Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Merits of Making One’s Root Guru Happy For 1-day Far Surpass Those Accumulated from a 3-year Retreat

Tonight we welcomed Sherap Galtsen Lama from the Mindrolling Monastery in Nepal. He learnt about Acho Rinpoche from our Yeshe Khenpo (a former secretary to H.H Dzogchen Rinpoche) a few years back. It was his second visit to Singapore and he finally met Acho Rinpoche in person tonight.
After our group prayer, Acho Rinpoche shared a message published on the Internet by H.H 17th Karmapa on his 30th Birthday. In his message, Karmapa informed all about the reason why he decided not to celebrate his 30th birthday. He left China for India in 2000, at the age of 16. Now, he is already 30 year-old. He left China for India for only two reasons: to learn the Buddha Dharma and to propagate it. Least did he expect that he would end up being suspected by the Indian Government for being a Chinese spy and restrained from moving around freely. He cannot leave India for other countries freely and he cannot even visit Rumtek Monastery, which is the main seat of the 16th Karmapa in India. The Karmapa’s emblem – The Black Crown, is at Rumtek, out of his reach! He yearned to visit Tibet, for visiting his aging parents and to do his part in environmental protection – protecting the “3rd pole” of earth, for the benefits of mankind. However, it seems unlikely that he could have his wishes fulfilled in the near future.
We considered ourselves very lucky for we can travel the world freely. Next year, when Acho Rinpoche Retreat Centre which is currently under construction is ready, we will visit India for its inauguration ceremony. We can also visit Sikkhim by then. We have a strong karmic connection with Karma Kagyud, so the visit will be meaningful. Besides, during her recent visit to Singapore, Princess Roshana from Nepal extended her invitation to Acho Rinpoche to meet Dodrupchen Rinpoche, who is her Buddhist Master and also a resident of Sikkhim.
Next, Acho Rinpoche shared a story about Master Atisha. Master Atisha had three students during his time: Dromton, who was his personal attendant and translator for his teachings, who attended to his daily needs; Ami, who was a cook who prepared his daily meals; Kambawa, who did a solitary retreat for years.  
One day, Dromton was cleaning up the excretion of Atisha when the latter fell ill. Dromton was very focused in doing his cleaning while maintaining his greatest reverence of his root guru. Suddenly, he entered a profound state of Samadhi and instantaneously attained an extraordinary ability of omniscience. Dromton could read the minds of all sentient beings including ants and insects which were present along the fly path taken by a bird in 18 days.
One day, Kambawa, while in his retreat, suddenly thought to himself, “I am such a hard working practitioner! My spiritual attainment must be the highest among my fellow classmates.” The omniscient Atisha instantly read his mind and sent a messenger to him, asking him to end his retreat and go back to verify the fruits of his labour. So, he contested with Dromton. Surprisingly, Dromton had attained a much higher spiritual attainment than Kambawa! Even the cook, Ami, out did Kambawa!
Acho Rinpoche said, “Such is the inconceivable method of Dzogchen (The Great Perfection) of serving one’s root guru whole heartedly!”
The profundity of such method is beyond our secular wisdom formed on the basis of mental fabrication. Only a student who could let go of his stature, let go of his views, let go of his temper, let go of his pride, let go of his personal pursuits and aims, who could truly serve his root guru as a Buddha, stands the chance of a full enlightenment – the state of Great Perfection!
Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 25-6-2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Princess Roshana and Singing Nun

Tonight we hosted a very special dinner at Tien Court for two very special friends from Nepal: Princess Roshana and a Singing Nun. It was a sumptuous vegetarian meal specially created by a celebrity chef, He Tian Cai, for his special guests. He named his creation “Universal Buddha Light”, clearly showing his attention to details. The chef greeted Acho Rinpoche and Ani personally during the meal and took a photo with his special guests.
Princess Roshana Lama is a member of the Nepalese royal family. Her grandfather, Chiniya Lama, was a descendent of the Qing Dynasty of China, who moved to Nepal and married the daughter of the Nepalese King at that time. Chiniya Lama was a great Nyingma Buddhist Master of the Vajrayana Buddhism very much respected by the King of Nepal. So, he became a Minister of the Nepalese Government too and was given four big pieces of land including the one around the Boudhana Stupa. He was instrumental in the development of Nepal in both her secular and spiritual aspects, and he started the illustrious Chinaya Lama family line in Nepal that lasts till today. 
Roshana studied in Taiwan and married a Taiwanese husband. Ever since, she travelled frequently between Taiwan and Nepal in order to continue to manage her family business in Nepal. She is the chairperson of Chiniya Lama Boudha Foundation. We met Roshana in Singapore few years ago through a Tibetan Buddhist Khengpo who was as resident abbot of a local Buddhist centre. She left a deep impression on us as a very down-to-earth person, an elegant lady and a true Buddhist practitioner. Her teacher is the renowned 105 year-old Chatral Rinpoche, who is the regent of H.H Dodjum Rinpoche.  
Nepal was recently damaged badly by a major earth quake. Roshana was actively involved in helping the earth quake victims and visiting all affected areas in the past two months. As a result of her hectic schedule and physically demanding activities, she has obviously lost a lot of weight. Despite all that, she still looked gorgeous and high spirited. We were indeed very touched by her altruism and compassionate endeavour. 
Ani Choying Drolma is a famous “Singing Nun” who impressed the musical world with her very unique style of singing and a low but soothing voice. She actually visited Singapore in the 80s when she was still a teenage nun – that was the very first time she travelled outside of Nepal and Singapore was her first destination. Later, she became a famous Grammy Award winning singer who has cut a few musical albums so far and given her concerts worldwide. A few of our members have even become her fans!
Ani Choying is a student of Urgyen Tulku, another renowned Buddhist Master in Nepal. She became a nun since young and later set up a nunnery too to help the female Buddhist practitioners. She shared with us her personal experience during the recent Nepal earthquake.
She was sitting in a sofa on a 12th storey high living room at the time, when the earth quake struck Nepal around 12pm on that fateful day. The world around her was shaken drastically and everything was falling onto the floor. She was nearly thrown out of the window due to the violent shakes that lasted for about one minute. She tried to hang on tightly to the sofa in order to avoid being flung out of the window and die a more painful death! She kept chanting the mantra of Guru Rinpoche and told herself that “If it should end like this, let it be so!” Finally, the tremor subsided. She took it as a message from Guru Rinpoche to run for her life. And she did. At the very moment she stepped out of the building, she saw a dead body lying on the floor, killed by a heavy falling object. There were a few other injured people around too.
She survived the major disaster. But it was not over yet. She became very sensitive to tremors now, even when she is in Singapore. A slight tremor will just throw her into a state of panic momentarily, reminding her of the unforgettable moment in Nepal. She would still get her goose pimples each time she recalled that frightening moment. And she found herself transformed by that experience – her vision seems to be sharper now, giving her greater insight into everything she came into contact with, which appeared to be even more precious and meaningful to her now. She has finally realized that life is indeed very fragile, as everything can just perish instantaneously! She realised by now that every breath she took is so beautiful, every bite of the food she ate is so tasty, and everything that happens in her life is so wonderful…… Being alive, is in fact so “delicious”!
Roshana Lama and Ani came to Singapore this time to settle some business related to the Chiniya Lama Boudha Foundation, as well as to raise funds for Nepal. They did an interview for the 833 Radio Station and worked with a local charitable organisation on a plan to hold a concert at the Espanade Theatre on 25 Dec 15, to raise funds for Nepal. So, let us help Nepal to rise from the debris swiftly, and let us pray that the teachings of the Buddha will continue to flourish in Nepal and guide the people of Nepal on the path to enlightenment.  
Reported by Sun-Moon Kfs on 2015-5-10 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Vesak Day

Vesak Day, celebrated by Buddhists worldwide, falls on the 15th day of the fourth Lunar Month. It is a very special day that commemorates the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha. It is also a gazetted public holiday in Singapore. It is also called “One Thousand Buddhas Birthday” as it is believed that 1,000 Buddhas were born on the very same day in the past.
The fourth Lunar Month is also being regarded as the “Sakya Season”, during which any practice done will help a practitioner generate the greatest merits. So, Acho Rinpoche advised all to make good use of this golden opportunity – to practice vigorously. This is, in fact, a special practice in the Vajrayana where a practitioner could practise more vigorously on special days such as the day on which a Buddha was born, to accumulate the greatest merits within the shortest time - for a swift spiritual attainment.  
We held a “Bath-the-Buddha” ceremony and Green Tara Empowerment today as a form of celebration. After our group prayer, Dharma Brother Xin shared with us a special dream that he had recently, soon after receiving the Red God of Wealth (also known as the Elephant-Trunk Vajra or Ganesh) from Acho Rinpoche. In is dream, he saw the ground cracked opened by the force of earth quake. Later, he saw lots of gems (ruby and blue sapphire) emerging from the crack line and he took some of them. He also saw others around him, including Dharma Brother Shao, taking the gems away too.
Acho Rinpoche said that Ganesh is indeed very powerful and rich, and he could actually endow wealth to sentient beings. Dharma Brother Lin reported that he received a handsome reward form his boss after receiving the same empowerment. Acho Rinpoche said that Dharma Brother Lin has a strong karmic connection with Ganesh. (Dharma Brother Shao had a dream in which he saw a huge Ganesh statue being erected by Dharma Brother Lin in his past life, which was worshipped in a big garden. That explains the connection between the two.)
Acho Rinpoche revealed the true identity of Ganesh, saying that he is, in fact, a manifestation of a Bodhisattva of the highest state. Another word, he is an emanation of a Buddha that should not be taken lightly.
The group prayer ended with a Green Tara Empowerment which could help eradicate negative karma of a practitioner, as one will not be able to generate merits until he has his negative karma eradicated.  

Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 1 Jun 2015

 (Pictures below: The day before Vesay Day, we did a life liberation ceremony at a fish farm, releasing about 1,000 fish back to the sea.)