To all of our brothers and sisters of the Dharma, we would like to invite each of you to join us for the opening ceremony of our new nunnery, Tsoknyi Gargon Dechen Choeling. Even though you cannot come in person, please come in your heart and rejoice with us. We include you on this most festive and auspicious occasion! The Anis of Muktinath
(Following is the invitation sent to guests of the consecration and dedication of the Tsoknyi Gargon Ling Nunnery in Mustang, Nepal. These texts were provided by the Anis of the nunnery and Tsoknyi Rinpoche, so that we can all participate in the spirit of the ceremony, regardless of physical location.)
Dear Respected One,
On the very auspicious dates October 10-12, 2011, Palden Drukpa Tsoknyi Gargon Chomik Dechen Chos Ling cordially invites you to celebrate our Nunnery’s consecration and opening ceremonies with us. In accordance with the vision, intention and efforts of Tsoknyi Rinpoche, our new temple in Muktinath, Mustang, Nepal, has been completed and will be inaugurated. We are most happy to announce that Khyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche and Khyabje Choekyi Nyima Rinpoche will be attending as our guests of honor. The community of Tsoknyi Gargon Dechen Choming Ling sincerely hopes you will be able to join us on this most joyful occasion.
~ delivered to Tsoknyi Rinpoche by the Anis of Muktinath
Our holy Lama, displayer of the profound instruction,
The perfect Buddha, teacher of the path to liberation,
The precious Dharma, including the path and cessation,
The gathered Sangha, of the noble class that’s free and skilled
including your entourage of Dakas, Dakinis, Dharma protectors, guardians, wealth gods, local deities and local spirits, I would like to begin by offering praise and homage to you, holy gathering of virtuous deities.
Today we are gathered here in Muktinath, Mustang, upon the completion of Tsoknyi Gargon Choling Nunnery of the great Drukpa Kagyu lineage, for the consecration and the celebration of it’s opening. Like the blazing sun of our assembly, the main guest of the ceremony is the unmatched protector of the teachings and of sentient beings, the great Lord of Refuge, the ninth incarnation of Dokhampa Khamtrul Shedrup Nyima, along with our supreme source of merit, the holy Lord of Refuge Drugpa Choengon Rinpoche.
Among the great Bodhisattvas present, included is the extraordinarily compassionate one who teaches the unity of Mahamudra and the Great Perfection, the Lord of Refuge, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche; our unparalleled guardian and protector, the Lord of Refuge, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, his wife and family; and he who is intimately involved in expanding both the study and practice of the teachings, the Lord of Refuge, Drugpa Rinpoche.
Also to the entire gathering of monks, nuns and practitioners; the Lamas and Tulkus who have expressly taken birth for the benefit of the teachings, Khenpos and Lopons who serve the teachings through the study and explanation of the scripture, the many special guests, the benefactors who graciously support the teachings, and also to the general public–on behalf of all the anis of this nunnery, we would like to extend our greetings and welcome to you.
On this special occasion of our nunnery’s inauguration where many honorable Lamas, Tulkus, Khenpos and Lopons have gathered, I would like to make a few brief but important points about the history of our nunnery, its present situation and its future direction.
We are the continuation of more than 400 years of tradition and custom. It has been an age old tradition of this region that the middle daughter of any household becomes a nun. This commitment by our community and the many other rituals carried out by the nuns ensure that our lineage continues. This necessary relationship between the nunnery and the people of these mountains is like that of the heart and the body. One cannot live without the other.
And yet it was only 35 years ago this temple was nothing more than a rundown old building with weeds growing in and around it. No one would have believed that such a scary place was a nunnery! At that time, we barely had access to the most basic necessities, let alone a chance to study and learn the Dharma. Without a solid roof over our heads and no bowls from which to eat, we lived in desperately poor conditions, utterly lacking in facilities. Externally deprived of food and clothing and internally deprived of knowledge and learning. We were very poor, but still the flame of faith and determination continued to burn in our hearts.
At this time of hardship in having no refuge, protector, or friend to turn to, we related our story of trials and tribulations to the great Drugpa Rinpoche. He responded, “I’m getting old in age and I don’t have any special connections with foreign countries, so I think you should relate your difficulties to the great Lord of Refuge, Tsoknyi Rinpoche.”
So 21 years ago, following the counsel of Drugpa Rinpoche, five of us walked to Kathmandu to explain our difficulties to the great Lord of Refuge, Tsoknyi Rinpoche. At that time, there was a large gap in age among our nuns. Although the older nuns did their best to bear the weight, they were in poor condition, and the younger ones were still too small to understand anything. Simply maintaining the falling down nunnery had become extremely difficult, let alone providing food for the nuns. Upon hearing our story, with a feeling of great compassion, the great Lord of Refuge, Tsoknyi Rinpoche vowed to take full responsibility of all the internal and external affairs, as well as the supervision of the nunnery.
From the time the Lord of Refuge Tsoknyi Rinpoche first graced this nunnery with his presence, he has taken on 35 nuns from four different Himalayan localities, each of whom have shaved their heads, changed their names, adorned themselves with the three Dharma robes and taken the form of a dharma protector. He immediately implemented a common kitchen and provided food monies, thereby eliminating the difficulties of simply getting enough to eat. Since then he has continuously overseen our nunnery with great kindness.
He has instituted a primary schooling for the younger nuns and recently a shedra or college for the older ones as well as a full retreat program for those who have completed their studies, all including the necessary facilities. For us, it is like the sun shining anew in a darkened valley. It has truly marked the beginning of having a meaningful and precious human existence. It means that we can finally consider ourselves Dharma practitioners and say with confidence,
“We are the nuns of Gargon.”
The great Lord of Refuge,Tsokny Rinpoche is truly the one who resolves all of our hardships and difficulties, both in the present and future. Therefore, on behalf of all the anis of this nunnery, we would like to respectfully pay homage and with all gratitude, thank you for your immeasurable kindness. Even if we offered the entire universe filled with gold, the kindness of our Lord of Refuge could not be repaid, or even measured.
Furthermore, many generous sponsors from so many villages of this region have offered large amounts of grains from their yearly harvests. We would like to express our humble thanks to them for their continuous support.
Although we cannot communicate with all of them directly, we would very much like to thank the many generous and faithful sponsors from America and Europe, especially Jim and Jean Chang, whose support has helped to manifest this beautiful nunnery. We pray that our relationship continues to grow in strength and benefit.
On this occasion marking the completion of our new temple, it is Tsering Dawa who, without any thought of personal gain, abandoned his other work and sincerely took up the responsibility of the temple’s construction, overseeing it from the initial laying of the foundation right up to the opening ceremony today. Not only do we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we would also like to request that you please continue to aid and work for our nunnery. You are truly the one in whom we place our trust and confidence. It is our wish to reaffirm again and again, our connection with you.
Finally our treasure, Tashi-la–who has, without shying away from any difficulty, helped us time and time again whenever we have been in need. Therefore we would like to take this opportunity to thank him from the bottom of our hearts.
Thus relying first and foremost on our Lord of Refuge Tsoknyi Rinpoche, as well as on all of the individuals who have offered help and assistance over the past years, we have been able to successfully construct this new temple. However, we could never allow ourselves to simply relax feeling content with our new temple and nice place to stay. Such would be a waste of our precious human life. No, we must repay the kindness of those who help and support us.
Following the express wishes of our Rinpoches, we must uphold a firm foundation of discipline that is worthy of the faith and respect of others. Most essentially, we must do our best not to engage in any activity that would offend householders. On top of this, we must firmly resolve to study well the teachings of the Buddha and apply the result of these studies in serious practice.
Today, if we make such a promise before the many Lords of Refuge who are gathered here, their blessings will guarantee that our pledge may be accomplished. Also that such a pledge may accomplish the wishes of the Rinpoches in attempts to repay their great kindness. I can confidently affirm that such a promise will unfailingly accomplish the growth and stability of the glorious Drugpa teachings.
Aware of the time, I would like to make a few concluding remarks. Foremost to the great Lord of Refuge, Khamtrul Rinpoche and all the other Rinpoches who are unparalleled in protecting the teachings and providing refuge for sentient beings, on behalf of all the anis of this nunnery and all the people of this area, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for blessing us with your presence at this inaugural ceremony of Gargon Nunnery. We would like to request that we never be released from your net of protection and refuge.
Finally, to all the precious Lords of Refuge, but specifically to our supreme teacher of the path to liberation and omniscience, our place of refuge in this life and all lives to come, the deity to whom our auspicious flower has fallen, our root lama, the Lord of Refuge Tsoknyi Rinpoche. We pray one-pointedly that your feet continue to grace the Lotus flower and that you live for hundreds of eons to benefit the teachings and that all of your heart’s aspirations be spontaneously and effortlessly accomplished.
Furthermore, may all beings live virtuously in uninterrupted happiness and may their wishes be accomplished in accordance with the Dharma. May the conflict and strife found in all corners of the earth, as well as right here in Mustang, be pacified beyond remain. May we too engender the authentic view of the Dharma and in all lifetimes to come, follow you, glorious Lamas.
Now we shall continue with the prayer leaders. Thank you.