April 8th, 2009 - by Tenzin Namgyel of Kuensel (Bhutan)
About 50 Bhutanese monks - excluding several officials, volunteers and pilgrims - led by Zhung Yangbi Lopen and Ashi Kesang C T Wangchuck are at the Druk Amitabha mountain in Kathmandu, Nepal, attending, what is called, the annual Drukpa council (ADC).
Started for the first time and planned as a yearly event, ADC aims to discuss, nourish, conserve and promote the Drukpa teachings. Presiding over the meeting is His Holiness Gyalwang Drupchen Rinpoche, the reincarnation of Drogon Tsangpa Gyare (founder of the Drukpa lineage) and recognised and revered as the spiritual head of the Drukpa lineage.
More than 60 other Drukpa masters are attending the meeting. In total, there are 1,000 people. The 50 Bhutanese monks, headed by Zhung Yangbi Lopen, have been conducting a drupchen at the Druk Amitabha mountain, while some 16 Bhutanese volunteers have been helping in the day-to-day affairs of the ADC.
The chief coordinator of the Bhutanese group, Ashi Kesang C T Wangchuck, said that Bhutan and Druk Amitabha dratsang shared a common religion and His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa wanted a major participation from Bhutan.
The main reason for the meeting was that the teachings of the Drukpa lineage were found to be on the verge of disappearance in the Himalayan region, say Drukpa masters. The teachings, especially the ancient oral transmission of Drukpa lineage in Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, and Sikkim and Ladakh in India, have been fading away because of modernisation and lack of communication between the great masters and the followers, they said.
The Drupka masters said various enlightened masters and monastic bodies seldom had the opportunity to work together to promote the lineage, due to lack of proper communication among the different masters and various monasteries and nunneries. Therefore, ADC aims to bring all the grandmasters and followers of Drukpa lineage together and spread the teachings.
ADC will conduct traditional rituals and practices and open discussions and exchange of views regarding the practical use of spirituality to resolve todayâ€™s difficulties and challenges.
The story of the origins of the Drukpa lineage goes this way. Drogon Tsangpa Gyare Yeshi Dorje, the Buddha of Compassion (Tibetan - Chenrezig, Skt. - Avalokiteshvara) one day reached Nam-gyi Phu, near Lhasa in Tibet, in search of a site to build a monastery. He discovered nine dragons, said to be manifestations of Indian Mahasiddhas, which reared up from the earth and soared into the sky with loud thunderous roars. Thereafter his lineage and the followers were called "Drukpa".
ADC will provide an annual opportunity for followers of the Drukpa lineage to meet once a year to nourish a firm bond and strengthen the relationship between individuals and groups of the Drukpa sangha (disciples), the organisers said. It will be organised at different monasteries within the Drukpa lineage. The Nepal meeting, which began today, will end on April 15.