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III – Khunu Lama: Teachings from his life by Sangmo

Khunu lama teachings

03 February 2016

Khunu lama or Negi lama Tenzin Gyaltsen (1894-1977) was the storehouse of the rich Buddhist tradition and practices passed down from centuries. Buddhism bore the brunt of the 1959 Chinese occupation of Tibet that resulted in the weakenening of the tradition and fate of the many great lama becoming untraceable. In that precarious scenario, Khunu lama was one of the few to have absorbed such vast range of teachings and be able to bequeath the key concepts to the leading lamas of Tibetan Buddhism. Because of Bodhicitta by Khunu Rinpoche “It is because of bodhicitta that one gives up the pleasure of meditative concentration, and in order to relieve others of their suffering goes down to the deepest hell as if into a pleasure park.” Insights Apart from the scholarly teaching,  there are other compelling aspects of his lifestyle as a Buddhist practitioner that we can all learn from… Non Sectarianism Khunu lama cannot be more different from other highly realized lama. He is not only a non-Tibetan but also a layman who practiced Tibetan Buddhism. He remained unordained all his life despite almost always being in the company of ordained monks, lamas and rinpoches. After imbibing the  assorted teachings and practices from masters of all sects, he remained unaffiliated to any particular sect. He continued to emphasize the futility of sectarianism and would give a common book Shantideva’s “Guide to Bodhisattva way of life” to all his students, be it H.H the XIV Dalai lama, Ling Rinpoche or H.H the XVIth Karmapa. He is renowned as one of the most influential teachers in the rime (non-sectarian) movement within  Tibetan Buddhism which was founded in Eastern Tibet during the late 19th century. Lay man Practice In early 20th century and still today, layman or unordained practitioner mostly limit their practice to the surface of the Tibetan Buddhism, leaving the sophisticated applications to the ordained and realized. Khunu lama showed that formally practicing the highbrow teachings as a layman could secure the same profound result and is a great example of that possibility. Mastering the Language Before engaging in Buddhist studies, Khunu lama learned the grammar, composition and literacy of Tibetan language. He considered it a prerequisite to master the Tibetan language, the lingo franca of Buddhism to develop clear understanding of it. He spent more than a year in Sikkim and Khamda monastery polishing the Tibetan language and then after becoming a highly realized master in Tibet, moved to India to learn Sanskrit and spent 6 years perfecting it. The emphasis he put on the proper understanding of the scriptures instead of mechanical learning left traces on the type […]

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The Great Monkey Year (2016) Teachings -Dehradun,India. by Sangmo

drikung kyabgon chetsang rinpoche

25 January 2016

The Tradition The tradition of holding extensive summer and winter teachings has continued without decline since the time of Drikyung Kyopa Jigten Sumgon – the Dharma king of three worlds. Later, with Trinley Zangpo, the 26th throne holder,the institution of four teaching – the Monkey Year Teaching, the Boar Year Teachings, the Horse Year Teachings and the Snake Year Teachings was established and became widespread in land of snow. Traditionally, during the Monkey Year, the throne holder, H.H the Drikung Kyabgon transmits the special close lineage of the Drikung Kagyu: Lord Jigten Sumgon’s Great Arising of Bodhichitta, the Great Drikung Phowa, and so forth. Following this revered tradition, His Holiness will bestow the elaborate Monkey Year Teachings this year at Jangchubling Monastery in  India, the main seat of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. Special Announcement Drikyung Kagyu Teaching Committee announced on January 19, 2016 that the Monkey Year Teachings will now be bestowed for four days from Feb 16-19 instead of the previous starting date of Feb 14.The committee further explains in their Special Announcement that the change was triggered by a short notice they received from the office of the Drikung Labrang informing  that the supreme head, H.H the Drikung Kaybgon Chetsang Rinpoche is required to attend an important event elsewhere on February 14 and 15, 2016. However, for the sake of all the participants coming from other states or countries, the supreme and accomplished  Siddha Dorzin Drubwang Dondrup Palden, who has spent over two decades in retreat in the snow mountains of Lapchi, the special practice place of Jetsun Milarepa – and who possesses perfect realization of the ultimate lineage, will grant experiential instructions of the common and uncommon preliminaries, on Februay 14 and 15, 2016 at the College for Higher Studies . The committee hopes that eveyone will be able to attend this auspicious occassion. The Teaching Program February 16, 2016 Explanation of taking refuge, which is the entrance to the teachings Bestowal of the refuge vows, which belong to the outer individual liberatoin vows Bestowal of Lord Jigten Sumgon’s Great Arising of Bodhichitta, which belongs to the inner bodhisattva vows. February 17, 2016 Teachings on the distinction between the sutra and the tantra vehicles The preparatory stages of the Great Empowerment of Hevajra according to Marpa’s system February 18, 2016 Bestowal of the main part of the Great Empowerment of Hevajra according to Marpa’s system Practice instruction and reading transmission of the Hevarjaritual […]

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Kalachakra initiation 2017 to be held in Bodh Gaya by Tashi


07 January 2016

Omalaya Travel is happy to offer its customized Kalachakra tours to India to the devotees wishing to attend the precious Kalachakra 2017 Empowerment teaching. Omalaya-designed spiritual journeys are rooted in individual’s quest for self discovery and we incorporate the same outlook in designing the Kalachakra 2017 tour package. Omalaya Travel operated a successful Kalachakra tour to Ladakh in 2014. Omalaya-led devotees can receive Kalachakra initiation, teaching & empowerment under the expert guidance of tour’s spiritual guides like Geshe Tsering with Dr Chok and Geshe Lobsang with Tulku Phuljung. His Holiness the Dalai Lama would preside  the Kalachakra 2017 initiation to be held in Bodh Gaya, India from  3rd to 14th January  2017. This will be the 34th such initiation given by the Dalai Lama and the fifth time in Bodh Gaya. He has previously given Kalachakra initiations in Bodh Gaya in 1974, 1985, 2003 and 2012. What is Kalachakra? Kalachakra is a concept that is strongly associated with the Vajrayana sect of Buddhism. The term is derived from two words Kāla which means time and Chakra which means wheel. According to this concept, the events of the universe occur in a cyclical pattern. According to this religion, time is perceived as a symbol of change. For instance, a year is a measurement of change involved in the Earth revolving around the Sun. These changes are cyclical in nature although they might not replicate in the exact same manner each time. What is Kalachakra initiation? Kalachakra initiation is a process that empowers Buddhist pupils to practice the Kalachakra Laghutantra (also known as Kalachakra Tantra) in order to attain Buddhahood. The Kalachakra Laghutantra is a treatise that contains Buddhist philosophies, commentaries and meditation practices. The empowerment ritual is performed over a period of three days after the completion of the preliminary preparatory steps. During these three days of the actual empowerment, the disciples take part in various Buddhist rituals in order to obtain Kalachakra empowerment. The experience is divine and unforgettable even for a casual observer and is one that would stay in our memories even long after its end. Omalaya brings you a unique opportunity to witness the 34th Kalachakra initiation. For more information, please click here. You can also watch the video below to know more about Kalachakra 2017.

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Kanyakumari – the abode of the child Goddess by Stéphanie


29 April 2015

Kanyakumari, or Cape Comorin as it is popularly known, is the southern-most point in India. The town is noteworthy for it is located at the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, the three massive water bodies that surround the Indian peninsula. Devotees soak themselves in these waters in the belief that these waters hold divine powers that wash away their sins. The name Kanyakumari itself is derived from the name of a Hindu deity just like many other Indian cities. The name is attributed to Goddess Devi Kanya Kumari, the sister of the Hindu God Krishna. The Kanya Kumari temple is dedicated to this deity and attracts fervent followers from all across the country. The temple is also believed to be one of the 51 Shakti peethas in the Indian subcontinent. A Shakti peetha (peetha means abode) is a Hindu temple ordained to the Goddess Shakti (also known as Sati), the principal female deity of the Hindu religion. Unlike other Shakti peethas, the Goddess here is in the form of an adolescent child and she is said to bestow upon her worshippers a peace of mind and a tranquil life.  Some ardent believers who have difficulties finding a good life partner even believe that worshipping her would bring them suitable marital prospects. Surprisingly, she is also perceived as a symbol of sanyasa which is a stage in a devout Hindu’s life that involves renunciation of all worldly and materialistic possessions. Though the exact date of construction of the temple is not clearly known, the shrine  is believe to be many a century old as it finds a mention in ancient Sanskrit literature such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. Though the temple is located in the state of Tamil Nadu, the rites and rituals performed in the temple mirror that of a typical temple in Kerala, the neighbouring state. This is because the town was a part of Travancore state (erstwhile name of Kerala) until 1956 when the Government of India deemed Kanyakumari to be a part of Tamil Nadu. Though the town swapped states, the traditions continue to be carried across generations.

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Bodhgaya: the birthplace of Buddhism by Maryama


24 April 2015

Bodhgaya is perhaps the most sacred site for the followers of Buddhism. Located in the Indian state of Bihar, it is the place where Gautama Buddha, the sage whose teachings are the foundations on which the religion is established, is said to have attained enlightenment after a six-year long penance. According to Buddhist literature, the term Enlightenment means a state of awakening that helps one acquire profound knowledge about the universal truths sought by mankind. Legend has it that Buddha performed deep meditations under a sacred fig tree known as the Bodhi tree before attaining enlightenment. Buddhist texts even suggest that Buddha was extremely grateful to the tree because he believed that it catalysed his quest for enlightenment. Though the original tree is long gone, the followers planted a new tree and continued the tradition every time the tree was cut down or died due to old age. The Bodhi tree that is currently in existence in Bodhgaya is called the Sri Maha Bodhi and was planted more than a hundred years ago at the exact same spot as the original tree. In fact, the Bodhi tree has become a symbol of Buddhist religion and it can be seen in every Buddhist monastery around the world. The Sri Maha Bodhi tree is located inside the Maha Bodhi temple (Maha Bodhi means great awakening) complex. A UNESCO World heritage site, the temple is the seat of the Buddhist religion and was originally founded by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the third century BC. The temple underwent significant restorations and renovations before transforming into its current form. A majestic fifty-metre tall spire rises above the sanctum that houses a bright golden-coloured, two metre tall statue of Lord Buddha. The temple complex itself is one of the four Buddhist shrines that have a direct association with the life of Buddha (the others being Sarnath, Lumbini and Kushinagar). In addition to the main Maha Bodhi temple, many temples and monasteries add colour to the gorgeous canvas of Bodhgaya. Many of them have been built by foreign Buddhist communities in their traditional national style. Visitors would be fortunate enough to witness temples modelled on Thai, Bhutanese, Vietnamese and Japanese architecture at the same place. It is indeed a pleasure to witness the fusion of architectural styles from different cultures at Bodhgaya, the quaint little town in the Indian hinterland that gave this world Gautama Buddha.

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A short movie about the “Kora” by Stéphanie

24 April 2015

A short movie about the “Kora”, which is a Tibetan word to describe the circumambulation around a sacred object. In this video, the Kora is happening around the residence of His Holiness the Dalaï Lama in Dharamshala. A contemplative walk surrounded by prayer flags, mantras and prayer wheels. OM MANI PADME HOUNG…


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