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2nd ADC - Countdown to the 2nd ADC

Preparation under way

Druk Amitabha Mountain rustles and bustles the day before the second Annual Drukpa Council. Despite the local forest fire, meetings from all the committees continue, decorations are finalized, participants arrive, Drukpa monastic leaders convene and Live to Love regional and district delegates gather. Druk Amitabha Mountain also welcomes members of the international press whom toured the premises.

Live to Love Meeting

His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa meeting some of the volunteers

His Holiness greeted by YDA members from Garsha

In the evening, each of the centers rehearses in Naro Assembly Hall for the cultural show. Meanwhile, nuns, monks and volunteers plan an impromptu surprise birthday celebration to celebrate Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche Jigme Pema Nyinjadh’s birthday. Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche and the volunteers pause to celebrate Annual Drukpa Council ’s Chairman’s birthday. Notwithstanding everyone’s fatigue, spirits soar high for tomorrow’s opening ceremonies.

A surprise birthday party for Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche organized by the lay volunteers

Rehearsal of cultural show by Drukpa Europe

Rehearsal of cultural show by Bhutanese volunteers

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2nd ADC -

With the face painted, the Buddha Amitabha statue had come to life. It definitely looks very different from 2 days ago. Today, the statue, sponsored by His Holiness's mother, got a nice gold paint over the face and body. Mayumla's wish is finally fulfilled. As all of us could remember, Druk Amitabha Mountain was established mainly due to Mayumla's wish to help deceased beings through the practice of Buddha Amitabha.

Amitabha... almost completed

The nuns spent today rehearsing and practicing, amidst strong winds and drizzles. Well, everyone was extremely excited, since rains and winds and all the wild weather conditions are often considered to be the flying mood of the local deities or sometimes auspicious signs of dragons. Dragons are especially precious to the Drukpa or Dragon Lineage, quite obviously and they bring rain, thunder and lightning... great weather!

Serious business started...

Gen Tsering Phuntsok, Disciplinary Master of the monks, guided throughout the rehearsal

A long way to the Monument Site and Naro Assembly Hall

Seymo, Rupa, Pem Deki (2nd ADC International Coordinator), Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, our Ama Zangmo and Tenzin

Strong wind blowing... the Dragons roaring

More wind coming...

Little Kyabje Sengdrak Rinpoche enjoying himself

Rehearsal continued

The nuns leading the way...

Young nuns having fun!

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2nd ADC - The First Day

The gate at the entrance to Druk Amitabha Mountain from the ring road

On the eve of the second Annual Drukpa Council, Drukpa volunteers transform Druk Amitabha Mountain into a first-class convention center complete with a monumental statute of Buddha Amitabha and the 4th Gyalwang Drukpa Kunkhyen Pema Karpo towering over 3 stories high. Now that the Naro Assembly Hall is complete, offices on all 4 levels are buzzing with volunteers polishing the final program: the director of the Cultural Show facilitates rehearsals, the media team prepares to host an unprecedented number of members of the international press and the audio-visual team tests the state of the art technology.

While 800 nuns perform the Avalokiteshvara Drubchen, the protocol committee and the remainder of the nuns and monks receive the VIP guests which include the great masters of the Drukpa Lineage. All were pleased with the reception and excited to see old and new friends.

Nuns in the Drubchen

Kyabje Sengdrak Rinpoche in the puja

Nuns performing dance

Nuns performing dance

The Naro Assembly Hall hosts two major meetings. Over 50 Drukpa Rinpoches, Khenpos and Abbots convene to discuss the accomplishments and future direction of the Drukpa Lineage. In the evening, these distinguished Drukpa monastic leaders met with representatives of over 25 Drukpa centers to discuss local projects and successes. Drukpa Plouray and Drukpa Hamburg shared with the group the history of both its grassroots work which began over 25 years ago and its impressive growth over the years.

Gen Pemba Tsering, General Secretary and Drubpon Ngawang, His Holiness's representative in Europe

The air of Druk Amitabha Mountain is filled with enthusiasm and anticipation for the opening ceremonies.

Nuns receiving arriving Rinpoches

Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche Tenzin Chokyi Gyatso leading all the Rinpoches

Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche being welcome by a senior monk

Masters of the lineage going up the central stairway

Part of the welcoming procession

Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche being received by devotees from Garsha

His Holiness greeting a student from Hong Kong

Monks getting the hall ready for the public opening of the 2nd ADC

His Holiness having a relaxed moment

His Holiness personally checking all the decorations on Druk Amitabha Mountain

His Holiness greeting all the lineage masters, one by one

His Holiness hosting lunch

The meeting among all the masters

Volunteers busy making tea

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2nd ADC - The Countdown Has Begun

You can tell from the photos we are showing you here that the countdown has begun. About half of the 800 nuns are now residing at Druk Amitabha Mountain, and the rest are on their way. The monument area has been gradually transformed. First the statue of Buddha Amitabha was installed, followed by the larger statue of Kunkhyen Pema Karpo, the 4th Gyalwang Drukpa and one of the most celebrated scholars and yogis in the 17th century CE.

With the completion of the gigantic monumental structure and the Naro Assembly Hall, Nepal's first column-free building, Druk Amitabha Mountain will become complete (for the time being) as a fully functional spiritual center as well as a convention center.

Druk Amitabha Mountain started with a very "small" intention of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa wishing to erect an Amitabha statue to benefit the deceased beings. 18 years later, it is now home to 400 (soon to be 500, we were told) female practitioners and one of the most qualified GREEN habitats in the Himalayas, with solar panels, solar light system, rain water harvesting system and biogas facilities. PLUS, the nuns run the place!

We will be reporting on Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo's nuns and her own arrival at Druk Amitabha Mountain tomorrow (30th March), as well as the preparation for the historical 800-nuns Drubpa (or the Great Accomplishment Ceremony).

Kunkhyen Pema Karpo statue being moved to the site

Kyabje Zhichen Bairo Rinpoche conducting a ritual to consecrate the statues

Head of Kunkhyen Pema Karpo

The monumental block, seen from a distance

Kunkhyen Pema Karpo statue being assembled

Kyabje Zhichen Bairo Rinpoche blessing the precious stone to be placed on the forehead of Buddha Amitabha

Lobpon placed the precious stone on the forehead of Amitabha

Buddha Amitabha's serene face

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2nd ADC - Almost There...

If you had come with us to the site 2 months ago or even 1 month ago, you would be worrying like us, "How could the Monument structure and 2 Bronze Statues be ready for inauguration on 8th April?" Again, the reality surprises everyone! Today, workers are trying their best to cover the monument area with tiles and rushing to complete the entire landscape surrounding the Naro Assembly Hall as well as the Monument Block. We are almost there!

This was how it looked just 4 days back!

The huge flag pole!

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2nd ADC - Getting Ready for the Historical 800-Nuns Drubchen

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo's 70 nuns and 108 nuns from Druk Gawa Khilwa, Ladakh, arrived at the same time on 24th March. They traveled together from New Delhi in 7 buses. Jetsunma herself arrived at 7pm on 26th March. The nuns have been going around for pilgrimage, this is the first visit to Kathmandu for many of them. By tomorrow, the first day of the Drubchen, nuns from Kyabje Sengdrak Rinpoche's nunnery in Tatopani, Bhakhang, will also be arriving.

Photos speak louder than words...

Arrival of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at Druk Amitabha Mountain

Gen Pemba Tsering, General Secretary of 2nd ADC, warmly welcome Jetsunma

A brief meeting between the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson

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2nd ADC - Female Voice Permeates

For centuries, the voice of female has been silenced. This is the time when the voice is heard and appreciated. They know that they too have the ability to learn, practice and ultimately attain enlightenment!

Kyabje Kunga Rinpoche leading Kyabje Khamdrag Rinpoche and Jigme Thabkhe Rinpoche in blessing the mandala of Avalokiteshvara

A senior nun placing the torma in the Khil-khor, the Mandala

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1st ADC - The Grand Finale

Reporting from the newsroom of the First ADC (managed by DPPL)

Prior to sharing with our online readers the account of the final day of the First ADC, we would like to take a minute to thank His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa and Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche. As many of you know ADC is the brainchild of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa. With His extraordinary blessing, which transforms the most daunting of tasks into reality, with the guidance of Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, who has diligently trained so many volunteers and with the diverse talent of volunteers around the world, we may, with confidence, declare the First ADC a success! There are so many people to thank. Each volunteer is not a standalone island, but has been supported and encouraged by family, friends and Sangha members. To that extent, we have millions of volunteers around the world. And to all the millions of volunteers worldwide … thank you!

Grand Ganachakra Offering

Kyabje Sey Rinpoche and others making Mandala Offering

Surprises filled the last day of ADC. His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa led a Grand Ganachakra (Tsok) offering in the Naro Assembly Hall. The organizers decked the Naro Assembly Hall with a large colorful heap of tsampa, candy, fruits, snacks and other offerings. Each representative from the various Drukpa Centers around the world made a mandala offering to His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa during the ritual. A presentation from each of the centers on its "Live to Love" activities followed the Grand Tsok offering. The Druk White Lotus School won third place for its presentation, Drukpa Plouray won second place for its presentation and Drukpa Hong Kong took home the grand prize.

The Dragon Masters were the honorable judges for the "Live to Love" presentations

Performance by members of Drukpa America, Drukpa Mexico and Drukpa Peru

Performance by Bhutanese students of Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche

Members of Drukpa France singing a song

Stakmo Dorje from Ladakh offered his favorite number as a supplication

Members of Drukpa Germany too gave a performance

Members of Drukpa Spain sang a song

Members of Drukpa UK too sang a song

Members of Drukpa Switzerland offered a poem

After this was a series of cultural performances from the devotees of the Drukpa Lineage from the Himalayas and the international communities. The last of which was indeed the highlight - a group of young nuns from Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery on Druk Amitabha Mountain performing kungfu - earning them perhaps the loudest applause and encouragement. Thanks to their teachers, the few nuns from Drukpa Vietnam, about 150 young nuns below the age of 25, have been learning kungfu every morning for an hour at 4am. Among many of us, we were thinking that one day, Druk Amitabha Mountain could be like the famed Shao Lin Temple (which applies Zen Buddhism in the movement of kungfu)!

The nuns marched onto the stage with the Dragon flag

Prior to the closing ceremonies, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa surprised the participants by enthroning a female tulku. After the enthronement, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa shared with the participants that a reincarnate tulku may return in any form, so certainly a female tulku is possible. In a previous interview during ADC, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa expressed his sadness over the loss of the female lineage holders and the Bhikshuni tradition. When journalists asked His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa if He was attempting to “modernize” religion, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa responded that he is not “modernizing” religion, but reviving its ancient traditions. Originally female and male practitioners were considered equal, but during modern times this was altered. As such, His Holiness is reviving old traditions for modern times, rather than “modernizing” religion.

Tulku Chozang Lhamo

The closing ceremony quickly followed the enthronement. At which time, the Organizing and Working Committee of ADC offered a golden dragon embracing auspiciousness to His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, which was presented by Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche. Subsequently, the Organizing and Working Committee offered Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, the Chairman of ADC, a gold dragon presenting auspiciousness, presented by Lama Sonam. Certificates of Appreciation were then presented to all the hundreds of talented volunteers, followed by closing speeches from His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, Yangben Lobpon of the senior monastic body of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan and His Excellency Lyonpo Dago from the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan. It was also announced that the next ADC will be hosted at Druk Amitabha Mountain.

A big THANK YOU to our beloved Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa,
the inspiration behind all the great deeds!

A golden dragon for our beloved Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche

The evening concluded with a monlam offering consisting of over 100,000 lamps formed in the shape of the Drukpa Lineage emblem. A few hours afterwards, around 1:30am, His Holiness led over 1,000 Rinpoches, monks, nuns and students on an impromptu kora around Swyanbhunath Stupa. It is said that if one circumambulates the Stupa 13 times, one would cleanse oneself of a lifetime of defilements. His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa led 14 circumambulations followed by prayers and further circumambulations at the top of the Stupa. It is estimated that the entire event covered over 37km.

Drukpa Vietnam designed a fantistic way to make lamp offering

We hope that all the activities of ADC will benefit all beings. We further hope that the participants will take home with them the teachings from ADC and better their communities. And we also hope and wish that His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa and all the great masters of the Drukpa Lineage live as long as the sun, moon and stars.

Category: Newsroom

2nd ADC - The 800-Nuns Drubchen

This is indeed a big day for at least the female practitioners of the Dragon Order. Never before, 800 nuns gathered together to conduct the grand ritual, known as Drubchen or the Great Accomplishment Ceremony. This is definitely a great accomplishment and a significant leap the lineage has made to promote the status of female practitioners. With 800 nuns joining together in this very rare ritual, the voice is at least "loud" enough to be heard.

In the temple

Nuns performing the traditional mask dance, normally only performed by monks

Kyabje Kunga Rinpoche setting up the Mandala of Avalokiteshvara

Nuns in action!

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1st ADC - Beautiful Day

Reporting from the newsroom of the First ADC (managed by DPPL)

Today started off with two simultaneous programs. Kyabje Gyeltshen Tulku Rinpoche taught “The Art of Mandala” while over 100 ADC participants transformed the concept of “Live to Love” into action. Kyabje Gyeltshen Tulku Rinpoche eloquently lectured on the meaning, vastness, importance and beauty of the Mandala.

Meanwhile, participants of ADC hiked to visit local villages bringing with them rice, blankets, clothing and school supplies for families in need. Months prior to ADC, the nuns of Druk Amitabha Mountain surveyed the region and met with 137 households to assess their needs. Today, the participants of ADC, divided into 13 groups, delivered those supplies to meet the needs of the local community. This was a beautiful example of nuns and lay people working in concert to launch love into action.

During the afternoon, the Drukpa Lineage teachers provided ADC participants with a rare opportunity to question the teachings presented at ADC. Kyabje Drukpa Choegon Rinpoche, Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kyabje Sey Rinpoche and Kyabje Gyelsthen Tulku Rinpoche fielded questions from the audience as well as from our live webcast. Questions were asked in several different languages and ranged from esoteric technical questions to questions regarding daily life.

In the evening, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa led several Rinpoches, hundreds of monks and nuns and thousands of students in a prayer for universal peace and happiness at Swayambhunath Stupa. Teachers, nuns, monks, students and local children helped light a hundred thousand candles throughout the Stupa. The intentions of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa and his students as well as the endless sea of candles lit the night with hope and love.