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Jan 19
Tuesday
Featured Stories, Sakyong and Family
Blessed by the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama cuts the ceremonial ribbon to open Rigon Thupten Mindroling Monastery, seat of the Ripa Lineage in Orissa, India.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama cuts the ceremonial ribbon to open Rigon Thupten Mindroling Monastery, seat of the Ripa Lineage in Orissa, India.

His Holiness the Dalia Lama performed the ribbon cutting and ceremonial blessings officially opening Rigon Thupten Mindroling Monastery on 12 January 2010. Arriving by helicopter from Bhubaneswar and heavily guarded by the Orissa state police, His Holiness arrived and took up residence at the newly finished monastery from 11 to 13 January.

The three-day ceremony was also attended by the Sakyong Wangmo, Tibetan Buddhist teachers from various regions of India, government officials from the Tibetan Government-in-exile and Orissa state officials. Although the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, was not present, he made prayers and aspirations celebrating this joyful event from his retreat.

Eighteen members of the Shambhala community from North America, Europe and Taiwan were present for the opening festivities with Shambhala officially represented by the Chief of Staff of the Sakyong Ladrang, Joshua Silberstein. On behalf of the Shambhala community, the Shambhala members along with the Sakyong Wangmo presented to His Eminence and Jigme Rinpoche a two-foot tall statue of thousand armed Avalokitesvara with the wish that this monastery could be of great benefit to all beings throughout the world.

From Orissa, Joshua Silberstein has sent this report and photographs.

The central rupa of Shakyamuni Buddha in the main shrine hall of the monastery gazes down over the assembly as His Holiness presides over the opening rituals.

The central rupa of Shakyamuni Buddha in the main shrine hall of the monastery gazes down over the assembly as His Holiness presides over the opening rituals.

The completion of this grand monastery finds its place within a rich forty-three year history. His Eminence, Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, head of the Ripa lineage and father of the Sakyong Wangmo Khandro Tseyang, first arrived in the state of Orissa along with a large refugee community and established the Tibetan settlement here in 1966. The land at that time was rough and uninhabitable but through dedication and hard work, in 1968, the Ripa community built a small monastery out of wooden beams with a corrugated iron roof. At this time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave the name Thubten Mindroling to the monastery. This monastery lasted for many years and eventually deteriorated due to termites. In 1982 the community began the process of building a new monastery. His Holiness officially opened it in 1988.

As the community grew and more monks needed to be housed, the process for a new monastery five times the size of the previous one was initiated in 2005. The new Rigon Thupten Mindroling monastery’s shrine rooms house glorious statues and extensive intricate murals offering ideal sacred spaces for deep practice, rituals and contemplation. A large courtyard with beautiful gardens can host the large lay community for teachings, performances and community gatherings and new accommodations provide housing for several lamas, hundreds of monks, and visiting students from the Ripa Ladrang, Padma Ling and Shambhala communities.

His Holiness leads the traditional throwing of rice, seated before the entrance to the new monastery, as part of the bestowing of blessings.

His Holiness leads the traditional throwing of rice, seated before the entrance to the new monastery, as part of the bestowing of blessings.

This new monastery was the site of the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo’s Indian wedding in 2007 and was the auspicious environment for the profound Rinchen Terzod empowerments received by the Sakyong from His Eminence last year over the course of three months.

In addition to officially cutting the ribbon and making prayers for the longevity of the monastery, His Holiness conferred empowerments, gave in-depth public talks on the three yanas of the Buddhist path, and consecrated the impressive Stupa of Enlightenment. His Holiness also presided over a program of cultural performances and toured the four Tibetan camps that make up the Tibetan settlement and met with local officials.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Phuntsokling Tibetan Settlement for this inauguration was marked by pervasive joy from the many Tibetan and Indian families that live in the area. It was a poignant moment in history of the Ripa lineage and the settlement. At the conclusion of the festivities, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, who worked tirelessly overseeing the building of the monastery, shared these words:

In the same way that the Taj Mahal is a monument to love, this monastery is a monument to devotion.

His Holiness, His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche (to his left) and Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche (to his right) lead the entourage past a complex of stupas at the entrance to the local Tibetan settlement that surrounds Rigon Thupten Mindroling Monastery.

His Holiness, His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche (to his left) and Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche (to his right) lead the entourage past a complex of stupas at the entrance to the local Tibetan settlement that surrounds Rigon Thupten Mindroling Monastery.

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