Gratitude Series #43 – Nepal a Pilgrimage Part 4: An audience with Yamantaka

From sacred chapels to unexpected meetings with enlightened beings… just when I thought this pilgrimage could not get any better, Tsem Rinpoche announced we’re going to have another audience with another enlightened being! He is one of Rinpoche’s precious Guru – His Eminence Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Another unexpected, holy meeting while we were still recovering from the previous blessing buzz with H.H. Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche and Venerable Phutok Rinpoche. But we’re not complaining as we excited made our way to another bliss-out moment!

Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche is the reincarnation of Ra Lotsawa (the originator of the Yamantaka transmission lineage) and a holder of all Gelug lineages. As Ra Lotsawa he was well known as the “Enlightened Sorcerer” who had magical battles with 13 Lamas who challenged and questioned the legitimacy of Ralo’s teachers. He defeated all of them and from then on the Vajrabhairava (Yamantaka) and Krishna Yamari traditions of practice became popular. In addition to challenging rivals to competing tantric systems, Ra Lotsawa spent his wealth renovating temples such as Samye, Tibet’s first monastery, which had been damaged by fire in 986. He also sponsored many translations, the copying and recitations of scripture, and the installation of statues.

One of Ra Lotsawa’s great advice which we should keep in mind; “During the final decline of the doctrine, although there’ll be many practitioners, few will actualize the end because they’ll lack the necessary skills. Only those who cultivate the perfect guru, deity and Dharma protector will be able to actualize.”

Once we’ve arrived at Dagom Ladrang, we were greeted with the warm hospitality of the Dagom Ladrang’s monks. We were served tea and while waiting we were mesmerized by the beautiful Je Tse Zin Ma Tsongkhapa statue that Dagom Ladrang had on their shrine. This was where Tsem Rinpoche got the inspiration to have a Je Tse Zin Ma Tsongkhapa in our Kechara House centre back in 2005 (see picture below).

Je Tse Zin Ma Tsongkhapa

Je Tse Zin Ma arrives in Kechara House on 9th October 2005. H.E. Tsem Rinpoche was inspired by an exact statue of Je Tse Zin Ma in his Dagom RInpoche’s Ladrang and ordered one for our centre. “Je Tse Zin Ma” means the Lord who is the “Holder of Life Force”, it’s the long life emanation of Lama Tsongkhapa. The long life vase he holds in his hands overflows with Amrita (divine nectar) symbolic of his supreme ability to bring all worldly and spiritual conditions for our spiritual practice.


A closer view of Je Tse Zin Ma Tsongkhapa in Kechara House 1 back in 2005.

We were then invited into Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche’s audience room and Tsem Rinpoche introduced each one of us to His Eminent Guru. It was a brief audience but Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche gave us a short yet profound Dharma teaching. He mentioned that in reality none of us are really practicing the Dharma, we are like little children climbing on a great big mountain, easily distracted and have a flippant mind at times. The Guru guides us, giving us sweets to entice us, to motivate us and to encourage us along the path so we can keep moving forward, climbing the mountain until one day we can truly practice real Dharma. This analogy from Dagom Rinpoche summarises the Guru’s kindness and skilful means in guiding His students. By “giving sweets” to entice the “children”, the Guru uses many different, creative, skilful ways to teach us and encourage us to do some Dharma work. It reminds me of all those gifts, advices, jokes, treats, games, cajoling, pushing, nurturing Rinpoche does for so many of us, just so that we can have an opportunity to collect some merits through Dharma work. Whatever little bit of Dharma work we are doing, is all because of Rinpoche. Hence we should never be too arrogant to think we’re so great to be doing a little bit of Dharma work, in fact we haven’t even begin the scratch the surface of really doing Dharma. Hence we should always remember to remain humble as Dharma is doing us a favour, allowing us to help ourselves and our future lives. Dagom Rinpoche’s teaching also reminds us to have Guru Devotion; that we should never forget our Guru’s kindness in teaching us, to follow our Guru, be firm and loyal no matter what happens. I think this was the essence Dagom Rinpoche’s advice to us.

Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche also said this to our beloved Guru, “in order to practice or teach Dharma these days, it’s like being a white crow among the black.” That means we will stand out and look unusual. But no matter what we must persevere.

Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche is definitely one of the few erudite accomplished Buddhist master and Mahasiddha. He is a student of H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. This was a true privilege for us to be able to meet our Guru’s Guru, who is also our lineage masters to receive blessings and teachings. We had the chance to gaze upon Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche’s Golden face before his passing, and this was made possible because of the kindness of our Guru. I thank Rinpoche for all this great blessing privileges and being able to meet highly attained Lamas. I’ve come to realise that genuine Gurus like Tsem Rinpoche always find ways to connect students with the divine, in hopes to inspire our own transformation.

Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche’s perfect incarnation has returned and I can’t wait to see Him manifest like His previous to spread the Dharma in the ten directions again.


His Eminence Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche of Drepung Gomang Monastery


Having audience with His Eminence Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche



Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche’s previous life – Je Sherab Sengey, the founder of Gyume Tantric College


Dagom Rinpoche’s previous life – the great Pelgyi Dorje who killed the evil King Langdarma


Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche’s previous life – Ra Lotsawa


Peaceful Vajrapani, Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche is said to be an emanation of Vajrapani


Related Links:    

  1. A Walk Down Kechara’s Memory Lane
  2. Transformation is a big deal?!
  3. Why Visit Holy Pilgrimages?
  4. Nepal Pilgrimage with H.E. Tsem Rinpoche (Part 3 of 4)
  5. Tsem Rinpoche’s Birthday/Long Life Puja 2004



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