By Eric Dulberg and Laura Ellis
On April 12, 2009, on a warm, sunny, breezy morning in the northern plains of India, near Dharamsala, hundreds of people waited for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to arrive to consecrate Lhundrup Chime Gatsal Ling, a new Tibetan Buddhist monastery founded by His Eminence Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche. Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche is a renowned visionary Dzogchen master from the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and a personal advisor to H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Among the many dignitaries present at this auspicious consecration were all the heads of the Tibetan Government-in Exile, His Holiness the Karmapa, many high Nyimapa lamas and His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Ani Vajra Rinpoche (second of five sons of His Holiness Sakya Dagchen Rinpoche) and His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Asanga Rinpoche (son of Dhungsey Ani Rinpoche and Dagmo Chimey Dollkar, eldest daughter of Kamtrul Rinpoche). Dhungsey Ani Rinpoche’s and Dagmo Chimey la’s two daughters were also present, Jetsun Aloki la and Jetsun Mamaki la.
H.E. Asanga Rinpoche, who is now ten years old, has been studying for the past five years at the Tharlam Monastery, a Sakya monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal. As the maternal grandson of Khamtrul Rinpoche, Asanga Rinpoche was accorded the distinct honor of performing in the monastery’s first event, a long long-life ceremony to honor and pay homage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Upon the initial arrival of H.H. the Dalai Lama, and after brief prayers at the temple door, His Holiness cut the red ribbon, officially opening the monastery to the public. Once inside the monastery, a long-life ceremony was performed for H. H. the Dalai Lama. As part of the long-life ceremony, there was “The Offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama of the Articles Representing the Eight Auspicious Symbols” which was performed solely by H.E. Asanga Rinpoche. Standing directly in front of H. H. the Dalai Lama, Asanga Rinpoche chanted the long offering prayer to His Holiness from memory. There were several hundred people sitting inside the monastery and many more watching from T.V. monitors outside the monastery. This long and elaborate prayer, lasted over 20 minutes during which time, Asanga Rinpoche held up towards H.H. the Dalai Lama, a tray containing each of the eight auspicious symbols with his two hands and offered each one-at-a time, while reciting prayers particular to each of the auspicious symbols. His Holiness the Dalai Lama received each item with a big smile. It was very unusual for these particular prayers to be performed at a monastery inauguration, especially by such a young lama. Asanga Rinpoche has the unique status of being a Sakya Khon lineage holder as well as the maternal grandson of the monastery’s Nyingmapa founder. His participation in the monastery’s inauguration was very special indeed!
Several days after the inauguration, Khamtrul Rinpoche, still beaming, asked his grandson, Asanga Rinpoche to bestow at Lhundrup Chime Gatsal Ling monastery the oral transmission for the Manjushri practice called “Ghang-lo-ma.” Asanga Rinpoche agreed to do so for the benefit of the Khamtrul Rinpoche’s many students who had come from around the world to witness the monastery’s inauguration ceremonies. Asanga Rinpoche made an introduction to the oral transmission, its meaning and significance first in Mandarin Chinese and then in English. Finally, he gave the actual Ghang-lo-ma oral transmission and recitation of the mantras in Tibetan
All of us here in Seattle and the West look forward to the day when Asanga Rinpoche returns to the Sakya Monastery here to give teachings, blessings and empowerments.
Long live the Dharma!
Long live the Sakya Monastery!
Long live Asanga Rinpoche!