Devotees honour Rinpoche at dinner

By SIMON KHOO, The Star, Nov 8, 2004

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- ABOUT 260 Buddhists gathered for a ceremonial dinner in Kuala Lumpur recently to celebrate the enthronement of Lhobpong Rinpoche. 

The crowd came from all over the country with one aim; to honour Lhobpong, a Malaysian accorded the Rinpoche status.

To the uninitiated, a Rinpoche is best described as a ?highly realised being in control of its birth, who has chosen to be reborn for the benefit of all mortals.?

Rinpoche means ?precious? and various elaborate rituals, tests and divinations are carried out to search, identify and recognise such individuals.

At the ceremonial dinner, Lhobpong, a former businessman, was clad in full regalia and seated in front of the stage.

Scores of devotees took the opportunity before dinner to seek words of wisdom and have their photographs taken with the holy man, who is in his 50s.

Lhobpong obliged until his 18 disciples, also clad in special religious robes, signalled that the time had come for the ceremony to begin.

Lhobpong performed a prayer and then with his blessings, the devotees were invited to enjoy the dinner.

Two of his disciples then took to the rostrum to detail the events leading to the enthronement ceremony at Mer Chen monastery in Qing Hai, Tibet.

The enthronement ceremony took place on the 6th day of the 6th month in the year of the Wood Monkey in the Chinese calendar, which fell on July 24 this year.

Later, several local artistes entertained the crowd before the ceremony came to an end just before midnight.

In his maiden speech read out by his eldest disciple, Lhobpong thanked the devotees for their presence, stressing that he felt ?more humble and small? than ever.

He said he would carry out his responsibilities just like the pre-Rinpoche days, giving devotees guidance on Buddhist doctrines.

Those seeking his advice on personal matters will have to be patient as he preferred to let ?nature take its course.?

Lhobpong said for things to happen, there must be ?connective factors and the right conditions.?

?Do not treat Rinpoches as a living Buddha.

?Everybody must be responsible for his own karma. Purify your mind and always help other beings.?
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