A New Book of: Songs of Realization and Pith Instructions by Khenpo Gangshar Wangpo
Khenpo Gangshar Wangpo (“Lord of Whatever Arises,” 1925 – 1960) was a great scholar and mahasiddha, one of the primary teachers who pointed out the nature of mind to the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, thoroughly training him in the scholarly and meditative traditions.
This is a collection of 23 shorter works from Khenpo Gangshar’s Sungbum (“Collected Tibetan Works”). Most of these are pith instructions or songs of realization pointing out the nature of mind. They are framed by beginning with the “Guru Yoga: Gathering of Blessings” and ending with several prophecies, an aspiration, and a protector chant.
One quarter of Trungpa Rinpoche’s writings from Tibet are about, directed towards, or dedicated to Khenpo Gangshar, far more than any other teacher or subject. And yet throughout his teaching in the West, the Vidyadhara made very little mention of Khenpo Gangshar. It is as if Khenpo Gangshar were a hidden gem in his life.
After the Vidyadhara gave his first extended and formal vajrayana teachings in the West at the 1973 Vajradhatu Seminary, he dedicated the transcript of those talks “To Khenpo Gangshar Rangdröl, who showed me the way” as a sign of his deep respect for him. There is also a twenty-page description of his scholarly relationship with Khenpo Gangshar in Trungpa Rinpoche’s outer autobiography, Born in Tibet. Beyond that, he referred to Khenpo Gangshar in his teachings only a handful of times.
We were very happy to receive Khenpo Gangshar’s Sungbum ten years ago, gradually turning our attention and work towards it. It’s not often that we have the good fortune to collaborate with other translators, so it was especially delightful to work with Khenpo David Karma Choephel, Tracy Davis, Steve Gilbert, and Sean Price. While it takes longer to work collaboratively, we feel the result shows the benefit of our willingness to lend our ears and bend our minds in each other’s direction.
To help launch this new book, Mark Nowakowski, the coordinator of the project, will lead an in-person and online weekend of study, contemplation, and meditation at Karme Chöling, beginning on “Khenpo Gangshar Day,” Friday, March 18th this year. He will lead a similar weekend at Dorje Denma Ling, May 20 – 22.
The book is perfect bound with a photo of Khenpo Gangshar included.