Khamtrul Rinpoche Visits United Statess

The following article is from the Autumn, 1992 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

Khamtrul Rinpoche is the fourth incarnation in a lineage of scholars and saints from eastern Tibet. He is a scholar, meditation teacher, and ritual master of the Nyingma lineage.

Recognized at the age of eight as the successor to Dorje Namgye, Khamtrul Rinpoche was installed as co-abbot of Gaje Kamtu Min Dol Jang Choi Monastery in Kham, Tibet. In his early years at the monastery Rinpoche studied and memorized the standard prayer books and elementary texts. He also studied medicine and astrology for two years. At the age of fourteen he commenced the study of the great texts of both the sutra and tantra collections. Part of the curriculum included the mastery of various ritual artssacred dance, flute, mandala construction, torma offering creations and others. He also took many initiations and private teachings and supplemented these with the appropriate solitary retreats.

At the age of twenty-seven he assumed responsibility for the administration of the monastery. In addition to his monastic duties, Rinpoche made pilgrimages to many places, as well as trips to Lhasa. In 1960 he fled Tibet and arrived in India. In India he became responsible for the administration of five hundred refugees in Assam. He joined the Council for Religious and Cultural Affairs of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala in 1966 as the Nyingma representative. He became Assistant Secretary and then rose to Secretary of Religious Affairs, a post he held until retirement in 1986. He was asked to come back to Dharamsala by H.H. the Dalai Lama from retirement in South India to preside over the Nyingma rituals at Namgyal Monastery. His Holiness refers people who are interested in Nyingma teachings to him. He also gives teachings from many other lineages.

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We asked Rinpoche about his plans for the future and he had the following to say.

Ever since 1959 I have been very much aware that I am the only living person, outside Tibet, who holds direct and unbroken empowerments, transmissions, and teachings of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama's complete works (gsang-wa rgya-chhen gyi sde) of 32 volumes. These sacred volumes include, among a vast array of other teachings, the Eight Secret Pronouncements (bkah-brgyad). I have been urged to pass on these teachings for their continuity.

Similarly, I have been urged again and again by my followers in Tibet as well as in exile to pass on to others the traditions of Khamshung Monastery which was destroyed during the so-called Cultural Revolution. This is because I am not only the head of this very important monastery in Tibet, but also, unfortunately, the only person who holds the whole gamut of the monastery's traditions ranging from ritual arts to much more profound teachings.

Some years back I began working on a small project which seeks to transfer what I know to others so that these teachings may continue. With His Holiness the Dalai Lama's kind encouragement and blessings, I am now almost ready to start a small center for teaching in Dharamsla, to be located near His Holiness' Temple.

The center will invite a selected group of fresh young minds from Tibet. These monks will receive all the knowledge and skills that I have been able to accumulate in my lifetime. I will also accept an equal number of western Dharma students who are serious enough to take courses in various aspects of Nyingmapa teachings and undergo actual practice. I will do so because a number of western students have shown a lot of enthusiasm in learning from me.

The construction work of the center will start shortly. My plan consists of a four-storey building. The ground floor will be made up of a small prayer hall, washrooms, and four classrooms. The first floor is for myself and for my family members. Each of the second and third floors has 12 bedrooms and common washrooms. If anyone wishes to contribute towards this project, please write to me directly or to any of the following people: Khamtrul Rinpoche, Thekchen Choeling, Dharamsala, 176219 District Kangra, H.P., India; Carol Popp Weingarten, 2221 Peachtree Road N.E. #D-305, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-262-7880; Tony Spina, 25-61 44th Street, Long Island City, New York, NY 11103, 718-274-6136; Tashi Tobgye, 61 Dowswell Drive, Scarborough, Ont. M1B 1H5, Canada, 416-412-6302.

Khamtrul Rinpoche's schedule: San Francisco, Oct. 2-9; Atlanta, Oct. 9-30; Santa Fe.

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