Thursday, 18 March 2010
With help from the local monk and my friends i managed to locate this statue of Ananda amongst the collection of the 16 Arhats they had. The text in his hand seems to indicate that it was "thus have I heard ... " himself. There was also a very renowned lion form of Manjushri painted on a wooden wall which had given various miraculous indications during the cultural revolution, enough to gain the respect of the locals and protect this temple from being the focus of too much detrimental attention. I couldn't take a photo but there was a palpable feeling of holiness. Its hard to find images of lion form Manjushri on the Internet, but apparently his is often in this form. Sometimes Manjushri is with a lion.
Once we went through a few more shrines within the temple a courtyard at the rear was arranged with tables where everyone could offer lamps and incense. I was really happy to participate and put the name of a very nice sponsor of my hosts who was ill. Here is a picture of the area where lamps were offered - very organised it was.
Near the end of the trip I was told the same lady I offered a lamp for released creatures into freedom to offer for my benefit when I had become quite ill. I don't know if she knew I made an offering for but anyway, its great to be part of these traditional practice on either the giving or the receiving side.
I wanted to get a souvenir from this monastery and of course I have to admit being quite fond of buying things from time to time. I ended up with a huge box of incense, these spiral forms which can apparently burn for 24 hours. I burned a couple over the next weeks and sent the rest home in the mail. It was not so different from a Tibetan style incense, no stick, just all incense. I look forward to making many day long offerings of sweet smoke at home. Perhaps the topic of a future blog entry.
I began my path taking refuge with a Chinese master and practicing in a Taiwanese temple in Australia. So for me it was as familiar as it was different to the Tibetan traditional representations and architecture I have spent the most time appreciating. Most of all being in this part of the world for real and not just forming opinions based on the fear mongering news media helped me feel closeness to the people of China who make up such a large part of our world. Having a great freind to translate and show me around was the most special part of my time.
Next time I will share from my visit to Leshan and Mt Emei - the mountain of Samanthabadra that a freind recommended I visit.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Group photo in front of the stupa
On Sunday March the 14th, we had the great pleasure to welcome 18 monks and lay members from Nalanda Monastery, located near to Toulouse, France. It felt very much that, our time of ordination in India continued here in Lerab Ling, by a sudden explosion of red robes. And marked by monks from many different European countries.
In a short time we had the possibility to exchange a lot about our monastic experiences. Such as Sojong, meeting their brothers at the preordination course in India, gardening, study and practices, work shops, temple decoration and our different traditions.
Circumambulating Guru Rinpoche in the lake
We had a nice lunch together (with french fries...) and visited the different shrine rooms of the temple. Unfortunately, the time we spent together was too short, because they had to leave again to attend the Sojong ceremony with Geshe Jamphal (Abbot of Nalanda).
The Nunnery which is specially shaped in a circular way gives the nuns a very intimate and cosy living environment. It contains the living quarters, kitchen, dining hall, gompa, and in the future a place of social exchanges. Some other buildings are also dedicated for classes, offices, temple, hostel for the nuns' families (most of them are coming from the Himalayan regions A two months retreat is undertaken each year by the nuns.
We were very much moved by Ven. Tenzin Palmo's view and determination to make a positive lasting change in the lives of many. The young nuns faces were radiating joy, happiness and contentment.
It is such a great inspiration to come into contact with such a role model just after entering the monastic life.
We had time to share some time with Jetsun Tenzin Palmo and the atmosphere she created will rest for a long time in our hearts. We look forward to meet her again one day in the nearby future.
Ven. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Sister Jotika and some of the POC participants
For more information about Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo's Nunnery, you can visit : http://www.tenzinpalmo.com/
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave the getsul and getsulma ordination in the morning on the same day, at his private residence.
Words fall too short to express in any way what this ordination has meant to us. We show you these photos to convey some of that most special moment in our lives.
We want to remember all the kind teachers, especially Sogyal Rinpoche, whom without we would still be lost in samsara, all our dharma brothers and sisters who gave us the strength and inspiration to grow, our beloved parents who in all their kindness provided us with this precious human body, and all our benefactors who generously supported us with their belief in our intention.
of self and countless others and cause the long life of
all the masters and the flourishing of their teachings.
And that the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha may last for eons in this world.
With 22 particants from 13 different nationalities (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, America, France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Australia and Korea) we shared our experience, our hopes and fears, our motivation for taking ordination. It felt from the start like one mandala merging together, and we really felt secure enough to expose ourselves in a deep way. We felt moved when we heard that the Pre-ordination course was initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to give the non-tibetans a better chance for receiving fully and upholding the ordination in the tibetan tradition (Mulasarvastivadin). This was the best way to prepare ourselves for that very special moment.
Sister Jotika, was the person appointed by His Holiness to hold the course and teach us the Vinaya, the Pratimoksha vows and many different aspects of monasticism. She has an incredible background of knowledge and experience as a buddhist nun in the three existing Vinaya traditions (the Theravada, Dharmagupta and Mulasarvastivadin). With her tremendous care and inimitable way to feel the atmosphere within the group, she was able to provide each of us with whatever that person most needed.
Our days started with personal practises, followed by a group practise until breakfast time. Afterwards we fulfilled a short work commitment and received teachings for most of the morning until lunch time. We had enough time during the lunchbreak to study and memorize the teachings. There was also time for a short walk within the retreat boundaries.
The afternoons were dedicated to more teachings, discussion groups and group practices. Then for those who needed, one could have a medicine meal composed of soup and bread, as allowed by His Holiness because of the cold weather. The day was concluded by an inspiring Ane Dhasel guided meditation and dedication.
During the course, great care was taken of everyone, not to get sick. Because if one would be sick, one was not allowed to be near His Holiness, and so one couldn't receive the ordination. But as you will see in the next blog, we were well protected....
Lots of love
the three musketeers
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Monday, 1 March 2010
Chotrul Duchen, one of the four great deeds of the Buddha, is celebrated on the last of fifteen days at the start of the Tibetan New Year in observance of the Buddha’s performance of miracles to help increase the merit of countless sentient beings, liberating them from samsara, as well as helping them to engage in virtuous activities. It is believed that the merit accumulated during the first fifteen days of the New Year is multiplied immensely (cited from this link).
Through the magical power of your miracles in Shravasti,You rendered speechless the tirthika teachers who,With all their analysis and research, drunk on the wine of indulgence, had become oppressive in the extreme.In the final contest they were humbled, their prestige all drained away,As you triumphed through 'the four bases of miraculous powers'. (cited from this link)