First Full-scale Jonang School Kalachakra Initiation Held in Hong Kong
Ngawang Kunga Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche, the Hong Kong-born Tsangwa Tulku of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism (the Tsangwa Tulkus are a lineage of reincarnated lamas of the Jonangpa), hosted Hong Kong’s first five-day Jonangpa Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) Initiation ceremony at Jonang Meditation Centre at Luk Wu on Lantau Island from 10–14 November. The ceremony followed on from the fourth Hong Kong Buddha Sunning Festival, held in Victoria Park, near the city’s Causeway Bay commercial district, on 3 November.
The Kalachakra Tantra is an advanced form of practice in Vajrayana Buddhism, and is the main tantric practice of the Jonang school. As a source of strength that balances the energy of the universe, the Kalachakra Tantra is viewed as an instrument for bringing about world peace.
Following the opening of Jonang Meditation Centre in Luk Wu earlier this year under the auspices of His Holiness Ngawang Jigme Dorje, Rebi Dorje Rinpoche, abbot and vajra master of Doli Doka Monastery in China’s Qinghai Province, was invited to co-host the initiation with Ngawang Kunga Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche.
“Recipients of the Jonangpa Kalachakra Initiation must strive to benefit all beings selflessly, or they won’t be able to realize the essence of the Kalachakra Tantra in their lives,” Ngawang Kunga Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche said in an address to the participants. “I have invited Rebi Dorje Rinpoche so that the strict, pure way of practice at Doli Doka Monastery will continue at Jonang Meditation Centre.”
Luk Wu has long been considered a sacred place by Buddhists. It has many temples, and has been home to such luminaries as Chan Buddhist master Ven. Hsu Yun, Ven. Fat Ho (a former abbot of Po Lin Monastery), Ven. Sheng Yi, and the Korean Seon master Seungsahn. Ngawang Kunga Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche said he hoped Jonang Meditation Centre would serve as a platform for Jonang teachings in Hong Kong and as a forum for dialogue with practitioners of Chan and Pure Land Buddhism.
On the first day of the initiation, Rebi Dorje Rinpoche shared an account of a dream he’d had. “About a fortnight after the Kalachakra Initiation I performed in Qinghai back in August, I saw in my dream my guru, Lama Sadan, surrounded by [a] rainbow. With his thumbs up, Lama Sadan told me that the Han tulku that took part in the initiation—that is Ngawang Kunga Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche—is the reincarnation of Vajrapani,” he recalled, adding that the Kalachakra Initiation in Hong Kong was sure be an auspicious event.
Vajrapani is the wrathful emanation of Mahasthamaprapta, a protective deity of the Buddha Amitabha, and is known for his ability to conquer negativity.
The fourth Hong Kong Buddha Sunning Festival on 3 November—the last day of the major Buddhist festival of Lhabab Duchen, when the Buddha descended from Trayastrimsha Heaven, where he had been teaching the gods—was especially memorable for showcasing a 38-meter Medicine Buddha thangka in order to encourage people to follow the 12 Vows of the Medicine Buddha and to bring peace to the world. After the unveiling of the thangka, Rinpoche led a circumambulation of the image. As well as carrying the Tripitaka (the distillation of all the Buddha’s teachings), for the first time festival participants also carried a 15-meter Amitabha Buddha thangka on their shoulders as they walked around the Medicine Buddha. Other participants formed themselves into a swastika, testifying to the fact that the path to Buddhahood cannot be realized without other beings.
Rinpoche has also commissioned a 38-meter thangka of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (the founder of the Jonang school) to be mounted at next year’s festival.
In an address to the attendees, Ngawang Kunga Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche, who founded the festival in Hong Kong in 2012, said, “Over the past few years, the 15-meter Amitabha Buddha thangka has been mounted for visitors to worship. This year, it remains rolled for participants to carry on their shoulders, which means that every one of us should become Buddha to bring peace to Hong Kong in the spirit of Amitabha’s 48 Vows.”
Hong Kong Tulku—A Little-known Side of Jonangpa (Buddhistdoor Global)
Third Buddha Sunning Festival with Mega-thangkas in Victoria Park, Hong Kong (Buddhistdoor Global)