Enthronement of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo
Here is a link to the video of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo’s enthronement by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in 1988.
And here is a transcript of the commentary.
Commentary at JAL Enthronement by HH Penor Rinpoche
Today we begin a special ceremony here in Washington, D.C. in the Dharma center of Ahkon Lhamo. This particular function is a religious function. It is not performed for any other reason. And the reason is because Ahkon Lhamo was the sister of the founder of our Palyul tradition, Kunzang Sherab and she was a genyanma, or also a very good practitioner and was blessed in this regard, and so His Holiness recognized her accordingly.
Now, prior to this, Ahkon Lhamo has not had the opportunity to really study the traditional Buddhist teachings and practices. However, because her nature is very steeped in the thought of benefiting and working for the welfare of others, these instructions have been given and so, the Dharma center and the practice going on here is very good.
There are a few people who think about benefiting others. Mostly we think about just a concern for ourselves. And so, the reason that His Holiness had thought to recognize her was based upon this particular condition. And so, the thought to be of benefit to others is the main foundation of the Dharma path to begin with and also because we have a special connection, an interdependent connection with Ahkon Lhamo and have a strong regard for one another. Based on these circumstances and conditions, His Holiness recognized her accordingly.
The ultimate goal of our path is the achievement of Buddhahood and when one is actually in the state of achieving a state of Buddhahood, this is the same as achieving a state of perfect omniscience, which is absolutely unobstructed or unblocked. Now, His Holiness says that he has not achieved this state and he is not a Buddha, because when the state of Buddhahood has been achieved, there is nothing that is not known. There is nothing that is not foreseen. There is nothing that cannot be manifested or actualized, and so these miraculous qualities are something that His Holiness does not claim to possess.
However, from the time of taking the vows of refuge until the ultimate goal of Buddhahood is achieved, there are five paths. There are 10 bodhisattva bhumis, or levels, and according to the strength of the individual practitioners, they will achieve various levels of realization as they ascend the higher stages on the path, not just by putting on robes or having some external appearance. So, from His Holiness’ point of view, he is an individual who is ascending the different levels on the path.
At this particular time, this is the time of the coming of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni into this world. And it is a time that only that particular Buddha was to come and came. However, there will be the coming of many other bodhisattvas. Guru Rinpoche is none other than the manifestation of all of the Buddhas of the three times, dwelling in a state of ageless eternal realization. Guru Rinpoche, or the Lopan Pema Junge, the Lotus Born Vajra Guru, as we refer to him, this is his name. His name is not Buddha.
So, therefore it should be understood that at a time when only one Buddha comes into the world, that is the Buddha that we recognize, and so we shouldn’t recognize – that is Buddha Shakyamuni – so we shouldn’t recognize His Holiness as the Buddha, because he is not the Buddha.
Now, however, concerning the various knowledge or qualities of the enlightened mind, he doesn’t claim to have a very vast or extensive understanding, but he does know some small points. There are those who say that His Holiness is the incarnation of Panchen Vimalamitra. His Holiness says that he has the blessing or the prayer, the aspiration of Vimalamitra, but he doesn’t claim to absolutely be the incarnation of Vimalamitra. But people will still say that he is Vimalamitra, but he’s not, because definitely the connection will be there and the blessings will be there.
In the snow land of Tibet, there are six major traditions for the earlier translation school, known as the Nyingmapa and one of them is the Palyul tradition and the Palyul is one of the six major lineages and the six mother monasteries. So, His Holiness is absolutely the head of the Palyul tradition and mother monastery.
This Palyul monastery is not a small monastery. It is very great, very large. The monastery had only been in existence for 400 years, not for a very long time. From the time of Rigzen Kunzang Sherab, the founder of the monastery and tradition and on through the succession of the 10 to 11 – which His Holiness is the 11th throneholders to follow. There have been until this time 11 throneholders of the Palyul tradition. And there, until that time, until now, there is said that there is some 1,000 branch monasteries which are Palyul branch monasteries to the mother monastery. However, in His Holiness’ time in Tibet, he knew of about 300.
And so, because His Holiness is the supreme head of the entire tradition, he also was in charge of every single one of these branch monasteries as well, because he is the supreme head of the tradition that all of them were following, and so he was selected and appointed accordingly.
So, for all these monasteries, His Holiness had the absolute authority of all the administrative duties, rules and regulations and for all the recognition of the incarnates and all of the appointments and so forth for the spiritual enthronements of the different practitioners.
And so, based on that position of authority, it is from that point of view that His Holiness has recognized Ahkon Lhamo to be the genyanma, Ahkon Lhamo, sister of Rigzen Kunzang Sherab.
And in giving her this name, His Holiness – giving her the same name, His Holiness had the thought that this would be able to give her a great blessing, which would enter her. And so, in having given her the name, now this is the time for the enthronement. She doesn’t have any duties or responsibilities in worldly type of administration or political concerns. What is her responsibility at this point, as a tulku, is that she is responsible for propagating the Dharma and for being of benefit to sentient beings, and she has no other responsibility but that.
And so, therefore today we have all gathered together as a Dharma assembly and also with His Holiness’ monks from the Namdroling monastery and all of the sangha members from this particular group and other places who have come together to make this very auspicious connection and occasion.
And also many of you have come here on this day to be part of the ceremony and to observe it and also to make a connection here and so, for all of you, His Holiness offers you his warmest greetings and the traditional “Tashi delek”.
And also there are a lot of cameras here, cameramen, photographers and camerawomen. Actually, in this type of a ceremony, traditionally, photography is not allowed, and yet, because His Holiness was aware that the center and everyone really felt it would be good to have some publicity for the occasion, he has allowed to happen. But we should also know that this usually is not allowed in this type of a ceremony.
And also, it’s been allowed so that the connection can be made. There may be an attitude that because this is happening here in America, that naturally we would like to let the news be spread out. But usually for this type of an enthronement, it is not something that is propagated in a broader sense. The enthronement is done in order to make the auspicious link from a religious point of view but not for publicity. However, we are in America, the United States, and publicity is an important thing and we may think it is strange not to have publicity, but there is also the point that up until now, many students have sort of complained or have felt why is it that there are not any American tulkus. Why is it there are not any female tulkus. And so, not only just to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche have these complaints come in, but to many of the Tibetan lamas. And so, now that there is not only an American tulku, but a woman tulku, those of you who were complaining should be feeling very happy.
Generally, when a tulku, or intentional reincarnation comes into the world, it is only into a place where there is some purpose. Otherwise, there is no point to be there. There has to be a purpose for sentient beings.
Bodhisattvas send manifestations into innumerable types of bodies, amongst animals, anywhere. Anyone could be a bodhisattva, so this is uncertain. We cannot say for sure who is going to be a bodhisattva, like what the form will appear to be. We cannot determine exactly, because the bodhisattvas have the freedom to incarnate in the form that they need to take on in order to help.
So, we will begin the ceremony today. Usually the ceremony is inserted at this particular point in the bestowing of the Rinchen Terzod empowerment, so it is actually part of the empowerment ceremony. So, those who are part of the empowerments are the ones who really should be here, but many others have come as well, and so, once again, although it is a bit untraditional, we will all partake of the ceremony together. Please make very auspicious prayers.
His Holiness is always teaching on a regular basis that in order to actually experience the Dharma and engage in the mainstream of a spiritual practice, it has to happen with one’s mind. It doesn’t happen outside of ourselves. So, the blessings will come through a lineage which is unbroken and which is purely upholding the pure words of honor, which have never been decreased or defiled. And so, based on that potency, which His Holiness possess and based on the prayers that you must make, then an interdependent connection is made. It is through that interdependent connection that the blessings will actually be transmitted to you. And that happens within your own mind.
So, therefore, you should give rise to the awakened mind, which is the thought to always work for the benefit of others, the bodhicitta mind and you should take the vow or make the promise to actually follow through with that aspiration in your activities and in your daily works.
You shouldn’t have attachment. You shouldn’t have aversion or delusion towards sentient beings. You should be totally impartial by considering that the number of sentient beings is as limitless as the limitless boundaries of space and all of those beings are suffering intensely in the round of cyclic existence. And so, with this type of thought to try to be of benefit to them, it should be done with a mind of the equality, with an equal feeling toward all of them.