Panchen Lama appreciated at first kalachakra ritual
The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu is seen on the Kalachakra ritual in Xigaze, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 24, 2016. (Xinhua/Chogo)
Giving four hour non-stop speech every afternoon for four days on the meadow outside his summer residence in Xigaze, the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu has strongly impressed the 100,000-strong attendees to the first kalachakra teachings in Tibet in 60 years.
Through dozens of loud-speakers, Panchen Lama's voice resounds across the 112,000-square-meter venue, occasionally echoed by the chorus chanting of the devotees as the ritual has required.
"You have to be very attentive to Panchen Rinpoche's voice and absorbed in getting what he offers, because this is a very precious and powerful teaching," said Losang Gyaltsen, from the Champa Ling Monastery of Chamdo.
Together with 5,000 monks and nuns from Qinghai, Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu and Tibet, he is one of the 100 lamas attending the four-day kalachakra ritual concluded on Sunday. Meaning the wheel of time, the ritual involves a series of teaching and initiations that help people through the cycle of life.
With a Tho Rm Pa (doctorate) degree from the High-Level Tibetan Buddhism College of China in Beijing, Losang Gyaltsen said he had no chance to learn from Panchen Lama in person before and never received a kalachakra initiation. "This public teaching, therefore, is particularly precious," said he.
BLESSING FROM LINEAGE
A qualified guru to give the Kalachakra initiation must not only be versed in exoteric Buddhism but also have received pure initiation from an eligible vajraayana teacher and practiced what he learned in strict accordance with the relevant requirements, according to Tsering Tobgye, a Kalachakra teacher with the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery that hosted the event.
"Not every lama having received the teachings is eligible to give the initiations. Panchen Lama has met all above-mentioned conditions and is a qualified guru to give the teachings," said he.
At the age of 12, Panchen Lama got the initiation from guru Jamyang Gyatso of the Labrang Lamasery in northwest China' s Gansu Province in 2002. Guru Jamyang Gyatso got the initiation from Guru Rakho Jigme Trinley Gyatso who was the scripture teacher of the 10th Panchen Lama and got the initiation from the 9th Panchen Lama.
Norga Tenzin Trinley, scripture teacher with the Zhaxi Lhunbo, said that the kalachakra lineage of Panchen Lama was pure.
In the beginning of the teachings on Friday afternoon, the 26-year-old Panchen Lama expressed his gratitude to the lineage masters.
Dawa Tsering, a monk and president of the Buddhism Association of Shannan City of Tibet, was present to receive the kalachakra teachings. He said he was very grateful to Panchen Rinpoche's confident and thorough explanation of the teachings.
"I think he is an honor of the Tibetan Buddshim and as followers we feel blessed," said Dawa Tsering.
BURST OF GRATITUDE
Padma Dorje, 65, a retired doctor of Tibetan medicine from Lhari County of Nagqu Prefecture, sat in the first row and repeated mantra loudly after Panchen Rinpoche when required.
"I'm not versed in dharma as clergy, some part of the teachings are very difficult to understand for us laymen. But Panchen Rinpoche always use more time to address those difficult parts. I really appreciate his considerateness. He is here for everyone," said Padma Dorje.
Like Padma Dorje, the majority of the attendees are farmers and herders from the countryside. Carrying a backpack filled with barley powder and snacks for quick bites to eat in case there was no time for meals, a cushion or a stool, a kettle of buttered tea and an umbrella, most of the devotees were fully dressed for this special occasion and arrived in the morning even though public instruction didn't begin until 2 p.m.
Despite the simple luggage, Lhadron, a local in Xigaze said that hada, a silk cloth used by Tibetans to express respect and greeting, was a must-have.
When Panchen Lama instructed, hadas were constantly thrown into the air. A relay of hadas was quietly going on so that people sitting in the back could have their hadas passed to the place nearest to Panchen Lama.
In the opinion of Lhadron, the most essential preparation for the ritual is more than material. "I think making a grand wish for the benefits of all beings is important. That will make the ritual all the more auspicious," said the 36-year-old.
With tears in eyes, Lhadron said she had never seen so many people getting together for dharma study in Xigaze. "Previously, we have Qomolangma Cultural Festival attracting people from 18 counties, but that was for entertainment. This is serious teaching and the teacher is the venerable Panchen Lama," said she.
"With so many people to attend to, Panchen Lama has really worked hard. For auspiciousness and his longevity, my family will abstain from eating meat and drinks during the ritual," she added.
Among the crowd Donrov Jams and his wife were eye-catching for their golden mongolian dress. Hearing about the event ten days ago, Donrov Jams, 50, who have attended five or six initiations, came over from Xilin Gol League of north China's Inner Mongolia to pay his respect to Panchen Lama.
"Panchen Lama's voice is very amiable and appealing. He is young but very respectable. On this occasion, I have seen his strength and prestige," said he sitting on the first row.
Since Buddhism made its way into the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in the early seventh century, Tibetan Buddhism has spread far among the Mongolians, Tu, Yugu, Lhoba, Moinba, Naxi and Pumi ethnic groups in China and formed five major sects, namely Nyingma, Sakya, kagya, Gelug and Jonang.
Lama Thubten Drakpa with the Gyatso Ling Monastery said that the teachings delivered by Panchen Lama had got together the monks and nuns of different sects, allowing them to increase mutual understanding and team up to promote Buddhism.
"Panchen Rinpoche has set a good example for living Buddhas of all sects, especially the young ones," said the 26-year-old affirmed as a living Buddha at the age of four.
"Being a living Buddha, I think our mission is to inherit and promote dharma. Such inheritance and promotion have been done between masters and disciples. The best way to cherish the teachings is to practice them and pass them to the right persons. I think we should follow Panchen Lama to fulfill our duties," said Thubten Drakapa.
Back to Thubten Drakapa' s home county Benba in Chamdo City, there are tens of thousands devotees closely related to the Gyatso Ling Monastery.
"None of them had received kalachakra teachings since the passing away of the previous Thubten Drakpa. Since I've got the initiation, I wish one day I could be qualified to give them the precious teachings," said Thubten Drakapa.
Many attendees said they were impressed by Panchen Lama's considerateness. When it was raining, he reminded the elderly to keep warm. When instruments for initiations were to be distributed, he leaned slightly forward on his throne, asking devotees not to worry. "Please stay on your seat. Everyone will have one," said he.
On the first day of the teachings, Lhadron received a special leaf like other attendees and put it under her pillow as required by Panchen Lama. According to the teachings, the dream she had that night would give implications about her dharma practice.
Lhadron said she had an auspicious dream and would keep it to herself.
Jewon Koondhor, a living buddha with the Champa Ling Monastery of Chamdo who had lived abroad until 2011 also attended the ritual.
"After hearing this teachings, I think Panchen Lama is very knowledgable on Buddhist scriptures and well-accomplished," said the 65-year-old.
Enthroned 21 years ago, Panchen Lama, currently serving as vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, has received some 1,000 tantric initiations and given head-touching blessings to about 1.5 million Buddhists.