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Monday, November 18, 2019

HH Truelku Ugyen Drodul Thinley Kunchap, second reincarnation of Terton Drukdra Dorji

From the time Buddha Dharma came into existence there came numerous Boddhisattvas who attained enlightenment and tirelessly devoted their lives for the benefit of all sentient beings. HH Truelku Ugyen Droduel Thinley Kunchap is one such Boddhisattva who reincarnated in the unbroken Terton lineage.

HH was born on 2nd July 1999 to Yab (father) Wangchuk Rinzin and Yum (mother) Sonam Yuden in the Phobjikha valley of Wangduephodrang, Bhutan. Numerous auspicious signs and omens that ultimately led to his recognition in 2003 accompanied his birth and early childhood.

At the age of three, Truelku repeatedly insisted to visit Chumphu Lhakhang (temple) in Paro. On his way to the temple, he recognized a cave where Terton Drukdra Dorji had meditated earlier. Furthermore, while at the temple, he recognized the treasure statue of Dorji Phamo (Vajravarahi), which was revealed by Terton Drukdra Dorji from the Latsho (life lake) of Dorji Phamo. Moreover, when Truelku endeavored to offer prayer coin to the statue the coin miraculously stuck to the heart of statue. These auspicious incidents largely indicated that Truelku was the unmistaken reincarnation of Terton Drukdra Dorji. A crowd of devotees at the temple witnessed the incidents.

At the age of four, the 70th Je Khenpo (Chief Abode of Religion in Bhutan) in unison with the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan officially recognized and enthroned Truelku as the absolute reincarnation of Terton Drukdra Dorji.

Soon after, Truelku was seated at the Sangchen Chokhor Buddhist College in Paro, Bhutan to start his education. Truelku is majoring in Buddhist Philosophy with English as a subsidiary subject.

At present Truelku is undergoing losum Chosum 3 year strict retreat.

 Tashi Delek

An Outlandish Master, Exile and Death: Version Two of the Life and Death of Terton Drukdra Dorji

All Bhutanese know that Terton Drukdra Dorji prophesied the birth of His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It is also believed that Terton Drukdra Dorji left detailed prophecy concerning Bhutan. 

Unfortunately, two Bjabchu men through open proclamation by 8th Druk Desi murdered Terton. Many want to know why but there is hardly any written document or Namthar of Terton Drukdra Dorji to know the reason behind. Nevertheless, there are two oral account of this story. The first one I have already posted earlier and this is the second version.

In the medieval days, Bhutan was divided by the factional self-interests of the Desi and regional Penlops (dpon slob). Around that time, Terton Drukdra Dorji was residing at Lungchutse above the Dochula mountain pass.
As the pass roughly forms a geographical division between the west and east of the country, warlords residing on one side of the pass harbored suspicions that the Terton was aiding the warlords of the other side and vice versa. This tense situation came to a head when in a heated altercation; the Terton stabbed the Changangkha Lam on his ribs with his hand-held ceremonial dagger. For this assault, the Terton was incarcerated and sent to Chabcha Dzong where the Penlop who was from Dokhachu Goenpa was a deeply pious man.
Even though the Terton was technically a prisoner, the Penlop treated him with great reverence, offering him a place of honour in his personal altar and entertaining him with special foods and drinks at night even though during the daytime, the Terton had to be lodged in a cell below the central tower (dbu tse) of the Dzong. This secret arrangement was soon leaked to some evil-minded people who reported the whole affair to the government, which immediately transferred the Penlop to the remote borderland with a demotion as some sort of border minder (sa srung pa). 
The Terton was recalled to Paro where he was unceremoniously bundled in a leather rucksack and cast away in the river. Upon the exposure of the lapses on the part of the Penlop who served the Terton disregarding the higher order, the Terton assured the Penlop that he should feel secure even in his new posting as Aum Kangchim
who was his secret consort would look after his welfare. 
As the Terton was destined to live longer for the benefit of sentient beings, fortune favoured him. An elderly fisherman and his younger friend were at this time setting fish traps in a ravine river called Changchang Yarlokma when the rucksack got struck in the trap of the younger man to his utter dismay. He cursed his luck for landing a useless catch and was about to set it afloat again when the elder man offered to exchange his fishes for the sack. However, when they opened load, a corpse appeared inside because of which they were about to cast it away again. However, to their relief, the Terton introduced himself and instructed the two men not to do him harm. In appreciation of the instant change in the behaviour of the two men, the Terton said that all the negative merits they earned so far from their debased occupation will be absolved with his rescue in their hand. 
The two men thus returned home as changed men while the Terton roamed the jungle in search of food and shelter. The place was named Beyul Kinzang (Auspicious Secret Place). As summer approached, the heat became overwhelming and the Terton moved upwards till he reached the confluence of Thimphu chu (river) which swirled from the right and the Tshechu Lum chu moved from the left and came upon a beautiful mini- island like the location of the Punakha which he named Gawaithang (Happy Plain). Then the Terton continued to move till he reached the Kekema village from Arugang where he asked the people what the name of the place was. The people answered that the village was called Kekema on which the Terton said that a more suitable name should be given to the place and thus named it Phatshuma. 
After Phatshuma, the Terton headed towards Bongo in the guise of a lay priest, but on the way, he suffered extreme fatigue and hunger. However, a group of cow herders saw his plight and offered boiled milk and nourishment because of which the Terton rejuvenated and again asked for the name of the place to which the herders replied that it was Patalakhu. The Terton said that a more suitable name for the place would be Sonamthang (Meritorious Plain) as the people there accrued great merit by hosting him. Today it is believed that even the poorest household in this place has a few head of cattle because of the Terton’s blessings. 
Just before the Terton reached the village of Bongo, he turned to have a last glance at Pasakha. The spot from where he did so is today called Semdang-gang as he experienced a feeling of clarity there. Then upon reaching the village that is today Bongo
, the Terton said that the village is located on the head of the treasure trove of Namsey (Vaishravana) and thus named it Bongo (bang mgo). From Bongo, the Terton reached the place that is called Jungley today. The name is an onomatopoetic corruption of the name given by the Terton to the place, which he called Joen-ley after the deities there welcomed him with greetings. While the Terton was in meditation at this place and contemplating building a bridge to connect the two deep valleys of Bongo and Miritsemo, some people who harbored ill feelings for the Terton relayed reports of the Terton’s escape and his sojourn in this place. 

Upon getting this intelligence, the Desi issued edict that were relayed from one village to another by designated errands in these places. The message was that whichever person was successful in eliminating the Terton will not only see his tax obligations to the government pardoned, but by virtue, his whole village will be written off as well. 
When this incentive laden message reached Jabchu Mepisa, two misguided men thought that now their whole village could get rid of taxes owed to the government for generations to come and thus decided to take on the challenge. They departed from their village with this evil plot and upon reaching Miritsemo, another accomplice called Ap Takchung joined them who said that he knew where the Terton was and thus, the partners-in-crime reached Joenley. 
Upon reaching the village, they feared an encounter with the famed strongman of this village called Drodrew who might foil their plot. So, they deviously went to his mother in a bid to deceive her. They pretended to ask for her son, but the old woman who was roasting rice told Ap Takchung to give his hand which she then put inside her armpit and held it there. Ap Takchung was unable to free himself from this hold and so, the old woman told Ap Takchung to return for if he was no match to an old woman, he might well be grievously injured by her son should an encounter occur. 
However, the three men would not concede and so they hatched a plan to secretly carry off the Terton together with his meditation hut. Ap Drodrew heard the commotion while they were attempting to do so, and with the strongman in their pursuit, they had to abort their plan and flee to safety, which they did by crossing the river, which acted as the village boundary from where trespassing was not allowed. So, Ap Drodrew had to give up his pursuit at this point but he took a boulder from there as a representative of the Terton which the elders of the village attest to but which is no longer there for us to see. 
Upon reaching the cliff previously known as Troetroema, but which nowadays is called Trongtrongma, Ap Takchung returned home to Miritsemo, thus not becoming a part of the heinous act. The two men from Jabchu would not back down and they tried to execute the Terton in vain as all their weapons failed. Seeing their persistence and knowing that his time was now up, the Terton instructed two men to use his own scarf and stuff it down his throat. The two men accordingly wrapped the scarf around their sword and stuffed in down the throat of the Terton thus suffocating the Master to death. 
The earthly remains of the Terton was then carried to where the Chukha Hydro Power Project is today located on the first day. The next day, the body of the Terton was received above where the present-day BOC station of Tsimasham is located at a spot called Lam Seou Drangsa where preparations were made to offer the customary meals to the ethereal remain of the Terton when it blurted that the person who will offer the meal is on his way referring to the Tsamdrag Trulku who was then actually coming to receive the Terton. 
A preparation for the night was made at a place near the Chabcha Dzong. The next day, it proved humanly impossible to lift the body and a report was sent to the Desi to that effect. The Deb (sdep, an alternative word for Desi) then sent words that should that be the case, preparation for the ceremonial cremation should be made immediately at the same location.
The cremation was conducted the same day. As with the first version, when a windstorm struck and blew away all the ashes, only a handful could be saved which the Tsamdra Trulku entreated the Terton to leave behind for the benefit of the sentient beings. A reliquary stupa was then built with this relic as the main content.

And thus end the second version of the oral accounts of the life and death of Terton Drukdra Dorji. 

Visions, Prophecies and Leadership: Oral Accounts of the Life and Death of Terton Drukdra Dorji  by Thinley Jamtsho, Dendup Chophel and Sangay Thinley. Journal of Bhutan Studies, Vol.31, Winter 2014 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Descending day of Lord Buddha (Lhabab Duchen).

Every year we solemnize “The descending day of Lord Buddha”, but we pursue only for the sake of holiday. Most of us don’t know the occasion neither make effort to learn it. Further, many non buddhist  questioned us "the impossibilities of Buddha coming from heaven". But we failed to convinced them as we don't know. So please try to understand the great occasion of Buddha coming from heaven.
During his forty-first year Lord Buddha went up from Shravasti to the Tushita Heaven and passed the rainy season retreat teaching Abhidharma (Buddhist doctrine) to his mother, Queen Mayadevi, who had died seven days after Buddha's birth and been reborn as a male god in Tushita. The same happens to the mothers of all the buddhas, and they too later go to teach them, afterwards descending to Sankashya.

Seven days before his decent the Buddha set aside his invisibility. Anuruddha (Anuruddha was one of the ten principal disciples and a cousin of Gautama Buddha) perceived him by his divine sight and urged Maudgalyayana (also called Moggallana or Mahamaudgalyayana was one of the principle disciples of the historical Buddha. In some traditions, Maudgalyayana
was said to have magical powers. He is also remembered as a close lifelong friend to Sariputra.) to go and greet him. 
The great disciple did so, telling the Buddha that the Order longed to see him. This was the time Prasenajit's statue was made. Lord Buddha replied that in seven days he would return to the world. A great assembly of the kings and people of the eight kingdoms gathered. 
As the Buddha descended, a flight of gold stairs appeared, down which he came. He was accompanied on the right by Brahma, who, holding a white chowny, descended on a crystal staircase, while to the left Indra came down a flight of silver stairs, holding a jewelled umbrella. A great host of gods followed.

His descent from the heaven takes place at Sankashya in modern Uttar Pradesh, India.
Thus Buddha descended from Tushita Heaven where he went to repay his mother’s kindness by teaching dharma to her and other celestial beings. 
He remained in Tushita for 3 months. As a result of receiving the teachings, Mayadevi attained the realization of an arhat.
On the day that the Buddha descended from Tushita he performed another miracle. 
While he was standing on the jewel stairway, he looked upwards and the worlds of the devas (devaloka) and the Brahmas (Brahmaloka) were revealed. 
Then he looked downward, and the hell realms were revealed. 
At that time the celestial realms, the hell realms and the human realms throughout the universe were all visible to each other.
The event is the Buddha’s “opening of the worlds.” 
The worlds that he opened at that time were the three worlds of heaven (devaloka), hell (yamaloka) and earth (manussaloka).
Devaloka is all the worlds from the Brahmaloka down to all the celestial realms. 
Manussaloka is the world of human beings. 
Yamaloka is the lower realms, all the levels of hell down to the lowest hell, avici.
When the Buddha was descending from heaven, he looked upwards and all the worlds from the human world up to the highest heavenly realm were illuminated. 
As he looked around in each direction of the universe it became clear and unobstructed. 

And when he looked downwards, the illumination continued down to the hell realms.
At that instant the beings living in these three realms could all see each other. 
The human beings saw the devas, the devas saw the humans, the humans and the devas saw the hell beings, and the hell beings saw the devas and humans. 
And all could see the Buddha descending from Tushita gloriously.
The Dhammapada commentary, composed by Buddhaghosa, states that 
“On this day when the beings of all realms saw each other, there was not one who did not want to be the Buddha.” 

The Pathamasambodhi goes even further, saying; 
“At that time, of all the devas, humans and beasts, even down to the tiniest red or black ant, who saw the Buddha, there was not one among them who did not desire Buddhahood.”
Buddhahood is the state of being a Buddha. If we were to make the story of the Buddha opening up all the worlds so that the beings could all see each other more mundane, we may interpret it to mean that on that day the Buddha gave a teaching to which people came to listen in great number, and from which people could sees the results of good and bad deeds: the result of bad being suffering, which is hell, and the result of good being happiness, which is heaven, and the possession of morality is what differentiates people from the animals.
The Buddha bathed immediately after his descent, and later a bathing house and stupa were built to mark the site.
Stupas were also raised at the spot where he cut his hair and nails, and where he entered samadhi. 
The Chinese pilgrims describe further stupas and a chankramana where Shakyamuni and the previous Buddhas had walked and sat in meditation.

The three flights of stairs disappeared into the ground, but for seven steps of each, which remained above. When Great Emperor Ashoka came here later he had men dig into the earth around the protrusions in order to discover their depth.
Although they reached the level of water, they could not find the stairs' end. With increased faith, Ashoka then built a temple over them with a standing image of the Buddha above the middle flight. Behind this temple he erected a great pillar surmounted by an elephant capital. Because the tail and trunk had been destroyed, both Chinese pilgrims mistook this for a lion.

Hsuan Chwang tells that the original stairs had existed until a few centuries before his visit, when they disappeared. Various kings built replicas of ornamented brick and stone, with a temple containing images of Shakyamuni, Brahma and Indra above them. These were within the walls of a monastery, which he describes as excellently ornamented and having many fine images. He further says that some hundreds of monks dwelt there and that the community had lay followers. 
Two centuries earlier Fa Hien found roughly 1,000 monks and nuns living here pursuing their studies, some hinayana and some mahayana. Both pilgrims tell stories of a white-eared dragon who lived close to the monastery, caring for it and the surrounding area. Fa Hien especially remarks on the abundant produce of the land and the prosperity and happiness of the people.
Little seems to be known about Sankashya after the Chinese accounts. In 1862 General Cunningham
identified the spot as being located outside an obscure village west of Farruhabad, above Kanpur, on the Ganges. Not much of the ancient glory of the place remains today. Within a deserted, fenced area stands a large mound topped by the crumbling ruins of a Hindu shrine, in which the former image has been replaced by a small representation of the Buddha. 

The elephant capital of Ashoka's pillar has been remounted on a ten-foot high pillar beneath a stone canopy. Another small shrine nearby contains a statue of Buddha.
The surrounding grounds appear as if they might contain the ruined foundations of former buildings, but if any excavation has ever been done it is buried once more.
This is the only one of the eight places of pilgrimage where today there is no temple, monastery or even a solitary monk. Perhaps the wildness of the area is the cause. With or without a dragon's aid, it may be hoped that this will change.

Tashi Delek

Saturday, November 16, 2019

His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche

His Holiness is regarded as one of the most revered teachers of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in Bhutan. He is the reincarnation of Drubthop Chenpo Jinpa Gyeltshen Rinpoche, who lived in the 18th century. He started studying Buddhism and learning chanting at the age of 5. By age 16, he memorized all chants, became a dance master, and knew how to construct all the sand mandalas. He went on to study Buddhist Philosophy at Tangu Monastery in Bhutan. 

After completing his degree, he went to Nepal and India for further study. He studied Mahamudra and Dzogchen with many great masters including the 68th His Holiness His Holiness Je Khenpo Tenzin Dendrup
, and 69th His Holiness Je Khenpo Geshe Gedun Rinchen.
He also studied other great Buddhist masters including His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche
, His Holiness Dilgo Kyhentse Rinpoche
, His Holiness Penlop Khen Rinpoche and  His Holiness Jadrel Sangay Dorje Rinpoche,
. When he finished his studies in Nepal and India, he returned to Tangu Retreat Center and completed a 9- year retreat. 

At the age of 45, the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Central Monastic Body chose him to become Tshenye Lopen, which means he became recognized as a philosophy master. Five years later, he was appointed as Dorji Lopen and oversaw the monasteries and monastic practice of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in Bhutan.

His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin is recognized as a great scholar and meditation master. His teachings are clear, concise and presented in a way that is understandable to the listener. Throughout his life, he has spent 28 years in retreat. His Holiness always radiates great peace, joy, love, compassion and tolerance and many who have met him have been very moved by these qualities, which he exudes.

At present, Rinpoche is looking after his monasteries and other projects, conducting large prayer ceremonies and meditating in his retreat center.  At the moment he is bestowing  empowerment of Guru Lue Dunma, the seven Chapter Prayer in Paro attended by Rinpoches, Trulkus, Lopens, Lam and lay practitioners.

We offer our prayer for His long Life.