16. januar 2011

Gomde's history 1 - looking back after the first ten years

An expanding circle of practitioners.

When Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche chose the name Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé for the newly purchased land of 1,000 fruit rees he had not only a profound but also a reason of longstanding historical background. Rangjung Yeshe — self-existing wakefulness — is the essential principle in Buddhism, especially in the ancient Dzogchen tantras, and Gomdé is the land of his forefathers with an unbroken line of spiritual tradition that goes back almost a thousand years.
You may all have heard of Milarepa, Tibet’s great yogi, and his famous prophetic dream about the future lineage-holders and practitioners who would increase with each following generation. You have also heard of Gampopa, his foremost disciple, and most certainly become familiar with his influential book Jewel Ornament of Liberation. It is through Gampopa’s close disciples and their disciple again that a confluence of two rivers of Buddhist practice — the down-to-earth advice on lojong (mind-training) to tackle selfishness and Mahamudra’s profound yet simple instructions on uncontrived naturalness — spread so far and so deep that this single stream penetrated almost every person in the entire land.
One of Gampopa’s illustrious students was Barom Dharma Wangchuk. Allow me to use the words of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche:

Barom Dharma Wangchuk established his first seat in Central Tibet, near the sacred mountain Samten Kangsar northeast of Lhasa, where an increasing stream of faithful people with offerings, even all the way from China, began to appear. After an avalanche buried a temple he decided to accept an invitation from the king of Nangchen in East Tibet. There he established his second seat and slowly the kingdom became filled with meditators and yogis of Naropa’s six doctrines, giving the kingdom its name Gomdé, which means land of practitioners. The connotation is closely connected with the profound pointing-out instruction of Mahamudra, the most profound teaching in the Barom lineage, which directly introduces the state of realization. This instruction was received by the majority of people living in the region and they became meditators. All over the mountainside, each family house became a practice center, both men and women. The story goes that even the simple water-bearers at night used the leather straps on their yokes as meditation belts. And the shepherds would use the long rope from their slingshot as meditation belts as well. It is said that almost everyone was a practitioner, so the land got the name Gomde, the Land of Meditators, a sign that the Buddha’s teachings took firm root.

Looking back at Gomde’s first decade, it seems so short and yet so full of events carrying great weight — a wonderful drama involving precious teachers, profound wisdom, generous benefactors, dedicated friends, and a spectacular landscape with changing seasons as the back-drop. Some of these consequential events have found their way into this celebrative publication. Some survive only in our memories. But as a basic thread weaving through them all I sense one dyed in the colors of noble intention and free spirit — an expression of the twofold bodhichitta.
As someone involved in this meaningful drama from the first opening, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who felt inspired to participate. It is your dedication, past and future, that nurtures and shapes this fountainhead of benefit and well-being.
May Gomdé — both the retreat on Helgenæs and the training-ground in our daily lives — continue to be a place that grows the fruits of our lineage masters’ aspirations!

—Erik Pema Kunsang, Gomde, 2004