17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.



Travel Log—Commemorating Shamarpa's Parinirvana with Karmapa in Kalimpong

See the original in French

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Considerations on drupcho (and its gastronomy)

A drupcho is a compassionate mechanism, an awakening process that dissipates obscuration and generates blessings.

The Temple: on the left the mandala, in the center Gyalwa Karmapa and monks all around.

What is a drupcho? It is an intensive practice of a specific meditation deity over several days and in a group, in our case, Gyalwa Gyamtso, red Chenrezig. Here in the shedra, this practice is accomplished to celebrate the third year of Shamar Rinpoche's death, his parinirvana, but in general they do not perform such rituals; their function is study. It is rather the function of the monasteries that practice several of them throughout the year.

A famous drupcho (outside the context of a monastery) is that of Chenrezig of the Royal tradition organized every December by Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche in Swayambhu (Nepal) and which gathers hundreds, even thousands of lay practitioners over several days. This is the practice that we are trying to establish at Dhagpo Kagyu Ling every year since Rinpoche transmitted it.

I am talking about a mechanism, because the practice is repeated several times during the day. Since the one we do takes about 5 hours, it is done once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The same phases are performed each time, so time and repetition allow the blessing to unfold:

- the introductory prayers (they take almost an hour)
- an extensive refuge and mind of awakening
- the preliminary phase including several 7 branch prayers
- the visualization of oneself (dakye in Tibetan) with accumulation of mantras
- visualization of the initiation vase (bumkye) with accumulation of the mantras
- visualization in front of oneself (dunkye) with accumulation of mantras
- self-empowerment
- the offering feast (tsok)
- the conclusion phase and dissolution. This twice a day for several days with the Karmapa as meditation master (lopon): this gives the impression that we will not come out the same as when we arrived.

The fact that the practice is done in a group (there are about a hundred monks) along with "ritual pros" gives an additional force to the process. The umze leads the songs (with two assistants) with this voice that has been transmitted from generation to generation for 10 centuries and which has crossed the Himalayas: sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes very slow with varied melodies, from which we can sense the functions. The chopon who takes care of the offerings and the altar keeps his gestures at an identical rhythm from beginning to end. It's stable.

And compassion? As I explained earlier, the vajrayana uses the yidam, symbolic supports to connect and actualize the awakened qualities of the spirit of the bodhisattvas. As we know, Chenrezig represents compassion. Activating Chenrezig through visualizations, recitations, and associated meditations is to deploy compassion in our minds, but also in the world. This is the strength of vajrayana.
Externally the ritual can be seen as beautiful and inspiring, but this succession of songs and music does not initially evoke compassion; however, that is what is invoked. For those who know the meaning or who, simply open up to what is implemented can, beyond appearances, experience this active compassion. In Dharma compassion is not affective. It is born from a clear awareness of the true situation of beings, of all beings, of the desire to free them along with the means to do so. The drupcho is one of these means.

I can not discuss the drupcho without addressing its gastronomic dimension. Again, it would seem that there is a mechanism. The morning ritual begins before breakfast. So, about half an hour after we started we are gratified with a bowl of tsampa (grilled barley flour) with hot tea. Here, when one says hot tea, it naturally means tea with milk and also with butter when the tea is salty, that is almost all the time. After two hours of rituals comes a thick soup of spiced rice followed by tea. In the early afternoon, you start with a glass (or rather a bowl, everything is served in small wooden bowls) of Cola or Sprite. Then comes a cheese croissant with ... tea. Then tea again, about every hour. Needless to say that as we sit all day, the feeling of hunger does not interfere with meditation. Knowing that at the end of the ritual, large containers full of tsok from the offering feast go into self-service, we are not left hungry (sweets, biscuits, sweets of all kinds). In short, I will not dwell on the dietary dimension of this diet (it must be said, exceptional here) knowing that the whole is eaten quickly, but in the end, these regular snacks are welcome.

Tomorrow will already be the third day of practice and the anniversary of the parinirvana of Shamar Rinpoche in the Tibetan calendar.

Lama Puntso


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