28th August to 30th August
Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche again received students and visitors throughout the week, giving blessings, guidance and help, and was invited to bless some of his student’s homes and family members.
Ven. Rinpoche continued to receive many more students and new visitors who wished to receive blessings, guidance and support, and again visited and blessed some of his student’s homes and families. Jenny Wasson, a student who travelled with Rinpoche to Mongolia this year, has been teaching English to Asral’s Hot Meal Project children. She organised a picnic on the grounds of Asral, and was kindly joined by Ven. Rinpoche, who brought some snacks for the children. Jenny also contributed to the work of the women in Asral’s MIM (Made in Mongolia) initiative. Ven. Rinpoche’s presence was much appreciated by Jenny and the children.
Today, Ven. Rinpoche began preparations early in the morning for the profound long-life initiation of Amitayu, at Kunchav Jampa Ling Centre. The Shrine Room was packed with people who came for the initiation and teachings, and after receiving personal blessings from Ven. Rinpoche, all left at the end of the day with a great sense of happiness.
Today, Ven. Rinpoche continued his weekend Dharma teachings at Kunchav Jampa Ling Centre. He again received many visitors seeking guidance, blessings and support, and later visited one of his student’s homes, where many people came to receive his blessings and guidance.
Ven. Rinpoche was welcomed by representatives, doctors, staff and the Governor of District number 21. He was presented with a traditional silver cup as a token of the District’s gratitude to Rinpoche for his years of continuous support for people who are struggling, especially women and children. The governor gave a brief presentation outlining some of the challenges facing the District, particularly the shortage of Kindergarten facilities. This year, Asral sponsored seven children to attend Kindergarten, providing each of them with a year’s supply of stationery and toiletries. Plans to build a new Kindergarden have been stalled due to lack of funding.
Ven. Rinpoche thanked the governor and staff for their warm welcome and gave a brief description of Asral’s work in Mongolia. The governor then brought Ven. Rinpoche on a tour of the government offices and local hospital, also in need of basic medical equipment, particularly for testing blood. A large gathering of people welcomed Ven. Rinpoche in the main hall, where he gave a brief teaching and offered advice on the importance of healthy living. He then offered prayers and distributed vitamin C supplies to the most vulnerable.
Ven. Rinpoche was received by Dr. Burmaa, her staff, patients and local people at the medical clinic in District 9, accompanied by Lily Clarke, Ueili Minder, Burmaa and Younam. Lily Clarke and the members of the Lotus Healing Circle in the UK have generously donated funds over many years to the clinic’s work, through Asral Charity’s Medical Aid programme.
Asral Charity has worked closely with the clinic on many levels, including organising presentations and workshops to promote the importance of living a healthy, safe and hygienic life. Ven. Rinpoche asked them to continue this vital work, and committed to continue supporting the clinic to help the most vulnerable. Dr Burmaa spoke about the financial difficulties facing the clinic, government funding is barely able to cover the cost of salaries and daily expenses. Of the 7,960 people living in the district, over 700 of them are very poor and very sick. The most common sicknesses are cancer, disability and epilepsy.
The hospital works with government social workers to provide assistance to the most vulnerable. Asral has been supportive for many years, contributing funds towards renovations, medical equipment and medicines, as well as co-operating on the promotion of health, safety and hygiene. This year, Dr. Burmaa requested assistance for the purchase of Bilirubin equipment from Rinpoche. She said that seven out of twenty children in the local district have severe jaundice and Hepatitis B, and that it would help enormously for the children and the hospital to be able to detect the jaundice in time. Ven. Rinpoche said he will try to get donations towards this, and offered vitamin C supplies donated from Ireland to the more vulnerable patients in the hospital. Ven. Rinpoche then distributed medicines, vitamins and clothing to two very poor and needy patients in their homes.
Ven. Rinpoche was invited to the local Kindergarten in District 9, which Asral has supported for twenty or so years, supporting many children with stationary, clothing and toiletries. The director, Naraa, thanked Ven. Rinpoche for visiting the Kindergarten and for his continuous support over the years. The Kindergarten is currently being renovated, however, the Director stressed that there is still not enough facilities to accommodate the huge demand for places and needs. This year, Asral is sponsoring 17 children. Ven. Rinpoche offered vitamin C supplies for the poorer children. The director then took Rinpoche on a tour of the Kindergarten under renovation.
Ven. Rinpoche was invited to a Kindergarten run by the former director of the District 9 Kindergarten, known to him for many years. She was grateful to Ven. Rinpoche for his visit and his many years of tireless support of the poor people of Mongolia. Ven. Rinpoche gave blessings and prayers to the staff and children, and afterwards the children entertained Ven. Rinpoche with a few group songs.
In the late afternoon, Ven. Rinpoche held a meeting of the board of Kunchav Jampa Ling Centre and Asral NGO, followed by a meeting between the board members and staff. Burmaa, the director of Asral NGO, presented the annual report. Ven. Rinpoche thanked the board members and staff for their continued support, hard work and contribution towards the running of the centre and the humanitarian projects.
The Hot Meal Project opened today to coincide with opening of the state schools in Mongolia. We currently have 30 children in our Hot Meal Project in Ulanbaatar, who gathered in their best clothes to welcome Ven. Rinpoche to the opening ceremony. Ven. Thuksay Rinpoche, Ueli Minder, Burmaa, Jenny Wasson, Younam and the staff of Asral were present at the opening ceremony. The children presented Ven. Rinpoche and guests with many beautiful songs and dance performances in honour of his great compassion towards them. The children were offered a wonderful lunch in the presence of Ven. Rinpoche and guests. Afterwards, Ven. Rinpoche distributed clothes to the children, donated from Ireland.
Today, as it was the last day of this year’s trip to Mongolia, many students and friends visited Ven. Rinpoche. In the afternoon, the staff and volunteers gathered to receive Ven. Rinpoche’s blessings and to present him with a beautiful felt coat made by the women of the MIM (Made in Mongolia) initiative. He thanked all of them and advised them to work together as a team, to be nice to each other and to help each other out.
A large gathering of students came in the early morning to offer their wishes and make their farewells to Ven. Rinpoche for his return journey to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland the next day accompanied by Younam, and was received at Dublin Airport by Ani Tenzin Choeden (Margery Cross) and Desmond Gough. Ven. Rinpoche was received by his students on his arrival later that day at Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Cavan.