The second three-year retreat in Benchen Drubde Ösal Ling in Grabnik ended on the 8th of September 2016.
The ritual of opening of the gates of the retreat started at 9.00 a.m. in the male section of the drubkhang and was later repeated in the female part. The ceremony was carried out by Venerable Sangter Rinpoche, Umdze Lama Tsering and drubpön Lama Rinchen.
In the recent years, Venerable Sangter Rinpoche played a very important role in the lives of the retreatants. He was the one who was appointed by His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche to offer the most crucial empowerments needed in retreat. Sangter Rinpoche visited drubkhang a number of times offering advice and oral transmissions (lung) to essential texts.
Umdze Lama Tsering taught the lamas-to-be how to chant and play the instruments. He also participated in the ritual closing of the gates ceremony three years ago. Now, he intoned the following prayers during the ritual performed on the inner courtyard in drubkhang.
Lama Rinchen is the drubpön in the retreat centre in Grabnik. A "drubpön" is a lama who transmits the instructions for practice and directly oversees the retreatants.
Lama Elżbieta and Danuta, who both managed the drubkhang during those three years: they cooked, shopped and supported the practitioners in every day matters, were also there for the opening.
Other Benchen lamas: the monks form the monastery in Nepal, including Khenpo and Dorje Lobpön, as well as Polish lamas waited outside by drubkhang's gate. Of course, there were also other guests: families and friends of the practitioners going out of the retreat, as well as members of our Buddhist community.
Just after 10.00 a.m. both gates were already open and the ceremonial procession started, first circumambulating the drubkhang and then the new temple leading the lamas to its' main entrance.
When everyone prostrated to the Buddhas and took their place, Umdze Lama Tsering began the auspicious prayers. When he chanted, the lamas from drubkhang together with those who supported the retreat with their work and donations offered the Mandala of the Universe and the symbols of the Body, Speech and Mind to Sangter Rinpoche and the thrones of our teachers: His Holiness the Karmapa, Drubwang Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche.
Later on, all of the participants were served the traditional rice with nuts and dried fruit and tea. Then, the new lamas were offered kataks and gifts. First, by the Khenpo and Dorje Lobpön on the behalf of Benchen Monastery; Lama Grażyna and Agnieszka represented the Centre and Grabnik, and then everybody could offer a katak in his or her own name.
Then, Sangter Rinpoche expressed thanks to Lama Rinchen, Lama Elżbieta and Danusia, as well as handed the new lamas their certificates. He also offered gifts to them. The new lamas expressed their enormous gratitude to the Rinpoches, Lama Rinchen and other Benchen lamas who passed on their knowledge, Lama Elżbieta and Danusia, who took care of the drubkhang, doctor Ania and doctor Agata, who took care of the retreatants' health, sponsors and everyone else, thanks to whom the retreat passed without obstacles.
At the end, Venerable Sangter Rinpoche gave and inspiring speech offering the lamas the last advise concerning their further work for our community.
The ceremony concluded just before 1 p.m. The entire merit was dedicated and the new lamas could now greet their families and friends, who have not seen them for over three years. Then all participants were invited to lunch.
At 5 p.m. the new lamas performed the Mahakala puja in the lhakhang.
Photos from the ceremony can be viewed in the Gallery.