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Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave a Chenrezig initiation at the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal for the Tamang people on December 23, 2012. About 3000 Tamang traveled from all over Nepal to attend the initiation. The Tamang are traditionally Buddhist and live scattered throughout the remote mountainous areas of Nepal.
The initiation was especially held for the 150-200 Tamang Nyingmapa lamas so that they may lead nyung näs in their respective communities. In the Tamang tradition, the role of lama is generally passed down through family lines. The tradition, however, is dying out due to the children of lamas wanting to move away from their family homes.
The Tamang lamas are receiving training on nyung näs and other basic Buddhist practices as a way to revive authentic Buddhist practice. In some case, Tamang people have adopted Hindu practices, including animal sacrifices. The hope is that with more traditional Buddhist training, these other practices will stop.
Losang Namgyal Rinpoche, a Kopan monk who is one of the main lamas of the Tamang people, took part in the initiation and also oversees projects to assist the Tamang with building holy objects, religious training and humanitarian aid. The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund has supported the work of Losang Namgyal Rinpoche to bring authentic Dharma to the Tamang people.
“The main purpose of these projects is go into the villages where there is not much Dharma, where there are not many facilities for practice, and go there to promote Dharma and help in whichever way we can – be it constructing a school or a stupa or a prayer wheel,” Losang Namgyal Rinpoche told Mandala in a July 2012 interview.
“If we can help in this way, then the Tamang villagers will have a certain thought from their side to really practice Dharma, and so then it will be easier for us to teach them how to go into practices, lam-rim teachings and so forth,” Losang Namgyal Rinpoche said. ”We try to help in the village in a various ways, in addition to building gompas and stupa, we support things like planting trees for the environment. In terms of education, we give scholarships to poorer people. We try to work in different areas so villagers can appreciate the work and have some extra time to engage in Dharma practice and follow pure Buddhist teachings. This was Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s idea.”
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