Today is the last day I went to Chulalongkorn University as a full-time lecturer. It’s the 14 years of happy memories, accomplishments, stresses, tears, and friendships. The office that was decorated with thangkas and served as a little Tibet enclave is now an empty room reminding us of change that occurs as a common fact. From tomorrow I will begin my life anew on the path less trodden. But on this path it’s a comfort to know that I’m not traveling alone. Day in, day out friends come from every direction, both far and near.
Anyone who is interested in staying in a White Tara retreat on November 4 at Khadiravana, please contact Khun Areerat (firstname.lastname@example.org). Vegetarian meals will be provided.
We suggest that you travel by a public van from the Victory Moment at 5 am. Khun Prachum will meet you at the van station in Hua-Hin at 8 am. Alternatively, you can come and spend a night with us on November 3. In that case, please leave Bangkok at 1 pm for a pick up at 4 pm. We will gather first at Areerat’s Rai Rak Dharma-chart.
Khadiravana at this time will be cool at night. Please bring a jacket and/or a sweater. If you drive your own car, kindly bring extra blankets and pillows.
It seems we’ll have an international group – Thais, Tibetans, Americans, Hungarians and Vietnamese. This will be the first prayer and meditation in the new Mantra Stupa. The Mantra Stupa is facing the site where the Tara Great Stupa will be built. I will prepare copies of prayer book in English for all of us.
Rick sent me these pictures of the stupa site. We are preparing the land for the consecration ceremony on Thursday January 10, 2008. Lhasray Rinpoche, his son (Tulku of Sang-ngag Lingpa Rinpoche) and his daughter will arrive in Bangkok on January 6. Rinpoche will bless the site and the construction work. Everyone is welcome to join this special and auspicious ceremony.
I’m grateful to Khamnuanwit Woraphu for helping with the stupa foundation plans.
I also would like to thank Sanan of the Forestry Department for giving us 4,000 Khadira plants. 6,000 more will be transported to Khadiravana soon. These Khadiras will be watered with loving kindness and fertilized with great compassion.
It’s hard to believe that after a year and a half Khadiravana has progressed this far. We now have Rick as a volunteer local manager who will help us take care of the trees, the plants, the land, the water and in the future the animals. Thanks, Rick for adopting Khadiravana your home. You have brought rainbows from Hawaii!
Before his imprisonment, Rinpoche received many transmissions and empowerments from many non-sectarian great masters of Tibet both in the Bon and Nyingma traditions. These masters except one have already passed away.
He said before he got imprisoned, there was a way for him to leave Tibet. But he didn’t want to do it. As his father passed away two years before, he couldn’t leave his monastery and his people. 21 years in prison is not a short time. Thinking about Rinpoche’s experiences and the suffering he went through, I got encouraged and inspired to do the best I can for the Stupa and other dharma activities. The hardship I have experienced is just tiny and insignificant.
Among Rinpoche’s teachers include:
1. Kundrol Dragpa Hungchen Drotu Lingpa Rinpoche. He was Rinpoche’s father and root guru. Hungchen Rinpoche was one of Rainbow Body Achiever Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s main students. Hence, Rinpoche often said that Shardza Rinpoche was his root guru too. Rinpoche is a holder of Hungchen Rinpoche lineage which belongs to the New Bon tradition. In this tradition Guru Rinpoche and his family consisting of his father Trenpa Namkhar and his elder brother Tsewang Rigzin from Zhang Zhung are regarded as the most important deities. There’s a saying: Sangje kyi thugkyi tempe nyerbon chempo meaning “(Both father and sons are) the owners of the teaching derived from the Buddha’s mind”.
There’s a prediction that Hungchen Rinpoche was tulku or reincarnation of Trenpa Namkhar. His lineage came from Kundrol Dragpa who is derived directly from Buddha Tempa Sherab.
2. Thutop Namgyal Rinpoche (still alive). He taught Rinpoche to recite Tibetan texts when Rinpoche was 11 years old. Presently, Thutop Rinpoche is representative of Shadza Rinpoche at Shadza Hermitage. He’s 80 some years old.
3. Lodro Gyatso Rinpoche (another main teacher). He was Shadza Rinpoche’s former representative. He taught Tibtan to Rinpoche as well as led him on ngondro practice. He gave Rinpoche the teaching of Shadza Rinpoche’s scriptures, the Yidam Sekha Chognga, Magyud, and Athrid as well as the teaching of the Thab drug “Six Liberation Ways” such as tunmo or inner heat practice, dream practice, bardo practice, phowa or transference of consciousness practice, illusory body practice and clear light practice. He also taught Rinpoche on Dzogchen, namely Zhang Zhung Nyangyud, Yangtse Longchen, Dragpa Kor Sum, Manngag Kunzang Nyingthig. He also taught Rinpoche on Rigzin and Kandro Sadhanas as well as various sadhanas on outer, inner and innermost practices. Among these practices the special ones include inner yoga and Kandro Sangdzod’s Oser dark retreat. After the teachings, Rinpoche stayed in a dark retreat and many auspicious signs happened.
4. Geshe Tshutrim Wanggyal Rinpoche. He gave Rinpoche transmissions on the Bonpo tripitaka scriptures and commentaries. In particular, he gave Rinpoche transmissions, empowerments, and teachings on Dechen Lingpa’s scriptures of around 100 volumes, Rigzin Kundrol Rimchon’s scriptures and terma texts as well as the complete Kundrol lineage teaching. He also gave Rinpoche transmissions, empowerments and teachings on the Tantra of Six Wrathful Deities Chipung Drowo Gyud Drug, the Tantra of Three Buddhas, and the teachings of Athrid, Dzogchen, and Nyangyud.
For 5 to 10 below, I’ll write about their teachings tomorrow.
5. Shungsray Yundrung Dudul Rinpoche.
6. Drangsong Senge Nyima Rinpoche.
7. Lathri Gyalwa Yungdrung Rinpoche.
8. Dratrul Drimed Oser Rinpoche.
9. Drotrul Rangzhin Thogmed Rinpoche.
10. Jangtrul Khewang Rinpoche.
11. Shezhen Kongtrul Yonten Gyatso Rinpoche. He gave Rinpoche oral transmissions, empowerments and gave instructions on Ju Mipham Rinpoche’s sungbum (scriptures), Longchen Nyingthig, and the teachings by Jigme Lingpa, Tetak Lingpa, Pema Lingpa, Karma Lingpa and Chogjur Lingpa.
12. Shezhen Rabchampa Rinpoche. He taught Rinpoche on the Rinchen Terdzod, important scriptures which include all the practices in the Nyingma tradition.
13. Shezhen Khenpo Gangshar Rinpoche, Lodro Rabsal Rinpoche, and Bodtrul Rinpoche. They gave Rinpoche transmissions, empowerments and teachings on the texts Chojug and Khajug, as well as Guru Rinpoche sadhana.
14. Tshophu Dolo Rinpoche. He gave Rinpoche a transmission, empowerment and teaching on the Longchen Nyingthig.
15. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He gave Rinpoche a transmission, empowerment and teaching on Guru Rinpoche sadhana.
We are so fortunate to have Rinpoche with us in Thailand. Trusting in him, we will receive blessings from all of his teachers.
Yontan is reading Mongyal Lhasray Rinpoche’s short personal history which Rinpoche gave us. Yontan was telling me about his fascinating life. Even though I was occupied with other work, I couldn’t help paying attention to him. I have an urge to share with you some parts of his life.
When he was young, he found an image of Sherab Chama, female Buddha of compassion. Sherab means wisdom; Chama is loving kindness. Chama and Tara are the same deity. This terma image is a special one. Many people heard it utter some sounds. Hence, it is called “Mongyal’s Speaking Chama”. He said after the image was found, around 20 Bhante (the term we call other Tibetan Buddhist denominations) and Bon monks recite prayers and offer a mandala to Chama.
Om Mawa Mate Mahi Moha Emaho Maye Rupa Yenta Tutu Soha
On Wednesday we visited Ajarn Sulak and discussed with him about so many things. He’s always supporting the foundation’s work. He’s the first person who made a donation to the Tara Great Stupa and has continued to raise funds for us. He said he usually didn’t support any construction work, but our project was unique because the Great Stupa will be the first Tibetan stupa in Thailand and it’s devoted to Tara.
May Tara protect him and bless him with long life!
This evening I feel so good. Our maids from Tai Yai in Myanmar are preparing for the celebration of the end of the 3-month rainy retreat (Ookpansa). They set up an altar in the garden and made some tiny birds out of banana leaf. In the kratong they put a mixture of tea and beans. They told me this was the happiest time in Tai Yai. Lights are usually lit and put up around the fence. I told them next year we could celebrate this festival together at Khadiravana. They and their friends can go there and spend a night. We can put up all the lights which will lighten up Khadiravana. Together with the offering kratongs, we’ll also make clay stupa or tsa tsa for the Tara Great Stupa.
This evening we had a chance to see our Tibetan friends who are studying at the AIT. They are Ujab, Rigyal (Simon) and Rigthob. They are from Amdo, the same province as Yontan. Now at the AIT there are only 4 Tibetans – the three of them and Tenzin Rabgyal, a Tibetan from India. We talked about my prostrations, Tibetan culture, our Stupa project and Khadiravana. They are the first people who helped us build the first mantra stupa. We did it on Tibetan New Year on February 28 this year. Because we didn’t have experience, we thought we could finish the work over the weekend. But the task was very difficult. They worked tiredlessly till early in the morning, when the power and their bodies gave in.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that
goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two
“wolves” inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false
pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence,empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grand son thought about it for a minute and then asked his
grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Ajarn Donald Sandage sent me this picture with a story of two wolves from the American Indians Cherokee. It reminded me of a story of a Tibetan lama who wanted to get rid of negative feelings, one of the wolves in his heart. Whenever he had a negative thought or feeling, he would put a black stone on a pile. When he had a positive thought or feeling, he would add a white stone on another pile. In the beginning it’s mainly black stone that wins. But gradually the white stone pile becomes taller and there’s no longer a need to have the black stone pile any more.
Just now Dr. Bundit and his friends from Surin came to visit me, Soraj and Yontan at the foundation house in Ratanatibet, Nonthaburi. His friends are pharmacists, teachers, someone who is interested in Buddhist arts and others. It’s a joy to meet these new friends who have already been adopted as one of us. Dr. Bundit was inspired by Tibetan culture and way of life. He organized a tour to Mt. Everest and Tibet in May this year, the same time I was on my prostrating pilgrimage to Tibet. His experiences are put into words and will be out in a book form quite soon. The book title is “Winning the Dream, Climbing the Horizon, Days and Nights of Faith, North Face Everest Basecamp”.
Dr Bundit said he was greatly influenced by Tibet even before he went there. The physical change is that he lost 20 kgs while preparing for the trip. This made him stronger and more physically fit. He is another case of a dream maker. I thought of a poem that inspired me in my childhood: “Follow your dream, for if dream dies, life is nothing but a broken wing”.
Dr. Bundit and his friends said Tibet has changed their lives and they would love to do things that benefit the people there. They offered to help the foundation in as many ways as they can. I thank Tara for bringing these wonderful people to Tibet and into my life. May the Dharma flourish and spread in all directions! May people lead a life in a compassionate way and may suffering be unknown to them!