Seeing Buddha Nageshvaraja For The First Time

9 Sep

One day, Rinpoche was looking at a statue of Buddha Nageshvaraja and he asked me if I remember the circumstances in which Rinpoche had first laid eyes on this Buddha. I took a few moments to ponder but in the end, my memory failed. So, Rinpoche took some time out to tell his story again. It was a brief recollection but it was pregnant with nostalgia and feeling in which I will try to recreate here. 

Rinpoche said that his people, the Kalmyk Mongols that emigrated to the United States and clustered around the tri-state area of New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York. Rinpoche’s foster family lived in Howell, New Jersey and the Kalmyk community established 4 temples, of which 3 were within Howell and the 4th temple was in Washington, New Jersey. This temple was build by the famous Mongolian Geshe Wangyal. Then in 1979, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited to this center to give teachings and blessings. Therefore, the Kalmyk community gathered from all over the tri-state area to greet His Holiness. Naturally, the 14-year old rinpoche was one of them and he was really excited to see His Holiness for the first time. 

Just before His Holiness came out to sit on his throne, a very beautiful light rain fell all over and a rainbow appeared above. The rainbow appeared just before His Holiness came out and he walked past throngs of people before everyone sat down. A single buttefly was seen to be hovering around His Holiness. His Holiness sat down and we prostrated and His Holiness proceeded to give us a meaningful teachings on The Eight Verses Of Thought Transformation by Geshe Langri Tangpa. This was the first time Rinpoche had receive teachings but it left a lasting impact. 

Near the throne was an altar to a large framed thangka of this blue Buddha with a white face. Offerings were laid in front and the appearance intrigued rinpoche as he wondered who is this Buddha. It would take many more years before he came across the book Mahayana Sutras and there was a section on the 35 Confessional Buddhas. Buddha Nageshvaraja was amongst them and apparently, he is very effective in purification. His unusual mudra or hand gesture represents deliverance from taking rebirth in the three lower realms. That was how Rinpoche laid eyes on this most unusual of Buddhas.                                                                                                                                                            

3 Responses to “Seeing Buddha Nageshvaraja For The First Time”

  1. Sharon Ong September 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Buddha Nageshvaraja is indeed a very unusual Buddha. I have not seen any single faced Buddha with a different coloured body. Most of the Buddhas who have different coloured faces and bodies have multiple faces. Eg: Dukkar.

    Thank you for sharing this lesser known Buddha and how Rinpoche first saw him.

  2. Mark S September 9, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    Thank you very much Pastor David. I am brought to recollection of this article from the vantage point of the Butterfly. It was able to view, and to witness the profound change Rinpoche was experiencing at this time in his life. Thinking of the gold at the end of the rainbow that is Avalokitesvara, H.H. The Dalai Lama, and how he would be pivotal in bringing Rinpoche to be Ordained as a Buddhist Monk. We are fortunate due to this gathering as well, as it has come to guide and aid us all, because of Rinpoche’s realising his true Path of Dharma. We are most blessed to have Buddha Nageshvajra, as this holy image is reflected when we look upon The Guru. May we too, be able to bring others to The Dharma, such as His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche has to all of us. Thank you for this post Pastor David. The 35 confessional Buddhas are an excellent practice to purify our negative Karma and to be of greater benefit to others. All the best from Canada.

  3. Wei Theng September 15, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you Pastor David on sharing Buddha Nageshvaraja. First impression that attract me is the white face and the special hand mudra. Thank you for sharing on his unusual mudra or hand gesture represents deliverance from taking rebirth in the three lower realms. Any special meaning on the white face iconography?

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