Join Tromge Jigme Rinpoche at Chokling Gompa, Bir, India for this beautiful long-life practice
His Eminence Chagdud Rinpoche always strongly encouraged sangha members to make time for group practice in the format of pilgrimages and intensive retreats. In that spirit also, Tromge Jigme Rinpoche has led groups to various holy sites around Asia, providing opportunities for group retreat everywhere from riverbanks to monasteries. And for early 2024, Rinpoche invites whoever is interested to join him for the White Amitayus Drubchen held at Chokling Gompa in Bir, India, seat of Neten Chokling Rinpoche (who may be presiding over the event).
The drubchen itself runs for 9 days between Monday 26th February to Thursday 7th March, 2024, with exact day/start time to be confirmed. However, you are encouraged to arrive several days earlier to settle in, and to allow ample travel time to/from airports (at least a day) either end of your trip. There is plenty to see and do in Bir and the local area if you prefer to spend longer in Himachel Pradesh, and a trip to the holy site of Tso Pema (3-4 hours away) is highly recommended for those who can manage it.
Bir is a Tibetan colony in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas, and as an international center for paragliding, it is very much set up for tourism, as well as being home to many monasteries and dharma centers. Bir is a small, walkable town, and you can find all levels of accommodations, restaurants and services just minutes from Chokling Gompa. We will provide some recommendations for places to stay, and you can look online at the wide range of hotels and home-stays. Restaurants offer all kinds of Asian and Western cuisines.
THE PRACTICE and the CHOKLING LINEAGE
From Samye Institute: “The great tertön, Chokgyur Lingpa discovered this sādhana practice of the sambhoghakāya White Amitāyus, the Lord of Longevity, in Kham. Practicing Tsekar brings forth auspicious circumstances for the two-fold attainment of longevity and primordial wisdom.
The practice focuses on the sambhogakāya form of White Amitāyus because longevity allows more time and opportunity to practice the Dharma. Therefore, participants need to pay special attention to their motivation and should form the resolve and intention to practice in order to achieve the ultimate goal of liberation and enlightenment for all beings. By participating in the Drubchen the practitioners intend to realize wisdom wakefulness or buddha-nature. This is done by revitalizing the diminished life-force. At the same time, we are recharging our merit or positive actions. Moreover, we develop magnetizing and powerful presence. The Buddha of Long Life, Amitāyus taught that these three qualities are needed to traverse the path to awakening.”
Here’s a soundbite from the main puja, March 2023 —
Watch a video giving historical context for the Chokling lineage, back to the time of Guru Rinpoche
An English translation of the drubchen text is available.
Both His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and Tromge Jigme Rinpoche have strong connections to the Chokling lineage, and Chagdud Rinpoche lived in Bir with his family – wife Karma Drolma and children Jigme Rinpoche and Dawa Lhamo – in the 1970s. Chagdud Rinpoche was very close to the previous (3rd) Neten Chokling Rinpoche who helped develop the Tibetan community in Bir and who established the new Chokling Gompa there. Chagdud Rinpoche introduced the Chokling Padma Dakini practice to Chagdud Gonpa in the West, and it is maintained through the annual Padma Dakini drubchod at PPI. Tromge Jigme Rinpoche remains close to monastic and lay communities in Bir, also through his strong connection to the Chokling lineage as the incarnation of Terton Chokgyur Lingpa’s son Tsewang Norbu.
Fly to Delhi International Airport (DEL) and from there you can fly north to the mountains. The airport nearest to Bir is Kangra/Dharmashala (DHM) and from there it’s about a three hour drive to Bir. Flights go several times daily between Delhi and Kangra, on reliable and comfortable airlines.
It’s also possible to rent a private car (with driver) from Delhi to Bir, which takes about 12 hours.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND COSTS
Accommodations range from $12/day in a home-stay to over $100 for luxury accommodations, with many wonderful options in the $25-45 range, including places just minutes from Chokling Gompa.
There is no cost to specifically attend the drubchen, but it is expected that participants make offerings to the gompa for butterlamps, tsog etc.
Flights between Delhi and Kangra range from $65 to $90 one way.
Meals can be very cheap if you’re eating Indian or Tibetan food, while costing more for Western meals. Many accommodations come with breakfast.
EMAIL FOR MORE INFORMATION
To register your interest and get more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (managed by Rinpoche’s wife Kerstin). You will receive more information and recommendations and be added to a group where we can coordinate meet-ups etc. In some cases, we may be able to help booking hotels directly. Please note you will need to arrange your own international flight and domestic flights, and booking earlier usually ensures lower prices.