Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tsechu Monastery and the Great Adeu Rinpoche

This is a picture of Tsechu Gompa in Nangchen. The abbot of Tsechu is a marvelous lama by the name of Adeu Rinpoche. Not only is Adeu Rinpoche one of the main holders of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, but Tulku Urgyen used to "babysit" him when his teacher went to visit Tulku Urgyen's uncle Samten Gyatso. He talks about those early days in this interview.
You can learn more about Adeu Rinpoche at his website, where there are also lots more great photos.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Youth of Inconceivable Sublime Light

The main teaching of the original teacher Buddha Samantabhadra is Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. The teachings of Dzogchen are the pinnacle of all nine vehicles. Before the Dzogchen teachings arrived in our human world, they were propagated through the Gyalwa Gong-gyü, the mind transmission of the victorious ones, in the three divine realms: first in Akanishtha, then in Tushita, and lastly in the Realm of the 33 Gods, the world of Indra and his 32 vassal kings located on the summit of Mount Sumeru.
Generally, it is said that the 6,400,000 Dzogchen teachings entered this world via Garab Dorje, the first human vidyadhara, who directly received the transmission from the Buddha in the form of Vajrasattva. These teachings first arrived in Uddiyana, and later were propagated in India and Tibet. Before the era of Buddha Shakyamuni the Dzogchen teachings were propagated in our part of the universe by other buddhas known as the Twelve Dzogchen Teachers. Buddha Shakyamuni is usually counted as the fourth guide in this Excellent Aeon in which one thousand fully enlightened buddhas are to appear in our world. Although in this context he is known as the fourth guide, Shakyamuni is the twelfth in the line of Dzogchen teachers.
No Dzogchen teachings have occurred apart from the appearance of a buddha in this world, so we must count Buddha Shakyamuni as one of the chief teachers through whom the teachings were transmitted. He did, indeed, convey Dzogchen teachings, though not in the conventional manner. His conventional teachings were primarily received by those who had a karmic connection with the teachings appropriate to shravakas, pratyekabuddhas and bodhisattvas. It was not that they were not allowed to receive the Dzogchen teachings; their karmic fortune was such that they received the teachings to which they were suited. The Buddha gave Dzogchen teachings, as well as other Vajrayana instructions, by first manifesting the mandala of a deity and then imparting the tantric teachings to a retinue seated within that setting. This, however, does not lie within the scope of what was perceived by ordinary people.
--Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

The Tangkha is depicting Youth of Inconceivable Sublime Light (khye’u snang dam pa bsam gyis mi khyab pa) one of the first of these Twelve Dzogchen Buddhas. Shakyamuni is the Twelfth. The painting was supervised by Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche shortly before his passing.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Longchenpa's likeness

My guru, Samten Gyatso, also had a deep fondness for the masters Longchenpa and Jigmey Lingpa. He would often read aloud from Longchenpa’s Seven Treasuries, not as a formal reading transmission but just for himself—slowly and in a gentle tone of voice. He always carried one of these seven volumes with him wherever he went, so that by the end of the year he would complete his reading of all seven. After some years, he knew exactly where to find every single detail mentioned anywhere in these Treasuries. He would sometimes comment, “How wonderful! What an amazing master Longchenpa must have been! How profound his words are!” -- from Blazing Splendor.

The picture is of an old statue made at the time of Longchenpa himself. The recent Dzogchen master Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche treasured this image highly and had it reproduced innumerable times. One of his main attendants and students, Khenpo Sonam Tobgyal Rinpoche, who now heads Riwoche Temple in Canada, made many of these with his own hands.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

On the roof of Ka-Nying Gompa in 1976

The place is Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery. The occasion is the Sixteenth Karmapa who has come to Boudha to inaugurate Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's new gompa and confer the Treasury of Kagyu Teachings. Here is Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche flanked by a sundry assembly of ordained monks and bearded ngakpas, 30 in all. Let's hear some names !
Matthew Kapstein & Edward Henning (who sent this picture) sit right below the british monk Lodro Thaye. Please let us know if you recognize anyone else.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The great siddha Shakya Shri's sons repair the Boudha Stupa

In the Early part of the 20th century the great siddha Shakya Shri sent his sons to restore the great stupa of Boudhanath. Here is a rare photo taken at the occasion. Another restoration, which took place half a century later, is captured on this page:

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"Blazing Splendor" Reading at Karma Triyana DharmachakraWoodstock, NY, Feb 4, 2006 at 2 pm

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche was among the greatest masters of the Kagyu lineage of the twentieth century, and pivotal in bringing the highest Buddhist teachings to the West. His memoirs, "Blazing Splendor," offer an intimate glimpse into the extraordinary lives and experience of recent great masters of meditation in Tibet, including the great Treasure Master Chogyur Lingpa and his vajra brothers Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Mipham Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche, and many others.
In particular, as principal holder of the Chogling Treasure lineage, which was extremely famous and widespread in Eastern Tibet before the Communist invasion, Tulku Urgyen was close to the 15th Karmapa, Kakhyab Dorje, and was a personal guru and advisor to the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpa'i Dorje, for many years at Tsurphu Monastery and in exile, accompanying him on his first visit to KTD more than twenty-five years ago.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the miraculous passing of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, the authors of Blazing Splendor have requested a small number of his close students to host commemorative readings of excerpts from Blazing Splendor to celebrate his life and his activities on behalf of our precious practice lineage.
KTD will host a reading by Lama Sherab Dorje on February 4, 2006 at 2 pm. Lama Sherab will read passages from the book that are of special import to the monastery and its lineage, as well as share personal stories and anecdotes about Tulku Urgyen and other great masters, and tell of his recent pilgrimmage to the vulture fortress retreat center atop Tsurphu monastery in Tibet.
Lama Sherab's special guest will be Heinz Insu Fenkl, Director of the Creative Writing Program at SUNY New Paltz, who will read excerpts from his forthcoming novel about the Buddha's life based on the sutras, entitled "Siddhartha Gautama." Heinz was a Pen/Hemingway awards finalist in 1996 for his novel, Memories of my Ghost Brother, soon to be reissued by Bo Leaf Press.
All are welcome and there is no charge for this event. Nonetheless, advance registration is strongly recommended. Please use the following contact information, and be sure to indicate that you are coming for the reading event.
You may also want to drop us an email to let us know that you will be there. Bardor Rinpoche is also teaching at KTD that weekend, and you may register for and attend that program as well. Ask KTD for further information.

Thomas C. Schmidt /External Affairs Officer / Karma Triyana Dharmachakra
335 Meads Mountain Road
Woodstock, NY 12498 USA
PH: 845.679.5906 ext. 15 Fax: 845.679.4625