As every year, the Drikung Winter Teachings took place at Jangchubling Monastery, Dehra Dun.
On the first day, His Holiness the Gyalwa Drikungpa gave a most interesting talk on “Buddhism and Culture”, quoting from Tibetan history, and from his recently re-edited magnum opus, “A History of the Tibetan Empire”. As usual he illustrated his sound practical advice with up-to-date, relevant examples from everyday life.
Putting Buddhism into practice by undertaking direct and beneficial action in society is one of the main aims expressed in all his present and future projects.
His Holiness emphasised the need to cultivate friendly relations with practitioners of all the different Buddhist traditions, as well as to keep an open-minded view with regard to all other religions. He reminded everyone of the need for a constant return to the original teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, but all the while maintaining deep research into the practice of the teachings of one’s own lineage.
From the 23-25 February, His Holiness gave a commentary based upon a short introduction to Mahamudra composed by Lord Jigten Sumgön (1143-1217), founder of the Drikung Kagyu order. The ‘Co-emergent Unification of Mahamudra’ (Phyag chen lhan gcig skyes byor) has been translated into English and Chinese, and all those present received instructions on Guru Yoga and Pointing out of the Nature of Mind, with a detailed review of zhi gnas & lhag mthong practice. This was followed by a further introduction to ‘Pointing out thought as the Truth Body’ (rnam rtogs chos skur gsungs pa) and ‘Pointing out phenomena as the Truth Body’ (snang ba chos skur gsungs pa). From this it is clear that in the 12th century, the first Gyalwa Drikungpa Rinchenpal, known as Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon, was influenced by the contemporary language of the ‘Ancient’ Nyingma Dzogchen tradition.
Pith instructions by Jetsun Milarepa on “How to maintain awareness during post-meditation”; together with reading transmissions of the “Fivefold Path of Mahamudra” (phyag rgya chen po lnga ldan) and the “Six Yogas of Naropa” (Na ro chos drug), were given at the end. His Holiness emphasised the difference between the Chanzong or Dhyana school of Chinese Buddhism with its “Sudden Enlightenment” approach, as compared to Mahamudra, which aims for the same goal, but is preceded by study and practice on the “Gradual Path” to Enlightenment.
On the last day, His Holiness gave an Achi Chokyi Dolma Initiation in her peaceful aspect, and a Long Life Initiation, according to the great Tibetan yogin-bridge-builder, Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464).
The teachings were in Tibetan and translated into English, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. Vegetarian meals were served for all, and large number of monks, nuns, and lay people from the Himalayan regions, and all around the world took part.