The Thousand Stars Foundation wishes everyone happiness and prosperity for the New Year. May Buddhas of longevity, particularly Amitayus and White Tara grant all of you long life!
Amitayus Mantra (From Long-life Empowerment conducted by Kundrol Mongyal Lhasray Rinpoche, December 2006)
Om Namo Drum Abarimita Ayujnyana Hrih Hung Drum Soha
คาถาพระอมิตายุส: โอม นาโม ดรุม อาบาริมิตา อยุจานา หรี ฮุง ดรุม โซฮา
White Tara Mantra (From White Tara Empowerment conducted by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, November 2007)
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayu Bunye Jana Putrim Kuru Soha
คาถาพระแม่ตาราขาว: โอม ตาเร ตุตตาเร ตูเร มามา อายุ ปุญเญ จานา ปูทริม กูรู โซฮา
I would like to encourage all of us to offer flowers to Buddha and recite these long-life mantras, particularly for our teachersl. They have been kind to us by traveling to Thailand to teach us and show us the way towards enlightenment.
Arranging flower vases for the New Year
For Guru Rinpoche retreatants, please bring:
1. Comfortable but polite outfit. Any color is fine.
2. Light jacket or sweater – it can be cold at night.
3. Comfortable shoes
4. Sleeping bag
5. Mosquito repellent
7. Personal belongings & medicine
DTAC phone can’t be used at Khadiravana. The signal stops near the Nongplub district office. AIS can be used.
We will use the following at the Stupa ceremony on the 10th. Please bring a little bit of each if you feel like sharing them with us.
Offerings to Buddha (Tsog):
1. Biscuits, cookies, candies
4. Fruit juice or other nutricious drink
Burnt fragrant offerings (Sang):
1. Rice and other grains
2. Biscuits, cookies and other kinds of snacks which have no egg or meat
3. Small pieces of plain cloth in 5 colors.
4. Small pieces of plain paper in 5 colors.
The Foundation will provide three vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals per day, hot and cold drinks, snacks and fruits. For accommodation, tents of various sizes, mainly for 1 or 2 persons, will be arranged. We just finished building temporary shower rooms and toilets near the tent location. Apart from these, there are other shower rooms and toilets near the office house in the mango grove. This is where we’ll have our meals.
I’m leaving for Khadiravana tomorrow to prepare the site and will be back soon after the New year holidays. Please contact Worawanna if you have any questions about the event.
I hope everyone enjoys the natural environment in a Tibetan-Thai style at Khadiravana.
For those who want to attend the Great Stupa ceremony on January 10 and have no transportation, please contact Worawanna Petchkij at email@example.com, Tel. 086-7228129 by the 5th. The Foundation will help arrange transportation by an air-conditioned van. A round trip costs 400 baht. The van will pick up participants at the Foundation House on the 10th at 6.00 AM. and leave Khadiravana for Bangkok at 2.30 PM.
For those who want to attend the Guru Rinpoche Retreat and leave on the 12, the Foundation will take you to the Hua-Hin market. From there you can get a public van to the Victory Monument. It costs 180 baht.
Everyone is welcome to have lunch with Rinpoche after the ceremony on the 10th.
Please bring a sleeping bag if you join the retreat. The Foundation will take care of camping facilities. Participants are also welcome to join the retreat only during the daytime. There are many guesthouses and hotels in downtown Hua-Hin for a reasonable price.
We apologize if our invitation card arrives late or if you don’t get an invitation card at all. Invitation document can be downloaded here.
Mongyal – Hungchen Rinpoche’s and Lhasray Rinpoche’s Monastery in northern Kham, which is presently Dzakhok, Dege county, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
Mongayl Lhasray Rinpoche, holder of the Kundrol Dragpa lineage and his son Chimed Rigzin (Sang-ngag Lingpa Rinpoche)
Kuntu Zangbo’s heart mantra: Ah A Ka Sa Le Od A Yang Om Tu
Inside a retreat cabin, where a monk meditates and studies
Yungdrung Lhateng, one of Emperor Qianlong’s monasteries in the 18th century. It was converted to Gelugpa in the 15th century. It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Later on it was reconverted into Bon.
With Pema Rigzin and novices
Before reciting Chod.
On the way to Yungdrung Lhateng Monastery in Jinchuan town. There’s a bus to Barkham county, seat of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, about 6 hours from Chengdu. From Barkham, there’s a local bus to Jinchuan taking about 2 hours.
Protectress Palden Lhamo (Shri Devi), wrathful emanation of Tara whose practice is specially transmitted through the Kundrol Dragpa lineage.
Guru Padmasambhava or Yungdrung Tongdrol. In the Bon Tradition he received Dzogchen Teaching from Jetapihritsa (believed to be one and the same as Garab Dorje) and his father Drenpa Namkha, whose transmissions came both directly from Kunto Zangbo (Samantabhadra) and from various masters who have achieved rainbow bodies.
Tsewang Rigzin. Together with Drenpa Namkha and Guru Rinpoche, they spread the essence of Dzogchen teaching.
Drenpa Namkha. He is also known as Chepung Drenpa Namkha as well as Lhachen Drenpa Namkha. He was believed to transmit Bon teachings to Vairocana, an eighth century Tibetan Buddhist monk.
The name Drenpa Namkha is not to be confused with Drenpa Namkha of a later period. The latter one is also called Drenpa Yeshe Dragpa.
There is so much to be learned about these great masters. A large number of Tibetan texts have not been translated and thus are inaccessible to us. The problem we face today is that our knowledge comes mainly from limited sources. In addition, Tibetan lamas do not usually study and practice other traditions. Hence, many of them have limited knowledge concerning other traditions. This is why being a rimed or non-sectarian practitioner is extremely important. Besides, there are many confusing names. For example, there are two Drenpa Namkhas who are different persons. Garab Dorje and Jetapihritsa are believed to be the same person, though they have different names.
I can use my own name as an example. In Tibet I am called Kesang Dawa. In Thailand my name is Krisadawan. This is one and the same person with different labels. Suppose 100 years from now there’s another person named Kesang Dawa and she is not the same person as I. We cannot say that the later Kesang Dawa and the present-day Kesang Dawa are one and the same. If we understand this fact, there is not so much confusion. The key is that we have to be broad-minded and do a lot of investigation before we come to a conclusion and make any assessment.
I pray to Ogyan Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava
May all obstacles be removed and may all wishes be fulfilled!
While in Chengdu, I met an abbot who proposed me a very interesting and important project. He wanted to edit and publish Guru Rinpoche’s life as has been written by Sangje Lingpa, a great terton of the 18th century who was Kundrol Dragpa’s root lama. Sangje Lingpa was a rimed practitioner who combined both Bon and Nyingma teachings. Together with Kundrol Dragpa they spread the New Bon teaching in Gyalrong. Their teaching flourished even in the court of Gyalrong kings. And Sangje Lingpa himself became Qianglong Emperor’s master. The Emperor presented him a drubcho (ritual musical instrument) with a picture of hen and dragon and his name on it.
Sangje Lingpa’s writing on Guru Rinpoche is titled “Thang yig kun snang gsal sgron” or a clear illumination to all related to Guru Rinpoche’s life. For him as well as Dorje Lingpa’s kathang (Guru’s life) of the Nyingma tradition, Guru Rinpoche was born two ways: from parents and miraculously (born naturally on a lotus). But this text focuses on the first way of birth. Other more commonly known kathangs are in the Nyingma tradition such as Tag Shamba’s Pema Kathang (Stag sham pa’i padma’i bka’ thang) and Longse Kathang (Klong gsal bka’ thang). These texts first describe Guru Rinpoche as being born of parents and later on by a miraculous way. The emphasis is, however, on the second.
If we believe that beings can be born of various ways, there is no confusion or suspicion in this case. Tibetans talk about four ways of births, namely born of parents, born miraculously, born because of warmth and born from an egg. Given the marvellous life of Guru Rinpoche who is Buddha on earth, it’s natural that there are more than one of his life history.
In Sangje Lingpa’s kathang, his father is Drenpa Namkha (Dranpa Namkha’), his mother is Dakini Oten Pama (‘od ldan ‘ba’ ma), his younger brother is Tsewang Rigzin. Guru himself is called Yungdrung Thongdrol.
Drenpa Namkha, Tsewang Rigzin and Guru Rinpoche are known as the “Three Deathless Ones” the father and his twin sons. They form the basis of the New Bon Tradition which emphasizes that Bon and Buddhism are essentially the same, but via different lineages.
Gyalrong is the name of a Tibetan region, which is to the southeast of Kham. Thai people know this region through the famous Jiujaigo. The people there are called Gyalrongbas. They look like Tibetan, dress a similar outfit but speak a different language called Gyalrong language. Sadly, nowadays they mainly speak Chinese and are illiterate in Tibetan.
Before I went to Chengdu this time, I planned to visit Gyalrong, particularly the Yungdrung Lhateng Monastery in Jinchuan, where I visited in January and met a lama named Pema Rigzin. His lineage is renowned for Chod practice. He himself finished a three year retreat at Dokden Monastery in Aba county before being appointed to look after this monastery. He also finished one and a half year Chod retreat and had gone to 108 springs to recite Chod alone.
Once he came to see Lhasray Rinpoche and asked him for his advice in managing this monastery. He said the people in Gyalrong do not pay much attention to monks and do not make offering. So it’s hard for monks to sustain themselves. Rinpoche suggested him and his monks to perform a feast offering to the protectress Palden Lhamo. He said when Hungchen Rinpoche was living, Yungdrung Lhateng was one of his temples and he made it a special place for a practice on Palden Lhamo. Pema Rigzin followed his advice. Although the monastery didn’t have much food, he offered the protectress all the tsampa they had. After that it was like a miracle. The monastery made a progress. More and more people come and offer the monks food. But since the Gyalrongbas do not eat yak’s meat and they raise mainly pigs, the monks decided to become vegetarians.
When we were there in January, there were only 5 monks. There’s a Chinese old lady from Xinjiang who came to look after them. Even though we were there for only 2 nights, it was a special experience. The first day I jotted down all the things needed to be done when one wants to practice Chod. The second day I made prostrations to Palden Lhamo in the assembly hall. I felt an urge to do so when I stepped inside the hall. I felt special blessings from Hungchen Rinpoche and Lhasray Rinpoche. While I was prostrating, Pema Rigzin recited the prayer to Palden Lhamo. The sound of his drum is still vivid in my memory even now. That night we recited Chod together using Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s text and recited the prayer for bardo beings using Hungchen Rinpoche’s text.
The reason I talked about Gyalrong is not only because I miss Yungdrung Lhateng but also because Gyalrong is a special region where many termas in the New Bon tradition have been discovered. One of the greatest masters of our time Kundrol Dragpa (b. 1700) or the first Kundrol started the rimed movement there. Hungchen Rinpoche is his 6th reincarnation.
I got home after a week’s trip to Chengdu. We just finished unpacking our things. It’s auspicious to see that we brought home many ten or sacred objects related to Guru Rinpoche. They are a huge thangka of Guru Rinpoche with Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Dakini Mandarava painted by an Amdo artist from Yontan’s hometown in Aba, smaller thangkas of Guru by Kham artists, a gold image of Guru, a model for clay image of Guru, a picture of Guru with a short prayer and a cloth depicting Guru siddhi mantra. We also brought many prayer flags and victory banners for the Stupa ceremony.
Talking about the ceremony, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Khun Prachum, Khun Areerat, Miao, Nuch and particularly Khun Jick who helped with the invitation cards and contacted concerned parties for ceremonial tents and accommodating tents for retreatans. Khun Jick has made contribution to Rinpoche’s plane ticket for 25,000 baht and offered to help share the cost of renting the tents with Khun Koh. Each tent costs 12,000 baht. We might need 2 tents.
Thanks are also due to Dr. Bundit and his friends who are willing to come and cook for us on the ceremony day and throughout the Guru Rinpoche retreat. I’m sure we all will be very healthy. Talking about Dr. Bundit, I was happy to see the tiny Buddha image which he gave me specially placed on an altar in Lhasray Rinpoche’s prayer room. It’s placed next to Hungchen Rinpoche’s Tara terma. Rinpoche said he treasured this special gift from Thailand.
Our Tara retreat center is only a year old. We need a lot of help to develop it so that it can accommodate practitioners and do great work for sentient beings. And now we carry a big responsibility of building a great stupa for world peace. We would appreciate any support anyone would like to contribute towards our Stupa project, particularly the upcoming organization of the foundation stone laying ceremony and Rinpoche’s Dharma teaching in Thailand.
While I was in Chengdu, Khun Chanchai from Riwoche Dharma Center came to see Ajarn Soraj. He gave the Foundation 600 small images of Guru Rinpoche. We are grateful to his kindness.
Before I left Chengdu, I went to see Rinpoche again. He told us that an important lama Yungdrung Gawa from the Hor lineage just passed away in Lhasa. There’s a story about him on TV last night. His family asked Rinpoche to attend the funeral in Lhasa and travel to his hometown in Nagchu to attend the cremation. Rinpoche said although he wished to be there because Yungdrung Gawa had done so much for the Dharma and his father was Hungchen Rinpoche’s student, he felt that it’s extremely important for him to travel to Thailand and work for the Tara Great Stupa. He said in general the foundation stone laying ceremony in Tibet took one and a half day to complete and required several monks to perform the ritual with the lama. But he didn’t want us to spend so much money on monks’ traveling expenses this time. He said after the construction began and we were about to fill in the inside of the Stupa we would need to invite several monks who would come and pray for 2 or 3 months before Rinpoche’s arrival. When the time comes, the Foundation will hold a big ceremony and will extend our invitation to the general public again.