Author Topic: Holiness and Eminence  (Read 8259 times)

hope rainbow

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Holiness and Eminence
« on: January 24, 2012, 04:46:21 AM »
What is the defining factor that qualifies some Rinpoche's with the title of "His Holiness" and others with the title of "His Eminence"?

Positive Change

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Re: Holiness and Eminence
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 06:05:16 AM »
A explained in the dictionary, both honourifics are the standards or manner of ecclesiastical address and a historical style of reference for high nobility reflecting his or her status. This also extends to Buddhist religious strata of course. The difference, you ask?

Well... for me these standards of address are there for us to use in reverence for the person and what he or she represents not only for whom they are but also for what they represent to us individually. In the spiritual sense, right or wrong, for me, it is after all just a reference point for us and is but only that. If they truly represent what they are, the honourifics are used for our benefit NOT theirs. Meaning: It is used to "remind" us of who and what they represent and as such should instill humility in us. My point being, there really is no "difference" because if we understand or realize that they have the qualities that we lack and would like to have, no words, titles or honourifics can substitute for the respect, humility and reverence we show outwardly towards them.

Rihanna

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Re: Holiness and Eminence
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 03:40:21 AM »
As described in Wikipedia, the honorific His Holiness is the official style used to refer to male leaders and highly respected spiritual figures of some religious groups. So, if you look at it in the Buddhist community, just to quote afew examples, the title His Holiness is given to great Lamas like His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Panchen Lama, His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, Ngawang Kunga Tegchen Palbar Samphel Wanggi Gyalpo, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, etc.

Traditionally, His Eminence is a style of reference for high nobility, still in use in various religious contexts. So I think it is a rank lower than His Holiness. However, I agree with you whole heartedly that there really is no "difference" because if we understand or realize that they have the qualities that we lack and would like to have, no words, titles or honorifics can substitute for the respect, humility and reverence we show outwardly towards them.

jessicajameson

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Re: Holiness and Eminence
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 10:56:40 AM »
@Positive Change and @Rihanna

Great explanation! I do believe that officially there is a distinction in the way we use His Holiness and His Eminence, however it boils down to the title being a reminder for us that we should respect these beings.

Not because they are "holier than thou", but because they relay to us the Dharma and uphold the Buddha Dharma.

In the 50 stanzas of Guru Devotion, number 34 states: "Should you need to address (your Guru) by his name, add the title "Your Presence" after it." This shows that the titles given are really to remind the students that we are to address our gurus, and other high lamas with respect.

I do feel that the distinction lies in leadership. Those who are officially leaders will be referred to as "His Holiness", e.g. His Holiness the Gaden Tripa. The Gaden Tripa is the spiritual leader of the Gelug School of Buddhism.

Whereas His Eminence is an honorific title for those who are a high ranking lama. His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche, His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche etc.

Positive Change

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Re: Holiness and Eminence
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 06:54:45 AM »
@Positive Change and @Rihanna

Great explanation! I do believe that officially there is a distinction in the way we use His Holiness and His Eminence, however it boils down to the title being a reminder for us that we should respect these beings.

Not because they are "holier than thou", but because they relay to us the Dharma and uphold the Buddha Dharma.

In the 50 stanzas of Guru Devotion, number 34 states: "Should you need to address (your Guru) by his name, add the title "Your Presence" after it." This shows that the titles given are really to remind the students that we are to address our gurus, and other high lamas with respect.

I do feel that the distinction lies in leadership. Those who are officially leaders will be referred to as "His Holiness", e.g. His Holiness the Gaden Tripa. The Gaden Tripa is the spiritual leader of the Gelug School of Buddhism.

Whereas His Eminence is an honorific title for those who are a high ranking lama. His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche, His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche etc.

Well said Jessica... however I would like to add, further to what I mentioned above, we can also use His Holiness to show our personal reverence to the person in particular. For instance, my own teacher would call his own teachers HH even though, according to the status they are accorded they are only HE.

Hence I believe it is up to the eye of the beholder so to speak. And after all these are just mere words that describe the very beings that we aspire to be... and I reckon no honorifics even begins to be of any justice... :)

Big Uncle

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Re: Holiness and Eminence
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2013, 09:06:55 AM »
Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I have observed that the honorific use of His Holiness is usually given to the respective heads of each individual Tibetan Buddhist sects of Nyingma, Sakya, Gelug and Kagyu along with their eminent teachers.

Please bear in mind that some traditions like the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions have various sub-schools and each having their own spiritual head. The exception to this rule is the Dalai Lama as he is the spiritual head of the nation along with his eminent teachers of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Ling Rinpoche. This is what I have noticed from my observation and all other masters are given the title Your Eminence instead.