Celebrating Lama Tsongkhapa

23 December 2009 - 3:01am Comments Off

Lama Tsongkhapa Day at Kechara House was celebrated with much festivity and joy. Many Kechara House members and friends from all over Malaysia arrived in their best attire, ready to celebrate the parinirvana (Enlightenment) of the Great Lama Tsongkhapa, whose birth and enlightenment was prophesised by the Buddha himself.

Left: Our emcees for the night, Liaison Jamie Khoo and Dino Goh Right: Head Liaison of Tsem Ladrang JP Thong explains to the audience the benefits of making offerings to Rinpoche

From a spiritual point of view, celebrating Lama Tsongkhapa Day is extremely significant for Kechara House (KH) as Lama Tsongkhapa is the founder of the Gelugpa tradition of which KH is part of. The day also serves to remind us to engage in Guru Devotion, and to seek the blessings of all the direct and lineage masters.

The audience rises for Rinpoche's arrival

On this auspicious occasion, whilst waiting for the arrival of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, Head Liaison of Tsem Ladrang JP Thong took the opportunity to invite everyone to make a small donation and to offer up cubic zirconias to Rinpoche’s previous life statue in Tsem Ladrang. Rinpoche’s previous incarnations were great masters, erudite scholars and did great Dharma works. In making offerings to his previous life statue, a practitioner creates the causes to receive teachings from Rinpohe in this and all future lives. Making offerings also invokes the blessings of Rinpoche’s previous incarnations so that his current incarnation can do even greater deeds.

Upon the arrival of Rinpoche, the President of Kechara House, Datin Ng Wee Chin presented him with the traditional offering of body, speech and mind before Rinpoche gave a Dharma talk.

In his talk, Rinpoche explained that everyone is interdependent, relying on others for love, care, physical help and survival. As such, it is important for us to have a good relationship with others by following a few ethical ways of living.

Rinpoche accepting the body, speech and mind offerings, blessing Datin Ng with a khata

First addressing the topic of loyalty, Rinpoche stressed that whether religious or spiritual or not, we should be extremely loyal to people who are close to and around us. He also explained that loyalty means to go through thick and thin with them, never once saying negative things about them, or creating schism for them.

Rinpoche also explained that we should be very generous with those whom we are close to, according to our own ability, and that we should always keep our promises. That is, our speech should hold water in order to create trust – in doing what we say we will, we will act with integrity.

Finally, Rinpoche spoke about gratitude, elaborating we must always remember how others have helped us, especially our parents. For example, just sitting there in the gompa, being able to receive teachings from Rinpoche was due to the kindness of others – it was due to the kindness of the KH Committee who organised the event, and due to the kindness of volunteers who worked hard to prepare the hall.

Volunteers worked hard to prepare the gompa and altar

Rinpoche then spoke about the mindstream, giving a simplistic explanation about the workings of karma. In particular, he spoke about the activation of our black, white and neutral karma. Clearly and with much humour, Rinpoche then showed how our actions lead to the various positive or negative consequences, and what we can do the change the course of our karma. Through his explanation, Rinpoche demonstrated that when it comes to our happiness, ultimately we bear the responsibility as we make the choices in our lives…therefore, rather empoweringly, we have the choice every single day to activate our positive karma, or our negative karma.

Rinpoche giving a teaching on karma to an enraptured audience

Finally came the highlight of the evening – the conferrment of vows by Rinpoche to everyone present! Those who did not have vows were requested to think of something they would like to improve on – for example, they could think of treating their wives, husbands or children better and hold that as a vow..And those who already had vows were renewing their refuge, Bodhisattva and Tantric vows.

Left: The Tantrikas listen intently to Rinpoche's teachings Right: After the puja, everyone goes home with some blessed Tsok offerings

The evening concluded with a Lama Chopa Tsok prayer, giving away many gifts to KH newcomers throughout the course of the puja.

By making a vow in front of Rinpoche and simply by being in the audience, those newcomers had already made the connection to receive further future teachings and blessings from him. However, in his compassion of giving away so many holy presents, Rinpoche thus ensured that everyone present that night walked away with something special, whether it was a teaching or a beautiful physical reminder of that very special evening.

Comments are closed.