Tulku Orgyen proposes the establishment of a renewed program of very extensive practice and study in Pema Köd as in the days of Togden Sithar. The program will entail the complete support of all resident practitioners in retreat who sincerely undertake the pure practice of Buddhadharma on this land. After the temple reconstruction has been completed, Tulku Orgyen will revitalize ongoing dharmic activities in the temple and transfer the obligations for its care to practitioners of the new generation.
Comprehensive retreat programs from one to three weeks, six months, and three years will be established. Each of these programs will be a complete standalone program. The programs will be designed for those who are not fully under the domination of the eight worldly concerns. Participants will already have some degree of altruism and a wholehearted, pure interest in pursuing the path of liberation. It is one of my highest hopes that my friends who visit this land, particularly those interested in participating in any of the retreat programs, will have some of these qualities from the onset. Once our retreat practice starts, much emphasis will be placed on all participants becoming pure Dharma practitioners for the rest of their lives.
Finally, as a separate venture, Tulku Orgyen intends to one day return to Togden Sithar's retreat land in Powo, in southern Tibet. There, perched upon the spectacular slope of Mount Yuri, Tulku aspires to undertake the same solitary retreat accomplished in his previous lifetime as Togden Sithar, and to reestablish a wide range of Buddhadharma practices and practitioners in that region, just as he did in his past life. Tulku Orgyen counts all of these plans among his highest aspirations. He wishes most fervently that they one day become a reality. Whatever dharmic activities he may undertake beyond these, he considers his further contribution to spreading the Buddhadharma.
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Pema Kod, Hidden Land is regarded as one of the most sacred places in the world, radiating Guru Rinpoche's blessings, where any accumulation of merit is said to be multiplied many times over. This holy land is described by Ian Baker in his book, The Heart of the World. The new temple is being built in the southern part of the hidden land, located in the extreme northeast region of India, in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, a region untouched by the outside world.
Togden Kunzang Longdrol Rinpoche, Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok's previous incarnation, was one of the most venerated yogis in Southern Tibet. He spent his entire life wandering from retreat land to retreat land. As political turmoil broke out in Tibet, he fled to this part of the hidden land where he spent the remainder of his life. Due to his presence and a growing number of students, this part of the sacred hidden land evolved into a retreat land. Togden Rinpoche built this temple on the land "Deden Tashi Choling," in which he not only preserved the sacred objects and relics from Tibet but, most importantly, the Dudjom lineage itself. In time, this temple became the second most important lay-oriented, or "Ngakpa," gathering place in the Pema Kod region.
During his lifetime, it was Togden Rinpoche's aspiration to build a three-story temple in the style of Guru Rinpoche's Pureland Palace, Zangdok Palri. Due to Togden Rinpoche's advanced age, limited funds and natural resources, all he could accomplish was the creation of the one story temple, and the Three Kaya statues--Amitabha, Chenrezig, and Padmasambhava--that were to be placed in each of the three stories of the temple to be built by his students in the future. For the benefit of all beings, for the preservation of the spiritual legacy of this sacred land, and particularly for the fulfillment of Togden Rinpoche's aspiration, it is Tulku Orgyen's wish to undertake the tremendous task of constructing the three-story sanctuary that Togden Rinpoche envisioned.
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Bamboo Cabin for Bhakha Tulku Rinpoche at the Retreat Land in Pemakod
Since Rinpoche was a child, it has been his most cherished, heartfelt wish to return to Pemakod. Rinpoche frequently speaks about his earlier wishes to "wander about" in Pemakod, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, he was unable to do so. Now that Rinpoche has the freedom and ability to return to Pemakod, it is our highest priority to fulfill Rinpoche's every wish, which includes staying in a bamboo cabin such as the one we will be constructing for him at the retreat land in Yoldong.
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The geography of Pema Köd resembles the dakini Vajravarahi, lying on her back. Various areas of this hidden land are described in terms of the different parts of Vajravarahi's body. The particular part of Pema Köd in which the retreat land is located is considered the secret part of Vajravarahi's body. This area contains numerous minor, as well as four major holy places. The first of these is Dharmakaya Amitabha's holy place, Padma Shri; another is Samboghakaya Avalokiteshvara's holy place, Riwo Tala; a third place is Nirmanakaya Guru Padmasambhava's holy place, Citta Puri; and the fourth holy site, Devi Kota, is centered between the other three and embodies the blessings of all three.
The sacred region of Besyul Pema Köd, known as "The Hidden Land," is located on a secluded plateau in the Himalayan Mountains. This exquisite, ancient land, once part of Tibet, was divided following the Chinese invasion. The southern region was annexed by India, and the northern portion was annexed by China. This section was recently the subject of Ian Baker's book, The Heart of the World.
The region in which my retreat land is located lies within Indian territory. Only recently have foreigners been allowed to visit. And so this land, untouched by outside influences, remains spiritually pristine as in the time of the Maha Guru, Padmasambhava, who practiced extensively in many caves there and blessed the land with the concealment of many sacred treasures. It is therefore one of the most sacred and rare places for spiritual practitioners to meditate and practice during this degenerate time.
The word "hidden" is significant and has three meanings in the context of Pema Köd. First, the secret meaning of the word implies that the infinite realms of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, by their nature, are hidden, or beyond this dualistic mind, from the beginning.
The second, or inner meaning of this word implies that this is a place where
maha yogis and yoginis gathered to practice secret tantras and gana chakras. Thus, except to such highly realized beings, this place is hidden.
The third, outer meaning of this word refers to Guru Padmasambhava, who
specially blessed this land, protecting and setting it aside in this degenerate time for only those fortunate beings who are karmically connected to it, ordaining that it remain “hidden,” unavailable, to others.
Pema Köd was very much cherished by Padmasambhava. In many texts, he refers to it as the king of all other sixteen of his hidden lands. In the Tsa Sum Gongdus, he said:
In this hidden land, all mountains are like blooming flowers. All rivers spontaneously recite mantras and flow with nectar; rainbows are arched on trees and bushes. All the oath-bound protectors watch closely and protect true practitioners and punish those who merely pretend to be. Those who practice sincerely will attain enlightenment in this lifetime. Pure samadhi will spontaneously arise just by being in this land. One session of practice in this blessed land is equal to a year of practice in other places. Those who make three prostrations here will never take lower rebirth. Those who die after seven steps taken with the intention of arriving here will definitely be reborn in this land. Those who build stupas and temples, and perform other works of virtue in this land are my messengers. Therefore, my fortunate sons and daughters, keep devotion to this land. You will soon realize its significance.
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