Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being was composed by Maitreya. Commentary by Mipham Jamyang Namgyal (1846-1912) provides detailed analysis of how ordinary confused consciousness can be transformed into wisdom. This text includes precise instructions on the profound meditation that gradually brings about this transformation. Khenpo Tultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche considers this text to be of pivotal importance. In these three talks, Rinpoche teaches on the middle section of this text (pp. 113-137) further explaining its meaning with brilliant line-by line commentary. The portion of the book Rinpoche explains in this teaching provides a concise and profound explanation of the characteristics of pure being as seen by practitioners on the paths of accumulation and juncture and by Bodhisattvas on the paths of seeing, meditation and no more learning.
Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche 3 DVDs, 5.5 hours, Hartfort KTC, August 30 - September 1, 2004, Vajra Echoes, $36.00
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is known for his prodigious scholarship and vast compassion. He is also known for his accomplishment, often compared to the great yogi Milarepa, whom he resembles in both substance and style. Rinpoche has no fixed abode, few possessions; and he has practiced for years in solitude, sometimes sealed in darkness. Like Milarepa, he is known for his spontaneous songs of realization (Skt. "dohas, ") that offer insight into genuine reality. Such dohas may emerge to answer a question, clarify a difficult point, or to expand or comment on one of Milarepa's own songs. We have a number of examples of Rinpoche's songs at this site.
Rinpoche was born in 1934 to a nomad family from Nangchen, Kham in Eastern Tibet, an inaccessible area of a remote country. He was named as Sherab Lodro. When he was two years old, his father died suddenly, and his mother began making pilgrimages to sacred sites, and attended Dharma teachings and initiations -- the young boy stayed by her side at all times, even while she undertook extended retreats.
Solitary Practices And Mind Transmission From The Sixteenth Karmapa
Drawn to spiritual practice so early and thoroughly by his mother, Rinpoche left home at an early age to train with his root guru, Lama Zopa Tarchin, a yogi and the first of his many teachers. After completing this early training, Rinpoche embraced the life of a yogi-ascetic. For five years he wandered throughout Eastern and Central Tibet, undertaking intensive, solitary retreats in caves to realize directly the teachings he had received. During these years he often lived in charnel grounds in order to practice and master "Chod", a skillful means to cut ego clinging, develop compassion, and realize deeper levels of emptiness.
Rinpoche traveled to Tolung Tsurphu Monastery (historic seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage and its head, the Karmapa), to continue his retreat and learn from masters in the area. There, His Holiness, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa, gave Rinpoche pointing out instructions on the nature of mind. While living in the caves above Tsurphu, Rinpoche was given key instructions on the Six Yogas of Naropa, the Hevajra Tantra, and other profound practices from Dilyak Drupon Tenzin Rinpoche and other masters.
Departure To India
Rinpoche continued his life of strict mountain retreat after the Chinese army entered Tibet. A group of buddhist nuns sought him out and requested his help during the disturbances, and Rinpoche led them and others over the Himalayas to safety in Bhutan.
Rinpoche subsequently crossed into India, where he spent the next nine years at the Buxador Tibetan Refugee Camp in the north. Despite the hardships of refugee life, he studied and mastered Buddhist scholarship in general and the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism in particular. He became renowned for his skill in logic and debate. He received a Khenpo degree from His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa, and the equivalent Geshe Lharampa degree from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. He subsequently settled in Bhutan, at the direction of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, where he built a nunnery, retreat center, and school, which he still oversees.
Training The Next Generation Of Teachers Worldwide
His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa founded his seat in exile in Rumtek, Sikkim. Due to the profound inspiration and activity of His Holiness, the monastic university (Tib. shedra) of Nalanda was founded in Rumtek to train the teachers of the Kagyu lineage. His Holiness asked Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche to serve with Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche as abbots and principal teachers at the shedra. Under their tutelage, a new generation of Kagyu tulkus and khenpos were produced.
At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, and with his blessings, Rinpoche also has taught extensively in Europe for many decades. He established the Kagyu Thegchen Shedra in Athens, Greece, and travelled and taught widely throughout Europe for many years. Since 1985, Rinpoche has completed six world tours in response to invitations that flow in from Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche has devoted much time and energy to training outstanding translators of Tibetan into many foreign languages.. Translators trained by Rinpoche are known for the clarity and accuracy which grows from years of study and practice. Rinpoche's skill in encouraging and training translators has contributed immeasurably to making the precious Dharma of Tibet available in many languages. In 1986, he founded the Marpa Institute for Translators, in Boudhanath, Nepal, where he currently offers an annual winter course
that draws students, both old and new, from all over the world.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche also has provided extensive support for female monastics. He built a nunnery, school, and retreat center for women of Tibetan origin in the Helambu region of Nepal, near Milarepa's retreat cave in Yolmo. Both there and in his Bhutanese nunnery, Rinpoche demonstrates a firm commitment to providing nuns with the same opportunities -- especially for study -- as those traditionally extended to monks. An innovation in his approach is to train each nun to carry out every function of monastic life, rather than to specialize in just one. Thus, all nuns learn musical instruments, make tormas, tend the shrine room, serve as chant or ritual master, do bookeeping, tend the garden, cook, etc. This departure from tradition, though personally and administratively demanding, fosters a democratic atmosphere among the nuns, develops their capabilities to the fullest, and allows the community to respond without disruption to unexpected situations and changing conditions.
Rinpoche is the principal teacher of The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, with whom he has a special relationship. They share many activites, as described in more detail elsewhere at this website. Khenpo Rinpoche embodies the ideal of a modern-day bodhisattva, benefitting innumerable persons throughout the world through boundless energy, sagacity and the sharing of his great joy in life.