In last fall’s newsletter (2004), we mentioned our need for more Tibetan teachers to work with in Halifax. This last year has been very fruitful in that regard. We’ve had a wealth of visiting teachers, including several new collaborators.
At the beginning of 2005, we met with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Khenpo Garwang, with whom we reviewed our translation of a Nyingma lineage supplication and a short Avalokiteshvara sadhana by the great Mipham Rinpoche, along with editing a commentary on this by the Sakyong.
Soon after, we met with Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche during his Vajrakilaya abhisheka and seminar, which was very well-attended and well-received. We focused on the Vajrakilaya abhisheka text, which the Sakyong will use to confer this same abhisheka in the future. For Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s program, we produced a new edition of the Vajrakilaya Sadhana, and soon after we republished the daily practice text and a brief commentary. We also edited and published Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s teachings, entitled Great Splendor Vajrakumara, now available for all tantrikas who have received this abhisheka. After leaving Halifax, Rinpoche gave teachings in Vancouver, for which we produced a reprint of “Intensifying Devotion in One’s Heart: The Supplication ‘Crying to the Gurus from Afar,’ ” which he taught at the Vancouver Shambhala Centre.
When the Vidyadhara was living in England in the mid-1960’s, the great teacher and terton Neten Choling requested advice and teachings from him. The Vidyadhara fulfilled this request by sending a letter in the form of a lengthy poem. Just after Shambhala Day this year, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche offered a spontaneous oral translation of this text during the final talk of his Pema Karpo vajrayana program in Halifax. This provided the catalyst for our translation of “The Seal of Pure Intention, A Spontaneous Song Sent from England in the West,” which was prepared with the kind assistance of Khenpo Sönam (see below), and later reviewed with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Karma Senge Rinpoche.
During the Shambhala Congress in February, we were delighted to meet and work with Surmang Khenpo from Surmang. He was very helpful in reviewing some of the Vidyadhara’s collected works, which included a short pith instruction text, a magnetizing practice of Red Chakrasamvara, practices of Ekajati and Chemchok, and several short feast offerings.
Not long after that, we met with Khenpo Sönam, a very well-trained practitioner from Bhutan, now living in sunny California, who worked with us on some of the texts just listed, as well as others, including “Chökyi Gyatso’s Letter to Choling.” He traveled to Halifax in the dead of winter with his wife and daughter, hosted by David and Trudy Sable, who provided a very welcoming atmosphere for our work. We look forward to work in the future with both of these new khenpo friends.
In June, the Venerable Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche taught “Mahamudra in Brief” by Maitripa at the Halifax Shambhala Centre. We were fortunate to be able to meet with him several times to clarify this pithy and subtle teaching, as well as a number of questions on theChakrasamvara Sadhana, which we were revising for the abhisheka this summer.
Later that month, Karma Senge Rinpoche and his brother Sönam Wangdü arrived for their second visit to our sangha, sponsored primarily by the Translation Committee. Karma Senge Rinpoche is Trungpa Rinpoche’s nephew and the compiler of his Tibetan writings and terma. He had just toured the Bay Area, Boulder, New York, Philadelphia, Albany, and Boston. In Halifax, Karma Senge Rinpoche taught Light Rays of the Sun and Moon, the Sun of Wisdom, The Yearning of Recollection, and Transparent Recollection: A Cutting Practice from the Great Secret Wisdom. This last text was taught in the context of translation meetings, which we opened to any sadhakas interested. From all reports, those who attended found the meetings rewarding–both in having some access to the text and in seeing something of our translation process. During his month-long stay in Halifax, we were able to review a number of our translations of the Vidyadhara’s Tibetan compositions.
Clearly, we have much more to learn and accomplish with Karma Senge Rinpoche, who continues to reveal a profound knowledge and understanding of the Vidyadhara’s teachings, for which we are very grateful. This visit also afforded other groups the opportunity to meet with Karma Senge Rinpoche; most notably Walter Fordham, who conducted a remarkable interview with him, thus furthering work on “The Chronicles of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.” To read the entire interview, please visit the Chronicle Project website. Based on that interview, in our annual newsletter we published a story of the Vidyadhara meeting the Four-Armed Mahakala! Here is the unabridged story and article: “Karma Senge Rinpoche on Kyere Monastery and Trungpa Rinpoche.”
On Midsummer’s Day, we met with Khenpo Phuntsho Tashi, the director of the National Museum of Bhutan, who was visiting with a large delegation from Bhutan to attend the Rethinking Development conference in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. As a way of getting to know each other in a brief time, we reviewed a translation of the Third Dodupchen’s teaching on the nature of mind, which had been prepared by one of our colleagues, Pamela Bothwell, working with David Curtis. Khenpo’s facility with this text and its meaning–not to mention with English–made for a very uplifting session.
As mentioned, we produced a new third edition (the last being 1989) of the Chakrasamvara Sadhana (with gender-inclusive language) and revisions to the Chakrasamvara manual based on meetings with the Venerable Tenga Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche. For the first time, we also published a set of color decals as aids for visualizing seed syllables and mantras. These will replace the black and white mantra cards we have used for many years. We created a similar set of decals for the Vajrayogini Sadhana in time for that abhisheka at summer’s end. While this is a new area for us, it has been well received by practitioners.
When Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche bestowed the Rigden Abhisheka in August at Shambhala Mountain Center, he also composed a feast offering to accompany theWerma Sadhana, for which we provided editorial and design assistance. This is now available to all Werma practitioners.
In September, we were fortunate to have our old friends and fellow translators Erik Pema Kunsang and Marcia Binder Schmidt visit Halifax as part of their book tour promoting Blazing Splendor. Along with their wonderful presentations of Tulku Urgyen’s life and teachings, we were able to have several productive meetings on overall translation issues of bringing dharma to the West.
During his visit to Halifax this fall, Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche met with us for an excellent session where we clarified some subtle points in “Mahamudra in Brief” by Maitripa, a chö practice written by the Vidyadhara, and the mahamudra text Dispelling the Darkness of Ignorance. As usual, we compiled, edited, and published teachings given at Khenpo Rinpoche’s Karme Chöling program in 2004, entitled Dharmas of Perfect Purity.
Larry gave sadhana training at the Chakrasamvara abhisheka at SMC this summer with Bruce Robinson and Marcia Usow, and led a Vajrayogini intensive in Boulder right after. Larry led two groups of pilgrims—in the fall to Bhutan and in the spring to Nepal and Tibet—both under the auspices of SMC. He was delighted to have Judy Lief join him for the second trip.
Scott taught “Mind & Its World” and the Uttaratantra at Nithartha Institute in July. He taught Lorik (“Classifications of Mind”) at Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche’s summer Karmê Chöling program and at various weekend programs around North America. He continues to lead a weekly contemplation class, the Ocean and Waves series, with Andy Karr in Halifax.
Scott, Larry and Mark (front row) with Vajrayogini “Mark, Larry, and Scott taught the sadhana training at the Vajrayogini abhisheka given by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche at Dorje Denma Ling this August. Mark continues to teachVajrayogini Sadhana courses in Halifax and will lead a four-karmas fire offering at DDL in the spring. Tingdzin continues to instruct the three-year retreatants at Söpa Chöling as needed.
Class of ’05” at DDL. Photo by Ron Renz.