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Meeting Rinpoche Again

I came back to Chengdu yesterday and will be here for about a week. The main purposes are to take care of HE Kundrol Mongyal Lhasray Rinpoche’s and Sang-ngag Lingpa Rinpoche’s visas and plane tickets and to do some preparation work for the upcoming foundation stone laying ceremony and Guru Rinpoche retreat. Unfortunately, because of the lack of time and harsh winter in Kham, I won’t be able to travel to Dzachukha and Jyekundo to visit Dakini Hermitage and the Pathang school which the Foundation has been supporting.

We showed Rinpoche the plans of the one-meter high model of the Tara Great Stupa and a dharma pavillion that Jun, Lek and Glaang drew for Khadiravana. Rinpoche was greatly interested in them. After that we talked about the function of the foundation hill of the Tara Great Stupa. We wanted to build a shrine hall to place the five families Buddhas. Our original idea was to build Amitabha Buddha’s shrine hall which will be like Sukhavati on earth. But later on we expanded the hall to include the other four Buddha families, namely Vairocana, Amoghasitthi, Aksobhaya and Ratanasambhava. There are Bonpo names for these deities. But I use the more common names here.

Rinpoche said the idea of the five families Buddhas or gyalwa rig nga in Tibetan was a very important one. They represent the five natural elements that make up our body. When we die, these elements which we have borrowed return to the universe. If anyone practices the dharma well, he or she may be born in one of these five families Buddhas and ultimately becomes one and the same as Samantabhadra, the dharma kaya (bon ku) of all Buddhas.

In Tibetan custom when someone dies, they request a lama to recite a prayer to the five Buddha families. These Buddhas also represent five wisdoms or the mastery of five defilements, namely hatred, jealousy, pride, attachment, and ignorance.

We updated Rinpoche on the activities we did in the past two months such as the lectures by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and his visit to Khadiravana, the lectures by Phakchok Rinpoche, the meeting with many helpful people related to the Tara Great Stupa and the preparation work needed to be done for the Stupa ceremony and Guru Rinpoche retreat. He commented that it was great that the Foundation did so many things for Tibetan Buddhism. I shared with him the parrot story that Ringu Rinpoche told us. Rinpoche smiled when he heard about the great efforts the compassionate parrot did while trying to extinguish the fire and save other animals’lives. We talked about Ringu Rinpoche a little bit. He said his uncle’s wife and Ringu Rinpoche’s mother were relatives and Ringu Monastery and Mongyal Monastery were located in the same vicinity in Dzakhok, Dege county in northern Kham. Then we talked about Sikkhim. Rinpoche related a story about his late father Hungchen Drotu Linpa Rinpoche’s visit to Sikkhim, where he discovered a terma.

We asked Rinpoche for a short prayer to Guru Rinpoche so that we can make a small Guru gift to everyone who attends the empowerment. Rinpoche will give a short prayer which he composed and published in the Tripitaka he edited several years ago. He said this short prayer was a powerful one which is intended to remove obstacles and to increase benefits.

We also talked about Ganesha, a Hindu god who has been popular in Thailand. Rinpoche told us an amazing thing that Hungchen Rinpoche had a terma composing of several sadhana texts of this god.

Before we left Rinpoche’s residence, we talked about the Tara Great Stupa again. Rinpoche said the present world was full of ills, turmoils, conflicts and disasters. The Stupa would be like a medicine to cure these diseases.

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