Pal Do-Ngak Nyida Zungdrel Mindrol Norbuling Monastery (aka Chapagaun Monastery)
June 22, 2020
Nepal: As It Is Now
The current situation in Nepal is still far from normal. The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which started in late March, continues, even if in some ways it has been eased. As days pass, one can see more people out on the streets of Boudhanath, and most of the shops are now open. Local people are really struggling to earn a living. Meanwhile, most of us still have to stay home. The monasteries are still closed, as well as all restaurants and coffee shops, and we are not yet allowed to do kora around the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa, which used to be an important part of our daily practice. Semi-retreat and work are therefore our daily routine.
A Day to Celebrate Chokgyur Lingpa
I was hoping that, by now, everything would be back to normal, and that all dharma friends, followers of the Chokling Tersar Lineage would be able to celebrate together the highly anticipated 150th Parinirvāṇa Anniversary of the Great Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa, which took place last Monday, June 22nd. Sadly, due to the current situation, we could only join from afar with our practice and prayers. Fortunately, the monks in the Chapagaun gompa were able to celebrate and, once more, Drubla Tenphel Gyatso kindly shared beautiful photos, short videos and a brief account of the celebration, so that we are all able to get a glimpse of it and rejoice.
Chokgyur Lingpa: Lotus Essence
The main part of the celebration consisted of a puja from The Profound Essence of the Embodiment of the Families of the Three Kāyas, [i] a mind terma revealed by Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo. As Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche explains in The Great Tertön, [ii] after his parinirvāṇa, due to the strength of his past aspirations to benefit beings, Chokgyur Lingpa took rebirth in Sukhāvāti, Amitābha’s Realm of Great Bliss, and immediately and spontaneously emanated the Lotus-Covered Realm, [iii] a buddhafield right next to Sukhāvāti, where he manifested as the bodhisattva Lotus Essence.[iv] This is evidence that Chokgyur Lingpa was already awakened at the time of his parinirvāṇa! In the next few days after Chokgyur Lingpa’s passing, Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo visited the Lotus-Covered Realm in a pure vision and received from the bodhisattva Lotus Essence himself a series of practices for disciples of future generations, and in particular, The Profound Essence of the Embodiment of the Families of the Three Kāyas, which can be considered Chokgyur Lingpa’s final testament. The bodhisattva Lotus Essence told Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo that all Chokling Tersar disciples who practice this cycle would attain realization and help propagate the lineage.
Making Vast Aspirations for Us All
Making strong and constant aspirations (such as The Sphere of Universal Joy) in order to take rebirth in the Lotus-Covered Realm, is especially beneficial. Drubla Tenphel Gyatso explained to me, “For us, Chokling Tersar practitioners it is easy to take rebirth in Lotus-Covered Realm! We just need to accumulate merit, supplicate the bodhisattva Lotus Essence, meditate on his pure land and make aspirations to take rebirth there.” In accordance with this, and on behalf of all of us, our lamas in the Chapagaun gompa practiced this special sadhana, offered a great feast, and recited the Supplication to Chokgyur Lingpa. Moreover, they made vast aspirations so that Chokgyur Lingpa’s treasure lineage, meant for practitioners of this degenerate times, will spread far and wide, remain pure and alive, benefit all sentient beings; and that every practitioner who connects with such a blessed lineage would take rebirth in the Lotus-Covered Realm.
After the puja, as it started to get dark, the rest of the monks in Chapagaun, 65 in all, joined the senior lamas and together lit hundreds of butter lamps, a beautiful “enlightening” closure to a great celebration.
[i] Tib. kusum rikdü zabtik, Wyl. sku gsum rigs ‘dus zab tig.
[ii] Lhasey Lotsawa. The Great Tertön. Kathmandu: Lhasey Lotsawa, 2018. (p. 309)
[iii] Tib. Pema Kebpé Zhingkham, Wyl. padma khebs pa’i shing khams.[iv] Tib. Pema Nyugu.