Thousands of devotees are attending the Tse Drup or long life prayer, presided over by His Eminence Kathok Situ Rinpoche at the memorial choeten in Thimphu.

More than 70 monks of Kathok Yoesel Samtenling monastery at Baylangdra in Wangduephodrang, which is the main seat of His Eminence, are performing the prayer that began on November 24.

Tse Drup is a prayer that is associated with long life through the blessings of Buddha Amitayus or Buddha of “limitless life” who is Buddha Amitabha (celestial Buddha) in Sambhogakaya form.

Of the many teachings that were taught on long life, the one that is being performed at the choeten is based on the mind treasure or Gongter of Rigdzen Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798), the heart disciple of Longchen Rabjam one of the most revered scholars in Nyingma tradition.

This teaching is called Lama Ringzen Dupai Tse Drup or Vase of Vital Amrita. During the 10-day prayer that ends on December 3, special blessing, which is called Tse Gug or revitalising the life force is performed twice a day. In the Vase of Vital Amrita, the lama (guru) or the main deity is the union of Buddha Amitayus and Guru Rinpoche.

Secretary and chant master at the monastery, lopon Jigme Choedra said that according to Buddhist texts, in the 8th century when Guru Rinpoche practised Tse Drup at the Maratica cave in Nepal, Buddha Amitayus blessed him and since then Guru Rinpoche became like Buddha Amitayus.

It was in the cave that Guru Rinpoche attained limitless bound of life, which is one the four levels of realisations or vidyadhara that Guru Rinpoche experienced in his life. The rest are Complete Ripening, Mahamudra and Self-Perfection.

Lopon Jigme Choedra said that according to Guru Rinpoche, there is nothing that sentient beings cherish more than their own lives. To strengthen lives, Guru Rinpoche initiated different methods of which the most common is Tse Drup teachings.

The teachings enable longevity by removing obstacles to life such as weakening life force, exhaustion of karma and merit and cursing by demonic force. The obstacles disturb proper functioning of five outer and inner elements, which cause sickness and untimely death. The five outer elements are earth, water, fire, air and space. These elements have direct influence on our energy and body functions.

Tse Drup is a skilful means to revitalise life force by either preventing or removing obstacles and negative forces through the blessings of Guru Rinpoche and Buddha Amitayus in the form of five female Buddhas.

The Buddha Amitayus blessing in the form of the Buddhalochana, who represents the purity of the earth element cleanses disorientation and bad conditions related to fire element. Representing the purity of water, Mamaki removes obstacles related to water. Pandaravasini represents the fire, Samayatara the wind and Dhatvishvari, the space.

Apart from healing and revitalising the life force, Tse Drup has the power to liberate one from the lower realm and put them on the Buddha’s path.

His Eminence Kathok Situ Jamgon Choki Nyinjadh, the fifth in the Kathok Situ reincarnation line has been presiding over Tse Drup prayers at the memorial choeten for the third time. Kathok is one of the six main lineages in Nyingma tradition in Tibet. The others are Dorje Drak, Mindrolling, Shechen, Dzogchen and Payul monasteries.

Born to Dungse Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche, son of His Holiness Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje and HRH Pema Chodron Wangchuck, His Eminence Kathok Situ Rinpoche established Kathok Yoesel Samtenling Monastery upon the spiritual advice of late Jadrel Rinpoche.

Tenzin Namgyel