By Roland Cohen
Boulder Colorado, Friday, August 13, 2010: Organized and hosted by Dzigar Kongtrul, Rinpoche and his sangha (Mangala Shri Bhuti), the ceremony was held at the old Boulder Theater on 14th St., across Spruce Street from the Shambhala Center. It was packed with four or five hundred people. Many Shambhalians were there, but surprisingly, I think there were many more from other sanghas.
The stage was set up in the traditional way with DKYR’s large throne in the rear center with long puja tables extending out on its sides to the front of the stage for the Rinpoches, lamas and monks, facing each other across the center of the stage. Large pictures of the previous Dilgo Khyentse and the Dalai Lama were on the two sides of the throne. Many of Dzigar Kongtrul’s students were involved in umdze, announcements and other support roles. Matthieu Ricard was in attendance and served as the translator. Lady Konchok and Lama Pegyal, the Sakyong’s mother and stepfather, were also present.
The beauty of seeing Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche who is so young, 17, seated on his throne by Rabjam Rinpoche, and witnessing the respect of all the other Rinpoches, was very moving. Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche seems shy, yet wonderfully settled and serious. He began by saying that he felt “nervous and embarassed” to be seated on this large throne in front of the many great Rinpoches. He clearly has great respect (seemingly even some appropriate hesitancy) for the enormity of the seat he’s stepping into. Earlier at the tea and rice ceremony, after sitting on the throne, he humbly bowed very low, practically in a prostration, while all prostrated to him.
His sense of humor was apparent when after making some initial remarks and beginning the preliminaries of the long life empowerment, he stopped to say, “What’s the use of living 300 years if you’re angry, miserable and mean?” (Not in those exact words.) Everyone laughed. Then he continued the preliminaries and stopped:
“The sound of my voice, that’s just the way I speak, I know it sounds boring … But I’m not bored.” There was great laughter, particularly from the Rinpoches present. Then he continued with the sadhana, then stopped again and said “I’m being very bad.”We all laughed heartily. There was a strong sense of family, and the continuity; the extraordinary combination of his being trained, supported and empowered while himself giving empowerments to others. We were witnessing the love, care, seriousness, humor and intense training of the lineage being passed on from generation to generation and the inconceivable re-appearance of a nirmanakaya of Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche.
Also, I think the Rinpoches were somewhat surprised by his unabashed expressions of genuineness, insight, and humor.
Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche’s voice was beautifully calm, rich in timbre, strong and soft. Also, there was a sense of inquisitiveness as he frequently checked out what was going on around him.
The mandala offering was performed by our host, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche and his son, assisted by other western students, first chanted in Tibetan by many, then in English by all of us. Kongtrul Rinpoche standing at a microphone also led the Seven Line Supplication in Tibetan and another chant to Thotrengsal in various melodies at different times during the empowerment. His presence in a western suit and tie was both casually relaxed and completely precise at once. His wife, Elizabeth Matthis, and many from his sangha, were present.
The power and blessings of the empowerment were wonderfully obvious for all. The blessing line at the end must have taken an hour. Sadly I had to leave before it was over.
Humble thanks to Dilgo Kyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, Rabjam Rinpoche, and Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche for enabling us all to re-connect with the endless stream of blessings of the ancient Nyingma lineage and of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.