The Buddha said:
This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.


What the caterpillar perceives as the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

India, Day 18 - Serkong, Zhong, Ling Rinpoche, Oracle

Tuesday, 15th January

Innauguration of Drepung Monastery's Deyang Monastic College. Waited 3 hrs in sweltering heat. Saw HH quite close. [from Alan's travel diary]

Deyang Monastery was packed full and many monks had no other option but to sit outside on the floor. 

Although the event was not open to the general public, we managed to get in and join the monks as they waited for the Dalai Lama's arrival.

Geshe Damcho and Donde-la walked by. Afterwards, we all had lunch at the house, and I decided to join a small group and go to Camp 1.

We walked to the main road,

past the southern indian beggars gathered in groups by the road side

and got a taxi to Lama Camp 1, where we saw the stupas (chorten)

and several other buildings, 

some with eyecatching flags waving in the wind,
others with gates covered in colouful banners with welcome messages to the Dalai Lama,

and decorated with the 8 auspicious signs - a conch shell, a lotus, wheel, parasol, endless knot, pair of golden fishes, a victory banner and a treasure vase.

We found our way to Serkong Rinpoche, which I was delighted, as I was keen to make an offering as requested by Alex Berzin.

There he was, the reincarnation of one of my teachers' teacher. Serkong Rinpoche's energy was indescribable, one really had to be there to sense it! I was moved to tears, and all I wanted to do was apologize for not having realized who he was. Alex Berzin reassured me. "Sometimes it happens," he said, "that seeing a great lama triggers all sorts of unexplainable emotional responses. Don't worry about it."

Afterwards we headed to Zong Rinpoche's residence at lama camp 1, 
a beautiful white house surrounded by trees and several plants,

where we saw the shrine with his remains

and met his reincarnation, a young monk who spoke excellent English.

Later, with a larger group, we visited Ling Rinpoche, recognised in 1987 by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of his predecessor Thupten Lungtok Namgyal Thinley. He was only 2 years old when this happened. We all sat in the waiting room for a while; it reminded me of a dentist's waiting room, with several magazines on display to ease the boredom of waiting.

Ling Rinpoche had been found at an orphanage in north India when he was recognised as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama's senior tutor. I didn't dare to take a photo (the one above was found on the internet).

 After the visit to Ling Rinpoche the group dispersed, 

and I walked back towards the main road,

past the market stalls where Indian people sold fruit and vegetables,

all the way back to Gyakham Khangsten, where Ven. Geshe Ngawang Phende, the residential teacher of the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre in South Africa,

was chatting to an Italian nun on the long balcony up in the first floor.

Meeting the Nechung Kuten
Later in the day, we finally had the opportunity to meet the medium monk in person, in his natural state, without being in a trance.

As someone said before, "It is hard indeed to imagine this serene and peaceful monk being the human receptacle of one of the most fearsome and wrathful protector of Tibetan Buddhism." The Nechung Oracle is said to connect the original Tibetan religion “Bon” (an ancient animalistic and polytheistic religion) to present day Buddhism.

Ven Geshe Damcho Yonten

And finally, as if it hadn't been enough for one day, a final gathering with Ven Geshe Damcho Yonten.

Continues here.

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