Gaden Khachoe Shing Monastery, the center for Buddhist studies and practice in Bloomington, is currently host to teacher of Tibetan Buddhism Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche until June 11.
Throughout the month of May, nations from around the world celebrate Vesak, also known as Buddha Day, to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.
As part of celebrations for Vesak, the visiting teacher Rinpoche will bestow a Heruka Body Mandala Initiation and offer commentary on Heruka Body Mandala practice. There will also be multiple religious events and ceremonies during the visit.
Approximately 200 Buddhist believers coming from as far as Nepal, India, Europe and South Africa are gathering in Bloomington to attend the events. Many have followed Renpoche from place to place to attend his teaching.
“Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche is one of the most important Lama,” said Lama Caroline, a Buddhist preacher from Italy. “It’s great to meet our sisters and brothers in Bloomington.”
Gaden Khachoe Shing Monastery is located in a quiet wooded area north of IU.
Before the new Monastery was built in 2013, Gaden Khachoe Shing started to promote Buddhist culture through classes in Bloomington for more than 20 years. Today they offer Buddhism study classes every week.
Jeff Ryan waited outside the temple to welcome Renpoche along with other Buddhism students and Lamas. Khatas, which are traditional ceremonial scarves, were draped over their hands out of respect for Renpoche. Ryan, a Bloomington resident, said he has been Buddhist since he was 18.
Ryan is 60 now, and visits the temple each week.
“We study and discuss the Buddhism bible,” he said.
His wife, Maribel, is a Catholic and sometimes accompanies Jeff to attend Buddhist activities and events, though she doesn’t know everything about Buddhism principles. She said it’s definitely okay to have different beliefs in a family.
During the rest of the teacher’s visit, there will be free practices that are open to the public.
Jamyang, the Lama of the monastery and the organizer of the events, said Rinpoche will lead a three-day consecration and blessing ceremony to bless, empower and bring life to the Buddha’s statues and all holy objects during this holy month.
Many monks and Dharma practitioners from different countries will also take part in the ceremony, which is the first time the monastery will be performing it.
The prayer ceremony is also said to help bring harmony to the elements of nature, which helps avoid natural disasters and epidemics. It also helps bring peace and prosperity to the world.
During this ceremony, monks and all participants also pray for the cessation of sufferings, attainment of peace and happiness for all living beings.