Yarne – Annual Summer Retreat July 24 to September 6

Monks Practicing Debating

 

Yarne, or the annual summer retreat, is a tradition that goes back to the time of Buddha. Its purpose was to allow monks to gather and shelter from the monsoon rains and to take time to reflect, pray, meditate, and listen to the dharma. It was a practical response to the monsoon weather. During Buddha’s time, the summer retreat was three months long: by staying in a single location for the duration of the rainy season, the monks avoided the increased likelihood of walking on and harming many insects and other small beings that reproduce during the rainy season.

 

The first day of the Yarne begins with the Sojong vows. Sojong is a practice for purifying and making broken vows to replenish positive virtues. “So” means “to restore” and “Jong” means “to purify”; in other words, to clear away negative karmas and harmful deeds. Apart from Sojong, monks also observe other special monastic vows and restrictions. Khenpos take turns to give short teachings on the importance of the three ground practices of the summer retreat.

 

To restore broken Pratimoksha vows, the ordained sangha members traditionally practice Sojong bi-monthly. Some lay Buddhists regularly observe this purification practice too. The “Yar-khelen” vows are taken with special vase used for purification called “chab-lug”. The wooden monastic bell called Gendi  (used only for Yarne and Sojong since the time of Buddha) is rung to call for lunch and morning prayers.

 

The monks take breakfast and lunch in the temple with the traditional monks’ begging bowl called Lhungdze. All the monks, excluding those with health issues, take a vow not to eat at night in accordance with the Vinaya tradition. Every evening, Aspiration prayers (monlam) are recited.

 

Every Saturdays, there are philosophy discussions and debate on Sundays.  Khenpos and Lopons hold question-answer sessions on particular subject, the monks choose.

 

It is during Yarne, that the monks also sit for their half-yearly examination. Hence, apart from the fixed Yarne programs, they are quite busy with their debate, commentary and essay writing tests that will count in their final scores.

 

In the evening, there are prayers, followed by the traditional ceremonial rice made with butter and dry fruits. Selected monks give dharma talks on specific subjects and display their philosophical debate skills. During the debate, one group establishes a philosophical view while the other tries to defeat them with sharp logic and quick verbal attacks. Since there are strong emotions displayed, watching them leads to lots of laughter and fun for the rest of the monks.

 

On the morning of the last day of Yarne called Gaye, the monks conclude the summer retreat by wearing their best robes and circumambulating the Amitabha and Achi Temples. Then, for the next three days, the monks have a party at the specially designated summer retreat picnic spot that is adjacent to the monastery. They get busy in all sorts of games and entertainment, appropriate for their age groups.

 

This year, Yarne will start on July 24 (full moon of the sixth month of the lunar calendar), and as usual, will be held for 45 days according to Tibetan/Vajrayana tradition, finally concluding on September 6 (new moon of the seventh month of lunar calendar).

 

Another benefit of the retreat is that it gives faithful patrons an opportunity to accumulate merit. It is considered very important for lay people to participate in these virtuous activities through actions such as making offerings for shrine expenses and sponsoring tea and special meals for the sangha.

 

Shrine offering Items : Flowers, Incense, Rice, Serkyem (Dharmapala offerings), Barley flour for Tormas, Butter lamps, etc  $ 500 for whole Yarne period.

Tea offering for monks: $ 70

Meals for monks : $ 380 for one day meal.

Sangha Offering:  No fixed amount.  Traditionally, Rinpoches, Khenpos, Lopons, chanting masters, ritual masters and disciplinarians are offered extra in addition to the offerings made to the regular monks.

 

Make US-tax-deductible donations through the Amitabha Foundation USA by check (payable to Amitabha Foundation, mailed to P.O. Box 2572, Aptos, CA 95076), or online below. Donations may also be made directly to Drikung Charitable Society or through the Amitabha Foundation branch in your own country.



 

 

Happy Chokhor Duchen

Happy Saga Dawa

New Monks Welcomed in Nepal at Opak Kyilkhor Choling

New monks having a meal in the dining hall —- Monk receiving a Covid vaccination

The Amitabha Mandala Retreat Center in Nepal recently welcomed a new group of 45 monks. They are presently getting adjusted, with 4 or 5 together in small rooms. The Retreat Center does not have proper monks’ quarters, but parents who are desperate keep asking for their children to be taken in. Ten more boys are awaiting for admission, but the limited accommodations are all full for now.
Hospital staff came to do RT-PCR tests on the new monks to check for Coronavirus, at a charge of Rs 1200 (USD $10.00) for each monk. This was expensive, but more feasible than taking all of them to the hospital, which is also dangerous at the present time.
In India, Rinpoche’s monastery is currently safe from the Coronavirus. However, the situation is deteriorating throughout India, and especially in Karnataka state, where the monastery is located. In addition, the monks have so many other health issues that until recently, they were constantly being taken to the hospital, which is growing more and more risky because of the overflow of Covid cases. Health care is one of the most expensive costs of supporting the monks, and one for which it is difficult to plan.
You can make a big difference by helping to support the medical costs of the monks under Rinpoche’s care in India and Nepal. Please click on these links to donate, or find more options here.

Achi Choekyi Dolma 100,000 Offering Prayer Puja

Wrathful  Dharma Protector Achi Choekyi Drolma

The annual 100,000 Offering Prayer Accumulation Puja for the Dharma Protectors Achi Choekyi Dolma, Choechung Tsimar and Mahakala started March 14 and will continue through March 18 at Ayang Rinpoche’s monastery in Bylakuppe, India. The monks are accumulating 100,000 dharma protector offering prayers (Solka).

Protector Mahakala Protector Choechung Tsimar

Rinpoche invites all sangha members to join by reciting Achi Choekyi Dolma mantras during this time:

OM SARVA BUDDHA DAKINI HRI MAMA TSAK TRA SOHA

 

Those who would like to make an auspicious connection with the Dharma Protectors and the annual puja may send their donations to the Drikung Charitable Society account. For a tax deductible donation in the U.S., please send your check to the Amitabha Foundation, P.O. Box 2572, Aptos, California 95001, or donate online below. You may send names of loved ones, living or deceased, for dedication to info@amitabhafoundation.us. Any names received after the end of this puja will be sent for the next puja prayer list.


Puja sponsor
Names for prayers:




Here is an edited excerpt of a short biography of Achi Chokyi Dolma, given by Ayang Rinpoche in Sydney, Australia in 2004:

Achi Chokyi Drolma is an emanation of Vajra Yogini and Tara. She was born in the central area of Tibet. Beginning at a young age she was very special. She had great compassion and always practiced Tara, and she taught the Tara prayer for everyone in the village. When she grew older she prophesized that in the future there would be a new Buddhadharma lineage, and that she would be that lineage’s Dharma protector, whereupon she wrote protector offering prayers. Several generations later, her great grandson Jigten Sumgon started the Drikung lineage and she did become the main lineage Dharma protector.

She moved to Eastern Tibet, married and had 4 sons. Her most holy practice place is in East Tibet. At her death she attained the Great Rainbow Body. Her entire body become rainbows and light, leaving only her hair and nails. Like this, with no need to change this physical body, she went to the Pure Land.

On the relative level Achi was like the Dharma protector. But on the ultimate level, Achi had already attained the 10th Bhumi of a Bodhisattva. In this way, Achi was already enlightened. Achi’s activity in Tibet is very famous. All the Tibetan people, especially the older generation people, know very well about her great activity, how it is so helpful because it is very fast. In Tibet, some great masters say that Achi is exactly the same as the Buddha, and if we pray to Achi, then by our Achi practice we will achieve enlightenment, or we will attain the Pure Land at our death moment.

Here are some photos of the ongoing 100,000 Dharma Protector Prayer Offering Puja in Bylakupe.