Sangha Updates

Impressions of the Seven-Day Kurukullé Puja, Day One

Thursday, October 17, 2019 marked the first of seven days of the Kurukullé puja in Do-ngak Nyida Zungdrel Sherab Raltri Ling Monastery. We also refer to this place as Vajra Varahi Monastery, Chapagaon, Nepal.  On this first day 40 practitioners gathered together to begin this lotus dakini puja.  Monks from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling and Vajra Varahi Monastery and nuns from Nagi Gompa led lay students from Nepal, Vietnam, Brazil, the United States, France, Ukraine and Mexico through the Kurukullé text. Over the course of the week, these participants will accumulate one million recitations of the Kurukullé mantra. Moreover, the group will perform one hundred thousand  Kurukullé fire pujas. When these conditions assemble, we can accomplish magnetizing activity.

Kurukullé ‘s Palace

A beautiful human-size statue of Chokgyur Lingpa presided over the center of the lhakang. Thus it felt like he was guiding the ceremony from his throne.  Before beginning, the monks carefully set the shrine with large sized tormas, representing Kurukullé and her retinue.  Then they displayed  abundant red offering of fruits, flowers, candles and other decorations  in front of these deities.  We were aided in our visualization for the practice by a large image of Kurukullé set prominently in the front of the lhakang.  The monastery transformed into Kurukullé ‘s palace, complete with a perfect gathering and perfect offerings.  The prayers and music in combined male and female voices set the tone for the practice–which intends to “magnetize” all the best ordinary and spiritual conditions for all beings.

The Kind Guidance of our Dorje Löpon

The monastic sangha

For the first time, our dear Lama Tenphel Gyatso guided the puja as the Dorje Löpon (vajra master).  All of Phakchok Rinpoche’s students know lama la as the sweet, kind lama. Many describe him as a true bodhisattva, who unconditionally and wholeheartedly has assisted Rinpoche for many years now.  But just a few people know that Lama Tenphel is also one of our most accomplished lamas.  For instance, he has done long retreats, is expert in the Chokling Tersar practices and rituals. Additionally, he oversees and ensures the quality of the ritual items that Rinpoche orders for his practice and that of other practitioners.  When he guided us in the practice today it felt wonderful.

The Noble Sangha

Kurukullé ‘s Palace
Nagi Gompa nuns

Lama Tenphel was not the only senior practitioner present in the puja. Lama Govinda, one of our senior Newari lamas, was seated beside Lama Tenphel.

The senior nuns from Nagi Gompa, Ani Gandara and Ani Sonam led a line of eight nuns  As you may know, Nagi Gompa used to be the main retreat place of our precious guru, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.  It was very inspiring to see these nuns, all of them long retreatants.

Kurukullé : Gathering the Right Conditions with an Auspicious Beginning

What a wonderful gathering! With all these auspicious conditions coming together, this puja will surely magnetize many blessings and fortunate conditions for all!


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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.