Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The complexity of Initiation ( Loong/Lung ) of Dharma.

Presently Kangjur Loong is being transmitted by His Holiness the 70th Jhe Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra at Kuensel Phodrong,Thimphu, Bhutan.  It is a herculean task of continuous reading of over hundred volumes of Buddha Teachings every day from dawn to dusk for 3 months duration. His Holiness is not young anymore and yet carries on at such energetic pace.

I was deeply tempted to attend the whole of  Loong transmission but felt inadequate. The perception I got from various quarters was that a full and complete Loong meant listening to every word being read out. Just felt that would be impossible for me to achieve. Firstly attending it everyday was not a guarantee ( Last year Election Commission of Bhutan banned the congregation from attending the Moenlam Chhenmo proceeding on the prext that it was a voting day at another constituency. Over 99,9% of the comgregation were not voters of that particular constituency. An exercise of senseless democratic authoritarian power in my opinion ).  And secondly  even more daunting is to successfully listen to every line if not each word. So I limitted my role to sharing the information about the Kangjur Loong so that others who may have not known come to hear about it. 

Yet Dharma Loongs have been transmitted in this manner for centuries. Therefore, there must be more to it than catching every word or hearing every line or attending it everyday.  I am not talking about the blessing that a believer could receive attending such spiritual awakening event even for few hours. That goes without saying.

I went for a few hours this Monday knowing it would be less crowded at Kuensel Phodrong.  Climbed the baby steps designed to increase the count rather than facilitate proper climb. Performed the bows to the Buddha and the Kikhor. In my prayers, I thanked Lord Buddha and His Holiness.  Proceeded on a round whilst listening to the oral transmission. Offered my nyenda inside the Temple. And as always wondered why Sangay Nampar Nangsey and all other holy figures were crowded almost like being imprisoned within that congested space created by the pillars constructed to hold the huge Buddha statue placed on top outside. The surrounding holy figures could have been placed outside the pillars facing outward but circling the main figure within. Maybe it is supposed to be a scene of ' zomdu or shheyzom ' of the gods. I suppose the designer would have the appropriate holy explanation that was worth ruining the aesthetic part as well as the convenience of audience for devotees.

The oral transmission ( recitation by His Holiness )  was clearer at the back of the Temple possibly because  the area was unoccupied and so free of any sound barrier. Reached back to the spot where I began the round and sat down among the line just outside the tents and listened for over 30 minutes. Was able to catch some part of each line. Realised it was more monumental than I imagined to catch each word at my level of scripture reading. A much higher proficiency would be required along with plenty of youthful energy or deeper meditative practice to attain even a moderate success at receiving the Loong in all propriety.

I thought of getting purified and at the same time be blessed by taking a sip of water at the blessed environment. However, the two filtered water taps placed side by side courtesy Jiten Wangchuk Tshogpa was crowded with thirsty worshippers. Maybe collecting water to go with lunch which was nearing. So I settled for the thought that the air at Kuensel Phodrong too would be blessed. That self consolation thought opened up to another thought that, maybe, whole of Thimphu and even all of  Bhutan could be blessed. The goodness of Dharma transmission cannot be bound to a particular place. Thus in a way I hope that  all who are aware about the Loong transmission and believe in its essence may receive the Loong even without attending let alone hearing every line of recitation made by His Holiness.

Faith is incredible. It is said faith can move a mountain. The Kangjur transmission is well into the 3rd month. And hundreds of devotees especially the elderly lay devotees are at Kuensel Phodrong day in and day out from dawn to dusk. Not that they can hear the words or understand the meanings. Just the virtue of belief in the completeness of Buddha and trust in the Teacher.  Faith seems to over come  their old age, discomforts and other  physical challenges.  How they manage the feat is in itself a wonder. It is most humbling for me.

May His Holiness be blessed with good health and may all sentient beings be fortunate to attend the Teachings of His Holiness in the years to come. His posture that I have seen many times but not this Monday and his voice are uniqueness to only himself. His Holiness is just overpowering!


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