Monday, 23 April 2012

Impressions from this year’s Bodhicharyavatara class

The Bodhicharyavatara class taking the first steps on the Bodhisattva path.

Our teacher, Ane Damchö Wangmo, in the middle of an explanation of the Wisdom chapter.

Tibetan Translator, Melanie Slomka, translating a particularly difficult point on Middle Way philosophy.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Rigdzin Düpa Empowerment

Our very last Saturday class had finished, Khenpo had left the classroom and our translator Gyurme requests that we all remain in our seats. A few “uh ohs” are muttered. He says he has both good news and bad news. Bad news first, our fortnightly test is postponed. The good news is, instead we are going to Boudha to receive a Rigdzin Düpa empowerment from Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and that the bus will leave for Kathmandu in 50 minutes. The initial surprise is swiftly replaced by elation.

We received the empowerment in the shrine room at Shechen Monastery where Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche used to regularly teach and confer empowerments. I have been in this room several times during this Shedra period and I am moved to tears every time by the tangible presence of Rinpoche that pervades. Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche sits directly in front of the larger than life looks-like-me statue of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and shares stories about his grandfather and teacher which further enhances our heartfelt gratitude to be seated in the shrine room at that very moment to receive this Rigdzin Düpa empowerment.

I have never received an empowerment like this before, the interdependencies so apparent, profound yet cosy with sangha who I have really developed a very close connection with over these past three months and crucially in view of the teachings we have received. The teachings enabled me to receive this empowerment with a context that I never had before, it was perfect in every sense.

Rinpoche also gave us the lung for Rigdzin Düpa and blessed our ritual objects and then rejoined the Tsokchen Düpa drupchen which was taking place in the Tsuklakhang downstairs. The next day a fellow student said to me, if she could have made a choice over which lama to receive this empowerment from, she would have chosen Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche. I wholeheartedly agree.