About the Amitabha Initiation in Nepal
Interview with Shamar Rinpoche on the 5th of July 2011,
by Erik Curren, the author of Buddha's Not Smiling.
Question: Rinpoche, you conducted a ceremony at the first World Peace Monlam Chenmo in Nepal, on November 22, 2010 in Kathmandu, bestowing the Amitabha Initiation to a large group of followers – according to the number of blessing threads distributed to attendees, 120,000 people. Adherents came mostly from distant hill areas to receive the initiation. Were you satisfied with this unusual event?
Shamar Rinpoche: No, I was not satisfied. For this event, Buddhist people in the hill areas were informed, and as they have a great amount of devotion, they took impressive hardships upon themselves to come and attend the event. Many people walked for several days to reach the bus station, and then they had to take the bus for many hours to reach Kathmandu. Some were nauseated from the bus ride, and car sickness caused them to vomit. Once they reached the capital, the difficulties continued. They needed to find lodging and food which was affordable for them. Then, when receiving the initiation, they had to stand in line for hours. Some people fainted because of the heat. When they finally reached me, a pot decorated in silver and gold touched their head for two seconds. That was all.
Q.: Does it mean that the silver pot which you use during the initiation is just a symbolic object?
Rinpoche: Touching the head with a silver pot is just a Tibetan tradition. People believe that there is a blessing power in that act, but there is a lot of superstition involved. I recited the long dharani of Buddha Amitayus constantly. That had certainly more blessing than the pot I put on people’s head. Dharani has more power. But Maha Siddhas (great yogis) who could perform (empower) by the object existed during the time of Mila Repa or at the most during the Thantong Gyalpo in Tibet. Nowadays it's almost not possible.
Q.: Will you conduct the same ceremony again?
[continued in the collum to the right]