Tour of East Asia and Southern Africa

With many sad faces looking on, Drupon Khen Rinpoche left his students at Thrangu Sekhar Retreat Centre for a short trip abroad to respond to invitations received from various Dharma organisations outside of Nepal.

First stop was Tokyo, where the students of Ewam Yeshe Dharma Centre eagerly welcomed Rinpoche back for the third year in a row. Here, over the weekend of November 24th & 25th, Rinpoche taught a song by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye entitled Seizing the Kingdom of the Kagyu.

From Tokyo Rinpoche took a morning flight on the 26th to Taipei so that he could reach the city of Taichung in time to teach in Thrangu Tara Abbey Dharma Centre in the evening.

On the November 27th after visiting the new home of an old friend, who had requested Rinpoche bless it, in the morning, Rinpoche taught at the Hwayue Taichung Dharma Centre after lunch. As soon as the teaching finished, there was a rush to catch a train to Kaohsiung where, at the request of the Centre’s resident Lama, Lama Kunchen, he taught at the Thrangu Kaohsiung Vajra Vidya Buddhist Center.

The next day, the 28th, Rinpoche caught an early train to Taipei to commence a one week retreat with the Hwayue Foundation. Rinpoche was delighted that Hwayue had arranged the retreat with kind consideration for the participants, enabling them to attend for free, with both board and lodgings being provided without charge. The format of the retreat was very different from how Rinpoche usually conducts such one-week retreats; Rinpoche guided the meditation sessions by posing questions for the meditators to look into throughout the session. The participants said they found it immensely helpful, and that it had totally changed how they relate to meditation. Over the course of the week Ani Miao-Rong and Rachel Shih shared translation responsibilities.

On the evening of December 5th, Drupon Rinpoche held an open dialogue with Chen, Lu-An, a former prominent politician in Taiwan and a life long Buddhist, an event organised and hosted by Thrangu Dharmakara. The discussion touched on such topics as the mind, science, meditation and how Chen Li-an’s son, Khenpo Tengye, went on to became a monk.

On the 6th Rinpoche taught at the Thrangu Vajra Vidya Dharma Centre in Taipei, at the request of the resident Lama, Lama Tsewang.

On December 7th Drupon Rinpoche took an early flight to Hong Kong in order to be able to teach the first session of a three-day teaching in Thrangu Vajrayana Buddhist Centre. This weekend of teaching also incorporated sessions of meditation within which Rinpoche guided the participants in an exploration of what they feel it is to pray and meditate on the Lama. The translator for these teachings was Ani Changchup Drolma.

The day after the teachings in Hong Kong finished, Monday 10th December, Rinpoche undertook a long trip all the way to Lubumbashi in the D.R.C, Africa. Drupon Rinpoche, Lama Katen (the deputy abbot of Samye Ling who joined Rinpoche in the Congo) and the members of Lubumbashi Samye Dzong had been waiting for this trip to materialise for a couple of years now. For Rinpoche the main purpose of the visit was to get a feel for the people and their situation. He is educating and nurturing five children from this part of the world and wanted to see their homeland for himself, meet their families, etc. It was an occasion full of joy and enthusiasm. Around 215 people in total requested refuge vows from Rinpoche, thus becoming Buddhists.

On December 14th Rinpoche and Lama Katen travelled to Zimbabwe. Although Rinpoche visited Zimbabwe last year, he spent almost the entire time in the temple of Samye Ling Harare, on the outskirts of the capital, and left feeling he had not witnessed the real Zimbabwe. So, this year he visited the region and people of Chukukwa, in a remote area right on the border of Mozambique. Here Rinpoche and Lama Katen engaged in a fascinating cultural dialogue with the region’s elders and spirit mediums. This lasted for two days, after which Rinpoche returned to Harare and taught for one and a half days in the temple at Samye Ling Harare. This was the last stop of Rinpoche’s travels before returning to Thrangu Sekar Retreat Centre in Nepal, where Rinpoche will remain for the next seven or so months, teaching and guiding those who have come to stay and rely on him for their development on the path.