Armidale and UNE Graced by a Visit by the Seventh Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche
His Eminence the Seventh Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche arrived in Armidale on Guru Rinpoche, the 10th day of the lunar calendar, or the 20th of February 2013. The 10th day of the lunar calendar is considered an important day by Buddhists and His Eminence Rinpoche is regarded as the most important religious leader in Bhutan. At the airport, His Eminence was received by the offering of traditional Tashi khaddar (welcome scarves) by Bhutanese students and members of the Armidale Buddhists Centre.
His Eminence is one of the principal disciples of Guru Rinpoche, and has thousands of Buddhist followers in Bhutan, India, Nepal, Tibet, Taiwan and some western countries. He is the lineage holder of the Jang Ter (‘Northern Treasure’) tradition of Nyigmapa Buddhism and fosters intensive study of Buddhist philosophy as well as teachings from the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
On Thursday 21st February His Eminence the Seventh Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche joined Bhutanese students as the Guest of Honour to celebrate the birthday of the Fifth King of Bhutan, sometimes referred to as the ‘People’s King’. Held in UNE’s A1 Arts Theatre, the day’s program began with Bhutanese students singing the National Anthem, after which His Eminence Rinpoche offered a ceremonial scarf to a portrait of the King. The President of the UNE Bhutanese Student Association, Ms. Jambay Jambay, gave a short presentation on Bhutan, and the Rinpoche spoke to the Bhutanese students and other guests in attendance, teaching on the Ngongdro (Preliminary Buddhist Practices). In the afternoon he presided over the Tshokor, an offering for the benefit of all sentient beings.
As a teacher his Eminence is responsible for the care and training of the monks and nuns (both reincarnated and novice) at his own network of monasteries and religious colleges in Bhutan. He organises and conducts numerous sacred teachings, empowerments and oral transmissions at these monasteries and at other places in Bhutan and India.
As a humanitarian the Seventh Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche works tirelessly to preserve and maintain the continuity of Buddha Dharma in Bhutan and beyond. He bears the responsibility of supporting more than 700 monks in eight monasteries, two meditation centres and numerous religious and charitable activities. His followers have founded the Tshokey Dorji Foundation (www.tshokeydorji.org) which aims to share this noble responsibility and ensure the survival of monastic institutions in this highly materialistic world.
During his visit the Rinpoche was officially welcomed by both Armidale and UNE. Armidale Dumaresq Council hosted a civic welcome to honour the visit, with Mayor Jim Maher presented the Honorary Citizenship of Armidale to His Eminence. His Eminence thanked Armidale for the reception and honour and wished everybody present on the occasion well and said he will remember all in his prayers every day. UNE Vice Chancellor Professor Jim Barber officially welcomed His Eminence to the university, at Booloominbah. Professor Barber said that he was very happy to meet with his Eminence and for the inclusion of Armidale and the university in his tour program of Australia, saying that Bhutanese students are an important part of the university community. The Rinpoche thanked Professor Barber for taking good care of Bhutanese students and for all the supports provided towards their education and skill development.
Tiger Sangay, a member of the UNE Bhutanese Student Association of Armidale, said “We were honoured to have had the opportunity to receive His Eminence the Rinpoche as the Guest of honour on His Majesty the King’s Birthday,” and said that the event was also an opportunity for Bhutanese students to show their gratitude to the Armidale community for the hospitality and friendship shown.
Before leaving Armidale, His Eminence the Rinpoche delivered various religious prayers and texts to Bhutanese students and some members of Armidale Buddhist Centre at Trevenna cottage, UNE. The people gathered had a rare photograph opportunity with His Eminence the Rinpoche which will be cherished.
- with thanks to Tiger Sangay