Modern Miracles

Pema GarwangWhen traveling in Padma County, a Tibetan friend took me to meet her great uncle, Pema Garwang, a Tibetan doctor who survived eighteen years of prison during the Maoist period. To bolster his courage, he composed this aspiration prayer to Khandro Tare Lhamo:

Oh, from Tara’s pure and spontaneous display, Yulo Kopa,
Arises a magical emanation of noble Tara, mother of buddhas,
I supplicate the holder of secret mantra, Tare Lhamo;
Over many lifetimes without separation, you have accepted me.
Producing the wisdom of the four joys, bliss emptiness,
You are ultimately Kuntu Zangmo; in the land of the dakinis,
May I be liberated through dissolving into a rainbow body of light.

During that time, as protection, Pema Garwang stitched a piece of Tare Lhamo’s hair into his coat, and miraculously a gold ring that she had given him could not be forcibly removed.

I tell Pema Garwang’s story of his faith in Tare Lhamo in “Modern Miracles of a Female Buddhist Master,” for Figures of Buddhist Modernity in Asia, edited by Jeffrey Sameuls, Justin McDaniel, and Mark Rowe (University of Hawai’i Press, 2016).

Listen to this recording of his prayer, which varies slightly from this translation above of his written version:

Dharma Gathering at Nyenlung

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Photos © Holly Gayley

Since 1996, each year Nyenlung Monastery holds a dharma gathering (chos tshogs) during the auspicious month of Sagadawa. When Tare Lhamo was alive, the couple sat side by side on a peacock throne in the outdoor pavilion to give teachings to large gatherings of a thousand or more seated on the hillside below. These photos come from the dharma gathering I attended in 2006 with Namtrul Rinpoche presiding. It shows the crowds gathered and its varied activities, including an elaborate procession to consecrate anew the sacred structures on the monastery grounds. Today, Namtrul Rinpoche’s son, Tulku Laksam, presides over ritual occasions at Nyenlung.

Read an excerpt from Love Letters from Golok describing this event:

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