It’s a Yes! Celebrating Our Silver Jubilee with Lama Zopa Rinpoche nov/dec 2014

nov/dec 2014
MIC (P) 057/02/2014
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It’s a Yes! Celebrating Our
Silver Jubilee with Lama
Zopa Rinpoche
Amitabha Buddhist Centre is a centre
for the study and practice of Mahayana
Buddhism, based on the tradition of
Lama Tsong Khapa, in the lineage of
Lama Thubten Yeshe and our Spiritual
Director, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
OUR VISION
Learn to Be Happy
Courage to cherish all
Wisdom to see the truth
Faith in Buddha’s peace
Follow Our Four-fold Path
Inspire
Connect
Learn
Practise
SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR
Time for Practice
Y
es! Lama Zopa Rinpoche will be in Singapore for our 25 anniversary!
Although it will be a brief visit in the midst of Rinpoche’s busy
schedule, we will have the honour of Rinpoche’s presence at the
planned dinner celebration on 21st November. We will also be able to offer a
long life puja to Rinpoche on 23rd November. Turn to the back page for details.
th
With the end of 2014 fast approaching, the time has come for the last curtain
call on our 25th year milestone. In this final issue of TASHI DELEK for 2014,
we highlight our travels to holy places—a bumper spread from page 7 to 12
that traces our passages through historical Buddhist sites across Asia. It might
bring back a flood of memories for some, and for others, it may trigger a
yearning to follow in the same footsteps.
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
RESIDENT TEACHER
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi
PRESIDENT
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Tan Hup Cheng
SPIRITUALPROGRAMME COORDINATOR
Ven. Tenzin Gyurme
CENTRE MANAGER
Koh Zi Yen
Office staff
Administration - Alicia Lee
Operations - Denis Kwan
retail - Serene Tan
OFFICE HOURS
Open daily except Mondays
Tuesdays – Saturdays:
10.30 am – 6 pm
Sundays: 10 am – 6 pm
(Hours extended to 7.30 pm when
evening sessions are scheduled)
AMITABHA BUDDHIST CENTRE
44 Lorong 25A Geylang
Singapore 388244
Tel: 6745 8547 Fax: 6741 0438
www.fpmtabc.org
[email protected]
For the year-end travel season, there are already groups of us on the move.
Some 60 students have returned from an eight-day long Medicine Buddha
meditation retreat at Kopan Monastery with Khen Rinpoche. There is the
upcoming Jangchup Lamrim Teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in
late December at Ganden Jangtse Monastery, south India. ABC is coordinating
a group tour to this event.
What do these group travels do for us?
Besides transporting us to other planes
of inspired (and often exotic) existence
far removed from our own urban high
tech world, and connecting us to our
spiritual teachers and very precious
teachings, these trips have fostered a
friendly camaraderie among us. In fact,
we don’t have to go very far to bond. A
picnic at East Coast Park accompanied
by a lively sea breeze and good food
can be just as effective, especially on
an occasion like Teacher’s Day. All the
right ingredients made for a happy
relaxed outing on 6th September
with Khen Rinpoche. More about
“Teacher’s Day at the Beach”, page 13.
In closing, I hope you have all found
some useful nuggets of knowledge in our 2014 coverage of ABC’s 25 years.
How do we really want to remember our past as we move forward into the
future, particularly for Dharma practice? Far more benefit to bring out the
shine, celebrate the victories and appreciate what everyone at Amitabha
Buddhist Centre has helped to achieve. As the song goes, ”auld lang syne”!
On the cover: Lama Zopa Rinpoche accepting a long life puja at ABC, 1st February 2009
There is a complaint often heard that because of work, there is no time for Dharma: no time to
study, no time for practice, no time to finish commitments. Voicing a similar concern, a nun wrote
to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, saying she could not find time to study and do her practice commitments
while working at a Dharma centre. Here is Rinpoche’s reply.
T
he whole essence to making
decisions in life is to analyse
according to the benefits.
What brings you to enlightenment
quicker? What brings more benefit
to other sentient beings? Don’t get
caught up in the words: “These
are commitments,” “these are
preliminary practices,” or “I don’t
get time to do this because I have
to work for the centre.” Don’t
get caught in these labels. You
should put your life, and so your
main effort, into whatever is most
beneficial for sentient beings, what
brings enlightenment quickly.
That means you can only judge the
benefit by thinking of the lam-rim.
Without the lam-rim, there is no
way to judge what is most beneficial
for sentient beings or most beneficial
for bringing you to enlightenment
quickly.
Two important things in the lam-rim
are bodhicitta and guru devotion. In
my view, from what I hear and see
in the texts, everything depends first
on the practice of guru devotion.
So, it seems your decision should
be on that basis, because that is the
root of the path to enlightenment.
As you know, by meditating on
the eight advantages of devoting
to the guru and disadvantages of
not devoting correctly to the guru,
making mistakes, from that you
can understand the beginning of
the path to enlightenment. What
the lam-rim and the lineage lamas
emphasise, is following the guru’s
advice. This is what the texts say is
the very first thing to think of when
making a decision. They say this is
the most important thing. Then, do
other things on that basis.
It all depends on what is more
beneficial for others. The first thing
to think of in particular is fulfilling
the wishes or following the advice
that’s given by the guru. Otherwise,
you may think you are missing out
on some practice or study because
you are doing a lot of work at the
centre. If you forget to think of
the guru’s advice first, and try to
do something that you feel you are
missing out on, you can do it, but
you may not get much result.
For example, Milarepa offered his
body, speech, and mind to Marpa.
He requested teachings and asked
Marpa also to take care of his food,
clothing, and so forth, because he
had nothing. Then, for years, Marpa
never gave him any teachings, only
hard work, he even asked him to
build a nine-storey tower. Nobody
was allowed to help Milarepa. He
had to do it himself, and after
building it, he had to tear it down
and put the stones back where they
had been before. Even the skin
on his back became bluish and
hardened like an animal that has
carried a lot of baggage. His hands
were worn out and his skin was dark.
If it looked like Marpa was going to
give a teaching and he saw Milarepa
there in the midst of the people, he
immediately scolded him and kicked
him out. Marpa never talked sweetly
to Milarepa. He only scolded and
beat him.
Marpa’s wife couldn’t bear this, so
without asking Marpa’s permission,
she quietly sent Milarepa to Lama
Ngakpa, a disciple of Marpa. There,
Milarepa was given teachings and
did only meditation, no work. I’m
not 100 per cent sure, but I think
he stayed in a hole in the ground
and did meditation for six months.
But, in any case, during this time,
he didn’t have any positive dreams
or other good signs. Milarepa
explained this to Lama Ngakpa and
Lama Ngakpa asked him, “Did you
get permission from Marpa?” Then,
Lama Ngakpa found out that he
did not have permission. He felt
sorry and decided to take Milarepa
back to Marpa. Lama Ngakpa had
nothing to offer Marpa, only a lame
goat, and he handed Milarepa back
to Marpa.
I remember not only stories among
Buddhist students about relying on
the guru, but Hindus as well. For
example, an Indian student had a
Hindu guru who taught him yoga.
He developed the ability to bring
the kundalini energy from the secret
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outside the temple where his guru
was doing retreat and offered a lot of
service. This bodhisattva was able to
complete the first countless great eon
of merit within seven years by doing
service for his guru, Bodhisattva
Chöpa, and by cherishing him more
than his own life.
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place to the heart, but then he found
out that his guru had killed someone.
Since that time, he lost faith in his
Hindu guru, and was unable to go
further with the practice. He lost
faith, and was unable to bring the
kundalini energy from the heart
up to the crown. It got stuck at the
heart. So, even for disciples of Hindu
gurus, the mind affects students in
that way.
There are many such stories. There’s
another story from the opposite
perspective. Pabongka Dechen
Nyingpo had a servant, a monk, who
didn’t know how to read. Pabongka
predicted that in the near future
the monk would be able to read
the Guru Puja text without being
taught it by anyone, just through
doing service to Pabongka. Lama
Lhundrup told me that after this
monk escaped from Tibet and came
to Buxaduar, although at first he was
still unable to read, after some time
at Buxaduar, he was able to read
by himself. The understanding just
came without anyone teaching him.
That is the benefit from serving his
guru, Pabongka.
I’m sure you have heard many
times what Ribur Rinpoche always
used to tell Ven. Roger Kunsang,
my secretary, to remind him of
this point. When Lama Atisha was
in Tibet, one of his disciples, a
Kadampa Geshe called Gompawa,
used to do a lot of meditation.
Dromtonpa, another disciple of
Lama Atisha, didn’t meditate because
he was always so busy translating
and neither did Lama Atisha’s
cook, always being busy cooking.
Gompawa thought, “I might have
higher realisations than them. They
are always busy.” So, when Gonpawa
thought this, Lama Atisha knew
because of his clairvoyant powers,
and he called Gompawa along with
Dromtonpa and the cook. Lama
Atisha had all three of them sit
together, and then he compared to
see who had the highest realisations.
There was no way to compare the
meditator Gompawa’s realisations
with Dromtonpa’s realisations.
Dromtonpa’s were much higher,
and even the cook’s realisations were
higher than the meditator’s. Ribur
Rinpoche always tells Roger that
story. I think what Rinpoche meant
by using this story was to show an
example of a very good and extremely
obedient disciple. This is one story,
but there are many stories like this,
positive and negative stories.
Whatever collects the most extensive
merit, whatever becomes the most
powerful purification is what brings
higher realisations and transforms
your mind. Whatever brings
enlightenment quickly and brings
the greatest benefit to sentient
beings is the most powerful practice.
It doesn’t necessarily always have
to be sitting and closing your eyes
for many hours. One shouldn’t get
caught up in that label.
Of course, I understand nothing is
easy—study, retreat, work for the
centre, especially dealing with people
at the centre. From the stories, one
can also see that when practising
sutra, the path of perfections, it takes
600 great eons to create merit. But
one can also look at the case of the
bodhisattva Tak Tu Ngo, the Always
Crying One, who sacrificed himself
for his guru, cherished his guru more
than his own life, and served his
guru for seven years. Even before he
ever saw his guru Chöpa, he cleaned
Then there’s also the story of
Kadampa Geshe Cha Yul Wa. He
is held up every day by the lineage
lamas as one of the best disciples,
like a world champion, the best
example of devotion to the virtuous
friend. As soon as he heard that his
guru Chengawa was talking to him,
even if he was offering a mandala,
he immediately stopped in the
middle of what he was doing and
offered service. He offered service
every day, cleaning the guru’s home.
One day he collected dirt from his
guru’s room in his robes, and was
carrying it down some steps to take
it outside. When he took the third
step, he saw a number of Buddhas
in the nirmanakaya aspect. His
mind reached the third level on the
Mahayana path of accumulation.
You have to understand from these
stories that the realisations, the
benefits to the mind, don’t just have
to come from retreat, from sitting
meditation, from study or prayers. It
doesn’t necessarily have to be done
that way.
It was the same with Dromtonpa.
At one point, Lama Atisha showed
the aspect of having sickness with
diarrhoea. Excrement and pee-pee
were on the bed, and Dromtonpa
cleaned it without any hesitation. He
cleaned it with his hand. He served
like that day and night, and while
doing that, so much purification
occurred. Dromtonpa achieved
clairvoyance and was able to read the
mind even of tiny insects, of ants at a
distance that would take an eagle 18
days to fly. This happened suddenly.
There are many, many stories like
that. Even from personal experience,
when the guru is very pleased with
you, you’re doing whatever the guru
wishes or asked you to do—retreat,
service to the guru, helping other
sentient beings, anything that pleases
the guru—when you do meditation
during that time, it is much easier.
When the connection is very good,
whatever the lam-rim subject you
are meditating on, it is very easy to
feel it in your heart. That’s a sign of
heavy purification. That’s why the
mind becomes soft and you feel that
if you continue, you can actually
achieve realisation in the topic you
are meditating on, because you have
already had a strong experience of it.
Those are the signs of receiving the
blessings of the guru.
The main thing is deciding what is
the most important benefit, as I have
mentioned. On the basis of that you
make decisions. As I normally say,
if you can, do what brings great
benefit. If you cannot be of great
benefit, offer what is of middling
benefit. If you cannot do what is of
great or middling benefit, do what
is of small benefit. It doesn’t take a
lot of skill. Skill depends on wisdom.
The basis is two things: a good heart
and guru devotion. Between these
two, devotion to one’s virtuous
friend is the key thing. If you don’t
have this, even bodhicitta generally
doesn’t happen. Everything becomes
blocked.
On occasions when there are many
important things to accomplish
at the centre, it’s not possible to
expect to find time for everything,
unless you can manifest like arya
bodhisattvas who can perform
one hundred different activities,
meditate, or go to pure lands to
receive teachings with one hundred
or one thousand bodies. With only
one body, one can’t expect to do
everything.
Along with work, one can do one’s
commitments. When you are doing
your job, if you don’t need to speak,
then you can chant or recite prayers
while your body is doing the work.
When there are important things
to do, or when one is travelling,
one can make prayers then. Many
disciples—not myself—but many
other disciples who are good
Whatever collects
the most extensive
merit, whatever
becomes the
most powerful
purification is
what brings higher
realisations and
transforms your
mind.
practitioners do that. Life is so busy.
If you don’t have time that you can
set aside for practice, whenever
there’s some time or space, you can
do your commitments. Some high
lamas meditate whenever there’s a
break or space.
It also depends on what’s more
important. For example, when
somebody is sick or dying, needing
help, if you don’t offer help but
instead go to your room to meditate
or make prayers, that becomes
selfish. There is something very
important to do for others, but you
don’t do it, and instead think of your
own benefit.
Even if one misses out on one’s
prayers and meditation through
working for the guru or for others,
there is no regret, because making
prayers is supposed to be for others,
to bring them to enlightenment. If
you don’t practise because you’re lazy,
then that’s a loss. In the other case,
there’s no loss. Also, one can reduce
daily practice commitments when
there’s something very important to
do, because the aim is to do what’s
most beneficial for others. Analyse in
this way. Think of what is the most
important thing in life. That way
you won’t have much confusion.
Taken from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s “Online
Advice Book” at www.lamayeshe.com. Slightly
edited for TASHI DELEK.
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High Status and
Definite Goodness
As he completed the first chapter
of the “Precious Garland”, His
Holiness said:
“Although it can be difficult it
is worth studying these texts,
comparing them to each other and
trying to understand what ideas like
emptiness really mean.”
Courtesy of www.dalailama.com
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always emphasised that Buddhists should study the texts in
order to engage in proper Dharma practice. Here is a summary from a preliminary teaching
given by His Holiness at the 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment in Leh, Ladakh on 7th July.
“Whatever kind of discourse is
being given, it’s very important that
teacher and students generate a good
motivation. We should take refuge
in the Three Jewels unencumbered
by such emotions as attachment and
anger, and unsullied by the eight
worldly concerns. For a Dharma to
be Mahayana, the person must be
Mahayana.”
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His Holiness said that the way we are
led out of cyclic existence involves the
Buddha’s fundamental teaching of
the Four Noble Truths, which entails
cessation of the causes of suffering.
Soon after his enlightenment the
Buddha first presented this teaching
in Varanasi. He taught the Noble
Truth of Suffering, the Noble Truth
of its Cause, the Noble Truth of
Cessation, and the Noble Truth of
the Path. He explained that suffering
must be known, its cause must
be abandoned, cessation must be
actualised and the path cultivated.
However, once suffering is known,
there is nothing to be known,
nothing to be abandoned, nothing
to be actualised and nothing to be
cultivated.
His Holiness explained that each of
the Noble Truths has four attributes:
they are impermanent, suffering,
empty and selfless. Regarding
impermanence he said there is gross
and subtle impermanence. When
something simply comes to an end,
that is gross impermanence, but
the momentary change that affects
a thing is subtle impermanence,
impelled by its own causes.
Ignorance is, for example, to hold
onto a permanent self although
there is no such self.
Entering into the path involves
the Three Trainings in morality,
concentration and wisdom, which
lead to the practice of the Six
Perfections and in due course to the
practice of the Vajrayana. To start
with tantra will not be so effective.
To understand what liberation is, we
need to understand the Perfection
of Wisdom teachings. Meanwhile,
as part of the Third Turning of the
Wheel of Dharma the Tathagatagarbha Sutra reveals the subjective
mind, the clear light mind, which
is the essence of the Highest Yoga
Tantra. In his teaching the Buddha
first laid the foundations, then raised
the walls of the structure, finally
topping it with a roof. His Holiness
remarked that Tibetans tend to
begin with the roof.
He said that when the Three
Trainings are developed on the
basis of understanding selflessness,
this renders them the Three
Higher Trainings. The 37 factors
of Enlightenment include the Four
Foundations of Mindfulness; Four
Right Exertions; Four Bases of
Power; Five Faculties; Five Powers;
Seven Factors of Enlightenment
and the Noble Eightfold Path. His
Holiness explained that the Four
Mindfulnesses included mindfulness
of the body, mindfulness of feelings,
mindfulness of the mind and
mindfulness of phenomena.
“Understanding [that] the nature of
the mind is clarity and awareness,”
he said, “we can see how disturbing
emotions can be overcome. Buddhist
teaching is not about threatening
people with dire consequences if
they don’t behave in a certain way.
Instead, by understanding the
advantages of liberation, they will be
inspired to achieve it.”
His Holiness commented that
in today’s world people are more
interested in their physical comfort
and sensory pleasure, and yet love
and compassion are developed
within and are more durable.
Beginning to explain Nagarjuna’s
text the “Precious Garland” he spoke
of high status or good rebirth and
definite goodness or liberation. He
reiterated that Dharma, to protect us
from suffering, entails not harming
others but helping them, often
expressed as abandoning the ten
unwholesome deeds and fulfilling
the ten virtues. In this connection,
all faults come from self-cherishing
and coming under the sway of the
mental factors known as the three
poisons. Suffering is not dispelled by
reciting prayers, only by overcoming
ignorance, the misconception of self.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
will continue to confer
teachings on the classic
lam-rim texts from 23rd to
29th December at Ganden
Jangtse Monastery in south
India. ABC students have
had the great privilege of
receiving many teachings
from His Holiness over
the years, including several
rounds of the Kalachakra
initiation in India and
the annual teachings for
Southeast Asian students in
Dharamsala.
A group photo of mainly ABC students with His Holiness at Sera Je Monastery during
the Jangchup Lamrim Teachings, 3rd January 2014
Turning back the clock: attending His Holiness’s teachings in Sera Je Monastery,
December 2004
Our members attending a teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Tsawa Khangtsen, Sera Je Monastery, 1st January 2014
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Our Spiritual
Journeys
Our progress through 25 years has often found us venturing far from our shores as we explored
distant holy lands, sought out our teachers, immersed ourselves in ancient Buddhist cultures, and
stretched our spiritual horizons.
O
ur members and friends have been game to follow ABC on our spiritual tours abroad. There have been pilgrimages
to sacred Buddhist sites in India, Nepal, China, Tibet and Indonesia; and many trips to receive teachings and
initiations from His Holiness the Dalai Lama throughout India. Through our close connection with Kopan
Monastery, our students have had the opportunity to attend retreats with Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi there. In tribute
to the times that we stepped out of our comfort zones, and gave leeway to our curiosity and courage, here is a small
selection of our moments in amazing faraway places.
At Kopan Monastery, Nepal, following a lam-rim retreat led by Geshe Chonyi—December 2009
In Print from the Past
“Pilgrimage to the Land of Snows”
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8
I
Visiting Wu Tai Shan (considered the abode of Manjushri) in
China, with the late Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup—2004
On Heruka Mountain a short distance away from Sera Je Monastery in
south India—December 2004
Offering lights at the stupa in Amravati, outside the Indian city of
Hyderabad, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama conferred a Kalachakra
initiation—January 2006
Touring the ruins of Nalanda Monastery in Sarnath—2008
n July 2005, “42 ABC members
and friends embarked on a
pilgrimage to Tibet together
with our resident teacher Geshe
Chonyi and five of our Sangha.”
That only “official” expedition to
Tibet to date was organised by Ven.
Paldron and Phuah Soon Ek. I was
among the pilgrims on that odyssey,
a relative newcomer to ABC then.
The journey inspired an essay, which
was featured in our newsletter. Here
is an excerpt from the issue of Sep/
Oct 2005.
“As followers of the Gelug tradition
founded by Je Tsong Khapa,
visiting the three great monasteries
of our lineage was a must. Ganden
Monastery, which was founded
by Lama Tsong Khapa in 1410,
stands high on Drogri (Nomad
Mountain) outside Lhasa. In
the fresh-ness of morning as our
buses wound uphill toward the
monastery, its sprawling buildings
came into view as a curtain of
clouds slowly lifted. Most of
Ganden was destroyed during the
Cultural Revolution in the Sixties.
However it was heartening to see
that repair work had taken place in
recent years, as the ruins were not
obvious to us during our visit.
Many of us bought bags of incense
twigs as offerings, which were
fed into a furnace outside the
main temple. The main temple
of Ganden had a chamber with
a life-sized statue of Lama Tsong
Khapa seated on what had been
his teaching throne. We got to
receive a blessing from his hat and
boots wrapped in yellow brocade
that an officiating monk placed on
top of our heads.
Then we climbed up to another
chamber in which stood a gem-
encrusted stupa holding Lama
Tsong Khapa’s relics. There was a
row of butter lamps outside the
chamber that was soon ablaze
with light as our ABC friends were
swift and enthusiastic with their
offerings.
Sera Monastery, just outside of
Lhasa, was founded by Lama Tsong
Khapa’s disciple, Jamchen Choje.
As it was mid-afternoon by the
time we reached Sera, we missed
visiting the main Sera temple as it
had closed by that time. But we
were able to spend at least an hour
inside the Sera Je temple and to
make prayers to the holy objects
there, especially at the Hayagriva
shrine. We at ABC have a special
connection with Sera Je, as it is the
monastery where our lamas and our
lamas’ teachers studied. Hayagriva
is significant in being the main
tantric deity of Sera Je.
Destination Mount
Kailash
On 9th August, a group of 18 led by Ven. Drachom set off on a pilgrimage to Tibet. Top on the
itinerary: to attempt the circumambulation of Mount Kailash in Tibet’s remote western frontier.
Held sacred by Buddhists and Hindus alike, the mountain is said to be one of the 24 abodes of
Heruka-Chakrasamvara in the world. It is considered very auspicious to be able to complete a
‘kora’ of Mount Kailash. It is also known to be a risky undertaking because of the high altitude
and uncertain weather conditions. Our group of pilgrims reported that they completed the
circumambulation successfully and all returned safe and sound. One of the travellers, Ng Swee
Kim, shares this special journey with us.
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After a cosy gathering in the main
Sera kitchen where we made tea
offerings to the Sangha, a side
excursion was organised to ascend
a craggy mountain behind the
gompa. The purpose was to visit a
cave used by Lama Tsong Khapa.
In this cave, Lama Tsong Khapa
had composed some key texts on
emptiness. Close by was a retreat
house where he had composed
other texts. The monk who was
to guide the group said it would
take 45 minutes to climb up. For
me, it was a case where the spirit
was willing but the flesh was
pathetically weak as an untimely
headache and jelly knees deterred
me from joining the trekking party.
In the end, half of our group with
Geshela made it successfully up the
steep rocky path to pay homage
and offer guru puja at these shrines
of Lama Tsong Khapa.
Drepung, the third of the three
great Gelug monasteries, is also
situated close to Lhasa on a hill.
Before His Holiness the Dalai
Lama’s exile to India, thousands of
monks had studied the great texts
in these monasteries for hundreds
of years. Nowadays, the numbers
have fallen to just a few hundred.
Although the monasteries in Tibet
are no longer swelling with ordained
scholars and hardly a high lama
dwells there, the holy objects and
relics still remaining are themselves
the source of much inspiration
and awe. They are reminders of
the faithful, devoted and extensive
practice of our teachers and those
who came before us. They are
tangible symbols encouraging us
to believe that the miraculous is
entirely possible.
Like Ganden and Sera, Drepung
had numerous chambers filled
with fantastic statues
of Buddhas, deities
and lineage lamas. One
that left an impression
on me was the threestorey high statue of
Maitreya in his eightyear old form. Only
the head and upper
body of Maitreya
are visible in a thirdfloor chamber. After
making an offering to
Maitreya and taking
some pictures, I was
preparing to leave
when an old monk
at the door motioned
me over. He held a large conch
shell. It took my slow mind some
moments to understand that he
wanted to pour some blessed water
from the conch into my cupped
hands. In another hall were smaller
yet no less sacred manifestations
of a Talking Tara statue, a selfarisen Manjushri image, and a
gold tooth relic of Lama Tsong
Khapa. Great faith was surely the
key to accepting these objects as
described. And if great faith was
present, then one was thankful for
the karma ripening to apprehend
such miracles.”
D
ay 7: A lot of travelling over
the sandy and rocky land of
Tibet. By late afternoon, we
had crossed over the Brahmaputra
River and reached the town of Saga
just before sunset. That night, a
group of Indian pilgrims arrived at
the hotel where we were staying. At
first, I thought that they had come
from India but later learned that
they had come from Mount Kailash.
Apparently they had tried to climb
the mountain pass a few days earlier
but had to turn back because of
snow! This was the first time I felt
that even though we had come so
far from Singapore, there was still a
chance we would not complete our
circumambulation.
Day 8 was again a very long journey
of 465 kilometres to the Base Camp
of Mount Kailash, Darchen. On the
way, we had our first sighting of Lake
Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. It
was an awesome sight and everyone
was busy making prostrations and
doing prayers. When we arrived
at the base camp it had numerous
Chinese and Tibetan shops catering
to our modern needs. Ven. Drachom
who had been there 17 years ago kept
saying that things had changed a lot.
The journey that took us three days
from Lhasa had previously taken
him eight days over very rocky roads!
On arrival at Darchen, we
immediately began preparing for
our hike the next day. Yaks had to
be hired to carry our belongings up
the pass. Those who thought they
could not walk and carry their own
bags into the mountains had to hire
horses and porters. There was always
the constant reminder to take our
high altitude antidote ‘hong jing tian’,
a Chinese herbal medicine. Bags had
to be repacked to make sure we only
carried what was necessary.
Day 9 was the start of our
circumambulation
and
the
morning started full of sunshine.
No sign of snow! We took a bus
early in the morning that brought
us to the starting point of our
circumambulation
of
Mount
Kailash, at about eight o’clock. We
could see the peak of the mountain
beckoning to us from afar. Far ahead
to the left lay sky burial sites, but we
were warned not to venture there.
It was an exciting day walking along
beautiful rocky cliffs, waterfalls and
rapids with crystal clear water. We
arrived at a Tibetan tent where we
11
had a simple lunch before continuing
on our journey. For those who had
ordered horses, unfortunately the
horses did not arrive until late in the
day. We arrived at our guesthouse
well before sunset.
The next day we woke up very early
and caught a good sunrise picture
of Mount Kailash. We wanted to
start early on the most important
part of our journey: to conquer the
5,428-metre Drolma-la Pass. It was
supposed to be the most difficult of
the climb—some people who were
not so fit had perished in the past.
The initial climb up was not easy as
there was water flowing down some
paths and it had turned icy. Not
only did we have to climb the steep
slippery path, there were throngs
of Tibetans rushing past us, people
on horseback, and yaks carrying
bags. After every 50 metres, we had
to stop to catch our breath. After
three hours, we reached the top of
the pass. The feeling at the top was
just exhilarating and we managed to
hang our prayer flags and do some
prayers.
12
The way down was not an anticlimax as some would expect, but
the terrain was totally different. The
peaks of the mountains looked like
those seen on other planets and the
lakes were turquoise in colour. The
steps down were really steep and
those on horses had to dismount
and walk on foot. Once close to
the bottom, we had to walk across a
glacier to continue on. After having
a quick bite we walked another five
kilometres to a guesthouse at Zutrul
Teacher’s Day at the Beach
Balmy weather, a sea view, cheerful company, food aplenty, just the right things to bring out the smiles in everyone—the
teachers, students, family and friends. We celebrated Teacher’s Day on 6th September at East Coast Park with a gettogether of about 90 people. Besides students from the Basic Program and Stages of the Path to Enlightenment classes,
the Dharma for Seniors and Chinese Lam-rim groups also joined in this relaxed getaway.
The afternoon began with a leisurely stroll on the beach with Khen Rinpoche. As evening approached and dinner
appetites sharpened, everyone gladly tucked into the goodies provided. The highlight of the picnic menu was homemade
Peranakan mee siam prepared from scratch by our president, Tan Hup Cheng.
Phuk where we stayed for the night.
The way was beautiful as we walked
beside a meandering river with green
meadows on its banks.
The next day we left Zutrul Phuk
and walked five hours to the end of
the circumambulation track before
taking a bus to Darchen. When we
arrived the first thing we did was
to bathe at a public shower in the
middle of town. After three days
without any proper shower facilities,
it was a shower described by many as
the best one in their lives.
The following day we made our way
to Lake Manasarovar, one of the
highest freshwater lakes in the world.
There were plenty of red-coloured
plants and rocks around the lake.
The lake is considered one of the
holiest by Buddhists and Hindus
alike. To Buddhists, it is considered
as a Vajrayogini lake and the water is
nectar. We took a walk around the
lake after lunch and went to a more
secluded part of the lake. Some of
us took a quick dip in the icy cold
water that was really refreshing. In
the afternoon we made our way to
a very old monastery up on a hill
overlooking the lake. It is said that
Guru Rinpoche meditated in the
gompa and left his palm print on its
wall.
Last Chance to Enjoy Our 25th
Anniversary Membership
Specials!
Exclusive 25th Anniversary Celebration Gifts for ALL ABC MEMBERS for 2014 only:
• A special edition ballpoint pen with silver and crystal casing
• 25% discount on regular purchases from Tashi Delek Retail Store*
To enjoy these gift privileges, simply RENEW or UPGRADE your membership (1 / 3 / 5 years /
Life) or start a NEW membership by 31st December 2014
Hurry on down and pick up a Membership Application Form from our office. Don’t miss out
on these exclusive member privileges in celebration of our Silver Jubilee.
Continue to be a part of ABC, now and beyond.
ABC Membership Privilege
• Read e-books on lightweight Kindle
• 13 titles from our Free Publications
in one tablet
• Five Kindle readers available for
borrowing
• To borrow, visit our office – for
members only
*Terms and conditions apply
13
nov 2014
dec 2014
12
JINPA for Our
Community 9.30am
Stages of the Path
to Enlightenment
– Liberation in the
Palm of Your Hand
2.30pm
Centre Closed
for Spring
Cleaning
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Stages of
Animal
the Path to
Enlightenment
– Liberation in
the Palm of Your
Hand 2.30pm
Liberation 10am
Stages of
the Path to
Enlightenment
– Liberation in
the Palm of Your
Hand 2.30pm
Recitation of Golden
Light Sutra 1.30pm
Shakyamuni Buddha
Puja with 1,000
Offerings 7.30pm
14
Guru Puja
7.30pm
the Path to
Enlightenment
– Liberation in
the Palm of Your
Hand 2.30pm
Tara Puja 4pm
Buddha Puja
4pm
8 9 1011121314
Animal Liberation
10am
Medicine Buddha
Puja 4pm
Medicine
Buddha Puja
4pm
10111213141516
Buddha’s Descent
from the God Realm
of the 33 (100 Million
Merit Multiplying Day)
1234567
Stages of
Medicine
15161718192021
Anniversary of
Lama Tsong
Khapa
Tara Puja
4pm
Guru Puja 7.30pm
17181920212223
22232425262728
242526272829 30
29
30
31
Guru Puja
7.30pm
Long Life Puja
for Lama Zopa
Rinpoche 9am
ABC’s 25th
Anniversary
Celebration
Dinner (Seat
bookings
required)
Stages of
the Path to
Enlightenment
– Liberation in
the Palm of Your
Hand 2.30pm
Tara Puja 4pm
Tara Puja 4pm
TASHI DELEK editorial team
Editor
Ven. Tenzin Tsultrim
(Vivian Seah)
Spiritual Programme
Ven. Tenzin Gyurme
Design & Layout
Kennedy Koh
Photography
ABC photo archives
Office of H.H. Dalai Lama
Ng Swee Kim
Tan Seow Kheng
Ven. Tenzin Tsultrim
Charmaine Wai
Yew Kim Guan
Printer
Highlight Printing Services
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TASHI DELEK is a free publication of Amitabha
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Subscribe: Call our office at 6745 8547
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Lhabab Duchen—Merit Multiplying Day
Lhabab Duchen, the 22nd day of the lunar 9th month, marks the day of Buddha’s Descent from the
Heaven of the 33. This auspicious merit-multiplying day falls on Thursday, 13th November.
Join us for these events, opportunities to amplify all virtuous actions by 100 million times as cited in the
Vinaya text, “Treasure of Quotations and Logic”, and even up to 1 billion times according to some sutras:
- Golden Light Sutra Recitation at 1.30 pm
- Shakyamuni Buddha Puja with 1,000 Offerings at 7.30 pm
15
ABC Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Dharma to Others
With Our Most Precious Spiritual Director
& Guru Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
What Rinpoche said about ABC
in his video-recorded message in
January 2014:
“My numberless thanks, and ‘big
heart’! Numberless ‘big heart’ to
ALL my ABC family! It started
and developed through 25 years
up to now, up to today. Wow,
wow, wow, what a development.”
25th Anniversary Dinner Celebration
Long Life Puja for Lama Zopa Rinpoche
An evening to celebrate the accomplishments of Amitabha
Buddhist Centre over 25 years and to look forward to our
continued success in benefiting all sentient beings in the
Dharma—a reunion not to be missed! For enquiries on ticket
availability, visit or call our office.
On the special occasion of our Silver Jubilee, let’s come
together for the auspicious Long Life Puja and offer our
prayers and dedications to our precious spiritual guide and
utmost inspiration, Lama Zopa Rinpoche: for his very long
and healthy life, for all his holy wishes to be swiftly fulfilled,
and that he will remain forever more to guide us in the
Dharma.
Friday, 21 November 2014, 7.30 pm
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
Grand Ballroom
Sunday, 23 November 2014, 9 am
Amitabha Buddhist Centre
`