All Pervasive Blessings & Protection

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

We all who have entered the Buddhadharma to some degree have some faith in prayer and blessings, even if we might not actually ‘believe’ in it.  There is some sense of devotion – a pull or call to the fully awakened state – and no little awe at those whose spontaneous compassion inspires.

Why are we on the path?  Why aspire – and what more, actively practice – to discover and activate clarity of mind, purity of heart?

And yet it remains a mystery.  How does it work?  Are we hoping for something we still do not believe?  Or do we doubt the very thing that intuitively strikes our being the most?  Like many others, we often find ourselves in the middle somewhere, oscillating between purity and confusion, certainty alternating with a swirl of hope and fear.

And sometimes there comes moments of truth.

I know myself, and the rest of us involved in The Yogini Project, took heart that just as the massive destruction that the series of earthquakes in Nepal brought – there was not a single place or person whom we interviewed over 7 weeks in Kathmandu this winter was not drastically affected – that indeed not a single person at Tsoknyi Gebchak Ling, or any of the the other monasteries and nunneries of our other teachers and those of our widespread dharma brothers and sisters was seriously hurt.  Not a single one.  Buildings and precious shrines and temples, such as Shechen Monastery and the White Gompa’s main shrine both in Boudhanath, were seriously damaged and likely will need to be rebuilt.

But none of the nuns, monks, teachers and students were hurt.  This fills us with gratitude for the protection of the Triple Gem.  We’ve heard this traditionally expressed so many times by traditional Tibetans.  Wonderful to see it in action.

And then hearts broken open, worldwide – not only those connected to the Dharma – watched as these same nuns and monks, often quite young, and despite the trauma that must have been all-pervasive in that very day it first struck and those that followed, went right out clearing rubble in the villages that surrounded, extending care, making trips with food and other supplies to those in dire need, often at great distances – the first to make it to remote villages by truck or helicopter, devastated and without food or water.  What is practiced is real, and extends immediately where there is need.

And so we wished to extend some images of prayers fulfilled and blessings granted to the large community, stills from our ‘Women On The Path’ film, from the last days of the annual drubchen at Chobar Nunnery led by Tsoknyi Rinpoche.  To share viscerally the blessings, merit, and protection generated then and extending to all these moments still.

May 4th, 2015

It started on the day part of our film team traveled to Chobar to fulfill the prayer requests for the crowdfundraiser supporters for the film.  We arrived and found Tsoknyi Rinpoche was out from the main temple with a portion of the nuns performing a fire puja.  He was under a rainbow umbrella!

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This was out on a part of the temple grounds still under construction, and yet, there was the purifying fire, the rainbow umbrella, and nuns with marigolds, throwing them at the completion of the puja, placing them behind their ears and laughing in joy.  Voila!  Pure land.  Joy.  As regal as spontaneous.

There, Crina Radu, our Administration & Communications director, read out the names of our supporters requesting prayers.

No doubt – as the pictures above so vividly display – these were immediately fulfilled.

The following people’s names were read out to Rinpoche under the umbrella:

Paula van Lammeren
Rianne van Rijsewijk
Jamie Jay Throgmorten
Larry Davidson and Evita Schalbe
Andy Katz
Heidi Nevin
Julie Green
Myoshin Kelley
Birgit Meiche
Mark Sobralske
Amy Mandel
Line Tofte
Rosemary Norton
Helge Krogsgaard
CarolAnn Barrows
Robin Baur
Pearl Gill
Daniel Chui
Verena Clemencic Jones
Lysanji Edson
Diego Gonzalez
S Clark
Katarina Nhambu Bergh
Cathy Willis
Marina Stretch

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March 5th, 2015

The last day of the drubchen followed.  The ambiance, the beauty, the sublime presence in the shrine are hard to convey – not only in words, but in the images themselves!
The sound of the nuns chanting, the light rays streaming into the temple, Rinpoche’s characteristic low-key ease infused with a majesty that radiated from within.

For those familiar with drubchens – intensive, 10-14 day group practice retreats, which may be done in secluded retreat or large temples – the upswell in blessings and states of joy as natural as rare, are indubitably familiar.  And yet, there was something at Chobar… in the intimacy of its size, the gentleness of the nuns’ presence and voices, the warmth of love that infused the shrine room as the ceremony reached its conclusion with Rinpoche and the nuns alternating in their chanting as they were all linked by silk katas and flowers were thrown in a rain of blessings… well, this is words fall away.

May these images do those moments justice.  And may all that behold them, enter.  And know they are included.

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No doubt, it is still occurring still.

Rain of blessings to everyone.

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Michael Ash

Founder, The Yogini Project
Director, Women On The Path