of absurd, anthropomorphic stereotyping.

Take the confusion over Jessica Rabbit as an example. Let me make it plain that Jessica is not a rabbit -- and I should know. She married Roger Rabbit, so she is cross-species-friendly to lagomorphs, but that is as far as it goes. Girl has an open mind, and an enlightened attitude. While we're on the subject, there is absolutely no truth to the ugly rumors some people spread. So I knew her, but that was way before she met Roger. I still like her as a friend, but when it was over, it was over. I have absolutely no reason to wish Roger any legal problems, or anything like that.


What were we talking about? Oh, yes... anthropomorphic...

Rabbits don't just sit around in some little jail, waiting for you to pick them up and fondle them for a second. Rabbits are highly intelligent, social beings, who require contact and room to roam. To properly pet a solitary rabbit (a rabbit who lives alone with humans) takes an hour or more, once or even twice daily. They need at minimum two hours of exploration time every day, to interact with the "places from where noises come," i.e. all the places they can't see when they are locked up. This requires "rabbit proofing" the entire house, because they will go right to electric wires and other dangers. Although they can be potty trained, you have to be patient with them. You have to watch their food and water very carefully, and attend to their considerable dental requirements.

Yes, caring for rabbits is a long term commitment -- a big responsibility -- and this definitely precludes some momentary desire for the novelty of an "Easter Bunny," that quickly wears off when you wake up to actual rabbit logistics.

Fortunately, there is a reputable organization available to answer any questions you may have about rabbit care, and this is precisely the time of year when they need your support. They operate internationally, and have earned the respect of anyone who has ever dealt with them. I am talking about the House Rabbit Society : the most relentlessly dedicated group of rabbit rights activists you are likely to find anywhere.

Please... I am really asking you... make a difference in some bunny's life, and support the work of the House Rabbit Society in this critical rabbit season.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Chotrul Duchen 2012

Chotrul Duchen, the Display of Miracles -- one of Tibetan Buddhism's famous "ten million days"-- falls on Thursday, March 8th this year. Of course, this also coincides with the Anniversary of Marpa Lotsawa, and the birthday of Garab Dorje. We thought to favor Garab Dorje this year, with the splendid picture above.

So, on this highly auspicious day the effects of positive (or negative!) actions are multiplied ten million times. If, for example, you say one mantra, it is as if you said it ten million times. A great opportunity for merit-making.

One of the best things you can do is click this link, and sponsor prayers at the annual Nyingma Trust Walk. This is conducted at the seat of the Nyingma School in the United States -- the Odiyan temple complex in California -- and is an extremely potent way to observe this year's holiday.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche New Head of Nyingma

Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche has accepted a request to serve as Supreme Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Rinpoche is the throne-holder of the Dorje Drak Monastery, and the head of the lineage of the Northern Treasures, the tradition which originated from the treasures of the great tertön Rigdzin Godem. Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche is renowned as a holder of all the great Kama and Terma traditions of the Nyingmapa, as well as being a great exponent of the Rime, or non-sectarian, tradition.

Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche was born in central Tibet in the Western year 1926. Recognised as an incarnation of the great master Ngok Chöku Dorje, he began his studies at the age of five in the monastery of Taklung Tse. At the age of eight, he was invited to become the throne-holder of Dorje Drak. There, he underwent rigorous training, becoming proficient in all rituals and arts, and receiving the complete teachings and empowerments of the Northern Treasures. At the age of twenty, Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche received the complete empowerments and transmissions of the Rinchen Terdzöd, as well as other transmissions, from the previous Kyabje Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche.

After the invasion of Tibet in 1959, Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche was forced to leave Tibet. In exile, he has continued to seek out and receive teachings and transmissions from numerous masters, including HH the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and others.

Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche now resides in the town of Shimla in India, where he has established a new Dorje Drak monastery in exile, and leads the community there.

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Dodrupchen Rinpoche Declines Supreme Head Post

Following conclusion of the annual Nyingma Monlam, representatives from six major lineages of the Nyingma School, seen here, traveled to Sikkim to meet with the great source of refuge, Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche.

The purpose of their journey was to request Rinpoche to serve as Supreme Head of the Nyingma School.

Dodrupchen Rinpoche firmly declined their request, citing health issues and advanced age. Rinpoche also counseled the representatives to always maintain harmony and unity among Nyingmapa, calling this "essential" to preservation of the Dharma.

As the meeting ended, Rinpoche presented the representatives with gifts of rupas to take back to their respective monasteries.

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Death at Byalakuppe

"With the end of the 49 days, my responsibility ended."
                         --Lobsang Chophel, after the death of H.H. Penor Rinpoche

Demonstrating the reality of cause and effect, reports are now circulating that "Lama Lobsang" Chophel,  embattled compradore of the late Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, and behind-the-scenes architect of the controversial, failed recognitions of Hollywood personality Steven Seagal and Brooklyn hairdresser Alyce Zeoli, has been struck dead at Byalakuppe, Karnataka State, India. 

Exact cause and circumstances of death are unknown at this time.

Long the focus of political turmoil within the Palyul lineage of the Nyingma School, Chophel became the subject of bitter denunciations following Penor Rinpoche's death in March 2009. Senior tulkus and khenpos accused Chophel of usurping authority, and uttering forgeries in Penor Rinpoche's name, leading to a struggle over foreign assets in Great Britain and the United States.

We extend condolences to his family and dedicate prayers to his relief.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Today at Paro

On this, the auspicious tenth day, the purjang begins at 9:00 a.m., local time. In the background, you can see some of the estimated 15,000 people in attendance.

Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, 1931 - 2011

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Friday, March 02, 2012

Ninth Khalkha Passes at Ulaanbaatar

His Eminence the Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Dorjee Chang Jampel Namdrol Choekyi Gyaltsen, the spiritual head of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and the spiritual head of Mongolia, passed away on March 1, 2012 at 5.58am (IST) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He was 80.

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