Thursday, 13 May 2010

Garchen Rinpoche, the Living Buddha!

Last week, when H.E. Garchen Rinpoche arrived, there was a huge welcome for him at the airport, as I blogged about it earlier 'A bodhisattva arrives"

Here is a group photo we took with 74-year-old Rinpoche after his personal blessing to each and everyone of us who was there. Garchen Rinpoche, among many holy incarnations, was Mahasiddha Aryadeva in ancient India - the lotus-born disciple of Nagarjuna himself.

Two days after Rinpoche's arrival, I had a short dream of him. I was walking alone to somewhere, and out of nowhere, I saw a car arriving and stopping right in front of me.  When the door opened, I saw Garchen Rinpoche stepping out of the car, and a few lamas were quickly rushing towards him to hold him and to support him, as Rinpoche carries a walking stick (being weak on his legs). In the dream, I gasped (stunned to see Rinpoche) and quickly bowed my head with clasped palms as I saw him.  As usual, Rinpoche's wrinkled face brightened into huge smiles, and he started waving at me, as his lamas surrounded him and led him into some place.

Then just as abruptly, as I stood there, with a blink of the eye, I was transported to another place. It was like a forest or jungle with tall trees and soft grass with blooming flowers and birds chirping. I could see the sea and mountains at a far distant and there was even a faint rainbow. Then I woke up. The dream was so vivid. It was the most breathtaking scenery I had ever seen. It was so peaceful and colourful and breezy, like a breath of dawn. A certain calm that immediately hit me and tamed the soul.  I could not describe exactly how it was like and I tried to find from the internet for the closest picture to depict what I saw. What I saw was many times more beautiful than this picture I found. I was really exhilarated to have had this dream of Garchen Rinpoche at such a time that he is here in Singapore.    

For the 2-3 days I attended the White Tara Initiation which he bestowed upon us, as well as the puja of Amitabha Buddha. A puja to supplicate to the 35 Buddhas was also conducted, specially dedicated to the victims of the Yushu Qinghai earthquake. This was requested by Rinpoche to aid the victims, as he said the people of that region has a special connection to him and had strong faith in him. Within these few days, $20,000 was raised by Dri Thubten Dargye Ling in Singapore for this cause.  

One would not know the impact and connection all his students and devotees have with this Living Buddha, Garchen Rinpoche, until one witnessed how he was so warmly received by the crowds. Rinpoche was endearing and compassionate, unbelievably kind to each individual, whether you are a monk or a lay man, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are a celebrity or just a commoner. His students offered khatas to him, smiled, hugged him and some cried. You could see the joy and happiness radiating on their faces and could not help but be extremely touched. Rinpoche's radiant presence inspires and delights students as the loving mother gathers her children close with  loving, encouraging, laughing, prodding, singing etc.  I was fortunate to get the opportunity to have a personal photo taken with Rinpoche, one of the few gurus who has touched me deeply.  Before biding him good bye after the puja, I asked one of his lamas how to say in Tibetan "Rinpoche, I would like to wish you a very long life", and when I saw Rinpoche, I told him that. Rinpoche was very happy and said something to me in Tibetan, which I could not understand, of course. Nonetheless, I was extremely happy.

During the White Tara Initiation 2 nights ago, Rinpoche requested  us to have faith in Tara, to say our prayers earnestly to her, for her guidance and protection. He said he has had personal encounters with Tara in dream-like state, and also related how he has received her protection many times throughout his life, every time when he was on the verge of dying.

Rinpoche was imprisoned by the Chinese government for 20 years. While in labour camp in 1959, there was once where there were literally many fighting weapons raining upon him, hitting him and hurting him. He knew he was in danger and on the verge of death and asked Tara for protection. He managed to escape without any injuries.

Another time there was shortage of food, and many were sick and dying of hunger. Rinpoche again prayed to Tara for help. In the end, he managed to survive without food for a long time, all with the blessings of Tara. 

Yet another time, Rinpoche fell into the water and he knew he was drowning, yet was miraculously saved by Tara again. Then there was another time, when he was travelling in a car with a few others, Rinpoche was holding and turning his prayer wheel. They met with a car accident. The car overturned and was badly damaged, but Rinpoche and those with him, escaped unharmed and nary an injury.  Amazing.

Garchen Rinpoche has repeatedly emphasized on the following teachings by Buddha in his talks:
- Do not do anything unwholesome,
- Do plentiful wholesome deeds,
- Tame your mind completely,
- These are the teachings of the Buddha.

"诸恶没作, 众善奉行, 自净其意, 是诸佛教"

Rinpoche again posed for me when I walked him to the car, and he waved, before he went back to rest for the night. Not unlike what I saw in the dream. 

It is a very rare opportunity in samsaric lives to meet a genuine Bodhisattva/Buddha. And to have received blessings from a Living Buddha, a realized master (Rinpoche has already achieved realizations of the inconceivable wisdom mind), is truly a rare chance. May all whom Garchen Rinpoche has taught, blessed and touched, practice the true Dharma path and develop the faith towards authentic teachers.

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