Letter from Tenzin Dorjee to members and friends of the Rigpe Dorje foundations, Affiliated organisations, Dharma centres and Devotees. May 4, 2020.
enzin Dorjee is President of Rigpe Dorje Foundation (Canada), and the General Secretary of the Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang (Administration).
The global pandemic took us all here by surprise. There were a lot on our shoulders initially having to understand about the potential dangers of CoVid-19 viral infections, the necessary hygiene and safety measures and coping with the lockdown that have now become our way of life in Pullahari, Lava* and at the Jamgon Kongtrul IIIrd Memorial Home. However, we have adjusted to the situation and are now more settled.
I have been thinking of all of you. You, your family and close ones are in our prayers. We hope that all of you, your families and close ones are well and keeping safe.
At Pullahari and Lava, daily pujas and prayers go on as usual. In addition, our monks are now also praying with aspiration to heal our world of the pandemic. We conducted the Guru Padma pujas for 7 days from April 7, and dedicated a million recitations of Guru Rinpoche Inseparable from the Medicine Buddha, a prayer that Lama Osel Dorje Rinpoche strongly recommended to be done. Elderly and children at the Home also prayed. Again, from April 18 to 24, our sangha joined His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa in His prayers for the world, among them was Tanthong Gyalpo’s Verses that Saved the Sakyas. At Pullahari, Lava and the Home, we continue prayers for CoVid-19 fatalities, patients, dedicated front liners, and people of all nations.
The year started well. On February 5, we returned to Sarlahi District in Bagmati Municipality to conduct the 29th Nepal Remote Outreach Cataract program aimed at the deserving population of poor people there. (The 27th program in 2018 November was also held there, covering different villages.) Though 700 cataract patients were identified from 9 sites that were screened, only 416 turned up for cataract surgeries and intra-ocular lens implants.
We returned from Sarlahi in good time for the Tibetan year-end Mahakala Gutor pujas from February 16 to 22. Our shedra monks had returned from the Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya. They joined the pujas too and we all celebrated Losar together on February 24. The major events after that were Nepal’s 21st Kagyu Monlam hosted by Palnge Kagyu Monastery this year and led by The Very Ven. Bokhar Yangsi Rinpoche. Our sangha’s older monks participated in the Monlam held in Nagakot from March 7 to 11. Starting March 24 until 31, we held our Annual Lamps and Monlam Ceremony in Pullahari. Fortunately, all necessary supplies for the event had been purchased earlier and delivered.
News about CoVid-19 was circulating more widely by the first week of March. Nepal locked down its borders abruptly on March 23. Our shedra monks had made preparations to return to India on March 24. Some who went home to visit their families had not returned to Pullahari. Those who had could not return to Lava. So, commencement of the new shedra** year is delayed. Drupon Khenpo Lodro Namgyal arrived from Europe and made it back to Lava just in time before the lockdown in India and stayed in self-quarantine.
I am glad to share that we are all well. Cases of CoVid-19 are relatively low in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu. Lava and Kalimpong have been deemed free of the virus but are nevertheless locked down.
The School in Kalimpong and the Eye Centre are closed and will re-open as directed by the government. At the Home, our elderly and children are fine. The Eye Centre is temporarily converted into a quarantine area for the Home’s residents in case anyone should be infected. So far, everyone is fine.
Most of you may know by now that we have chosen to postpone this year’s Rigpe Dorje Philosophy and Meditation programs to the next year, 2021. We expect social distancing to continue for the rest of this year, and recovery from the global pandemic to take time.
More recently, from April 20 to 26, our sangha in Pullahari and Lava conducted the Gyalwa Gyamtso puja on the sacred occasion of Third Jamgon Rinpoche’s 28th Parinirvana anniversary.
On the brighter side, the new releases of videos of Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and other masters by Valerio Albisetti are like the warm radiance of sun shine especially in this time. They are available on www.jamgonkongtrul-archive.com
I hope we stay in touch. All our monks continue prayers for you, your family and close ones. As Dharma practitioners, may whatever adverse conditions we face be transformed into our practice in the Path.
Everyone in our Labrang joins me in prayers and best wishes to all of you.
Yours in Dharma,
Facebook IDs: Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang | Kagyu Thekchen Ling
* Pullahari Monastery in Nepal and Kagyu Thekchen Ling Monastery in Lava, India are the main seats of His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and oversee Rigpe Dorje Centre’s spiritual activities.
** The Shedra (College) is the Rigpe Dorje Monastic Institute which offers a 13-year Program for Basic and Higher Buddhist Studies at Lava Kagyu Thekchen Ling Monastery in West Bengal, India. Rigpe Dorje Centre’s resident Lama Choying Gyurmey is a graduate and earned his Acharya degree there.