Written by Yeshi Tenzin
Namo Gurube! Namo Buddhaya! Namo Dharmaya! Namo Sanghaya! Namo Sakya Muni Buddha!
It’s winter time and holidays season again in America but it’s a great time like a double joy for us to welcome our precious Guru, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche to Southern California again. We, Heruka Long Beach and Heruka Ojai, were so happy and so fortunate to have Rinpoche here for 2 weeks from December 19, 2018 to January 02, 2019.
Heruka Long Beach, mainly consists of Vietnamese American Buddhist followers in Orange County and some from nearby counties. Rinpoche had a two day teaching and empowerment for the group.
The first day event on December 20, 2018 was at Heruka House, Rinpoche taught and reviewed all three main branches of Buddhism: Hinayana – the original branch, Mahayana – developed or sutra branch, and Tantrayana – the most modern or the highest branch. Rinpoche compassionately bestowed the group refuge vows in the Buddha, Dharma, and Shangha to set the foundation, Bodhisattva vows for the higher part, and Vajrayana vows for the upper part. It was good for all to build the foundation, establish the connection, renew and refresh all vows for daily practices and for the path to liberation. Rinpoche then transferred the Vajrasattva empowerment, a very powerful practice to help practitioners purify obstacles. This also supports the practices of other dharma parts like Phowa and/or Bardo meditation. It’s good for us to receive such precious initiation to, learn and get conection to the 100 deities, including 42 in peaceful forms and 58 in wrathful forms. When we are living this precious human life, 42 peaceful deities are in the heart representing Loving Kindness and Great Compassion; 58 wrathful deities are in the brain representing Wisdom. When we die, at the time of death or during the 49 day Bardo, we will see all these 100 deities (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas) one by one. Each will appear to help save us, liberate us from samsara with different lights and luminosities. At that moment, don’t be afraid, just focus, follow, and dissolve into the brightest light with strongest luminosity.
The second day event on December 21, 2018 was at Ms. Vy Yeshi Wangmo’s residence. In the morning Rinpoche gave the group Amitabha empowerment. This general initiation is very important for us to practice Phowa and Bardo meditation because Amitabha Buddha is the most popular and most favorable deity/yidam in both Mahayana and Tantrayana traditions. In the afternoon Rinpoche taught us about six Bardos or intermediate states: 1. the natural bardo of this life; 2. the painful bardo of dying; 3. the luminous bardo of dharmata; 4. the karmic bardo of becoming; 5. the bardo of meditation ; and 6. the bardo of dreaming. After learning about this subject, Buddhist practitioners understand different states of mind and the truth of death, of birth ad rebirth, and the true value of liberation from samsara or the end of cyclic existence. We need to cut the root cause of suffering or the five poisons of mind to stop being born again and again. Rinpoche gave oral transmission mantras of Sakya Muni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, Medicine Buddha, Green Tara Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and Guru Rinpoche.
For Heruka Ojai, which is the newest group/sangha to be formed and becomes a parts of the International Heruka family. This new part of Heruka family consists of different people from all walks of life, mostly senior Americans living in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. There are also some members from other counties like Los Angeles, San Bernadino, San Diego, and even from up north San Francisco. Here, Rinpoche had two teaching sessions in the morning of December 29 and December 30, 2018. There are some old members who have attended the two day teaching here in summer 2018. There are some new members who joined the group for the first time. But all were so excited and happy to receive precious teaching by Rinpoche.
The first day’s session was about Medicine Buddha and Healing Meditation which Rinpoche showed us the true Buddha and power are in our mind. That is the true nature of mind with Loving Kindness, Great Compassion, and Wisdom. The best healing meditation is understanding the truth of reality that is impermanence. All can be free from suffering and be happy if we know, accept, and understand the all things and phenomena come, stay, and go. The second day’s session was on Death, Bardo, and Rebirth. These concepts and philosophies seem to be new with some members of the group but it’s all part of our life, no matter what form we are born in like humans or animals. Death is common that all and everyone of us have learned, known, witnessed or experienced in life. Bardo or the intermediate state is quite new to some people who first have heard or learned about it as this is a specific part in Tantrayana or Tibetan Buddhism. Rebirth is both familiar and new to some people as some have heard, learned, believed, accepted, and recognized. It was an interesting subject for the group so there are many questions to ask or some points to make clear. It seemed to be short for this time’s teaching so there should be another time to teach in details for Heruka Ojai. Rinpoche gave oral transmission the mantra of Medicine Buddha for group.
Along with those important teaching events, Rinpoche had other activities with Heruka members here in Orange County. Concluding two week stay of Rinpoche we, Heruka Long Beach had a long count down new year’s eve with Rinpoche at Yeshi Lhamo’s residence. That was the first time Rinpoche has stayed up late through midnight though it was very cold. The main message Rinpoche wants to send to all Heruka family’s members is that we are Buddhists, practitioners following the same lineage, same Guru, same Buddha, same Dharma, and same sangha. We are born as humans with same suffering in samsara, with same salty tears and red blood. No matter where we are from, East or West, South or North; no matter who we are, Asians or Americans, Tibetans or Vietnamese, we are all equal. So, we all need to respect our Guru, our lineage masters and all masters. We need to take care of our dharma brothers and sisters, love our sanghas and members of each group. We are born to live a happy life, practice dharma for a better life, and be free from suffering when this life ends.
On be half of Heruka Long Beach and Heruka Ojai, we want to express our deepest gratitude and thanks to our Guru, H.E. Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche for your time, compassion, and wisdom to have been here with us. May you live long to spread precious dharma for the benefits of all. We also want to say big “Thank you!” to Christy Namgyal, Ms. Huong Yeshi Lhamo, Ms. Vy Yeshi Wangmo, Ms. Ngoc Yeshi Dawa, Mr.Billy Yeshi Namkha, Ms. Hong, Mr. Nhan Yeshi Chogan, Ms. Than Phuoc-Heruka House, Ms. Thanh Yeshi Wangmo, Dorjee Mandala, Dolkar Tso, Dargyal Janyang and family, and all members of Heruka family for your valuable support and contributions. Wish you be well and happy always. Happy New Year 2019 to all 14 groups and members of Heruka family!!!
Let’s rejoice the merits for Rinpoche’s long life and for the benefits of all. Sarva Mangalam. Om Mani Padme Hum.