Preserving, Pulling in and Expanding

the Essence of the Teachings



Christmas Illumination Retreat with

H.H. the XIIth Gyalwang Drukchen

Merigar, Italy. December 26 1996 - January 2d 1997.



When wandering through the Potala

Snow mountains of Primordial Purity

The Precious One remarked

"Look here! These are all diamonds!

Look here! These are all crystals!

But yet: it is just



Article by "Lucky " Loek Jehee-

His Holiness Jigmed Pema Wangchen, the XIIth Gyalwang Drukpa, is the

supreme lineage holder of the Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. At the

present he is responsible for numerous Drukpa Kagyu monasteries in the Himalayan

region as well as Dharma centres around the world, most notably in France,

Germany, England, Taiwan, Malaysia, America and Australia.

On invitation of Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and the Dzogchen Community, the

Chakrasamvara initiation was given as well as extensive teachings on

Mahamudra and the basic fundameantals of its practice. The supremely sacred teaching

on Avalokiteshvara and its devotional practice of veneration combined with the

ritual of prostration was given. The Drukpa Master introduced

us to the specific practice of Chöd of his lineage and the accompanying

beautiful chants of its practice.

The following is a personal impression of this retreat offered with the

wish that this auspicious happening may take away all eventual obstacles to the

life and work of His Holiness and of all Masters.

Sometimes when you get into contact with a great Master many strange things

can happen to you, good as well as bad. That happened to me for instance in

Amsterdam, when I met Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in 1984. My best friend was

beaten up in the bar and had to undergo emergency surgery to his face. I

couldn't sleep anymore and felt very tired, yet I was totally inspired and

relieved by the meeting with the Master.


Mostly it is seen as a good sign when things like this happen. Also, in the

Santi Maha Sangha teachings it is said that those things are signs of a

strong karmic connection and that you - without any doubt - should follow such a


So when this time I decided to go to the Merigar Xmas retreat and I became

ill already two weeks before the retreat started, to me that felt like a very

good sign of preliminary purification. Of something special that was about to



But then, after arriving in Italy it seemed that this process of

purification was not only occurring to me as a person, also the Sangha as a whole had to

overcome different kinds of strong obstacles, such as the freezing of the

entire heating system and water supply at the Gonpa. This means that we had

to sit in a Gonpa at temperatures of about ten degrees Celsius minus zero!

Everything was frozen, the flowers in the Gonpa, even the Serkyem offering

on the Shrine, everything! So it was very difficult! Then also, the day of the

Chakrasamvara initiation there arrived about half a meter of snow. It was

icy cold with a thick fog and a freezing storm. If you didn't have snow chains

around the wheels of your car, you couldn't even drive at all! So the

Master had to cancel the entire day and postpone the initiation until the next



Then also there were problems for those who wanted to drive the great

Drukpa down to Gadeling or up to the Gonpa. Three (!) cars broke down completely

on this road in these conditions, so that the organising Gakyil committee

nearly became totally desperate on how to find once more a suitable car for this

purpose. Then, at the very last minute, all-of-a-sudden a kind lady

appeared who offered her Landrover for this purpose.


To me all these signs appear as a very strong indication of that something

really important was happening right now! Of the fact that we were present

at an occasion where some fundameantal changes were going to take place.

Changes on a gross but also on a subtle and more private level.

These obstacles were not only a highly valuable confrontation with our own

shortcomings and lack of awareness as well as our own conditioning and

opinionated ideas, but also they gave us the opportunity to overcome our

limitations. Which eventually we did!


Because what really happened was, that thanks to the presence and

inestimable kindness of the Master, everybody at the retreat could have a big or small

personal impression and experience of what is meant by the meaning of the

word "Mahamudra". Of what the result is of the unity of loving kindness and

interdependent origination. Of what the similarities and differences are

between Mahamudra and Dzogpa Chenpo.

During the procedures of the purification and empowerment of the

initiation, the entire process of interdependence, of how this works, was unfolded

before our very eyes. Yet dependent upon our own capacity we could be aware of

this in a higher or lesser degree.


For that reason the Drukpa Master stressed several times the importance of

developing the practice of awareness and mindfulness, to develop a state of

non-attachmeant and non-fabrication and most important: to generate

boddhicitta, which is the foundation for this pure vision to be revealed.

He made the real meaning of this very clear, even without using many words and

communicating this essence in an unspoken form.

Depending upon our capacity we could even be aware of our vajra brothers

and sisters as pure beings (a situation which we unfortunately sometimes trend

to forget). In any case, it was evident that the practitioners who had the

fortune to have known this Master for some time, were totally devoted to


They also participated and helped in all possible ways during this retreat,

for which we all are very grateful!


H.H. the XII Gyalwang Drukpa not only established, reconnected or

reinforced our connection with his extremely pure lineage of the Drukpa Kagyu. He in

fact brought the purity of the Potala Palace on his journey with him in his

suitcase (so-to-say)! He actually transformed the Gonpa and its environment

and all beings completely into the Pure Land of the Buddha Amithaba, the

heaven of Dewa Chenpo.


Whether or not we will be able to maintain this purity of vision, depends

entirely on us. On whether or not we are able to prolong the experience of

the practice in our own situation, maybe just by chanting one of the melodies

out of the Treasure that the Master gave us. However, whether we succeed in

this or not, we can never forget the way in which the Master through his Supreme

Compassion showed us the Path. It has been printed in our mindstreams


This seed can never be lost!


May the Lotus Feet of the Glorious Masters remain firmly upon this Earth

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