Rinpoche crowned with sacred hat

Kantipur Online, July 22, 2005

Kathmandu, Nepal -- Swami Vivekananda once said that Buddhism could not survive in the very land where it was born, that is, India. However, it is alive in Nepal where Siddhartha Gautam, the founder of Buddhism, was born some 25 centuries ago.

Thousands of devotees gathered to have darshan of the living saint and scholar Karma Chagme Rinpoche at the crowning ceremony held at the Sherpa Monastery of Bouddha on Thursday. It was a ceremony to crown the Rinpoche with a sacred hat, preserved in Tibet for centuries.

Right after the birth of Padma Sambhava, he gave teachings on Buddhist secret tantra to hundreds of thousands of dakas and dikinis (gods and goddesses). Out of devotion, each daka and dakini donated a strand of their hair to make this sacred hat which they offered to Guru Padma Sambhava.

The Guru Rinpoche, one of the successors to Padma Sambhava, hid the hat for the benefit of all living beings in the future. It was, however, unearthed later by Yogi Chogden Dorje. Since then, it was preserved in Tibet. Later on, Kyapje Karma Chhagme Rinpoche was entrusted the upkeep of the hat. After the Chinese takeover of Tibet, Karma Chagme Rinpoche, the seventh reincarnation of Kyapje Karma Chhagme Rinpoche, left China for Nepal with the hat.

It is believed that human beings are liberated from their negative karma-s and the attendant sorrows just by beholding it.

The present saint Karma Chagme Rinpoche, in whom the blessings of the true lineage is continuously reposed, was born in 1926. Since his infancy, he was adorned with divine qualities such as love and compassion.

The grand crowning ceremony at Boudha, participated in by devotees of different faiths, proved that religious tolerance is one of the salient features of Nepali society.