Sunday, 6 June 2010

Welcoming Lati Rinpoche and Relics back to Singapore!

Today, I was informed by Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling (DPL) at midnight that His Holiness Lati Rinpoche's holy relics would be arriving this very morning at 7.30am!  An old Geshe-la and a monk from Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod India, would be making this special trip to bring some of Rinpoche's precious relics to Dro-Phen Ling. Although I was not sure if I could wake up at 5am+ on a Sunday morning, in my heart, I knew I 'owe' it to The Three Jewels  and Rinpoche I had to go to the airport to welcome Rinpoche back, whether I was asleep, awake, awakened or not.

I was definitely not alone. So many of Rinpoche's monks, students and closest disciples were at the airport by 7am. Besides incense, khata, flowers; chrysanthemum and orchids, there were also stalks of bamboo plants too. Jamie told me that the bamboo plant was Lati Rinpoche's favourite plant.

Everyone was holding flowers, incense, and khata  and queuing in an orderly manner while waiting happily and excitedly for Rinpoche's arrival.
When the monks finally arrived, Rinpoche's holy relics were wrapped inside a luggage, and was carried by a monk. DPL Chairperson offered first khata to Rinpoche's relics.

Everyone went forward to offer khata to Rinpoche by placing it on his relics, some shedding tears. It was a bitter-sweet reunion. It is proper Tibetan etiquette to offer a khata to your guru or visiting teacher when they arrive. It is a form of respect to the lama out of recognition for his kindness. Offering khata symbolizes purity, goodwill, auspiciousness and compassion.

After Rinpoche's arrival, everyone hurried back to the centre, in order to greet and to give Rinpoche a customary warm welcome again. Petals of flowers and incense were ready before Rinpoche arrived. 

This time, receiving Rinpoche's relics was akin to welcoming Rinpoche back to DPL again.

Rinpoche's holy relics were immediately placed on his throne seat.

By this time, my body was feeling very warm and hot, with hair standing. Joy in the form of happy tears. In fact, earlier I was already burning hot in the very cold airport (this is my personal experience when my guru arrives, or when the Buddha's presence is felt). We held a short prayer for Rinpoche's swift return.

The chairperson of DPL made mandala offering after the prayers, and old geshe-la made full prostrations to Rinpoche as well as the other monks. Each of us went forward to offer khata again and to request Rinpoche to come back to us quickly, to take rebirth again to benefit sentient beings, even though Rinpoche has already achieved Enlightenment.

Just as it was touching seeing Rinpoche back in DPL again, it was equally heartening to see many of his students so sincerely making offerings and fervent prayers to Rinpoche.

Many made full prostrations.

“The greatest gift is to give people your Enlightenment
to share it. It has to be the greatest.”
- The Buddha.

Being students and disciples of Lati Rinpoche, we are indeed fortunate that he had chosen to spend the later years of his life coming to DPL Singapore, giving teachings, blessing  and benefiting countless people. We are also blessed to be able to receive and to  be continually blessed by Rinpoche's precious relics - an embodiment of his Enlightened Mind.

A month before Lati Rinpoche's passing into Nirvana, he had promised to come back to DPL Singapore for teachings some time in June.  Rinpoche kept his promise. Fatefully, he came back today, on  6 June. No word can describe my exhilarated mood at the moment. And I'm so happy that Lati Rinpoche is finally home.  Om ah hum.

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