Nubra is a place that I feel very close to my heart. 20 years ago when I went there, many young boys and girls were there and there were no tourists. Everyone was very relaxed, singing and dancing while welcoming me and seeing me off. I have a nature of liking singing and dancing. Basically I love anything to do with the colours of life. I guess Nubra must have left this beautiful impression in my mind.
But this time, it is different atmostphere overall, because Nubra is now opened to many tourists, which is very good, because it brings material prosperity and success, and income from tourism helps to lift up the standards of living, not necessary the quality of living. I don’t know besides that what other benefits tourism brings. Now I can hardly see anyone dancing and singing, and hardly any beautiful girls in traditional costumes. Instead I can see many beautiful girls in jeans and pants, boys are wearing jeans that are almost falling down, maybe that’s the modern fashion. I hope and pray that young people of the Himalayas and of any culture will not be detesting their own culture. I always feel very sorry when cultures and traditions are not respected and in their place, modernisation takes over. Imagine that not long in the future, everywhere in this world will look the same, and everyone will wear the same fashion. Wow, it will be very boring like plastic, don’t you think so? Sometimes whenever I think about eco-friendliness and preservation of environment, I can’t help but also think about eco-friendly traditions and cultures left behind by our forefathers. Anyway, I have nothing to say, except that.
During my stay, I did a few boring things that I usually would do anyway. The first thing is I started a proper monastery on the Mahakala mountain, on a very high cliff, more than 1000m high from a valley. When you stand there, you can see all the military helicopters going up and down just 15m below the top of the cliff. The main reason why I had to establish a monastery, unfortunately, is due to people being very irresponsible, irresponsible in the sense that monks have to be there to take care of the people’s spiritual well being and the excuse is that they can’t practise because monks are not there. Many people said that there have been no monks leading them, no monks teachng them, giving guidance, so they can’t appreciate life, appreciate traditions and cultures. I know this is being irresponsible. But since this is an excuse of people everywhere. In some countries, they even blame me for people not practising and not coming to the centres, while these countries have Rinpoches and retreat masters staying there 24 hours. I am unfortunately unable to manifest many of myself to appear everywhere, even if I am able to do so, some other complaints will definitely come if the progress is not successful. Master Cheng Yen of Tzu Chi Taiwan never stepped out of Taiwan, yet millions of followers all over the world are practising Bodhicitta according to her wishes. Maybe she has great ways to attract dedicated volunteers and active Bodhicitta practitioners. I am not so fortunate afterall, but I hope my fortune will take a better turn from now onwards.
So, let’s see what will happen after we start a monastery in Nubra. Let’s see if there is any benefit for the people. I have asked 25 monks from Hemis, who have originated from Nubra, I would call it “hand planted” by me. I know, hope and fear are not good, but in such case, we cannot help it. I hope maybe within 10 years from today, maybe we can see good results. I had measured the land after spending one night there. I requested young boys and girls to sing and dance on the cliff and many of them did, but I don’t know whether they did from their heart or not. 20 years ago when I was there, they were singing and dancing because their life was naturally full of colours. This time I asked them to do it, and they did, which is good also of course. I am drawing the building of the monastery, I hope that will be a good example. The monks will be in retreat and doing practice all the time. Only 6 of them are allowed to go to the valley, interact and help the people. Every 6 months, another group of 6 monks will take over. It is similar like Druk Amitabha Mountain, they need to practise and recharge the battery and after 6 months they will go and interact with people.
The other thing that I think it’s a little more interesting for the people to know is shifting Hayagriva from old palace which is 10m from the new palace. The village is known as Chakrasa. In the photo below you can see the new palace, there is the old one next to it, which you can see as a part of the structure. The old one is in a threatened situation, because it is nearly 2000 years old. Therefore for safety of Hayagriva, the people wanted to shift to the new home. But they wanted me to do it, and they had waited for 9 years. They didn’t want to take any responsbility of having any problems. They are susperstitious in that sense because it is believed that if you touch Hayagriva, you will die or get sick. If you do with an impure motivation, definitely something bad will happen. But with pure motivation, Hayagriva knows. In another photo, there was a rainbow all day long on the day of shifting. I didn’t believe but I now have to, because the photo shows exactly what I was told. Hayagriva must be very happy because of the new palace that he can now enjoy, and there is no risk to be injured by a possible collapsing roof.
Another interesting news is in the village of Kamfug, we were offered around 500 canals of land, beautiful land in terms of mundane aspect. The first thing that came to my mind, when I was invited to bless this land with thousands of people was to plant trees. This time, 25 monks planted trees, next year we will plant several tens of thousands of trees on this piece of land. That was decided on the spot. I announced that to everybody, and people were so happy. The leaders of politics who were traveling with me were also very supportive, as usual. The Indian government and people of Indian government are always very supportive of the people, that is the advantage of pure democracy. They were very keen to help to get water, solar and different preparations. Next September, there will be a big function on same spot, and I think we should break World Records again! I am that sort of person who is very disorganised, so I say first without thinking and planning and do afterwards, very unlike the conventional and professional methods. But I believe that everything done spontaneously without any fabrication and only with positive motivation will somehow find its way.
Because of these 3 happenings, I call it a successful visit. The plantation and the 4th ADC will be joining together almost around the same time. This will compliment the ADC very nicely. The main aim of ADC and our lineage is to benefit all the living species in the universe. One of the most beautiful ways to benefit universe is through the tree planting. I am not saying that tree planting is the only one beneficial activity, but it is something that needs to be done all over the world. As I always say, what I am doing is very small, but I hope it can be an example for the rest of world. So I will never lose interest, and keep doing it once in a while, till death comes.
People come to me and give me all the reasons why I should live long, but some just talk from the mouth and action wise, I am not sure. The real thing is that people have to support Live to Love activities such as tree planting, not only it is helpful to the beings, but also it is helpful for my longevity, if you like. My mind will be nourished because of wish-fulfilling support and the body is nourished because the mind is fulfilled. I am telling you these things in details, because some strange thinking people may question why tree planting can help longevity. I think practically not only my longevity, but also every being’s longevity. I am sure in your science classes, you were told that trees give oxygen, trees prevent mudslides, trees store carbon and slow down global warming, some trees also give fruits and protection. Trees are really lovable. I love trees!
There is one group of people that I want to thank. I want to officially and publicly thank Drukpa Asia under the stewardship of Jigme Jampal, then an old friend now a student, for being the main pillar of Annual Drukpa Council. Unfortunately on the day of closing, they were too humble to come up and receive the appreciation certificates in person, instead they allowed Drubpon Ngawang to represent both Drukpa Europe and Drukpa Asia to receive on everyone’s behalf. I hope Drukpa Asia’s support is recognised by everyone because they have really been working very hard to raise funds and to beat drums loudly for ADC. I guess this kind of worldly recognition is not important for them, the most important is their sincerity and support as well as their humility. I also want to thank Gyarawa Rinpoche, my representative in Taiwan, for his sponsorship of many items and for his moral support, as I never had a chance to thank him in person during the ADC because everyone of us had a shortage of time and oxygen. Anyway, I don’t think I need to put any photos here because I was told that many photos have been circulating everywhere on websites and Facebooks!
This time in Ladakh, I met with many NGOs and their volunteers. I really admire their drive and energetic commitment. I want to take this opportunity to talk a little about volunteerism. Being volunteers and leaders of voluntary groups, it is very important to put self interest behind others. The reason why some voluntary groups and volunteers in NGOs are doing a great job because they are selfless, and working in the benefit of others is a great Bodhisattva practice.
As volunteers, there are sacrifices or commitments to be made. In fact volunteers should be ready to help, otherwise there is no reason to become volunteers. Being volunteers most of the time require doing things not according to self interest but according to group interest or interest of the lineage and beings as well as being not so calculative, especially volunteers of spiritual and charitable organisations. Sometimes volunteers have to use their own company staff to help in beneficial activities and that they have to use their own funds to donate to beneficial deeds whenever there are insufficient resources. Some people become afraid to be volunteers because one day there will not be any “return” or benefit and some even discourage others to do good because of fear. I can fully understand this sort of fear, but there is a great message that always lingers in my mind: An open heart receives immeasurable blessings like an open space and imagine what a close container can receive, nothing! If the opening is small, then small things will drip into the container. Small openings are easier to be blocked, don’t you agree? And as I always say, no pain no gain!
It’s okay and understandable when at some stages some of you decide that you are not ready to be volunteers because maybe at the time of signing up, you had some emotional impulse, sometimes because of peer pressure and sometimes you suddenly have a great urge and motivation to be helpful to others. But moral support and other kinds of support should always be there to maintain that connection. Come back when you are ready! Volunteering yourself is a great practice. Bodhisattva practice can definitely be carried out through voluntary work. For me being a genuine volunteer, that means volunteer who does activities and not only talks and suggests, is a Bodhisattva practice.
Voluntary work needs commitment, this may not necessary be in financial terms, but it has to be in the terms of mind and action. This is why only a few people become leaders in this world, because they are far sighted, committed to their beliefs, be it mundane or spiritual, and they work more and harder than others and seldom complain, and most importantly, these successful leaders always see the positive side of everything. Attitude decides whether one fails or succeeds and being an effective volunteer, is a training ground for developing that secret of success.
I also want to take this small window of opportunity to advise all the committed volunteers of my small NGO that one should not expect positive results to come overnight. Life is difficult and a volunteer’s life is not helping to ease the difficulties, therefore one needs to understand why you become a volunteer and what is the motivation. You will definitely have a great sense of joy and achievement when you are able to help others. Human nature is always like this: when you are working hard with seemingly no progress, no one will come to your aid, those one or two people really helping you and supporting you are truly your friends and Dharma brothers and sisters; but when you are successful, many people will come and claim the credit, as though they were a part of the hardworking progress you and your one or two friends have made. Don’t despair and don’t be discouraged. If anything is at all fair in this universe, karma is and merit is!
Just forget and ignore those people who are negative, complaining and giving you all kinds of difficulties through words of discouragement, in fact you should thank them, because by conquering this sort of difficulties, you will do much better. Especially when it comes to dealing with your own team members who are giving you a hard time, ignore them and persevere, because when you succeed, they will be the first ones around to tell others that they were also helping to achieve the success. It doesn’t matter, let’s share the mundane success with them, because karma will give you a fair return!
Voluntary work is truly a practice of the 6 Paramitas. I want to salute to all the volunteers, egoistically I am also saluting to myself and my colleagues because we too are volunteers, are we not? We have to work so hard to maintain a lineage which we were born into and unlike CEOs or Chairmans of big companies, we don’t have salary and had started work for many lives. For poor me at least more than a thousand years or since thousands of years back, and every life, I had to start volunteering myself almost as soon as I was born, and at least for this life, as far back as I could remember, I had to feed many people and repair many old monasteries even before I could talk and walk nicely. Well, I always tell myself what a great life because life has to be used for positive deeds! I have great appreciation to my good karma and to all my gurus that my path is not a lonely one because I have my colleagues and volunteers like you to support me morally and materially. A big thank you to all of you and to me too!
As a spiritual organisation, I think one should be following the rules and regulations of the lineage and be happily hosting the genuine lineage masters whenever chances arise and whenever you are assigned, and not be choosing who to host and who not to host. I was often told that in many other lineages, some centres only want masters who are popular and decline invitation of masters who are less popular or unknown, even when some of these less well-known masters are great masters with great wisdom and blessing to share. By doing this, instead of becoming a bridge between a spiritual lineage and the world, these organisations will never be successful, unfortunately. When they want to invite particular guru, budget, time and a lack of human resources would never become a problem, but when they do not wish to invite another guru, they would come up with all sorts of excuses, instead of forming more team members and recruiting new members or finding creative solutions. They don’t want to follow the guidance and instructions. They want to have the tag and label of the lineage, but they want to choose when, how and who to support. This is not right.
I hope my centres and centre representatives are not behaving in such strange and non-beneficial manner. Every master has different connections with different groups of beings. The reason why we are setting up centres is to propagate the teachings of Buddha that were passed down through our unbroken lineage of masters. Since we are now coming up with a schedule of visits, starting with Drukpa Asia and Drukpa Europe, followed by the rest of the world, we all should be thrilled and excited that more beings will be helped through the suggested and approved visits of our genuine masters, whether the visits are small or large scale.
Under Drukpa Asia, for example, centres should be following the schedule set by the headquarters, which has been done through consultation with Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche and myself. It would be a great disappointment for me and all the lineage holders if some of them decline such kind of arrangement because as I said before, centres are a bridge between lineage and beings and therefore they should try their best to follow. ADC is a platform to share and exchange and centres are also platforms to continue this sharing and exchange. By the way, I am proud to announce that Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche Jigme Pema Nyinjadh will now officially represent me in all the affairs with regards to Asia. I am sure everyone who support me and my lineage will give him full support. Because of the new appointment, we will soon announce the new organisational structure for Drukpa Asia with hopefully the involvement of committed and positive minded committee and hired staff.
For the 4th Annual Drukpa Council, I am very happy to announce the decision that it will be held at Hemis, to be led by Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche as the chairperson and Kyabje Langna Rinpoche as the deputy chairperson. We will see which of our centres and organisations will give great support in terms of participation, they will be greatly appreciated not only by me, but by all of my colleagues, the dakas, dakinis and all the protectors. Everyone from everywhere should feel free to register directly at ADC website this time, and we all will join together to make every ADC even better than the last!