Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche Comes To America

The following article is from the Summer, 2002 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

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[Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche is the head of the JangTer (Northern Treasure) Nyingma lineage, as the throneholder of Dorje Drak (Vajra Rock) monastery. one of the six great seats or mother monasteries of the Nyingma lineage. He is a holder of all of the great Kama and Terma traditions of Nyingma. He is also one of the three foremost holders of the Nyingma monastic tradition, along with Trulshig Rinpoche and H.H. Penor Rinpoche.)

I was born in the central part of Tibet, near the famous lake called Yardrog where Guru Rinpoche left his handprint, in the Western year 1926. Close to my birthplace, in the region known as Taklung, was the prominent TaklungTse monastic center affiliated with Thubten Dorje Drak, the seat of the Northern Treasure (Jang Ter) Nyingma dharma tradition. In the 19th century, the great Khenpo Namkha Longyang from Dorje Drak recognized an ordinary monk from the monastery as the incarnation of Ngok Chosku Dorje. That tulku continued to study and train as an ordinary monk, and eventually became the Vajracarya of the monastery. He devoted his whole life to practice and the attainment of superior realization. It is said that the special protector of Ngok, the glorious goddess Dudsolma, pledged her service to him. His reincarnation also moved up through the ranks of the ordinary monks to become the Acarya, but departed for the pure realms at a young age. The ninth Dodrak Rigdzin, Choswang Nyamnyid Dorje, in accordance with a meditation vision, identified me as the next rebirth.

I arrived at Taklung Tse monastery and received my first ordination when I was five years old, as well as the title and enthronment of a tulku. When 1 was eight years old I was given my dharma seat at the mother monastery Thubten Dorje Drak. I studied and became proficient in all of the monastic aits and rituals. From the age of fourteen I studied with a lama named Pawo Rinpoche, who was a student of Khenpo Thubten

Gyaltsen, a personal student of the great Dzogchen Khenpo Shenga. When I was fifteen, the elder Khenpo from Gotsa monastery, who was a personal disciple of the previous Dodrak Rigdzin, gave the empowerments and transmissions of the Jang Ter lineage to the current, great Dodrak Rigdzin, Namdrol Gyatso. At that time I most humbly was able to receive most of these empowerments and transmissions, as well as other dzogchen instructions.

When I was twenty I received the complete empowerments and transmissions of the Rinchen Terdzod and others from the previous Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche. From the retreat master at Mindroling and from the previous Lalung Sungtrul Rinpoche, I received most empowerments and transmissions for the treasures of Padma Lingpa, and from Golok Chewo Rinpoche I received all the transmissions for the seven great treasuries and other teachings of the omniscient Longchen Rabjam. At Dorje Drak I received all of the empowerments and transmissions for the higher and lower Jang Ter treasure teachings, as well as Kama (oral) teachings, and instructions on mind nature. I became the Khenpo of Dodrak monastery for several years, and then was requested to return to my own Taklung monastery.

On the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha's para- nirvana I went on pilgrimmage to India with my family. Circumstances worsened from year to year in Tibet until it became impossible to remain there; and so, in 1959, some companions and I stole away at night, leaving our homeland, until we reached

India, making our way to Sikkirn, where I stayed for 2 years. At Rumtek monastery I received the empowerments and transmissions of the Treasury of Oral Instructions and Kagyu Mantra Treasury from the great 16th Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa. In Kalimpong, I received the entire empowerments and transmissions of the Great Terma Treasury and the Nyingma Kama, as well as some of the dharma treasures of Dudjom Lingpa, from Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche. In Bhutan, from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche I received transmissions for the collected teachings of Mipham Rinpoche, and empowerments and transmissions for the Heart Essence of Longchenpa, and other dzog chen practices and tan- tras.

Later I went to a new Tibetan refugee settlement in Simla, India, where in the years that followed I worked with the community, local and state government officials, and the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to found a new Dorje Drak monastic seat in exile, to preserve, foster and expand the teachings of the Jang Ter lineage, since Thubten Dorje Drak monastery in Tibet had been completely destroyed. Today there are almost 80 monks there, and several in retreat.

I have offered the Jang Ter, and other dharma empowerments and transmissions at the direction of prominent lamas of different lineages at various monasteries in Bhutan, India and Nepal, including Namkha'i Nyingpo Rinpoche in Bhutan, Kyabje Penor Rinpoche in Mysore, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche at Shechen monastery in Nepal. Otherwise, I continually give instructions, empowerments or transmissions on the preliminary and main practices, as are suited to the needs of whomever comes to request dharma teachings.

Translated by Lama Sherab Dorje on the occasion of Rinpoclie'sforthcoming 1st visit to the U.S. May it be virtuous!

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