How to set up a simple Tibetan Buddhist Shrine.

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1. Think about what you are doing and why.

2. Find a suitable place for the Shrine.

3. Clean the space thoroughly.

4. Place a clean piece of cloth on the surface. In the
illustrated shrine, a Tibetan offering scarf (kata)
has been used for this purpose.

5. Place the representation of the Buddha in the
centre of the shrine. The illustrated shrine uses an
embroidered picture of the Buddha, but a statue or a
poster or card with a picture of the Buddha can
equally be used. Try to ensure that the Buddha is set
at a higher level than the offerings.

6. Place seven offering bowls in a line directly in
front of the Buddha; each bowl should be placed the
width of a grain of rice from the next bowl.

7. Place a butter lamp containing a night-light
directly behind the forth bowl (counting from the
left).

8. Construct the universal offering.

9. Starting with the bowl on the far left, fill each
bowl with the specified offering whilst considering
what that offering symbolises and what that means for
you. After you have finished the offering in the
fourth bowl (incense); light the night-light in the
butter-lamp. Complete the offerings using the
remaining offering bowls.

10. Place the universal offering on the shrine, again
being very mindful of what the offering represents.

11. Add any further offerings such prayers (the
illustrated shrine shows a Tibetan prayer card); small
vase of flowers; burning incense.

12. When removing the offerings (before or at sunset
each day when water is used in the offering bowls)
empty the bowls one by one, dry them with a clean
cloth and stack them upside down or put them away.
Bowls should be emptied from right to left. Never
leave empty bowls right side up on the altar. The
water is not simply thrown away but offered to the
plants in your house or in the garden. Food and
flowers should also be put in a clean place outside
where birds and animals can eat them.

Two Hot Tips!

· The day before setting up the shrine, soak the rice
in some water coloured with saffron – leave it
overnight. Drain the rice and leave it to dry. You
will then have rice with a beautiful golden-yellow
colour which will look superb in the offering bowls.

· Use pudding rice rather than long-grain rice; this
absorbs the saffron better. Also, being more dense, it
is better at ‘holding’ the items placed in the
offering bowls.

The Offerings on a Tibetan Buddhist Shrine.

Bowls

 

 

 

 

Tibetan Buddhists make offerings using a set of 7
offering bowls and a butterlamp. The picture at the
top of this page shows a ‘fixed’ offering – that is an
offering that can remain unchanged on the shrine for
some time. From left to right, each bowl is filled
with rice and represents the following offerings:

· (1) ARGAM (water for drinking). Water symbolises
purity, clarity and calmness – by ‘drinking’ the
Buddha’s teachings we can cleanse our minds from
desire, ill will and ignorance.

· (2) PADAM (water for washing the feet) This offering
represents power of the Dharma to help us move forward
on the path towards enlightenment.

· (3) PUPE (flowers): a flower is placed in the rice
of the 3rd bowl. If a fresh flower is used, it will
need to be replaced before it withers; otherwise a
good artificial flower can be used. Flowers represent
the richness of the Dharma. They also remind us of
Buddha’s teachings that all things are impermanent.
The most symbolic flower in Buddhism is the lotus.
Just as the lotus rises out of a muddy pond and floats
above the clouded water, the Buddha realised the
potential that we all have by rising above the
defilements and sufferings of life.

· (4) DUPE (incense): a small bundle of incense sticks
is placed in the rice. Incense symbolises the
fragrance of moral conduct and the overcoming of
negativity; just as the fragrance of incense spreads,
so can the practice of moral conduct.

· (5) ALOKE (light): light is offered by means of a
butterlamp which is placed behind the offering bowl
holding incense. Traditionally, butterlamps contain a
wick and burn butterfat; however, a night-light placed
in a butterlamp is a good alternative. Light
symbolises awareness and wisdom and the overcoming of
the darkness of confusion, mistrust and ignorance.

· (6) GENDE (perfume): a small container of perfume or
essential oil is placed in the rice of the 5th
offering bowl. Perfume represents the purity and
attractiveness of unshakeable faith and confidence in
the Dharma.

· (7) NEWEDE (food): a piece of biscuit or small fruit
is placed on the rice of the 6th bowl. Food symbolises
the sustaining nature of meditation and wisdom and how
this can help us satisfy the spiritual needs of
ourselves and all sentient beings. In particular,
fruit represents the ultimate fruit of enlightenment.

· (8) SHAPTA (music): a small conch shell is often
used to represent music; it is placed on the rice of
the 7th bowl (far right). Music symbolises the power
of the Dharma to reach our minds and hearts.

Tibetan Buddhists make offerings using a set of 7
offering bowls and a butterlamp. The picture at the
top of this page shows a ‘fixed’ offering – that is an
offering that can remain unchanged on the shrine for
some time. From left to right, each bowl is filled
with rice and represents the following offerings:

· (1) ARGAM (water for drinking). Water symbolises
purity, clarity and calmness – by ‘drinking’ the
Buddha’s teachings we can cleanse our minds from
desire, ill will and ignorance.

· (2) PADAM (water for washing the feet) This offering
represents power of the Dharma to help us move forward
on the path towards enlightenment.

· (3) PUPE (flowers): a flower is placed in the rice
of the 3rd bowl. If a fresh flower is used, it will
need to be replaced before it withers; otherwise a
good artificial flower can be used. Flowers represent
the richness of the Dharma. They also remind us of
Buddha’s teachings that all things are impermanent.
The most symbolic flower in Buddhism is the lotus.
Just as the lotus rises out of a muddy pond and floats
above the clouded water, the Buddha realised the
potential that we all have by rising above the
defilements and sufferings of life.

· (4) DUPE (incense): a small bundle of incense sticks
is placed in the rice. Incense symbolises the
fragrance of moral conduct and the overcoming of
negativity; just as the fragrance of incense spreads,
so can the practice of moral conduct.

· (5) ALOKE (light): light is offered by means of a
butterlamp which is placed behind the offering bowl
holding incense. Traditionally, butterlamps contain a
wick and burn butterfat; however, a night-light placed
in a butterlamp is a good alternative. Light
symbolises awareness and wisdom and the overcoming of
the darkness of confusion, mistrust and ignorance.

· (6) GENDE (perfume): a small container of perfume or
essential oil is placed in the rice of the 5th
offering bowl. Perfume represents the purity and
attractiveness of unshakeable faith and confidence in
the Dharma.

· (7) NEWEDE (food): a piece of biscuit or small fruit
is placed on the rice of the 6th bowl. Food symbolises
the sustaining nature of meditation and wisdom and how
this can help us satisfy the spiritual needs of
ourselves and all sentient beings. In particular,
fruit represents the ultimate fruit of enlightenment.

· (8) SHAPTA (music): a small conch shell is often
used to represent music; it is placed on the rice of
the 7th bowl (far right). Music symbolises the power
of the Dharma to reach our minds and hearts.

The shrine can also contain a ‘mandala’ or ‘universal’
offering. This is built up in layers, each layer
consisting of a metal ring filled with rice. This
creates a representation of Mount Meru, which is held
to be the centre of the world in Buddhist mythology.
In offering Mount Meru on a shrine, we are in effect
offering the whole universe – we are saying that there
is nothing in the universe (including ourselves) that
we are attached to and not prepared to offer up in
following the Dharma.

PARENTS by TSEM TULKU RINPOCHE

 

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For approximately nine months, our mothers bear incredible difficulties to carry us in her. She has to endure morning sickness, dizziness, cramps, weight gain, and movement difficulties. Even in eating she has to be especially careful in her diet for her baby. Something as simple as sleeping becomes troublesome, as she cannot sleep in her usual positions for fear of creating discomfort to the baby. If she has a career she’ll have to work and carry the extra burden of having a child in her. If she cannot, then she’ll have to take leave or resign from her job. Her personal freedom of movement, time, career and social activities are totally sacrificed.

When the big moment of birth comes along, she has to rush to hospital and endure hours of labour pains. If any complications arise, she might have to undergo a cesarean, which means cutting through her body, and re-stitching it and waiting for time to heal. Some mothers even die while giving birth. Her life is sacrificed for ours. After the child is born she also has more problems. What vestige of freedom was left prior to birth is now completely lost. Her sleeping time is gone as she’ll be woken up all hours of the night to attend to the crying baby. Feeding will be every two hours. How many thousand times does she have to change the diaper? Every moment of her time will be preoccupied with the safety of the baby and that the baby doesn’t hurt itself. Every waking and sleeping moment of her mind will be totally devoted to the welfare of this little being selflessly. She has to physically and mentally completely sacrifice her own interests for that of the baby.

While the father may not be bearing the physical discomforts and sacrifices, but his contribution will definitely be there. He will definitely have a great part in attending to the baby. He’ll have to be there to make sure that his wife is comfortable during her pregnancy and birth. After and before the birth of the baby he’ll have to, in most cases, make sure the finances can cover this heavy burden of supporting the hospital bills. When the baby comes home, the father’s burden beings with re-shifting his priorities and has the psychological burden of having to support his family. House mortgage, food, electricity, clothes, travel, etc., etc. will all have to be burdened by the father. Some fathers might have to take up second jobs to make up. So his time is totally spent in the earning of income for his baby. The needs of the baby as it grows up are tremendous. Clothes, schooling, medical, travel and material necessities. As the child grows up, the child is quite demanding for many material wants to compete with peer adding to the burden of parents. The College and University will drain the parents of their last, hard earned savings.

If the child should meet up with the wrong people and become involved with intoxicants, crime and unruly behaviour that damage their future, how it will destroy the parents with worry. Even financially the parents will have to bail the child out of their situation. This is just a general description of the burden we create for our parents. They still gave us life and love us in their own way. We can still apply this example to aunts and uncles or whomever it’s applicable to. The fact of the matter is that our parents are indescribably kind to us. Their kindness is innumerable, countless, infinite and we will never be able to pay them back in one life alone. I read an article that in the fifties during the Korean War, some three hundred people were taken prisoner. They were held for three days. If people try to escape they were shot. Everyday the soldiers opened fire on the unarmed peasants and killed them. Naturally the ones in the front received the bullets first and were killed first. There was one mother while the shots were being fired embraced her two children to shield them from the bullets. As a result, she took four bullets into her body. As she finally collapsed the children can hear her screams of pain but she protected her children. Both children are alive today because of the greatest sacrifice their mother made for them. There were only 20 survivors out of 300. The two children related the bravery and kindness of their mother, I was very moved by this incredible story, it only confirms my firm belief in the kindness of our parents. They are so amazingly kind. I’m sure even our own mothers would choose our life over hers. In fact, I’ve personally come across parents that work very hard to provide for their children what they didn’t have themselves. They wish not even the slightest bit of suffering for their offspring. Where in the world can we find someone so devoted, loving and caring towards us without any expectation of returns. If something positive happens to us, no one will be more happy for us than them.

With all this kindness shown towards us while growing up, we must remember them, again and again. Whatever religion we may be and even a free thinker, our parents must not be abandoned. Praying to the Buddha or God but not taking the utmost care in our parents now that we are grown up will bring no results. For the general people, I feel, our parents are kinder than Buddha or God. We must support them. Assist them. Never make them feel they are a burden for us. How can they be a burden for us? It is actually we who have been the burden for them. We have taken the best years of their life, their youth. So how can we abandon them emotionally or physically now? People who do not respect their parents and not return the care they have shown will never be complete, happy and harmonious people. If we have the great fortune to still have our parents alive or living with us, we should rejoice. We have one set of parents. Once they are gone, they will be irreplaceable. A measure of whether a person is selfish or not is how they take care of their parents. How they prioritize their life towards the needs of their parents. Why? Because if someone has been so incredibly kind to us, it behooves us to return that. If we carelessly not return their kindness, it only reflects on what an unappreciative person we are. It is ridiculous to help other people but not our parents.

Golden rules towards our parents that should be followed:
1) Never speak harshly to them.
2) Keep your promises to them.
3) Serve them.
4) Make time for them.
5) They should always be on your priority list.
6) Always be in communication with whether near or far.
7) Always be involved in their life.
8) Make sure you are there in any way to help
9) Help them emotionally, physically and financially when and if they need it.

As your parents are human, they also could have made mistakes with you. Forgive them. They meant no harm. They are old now. Take care of them. Never hold grudges towards them. Lord Buddha stated that the five most heinous crimes in relations to karma are: Killing our mother, Killing our father, drawing the blood from a Buddha, Killing an Arhat, and Creating Schism within the Sangha. The resultant karma from these actions are very heavy. Upon death, one immediately takes rebirth in Hell. So if out of all negative actions two are related to parents, then we have to conclude how important they really are for Lord Buddha to mention in this manner. Of course, none of us have committed such heinous crimes, but anything done towards our parents, the repercussions are definitely heavier. Example, if we were to speak harshly to a friend or our parents, speaking harshly to the latter would be heavier negative karma.

So whether we are religious or not, it does not matter. But if we do follow a religious path, then we must be very aware for every religion teaches the importance of parent devotion. So if we are religious practitioners and we neglect our parents, then it is totally hypocritical and contradictory. We can call ourselves spiritual, because the whole basis of spirituality is remembering the kindness of others. In fact, in the text of developing Bodhichitta (Bodhisattva-cha-avatara) written by the Indian Buddhist Master Shantideva, the first step is the meditation on kindness of others especially focusing on out mother. Using this we engage in the development of Bodhichitta or loving compassion. Without Bodhichitta, there is no Buddhahood. So if we only meditate on the kindness of our mothers and not do something about it in daily life, then it is empty and does not bear fruit. If we are unable to serve them due to genuine difficulties, it’s different. But if it is out of laziness or lack of reflection on their kindness, then it is not good for us now or in the future.

As Buddhists, we should recite one rosary of Tara or Tsongkhapa mantra for them a day. We should have an image of Tara or Tsongkhapa dedicated towards them on our altars. We should make offerings to these Buddhas dedicated towards them. We should do special puja (prayer ceremonies) with the Sangha dedicated towards their long life and future rebirths. If they have passed away, then we can do the same except dedicated towards a higher rebirth for them in their future lives. Besides Tara and Tsongkhapa, we can definitely have other Buddhas. But Tara and Tsongkhapa are easy and simple practices.

Most important is the sincere appreciation of our kind parents, because of them everything in this life and future lives are possible. We should make them our priority and serve them. Never be harsh with them and always be on the alert on serving them. From this practice, the basis of a harmonious and peaceful individual will arise. From the collection of these individuals, a peaceful and harmonious society will arise.

I hope this write up benefits people and the above-mentioned practices will be followed.

With sincere prayers and good wishes.

ADVICE FROM THE VIRTUOUS FRIEND Lama Zopa Rinpoche

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This is an edited excerpt of advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche to a nun who wrote to him with questions about her practice, especially regarding her not being able to find time to study and do her practice commitments while she was working at a Dharma center.

 

The preliminary practices that you have not finished you can do in big numbers in retreat. Some you can also continue to do in the center while you study or work. It’s up to you, whatever you can do. You can decide in your heart how you feel.

 

Regarding how much time to spend on your own commitments, sometimes when there’s a good opportunity to study, then put more time into studying. At other times, put your main effort into doing deity or preliminary practice retreat. Then, when you are staying at a center or elsewhere, how much time you spend depends on the importance of your activities. Don’t get caught up in the titles: “These are commitments,” “These are preliminary practices,” or “I don’t get time to do this because I have to work for the center.”

 

You should put your main effort into whatever is most beneficial for sentient beings. You can only judge the benefit by thinking of lam-rim. Without the lam-rim, there’s no way to judge what is most beneficial for sentient beings or to bring yourself to enlightenment quickly.

 

In my view, the whole thing depends first on the practice of guru devotion. By meditating on the eight advantages of devoting to the guru and disadvantages of not devoting correctly to the guru, you can understand the beginning of the path to enlightenment.

 

The first thing to think of is fulfilling the wishes or following the advice that’s given by the guru. Otherwise, if you think you’re missing out on a practice or study or something else because you’re working for the center and the guru, then you can do the other thing but you may not have much result.

 

For example, Milarepa offered his body, speech and mind to Marpa and requested teachings and asked him also to look after his food, clothing and so forth, because Milarepa had nothing. Then for years Marpa never gave him any teaching, only hard work, even building a nine-story tower that he had to tear down after it was built. Marpa never talked sweetly to Milarepa, but would scold him and kick him out of teachings.

 

Marpa’s wife couldn’t bear this, so without asking Marpa’s permission, she quietly sent Milarepa to Lama Ngagpa, a disciple of Marpa’s. There, Milarepa was given teachings and did meditation for six months. During this time, he didn’t have any dreams or other good signs. Lama Ngagpa asked, “Did you get permission from Milarepa?” Then Lama Ngagpa found out that there was no permission, he brought 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 kundalini energy from the secret place to the heart, but then found out that his guru had killed someone. He lost faith, and was unable to bring the kundalini energy from the heart up to the crown. It got stuck at the heart.

 

Whatever brings enlightenment quickly and the greatest benefit to sentient beings, that is the most powerful practice. It doesn’t necessarily always have to be sitting, closing your eyes for many hours. Of course, I understand nothing is easy – study, retreat, work for the center, whatever, especially dealing with people at the center.

 

By practicing the sutra path, it takes 600 great eons to create merit. But in the case of the bodhisattva Tak Tu Ngo, the Always Crying One, he was able to complete the first countless great eon of merit within seven years by doing service to his guru, Bodhisattva Chopa.

Also, Kadampa Geshe Cha Yul Wa is held up every day by the lineage lamas like a world champion, the best example of devoting to the virtuous friend. As soon as he hears that his guru Je Ngawa is talking to him, even if he is offering a mandala, he immediately stops in the middle of what he is doing and offers service. One day he collected dirt from his guru’s room in his shemtab (monk’s lower garment) and was carrying it down some steps to go out. When he got to 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.

When Lama Atisha showed the aspect of having a sickness with diarrhea and pee-pee, Dromtonpa cleaned it by hand without any hesitation. While serving this way so much purification happened. Dromtonpa achieved clairvoyance and was able to read the mind even of tiny insects, of ants at a distance that would take an eagle eighteen days to fly. This happened suddenly.

Even from personal experience, when the guru is very pleased with you then when you do meditation it will be much easier. The connection is good and it is very easy to feel it in your heart. That’s a sign of heavy purification and receiving the blessings of the guru. The mind becomes soft and you feel that if you continue, you can actually achieve realization in the topic you are meditating on.

If you can, do what brings great benefit, otherwise do what is middling, and otherwise do what is small benefit. It doesn’t need a lot of skill. Skill depends on wisdom.

The basis is two things: 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 center, if you expect to find time for everything, that’s not possible, unless you can manifest like Arya Bodhisattvas who can perform one hundred different activities with a hundred or a thousand bodies. Otherwise, with only one body, one can’t expect to do everything.

Along with that work, one can do one’s commitments. When you are doing your job, if you don’t need to use your lips for talking, then you can use them to chant or recite prayers, while your body is doing the work. During times when there are very important things to do, or when one is traveling or going by car, just do the prayers then.

It also depends on what’s more important. For example, when somebody’s sick or dying, needing help, if you don’t give them help but instead go back into your room to meditate or do prayer, that becomes selfish. For example, there’s something very important to do for others, but you don’t do that, and instead think of your own benefit.

Even if one misses out on one’s prayers and meditation, by working for the guru or for others, there’s no regret because doing the prayers is supposed to be for others, to bring them to enlightenment.

If it is because you’re lazy, then that’s a loss. In the other case, there’s no loss. Also, one can reduce the daily practice commitments when there’s something very important to do, because the aim is to do what’s most beneficial for others. Analyze in this way. Think what is the most important thing in life. That way you won’t find much confusion in life.

 

Some FAQ’s When I First Came to the Dharma Path

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What is spirituality?

Spirituality is recognising one has faults and that there is a method to overcome these faults and applying those methods. Going to a Temple of Worship is not spiritual but it supports one’s spirituality.

How do we practice Buddhism?

All beings are controlled by anger, desires and ignorance – so-called self-cherishing mind. We hate our enemies, love our nearest and dearest and have no cares whatsoever to a stranger. Practising Buddhism means transforming our minds, so that we can cut down our anger, desires and ignorance. We change the way we view things around us, to accommodate others. That is the best way to eliminate our self-cherishing mind.

Do we need to have a teacher to practice?

Like studying, we need a qualified teacher who can teach us the best and quickest method (according to our level of intelligence) to achieve the required results. Similarly, we need a qualified teacher to guide us on our Buddhist path – to show us the best and quickest path.

What is karma?

Karma means ‘action’ is based on the Law of Existence which only an omniscient being understands. Every action we perform – good, bad or neutral plants karmic seeds in our subtle minds that will ripen in future (not just this life but in future lives). Like the English proverb, “if you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind”, good actions create good results whilst bad actions create bad results.

How do I overcome the bad karma?

By practising dharma – start with the preliminaries of making lots of good offerings and prostrations to collect merits. Perform good actions with good motivations. Read many dharma books and attend dharma talks. Ask questions if you do not understand. We may not be able to stop the bad karma ripening but at least, by practising now (and not procrastinate) we may soften the “blow” (so to speak).

What are Merits?

All good actions done with the right motivation will generate merits. Whilst karma will exhaust itself, merits do not. Good actions with wrong motivations can give rise to good karma – such as making donations for publicity. But the good results generated will exhaust and downfall is inevitable.

 

Delusion

is inappropriate attention – makes the mind uncontrollable and unpeaceful10354223_10201985956117849_14214619139445215_n

if there is no delusion, there will be peace and tranquil

so check one’s mind to determine the frequency of tranquil mind and deluded mind

one should train to maintain a peaceful mind one day at a time until continuous peaceful mind is achieved, at which point, delusions are abandoned and the mind is not possible to be disturbed by anything

DELUSIONS obstruct liberation nad destroy mental peace and are called the inner enemies (or Maras)

External problems do not have power to disturb one’s mind UNLESS one respond to them by developing delusions.

If there are no delusions, even ENEMIES, cannot destroy one’s peace of mind.

The Guru is Supreme

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One who is on a spiritual path and has a Guru must treat the Guru as the Buddha himself for it is through learning what the Guru has to say that one will find peace.

One has to watch out for the deed of the Mara, “who may suggest one’s Guru enjoys the pleasures of the senses, when in fact, the Guru does so only as skillful means and has really risen above them”.

That the faults a disciple sees in a guru are projections of the disciples impure mind and not faults in the Guru is a recurring theme in The Fulfillment of All Hopes…

…without a doubt, when one considers one’s guru in the light of whatever good qualities he might have, it results in ones accomplishment increasing; and because too, when one considers the guru in the light of whatever trivial flaw the guru may have, it hinders accomplishment.

Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara Dedication Prayer

shanti deva

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind,
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms
And the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose bodies are worn with toil,
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing
The hungry find food
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the hopeless find hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all the medicines be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power
And the people think of benefiting each other.

For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world.

INVITING A BUDDHA OR A TEACHER FOR A DHARMA TEACHING

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 The greatest generosity one can give is to teach or elucidate the Dharma. Why? Because the Dharma teaches us methods so supreme on how we can achieve true happiness, how to get out of suffering and the cycles of death and rebirth. 

That is why when a Guru or a Buddha comes to teach, Gods, Demi Gods, Devas and Dakinis, Humans and non Humans, Nagas and animals all rejoice on this great act and offer festive welcome of the highest form.

The ground, which the Buddha or teacher walks on will be washed and cleaned and in our modern day, the 8 auspicious sign will be drawn on to the ground. Carpets are rolled out, jewels thrown on the ground and flowers are sprinkled from the sky by the Heavenly Gods as the Buddha walks to his teaching abode. Long horns, symbols, clarinets, drums are resound – music from all sorts of instruments will be played. 

The king of the country holds the precious parasol above the Buddha shading him from the sun and heat, the victory banner is carried high in front and an entourage of welcoming community walks along in front and behind him. Even the Gods like Shiva, Indra, Brahma will welcome the Buddha, they walk on the side, slightly in front of him as you can see in the picture.  Even the Nagas will offer it’s back for the Buddha to walk on.

It is truly a huge celebration, a celebration for the KING OF THE UNIVERSE, A CELEBRATION FOR THE DHARMA.

My Very First Ode to My Guru His Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche (23/11/2004)

1_candle_7010You showed forebearance to us, like a mother to her only child,

Yet like children, we disappoint you, time and again

Your compassion is immense, your love bountiful

Your patience is immeasurable, you were never reticent in your guidance

Yet like children, we have not shown gratitude,

When will we learn to cherish your kindness but only by developing Prajna Paramita

It is true, a Master motivates Himself daily

To turn the dharma wheel, for the sake of all

We should draw strength and inspiration from the Master, a Buddha to us all,

Without whom, we are like sheep without a shepherd

Lost in the wilderness of samsara”