It is six months since my last Newsletter and in those months I have been travelling a great deal and have been very busy so now I would like to share my news with you.
GEDEN PHACHO BUCHO PROJECT
I travelled to India in September 2013 and while in Dharamsala, I visited Kyabje Denma Lochoe Rinpoche and reminded him about a teaching that he had agreed to give and he said that he was willing to give this in South India. Therefore, I prepared thangkas and mandalas and so on in a very short time for this occasion and, according to plan, he gave this teaching in Drepung Loseling Monastery. This is a very important and secret teaching and traditionally can only be given to five students at a time, and only five times in one’s lifetime. I am therefore so glad that this teaching has been passed on and is now safe, and Professor Samdhong Rinpoche is also very relieved about this matter.
While I was talking to Kyabje Denma Lochoe Rinpoche, I happened to ask him if he had the oral transmission of the biography of Ja Drinnyon Dawa and he replied that he did indeed have this transmission. I couldn’t believe my ears and had to ask him to repeat his answer because I have been asking many other lamas if they had this teaching, without success, and now I had finally found it. This was wonderful news and I asked if I could be included when he gave the teaching as I very much wanted to receive it. All of the other teachings that we have requested are for their preservation in general but this particular one holds great interest for me personally. Therefore, after His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Lam Rim teaching in early January, I went to Mundgod again and Rinpoche gave this oral transmission to ten of us.
I mentioned in the last newsletter our request to H.H. Ganden Tri Rinpoche for teachings on the Heruka deity, one of the three major deities of the Gelugpa tradition. During my visit to him he said that he would be focusing on compiling Lam Rim teachings by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche at this time. I will therefore wait for the Heruka teaching to begin at a later date.
I also mentioned the kun mkhyen Jamyang Shepa(jam dhyangsbzhad pa 1648-1721, principal textbook writer for Gomang College of Drepung Monastery). These oral transmissions were also passed on in July 2013 at Gomang College over 20 days to about three hundred students. There is just one volume of this which remains to be given and I hope this will be passed on in July this year, 2014, along with the Damcha Bebum teachings. By that time we hope we will have completely collated the four different sets.
While His Holiness’s teachings were going on in Sera Monastery, South India, the Gelug International Foundation organized a conference for the lamas and tulkus at Sera Monastery Prayer Hall on 2nd January . There were about eighty tulkus at the Conference and they were discussing the creation of an International Gelugpa Tulku Association which would mainly aim to preserve teachings, empowerments and oral transmissions. The organisers requested Professor Samdhong Rinpoche to speak and, in his speech, he mentioned the Geden Phacho Bhucho Preservation Centre and also the Loseling Tulku Association. He said that they had done a good job in preserving precious teachings, particularly the GPBPC who had worked thoroughly and continuously on preserving Gelugpa teachings and had made such a difference. He said,” Now, if we are going to set up this International Gelugpa Tulku Association, I would suggest that the aims are the same as the GPBPC and it would be good if this organization would work closely with the GPBPC.” Similarly, Kyabje Jangtse Choeje mentioned the work of the GPBPC.
Hearing what the two Masters had to say moved me to speak and confirm that once the IGTA started, they would be most welcome to work with the GPBPC and that I would be more than happy to cooperate to preserve the Dharma. I am greatly inspired by those Masters’ appreciation of our work.
While I was in India I visited Kyabje Tri Rinpoche and Ven. Togden Rinpoche, the ex Abbot of Loseling Monastery, and they both told me to discuss with the current Loseling Abbot a request to Denma Lochoe Rinpoche to give teachings on the Middle Path text by Lama Tsongkapa. Therefore, I did so and the result is that Kyabje Denma Lochoe Rinpoche will start to give these teachings in February 2014. Although I have been organizing these Middle Path teachings, Rinpoche very kindly told me it was not necessary to take responsibility for the their expense.
LELUNG LITERATURE PRESERVATION CENTRE
I am very pleased with the progress of the 5th Lelung volumes this year. For two long months I sat and proof read along with two other monks and managed to finish five volumes. I was fortunate that Geshe Beri Jingme Wangyal was able to join me in Dharamsala to help with the proof reading as he is so good at this. Then I went to Delhi for the printing. One of the volumes, Volume 14, is the previously mentioned Jewel Ornament of the Three Realms and a Miraculous Chariot: a Catalogue of Blocks of All the Buddha’s Teachings Translated into Tibetan (the Narthang Kagyur) and this is incredibly important and will be very useful for Tibetan Buddhist students worldwide. Therefore I ordered 1000 of these instead of the usual 500 copies. To produce this volume we were comparing two different wood block prints, the Narthang block and the Lelung block, so this has become a very special edition.
The names of the sponsors of these volumes are mentioned on the last page of the book and I greatly appreciate their support and will continue to pray for their health and happiness.
This year it would be wonderful if we could publish even more volumes and, if possible, the complete set of the Khandro Sangwe Yeshe teachings which could be condensed into twelve volumes.
If it were possible to get some good sponsorship from Europe or the U.S. at this time while the exchange rate is so good, it could increase our output of volumes considerably.
In July 2013 I attended the 13th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and it seems that this particular one had the highest attendance to date. I gave a presentation about the Geden Phacho Bhucho Preservation Centre and it’s work, after which many people told me that they thought it was a wonderful project. I met many fascinating people there and exchanged thoughts with many of them.
During the conference the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Centre staff and the Ganden Monastery librarian and myself had discussions about how we will proceed with creating the index for teachings and scanning the texts. It seems this project will require a lot of patience to get off the ground.
After the seminar I travelled to Shambala with H.H. Kyabje Takling Tsetrul Rinpoche and my old friend, Ven. Niechung Kuten. I received some teachings from Kyabje Rinpoche and I used this chance to ask him about various dharma matters, history etc. It was a wonderful trip for me, spending time with such a holy man.
The rest of my time in Ulaanbaatar was spent in hours of research and having meetings. Also, in reading many books that cannot be taken out of Mongolia, so must be read there. All in all, a very useful trip.
KHANDRO SANGWA YESHE TEACHINGS AT MINDROLLING MONASTERY
On arrival in India, at the beginning of September, I travelled straight to Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun to give the Cycle of Khandro Sangwa Yeshe oral transmissions and the monastery very kindly offered us the use of the Great Stupa called Descent of the Buddha from the Gods. The Shrine was on the first floor and a very beautiful setting for the oral transmission.
The students began to arrive over the 8th, 9thand 10th September and by the 11th we were ready to start the oral transmission. We gathered there every day for the next three weeks, except for Sundays. Sixteen volumes of the Cycle of Khandro Sangwa Yeshe teachings and also the 5th Lelung’s autobiography were read so, in total, we finished seventeen volumes by the end of September without any major problems. I did become unwell during this time as the weather was extremely hot and I had to visit the hospital but fortunately we were still able to complete the work.
There were a few auspicious signs at that time which we all agreed were very nice but I won’t say too much in case you think I am a superstitious man!
Around twenty five students received these teachings, half of whom were from the Lelung region in Tibet who have been studying in Mundgod, South India and the rest were Mongolian monks and practitioners. When we had finished, Mindrolling Monastery invited us all to a wonderful feast with many delicious dishes.
The teachings were sponsored by the Niechun Ding. However, there were some extra expenses which were covered by funds raised by the Lelung Dharma Centre Therapy Day.
After the teaching I informed His Holiness the Dalai Lama about it and he was very happy that it had been done. I am now waiting for a gap in his busy schedule when I can receive the Sangwa Yeshe empowerment from him.
THE LELUNG DHARMA CENTRE
The Lelung Dharma Centre is still going strong and becoming more established as the years go on. The team of volunteers are hard working and good humoured which creates a happy atmosphere at the Centre and in the shop.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a big Thank You again to the volunteers, the therapists who work so hard at Therapy Days, students at the Centre, customers, generous supporters and friends without whom we would not have made such great progress. These people are always in my prayers and their input very much appreciated.
I mentioned in the last newsletter our hope of buying a Centre rather than renting and this is still our aim. It seems the most logical step and a sound investment for the future. Perhaps in the next Newsletter I will have more news on this.
I think that is all for now so once again, thank you for taking the time to read this Newsletter and for your kind support.