Gem of Wisdom for Daily Reflection: 

The Aspirations Made Aeons Ago That Turned Tibet Into The Land Of Bodhimanda

Swayambhunath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

Bodhimanda (changchub kyil) is a term that originally refers to the very spot of vajrasana (dorjeden), the vajra seat under the bodhi tree by the river Nairanjana in Bodhgaya, India, where Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment. It is also used to describe any places which promote the propagation of the sacred Buddhadharma.

Written by Guru Rinpoche’s consort Yeshe Tsogyal in the eighth century AD, Padma Kathang is a collection of hidden treasures (terma) chronicling the life of Padmasambhava, each of which was unvealed by a designated terton at a specific time. One of these terma, known as Sheltrakma, was retrieved by Orgyen Lingpa from the Lotus Crystal Cave (shelphuk), the first meditation cave of Guru Rinpoche in Tibet. In this terma, Shantarakshita (Shyiwa Tsho) related the legend of the Jarung Khashor Stupa to King Trisong Deutsen during the construction of Samye Monastery so as to motivate him to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet to subjugate the indigenous resistance that was hostile to the propagation of Buddhadharma.

The teaching of Guru Rinpoche confirmed, through the terma of Padma Kathang, the immeasurable powerful effect of aspiration made before the Stupa of Jarung Khashor, which turned Tibet into a land of Bodhimanda.  

- Extract of an article from the Pathgate feature Gateway to Tibetan Buddhism. Click here to see the full list of articles available.

Dipankara Buddha’s Prophecy of Shakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment

Dipankara Buddha Shakyamuni Buddha

Bhadrakalpika Sutra (kalpa zangpo'i do), a teaching given by Shakyamuni Buddha in Vaishali (yangpachen) at the request of Pramunditaraja (mahokga gyalpo), explains when the world at the end of the previous kalpa was submerged in a great deluge, one thousand golden lotus flowers emerged from the flood which was perceived by the heavenly beings (deva) as the auspicious harbinger of one thousand Buddhas due to appear in the coming kalpa. At this discourse, Shakyamuni Buddha gave the prophecy (vyakarana) of the one thousand Bodhisattvas (chang chub sempa) who will become Buddhas in this Fortunate Aeon. It is said that only after a bodhisattva has attained the accomplishment of the eight bhumi (miyowa) would he be verified as a coming Buddha by a fully realised Buddha not dissimilar to the prophecy made by Dipankara Buddha (marmé dzé) proclaiming Shakyamuni Buddha as a coming Buddha in the Sutra Of the Six Paramitas (parol tu chinpa druk do).

In the Sutra of the Six Paramitas, there is an account of the Dipankara Buddha’s prediction of Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment as told by Shakyamuni Buddha to Shariputra (sha ri bu).

- Extract of an article from the Pathgate feature Chronicle of the Buddha, Bodhisattva and Deity. Click here to see the full list of articles available.

Audio Teaching: View, Meditation & Action

The latest Audio Teaching is an extract from the instruction that Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche gave to students when teaching ‘Thog tha bar sum du ge wai tam’, the teaching by Patrul Rinpoche known as ‘The Instruction that is good in the beginning, middle and end – the Heart Jewel of sacred practice of the View, Meditation and Action’.

In this extract, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche explains the suffering that arises from relying on our own logic and why such reliance separates us from others and from our own true happiness. Students are encouraged to cultivate the right motivation of Bodhicitta, the awakening mind, and to develop a good relationship with the nature of their own mind, learning to accept suffering without turmoil and become more sensitive to the sensibilities of others.

To listen to this and other Audio Teachings, or to download them as MP3, please visit Audio Teachings by Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche.

COVID-19 Vaccination For Monks And Nuns of Age Group 18-44 Rolled Out At Namdroling

Namdroling Monastery in India has rolled out the COVID-19 Vaccinations for the monks and nuns of the age group 18-44 on the 30th May 2021. All the eligible monks and nuns in accordance to the directive issued by the Indian government were vaccinated in one day. Vaccination were also given on the same day to the Tibetan residents of the 4th Camp, the 3rd Camp of the Tibetan Settlement and the Gawaitsel Camp on the way to Gurukul. A total number of 1598 doses of vaccine were given out in one single day.

Following the path of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche to maintain solidarity in happiness and sorrow with the local people, the senior members of the Namdroling Monastery Management Committee which include Chogtrul Gyangkhang Rinpoche, Chogtrul Mugsang Kuchen Rinpoche, Khenchen Pema Sherab Rinpoche, Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche, and Khenchen Namdrol Tsering Rinpoche have all agreed to extend the vaccination programme to the estimated 1700 Tibetan people residing in the 17 Tibetan Settlement Camps in Bylakuppe.

Within two days, 3100 shots of the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine were given to the residents of the monastery and the people of two nearby Tibetan Settlements of the age group 18-44. The cost of the entire vaccination programme is sponsored by Chogtrul Mugsang Kuchen Rinpoche and Pathgate Institute.

Living In Retreat At The Paro Valley of Bhutan

Taktsang Monastery

Paro Taktsang (Tigress Lair) is a sacred place situated on the side of a mountain cliff north of Paro in Bhutan. There, Guru Pamasambhava meditated on the Kagye cycle of eight sets of Mahayoga transmission entrusted to him and to the eight vidyadharas of India. This is the place where Guru Pamasambhava manifested as Dorje Drolo riding upon a pregnant tigress in the wrathful form of crazy wisdom binding worldly spirit under oath to protect the terma treasure and serve the propagation of Buddhadharma. Following in his footsteps, many great masters such as Milarepa, Padampa Sangye, Machik Lapdron and Thangtong Gyalpo also went into retreat there. A monastery was later built in 1692 adjacent to the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave, where Guru Pamasambhava meditated and practiced with students including Yeshe Tsogyal before departing Tibet in the early 9th century.

Khenpo Jurme Kunzang Rinpoche (left), Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche (middle), and Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche (right) Kunzang Yoedseling Retreat Home

Today, at the Paro valley beneath are many retreat houses. Two of which were established through sponsorship provided by Pathgate Institute. The first one is Kunzang Yoedseling Retreat Home which had its first phase formally opened on the 10th April 2011. Once fully completed, it will have five separate retreat houses sited around a prayer hall in the middle within a walled enclosure. This place is headed by Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche’s Dharma friend Khenpo Jurme Kunzang Rinpoche (former Abbot of the Singapore Palyul Centre).

Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche’s retreat house

The second retreat house belongs to another of Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche’s Dharma friends Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche (former Principal of Ngagyur Nyingma University at the Namdroling Monastery). This retreat house is built on a plot of land procured through funding from Pathgate Institute in the summer of 2013.

Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche in front of his retreat house Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche standing in between the lamp offering pagoda (left) and the sang offering stupa (right)

Owing to its remote location and lack of amenities, additional funding was provided to make good of what is needed such as the construction of access road, heating, and other facilities. It is now a functional live-in retreat house for Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche.

Omsay Lhundrup Dorji

Khenpo Sangay Wangdi Rinpoche has recently updated Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche with some photographs of his place including one of Lhundrup Dorji, an Omsay (Chant Master) from Namdroling Monastery, who is handicapped by both malfunctioning legs and requires the use of two walking sticks. He is one of the few monks in Bhutan who knows how to perform pujas in the Palyul tradition. To ease the difficulty he faces in transporting himself around in performing puja, a car with automatic gears was procured for him through sponsorship of Pathgate Institute in 2013.