(Originally published on tsemrinpoche.com)
Around August 2013, the Board of Directors in Kechara presented me 800 White Tara statues to request for my long life. I was very touched by such a wonderful and sincere offering from my students, as I knew it must not be easy to arrange for 800 statues and on top of that, have it all painted by our own in-house artists! All statues were also made in-house within Kechara! So I accepted the offering and told Beng Kooi, one of my Changtsos… instead of keeping these statues in the ladrang or in Kechara Paradise, I would like to offer these statues to the monks in Shar Gaden Monastery as it would be more beneficial that way.
A few months back, Beng Kooi arranged for these statues to be safely shipped to India, and also arranged for 29 pilgrims to join the pilgrimage to Gaden Monastery so they may be part of the offering ceremony on my behalf. Beng Kooi is truly a wonderful and sincere person, she works so hard and expects nothing in return and very trustworthy with her work. I was wondering why Beng Kooi was rushing to offer the statues to the monastery early October 2014, and she told me it was because she wanted to make the offerings before my 49th Birthday which is my obstacle year… she hopes by making these offerings, it would clear some of the obstacles to my long life… I thought how thoughtful and auspicious.
So, in early October 2014, Beng Kooi and her team of 5 people, along with 29 pilgrims flew to India to make the statue offerings to the monks of Monastery. For many that went to India this time around, it was their first experience travelling to a monastic setting. I’m glad that they have the merits to make this pilgrimage as they met with many high lamas and many old, holy monks… holy because they held their vows perfectly for the past 60, 70 years or so. Our pilgrims did many other virtuous actions while they were in the monastery, such as making offerings and meeting with many high lamas, which I will blog about it another time. I have been making offerings and supporting this monastery for over 7 years now along with a few other monasteries and large lama ladrangs. Prior to Shar Gaden I have been supporting and donating to Gaden Monastery for nearly 27 years now. I know most of the senior monks as they are my friends as I’ve known them for over 27 years and you don’t just forget friends even if they number in the hundreds. Hundreds of them are my dharma brothers or monk brothers. I miss many of them very much. I attended many activities with them back in Gaden. We all were in Gaden today in our much younger days before I was sent to Malaysia. Many of the senior monks who are my friends sent warm greetings to me. I’ve had to make much and many donations over the past 7 years to Shar Gaden Monastery. For whatever thoughts may arise, they are monks and deserve to be supported.
Below is a short write up on the highlight of the pilgrimage, which is the offerings of the White Tara statues, robes, books, food, drinks and along with it, many wonderful and beautiful pictures of the pilgrims making offerings to the monks. Do take a look at the wonderful pictures and if you have never been to pilgrimages, or even if you have been for pilgrimages… rejoice and make a strong motivation that you too may have the merits to make pilgrimages in the near future.
Making Offerings to Gaden Monastery
[Written by the blog team]
Making offerings to the monastery and Sangha is well practiced in all traditions of Buddhism as it is known to be a meritorious act. It is something that we should do either on a daily basis such as simple food offering to the Sangha, which is the common practice of Thai lay Theravada practitioners who offer danna (food) to the monks, or on a larger scale, to sponsor the construction of prayer halls, temple buildings, statues and robes to the monastery. Understanding this method of accumulating vast amounts of merits, the Board of Directors of Kechara would make major offerings to the monasteries, once in every few years; in dedication to the good health and long life of our Spiritual Director, His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, and to offer support to the monks in the Monastery.
On 11th October 2014, a group of 35 pilgrims made a complete set of offerings to the Sangha members of Gaden Monastery during their 4 day pilgrimage to the Monastery. During the morning puja, which lasted from 6 am until 12 noon, the monks recited the Namgyal Tsechog Puja (Long Life Puja) in dedication to the long life and good health of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche. A total of 800 sets of offerings were prepared for the 800 monks in the monastery. Each set of offering consisted of a photo of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, an 8″ White Tara statue with gold face painting, a dharma book, a set of robes, a red packet (a monetary gift) and also sewing fees for the monks to send their robes to the tailor. Additionally, the group also sponsored breakfast to the whole monastery that morning. We purchased the comics on line and had it shipped and offered. Luckily the comics were done in time as the organization in charge were friendly and helpful. The comics are a history of the holy protector that has been very well produced by another group online.
For many of the pilgrims, it was their first visit to a holy site like the Monastery. The journey was made “extra special” because they could make such elaborate offerings to the monks, which is a rare and precious opportunity to amass vast amounts of merits. The act of giving also develops within us the virtue of generosity, which is the direct antidote to miserliness and counter to overcome attachments, which is a source of our suffering within samsara. We hope that through these virtuous activities, we create the cause for the works of the Monastery and their monks to prosper and for the great teachers to continue to turn the wheel of Dharma and benefit many. We also pray for His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche to have a long and stable life, and may all of Rinpoche’s Dharmic aspirations materialize.
Attached below are some pictures from the offering ceremony.
Items offered to the monks in the monastery:
|1.||White Tara Statue||RM 1,400,000|
|2.||Comic Book||RM 22,800|
|3.||Kuyong (monetary gift)||RM 2,400|
|6.||Photo of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche||RM 1,200|
|Total cost||RM 1,657,360
Sponsoring Breakfast for all 800 monks in the monastery
Offering 800 White Tara Statues
Offering 800 sets of Monk Robes
Offering 800 Books to the Monks
Making Offerings in the Gompa
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