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Shambhala Congress

From the Office of The President 

His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche,
Venerable Rinpoches,
Distinguished Khenpos,
Sangha of monks,
Friends of Namdroling Monastery,
And all others present on this joyous occasion,

I prostrate to the primordial Buddha, Samantabhadra, the awareness that has never fallen into delusion, the undefiled, absolute nature ever present and unobstructed;

I prostrate to the Buddha, bhagavat, tathagata, arhat, samyak-sambuddha, the omniscient teacher, the basis of oceans of merit and virtue;

I prostrate to the heart-essence lineage of the great perfection, the mind lineage of the conquerors and the symbol lineage of the vidyadharas;

I prostrate to the supreme assembly of sugatas and bodhisattvas, the heirs of the Victor;

I prostrate to Manjushri, wielding the sword of great insight, shining king of the dharma, whose dharma is illustrious, supreme illuminator of the world, the preceptor of the best path.

We are here to celebrate the life and teachings of the one whose knowledge and wisdom are not different from that of Manjushri:  Jamgön Mipham Namgyal Gyatso, lord of the kingdom of the dharma.

In the biography of Mipham the Great by Samantabhadra Dharmakirti, it is said that the self-arising pristine awareness of Mipham the Great, vast and profound like space, was victorious, manifesting the enlightened qualities of the eight treasures of great confidence:

  • the stable treasure of mindfulness
  • the intelligent treasure of discrimination
  • the realization treasure of realizing the meaning of all buddhadharma
  • the holding treasure of remembering everything ever heard
  • the confident treasure of eloquently satisfying all sentient beings
  • the dharma treasure of completely protecting the dharma
  • the bodhichitta treasure of the unbroken lineage of the three jewels
  • the accomplished treasure of the patience of the unborn dharma of emptiness.

The life and teachings of Mipham the Great are a heart-treasure of the Nyingma lineage. His works are a foundation of study throughout the world of Tibetan Buddhism, and transcend virtually all boundaries.

Not only in Asia are his works studied. There is increasing interest in the remarkable writings of Mipham the Great. Among the more than eleven thousand references to Mipham on the internet today can be found entries in numerous European languages, calling to mind the prophecy of his teacher Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo who predicted that his fame would spread around the world, and that he would be known by all.

Of particular significance to our gathering here, is the extraordinarily close connection between Mipham the Great and the Kingdom of Shambhala. One of Mipham’s last works was an extensive explanatory transmission of the Kalachakra Tantra, said to have been taught by the Buddha to the first king of Shambhala. Before he passed away, he left word that he was going to Shambhala. Through an auspicious stream of events, we are now beginning to understand what he may have meant by that.

In light, therefore, of the profound connection between Mipham the Great and the radiant vision of Shambhala, it is with great joy in my heart that I have the honour today to bring you greetings from His Sacred Majesty, the Dharmaraja, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the King of Shambhala.

This is the first year that this Mipham aspiration, which has been regularly observed on a single day each year at Namdroling Monastery, is now able to take place fully and properly over its intended three days.

This is due in part to the tremendous devotion and exertion of the venerable leaders and the entire sangha of Namdroling. It also reflects the commitment of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to ensure that this practice is preserved, respected and carried out thoroughly and completely henceforth each year for a full three days.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has asked me to extend on his behalf his heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, to each of the venerable tulkus who reside at Namdroling, to all the distinguished khenpos and to the entire sangha and community of Namdroling for the great event that is to take place for these three days.

Many auspicious connections have brought us together today. Towards the end of his previous lifetime, Mipham the Great wrote the seed syllable of Manjushri, DHIH, on the tongue of the infant Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage prior to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. This direct heart connection has continued unbroken. His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche became the personal teacher of the Sawang Ösel Rangdröl, later to become Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

After the death of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, our beloved Sakyong studied with His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. This has resulted in the strong and abiding connection between Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Namdroling, which is reflected also in his close relationship with Khenpo Namdrol.

There is also a profound connection between the Mipham lineage and the tradition of Shambhala. Before he entered his parinirvana, Mipham the Great prophesied that he would arise again in Shambhala in the north. It was not clear how that was to come to pass. The answer came in 1994 when His Holiness Penor Rinpoche recognized in the future King of Shambhala the rebirth of Mipham. This was proclaimed in the northern city of Halifax on the Atlantic Coast of Canada at the enthronement of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche the following year.

There is also a strong clan, or family, connection. Mipham the Great’s mother was of the Mukpo clan whose illustrious ancestor is Gesar of Ling. This is the same clan into which the Sakyong’s father, the mahasiddha, the Vidhyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was born. And thus, Mipham Rinpoche, like Mipham the Great’s mother, is also a Mukpo. Indeed, it is often said that all the students and practitioners of Shambhala are members of the Mukpo family. We delight in that ancestry.

Throughout his remarkable life, Trungpa Rinpoche worked to create Shambhala, of which Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is now the spiritual and temporal head. Shambhala today can be understood in many ways. It is a global mandala of more than 150 meditation centres and groups, and can be found on five continents. But its purpose is not only spiritual practice.  It is governed by a lineage of Sakyongs whose aim is to bring forth on earth an authentic manifestation of enlightened society.

It is therefore in this spirit of our deep, unbroken connection that is both spiritual and temporal, historical and contemporary, and which transcends the illusory boundaries of time, space, language and culture, that I bring to each and everyone of you heartfelt greetings from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the king of Shambhala, and everyone who has the honour today to be the citizens Shambhala.

May this Mipham aspiration be of great benefit to all beings in these difficult times. May all beings attain the state eloquently described in the final words of Mind is the Root, the song of awareness composed by Mipham the Great, so that it may be said of all beings that:

Out of their innermost being, the sun of infinite strength and
indestructible confidence shines forth.
Holding this pristine awareness with folded hands,
in a single lifetime they reach primordial Buddhahood.

Richard Reoch
President of Shambhala

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