10,000 Mongolians receive Dorje Shugden!
On December 11, 2016 His Eminence Zava Damdin Rinpoche conferred Yamantaka initiation and Dorje Shugden sogtae (life entrustment). 10,000 ordained monks and lay people attended this auspicious occasion held at the Buyant Ukhaa Sports Complex in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
This Dorje Shugden life entrustment ritual is very interesting. Traditionally, the sogtae can only be conferred to three people at a time. When I was living in Thubten Dhargye Ling, I had the great merits to receive this commitment from His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. We received it in the traditional manner, three people at a time, and each ‘session’ taking around 30 minutes. Because there were so many people who wished to receive sogtae, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche compassionately conferred the Protector practice all day long until it was late at night. It was around 10 to 11pm when His Holiness finally finished.
During the sogtae conferment ritual, the lama generates himself as the yidam to forge a spiritual bond between the practitioner and Dorje Shugden. Then the initiate swears to take Dorje Shugden as their Protector until they attain bodhicitta. And likewise, Dorje Shugden is sworn to protect the initiate until they have achieved bodhicitta, whether it’s in this life or in future ones. Why until they receive bodhicitta is because then the practitioner does not require the assistance of a Dharma protector anymore. At that point, they have become a high-level bodhisattva themselves and in fact, they gain the ability to protect other sentient beings.
So, after the initiation, the practitioner is given a ‘heart’ crystal (lado) and a chakra (sogkhor) which were consecrated during the sogtae ceremony. They are given as a blessing and reminder of the initiate’s commitments to Dorje Shugden, and also as a symbol of Dorje Shugden’s promise to protect them. And since this is an initiation, there are commitments associated with receiving the sogtae, just like how there would be for any other initiation into a deity’s practice.
Upon receiving sogtae, the practitioner commits to performing a Dorje Shugden dakhang which is a monthly puja. Sometimes they may be travelling, or they anticipate they will be busy at that particular time or they are in a location that is not convenient to do the puja. In that case, to fulfill their commitment, they can perform the puja ahead of time (whilst visualising that it is their monthly commitment being fulfilled). Or they can request the monasteries to perform the dakhang on their behalf. Then they can consider that their commitment for that month is fulfilled.
So after this weekend, now 10,000 Mongolians will be protected by Dorje Shugden until they achieve enlightenment. Below are some wonderful images and videos that were sent to me which I wish to share with you all. As you know, I am half-Mongolian from my birth mother’s side and was raised in a Kalmyk-Mongol family so I do feel some connection to this side of my background and culture. I am very happy to see the people of Mongolia receiving Dharma which is their Buddhist heritage. His Eminence Zava Damdin Rinpoche is of course qualified to confer the initiations, having completed the necessary retreats (you can read his short biography below which I have included for you). I rejoice in Zava Damdin Rinpoche’s works and offer my prayers that his Dharma activities continue to grow. May many, many more benefit. I wish very much that Zava Damdin Rinpoche will live a very long life and be healthy. He inspires so many around the world with his guru devotion, genuine dharma practice, consistency, bravery and full dedication to bring dharma to others. I hope this Dorje Shugden event will happen yearly and it can reach more people. His Eminence Zava Damdin Rinpoche is truly a high and powerful Mongolian incarnation (tulku). May he bring many more people to the Buddha’s teachings in beautiful Mongolia. I am very happy to see all this.
My deepest respects,
UPDATED December 22, 2016 – we were originally informed that 7,800 people had attended the event, but we were happily updated today that actually over 10,000 attended the sogtae. The article has been updated to reflect this.
His Eminence Zava Damdin Rinpoche
confers Dorje Shugden initiation
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/HisEminenceZavaDamdinRinpoche.flv
His Eminence Zava Damdin Rinpoche
Born in 1975, Zava Damdin Rinpoche was recognised in the year 2000 as the reincarnation of one of the greatest Buddhist masters, yogis, healers, scholars and mahasiddhas in Mongolia, Zava Lam Damdin (1867 – 1937), whose birthday is celebrated grandly even until today.
A great scholar, Zava Lam Damdin wrote 16 volumes of philosophic writings which are still used today in many monasteries. He was also greatly respected by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who mentioned that he made Zava Lam Damdin’s ‘Ninj Chimbiin Dodva‘ and ‘Khorchoenjun‘ texts his reference books.
Zava Damdin Rinpoche joined Amarbayasgalant Monastery when he was 11 years old and studied Buddhist theory. By the time he was 14, he was studying Tibetan and Mongolian languages, writing his own poems and translating works of renowned Lamas of the past.
Zava Damdin Rinpoche continues the great legacy of his predecessor in spreading the Buddhadharma. His works are instrumental in reviving Buddhism in Mongolia which suffered a major decline during the communist era. Delgeruun Choira Monastery, the traditional seat of Zava Damdin Rinpoche was established in 1918, and like many monasteries during that time, it was completely destroyed in 1939.
Shortly after his recognition, Zava Damdin Rinpoche together with His Eminence Zasep Rinpoche and a few close students visited Delgeruun Choira Monastery. On his first visit to the area, villagers and nomads wept joyously as they presented Zava Damdin Rinpoche priceless holy relics and belongings of the previous Zava Lam Damdin which they risked their lives to save from the ruins of the monastery.
After ascending his traditional seat in Delgeruun Choira Monastery in 2005, Zava Damdin Rinpoche began reforming religious life there and in other nearby places. His works started to grow as he travelled abroad more frequently in order to turn the wheel of Dharma, as well as establish new monasteries in Mongolia. Today, Delgeruun Choira Monastery has the largest temple in Mongolia.
Zava Damdin Rinpoche is also famous for his absolute Guru devotion to his teacher, His Eminence Sokpu Rinpoche (Guru Deva Rinpoche). Out of the blue one day, Sokpu Rinpoche instructed Zava Damdin Rinpoche to enter into a three-year, three-month, three-day Yamantaka retreat. Although he did not have much time to prepare for the retreat, due to his deep commitment and unshakable Guru devotion, Zava Damdin Rinpoche successfully completed his retreat under the harshest conditions in the Gobi desert, where temperatures can drop to -40 degrees Celsius.
Although Sokpu Rinpoche entered clear light while Zava Damdin Rinpoche was in retreat and many monks left the monastery, Zava Damdin Rinpoche with great discipline and devotion continued his practice as instructed by his late teacher. This is not an act that many people can endure in this generation.
Today, Zava Damdin Rinpoche, among the new generation of eminent young lamas, is a celebrity in Mongolia. His intense religious discipline has given him an uncommon spiritual qualification in Mongolia, and he is often a regular conversation topic on Mongolian news channels and talk shows.
For more interesting information:
- Powerful Qualities of Dorje Shugden in Memes (Mongolian) | Номын их сахиус Дорж Шүгдэнгийн гайхамшигт хүч чадлын товч тайлбар
- Товч намтар (Tsem Rinpoche’s short biography in Mongolian)
- Үхрийн саравч дахь миний өрөө
- My recollection of H.E. Guru Deva Rinpoche 忆念尊贵的古鲁迪瓦仁波切
- They were not wrong
- Danzan Ravjaa: The Controversial Mongolian Monk
- Mongolian dinosaur in New York
- Auspicious Mongolian Omen
- Mongolian Astrology and Divination
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