His Eminence's speech during Longevity (Tenzhug) Ceremony
To all dharma brothers and sisters from Drukpa monasteries, volunteers, international guests and guests from the local community.
I would like to thank everyone from the depth of my heart for doing this. His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa told me that I should be doing this long life ceremony because next year is my obstacle year and I may encounter some obstacles in my life. To that, I was saying to His Holiness that “I don’t need any long life ceremony because long life ceremonies are usually performed for Spiritual Masters who have the power to decide whether to live or not. For example, when Buddha Shakyamuni was about to pass away, one of his disciples requested Buddha to live longer and he accepted to live for 3 more months. In these 3 months, Buddha benefited many people. It is said that Bodhisattvas of the first Bhumi can also choose to live for 100 years, even 1000 years. But I am only an ordinary practitioner and an ordinary person so I cannot make a choice. While it is not necessary to perform a long life ceremony (Tenzhug), I am happy to do practice, life release, retreat, and so on because I do not have the power to decide to live or not to live.”
But His Holiness insisted that I must do it. When I was young also they insisted and for one year I did not even have a tooth ache. It is said that when there is pure samaya, pure love and care, it helps.
As you may know, His Holiness the Je Khenpo, spiritual head of Bhutan had sent his own representative, Secretary of Dratshang to give me blessing of long life. In our teachings, it is said that when you are pure, you see everything and everybody pure and vice versa because the world is a reflection of your mind. So doing this long life prayers does not show that I am great but it shows that His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, His Holiness the Je Khenpo and even my teacher here Gyeltshen Trulku Rimpoche who is doing this ceremony, are great because they can see greatness in ordinary people like us. It shows their greatness.
As for my own personal choice or personal request, for my friends who are here, and
many friends whom I know would have wanted to come but could not make it, if you would wish to do something for my long life or the long life of any Master, there is only one thing that I request for. Please do something that will benefit other beings on an everyday basis, or during this special year. For example, you can be a vegetarian for one month. His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa told me that to do prayers every morning is important because every morning, if you go to butchers’ shops, that is the time when they kill the animals for sale during day time. They are killing billions and billions of animals every morning. So just imagine if in the name of Khamtrul Rimpoche, let’s say, for Khamtrul Rimpoche’s long life, you release one fish, one goat, or you don’t eat meat, how happy I will feel. This is because as I was saying, life of a Rimpoche, life of Gyalwa Dokhampa, does not make any sense unless this life that I am leading, makes a difference in the life of other beings. One day, I will have to leave all these monasteries, all these thrones, you all will also have to leave. At the time, the only thing that we can take away with us is the satisfaction of the karma knowing that we have done something beneficial for other beings. That is why I also requested my teachers many times to please live a long life and what puja should I do for the purpose? They always say “do life release, do benefit to other sentient beings”.
Now I understand that what really makes Buddhas and Bodhisattvas happy is not money offering, not these offerings but when they know that because of them, their teachings and their inspiration, today 10000 lives of animals are saved, 100 hungry dogs are being fed, somebody is being kind to others and so on. In this case, why will Buddha not feel happy? Why would Buddhas not feel that they really should live long because if they live long, so many animals are not being killed, hungry dogs are being fed and so many people are helped? Why will the Masters not live long? That’s what my Masters used to tell me and now I understand.
I am not saying that I have a choice but I definitely feel happy to continue in the title of Gyalwa Dokhampa, title of a Spiritual Master, if my life makes a difference in other beings’ lives. That is why my sincere requests to all of you, is that this year, you can call it for my long life, for the long life of all enlightened masters or for your own future lives, do something to benefit all sentient beings. If possible do something like a life release, give life to another animal that is about to die under the threat of being killed, feed the poor, look after the older generation, plant a tree, save the environment, minimize use of plastics; if nothing else, take your wife for a dinner and make her happy. Or for one day talk to your husband with very nice words, and if he is happy, say I dedicate his happiness for the long life of Khamtrul Rimpoche. I will be really happy that because of me, today one person is very happy. Isn’t that a great thing? Because of my life, I can give happiness to other beings. Otherwise, all the ceremonies, the title, the monastery is just a building you know; this is just a wooden throne, I do not have any attachment to this but I only do these things with the hope that it will benefit other beings.
Finally, what I want to say is that no matter how long we live, one day we have to go. When we go, nothing can be taken with us except our karma, the good things that we have done to benefit other sentient beings - not for show, not for appearance but from the depth of your heart. So for my long life and long life of all the spiritual masters, for the Buddha dharma and for your own long life and happiness, please benefit other beings in your life - if not all the time, at least sometimes, make a difference in the life of other beings. That is my request to you.
I don’t know if I want to live 99 years but from the depth of my heart, my aspiration is that as long as my great teachers and enlightened masters are in this world and as long as the work in the name of Khamtrul Rimpoche benefits the life of sentient beings, I will live long, live as long as that and not only me but may my enlightened masters live long, may all of you here live long, healthy, happy and lead a life that benefits other beings. Today on this auspicious day of Guru Rimpoche’s birthday, let’s have an aspiration in our mind to lead a life that is beneficial to others and live a long and meaningful life.