How does that old song go? You don't always know what you've got until it is gone...
Several times, we have written about Terton Kunzang Dechen Lingpa (1928-2006), and his son and spiritual heir, Dungse Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche. You can catch up on those posts here, here, and here.
In particular, I have written:
"I did not have the karma to meet Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, but I have enormous respect for him based upon the character of his works. His treasures are sublime: this really is the only way to describe them. They are in fact the very nectar-like essence of the Vajrayana... I find that these practices are particularly helpful to Westerners, and Dungse Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche is a no-nonsense, old-style Nyingma lama who knows how to cut through to the essential point."
I would like to add to those remarks by mentioning that Dungse Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche's 2009 Healing Chod Tour, which is now on its final dates, has been incredibly beneficial. We should take a moment to note what the tour, which started back in late May, has accomplished. Rinpoche has given several important empowerments from his father's treasures, a retreat and extended teachings on Yeshe Lama, and managed a full schedule of Healing Chod performances on both coasts and Mexico. In the process, he has quietly established himself as a highly respected, major teacher in his own right -- a real teacher, with the old values. We'll get right down to it, O.K.? This is not one of those cases where a son is basking in the father's glory.
Dungse Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche has achieved success without falling prey to the pitfalls that produce "rockstar" lamas. I do not know the man personally, but people tell me you can actually still sit down and talk to him if you feel the need, and he will actually listen. Undoubtedly, some of the credit for this basic sanity needs to go to his friends and students, who appear to handle his affairs with a certain amount of seasoning and maturity. Although, I want to say that they booked him to jump from the East Coast, to Mexico, then back to the East Coast, then the West Coast -- have a heart guys! I don't think "road dog" translates well in Tibetan. Nevertheless, they seem to be doing a good job of supporting their teacher's mission, and then -- the most important part -- stepping back, and staying out of the way. You don't see a lot of jockeying next to the throne with this crew. Think the early days and you get the idea.
The more contact I have with Terton Kunzang Dechen Lingpa's revealed treasures, which I have been studying in some depth for the past couple of years, the more I realize what an enormous gift Padmasambhava has given the United States -- and this comes during a very critical period in the development of Buddhist practice here. You reach a point in your thinking where you realize and accept that Padmasambhava is watching the transplant of his teachings to the West, and he is actively helping to smooth the rough spots. Does compassion operate otherwise? The treasures that have come to us through Dechen Lingpa's efforts are Great Perfection's great perfection -- very highly appropriate to this place and time: pristine, cogent, and without pretension.
I believe these treasures will be of inestimable benefit to Western practitioners and I would encourage you in the strongest possible terms to make their acquaintance. If you correctly perform the associated practices with the appropriate motivation, it is absolutely assured that signs will quickly come. I am told there are some white hot translators working on the writings, and my hope is that they will be able to favor us with Collected Works, in English, very soon.