Kathmandu, Nepal (16th Feb. 2008)
For those Dharma brothers and sisters, and also for the students of mine and also of course students of Buddha Shakyamuni who are English speaking, I just want to say a few words because we don't really have that much time left.
Today is a very auspicious day, not only just because it is my birthday, but also it is the sacred day of Guru Padmasambhava and also of all the gurus, therefore the major practices are very much needed to be done on this kind of auspicious day. Besides, I have one special piece of news or very special event that just happened a few minutes ago that really made me very excited. Not only excited, but really deeply moved and appreciative. I am very proud of myself to be able to do that, which is having Tenzin Palmo here with me.
As you all know she has been practicing ever since she was very young as a Buddhist and also following the lineage of the Drukpa. She was not doing superficially with just curiosity, but she was really guided by the greatest master of the Drukpa Lineage. Her guru, the late Khamtrul Rinpoche was one of the most renowned and also very omniscient one. Under his instructions, she has been studying, and genuinely practicing for many years. At the end, she decided to live in a very remote area, an isolated area where there was nothing available. I mean it's just a cave, very far away from the crowd and she decided to live there forever. Of course you all can read her biography, I don't really have to tell you about her life.
To my understanding and to my knowledge, she has really been accomplishing every sort of the spiritual practice, especially the practice based on Drukpa Lineage. She was in an isolated area, in a very solid kind of retreat doing nothing, but practice for more than twelve years or maybe even thirteen or fourteen years constantly and continuously. And that had nothing to do with fame, nothing to do with the eight worldly dharmas or the eight worldly motivations. So, of course, I wouldn't be very surprised that she had achieved a lot. As I said, she was very much guided by a genuine spiritual master like the late Khamtrul Rinpoche.
The reason why I feel very proud of myself to be able to enthrone her in my temple on this Druk Amitabha Mountain, is that it was mainly my idea, nobody told me or nobody persuaded or encouraged me to do that. This is solidly my own idea to promote her, and also it is not for her sake, because I know that she doesn't need any of this nonsense. From a spiritual point of view, promotion is actually nonsense. But it is very much needed for this kind of dark age and specially in this very difficult age for the female practitioners everywhere, specially in the Tibetan Buddhist society. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo has been a very good example for the female practitioners, to show female that with confidence they can do something like her, not only in the practice of Vajrayana but also Sutrayana, because Vajrayana has to rely on Sutrayana. And the essence of Sutrayana of course, as you all know, is Vinaya, because if there is no Vinaya then there are no Sutrayana practices. Therefore Sutrayana definitely fully depends on the Vinaya and Vinaya depends on the vows of the Bhikshu and Bhikshuni.
There are six types of vows. The top class of the Vinaya vows of is of course the vows of Bhikshu and Bhikshuni. For some reasons, the Tibetan Buddhist society doesn't really have the lineage of Bhikshuni. But Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo could manage to receive and hold the lineage of Bhikshuni. I don't think she has the Tibetan Bhikshuni but in order to support the lineage of Bhikshuni, she herself had very kindly taken the vows of the Bhikshuni from another Mahayana Buddhist tradition. So she is literally a Bhikshuni as well as a Yogini. Therefore I've chosen the title "Jetsunma".
To me, I would say "Je" stands the accomplishment of Vajrayana yogic practices and "tsun" stands for the accomplishment of the path of the Vinaya, that is, Bhikshuni accomplishment. So of course "ma" means female. So it is "Jetsunma".
I overheard a few days ago or a few weeks ago that somebody was feeling a little bit of discomfort because some other Jetsunma (I don't know who), but some recognized Jetsunma doesn not really have a good reputation, so they were like asking me to explain the meaning of the words "Je" and "tsunma". And I thought it is very much an appropriate title for her so therefore I was very much gladly offering to her, for the sake of the Drukpa Lineage and specifically for the female practitioners. It is for the sake of the female practitioners who have been neglected for a long time, for hundreds of years, and men have been enjoying their life and given the privileges of practicing everything. The women did not have this kind of opportunity or privileges to practice at all. So it has been very very sad for quite a long time.
Now it is time to have a revolution through Jetsunma's kind of spiritual masters who have really been accomplished in practices of external yana, but also inner yana, and even in the practices of secrets yana. This explains the title I have given her and it is very much the title that she deserves.
And now, on behalf of my people and also especially my nuns and my monks over here of the Drukpa Lineage, I really want to thank Jetsunma from my depth of heart for being able to preserve and keep these kind of consistent practices and consistent effort to help many beings, especially those beings who have been neglected for many years and many generations.
At the end I want to say just as a last thing. I want to say that I was very happy that she was willing to accept my invitation here this time and to receive the promotion from us. I know that she was accepting my invitation and accepting my offering of the promotion or title of "Jetsunma" merely for the sake of all the beings, especially for the sake of the lineage of the female practitioner as well as, of course, the entire lineage, the Drukpa Lineage. That I know, I have confidence in her one hundred percent.
I feel that I have a responsibility to give her the title of "Jetsunma" and give her the promotion. If I don't do it, it is very unkind to the lineage and also the female practitioners, and of course myself, individually speaking, I also have a very close relationship with the female practitioners such as you can see the my nuns over here. They have really renounced from their family, from their loved ones, and they came to practice. If I don't support them, it is very unkind. Therefore I feel also a great responsibility to support them.
The celebration or the ceremony that we have just provided was really performed and provided from the depth of my heart. I want to thank you all for being able to participate with us. And of course many of you came from very far away to really participate in this celebration, not only for my birthday, but for this promotion ceremony. I really appreciate this, and of course I was told that there are a few representatives from some of the different centers in different parts of the world who want to express their gratitude to Jetsunma. So I have to leave you here. Once again I just want to express my thanks to Jetsunma.