Divination for Gaden Jangtse Monastery

Button_Tib[An excerpt from His Holiness speech on 13th June, 1978] In the mid-summer of the Dragon Year [June-July, 1978] when I was preparing to go to Ladakh to conduct the Kalachakra empowerment there, I received a petition for divination from Gaden Jangtse monastery. In their letter, they related about strings of misfortunes that the monastery had been going through for a while, and how some of their best students had met with tragedies. Some of the divinations that they had sought elsewhere suggested that those were signs of having displeased Kali Devi, their main protector. With advice from Trijang Rinpoche, they had constructed a new altar room for Kali Devi and performed extensive rituals of propitiation. They were asking me to check through my divination if the displeasure of Kali Devi had subsided or not.

Gaden Jangtse Monastery, South India

Gaden Jangtse Monastery, South India

Gaden Jangtse monastery is the seat of Serkong Rinpoche, a monastery with a good record of monastic education. Because of the good monastic education provided by this monastery, I now have scholars like Serkong Rinpoche, the venerable abbot [of Namgyal monastery] and many others who could be useful anywhere and at anytime. If things do not go well with such a monastery that has good monastic education, it will definitely cause degeneration to Tsongkhapa’s teachings. Thus, it occurred to me that this matter of great importance should not be decided on the basis of an ordinary divination of throwing pieces of dice several times. Treating it with exigency, I performed the urn-rotation divination.

For the first point to be examined, I examined to see if the continuous rows of misfortunes being experienced by Gaden Jangtse was due to having displeased Kali Devi or not. The result was that it was due to the displeasure of Kali Devi. Next, I examined if the reason for the displeasure was something else, or due to the overt propitiation of Gyalchen. The result was that the displeasure of Kali Devi was due to the overt propitiation of Gyalchen. The results of the divination at that time were that firstly, the misfortunes were signs of Kali Devi’s displeasure. Secondly, the displeasure was caused by nothing else, but by the propitiation of Gyalchen. This second divination on the matter concerning Gyalchen further ascertained my conviction. However, to write that in the response letter to their petition was also not easy since it was quite unpredictable and difficult to apprehend the kind of reaction that may ensue, as well as the misunderstandings that could follow. Not writing truthfully about it also made no sense since they had sincerely requested me to conduct a divination on the matter; concealing the truth with another answer also didn’t appear fair. So, it was a difficult decision to make. Therefore, by requesting Serkong Rinpoche’s presence along with the abbot of my monastery and relating to them the results of the two successive divinations for Gaden Jangtse Monastery, I then told them that it was difficult for me to speak the truth or conceal it with another excuse. I then discussed options with them on how best could the message be conveyed to the monastery since they were more familiar with things there than me. Finally, I decided against writing the results of the divination in clear words, but wrote thus: ‘As the ongoing misfortunes are due to having incurred the displeasure of Kali Devi, I recommend you to give importance to conducting the Invocation-Ritual for Swift Action of Kali Devi alone. You should refrain from propitiating any protector with whom your monastery was not associated in the past.’ I then told them that they could explain about it to people they might consider appropriate as or when a situation requires it. It appears that they had spoken on the matter with specific directions to the monk who had come all the way from south India carrying the petition for divination. I heard that they had also written to the monastery.

As there were many monks in Gaden Jangtse Monastery who had received the life-entrusting initiation of Gyalchen, they used to conduct Invocation Ritual for Swift Action and FulfillmentRevival Ritual of Gyalchen in their main monastic hall. However, several changes seemed to have been made after my divination. On the same day when the function for the official political update-report of the year was held, I summoned Gen Yeshi Thupten, the abbot of Loseling Monastery, Gen Gendun Sangpo, the abbot of Jangtse Monastery, and Gen Lekden, the abbot of Sera Je Monastery, and explained the matter at length. When I enquired if any change had been made at Gaden Jangtse, its abbot told me that they had made some changes with respect to the rituals in the congregation [such as shortening or stopping some rituals associated with Gyalchen when they congregate at their main monastic prayer hall]. I also heard that the venerable abbot [of Namgyal monastery who was from Gaden Jangtse] had carried out further restrictions at Gaden Jangtse.

When I visited south India last year [1977], Gaden Jangtse Monastery again wrote a petition to me requesting a second divination. In the petition, they wrote to me about certain prayers that they had conducted, and requested me to see if Kali Devi’s displeasure had subsided or not. Treating this request as serious, I again performed a divination on the matter. Usually, whenever I embark on visits to different places, I always perform ‘Kali Devi’s ritual called A Thousand Feast Offering. At that time, in conjunction with this profound ritual of propitiation, I performed the urn-rotation divination to examine whether Kali Devi’s displeasure with Gaden Jangtse had ended entirely or not. The result was that it had not. I then examined whether this displeasure would subside by performing an extensive ritual of Kali Devi that includes confession, celebrating her greatness and feast offering, or by putting further restrictions on the practice of Gyalchen in the monastery. The result was that there should be further restriction on the propitiation of Gyalchen in the monastery. Since I was about to visit Mysore at that time, I did not write a response to their petition immediately.

When I arrived at Mysore, I had a discussion with the abbot of Gaden Jangtse Monastery. I told him about the result of the divination that they had requested and asked him how best could this be explained [to the monks of Gaden Jangtse]?

He then asked me to explain about it and give advice to some of the Geshes who were staff members of the monastery. So, when I arrived at Gaden since visiting it was also part of my itinerary at that time, I briefly explained the results of the two successive divinations that were performed at Gaden Jangtse’s requests [to investigate into the matter relating to their successive tragedies]. The explanation was done to an audience that included the abbot, the chanting master, and several senior Geshes in a small chamber which they had set aside as my residence in their monastery. Apart from the results of the divinations, I did not find it necessary to explain to them about my personal practice of embracement and abandonment in this regard. In short, if you were to study these details that I have just explained and investigate them, you will come to understand my points. I had never taken any steps on a whim; on the contrary, I had decided all on the basis of examinations that were totally consistent with one another. In short, I had been extremely careful and had done nothing that would ever become a source of regret later. As I ponder over the results of successive examinations that I had conducted such as the urn-rotation divinations and signs of my dreams, although dreams may not be totally reliable, I have come to realise that the propitiation of Gyalchen definitely incurs the displeasure of Kali Devi. This is very clear.

I almost forgot to mention this earlier. When I first sought clarification on Gyalchen, Nechung told me that he also had to relate about Gyalchen to His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. As I became more inquisitive and tried to gather and examine more stories about Shugden, I also came to hear that during Gowo Choesur’s time, there were many stories about how Nechung’s displeasure was strongly felt by many who were propitiating Gyalchen. This is something much talked about and known among the senior Geshes of Drepung. There also goes a belief shared among senior Geshes of Drepung that Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche had incurred the rancor of Nechung. Dragyab Tokden Rinpoche, a student of Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche, had visited many monasteries in the Kham province of Tibet. As he was someone who was quite strong on the propitiation of Shugden, the propitiation of Shugden seemed to have spread with his visits. For years, as I studied and examined events in connection with many monasteries, personal household of Lamas, and families who have adopted the practice of Shugden, it appears that finally only tragedies would befall them eventually. In short, these all added up in bringing about conviction in me on Nechung’s assertion and the results of my divinations. As I investigate into stories such as these and many others that I have heard of or seen, there is definitely something strange about it. So, the gist of many clarifications that I sought from Nechung is this, that the main reason for displeasing Kali Devi by propitiating Gyalchen is that although Mahakala, Dharma Raja and Vaishravana are the ‘three principle Dharma protectors’ of the Geluk tradition, propitiating someone else as if these three were incompetent was unacceptable for her. Another reason is although Kali Devi is given the position and entrusted with the responsibility as the protector for the successive Dalai Lamas, as if challenging her position, propitiating a new wrathful god was also unacceptable to her.

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