Extra Articles

Twenty Wonderful Miracles Tell of Appearance of Reality

Over the years many people have asked Rinpoche to recount his life story. Rinpoche has composed these verses about twenty wonderful miracles to tell the story of his twenty years of teaching in the West. Each verse teaches about what he taught each year. Rinpoche says this is much more important than to know where he went each year, where he slept, what he ate, etc., all of which he doesn't remember anyway.

Namo Guru Hasa Vajra

Samsara and nirvana are undifferentiable
And even though you realized this
To purify your thoughts of their attributes
You gained Buddhahood in just one life
Mighty hero, Shepa Dorje
At your feet, I bow with great respect. (Homage)

Genuine reality transcends birth and death
False appearances, birth and death are like watermoons
Knowing this will make it easy to
Cut through clinging to birth and death as true
Such an explanation of birth and death--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (1)

Since no actor exists, neither does activity
But in terms of appearance, they arise dependently
Just like dream happiness and suffering
And in this way, good and bad deeds result in joy and pain
Such an explanation of cause, result, and karma--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (2)

Samsara's suffering has never existed
Its appearance is like agony in a dream
Of the very nature of dependent arising
You can't separate appearance from emptiness
Such an explanation of suffering--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (3)

This human body that has faith, diligence, and prajna,
Is so difficult to find, we're told in many ways
But it too is just a watermoon
Dependently arisen, this you should know
This way of thinking about something so hard to get--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (4)

All phenomena outside and inside
Decay each moment, they have no power to remain
But this source of sadness, when examined closely
Reveals that impermanence doesn't exist either!
This way of meditating on impermanence--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (5)

Your friends depend on your enemies
And your enemies depend on your friends
All friends and enemies exist dependently
Just like the ones that you meet in dreams
This way of understanding friends and enemies--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (6)

Without joy, pain is impossible
Without pain, joy is impossible
They are the very essence of dependent existence
They are without the slightest substance
This way of understanding joy and pain--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (7)

When there is clean it is because of unclean
And unclean itself depends on clean
They are of the nature of equality
As they are when they appear in dreams
This way of eliminating thoughts of clean and filth
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (8)

Gain and pleasure, praise and sweet sounds--these four
They rely on their opposites for their very existence
Watermoons and dreams, they have no substance
The eight worldly dharmas are such wonderful miracles! (9)

Being learned depends on being stupid
And being stupid depends on being learned
Both are just dreams and watermoons
Scholar and fool not different--what a wonderful miracle! (10)

From the unborn mind, beyond conceptuality
Appearances self-arise, and by themselves are free
Just like waves dissolving into the ocean vast
The basic way of being--what a wonderful miracle! (11)

No one to progress, no path to progress upon
No progressing whatsoever going on
But the way of progressing that we see
From cause and condition, arises dependently
Like the moon dancing on the waves
This way of traversing the path--what a wonderful miracle! (12)

Nothing to realize, no one to realize it
No realization can be seen, not even a little bit
But our words can describe so carefully
The way of realization that occurs dependently
It is like seeing the moon in a dream
This way of realizing the fruition--what a wonderful miracle!(13)

Since fundamentally, there are no conceptual elaborations,
The basic state transcends all reference points and assertions
Yet from this expanse that concepts cannot experience
Conceptuality arises in great abundance!
This way of explaining genuine reality--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (14)

The completely false appearances that you see
Transcend both true and false in reality
But to stop you from thinking that they are true
You are taught that they are false
To halt this clinging to falsity, it is not explained that they have any reality
Liberation from true and false--E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (15)

Genuine reality's dharmakaya
Cannot be experienced by conceptual mind
But there is the way the sambhogakaya
Appears to the noble bodhisattvas
And to the various beings, the nirmanakaya
Appears in a watermoon's style
This way of explaining the three kayas--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (16)

We have so many thoughts that we are suffering
But this suffering is just like a dream!
And if you can recognize these thoughts' true nature
Suffering will be self-liberated as soon as it appears!
The ice so easily melting into water
Transformation explained like that--what a wonderful miracle! (17)

Though the wisdoms five and the kayas three
Are all explained individually
Like a sound's impermanence and composite nature
Kayas and wisdoms are really undifferentiable
This explanation of ultimate union--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (18)

Through great compassion, the Buddha's activity
Accomplishes the benefit of sentient beings
But the benefitted ones really don't exist at all
Completely falsely, benefit performed is as in a dream
This explanation of Buddha activity--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (19)

Pure and impure are just imaginary,
They do not exist in the expanse of equality
Equality's expanse encompasses absolutely everything
And nothing can ever move from it at all
This explanation of equality--
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! (20)

Why are these all so incredibly miraculous?
Genuine reality, true being, free of conceptuality
Appearances transcending truth and falsity
E ma! All phenomena are wonderful miracles!
When you grasp all of this
You realize Mahayana's profound meaning

When you grasp all of this
You are a worthy vessel for the Great Secret
When you grasp all of this
You help everyone in a natural way
So may all you fortunate ones
Realize this meaning well!

So was the casual talk of Dechen Rangdröl in the Garden of Translation, near the Great Stupa of Boudhanath, Nepal, on December 17 and 18, 1997. Translated by Ari Goldfied. Translation revised February 25, 1998.

This section of the KTD Web site also includes a biography of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche with links to some of his teachings.

Copyright ©1998, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. All rights reserved.

Auspiciousness that Lights up the Univers

Ven. Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and translator Ari Goldfield taught this song to students during Rinpoche's 1998 teaching tour. Rinpoche gave the following introductions to the song during a teaching on August 8, 1998 at the Hardford KTC:

This twentieth century is the century when science and the economy have made incredible advances, so we need to make aspiration prayers that this material and technological advancement will be boons to world peace and world happiness. That is what this song is about.

In this song, the third verse says "The vision of Your wisdom [is amazing]," so this refers to the Buddha. There is one verse for the Buddha, the next verse is for the Dharma, and the next one is for the Sangha. Those are the three outer sources of refuge. The verse that follows that, about the yidams and the dharma protectors, are what's called the three roots. 

 

Namo Guru Hasa Vajra Ye!

You see that everything in samsara and nirvana
Is merely dependently arisen
You see the dharmata, the true being
That is the essence of all dependent arising
The power of your great insight
Fills the universe with auspicious light
Oh mighty Shepa Dorje
Please rise up now from within my heart.

 

Ground's basic nature transcends conceptuality

 

And like watermoons, appearances arise dependently
May everyone realize that this is true
And dispel the darkness cast by doubt and wrong view
And may their realization's auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

The vision of Your wisdom is amazing
You see just how things are, You see everything 
As parents love their children, so You love all beings
You bring us benefit and happiness
Your power makes disciples out of Your enemies--
May Your auspiciousness light up the universe!

For samsara's cause, clinging to 'I' and 'me',
The Dharma realizing selflessness is the greatest remedy
May all beings use it to pacify
Their confused belief that there is an 'I'
And by the power of this great happening
May auspiciousness light up the universe! 

The ways of ordinary beings, you have left behind--
Noble ones who realize reality, the true nature of mind
May you lead all ordinary beings
Who have not yet entered, to the path of peace
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

May the yidams who bestow the siddhis
And the protectors who clear obstacles away
Eliminate all harmful conditions--
Everything adverse to the path
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

May the noble path of nonviolence
Flourish in all the worlds there are
When beings meet and interact
May the connections they make be filled with love
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

At the twilight of this century
That has been one of such prosperity
May struggle over wealth and gain
Disappear and not be seen again
Free from strife and violence
May all enjoy great abundance
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

This has been a century
When science has advanced incredibly
Amazing and wondrous, these new machines
That have brought the gods' enjoyments to human beings
May they be used with skill supreme
To end violence and cause peace to reign
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

May the sciences that explore outside
Be joined with the inner science of the mind
To excellently put an end
To mistaken views and confusion
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!

The source of all this auspiciousness
Is the true nature of mind, so luminous!
So may realization of mind, just as it is
Set the universe ablaze with auspicious excellence!

Through all of this auspiciousness
Wherever its light may be seen
With the love and the compassion
That make bodhicitta mind supreme
May this thought arise in everyone:
"Other beings' happiness is as important as my own"
And may excellent virtue and auspiciousness
Always increase, never diminish!

 

On December 29, 1997, in the Garden of Translation near the Great Stupa of Boudhanath, Nepal, this was spoken extemporaneously by the one only called "Khenpo," Tsultrim Gyamtso. Translated by Ari Goldfield.

Also included in this section of the KTD Web site is a biography of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche with links to some of his teachings.

Copyright ©1998, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. All rights reserved.

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche - Life in America

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche arrived in the United States just after the arrivals of Lama Ganga, another Kagyu teacher who also received his early training at Thrangu Monastery, and Yeshe Namdag, who fled Tibet with the Sixteenth Karmapa and served as his personal attendant at Rumtek. These three joined Tenzin Chonyi, who had been asked by the Karmapa to stay in America as his representative after his first world tour in 1974. Together, this group was charged by His Holiness with the task of establishing and building a monastery to serve as the seat of the Karmapa in North America.

The group moved into a house which sat at the edge of 375 rustic acres of land in Putnam County, New York, that had been generously offered to the Karmapa by C.T. Shen, one of the great patrons of Buddhism in America. Khenpo Rinpoche began travelling to New York City on a weekly basis to offer teachings at a fledgling center that soon became the New York City Karma Thegsum Choling (KTC). In the wake of the Karmapa's second United States tour in 1977, more KTC centers were established in Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, California; Columbus, Ohio; and shortly thereafter in Albany, New York; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, the search was on for a permanent site to establish His Holiness' North American headquarters. While visiting the Putnam County property in the spring of 1977 during his second world tour, the Karmapa told Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche that he should open the new dharma center on the auspicious day of Saga Dawa in the following year (May 25, 1978). It was becoming apparent that the donated land, although a fine piece of property with much natural beauty, was unsuitable even for building an access road. Through fortuitous circumstances, a mountain-top property nestled above the town of Woodstock was found, and in early 1978, the Mead House was purchased to become the home of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.

Khenpo Rinpoche and the others, now joined by Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, soon moved in and began cleaning up the property. A formal shrine room was created on the ground floor of the 113-year-old house for public teachings and empowerments. Soon, it was May 25, and just as the Karmapa had predicted, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra opened in a new home as his North American seat, with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche as its abbot.

 

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche in the old Shrine Room at KTD

During the first several years after KTD was established, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche continued to oversee and travel to a growing number of affiliate centers around the country. By the early 1980s, centers had been founded in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Chapel Hill (North Carolina), to name a few. In 1982, Khenpo Rinpoche embarked on a three-week tour of South America, visiting Columbia and Venezuela where he established two more KTCs. Rinpoche continued to make annual trips for a number of years offering refuge and bestowing teachings to a growing South American sangha.

In late 1985, Khenpo Karthar once again accompanied Thrangu Rinpoche on a teaching tour as he had done in their early years in Tibet, but this time they visited centers throughout the United States. By the mid-1980s, there were thirty-two affiliate centers in North and South America, and three in Taiwan. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was now travelling to teach at all of them on an annual or semi-annual basis.

The centers in Taiwan were particularly enthusiastic to receive teachings and empowerments from Rinpoche. Since the early 1980s, he has made at least ten trips to the Far East, including some with Thrangu Rinpoche. During recent trips he has visited a dozen Karma Kagyu centers in Taiwan alone, including those in Yilan, Kaoshiung, Chiayi, Tainan, Changhua, and Tapei.

With a solid base in Woodstock and a busy travel schedule, Khenpo Rinpoche initiated a tradition of longer, more intensive teachings at KTD. During the summer of 1981, he offered two month-long courses: one on the Amitabha sadhana and the other on the Mahayana Uttara Tantra Shastra (The Changeless Nature). In the summer of 1983, Rinpoche taught a three-month course on "Ground, Path and Fruition," and in 1984 taught a series of courses on "View, Meditation, and Action" from late May through mid-September, with a month-long course on the Medicine Buddha in-between. 

By 1989, Khenpo Rinpoche began to scale back the length of his annual summer teachings to better accommodate the growing number of students coming from farther away. Thus, the tradition of the ten-day teaching began with "The Profound Inner Meaning" during the first two summers, followed in 1991 by "The Guru Yoga of Marpa." The ten-day teaching continues annually at the time of the July Fourth holiday, often coinciding with the anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni's first turning of the wheel of dharma, one of the four great occasions in the Buddhist calendar.

Throughout the 1980s, Khenpo Karthar was not only teaching, but also fully involved in overseeing the building of the new monastery. In addition to consulting on the construction, furnishing, decoration, and architectural geomancy, he was involved in every aspect from helping mix cement to fabricating the meditation cushions for the shrine rooms, sewing the brocade frames around the lineage thangkas, and overseeing the consecration of many of the rupas. 

Fulfilling More of His Holiness' Vision

In 1980, the Sixteenth Karmapa had visited Crestone, Colorado and accepted a gift of two-hundred acres of natural land in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. His Holiness wished to see this site become a place where the dharma and Tibetan culture could be preserved. His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche visited the Crestone site in 1988 and encouraged the sangha to first build a stupa before any other buildings were constructed. In the autumn of 1989, Khenpo Karthar travelled to Colorado to select an auspicious site and bless the land on which the Tashi Gomang Stupa would be built.

 

The following year, he returned to Crestone with Bardor Tulku Rinpoche to formally consecrate the site of the stupa so construction could begin. Over the next seven years a devoted group of individuals living in the area worked tirelessly to raise funds and build the traditional forty-foot-tall stupa. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Bardor Tulku Rinpoche supervised all aspects of the construction from their base in Woodstock, with occasional visits to the site. Finally, in July of 1996, the two Rinpoches were joined by Bokar Rinpoche (who officiated) and other Rinpoches and lamas for the formal consecration of the completed stupa.

Initially, the property in Colorado was seen as a prime location to build a traditional three-year, three-month Karma Kagyu retreat center. A key element of this plan was that Lama Ganga would serve as drupon (retreat master), but when he died in 1988 during a trip to Tibet, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche knew this role would fall to him.

Since arriving in the United States, Khenpo Karthar had led individuals in solitary retreat--one as long as twelve years--and two small cabins on the KTD property met this need. But with a growing number of students wishing to do the traditional three-year retreat, a facility was needed that was close enough to KTD to enable Rinpoche to serve as its drupon and maintain his teaching schedule at KTD and the KTCs. Clearly, Colorado would be too far away for such a retreat center. 

Auspiciously, in 1989, an anonymous contributor donated 40 acres of land in Delaware County, New York, an eighty-minute drive from KTD. It was a perfect site for establishing the retreat facility. In 1990, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche blessed the land and soon thereafter an access road was built on the property. Before the freezing winter weather set in, Khenpo Karthar and Bardor Tulku Rinpoche were able to bless the excavation of the first building of the Karme Ling Retreat Center before its foundation was poured.

 

Bardor Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche (center) at Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche's birthday at KTD

Once again, under the direct supervision of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, another facility for the practice of dharma envisioned by His Holiness Karmapa came to fruition. Rinpoche oversaw the construction of two retreat buildings (one for women and one for men), an ani house for nuns to live and practice, and a lama house to accommodate visiting Rinpoches and individual short-term retreats. He saw to the assembling of all the interior details of these buildings, personally collecting an outstanding number of thangkas and rupas to adorn each shrine room. The first retreat at Karme Ling began on January 23, 1993, followed by a second in November 1996. The third retreat began on the auspicious day of Lhabab Duchen in late 2000. 

Return to Tibet

Almost thirty years after he originally fled his homeland, Khenpo Rinpoche was fortunate enough to return to Tibet. In 1988 he travelled to Thrangu Monastery in Kham where he was reunited for the first time with many relatives and old friends. While there, he was able to impart the instructions he received in his youth for the rainy-season retreat practices (yarney) to a new generation of monks, and then officiate at the month-long retreat. He has returned to Kham three times since his first visit, most recently accompanying Thrangu Rinpoche. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has strong family ties to Thrangu Monastery, since his nephew, the fifth Tulku Lodro Nyima, is the only one of four primary Rinpoches associated with Thrangu Monastery to live there and oversee its current operations.

Rinpoche made a third trip to Tibet in 1992, shortly after the enthronement of His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje at Tsurphu Monastery. In front of the sacred Jowo Shakyamuni at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Khenpo Karthar participated in the formal ordination and hair-cutting ceremony of His Holiness led by their Eminences Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche. It was an auspicious time for Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche to reunite with His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa.

Author 

After more than forty years of spreading and teaching the dharma outside Tibet, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has a prolific body of work published in English and Chinese. Dozens of his teachings given over the past thirty years at KTD and some of the KTCs have been published in Densal magazine and as transcripts by KTD's Namse Bangdzo Bookstore. In 1992 his book Dharma Paths, an in-depth introduction to the Tibetan Buddhist path, was published by Snow Lion Publications, and in 1996, Snow Lion published Rinpoche's commentary on The Precious Garland of the Supreme Path by Je Gampopa with the title The Instructions of Gampopa. The English versions of Rinpoche's published works are available through Namse Bangdzo Bookstore. 

Chinese translations of Rinpoche's work, published in Taiwan, include Dharma Paths, The Profound Inner Meaning, The Four Dharmas of Gampopa, The Ocean of Definitive Meaning, Enlightened Women, and the Collected Teachings of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Many of these have become top-selling dharma publications in Taiwan. Forthcoming is a Chinese translation of the collected teachings of Gampopa.

 

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche during the 2000 10-day teaching at KTD

As the abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Rinpoche has been responsible for insuring that preparations are in keeping with age-old Tibetan traditions when visiting Rinpoches and lamas teach at KTD. Distinguished visitors include His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, all the regents of the Karma Kagyu lineage, and numerous eminent Tibetan teachers. For over three decades Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has patiently guided a great variety of Western students unaccustomed to the ways of these Himalayan traditions. He has imparted these traditions in a way that maintains great respect for the oral tradition of the Karma Kagyu practice lineage. 

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche is now preparing for a most important visitor to KTD, His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa. When Ogyen Trinley Dorje comes, he will see first-hand some of the work done on his behalf to fulfill his vision for the dharma to spread throughout the world for the benefit of all sentient beings. This has been accomplished in no small part due to the teaching, building, writing, counseling, sewing, and tireless efforts of one devoted student: Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.

The "Early Years" through the "Resettlement" sections of this biography were edited from Eleanor Mannikka's "Biography of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche," published in Densal magazine. The rest of the biography was written by Tim Wolf. 

Part I of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche's biography includes information on his early years and training, and his flight from Tibet and resettlement.

The Meaning of the Name of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche


Compassionate wrath is ornamented

By the great, blazing blue weapon.

This inescapable vajra of activity crushes the skulls

Of samaya breakers and the ten objects.

This vajra name is everywhere,

Protecting the commands of the incomparable son of Shuddhodana.

It is the vajra that destroys the rudra of broken samaya

In this degenerate age of conflict.

This vajra name is everywhere.

It is the blazing vajra of activity that sustains

The sacred Dharmachakra of the four noble truths

From the beginning to the end of this eon.

This vajra name is everywhere.

It is the blazing vajra of indestructible activity,

One of the light-rays from the heart of the Lake-born Lord,

Who blazes with love for all beings.

This vajra name is everywhere.

It is the blazing vajra of activity's samaya,

The messenger of the powerful prince of Zahor,

And the yoke of his royal decree.

This vajra name is everywhere.

It is the vajra that propagates without decline

The teachings and continuous activity of Karmapa,

The embodiment of all buddhas of the three times.

This vajra name is everywhere.

It is the vajra of unceasing activity,

The result of immeasurable accumulation

Throughout innumerable eons.

Inconceivable and inexpressible,

This sacred, eternal and indestructible vajra

Gathers beings of this degenerate age of conflict

Into the net of blazing, radiant activity.

This unwavering mind of discriminating intelligence

Adorns the finger of morality with the jewel of learning.

This letter of explanation was written through the power of faith.

May the eight worldly dharmas, the guru's enemies, be eradicated.

 

Composed by the Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche; translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.

Billowing Clouds of Blessing

Billowing Coulds of Blessing
Guru Yoga for the 3rd Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche

Renouncing samsara and recognizing the glorious lama as the Buddha,

With intense devotion and complete trust in whatever he does,

Take refuge and engender bodhicitta.

NAMO GURU.
RANG NYI DO MAY LHAR SEL CHI TSUK TU

Namo Guru. We ourselves appear as the primordial deity and on the top of our head,

PE DAY DEN LA MA DOR JE CHANG

On a lotus and moon seat is the Lama Vajradhara,

TSEN PAI PEL BAR NAM SUM CHO GO DZE

Radiant with all the marks of a Buddha. Arrayed in the three Dharma robes,

RAB DZE PEN ZHU WANG TAK CHI TSUK CHANG

He wears a beautiful pandita's hat as a sign of the empowerments he has received.

CHAK NYI DOR JE DRIL BU NOL THAB DZIN

His two hands, holding bell and dorje, are crossed before his heart.

DREN PAY DUNG SEL GYEL KUN SANG SUM GYI

Simply recalling him clears away all anguish. He appears as the spontaneous embodiment

DOR JE SUM GYI NGO WOR LHUN GYI DRUB

Of the vajra body, speech, and mind of all Buddhas.

 

The Seven Branch Prayer

OG MIN CHO YING PHO DRANG NE

Residing in the Akanistha palace of the dharmadhatu,

KU SUM DU DREL ME PA YI

Inseparable from the three kayas,

RANG RIK NGO WO LA MA LA

Is the lama, the awareness of our own true nature.

RANG NGO SHE PAI CHAK GI DU

The recognition of this nature is my prostration to you.

PANG LANG DREL WAY CHO PA BUL

I make offerings without concepts of giving or receiving.

DIK TUNG KYE ME LONG DU SHAK

I purify in the great unborn expanse all negative actions and breaking of vows,

LO DE CHEN POR JE YI RANG

And rejoice in the complete transcendence of mind.

JO DREL CHO KHOR KOR WAR KUL

Please turn the wheel of inexpressible Dharma.

PHO GYUR DREL WAR ZHUG SOL DEB

I pray that you remain in your unchanging nature.

GE TSOK MIK ME CHEN POR NGO

Without reference point, I dedicate all accumulations of virtue.

 

Prayer to the Lama

CHOK DU GYEL WAY KU SUNG THUK KYI JIN

You embody the blessings of the body, speech, and mind of the Buddhas from all times and places.

CHIK DU RIK DANG KYIL KHOR GYA TSOY DAK

You are the master of an ocean of mandalas and the five kinds of wisdoms.

NAM NANG GYEL WAY YE SHE GYU MAY GAR

You are the dance of illusion, wisdom emanation of Buddha Vairocana.

DREN CHOK PEL DEN LA MAR SOL WA DEB

I pray to you, glorious lama, supreme thought.

 

Mantra Recitation

OM AH BEDZA GURU MATI DHARMA SINGHA SARWA SIDDHI HUNG

GU RUI KU YI NE NE OZER TSOK

A flood of lights radiates from the [three places of the] guru's body

RIM DANG CHIK CHAR DAK GI GO SUM ZHUK

And enters into mine, successively and then all at once.

DRIB ZHI DAK CHING WANG ZHI YE SHE THOB

This purifies the four obscurations and I receive the wisdom of the four empowerments,

KU ZHI NGO DU CHE PAY KAL DEN GYUR

Becoming capable of actualizing the four kayas.

OM AH HUNG Om Ah Hung.

[These syllables function as during an empowerment]

KYE KYE KE PA JIK TEN MIK

Oh learned one, you are the all-seeing guide of this world.

DOR JE CHEN ZHAB LA MA JE

Noble vajra lama,

LE NGEN KHOR WAR KHYAM PA YI

We wander in samsara through the power of negative karma;

DAK SOK DRO LA TSE WAY GONG

Think with compassion of us all--

CHIN GYI LOB SHIK RIN PO CHE

Rinpoche, please give us your blessing.

SI LE NGE JUNG DRAK PO YI

Completely weary of samsara,

DI TO DUN MA LO THONG SHING

May I be able to let go of all expectations for this worldly life.

NYE KA DEL JOR RIN CHEN LU

Having this precious human body, along with leisure and resources so difficult to attain,

DON DANG DEN PA DRUB PAR SHOK

May I use it meaningfully.

WEN PAY RI NGOK NYAM GA WAR

In the solitude of a pleasant mountainside,

CHO GYE CHING WAY GYA LE DROL

May I be freed from the trap of the eight worldly values.

RANG DROL GU YANG DAM CHO KYI

Self-liberated, spacious, the epitome of genuine Dharma,

YANG TSE LO DE CHAK GYA CHE

And transcending the mind--this is Mahamudra.

MI GOM DON DANG MIN DREL ZHING

Without effort to meditate and not separate from this reality,

RANG BAB NE LUK NGON GYUR NE

Actualizing the true nature of the mind settled into itself,

NYI DANG YER ME CHEN PO DZO

In this way please make me completely inseparable from you.

GU RU GYE PAY DI KE SUNG

Joyfully, the guru then instructs:

DA TAY RANG RIK THA DREL GYI

"Awareness of this very moment, free of all extremes,

THA MEL SHE SHE PA ZO ME DU

Is the ordinary mind; abide here in a calm and relaxed way,

MA CHO LHUK PAR TSEN GYI ZHOK

Without acting and without adding anything else.

TSOK DRUK YUL GYI NANG. WA DI

In relating to these appearances--the objects of the six consciousnesses--

PANG LANG CHE CHO DZIN ZHEN BOR

Abandon taking and rejecting, grasping and clinging, all contrivance.

SEL TONG KYE ME NYAM NYI LONG

Recognize naturally arising, pristine awareness, which is unborn,

RANG JUNG RIK PA KHYEN YANG TSEL

The vast expanse of equanimity, this clarity and emptiness inseparable.

YE SHE ZHEN DU MA TSOL WAR

Do not search for wisdom elsewhere,

RANG. SHAR RANG DROL E MA HO

For it is self-arising and self-liberating. How wondrous!"

ZHE PAY NGO TRO TSEL NE. KYANG

Having given these pointing out instructions,

KYE PA CHEN PO RANG LA THIM

The lama joyfully dissolves into me.

LA MA RANG SEM NANG WAY CHA

He is the luminous aspect of my own mind.

YIN LA YIN PAR SHE PA YI

In knowing this is so,

GU RUY THUK DANG RANG GI SEM

I recognize that the guru's mind and mine

YER ME YE NE DU DREL ME

Have never been separate, never involved in meeting and parting.

DON GYI LA MA RANG ZHEL JEL

This itself is seeing the very face of the ultimate lama.

GE TSOK DRO KUN LA ME KYI

I dedicate whatever merit has been accumulated so that all sentient beings

CHANG CHUB DAM PA THOB CHIR NGO

May attain unexcelled, genuine enlightenment.

DE CHEN DOR JEY SEM DRUB TE.

Through accomplishing the great blissful vajra mind,

PEL DEN LA MAY SA THOB SHOK.

May I attain the state of the glorious lama.

 

Lama Thinley Gyamtso from the family of the great Dharma king requested this practice, and as a gesture of not rejecting it, the one who is called bodhisattva Jamgon Tulku, Peldan Khyentse Ozer, Ngakwang Chokyi Nyima, wrote this in a room above the main temple of Dowolung Tsurphu. May it serve a good purpose. The practice was transformed by the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul, Karma Lodro Chokyi Senge, into one where his name in Sanskrit is included in the mantra, and so it is filled with blessing. This translation was made by Ringu Tulku and Michele Martin during May of 1992, in Sikkim.

Also included in this section of the Web site is a life story written by the Ven. Bokar Tulku Rinpoche called "A Brief Biography of H.E. the 3rd Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche," as well as a shorter biography of Rinpoche that includes links to his teachings on this site.

A Brief Biography of H.E. the 3rd Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche

Namo Guru Mati Dharma Singha Ye.

The true nature of the vajra realm is unchanging

      and permanent,

Yet in order to train disciples,

You display inconceivable, miraculous illusions,

Such as the appearance of birth and death:

I bow to you.

Your wondrous nirmanakaya, complete with all

      the marks of the Buddha,

Rests in meditation like a sun in the space of luminosity.

At this time I have composed the mere seed of a biography

To inspire the faith of myself and others.

JAMGON KONGTRUL LODRO THAYE was one of the most brilliant stars in the galaxy of scholars and siddhas from Tibet, the land of snow. Predicted by the Buddha, he was the crown jewel in the rime (nonsectarian) movement of Buddhism in Tibet. He was born on December 14, 1813, to Sonamphel and Tashitso in front of Mount Pema Lhatse, one of the eight sacred places in Kham (Eastern Tibet). Lodro Thaye became learned in the ten ordinary and extraordinary branches of knowledge, and it became his responsibility to explain and compose texts, which incorporated a great number of teachings from both the old and new traditions, including the lineages of oral teachings, hidden treasures (terma), and teachings of pure vision. These were all brought together in Lodro Thaye's great living Treasuries of Knowledge. Like a second Buddha, he served all traditions of Dharma without any bias, through his teaching, practice, and activity. At the age of eighty-seven on January 19, 1899, he passed away.

In the garden of Samdrub Choling at Dowolung Tsurphu, the unexcelled heart center of the dakinis, the second Kongtrul, Khyentse Ozer, was born in 1902 as the son of the Fifteenth Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje, of whom he was the heart son as well. He studied, mastered, and practiced to perfection the treatises of the sutras and tantras in general, and in particular, the Five Treasuries, the path of skillful means, which includes the Six Yogas of Naropa, and the path of liberation, which focuses on the Mahamudra as it is elucidated in the special teachings of the Kamtsang Kagyu.

Khyentse Ozer attained realization of the ultimate lineage and became the root guru of the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. Many times over, he gave teachings, empowerments, and reading transmissions from the old and new traditions, such as the Rinchen Ter Dzo, and he rebuilt the retreat center of Tsatra Rinchen Drak [his residence at Palpung Monastery], supplying it with everything needed. He passed away on the tenth of May, 1952, having accomplished great deeds for the benefit of the teachings and sentient beings.

The name of the third Kongtrul incarnation is spoken with reverence as Jamgon Lodro Chokyi Senge, perfect guide of unequalled kindness, whose aspirations, activity, and accomplishments for the precious Dharma and sentient beings in general, and the Kagyu lineage in particular, have been a wondrous light in these dark times. As his last testament, the previous Jamgon Kongtrul, Khyentse Ozer, stated that his reincarnation would be in Central Tibet and that the household, parents, and time would be predicted by the Gyalwa Karmapa. Accordingly, in a first letter of recognition, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa wrote the following prophesy:

In the central part of the country,
    surrounded by snow mountains,
With the father's name De and the mother's Pema,
From a wealthy family of pure ancestry,
A boy of the wood horse year with excellent signs
Is without any doubt Jamgon,
    the incarnation of Lotsawa Vairocana.
Raising the victory banner of the teachings,
He will give life to all Buddhist traditions
And especially to the lineage of Gampopa.

 

According to this vajra prophesy, Jamgon Rinpoche was born on the first of October, 1954, the male wood horse year of the sixteenth cycle, in Lhasa, from whence the Dalai Lama guided the spiritual and temporal life of Tibet. His father was Tsering Tobgyal of Sadutsang, a family of wealth and high reputation, and his mother was Pema Yudron, the daughter of Sawang Ngawang Jigme Ngabo, a cabinet minister in the Tibetan government.

Before and after his birth, many wonderful signs appeared to his mother, and he was recognized without any doubt as the reincarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Gyalwa Karmapa through the vision of their stainless wisdom. Under their direction, Yonten Phuntsok, the Treasurer of the former Kongtrul Rinpoche, repeatedly requested the Sadutsang family to entrust the tulku to his Labrang (monastic organization). At last they consented, and when he was one year and five months old, Jamgon Rinpoche was formally recognized and offered robes and his title.

At the age of six, he was enthroned by the Gyalwa Karmapa at the monastery in Rumtek, Sikkim. From then onwards, Jamgon Rinpoche as a heart son was inseparable from His Holiness, who supervised his education right from the very beginning, starting with reading, writing, and memorizing texts. At the age of thirteen, he received from His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa getsul ordination along with Shamar Rinpoche and Tai Situ Rinpoche on the fifteenth of Saga Dawa (the fourth Tibetan month) of the male fire horse year at Rumtek's Shedrub Chokhor Ling (Dharma Chakra Centre). At that time, he received the name Jamgon Lodro Chokyi Senge, Tenpay Gocha Ngedon Gyurme Trinle Kunkhyab Pelzangpo.

Jamgon Rinpoche then studied a great number of texts, both in general and specifically, with Thrangu Rinpoche, a great scholar and holder of the Vinaya. His further studies also included all the tantras of Marpa's tradition, especially those of the Karma Kamtsang, and the lama dances, preparation of mandalas, chanting and musical instruments pertaining to the practices of Guru Rinpoche, Vajrakilaya, and others.

Jamgon Rinpoche received from Khyabje Kalu Rinpoche, master siddha and the activity emanation of Jamgon Lodro Thaye, teachings ranging from the Mahamudra Preliminary Practices of the Kamtsang tradition, up to empowerments, reading transmissions, and explanations for Gyalwa Gyamtso, Demchok, Dorje Pagmo, and especially, the Six Yogas of Naropa, Mahamudra, the Five Golden Teachings of the Shangpa Kagyu, the great empowerments of Kalachakra and Rinchen Terdzo, and at different times, countless other teachings of the old and new traditions.

At the age of twenty, on the fifteenth day of the first month (the month of miracles) in the female water ox year, he received full gelong ordination at the Dharma Chakra Centre from His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, who acted as the khenpo or abbot for the occasion, since he is master of the qualities of discipline and learning, well-versed in the pitakas, the second Shakyamuni of this degenerate time, and leader of all those who hold ordination. Jamgon Rinpoche took gelong vows along with Chamgon Situ Rinpoche and Khyabje Gyaltsab Rinpoche and was assisted by a master of procedure and other monks to complete the necessary number. Believing them to be the very foundation of the Dharma, Jamgon Rinpoche always guarded carefully these precious Vinaya rules, protecting them as if they were his own eyes. He gave the ordinations of getsul and gelong to about three thousand monks in India, Nepal, Tibet, both the worlds of the East and West, and so became a great holder of the Vinaya.

From His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, Jamgon Rinpoche received the Bodhisattva Vows, which are the foundation of the Mahayana path, from both traditions [of Nagarjuna and Asanga]. He continually practiced the many aspects of a bodhisattva's path--the six paramitas, the four ways of gathering disciples, and so forth--training in the extensive activity of the bodhisattva, and becoming a great one himself.

Jamgon Rinpoche had great faith, respect, and devotion for his spiritual teachers, the source of all paths and practice, and received from them many teachings of the sutra and tantra traditions. Especially, his relation to the Gyalwa Karmapa, embodiment of all refuges, was one of total devotion, respect, and pure vision, greater than that even for the Buddha himself. Rinpoche served His Holiness perfectly and received from him all the profound oral instructions, such as the Five Great Treasuries, all the empowerments, reading transmissions, and explanations of the Kamtsang Kagyu, the Root Text of Mahamudra, and so forth. In particular, the realization of Mahamudra, which is the heart blessing of the ultimate lineage, was transferred to him and he became a great siddha.

H.H. the XVI Karmapa, left, with Jamgon Rinpoche in the original shrine room at KTD


In 1974, Jamgon Rinpoche accompanied His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa on a tour of numerous places in America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. After His Holiness' paranirvana, Jamgon Rinpoche continued to travel to Europe and Asia, and established the Rigpe Dorje Foundation [in the United States, Canada, and France] and the Paramita Charitable Trust [in India, to further his activities of social welfare for the benefit of others]. Through empowerments, explanations, and advice, he generously gave teachings for three different types of students in accordance with their needs and so became like the medicine that restored the teachings and healed sentient beings.

In 1982, in order to counteract obstacles to the swift return of His Holiness the Karmapa, Jamgon Rinpoche built a Sidok Stupa with the proper measurements, mantras, dharanis, and consecration. For the same reason, he began the practice of l00 million recitations of the Vajrasattva mantra every year on the occasion of Saga Dawa (the fifteenth day of the fourth Tibetan month). In 1984, following the wishes of His Holiness, he started the construction of a new building for Karma Shri Nalanda Institute and it was inaugurated in June of 1987. Not only did Jamgon Rinpoche provide for all the furnishings of the entire building, including the statues and so forth for the shrine hall, but he also found the means to support about 150 students, comprised of many tulkus, lamas, and monks.

Jamgon Rinpoche visited Tibet in 1984, and at Palpung Monastery, he gave empowerments and teachings to a vast gathering of monks and lay people, and ordained about 500 monks with getsul and gelong vows. He then visited Lhasa and Tsurphu Monastery [the Seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa] where he gave empowerments and teachings to monks and lay people, and the ordinations of getsul and gelong to about one hundred. Furthermore, he was able to obtain permission for the reconstruction of Tsurphu, towards which he donated all the offerings that were made to him.

In 1988, Rinpoche constructed a new monastery at Lava in Kalimpong [West Bengal], and presently about 108 monks reside there, ten of whom are involved in a three-year retreat following the tradition of the golden Dharma in the Shangpa Kagyu. Likewise, in 1988 he started the construction of Phullahari Retreat Center in Nepal, where there are now about fifteen monks practicing. In 1990, he gave the great Kalachakra empowerment to the monks and lay people of Rumtek and donated funds to start a yearly Kalachakra practice session. 

In 1991, Jamgon Rinpoche returned to Tibet and visited Derge Gonchen where he gave an empowerment, reconsecrated the old and new Derge Printing House, and made donations to them. Thereafter, he journeyed to Palpung Monastery and gave the great Kalachakra initiation to about 550 lamas and tulkus of the area, including Sangye Tendzin of Japa Gonzhab Surmang Tentrul, Dodrak Tulku, and many others. He also gave getsul and gelong ordinations to about 550 people. Next he travelled to Damkar Monastery in Nangchen where he again gave the Kalachakra empowerment to about 1,000 Sangha members, including lamas and tulkus, such as Shangu Tulku, Kyodrak Tendzin, Salga, Drukpa Tulku, Demon Tulku, and many others.

In 1992, he gave the Kagyu Ngakdzo empowerments to the monks, nuns, and lay people of Rumtek, and inaugurated the Jamyang Khang, a primary school, which he had sponsored, designed, and constructed. As his last activity, Jamgon Rinpoche offered mantras and dharanis to fill the new statue of the Buddha in the main shrine hall of Rumtek Monastery and gilded the whole statue to create an auspicious connection for sustaining pure samaya. Once he had consecrated the statue, Jamgon Rinpoche told his attendants, "Now I have fulfilled all the wishes of His Holiness." 

In brief, to Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche one can say: "I pray to you, source of all qualities, the one rich in faith, discipline, learning, generosity, intelligence, modesty, and humility." From childhood, he naturally had all the qualities of a noble being. His faith and pure vision of his teachers was unparalleled, and especially, his devotion to his root guru, Vajradhara Gyalwa Karmapa, was fully equal to that of all the previous lineage holders of the Kagyu tradition. He never tired nor was careless for a moment in attending to the physical needs or following the commands and wishes of his lama. With great respect he served His Holiness even to the point of cleaning his bathroom and sweeping the floors with his own hands. His life is a great teaching to people like us who treat the Dharma and the lamas like water by the roadside, which we take when we need it, but do not respect or give devotion from our heart.

Jamgon Rinpoche studied numerous sutras, tantras, their commentaries and oral instruction, from specific and general traditions. As a sign of having genuinely realized these teachings, he displayed the qualities of faith, pure vision, loving-kindness, and genuine concern for the well-being of others that were so much a part of him that they became inseparable from his name. He constantly fulfilled the wishes of others through giving away all that was offered to build monasteries, establish centers of learning and practice, to create representations of the Buddha's body, speech and mind, and to support the Sangha and the poor and needy.

With clear wisdom of the world and Dharma, he soothed the mental sufferings of others, cut through the net of their doubts, and guided them onto the right path through direct and indirect means. To his attendants and all those, high or low, with whom he related, Jamgon Rinpoche always showed the qualities of constant friendship, modesty, humility, and gratitude; he had perfected all these qualities that are esteemed in this world. We, his disciples, should always remember this perfect life story of our supreme guide and seek to emulate it with faith, respect, and pure vision.

At the age of thirty-eight, Jamgon Rinpoche suddenly passed away, due to the obstructions for Buddhism and people in general, and in particular, for the Kagyu tradition. Considering his age, learning, qualities, aspirations, and activities, his passing has been an unbearably sorrowful event for all his disciples and those who knew him. Yet, as ordinary people with limited understanding and realization of how things truly are, we are unable to know the profound methods for benefiting sentient beings in the right time and place. Therefore, we should always look at his life with pure vision, great faith and devotion, and try to attain in our lifetime the supreme achievement of Mahamudra through receiving in our mindstream the blessing of his body, speech, and mind. We should always turn our minds towards praying that his perfect incarnation will swiftly return, and that his life and activities will be brought to perfection following the aspirations he has made for the Dharma and sentient beings.

From now until enlightenment, supreme Lama, May we always serve and rely on you. May we persevere in practice and complete the path, Giving up what is negative and perfecting the positive.

Following the request of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche's attendants, Tenzin Dorje and Sonam Chophel, this was written by Bokar Tulku, Karma Ngedon Chokyi Lodro, whose devotion is inspired by this life of Jamgon Lama, at Rumtek Retreat Center, Yiwang Samten Chokhor Ling, on the 5th of May, 1992. Sarva Mangalam. This was translated by Ringu Tulku and Michele Martin during May, 1992 in Sikkim.

 

Also included in this section of the Web site is a translation of the Guru Yoga for the III Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, called "Billowing Clouds of Blessing," as well as a shorter biography of Rinpoche that includes links to his teachings on this site.

The Ninth Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche

A brief explanation of the sacred qualities and activities that have benefited beings in temporary matters and on the ultimate level, by the inconceivable emanation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. ~ by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche 

 

WHEN BUDDHA SHAKYAMUNI turned the wheel of Dharma in the Jampudvipa world, this being, known to us as Traleg Rinpoche, was born as Ananda. Perfecting Buddhahood, he worked to develop the Buddha Dharma.

He next incarnated as Tulku Tsermed Oden, inseparable with glorious Sangwai Dagpo, Lord of Tantrayana, and taught tantrayana in the unsurpassable dakini realm. Having developed such teachings in all directions through endless times, his next rebirth was as the mahayogi Thogmed Yonten, skilled in all miraculous powers. This mahayogi was the disciple of yogi Sahara and Lord Nagarjuna. He benefited beings by developing Buddhism in general, and the tantrayana in particular, in all the ten directions of the world.

His next rebirth was as mahasiddha Dapa Sherab, principal disciple of mahasiddha Tilopa. Having firmly stabilized the very transmission and teaching of mahasiddha Tilopa, his next rebirth was as siddha Dogon Lotsawa, disciple of glorious Naropa. He translated many unavailable teachings of the lesser and higher vehicles, particularly the Vajrayana teachings.

His next incarnation was as a disciple of Marpa Lotsawa named Ngod Choku Dorje, who translated tantric teachings from Sanskrit into the Tibetan language. He was skilled in both learning and meditation, and carried out the sedgyerd (learning) transmission.

His next incarnation was as a disciple of the great yogi, Jetsun Milarepa, named Rechung Dorje Drakpa. He developed the teachings and became famous all over Tibet.

His next incarnation was as a disciple of Je Gampopa, Saltong Shogom, one of the "Three Men from Kham."

Likewise, his next incarnation, Pandita Wangchuk Dorje, was famous and skilled in both sutrayana and tantrayana.

His next rebirth was during the time of the Third Karmapa, Ranjung Dorje, as Toden Tachug. He developed and taught Kagyu teachings.

Later, for many generations, he incarnated as a bhiksu (a fully ordained monk) called Chokyi Wangchuk, who enriched and liberated limitless living beings.

Then Chokyu Dragpa incarnated in the second seat of the Kagyu order in Karmai Gon where he taught and developed the Buddha Dharma.

Then, in order to develop and carry on the Buddha Dharma, he was requested to be the head of the Thrangu Monastery. His name was Nyima Tashi. Eight successive incarnations bearing the name of Traleg benefited beings and taught in all directions according to the prophecy of Guru Padmasambhava:

"You will benefit living beings while bearing the name Nyima for eight incarnations as a fully ordained bhiksu."

The present ninth Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche was born in the wood sheep year (1955), in the first month of the Tibetan calendar.

Enthroned at the age of 1-1/2, he was fully able to participate in the playing of damaru and bells and to give the traditional blessings during the enthronement ceremony.

When he was four, the Communists invaded Tibet and about 100 people from his area escaped. During the critical moments when the people had no idea where to go, the four-year-old Traleg Rinpoche directed them and eventually they all escaped safely to India.

In 1989, Traleg Rinpoche taught extensively at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and visited the North American affiliates of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa. At that time, the Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche dictated this introduction to Traleg Rinpoche that was presented to the centers on his arrival.

Also included in this section of the Web site is a shorter biography of Rinpoche with a link to his teaching on this site.