The concept of receiving the blessings of the Buddhas is not necessarily tied to the receipt of tangible items or material possessions upon making requests to the enlightened beings. Rather, one is said to have received a blessing when one’s mind transforms for the better. In short, when you come across something that makes you do something which positively changes the course of your life, you have received a blessing.
As such, it is considered a blessing to be able to pay homage, be in close proximity, or even to view any holy relics of the enlightened beings. This is because such holy relics are imbued with enlightened energies and thus bless us by either triggering latent positive imprints within us or implanting such positive imprints into our mind stream.
Some of the most important holy items which are still kept in Tibet are the sacred relics of Lama Tsongkhapa. Lama Tsongkhapa is the emanation of Manjushri, Chenrezig and Vajrapani, and is revered as the single greatest Tibetan commentator, scholar and yogi in the history of Buddhism. Hailed as the “Second Buddha”, he was the enlightened being who founded the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
In fact, so precious and profound were the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa that Dorje Shugden, an emanation of Manjushri, arose as a Dharma Protector about 350 years ago specifically to protect Nagarjuna’s Middle Way Philosophy as taught by Lama Tsongkhapa.
According to Buddhist tradition, holy relics can generally be categorised into three types;
- “Saririka” or physical relics, such as hair, bone or teeth.
- “Paribhogika” or utilitarian relics, which are objects used by the enlightened beings such as their ritual implements, malas, robes or alms bowls.
- “Uddesika” or commemorative relics, such as shrines, statues or images.
In this context, the holy tooth relics of Lama Tsongkhapa which are currently kept in Gaden Monastery and also in Drepung Monastery fall under the first category.
Lama Tsongkhapa’s mala, bell, hat, bowl and yak horn which are currently kept in Drepung Monastery are categorised as the second type of relic. Such personal items of enlightened beings or attained masters are invaluable and auspicious for the special energies of the holy person imbued within. It is believed that such items are an extension of the holy being’s body and akin to having the holy master’s blessings and protection present at all times.
Last but not least, Khedrub Je’s Yamantaka statue falls under the third category of relics. Holy relics serve to remind us that Enlightenment is possible and that the Buddhas or enlightened beings were once real people. They also promote inculcation of virtues and virtuous deeds.
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