Blessed items from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
There are many definitions of holiness in regards to an object, a person or a place. There are things that are inherently holy such as the Buddha, Dharma or Arya Sangha. Buddhas are inherently holy because they have already reached the fruition of their path, which is enlightenment. The expression of enlightenment is Dharma, and the representatives of enlightenment is the Arya Sangha, beings who are Mahasattvas. They are holy by virtue as they have the qualifications to show us the path by example and teachings.
The second type of holiness is when a ordinary person has generated the thought of loving compassion, especially bodhicitta. When that person has generated the mind of bodhicitta, then he or she is on the path of holiness as bodhicitta is the secret elixir that heals all anger, purifies negative karma and is the doorway to full enlightenment. Therefore, when someone has generated, practiced or held the bodhisattva vows, the place where that person lives, the items that person uses, the clothes that he or she wore or even leftover food that he or she had eaten becomes very holy. These are items that are venerated and sought after by aspirants on the same path. When we associate with these items they bless our minds, implants seeds of bodhicitta and open up dharmic seeds to continue on our path.
Whether an object or a person is inherently holy, or on the path of holiness is determined by him or her having let go of the mind that focuses on the self and instead generates the mind of bodhicitta. When one has generated a bodhicitta mind, one becomes a Bodhisattva. There are 10 stages of this mind generation. When one has become a Bodhisattva and reaches any level or stage of Bodhisattvahood, then one becomes a being that is considered holy and worthy of respect by men and gods. When we make offerings, venerate, show respect or support someone with bodhicitta we gain waves of powerful spiritual merits that ripens to expedite our path to enlightenment.
Hence, for a person who has generated bodhicitta, everything around him or her, his or her clothes, environment, leftover food, and the items that he or she used are all infused with that person’s prayers, blessings, and generation of bodhicitta. So for the rest of us, when we see, touch, or venerate these items, we also make a connection to supreme bodhicitta. These items are holy because through these items we can make a connection to the supreme mind of bodhicitta or to a being who has generated bodhicitta. Since we wish to gain the supreme mind of bodhicitta, then when we venerate or make offerings to holy objects used by someone who has generated bodhicitta, it fills our mind and environment with waves of blessings. This is the reason we go on pilgrimage to holy places like Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Tsongkhapa’s retreat cave, Pabongka Rinpoche‘s meditation cave, Milarepa’s retreat cave, etc.
Therefore, objects that we have received from highly evolved spiritual beings such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso can be venerated on our shrine, placed inside stupas, be placed inside gompas, placed inside larger statues, be carried around or be kept near us. Atisha always kept his guru Lama Serlingpa’s hair in a stupa and carried it wherever he went. Atisha would offer on a daily basis one butterlamp to the stupa containing this relic and offer full length prostrations as well. From among his many gurus, Atisha held Lama Serlingpa of Sumatra in highest regards as he taught him bodhicitta. So to make offerings to the stupa containing the hair of Lama Serlingpa who had generated bodhicitta blessed Atisha to develop bodhicitta in his own mental continuum. Therefore we believe in Buddhism that a holy monk, nun, teacher or practitioner’s possessions (such as their statues, images, thangkas, rosaries, robes, utensils, hat, robes) that they had used becomes a holy object of veneration which we can call relics. After passing, some holy beings when cremated will show special Buddha images that naturally arise from their bone or teeth. So the ashes, bone and teeth of these great beings can be enshrined in stupas, larger statues or sacred receptacles in the temple for aspirants to venerate. Many cases in the past these types of holy relics have shown miracles in healing beings, answering prayers or manifested auspicious omens in dreams. These relics are often found in temples or holy places throughout Tibet, India, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Mongolia, Russia, Japan, China and so on.
Even if someone did not generate bodhicitta but they held their monk or nun vows very well, then objects or relics from these people would be worthy of veneration because the Vinaya vows held by monks and nuns originated from the sacred Buddha Himself. So those holding these vows well will have planted the seeds to full enlightenment or progressed vastly on their path to enlightenment due to the blessings of these vows. So robes, cups, utensils, personal items or their possessions would be sought after objects of veneration, blessing and worthy of respect. Objects or possessions from our gurus are very precious. I have hair from the head and goatee of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and it is kept near me always. I had a pouch made and used to wear the sacred hair of my root guru Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. These sacred items can bless an environment and the beings therein greatly. In my personal monastery called Tsem Monastery in Kham, Tibet, we have a tooth of Tsongkhapa as our main relic and many pilgrims would come to pay respects to this holy tooth prior to 1959. In Tibetan, ‘tsem’ is the honorific word for tooth. So Tsem Monastery means the Monastery of the Tooth Relic (of Tsongkhapa). Being that I am from this monastery, I am Tsem Rinpoche or the lama from Tsem Monastery. There is another very famous tooth relic monastery in Kandy, Sri Lanka. In this sacred temple, there is the tsem or tooth of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni which blesses the whole country. I have visited this place which is around three hours’ drive from the capital of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Beautiful country. One must visit this temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka to pay homage to Buddha’s tooth one day. Beautiful temple and so many people every day come to venerate the tsem of the Buddha.
The reason we requested some holy items from people like Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is because we believe that they have generated bodhicitta and held their monk vows very well. I have holy items from many various great lamas. Through their practice of bodhicitta, these great lamas like Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche themselves have become an object worthy of veneration. Since they are holy and infused with great bodhicitta, any items from them would be a tremendous blessing. Their items will further bless our prayer hall and all those who enter it. I will place these items in a very special area.
Therefore, both Kechara House and I are very honoured that the most Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche has accepted our requests for holy items from him that will be placed in various parts of Kechara House for people to venerate and generate merits. These holy items are shown below so you can see and be blessed. I would like to offer my deepest appreciation and humble thanks to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for conferring these holy items to all of us. I wanted to share this with all of you. I know you will rejoice. As I am a junior sangha member, receiving a senior sangha member’s holy items is a great blessing to me. I must thank Venerable Dekyong for arranging all of this. I thank my assistant Beng Kooi for requesting on my behalf very much. Om Svasti!
For more interesting information:
- The Dorje Shugden category on my blog
- A Gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche
- Visiting His Holiness Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche in Vermont
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team