October 20th, 2015

A memorable last day

This date will remain in everyone’s memories – through its intensity, the strength of devotion coming especially from the Tibetans, and by the number of participants who have come from around the world.

A bright morning. This final day begins with an Amitayus initiation bestowed by His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. After which, the long life ceremony begins. In principle, it is meant to finish by the late morning, as the afternoon is reserved for Lingdro dances and various festivities from 1:30 pm until around 5:00 pm. However we are so many – between two-thousand-five hundred and three thousand – as previously mentioned – and His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche wishes to give each and every one an individual blessing, that an interminably long queue winds its way through the temple, and then exits through a side door, unfolding in a long coil outside, whose end it is impossible to distinguish. Not surprisingly, many of us remain seated until the line has shortened before getting up and joining it. As a result, the blessings will extend through the entire afternoon, ending only at 5:00 pm, even as everything was meant to finish by 12:30 pm.

His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche transmits the initiation of Amitayus … monks and nuns make their mandala offering … followed by the Tibetan community … students of Shambhala … then RIPA Russia and Kalmykia, the United States, and Europe … The participants receive the blessing … Outside, the long but compact waiting line extends out…

A delightful evening of celebration. The Lingdro dances begin just before the arrival of nightfall. This gives us the opportunity to see them for the first time under the spotlight. And then the show turns into pure enchantment. Immerse yourself in the slideshow and you will have just a small idea of what we experience here. The Lingdro sequences are interspersed with songs and dances from Tibet, Nepal, traditional and modern, though sometimes humorous, in a way that we are unable to understand. However we hear the peals of laughter from the assembly and this delights us. The atmosphere is enthusiastic and highly charged. His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche sits in the courtyard, well protected by a blanket, as the cold intensifies seriously, as the night progresses. By his side are Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche and family. It is clear that they are attentive connoisseurs, amused, as well as softened by the spectacle, which they enjoy.

The show which is at once grand, yet also has a family like quality, takes place before a packed crowd, crammed wherever there is little bit of space to be found…

RIPA, our lineage. Many of us do not hesitate to say and repeat: “we RIPA students, are incredibly fortunate.” Indeed, we receive the blessings and teachings of three great masters. And the birth of our “great baby,” aged just two-and –a half months at the time of these events, can only reinforce and strengthen our confidence and commitment on the path. But who – apart from His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche – could speak about this any better? Below are His Eminence’s remarks given at the end of the summer retreat in 2014 in Switzerland.
“Before Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche was born, I had extraordinary signs … And when he was born, rainbows appeared in the sky, and there were many inconceivable auspicious signs … And that is not all. Jigme Rinpoche had – I think at about two or three months of age, when children are just beginning to be able to sit up by themselves – sat in the Vajra posture on his own …. Before the birth of Lhuntrul Rinpoche, I had many dreams where Guru Rinpoche spoke to me, giving prophecies about him. And just three days after his birth, I had a vision of someone completely enlightened…. So, these are my two sons, who are holders of the lineage…. Both are good lamas. You can rely on both of them as your root lamas, they are absolutely qualified … I have received good prophecies from both Shakyamuni Buddha and Guru Rinpoche. These prophecies ensure they will become great lamas, bringing great benefit in the future. And prophecies are never wrong. I have complete trust and a firm basis from which to tell you all that both Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche and Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche are good lamas in whom you can trust.”

It is in the arms of Karma Shedrup Rinpoche that the youngest Ripa tulku receives his first initiations …. Followed by his cousin carried by Mayum-la. This cousin is the daughter of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Khandro Tseyang, the Sakyong Wangmo… From Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche and Lhuntrul Rinpoche to the young Anzin Rinpoche, the line of tulkus, along with our most recently born tulku – it is clear that our spiritual care is secured, and we can rest assured that our RIPA lineage is promised a bright future.


This final blog, distributed with a slight delay due to technical and computer problems, closes the story of this huge event.
Best wishes in the Dharma, and until the next time for another blog,
M.B. for the RIPA International Center