Chökhor Düchen – Thukdrub Sampa Lhundrub Puja
The great Festival of the Buddha’s Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma (Chökhor Düchen) occurs each year on the 4th day of the 6th month in the Tibetan calendar. This commemorates the first teaching given by Śākyamuni Buddha following his attainment of awakening beneath the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya and is thought to have taken place at the Deer Park in Sarnath (now northern India).
The teaching explains ‘the Four Noble Truths’ which is the foundational belief system of Buddhism: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. This last explains the Eightfold Path: 1) right view, 2) right resolve, 3) right speech, 4) right action, 5) right livelihood, 6) right effort, 7) right mindfulness, 8) right concentration.
At our monastery on Chökhor Düchen (in 2023, this will take place on July 21), the monks perform the elaborate form of the Sampa Lhündrub Pūjā (the prayer to Guru Rinpoche that spontaneously fulfills all wishes). The effects of positive and negative actions are thought to be multiplied 10 million times on this day!
According to legend, when Guru Padmasaṃbhava was leaving for the land of Raksasa, Prince Mutri Tsenpo (son of King Trisong Detsen) sobbed and sang a mournful song. In the song, he vocalized his confusion and fear about a future without his father and teacher. In response to this heartbreaking song, Guru Padmasaṃbhava passed a prayer and instructions to Prince Mutri Tsenpo that would eradicate any problem and fulfill all wishes – the Sampa Lhündrub.
Guru Padmasaṃbhava hid many teachings, practices, and knowledge (known as termas) to be discovered later by tertöns (treasure revealers) at the right time for each era. One of these termas is the Chokling Tersar which was revealed by two great tertöns, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Lingpa. Within the Chokling Tersar is the Sampa Lhündrub which is practiced regularly by the monks and nuns of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery and Nagi Nunnery. It is the inner practice of the Chokling Tersar and focuses on the mind aspect of Guru Padmasaṃbhava (as separate from the body and speech aspects). This pūjā can be performed as an elaborate practice (Thrinley Gödö Kunjung), average practice (Thrinley Dringpo Samdon Kundrub), or concise practice (Naljhor Gyungyi Nyingpo).
May everyone rejoice in this noble and virtuous event and dedicate the merit for the benefit of all sentient beings.