The Rinchen Terdzo may conclude in just over two weeks. Our estimation is that there are about six or seven more days of empowerments left. Falling right in the middle of those, on the 25th of February, is the beginning of the Tibetan New Year, Losar, also known as Shambhala Day. This year, the office of the Tibetan Government in Exile has asked that there not be the usual celebrations apart from religious ceremonies during Losar in order to express solidarity with the people who have suffered so much in Tibet. Last year was a difficult one for Tibetans, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising. Monasteries and Tibetan communities all over the world will host religious ceremonies, but the secular New Year’s observance will more subdued. Usually there are a great many parties, fireworks and so on.
The New Year is also a time when families gather together, relatives come back home. Even though Losar will be very quiet here in Orissa, we will still take a few days off for people to see each other and relax a bit. After that we will finish the empowerments and have concluding ceremonies of gratitude, and we’ll make many offerings with prayers for the longevity to His Eminence, as well as for the teachers and teachings of the lineage. As a part of these final events, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche will be enthroned as the holder of the transmission of the Rinchen Terdzo. The ceremony for this will be the empowerment known as The Blazing Jewel of Sovereignty. It’s part of the enriching section of the Rinchen Terdzo, but it is saved for the end, and performed before the concluding ceremonies. This is also the empowerment used in Shambhala to enthrone a Sakyong. I find this text’s inclusion in the collection intriguing and inspiring.
For Tibetans, the time before New Year is a time for some type of intensive meditation. It’s the same in Shambhala and in other buddhist communities. At the monastery, the ten days before Losar are devoted to additional practices to clear away any negativity that may have gathered over the preceding year. One the roof of the monastery there’s a Gesar temple where there’s been a group of lamas performing the end of year practices for the last five days. On the 23rd of February the Rinchen Terdzo will take a break and the monastics will do the final day of the end of year practices together as a group. It is likely this will involve a black hat lama dance, a dance depicting the activities of the deities of wrathful compassion, along with some other interesting features.
During all this time before and after the New Year, the Rinchen Terdzo blog will continue. A lot is in the works. Today we continued to receive empowerments in the enriching section of the auxiliary sadhanas. We are still receiving practices related to increasing prosperity, wealth, enjoyments and so on. Yesterday I didn’t mention that His Eminence bestowed the empowerment for the Black Jambhala sadhana occasionally practiced in Shambhala.