Every year in the fall, Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche presides over the biggest Dharma event of the year. Students from Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong and overseas gather to number over a thousand attendees, a number growing steadily.
No two years are the same, yet the ceremony selected by Rinpoche and arranged by his senior students is always extraordinarily beautiful, impressive and moving. Past events have included supplication to Medicine Buddha, Padmasambhava (or the Lotus Master), unveiling of enormous Buddhist thangkas, Smoke Offering ceremonies and formal sutra chanting led by ordained nuns skillfully singing and playing traditional instruments. In many cases, these events also have music and dance performances.
Rinpoche typically transmits a rare Dharma treasure to benefit all those assembled, as well as all beings everywhere. For both local and foreign guests, this is an excellent opportunity to participate in an authentic Tibetan Buddhist ceremony. The ceremony is made all the more meaningful when all the blessings and merits created that day are dedicated to the peace and happiness of the entire planet.
In 2013, the grand annual event was a Medicine Buddha Benediction Ceremony on Saturday, October 26th. Besides the huge thangka of the deity projected on a LED screen and altars artfully arranged with offerings of fruit, butter lamps, flowers, there was a beautiful 3-meter-tall 7-tiered mandala rich in symbolism. This mandala was constructed in front of Rinpoche’s Dharma throne and the entire gathering had a chance to circumambulate it and offer their respects to the golden statue of the Medicine Buddha crowning the mandala. Another aspect of the 2013 event included a wall of longevity plaques, which allowed attendees the opportunity to dedicate merits to loved ones. Their names were sung in a beautiful dedication by one of the nuns.
The annual events often revolve around the theme of Medicine Buddha, who is a Mahayana Buddhist deity revered all throughout Asia as the primary deity of physical and mental well-being and is sometimes referred to as the King of Physicians. The Medicine Buddha is also the one especially able to help the modern world's problems, due to an unstable environment, chaotic living conditions, mental and physical diseases. He is able to do this due to the 12 Great Vows he made while still a human being following the Bodhisattva path. This well-known story and the vows are described in the Medicine Buddha Sutra.
Many new guests attended the 2013 Medicine Buddha Benediction Ceremony and all came away with a feeling of being deeply touched by the afternoon. From the beautifully arranged and multi-colored Buddhist altars and thangkas to the multi-media screens, which enabled everyone to recite the transmitted text together, to Rinpoche’s inspiring talk about the issues faced by our planet Earth and its inhabitants, it all made for a truly engaging and deeply satisfying experience.