The Long Life yidam, Drenpa Namkha and Khandro Oden Barma.
On November 9th in Washington Depot, Connecticut, His Eminence 7th Kündrol Namkha Trinley Wangyal Rinpoche will bestow the long-life empowerment of Drenpa Namkha. From November 6th – 8th, the public is invited to view the ritual creation of The Accomplishment of Longevity of Drenpa Namkha sand mandala by a small group of monks from Menri Monastery. This mandala will be an external support for the sacred presence of Drenpa Namkha and Öden Barma during the empowerment. On November 10th, the empowerment ritual will conclude with the ceremonial dissolution of the sand mandala and the traditional sacred Dance of Victory of the religious protector, Sipé Gyalmo, the Queen of Existence.
A long-life empowerment, when joined together with the faith of the participants, is a method to repair and restore the lifespan, vitality, health, and prosperity. Because the long-life ritual involves the restoration and balance of each of the five elements that constitute our body, energy, and mind, it therefore also restores and strengthens the soul. Receiving this kind of blessing also removes external obstacles such as danger and accidents, internal obstacles such as illness, and secret obstacles such as confusion and unhealthy thought patterns. By receiving the empowerment, the mandala of the deity is ‘opened’ to the practitioner. Because of that, they can now receive blessings and develop the enlightened qualities of the deity through formal practice of the deity, recitation of the specific mantra of the deity, or by making offerings and supplications to the deity.
Yungdrung Bon monks creating a sand mandala. Photo credit: Unknown
Drenpa Namkha was a realized Dzogchen practitioner who also exhibited great power and skill due to his mastery of tantra. In this ritual, he is practiced as a yidam for his quality of gaining mastery over his lifespan. (See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/05/06/practice-of-the-great-lama-drenpa-namkha/ )Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the 10th lunar day of each month is designated as a time to perform practice and make offerings to Drenpa Namkha and his two sons: Tséwang Rikdzin and Pema Tongdrol. According to Tibetan astrology, the ages of 1, 9, 13, 25, 37, 49, 61, 73 and 81 are considered obstacles years, and therefore, an ideal time to receive long-life empowerments.
A monk dressed as Red Sipe Gyalmo in preparation for her dance. Photo credit: Unknown
Creating a mandala for an empowerment is necessary in order to have a proper support for the deity and their retinue during the ritual. It is a kind of sacred architecture with dimensions and details described in the sacred texts. Although enlightened beings are beyond form, because of their compassion, they manifest in form with specific aspects so that we can more easily connect with them. According to the scriptures, all mandalas are to be made of sand. However, because this is not always possible, using painted images of mandalas became a substitute. During the ritual, the lama visualizes the mandala arising from the five elements as an immeasurable palace. In this way, every mandala has three dimensions: 1) the actual mandala realm, 2) the visualized mandala realm, and 3) the symbolic mandala realm represented by sand or paint. At the conclusion of the ritual, the mandala is dissolved and the sand is returned to the environment, often placed in a river, in order to bless it with the energy and power accumulated during the ritual.
For more information about this event, or to register, go to the link below: