The Lungs Begin

This morning Dungse Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche also known as Tulku Lhuntrul Rinpoche began the reading transmissions. These start in the morning at 6:30 sharp. Everything is pretty tightly timed to keep the events on track. Last night there was an announcement that there’d be an empowerment this morning so everyone is here, the lay community included though the crowd might have been a tiny bit thinner than last night. As it turned out there was no abhisheka, but a lot of reading.

His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche entered in and I expected him to take the throne center stage, but he went off to the right side of the room, behind a large red curtain that surrounds the shine being used for the empowerments. I realized that His Eminence has to do the liturgy for every meditation practice that he will bestow in the afternoon and that was why he has to be in the room during the lungs. His son, Tulku Lhuntrul Rinpoche soon took his own seat on a low throne placed in front of the (empty for the morning) main throne and started the reading transmissions after some brief remarks included an explanation of the three lineages of transmission through which he received the lungs himself. One of them, I heard, was from Tenga Rinpoche who gave the lungs several years ago when the previous Kalu Rinpoche was bestowing the Rinchen Terdzod.

Most mornings I will be working on the blog and practicing but today it seemed good to go and get the flavor of things is like. Just as the Sakyong offered the mandala for the wangs, the Sakyong Wangmo offered the mandala, the symbolic offering of one’s whole world, in order to receive the lungs, the reading transmissions. In the west we are used to making a formal offering like this with a tall arrangement of rice being piled during the liturgy describing all the very best things one could offer in order receive the teachings. Here we are using a permanent representation of that kind of offering,  a round plate symbolizing the ground and upon it five golden heaps symbolizing the world and its inhabitants.

The lungs today are several life histories of Padmasambhava, the teacher who firmly established Buddhism in Tibet through his incredible yogic powers and insight, and also the stories of the lives of all the tertons. Padmasambhava is a very remarkable figure. He entered Tibet in the 7th century and is a great inspiration to many practitioners, particularly Tibetans because without him these teachings would not have survived to the present day. Padmasambhava planted the terma teachings in order that they be discovered at times when the dharma was weakening. And this event, the Rinchen Terdzod, is a kind of celebration of all the gathered termas as well as bringing them forward into the present.

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