Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Konchog Tenzin Kunsang Thrinle Lhundrup was born on 4th day of 6th month of Fire-Dog-Year 1946 into an aristocratic family of Tsarong in Lhasa. The reincarnation of the head of the Lineage was confirmed by Tagdrag Rinpoche (the Regent of Tibet), H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and H.H. Taklung Matrul. Drikung Kyabgon was enthroned at Drikung Thil, the main monastery of Drikung Kagyu Lineage, in the presence of more than 2 thousand people.
His Holiness studied according to the tradition and received all the essential transmissions of Kagyu and Nyingma Lineages from his spiritual instructors Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche, Nyidzon Tripa Rinpoche, Lho Bongdrul Rinpoche, and other Lamas. During the Monkey Year Teachings at the age of eleven Drikung Kyabgon gave his first public teachings — the transmission of the Great Drikung Phowa.
In 1956, Drikung Kyabgon's parents fled to India while he had stayed at Drikung Thil Monastery, in Tibet. In 1959, the monastery was closed, and young Chetsang Rinpoche had moved for Lhasa to live with his previous spiritual teacher Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche. There His Holiness was admitted in elementary school and was able to finish six years of education in three years.
In 1975, Chetsang Rinpoche decided to cross the border of Tibet to Nepal. After eight days of walking, he finally reached Kathmandu. Later, Drikung Kyabgon was able to reach Dharamsala, India, where he had an audience with H.H. Dalai Lama. There was conducted an official ceremony in which he was formally enthroned again in India. After three months Drikung Kyabgon traveled with his father to the United States where he stayed for two and a half years.
Because of constant requests of his followers, Drikung Kyabgon returned to India in 1978 and took up as his residence Phyang Monastery in Leh, Ladakh. Then he entered a traditional three-year retreat under the guidance of Kyunga Sodpa Gyatso. In 1985, Chetsang Rinpoche received full monk's ordination from His Holiness Dalai Lama.
Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang received teachings and empowerments from many highly accomplished lamas from different traditions: from His Holiness Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Karmapa, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, H.E. Taglung Shabtrung, Kyabje Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche, Drubwang Konchog Norbu and many others.
In 1985, Drikung Kyabgon established Drikung Kagyu Institute, Jungchub Ling. The Institute is located in the foothills of the Himalayas near Dehradun, India. Drikung Kagyu Institute is an education center which combines both the traditional monastic and modern education.
For the last ten years, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has studied Tibetan manuscripts recently discovered in Dunhuang. The primary interests of His Holiness have been focused on the study of the early history of Tibet and the teachings of the Zen tradition in Tibetan. The result of this research were two scientific papers. The first of them — a book called "A History of the Tibetan Empire" (History of the Tibetan Empire) describes Pugyal Empire, which spread throughout the territory Tibestkogo Highlands since the beginning of the seventh century.
The second is called "The Record of the Masters and Disciples of the Lanka (School)" (Annals of the Masters and followers of Lanka School) is devoted to Zen tradition, originated in the mid-eighth century. The book is being prepared for publication as a joint project of the Songtsen Library in Dehradun and the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) of the British Library.
Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in the 12th century by Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon (1143–1217). Jigten Sumgon was one of the eight most prominent disciples of Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo and also a disciple of Great Terton Nyang Ral Nyima Ozer.
Drikung Lineage is one of the eight schools originated from Phagdru Kagyu — the lineage that was established by Lord Phagmodrupa, Gampopa's disciple. After Phagmodrupa's death Jigten Sumgon took over the throne in Densa Thil, Phagdru Kagyu Monastery. But after three years he established his own lineage as Phagmodrupa had predicted. In 1179 Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon founded Drikung Thil in Central Tibet, the main monastery of Drikung Kagyu, also known as Jungchub Ling. This is the beginning of Drikung Kagyu's history, the lineage that until now is widespread in Tibet, India and West.
Drikung Lineage teachings combine two traditions — Kagyu and Nyingma. The most famous teaching of the school is Great Drikung Phowa. Drikung Phowa differs from other Phowa practices by specifiс methods of transmission. It is considered the easiest Phowa Path based on the Teacher's blessings. Other unique Drikung Kagyu teachings are “The Single Intent” (tib. Gong-chig), and Fivefold Mahamudra. These instructions came from Lord Jigten Sumgon. Also, Drikung Lineage is known to have many great practitioners who attained enlightenment in one lifetime. Even in our days the practices of The Hearing Lineage are marked with a blessing of the greatest masters.
Following Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön’s extensive turning of the Wheel of Dharma to an assembly of hundreds of thousands disciples, ever since the time of the 12th throne holder of Drikung, the blessed tradition of holding summer teachings on the Fivefold Path of Mahamudra, winter teachings on the Six Yogas of Naropa, and additional teachings on the Gongchig (the Single Mind), the Tenying (the Essence of the Mahayana Teachings), and so forth has prevailed without decline.
Later, the 26th throne holder, the master Trinley Zangpo, instituted the traditions of the Monkey, Pig, Tiger, and Snake Year Teachings, which were imparted as a series of the empowerments, transmissions and oral instructions of the former masters bestowed like filling vases to the brim at the end of every traditional three-year retreat. Then, for practical reasons, the Tiger Year Teachings were suspended so that the Monkey, Pig, and Snake Year Teachings became the three great teaching cycles. Since then, the two Drikung Kyabgöns and successive throne holders of the Drikung Kagyü have sustained the tradition of imparting — like filling vases to the brim — the unique close lineage of the Drikung Kagyü: a variety of empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön’s Great Bodhichitta, The Great Drikung Phowa, and so forth.
After a brief interruption due to the political turmoil, the two Drikung Kyabgöns reinstated the tradition at their main seats; in 1992, the Monkey Year Teachings were bestowed at Jangchubling Monastery in India, and the Kyabgön Chökyi Nangwa gave the Great Drikung Phowa and other teachings to an assembly of more than 400 000 devotees at the great monastic seat of Jangchubling in Tibet.
This excellent tradition of extensively turning the Wheel of Dharma, which is the supreme medicine that dispels the misery of sentient beings, is renowned as the Monkey, Pig and Snake Year Teachings and it continues without decline until the present day.
Many of us desire for liberation and long for the ultimate goal of attaining the state of enlightenment, the supreme source of unsurpassed happiness for both self and others. However, we must understand that without relying on the mind of precious bodhicitta it will never be possible to accomplish this ultimate state. Furthermore, to casually cultivate a mind of mere altruistic intent alone will not be sufficient in causing precious bodhicitta to arise in the mind-stream.
First, following in the tradition of a profound ritual we must receive the bodhisattva vows. While there are many abbreviated rituals for receiving the bodhisattva vows, this ritual from the Drikung Tukje Chemo tradition holds a lineage with a direct connection to that which was passed down from the Buddha himself. Therefore, it holds tremendous blessings. It is a ceremony that is extremely vast and profound. In the past, in Tibet, it was widely known that the vows were bestowed only once every twelve years. The practice connected with these vows was the dearly cherished and foremost practice of Lord Jigten Sumgön. It has been said that it was due to the great power and blessing of the Tukje Chemo that Lord Jigten Sumgön’s enlightened activity was able to spread throughout the land in all directions.
Drikung Kagyu School is famous for its Phowa teachings. Great Drikung Phowa is known in the Tibetan world as a great occasion for pilgrimage and celebration. This festival is traditionally held once in twelve years. Last time it took place in August 1992, in Terdrom (Central Tibet) after a 36 years of interruption. Before, the festival was prohibited by Chinese authorities.
Phowa is an exceptional teaching in Tibetan Buddhism. Those who accomplished this practice will never fall into the lower realms and will be reborn in the Buddha Amitabha's pure land. Great Drikung Phowa is transmitted within the unbroken lineage from Buddha Amitabha to Guru Padmasambhava, and further to His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche. These days we may not have enough time to practice Dharma that's why Phowa is an important method which we can use to accomplish the benefit of ourselves and others.
Buddha Amitayus' transmission belongs to Long life practices lineage that is following from Guru Padmasambhava and Princess Mandarava. This teaching came from India to Tibet through Rechungpa, Milarepa's disciple.
While practicing the Long life sadhana in Maratika Cave, Padmasambhava received tantras, sadhanas, and oral instructions from Buddha Amitayus, and achieved immortal body. Not only Guru Rinpoche but Princess Mandarava also realized such accomplishment. After that she was known as the Only Mother and the Queen of Siddhas (Machig Drubpa Gyalmo) and had many followers.
There is a story that once Rechungpa was foretold that he was going to die in seven days. But Rechungpa could overcome this deadly threat by receiving instructions on Buddha Amitayus practice from the Queen of Siddhas. When Rechungpa returned to Tibet, he offered this teaching to Milarepa as a gift. It is known that Rechungpa had lived full term of life in his body.
For this practice and Dharma practice in general, it is important to have a pure motivation and an intention to use our body as an instrument for benefiting others. To accomplish this goal, a body should be in a perfect shape and filled with the power of elements, strength of longevity and blessing.
Three Longevity Deities — Buddha Amitayus, White Tara, and Ushnishavijhaya bestow health and long life to those who accomplish their practices and for those for whom these practices are being made and dedicated. Each of the Longevity Deities has its unique qualities. For example, White Tara bestows protection from eight kinds of fear or sixteen dangers, Ushnishavijaya protects beings from serious illnesses, Amitayus grants health and strength of the five elements. In general all the practices of these deities are equally effective for overcoming the various obstacles to a long life, deep cleansing the results of unwholesome deeds of the body, speech, and mind, as well as care for all sentient beings, and lead to the attainment of enlightenment. Blessings of the mantras of the deities protect in this and future lives, free from fear and dangers, and from birth in the lower realms.
Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma, or Lotus Sutra (Skt. Saddharma-pundarika Sutra; Tib. Dam chos pad dkar), is one of the earliest and most influential texts. Also, it is one of the most extensive sutras in Mahayana. Lotus Sutra presents the essential doctrine of Mahayana — the attaining of liberation form the suffering and enlightenment through skillful methods (Skt. Upaya-kaushalya). In the sutra's title lotus is a symbol of absolute untainted purity of enlightened attitude (Skt. Bodhichitta).
Lotus Sutra is a cycle of sermons that Buddha Shakyamuni gave at Gridhrakuta Mount (Vulture's Peak near Rajgir, Northern India) and in the sky above this sacred for Buddhists mountain.
Saddharma-pundarika is believed to be one of the first sutras in which from Buddha's name were proclaimed the fundamentals of Mahayana teachings — that each sentient being will become Buddha and that Buddha's life is eternal. Lotus Sutra includes stories about Buddha Shakyamuni's life, about his path to enlightenment and about his numerous followers who were looking for happiness and wisdom — monks, simple people, kings, women. These stories are alternated with Buddhist parables and narratives about beings with extraordinary abilities. Moreover, Sutra presents a great picture of the world's constitution that stagger the imagination.
As part of a Russian tour, from 26 to 30 August, His Holiness will visit the Great Stupa of Enlightenment at Ogoy Island on Lake Baikal, and make a pilgrimage to the Statue of Sandalwood Buddha in Egituysky Datsan in Buryatia.
The tour will begin on August 26 with a trip from Irkutsk to the Stupa. Ogoy — a small uninhabited island, where His Holiness will grant the teachings and blessings. Pilgrims will spend nights on boats, anchored at the very quiet bay, right by the Ogoy Island, next to the Rinpoche’s boat.
On August 27, the day of the dakini, His Holiness will conduct the ritual consecration of the Stupa and the Great Drikung Phowa. The Empowerment of Three Longevity Deities will be granted the next day, 28 August. August 29 will be a day of rest on the coast of Lake Baikal.
On August 30 everyone will return to Irkutsk and those who continue the tour will go to Ulan-Ude by the evening train. The next day, pilgrims drive from Ulan-Ude to Egituysky Datsan, where the statue of Sandalwood Buddha is situated.
From 31 to September 2, His Holiness bestows teachings on the Lotus Sutra in Egituysky Datsan. Pilgrims will be staying next to the datsan, and to return to Ulan-Ude on September 2.
On September 3, His Holiness will give a lecture about the history of the Tibetan Empire in Ulan-Ude and visit Ivolginski Datsan.
On September 4, His Holiness departs to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Auspicious Stupa of Great Enlightenment (Tib. Kunsang Jangchub Chenpo Tongdrol Chorten) grants liberation through vision. It was built in 2004–2005 in Irkutsk Oblast at Ogoy island (Baikal lake). The initiator and author of this project and also a sponsor of the Stupa's construction was Irina Machitski, an artist, and an architect. She had created the Stupa's project according to the Tibetan canons. To perform the necessary rituals were invited Pema Ranrig Dorje Rinpoche, Lama Dola, who built many Stupas throughout the world, and other famous lamas from Nepal and Bhutan. Also, many Buddhists and followers of from different parts of Russia were helping to build the Benevolent Stupa of Great Enlightenment. Through the last years, the Baikal Stupa became a place of spiritual pilgrimage. Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche granted the name to Stupa. The Stupa construction was blessed by many great masters of Tibetan Buddhism — Dzarong Trulshik Shatrul Rinpoche, Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, Kyabje Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche and other lamas. Read more about the Stupa at www.imachitski-art.com/stupa
Egituysky Datsan (Tib. Damchoy Rabjayling; The Abode of Spreading of the Noble Teachings) was established in 1820. But it was destroyed in 1935. Only in 1991 Egituysky Datsan was reconstructed on the site of the old monastery's complex.
Egituysky Datsan houses the Sandalwood Buddha or the Zandan Zhuu. The statue is recognized as one of the Russian Buddhist sacred objects. There are only a few statues of Buddha Shakyamuni that were made during his lifetime. One of them — the Sandalwood Buddha — is kept in Egituysky Datsan. Another famous statue is Jowo Rinpoche in Tibet.
The Sandalwood Buddha was brought to Buryatia from Beijing. In 1901, it was mounted in Egituysky Datsan. The statue was there until 1935 when Datsan had been destroyed. After that Sandalwood Buddha was preserved at Anti-religious Museum and later at the funds of Museum of History of Buryatia.
The Sandalwood Buddha is one of the finest sculpture images of Buddha Shakyamuni. It is believed to have Buddha's authentic facial features. This statue is one of the most precious relics of Buddhism and an example of marvelous art. The Sandalwood Buddha's image has an extraordinary power that even non-Buddhists can feel. Zandan Zhuu brings to those who come to his positive emotions, charges them with energy and purify.
There are two stories about the creation of Zandan Zhuu. First of them can be found in a Chinese translation of Ekottara-Agama Sutra (Anuttara-nikaya) that were written by the Indo-Bactrian monk Dharmananda (384–385 CE). According to that story, Buddha Shakyamuni was abiding at Tushita Heaven while teaching Dharma to his mother Maya who was reborn there after her death. At that time raja, Prasenajit got a strong wish to see the Enlightened Lord. Maudgalyayana — Buddha's closest disciple who had developed extraordinary abilities — brought the sculptors to Tushita. After the artists had seen Buddha, they returned and carved the statue from sandalwood (Skt. Goshirsha). And when Buddha Shakyamuni descended from Tushita Heaven, the Statue welcomed him by taking a few steps towards him. This became a background for the prophecy that the Statue would move to Northern direction, and wherever it will be Buddhism will prosper.
Also, there is an Indian story about the Sandalwood Buddha. In this version, the sculpture was carved by the Indian master Vishvamitra. Because there was a bright radiance from the Enlightened One, Vishvamitra was not able to look at Buddha directly. So he carved the statue while looking at Buddha Shakyamuni's reflexion in a lake water.
According to the legend, Zandan Zhuu is floating in the air. In spite of two meters height and its monumentality, the gilded wooden sculpture seems to be almost weightless. Statue's right hand raised in the protection-granting mudra, and its left hand is in the boon-granting mudra. The Sandalwood Buddha's clothing with its concentric waves-like semicircles reminds that the sculptor was looking at the reflection of the Enlightened One in the water while he was making the statue.
Ivolginsky Datsan or “Khambyn Sume” (Tib. Ganden Tashi Chokhor Ling; the Dharma's Wheel That Filled With Joy And That Brings Happiness) is the center of Russian Buddhism.
It is a large monastery complex, a monument of history and architecture. Also, Ivolginsky Datsan is the residence of Pandito Khambo-lama, the Leader of Russian Traditional Sangha. Furthermore, the famous Khambo-lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov's undecaying body is preserved in Ivolginsky Datsan. It is recognized as an official sacral Buddhist object in Russia, and it is a source of inspiration and object of worship.
At all times, the practice of Dharma was only possible thanks to the kindness of benefactors. We need sponsorship to organize the Great Monkey Year Teachings. We would be grateful for any help.We need financial assistance for the following:
You can help in other ways, such as to become a volunteer assistant (karma yoga).