Saturday, October 20, 2012

X-Tour: Bhutan - A Mind Training Tour in the Country of Happiness

Picture 1: Aura of Guru Padmasambhava, at Tiger Nest
Picture 2: Aura radiated from the body of Acho Rinpoche, at Changyangkha.
Picture 3: Aura enlarged and ascended upward, showering everyone present, at Changyangkha.

I found it difficult to pen my thoughts for this preface because this Bhutan tour was full of spiritual responses, the magnitude of which was simply overwhelming.
37 of us, the Vajrayana practitioners, embarked yet on another extraordinary tour on 5 Oct 2012, heading towards the happiest country in the world – Bhutan. This was a holy trip that straddled the present and past lives.

We chose to transit in Bangkok, Thailand and stayed there for one night. Of course, there is already a direct flight from Singapore to Bhutan being introduced recently. When we touched down in Bangkok, we went for our dinner at a restaurant famous for its transvestites (lady boys) performance. However, we nearly missed out dinner. Reason being, immediately upon our arrival, the numerous deceased transvestites stranded in the nether world came forward to seek help for their soul deliverance. It took nearly an hour for the matter to be settled, after giving them blessing and persuasions to leave.
On the following morning, we were already onboard a Bhutan national airline flight, Druk Air, touching down in the valley of Bhutan. The view of the Himalayan range was simply astonishing! The airplane was so close to the hills that both its wings seemed to be crashing into the valley!  No wonder only Druk Air pilots are capable of flying the airplanes into Bhutan. The runway was so short! And there was only one airplane in the entire airport  – ours.
We set off for Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, immediately after touching down. We really enjoyed the scenic landscape throughout the journey decorated by green mountain ranges, turquoise rivers and golden padi fields. We stopped at a certain location that was very picturesque and I heard the group exclaiming almost simultaneously, “Is this Shangrila?” 
We visited the builder of Buddha Dordenma. He was the vice Chief Monk of Bhutan, H.E Trizin Tsering Rinpoche. He shared with us the reason for building the world’s biggest bronze Buddha statue. Actually, the building of this Buddha statue was already prophesized in the 8th century, that it would bring great benefits to the sentient beings in the universe. When Trizin Rinpoche discussed the plan with the Chief Monk of Bhutan, Je Khenpo Truku Jigme Choeda, the latter entrusted this sacred duty to the former. Soon after, there were several Singaporean Buddhists who came forward to offer their help, in both efforts and kind. The statue was built within a short span of just two years. Trizin Rinpoche told us that the consecration ceremony was scheduled in three years time, and he invited us to the ceremony. We requested him to do a prayer for the group on the spot. We also mentioned our affinity with the statue. On the last night before our departure from Bhutan, Joanne, the organizer of our Bhutan tour, had a dream. In her dream, she saw our group attending the 20th anniversary celebration of the Buddha statue!
On the second day of our arrival in Thimphu, we visited the most renowned temple – Changyangkha Monastery. We saw many parents bringing their new-borns to the monastery for blessing by the abbot. We met the abbot, Tshjeh Rim Richen Rinpoche, and did a Avalokitesvara prayer with him. He told us that the Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara statue enshrined in the monastery was brought into Bhutan from China in the 12th century. This statue actually spoke to the 16th Karmapa when he visited the monastery. When I offered a khatta to Richen Rinpoche at the courtyard of the monastery, Dharma Brother Piu took a picture of us. Surprisingly, three of the pictures turned out to be extraordinary. The first picture showed a rainbow aura radiated from my body. The second picture showed that the rainbow light ascended to the space above, showering everyone present. The third showed a big blue light ball appearing above my head.
On the same night, we had dinner with the uncle of the lady boss who arranged our tour, Om. Her uncle was H.E Tsering Penjor Rinpoche. Penjor Rinpoche was the 8th lineage holder of Powa in Drukpa Kagyud. He often travelled to Taiwan to teach. Dharma Brother Shao had a vision of his lineage masters surrounding him, which was a testimony of his high level of spiritual attainment. I showed him the three pictures taken with Richen Rinpoche. He said only a practitioner who has attained a true state of liberation would be able to demonstrate such extraordinary feat. No wonder, when we did a Guru Padmasambhava prayer with him at night, he offered the centre seat to me. He also gave everyone in our group two big precious mani pills each.
After one long day of bumpy roads, most of us ended up feeling nausea and giddy. Finally, we arrived in Gantey. On the following morning, we visited Gantey Gompa of Nyingma lineage. It was built on the west side of the black mountain in Gantey. This monatery was built in commemoration of a great Terton (hidden treasure discoverer). When we entered a place that enshrined a stupa within the monastery, Dharma Sister Zhen suddenly broke down and cried, requesting my blessing. She seemed to be singing in Bhutanese language. After which, it was the turn of Dharma Sister Karen to cry. She said both her arms felt numb, trembling and cold, completely out of her control. When I finally said, “It’s ok now!” her strange sensations disappeared instantaneously. Dharma Sister Qiong and Wong were also crying and asking for blessing. At this juncture, H.E Konde Rinpoche suddenly requested me to bless him with the vajra held in my hand; everyone present was clearly surprised by his action. Finally, everyone knelt down and requested my blessing. So, I transformed myself into Vajradhara and blessed everyone present. When the blessing was over, Dharma Sister Irene collapsed on the floor, complaining about many spiritual beings entering her body requesting blessing too…….
We cut through a vast padi field, making our way to the famous Divine Mad Man temple. We met many Thailand Buddhists on the way. When we reached the temple, I held the unusual religious implements of the Divine Mad Man, Lama Drukpa Khenley, in my hand. At that juncture, H.E Konde Rinpoche knelt before me again, requesting my blessing. I gave my blessing to everyone present, using the religious implements of the Divine Mad Man, including an arrow and a bow, and two other pieces of wooden male organs. After we left the temple, we went to the house of one of our tour guides, Sonam SP. It was the house of his wife. He requested me to do a Green Tara prayer. Green Tara descended from space, blessing everyone and delivered the soul of the past seven generations of his wife’s ancestors. When we left the house, on our way down the staircase, there was another group of spiritual beings coming forward to seek my blessing…….
Joanne kept asking our Bhutanese tour guides about the “Look Like Me” statue of Guru Padmasambhava, from the second day onwards after our arrival in Bhutan. However, the tour guides told her that there was no such temple. Few years ago, Jampel Lama, a Bhutanese monk came to Singapore and gave her a picture of that statue. He said that statue was believed to be a look-alike of Guru Padmasambhava, hence the name.  When we arrived at the hotel in Paro, we went to a temple that was believed to be the oldest in Bhutan, which was not in our original itineraries. It was built in the 7th century for the purpose of subduing a big demon in the Himalaya range. It was one of the 108 temples built then. This one sits on the left knee of the demon. There is another one sitting on its heart – the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. There is a replica of this temple built by the 3rd Queen of Bhutan, sitting just next to the original one. When we entered the temple, we immediately saw the statue of H.H Dilgo Kyentse being enshrined in the left wing of the temple. His relics were enshrined in a stupa in the right wing. And his throne was being preserved too within the temple, from which he gave the teachings of The Great Perfection (Dzongchen). A big statue of Guru Padsambhava was being enshrined right in the centre of this temple. It was just the “Look Like Me” statue of Guru Padmasambhava! There was another “Look Like Me” statue of Guru Padmasambhava  in Tibet. Both of them were made from the same piece of material. When Ma Yum La (my wife) paid her respect to Guru Padmasambhava by touching his big foot with her forehead, she felt the movements of Guru Padmasambhava……
The last stop of our mind-training tour was the most sacred place of Bhutan – the Tiger Nest! Two years ago, Dharma Sister Bing had a dream. In her dream, she and I came to a temple that was built on a cliff. When we entered the temple, she saw the abbot of the temple giving up his throne and requesting me to sit on it. When we arrived at Tiger Nest, she suddenly realized that that was the temple in her dream! There was a wonderful and inconceivable connection between the Tiger Nest and Acho Rinpoche indeed. The rest of the group ascended the Tiger Nest before I did. When I made my way to the last step to the Tiger Nest, they started chanting my heart mantra. At this juncture, Nelso had a vision of a huge ceremonial crown of Guru Padmasambhva descending from space, resting nicely on my head. Dharma Brother Shao had a vision of Guru Padmasambhva welcoming us and offering a khatta to me and the rest of the group. He also offered a five-buddha crown to everyone in the group. At Tiger Nest, members of the group took many pictures of auras using both the cameras and video cameras. When we offered one thousand butter lamps at the sacred cave where Yeshe Tsogyal transformed herself into a tiger, there were many pictures of beautiful auras taken at this location.
At our night prayer on the last night in Paro, there were seven (auspicious number) Bhutanese joining us including the lady boss of the travel agency, tour guides and drivers. They received empowerments from me too. When H.E Konde Rinpoche made his closing speech, he told the group that although he had met many rinpoches in the past who also presided over prayers and transmitted the teachings to the numerous sentient beings, he had never come across an experience that was so shocking and the power of blessing so great! He realized that our tours are not ordinary tours but a mind-training tour that could truly benefit the numerous sentient beings in the Six Realms of Existence (samsara). He wished to join us for our mind-training tours every time in future……
Of course, Konde Rinpoche had many auspicious dreams during the tour. Besides, there were other members of the group who either found her son, brother or husband (who waited a long time in the nether world for the opportunity to be delivered) respectively of their past lives in Bhutan. There was also a member who dreamt of being chased after by a thousand ghosts and was so frightened that he decided to follow me closely even when I went to the toilets, haha…… There were simply too many extraordinary encounters to be mentioned in this preface. I would like to ask the readers to wait patiently for our new X-Tour book to be published. I will guarantee you that you will be seeing lots of wonderful and extraordinary pictures of aura etc, and a glimpse of the secrets of the cyclic existence……

Acho Rinpoche
14 Oct 2012