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Chögyam Trungpa and Dilgo Khyentse: A Heart Connection

June 8, 2010

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest 20th Century teachers of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991). The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse has just been published by Shambhala Publications to celebrate this event, as well as to commemorate the visit of Rinpoche's reincarnation to the West this summer.

Dilgo Khyentse was a preeminent master within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He was a personal teacher of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other great teachers. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche studied with Khyentse Rinpoche in Tibet and greatly revered him. Trungpa Rinpoche helped to bring His Holiness to North America to teach in 1976 and 1981. Khyentse Rinpoche also conducted the funeral of Trungpa Rinpoche in 1987 and gave many teachings to his senior students. Khyentse Rinpoche was also one of the teachers of Chögyam Trungpa's eldest son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. So this is a  close dharma family relationship that spans a number of generations.

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche was confirmed as the reincarnation of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in 1995 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Now turning eighteen, Yangsi Rinpoche is travelling to many parts of the world this year, including Europe and North America in July and August. I had the opportunity to attend the 100th Anniversary celebrations at Shechen Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, this spring. I was very fortunate to also have two small group audiences with the Yangsi tulku. Knowing the close association between Trungpa Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and also having heard that Yangsi Rinpoche was very interested in the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, I carried the eight-volume Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa to Nepal with me to present as a gift. Rinpoche was filled with youthful exuberance and at the same time it is clear that he has a great deal of composure and depth. I look forward to seeing him in the U.S. in August.

Before our personal audience with Yangsi Rinpoche, my family and I were very fortunate to be able to offer khatas—offering scarves—to some of the body relics of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in his personal quarters in the monastery in Shechen, which have been left unchanged since his parinirvana in 1991. Entering this sacred space was overwhelming for us, and even as I write this my eyes fill with tears, thinking of the tremendous kindness of His Holiness and his unceasing activity to benefit all beings.

I myself am looking forward to delving more deeply into his teachings, as presented in The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse. This wonderful three-volume compendium was edited by Matthieu Ricard and Vivian Kurz, two of Dilgo Khyentse's heart disciples. To learn more about The Collected Works, click here.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dilgo Khyentse, Shambhala Publications and Ocean of Dharma are giving away a set of The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling us what you think makes a great teacher. Winners will be randomly selected on Monday, June 14.

Congratulations to entrant #264, Sharon Robinson!

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