50 Slightly Unexpected Empowerments

December 23th 2008

Now the full number of westerners has arrived. We number around sixty and make up a formidable block in the shrine room. Many of us are from the Ripa sangha. The Shambhala group numbers about fourteen. Jinpa, a monk from the Abbey has joined us for the duration along with Theresa Laurie (here since the second abhisheka on the first day) and Alexandra Kalinine who arrived about three days ago. Frank and Katrin Stelzel arrived the night before last.

The abhishekas took a somewhat surprising turn toward the Seven-Line Supplication to Padmasambhava yesterday. Patricia and I have been sorting through various outlines and abhisheka lists in the background as we go. Usually we don’t know exactly what is happening each day until the last minute. A list gets posted at the gate to the monastery, and I photograph it on our way to the temple. Once in the shrine room Patricia compares the photo on the camera with the abhisheka list from the last Rinchen Terdzo bestowed by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. The night and morning before we double check upcoming possibilities against the empowerment list from the last time His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche bestowed the abhishekas.

Generally it all works out, but sometimes one list condenses or omits something while another list might expand everything out. Such is the case right now as we are head into fifty abhishekas not mentioned on Penor Rinpoche’s list, but expanded on Tai Situ Rinpoche’s. All of these empowerments are from termas found by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. The Fifteenth Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje, authored the empowerment rituals. I am not sure, but I think these termas were discovered when Jamgon Kongtrul was in his sixties, just after he first bestowed the Rinchen Terdzo. Maybe that is why they are not on one empowerment list. These fifty are probably the last of the empowerments of the peaceful nirmanakaya guru and will last several days.

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