El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

Atisha

August 7, 2011 0

(Taken with my iPhone)

Once a week, I get the immense honour of making like Atisha.

Who is Atisha?

Atisha was a scholar from Nalanda Monastery, who is credited with reviving the Buddhadharma in Tibet and writing A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment. His teachings were passed from one great master on to another, until they finally reached Lama Tsongkhapa who taught his student, who taught his student, etc until the teachings reached Pabongka Rinpoche.

In 1921, Pabongka Rinpoche gave 24 days of teachings on the Lamrim (or the Stages of the Path). At these teachings was Trijang Rinpoche who made notes of the teachings, and memorised them perfectly. Later, when Tibet was lost and Trijang Rinpoche escaped to India, in order to preserve Pabongka Rinpoche’s precious words, he compiled his notes and wrote Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which is the basis of the Gelugpa tradition today.

Why Atisha?

When Atisha was in Nalanda Monastery, he was the keeper of the key (*cue comparisons to the Matrix*). This meant he was in charge of going through the monastery at night, making sure all of the doors and windows were locked, a position that was (and still is!) considered an incredible honour because he had the privilege of protecting the Sangha (and therefore the source of the Dharma).

So once a week, each Ladrang member takes their turn to make like Atisha, and make sure all of the doors and windows in the Ladrang are locked, and that the Ladrang is in good working order. What can I say? It’s an immense honour to protect the Ladrang like that – it is from here that all good things arise :)

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