A Long-Life Prayer Ceremony (Tenshuk) was held for Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche for his 80th birthday at the Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral Centre by his friends, students and many people of Mongolia. The ceremony was opened with chants and offering prayers recited by Venerable Woeser Rinpoche, Ven. Thuksay Rinpoche, Ven. Lopon of Ganden Monastery and monks from Ganden Monastery. Traditional offerings of auspicious symbols and for long life were made to Venerable Rinpoche, along with other offerings.
To show their deep gratitude for Ven. Rinpoche’s spiritual and humanitarian work for the people of Mongolia for the past 24 years, traditional Mongolian singers and musicians staged a performance in his honour. Children from the Hot Meal Project sang songs and recited poetry. Ven. Rinpoche thanked everyone for their genuine well wishes and prayers. He advised everyone to continue their Dharma practice and take good care of both their physical and mental health.
That afternoon Ven. Jhado Tulku Rinpoche, format Abbot of Namgyal Monastery, visited Ven. Rinpoche to pay his respects and confer his well wishes for his birthday and long-life prayers.
Hurd Rock, one of the most popular Mongolian rock bands, along with many talented singers from Voice of Mongolia TV kindly organised a fundraising concert for Asral Charity to honour Venerable Rinpoche’s 80th birthday and to show their support and gratitude. Around 500 people attended the concert. Ven. Rinpoche showed his gratitude to all who all who came to support his charitable work.
Ven. Bayantsagan, Abbot of Lamrim Monastery, invited Ven. Rinpoche to his monastery and requested a Dharma teaching. Ven. Rinpoche has been invited to Lamrim Monastery every year since his first visit to Mongolia in 1995. He gave a teaching on the Lamrim, the stages of the path to enlightenment. Over 100 people attended the teaching.
Every year when in Mongolia Ven. Rinpoche visits the only women’s prison which is in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Accompanying him were Geshe Ngawang Tsultrim, Dharma Teacher at Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral; Ueili Minder, a Board Member of Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral; Younam, Manager of Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre in Ireland; Davva and Burmaa Directors of Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral; and Jorden, translator.
Ven. Rinpoche was welcomed by the inmates gave them a Buddhist teaching and advice on how to live a good and meaningful life. He counselled them not to lose hope and not to waste their time in prison, but to use their time here wisely and partake in learning the vocational skills offered by the prison. Asral organises teachers to come to the prison every month to teach meditation and Buddhist philosophy and he advised the inmate to learn how to calm their minds through meditation.
Ven. Rinpoche taught that by nature all sentient beings are pure, but due to our ignorance we indulge in negative actions which gets ourselves and others into trouble. However, we can learn to transform our negative actions into positive ones through practising the Dharma. He advised them to make a strong motivation every day to make their life a happy and meaningful one.
At the end of the teaching the inmates gave a round of applause. Ven. Rinpoche blessed them individually and supplied toiletries, such as soap and toilet paper, and sweets to them.
The prison staff showed Ven. Rinpoche to the Shrine Room in the prison in which he did a short prayer session. Afterwards he was taken to the maternity ward. 6 women were here with children ranging from newborn to 2 years old. Ven. Rinpoche and Ueli Minder distributed sanitary products to the mothers.
During the weekend Ven. Rinpoche gave Genyen (lay) vows to over 50 people. He gave a teaching and explained in detail the importance of committing to these vows and how they will benefit your life and the lives of others.
That same weekend Ven. Rinpoche gave a long-life initiation into the practice of Amitayu. He began his preparatory practices early that morning prior to the initiation ceremony. Over two hundred people came to get the initiation and the teachings. Ven. Rinpoche spoke about the importance of living a meaningful life and looking after your physical and mental health. Ven. Rinpoche gave everyone an individual blessing with a long-life vase and gave them long-life pills and blessed nectar.
The Board Member of Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral held their AGM with Ven. Rinpoche. Burmaa, Director of the Centre, gave an annual report of the spiritual and humanitarian activities of the Centre, all of which are thriving well, particularly the gardening project due to the adequate rainfall this year.
Ven. Rinpoche and the board members officially welcomed our new Dharma Teacher at Kunchab Jampa Ling Centre, Geshe Lharampa Ngawang Tsultrim. from Drepung Gomang Monastery in India. He attained the Geshe Lharampa degree, which is the equivalent to a PhD in Buddhist philosophy, and has been a Dharma Teacher in Gandan Monastery in Ulanbaataar for many years. For the past four years he has been teaching at Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral at the request of Ven. Rinpoche. This year he formally joined Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral as a Dharma Teacher. Ven. Rinpoche and the board members were delighted to welcome him to the Centre.
The 80th Abbot of Drepung Gomang Monastery in India, His Eminence Khenchen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Gyaltsen, was on an official visit to Mongolia and was invited to Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral. Ven. Rinpoche and members of Kunchab Jampa Ling Asral welcome him to the Centre. They had brief discussion and dinner together. The Abbot thanked Ven. Rinpoche and shared his appreciation for all his humanitarian work for the Mongolian people. He formally invited Ven. Rinpoche to Drepung Gomang Monastery’s inauguration of the newly build courtyard for monks to debate and study Dharma on the 14th December 2019. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be the chief guest for this inauguration ceremony.
The new school year in Mongolia started on 2nd September along with Asral’s Hot Meal Project after the summer holidays. The children of the Hot Meal Project performed a show of song and dance to Ven. Rinpoche. They were dressed in their new school uniforms. Ven. Rinpoche dined with the children that day. The Hot Meal Project’s aims are to provide children of disadvantaged families to have nutritious lunches from Monday to Friday and to help the children who are struggling with their studies at school. In total there are 32 children in receipt of the Hot Meal Project in Ulaanbaatar, the majority of whom are from families whose standard of living are below the national poverty line. They live in gers in the shanty areas of the city.
The Hot Meal Project undertakes various activities which focus on addressing the social and cultural needs of children. It provides the children with medical check-ups, public health training, and workshops on general health, oral and dental care. Vitamins are also given to the children.
Ven. Rinpoche was invited to the local kindergarten. At present Asral supports 18 children with their annual toiletries and stationeries. As the demand for places in kindergartens greatly exceeds their availability, Asral helps children from the locality to get enrolled in this kindergarten. Asral has assisted in renovating the classrooms and accommodation, allowing more children to be enrolled.
The director of the kindergarten welcomed Ven. Rinpoche gave him a brief report of the kindergarten. This year 160 new children were enrolled. This brings the current number of children enrolled to 690. However almost 600 children in the local district have not gotten the opportunity to enroll in a preschool or kindergarten. Asral helped in getting 7 children enrolled. Ven. Rinpoche met with these 7 children and distributed stationery, toiletries and sweets to them.
Ven. Rinpoche continued to meet his students and people in need of help, blessings and guidance daily. He will return to Ireland on Friday 6th September 2019.