Nihon e youkoso Dungse-La. Dungse Jampal Norbu's first visit to Japan.

by: 
Katsutoshi Okabayashi

On December 5, 2016, Dungse Jampal Norbu and Jasmine arrived at Osaka Itami airport, and the Mangala Shri Bhuti Japan (MSBJ) sangha including Oka, Dai and Maki, greeted them and expressed appreciation for Dungse la’s first official teaching in Japan. It was a wonderful time from the very beginning with Dungse la, starting from seeing a vivid rainbow on the way to Rokakkudo-temple (the Belly Button temple) in the early morning on his first day. His visit was another great opportunity for the Japanese Sangha to gather to focus on Dharma with a living teacher of an authentic lineage, our Dharma heir of Mangala Shri Bhuti. 

At the Belly Button temple, we did Riwo Sangcho practice together in the sacred atmosphere of early morning. Following that, we went back to Tashi Gachil for a demonstration of Japanese cooking led by Maki and Mariko. The next day, we visited Abemonjyuin-temple in Nara, which has one of the three major Manjushri statues in Japan, and Hasedera-temple with its famous big Avalokiteśvara statue, starting point of the 33 Avalokiteśvara pilgrimage of West Japan. Dungse la decided to collect the stamps at each temple as pilgrimage activity, which was an auspicious sign that he will visit Japan more and more for that reason. The next day he had free time to explore downtown Kyoto and prepare for the teaching. On Friday, the day before the weekend teaching, we did a Tsok together.  

As for the teaching, an average of 12 people attended. This time we collected questions for Dungse la from participants in advance in consideration of the shyness of Japanese people, as well as for two reasons: letting him know the current situation of Japanese people and their mindset for him to teach in accordance with their needs, and giving an opportunity for participants to do self reflection.

Based on the questions, Dungse la structured the teaching to include an afternoon Q&A session. It seems each participant connected very much to his teaching, which mainly focused on how to deal with difficult times, our requested subject matter for the teaching. I thought it formed a great combination: VDKR’s teaching on a classical text, one with which people can go deeper in Dharma, and Dungse la’s teaching on how to work with mind on a daily basis, a teaching which is more accessible to even beginners of Dharma. Such an annual cycle will bring wonderful benefits to Japan and the Japanese people.

On Monday after the teaching, Maki did a tea ceremony to show a glimpse of Japanese culture, followed by a gold leafing art experience activity conducted by Will’s friend. And after that we went to Will’s house for Sushi dinner and a short cello concert. On Tuesday, we walked around downtown Kyoto including seeing a Japanese sweet making demonstration, followed by the farewell Nabe (Japanese hotpot) party participated by 12 people including Dungse la and Jasmin. On Wednesday, they flew back to Colorado after their almost month-long trip including the pilgrimage in India.

We are still in the process of finding out what Dungse la likes, so that this time we conducted many activities as a kind of experiment, which hopefully did not tire him out too much. We hope over the time we can learn his preferences and make his trip more comfortable and smooth. We are really looking forward to his return to Japan next year.