Part XI in a series of tributes to the patron kings of Buddhism, such
as King Ashoka of India, King Trisong Deutsen of Tibet, and many others
whose contributions to the survival and spread of Buddha's teachings
cannot be overemphasized. It is in their footsteps that Khyentse
Foundation aspires to follow. Also, links to devotional songs that can be downloaded for free from the Siddhartha's Intent website and an article from Buddhadharma magazine on the translation conference.
NEWS FROM SIDDHARTHA'S INTENT
Khyentse Rinpoche has suggested that students listen to several
Sanskrit devotional songs so that they can be sung at teachings. These
songs were recorded on two separate albums, commissioned by Rinpoche
and available for purchase on the Deer Park web site.
collection of these chants creates an atmosphere of devotion -
timeless, limitless - that can elevate the spirit if not liberate
through hearing. After so many recordings of mantras in foreign
languages like Tibetan and Chinese at, last we hear them in their
mother tongue. Even the pronunciation of the word Buddha is transformed
into something so beautiful. Perhaps this is how we should all chant."
The four songs that Rinpoche recommended for teachings are:
- From the album Dharma Nada, as sung by Vidya Rao - "Homage to the Tataghatas"
- From the album Dhih,
as sung by Raji Ramanan - "Triratnvandana" (In Praise of the Three
Jewels); "Parinamana: Bodhicharyavatara" (Dedication Verses from
the Way of the Bodhisattva); and "Saranagamana" (Taking Refuge)
In Praise of the Three Jewels is available free online on the Deer Park web site.
Other SI News:
Two New Dharma Gars
the success of the first European Dharma Gar, Dzongsar Khyentse
Rinpoche will guide the first North American Dharma Gar, or Dharma
camp, starting on Losar, February 14, 2010. This 3-year-retreat
practice program is designed for practitioners who want to commit
themselves to dharma practice and still have a work, family, and social
He will also guide a second Dharma Gar, starting in 2010, near Berlin.
Read about the Dharma Gars on the Siddhartha’s Intent website.
Lingpa has advised us that as practitioners, we need two things. One is
humility and the other is confidence. When you lose your inspiration,
when you think that you are lazy and you don’t have devotion, then you
should think, 'The fact that I think like this is good, it means that I
am considering this as a problem.' That realization is some kind of
renunciation, or at least food for renunciation. And thinking like
that, having that kind of attitude, is confidence. And then again
sometimes we should think, 'What I am practicing is not enough.' Not
only sometimes, actually, most of the time we should think that what we
are doing is not enough, we have to do more. The purification that we
are engaging in, the accumulation of merit that we are doing, is not
enough. Never enough. That is the practice of humility. So this, too,
is really important."
—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on Practice
Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche spoke of the gratitude Tibetans should
feel to great dharma patrons like King Trisong Deutsen. He would say,
'even if we Tibetans covered the entire world with solid gold and
offered it to the king, it wouldn’t be enough to repay even a fraction
of his great kindness.' And he wasn’t referring to his social and
political projects. The king’s highest priority was translating
Buddhadharma into Tibetan. This required great finance, but it was not
the only price the Tibetans paid. Hundreds of devotees and students who
attempted the journey to India to gather teachings died of terrible
situations like the heat and strange masala food they encountered on
Indian plains. Yet in spite of the tremendous human sacrifice and
unimaginable cost borne by the king, this single undertaking may be the
one truly phenomenal Tibetan accomplishment."
—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Keynote Address at the Translating the Words of the Buddha Conference
REPORT ON TRANSLATING THE WORDS OF THE BUDDHA
A report on the conference from Buddhadharma magazine
March of 2009, more than 50 leading Tibetan-English translators and
Buddhist scholars, along with 7 incarnate lamas, met at Deer Park
Institute in Bir, India, to discuss the aspirations and practicalities
of translating the words of the Buddha and to set goals for the
next 5, 25, and 100 years. Download the PDF and read Peter Aronson’s first-person account of the conference, which was published in the Fall 2009 issue of Buddhadharma magazine.
Coming in the next issue:
Report from the September Board Meeting
Khyentse Foundation is an all-volunteer organization with
representatives in 13 countries around the world, some of whom work
full time on a volunteer basis for the Foundation. It’s rare for the
executive committee and the board of directors to gather in person, but
when they do, there’s usually much progress and lots to report. The
next Communiqué will have important updates about the Foundation's work.
Khyentse Foundation is now on Facebook.
We will be posting volunteer opportunities, news, and other updates. Join us!
Thank You for Reading
Patron Series: King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck of Bhutan
Part XI in a series of tributes to the
patron kings of Buddhism
“It’s amazing that there is still a Buddhist kingdom on this planet.”
—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
In the eighth century, Guru Rinpoche brought Buddhism to Bhutan and meditated in retreat there on
his way to and from Tibet. To this day, the country remains a place
where the Vajrayana is held precious above all else. There is a special
quality there that can be found nowhere else on earth. Alhough Bhutan
is a tiny country surrounded by giants, it has remained sovereign.
Rinpoche credits the fact that Bhutan has not been “swallowed up" by
its neighbors—India and China—to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck,also known as the Third Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King), the third king of Bhutan.
in 1928, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck succeeded his father and grandfather as
the third king of Bhutan. Under his leadership, this Himalayan Buddhist
kingdom emerged from an isolated feudal state to become a country that
values its modern infrastructure while preserving its
environmental and cultural heritage.
Bhutan is a small country of only about 850 square miles with a population of about 700,000 in 2008. It is situated between India to the south and Tibet to the north. In 1952, when Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was
enthroned, Tibet was in political turmoil. The Druk Gyalpo understood
that the independence of his beloved country, rich in Buddhist culture
but still isolated and feudal, was fragile. Then only 24 years old and
in poor health (he’d had his first heart attack at age 20), Jigme Dorji
Wangchuck began his life’s work of securing Bhutan’s independence and
preserving its culture.
king was apparently tireless. Rinpoche knew the king's chamberlain, who
told him that the king never slept. At 22, he was the first of his
family to travel to the United Kingdom, where he lived with George
Sherriff, a botanist at the British Museum. He spoke English and Hindi
as well as his native Dzongkha, and he was well-versed in international
politics and economics. He had served as his father’s attendant, and so
learned how to treat statesmen and how to accept the same treatment
visionary king understood that many reforms were necessary to make the
country stronger and less vulnerable. Believing that much-needed
modernization could not occur in isolation and without the cooperation
of all the country’s people, one
of his first tasks after being enthroned was to establish a National
Assembly, the Tshogdu. Composed of 10 government representatives, 10
monastic representatives, and 110 representatives of the people, the
Tshogdu gave the population a voice, involving them in decision making
and inspiring them to be politically conscious and active.
1958, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, along with Indira Ghandi,
visited Bhutan. Jigme Dorji was inspired to create a 5-year plan, which
he launched in 1961. That plan effectively brought the country into the
twentieth century in a thoughtful and well-ordered way. His Bhutanese
Department of Forestry was an important first step in protecting and
conserving the country’s rich forests and other natural resources. He
also abolished slavery and capital punishment and built a national museum, a national library, national archives, and a national stadium and created institutes of dance, painting, music, and sculpture.
he could imagine a future in which Bhutan’s ages-old Buddhist culture
was eroded by outside influences, the Druk Gyalpo commissioned a huge
statue of the Buddha in Thimpu Dzong to face the parliament building.
He commissioned the
manufacture of 10,000 gilded bronze images of the Buddha, and oversaw
the publication of astounding editions of the 108-volume Kanjur and the
225-volume Tenjur, hand-tooled by monks in gold and lapis calligraphy.
did everything he could do,” Rinpoche says. “He achieved so much. The
survival of the Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingma tradition in Bhutan is due to
him. Bhutan may be the only country that has yogis and practitioners
who chant mantra on the payroll, and this was very much because of him.”
ensure Bhutan’s independence, the Druk Gyalpo knew that his country
must be recognized by the United Nations. As part of that organization,
Bhutan would be recognized by the global community and could receive
financial support for its growing infrastructure and social programs.
With the help of the Indian government, Bhutan became a member of the
United Nations in 1970.
Dorji Wangchuck died 2 years later, at the age of 44. He was succeeded
by his son, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who furthered his father’s work by
establishing elections in 2008. Bhutan is therefore the youngest
democracy in the world—and is still successful at preserving its
ancient culture and Buddhist heritage.
Paro Taksang. PHOTO BY DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE
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