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

Offering Vajra Yogini to visiting monks

January 26, 2019 0

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Tsem Rinpoche blessing gifts for our visiting monks.

For the past two months, we have had monks from Phelgyeling Monastery in Nepal visiting and staying with us. On the day they performed a Vajra Yogini ruchok and daju (self-generation), Rinpoche offered them a Vajra Yogini statue each. Auspiciously, these statues had just arrived in the Ladrang the previous day, spontaneously and unplanned, and in the exact quantity needed to offer to the monks.

Many of Rinpoche’s actions are driven by Rinpoche’s own past experiences, for example establishing a soup kitchen because of the hunger and homelessness Rinpoche experienced as a teenage runaway. Rinpoche also grew up watching his extremely generous adoptive mother invite homeless people into the family home for a good meal. Knowing what it is like to go hungry, and what it is like when someone shows kindness, Rinpoche used his own experience to establish Kechara Soup Kitchen so no one would ever suffer the same experience.

Similarly, there are numerous reasons for Rinpoche’s generosity to give gifts, especially statues. The first is a form of furthering and encouraging a genuine person’s spiritual practice, because they now have a beautiful spiritually-charged piece as an object of worship. Receiving gifts also opens people’s minds, helps them to relax and lets them know they are in a safe space because in a world where most people only take, it is extremely rare to find someone who consistently only gives and, what is more, does it without agenda.

The second is motivated by Rinpoche’s own experience as a teenager and later, as an adult living in the monastery in India. There was a time when Rinpoche found it extremely difficult to afford nice, iconographically accurate statues. As a teenager, Rinpoche would Xerox and print Buddha images, then frame them for his altar. Later on in India, Rinpoche had barely enough money to eat, let alone to buy statues. So whenever Rinpoche received a statue, like the Vajra Yogini offered under the bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, Rinpoche was always extremely appreciative. These are some of the kindnesses that Rinpoche never forgets.

Rinpoche shows by example what it means to be generous, what it means to have gratitude, and what it means to turn the difficult experiences we all have in our lives into a reason to make someone else smile.

Tsem Ladrang, Tsem Rinpoche, Behind The Scenes

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