I thought this is a beautiful photo of Lama Zopa Rinpoche during the long life puja offered to him in Kopan Monastery, Nepal, on 29 December 2012. Five dakinis were in front of him.
One of the most moving ceremonies in Tibetan Buddhism is the long life puja for a teacher, an elaborate display of devotion towards a spiritual guide comprising heartfelt prayers and praises,and a procession of symbolic offerings. The purpose of the long life puja is for students to purify the mistakes that occur in relationship to their teacher, and to create the causes and conditions to continue to receive benefit from that teacher for a very long time. The puja itself is also for our own long life so that we can continue to practice the Dharma while we have a precious human existence.
The ritual itself is the extensive Lama Chopa with an added request to the dakinis, a moving plea by the students for the five dakinis who have come to take away the teacher to a pure land to allow the students’ teacher to remain with them on earth.
The late Geshe Lama Konchog mentioned before, “To understand why a long life puja is essential, we must understand the value of the Guru. He is our guide in this life, the bardo and future lives. He is immensely important. It is not a case where if we ask him to live he will, and vice-versa, but that to offer such a ceremony purifies our own broken samayas".
May all authentic Gurus live long in order to continue turning the Wheel of Dharma.