Monday, 28 May 2018

Welcome Tokden Rinpoche to Singapore!

Long time no blog! :P

His Eminence Tokden Rinpoche 
Tomorrow is Vesak, and I am so happy to have a great master visiting us during this period to celebrate Vesak / Saka Dawa as well as to bestow teachings for one whole month. He is Tokden Rinpoche from Dagyab.  

During the old days in Tibet, Tokden Rinpoche had received many teachings and empowerments from H.H. Kyabje Trijiang Dorje Chang and the H.H. Kyabje Yongzin Ling Dorje Chang, both the tutors of His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama.

74 year-old H.E. Tokden Rinpoche is the Abbot Emeritus of Ratö Monastery, Drepung Loseling Monastery as well as the Gyütö Monastery in India. As an ex-Abbot of Gyütö, Rinpoche is in the line of teachers who would eventually rise to the throne of the Gelug head, becoming His Holiness Gaden Tripa Rinpoche. Currently, there are 3 senior ex-Abbots ahead of Tokden Rinpoche in the line.

H.E. Tokden Rinpoche used to live and give teachings in Manjushri Center (FPMT) in London, as well as Georgia USA for a few years. Rinpoche is a very skilful teacher and gives regular teachings in the Himalayan regions, Thailand, Taiwan and other western parts of the world. Rinpoche is highly-respected not only within the three great Monasteries of Drepung, Sera and Gaden - but also deeply revered amongst the community of Rato & Tashi Lhunpo monasteries and nunneries. Today, Tokden Rinpoche belongs to one of the most capable teachers who has the major transmissions of the lineage, and is known for his pure accomplished practice.

On and off, I receive emails from readers asking and checking with me if certain great masters / Rinpoches are practitioners of Shugden. The reason is the Shugden website usually posts many photos of great practitioners of the Gelug lineage and especially those teachers hailing from Tibet in the old days. They claim that these teachers are practitioners of Shugden. 

My teacher, Dagyab Rinpoche, had talked about this issue in 2014 dispelling rumors regarding Shugden(you can read it here). I feel that it was a very significant statement, and necessary in order to stop the unhealthy and misleading information which has been circulating by people both online and within the Tibetan Buddhist community in Singapore. It is an important message to all Dharma practitioners, to be mindful of their speech and conduct, to maintain religious harmony between Buddhist centres, as well as to preserve the pure teachings of the Buddha Dharma.

Recently, again there was a reader asking if Tokden Rinpoche is practising Shugden.  I replied him that in the old days many of the old  monks/masters did but they stopped after His Holiness the Dalai Lama's advice. However the said website still made use of the names of those masters to promote Shugden. So it misleads many people online with deception. Imagine the bad karma they are creating for themselves by this action. 

His Holiness Dalai Lama with Tokden Rinpoche, photo taken in Jan 2018.

As Dagyab Rinpoche said, "As a Buddhist practitioner, one needs to have certain responsibility. I am quite sure those people who are talking about this must have also taken Bodhicitta vows and Tantra vows. They need to think very carefully the result of committing such a downfall and samaya vows. Talking (spreading rumours) in this way, they must have certain intentions. I suspect they just want to separate Dharma brothers and sisters. This is really not nice. This is not the way to behave as Dharma practitioners".

Hope this clarifies.

Enjoy the teachings which Tokden Rinpoche is bestowing this one month. Check out his programme organised by Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling. In my next post, I will share my notes transcribed during Tokden Rinpoche's teaching on the "Essence of Dharma" the past weekend.

Happy Vesak to all!  May all be auspicious! 

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