I got the opportunity this past Sunday to receive the Amitayus Empowerment and a Phowa Transmission from Gyalwa Drikungpa His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, co-head of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Being a little light in the wallet I applied to do a work study and was granted the ability to do so. My “job” was usher, a very simple job but it gave me the opportunity to see Chetsang Rinpoche up close each time he passed by toward the stage.
I was so excited for this event, I forgot my camera at home. I saw a ton of people taking photos though, so once I hunt some of them down I will post them here.
I left the Cape early, probably too early, but that’s ok, had some time to enjoy my coffee and take in the city on a Sunday morning.
I eventually met up with Tim, the volunteer co-ordinator, and was given the low down on what to do, simple enough. As folks started filtering in the air seem charged with electricity. Every person was smiling as they let me check their tickets and guide them to the right area. I haven’t seen this many Tibetan’s since I went and say The Dalai Lama, they were all friendly and very excited to be receiving the teachings, as I was.
Most folks were seated when we got quick word, Chetsang Rinpoche was entering the theatre. He walked down the aisle I was “working” and our eyes caught for a quick second, I felt an almost static charge in that moment, and as odd as it sounds time kind of stood still for a second. This happened twice that day as I was there for both teachings. Very grateful for the opportunity for the “moments.”
The first part of the event was the Amitayus Empowerment. Amitayus, it is believed, to be the Buddha of long life, wisdom and virtue. By practicing these teachings one can “repair” damage done to one’s own life, and by advancing further, can help “repair” other’s as well.
It is also believed to take part in this practice will help one gain a long life, which for a bodhisattva in training, is essential so we can stick around to continue helping all beings.
The second, coincidentally, was the Phowa transmission. Simply, p’howa is called the “transference of consciousness”. This particular practice used to only be given every 12 years, and it was only one student at a time that would receive it.
Phowa is a practice that is very, very useful. When one dies, in the Drikung Kagyu lineage, it is believed that one can help our “energy” to be born in a higher realm of rebirth, or more specifically the pure land of Amitabha Buddha.
I am still absorbing everything that I took in on Sunday, lots of information to process and more to learn before truly implementing these practices. Although I have started the phowa one, cause as we all know, everything is impermanent.