Above, is a greatly reduced, panoramic photograph of Rachab Ogyen Samten Choling, in Tibet, as it appeared in 2002. This very large and historic temple, monastery, and retreat complex -- perched on a "dragon's spine" in Kham -- is under the responsibility of the Ninth Ogyen Tulku -- who is now currently on tour in Taiwan, but scheduled to return to the United States very soon, before resuming travel in Asia.
"The connections have fit together
for this teaching to spread to the far ends of the sky
in accordance with the prophecy of the Venerable Padma"
--- Jigme Lingpa
Naturally, the responsibilities that tulkus face when it comes to monasteries can be rather heavy. In the present instance, it should be understood that Rachab Ogyen Samten Choling is just one of several monasteries in Tibet under Rinpoche's spiritual direction. Thus, it is fair to say his responsibilities are heavier then most.
Today, on the occasion of an auspicious lunar eclipse, I would like to take some time to discuss this matter with our many readers.
I know Rinpoche personally, and I think very highly of his qualities. You do not often find such qualities in this world, and it is even more rare to find them in someone of his age. Maybe, we should expect no less. Rinpoche's lineage is most distinguished. He is the reincarnation of Dhanasamskrita, born in the Thogar area of Uddiyana: one of the Eight Vidyadharas of India. He is also counted among the reincarnations of Drokmi Palgyi Yeshe, one of the Twenty-Five Disciples of Padmasambhava. He was formally recognized as such by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, and formally enthroned by Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Kyabje Penor Rinpoche.
Regardless of his credentials, the man himself is his best testament. I liked him instinctively, from the moment I laid eyes on him, and over the years, I have formed the aspiration to help him in any way I can. Regular readers will note that I have referred to him several times in past postings. As a courtesy, I also maintain a small blog for him -- chiefly helping with the English, and so forth. I do not, as some apparently believe, maintain or have access to his Twitter account nor do I maintain or have access to his Facebook account. Rinpoche maintains those himself, with some help from his brother, who is a gifted doctor of Tibetan traditional medicine.
As Westerners, we have been able to pull off some fairly impressive assistance to Tibetan monasteries overseas. We have been able to materially aid quite a number of charismatic teachers, and to help them realize their visions of this world. However, I do not think of that as "us helping them," so much as I recognize this as a symbiotic process where we are the true beneficiaries.
The reason I bring this up is because I have received several letters and comments, all to the effect that "the good old days" are long past, and it is impossible to make a meaningful, individual connection with a teacher of substance who actually gives a damn.
In some ways, that is very true.
Nevertheless, that is not strictly true. There is an opportunity here to make a connection with Ogyen Tulku that I think is very precious and rare. He is perhaps the best qualified teacher in the world today to transmit certain particular, highly specific teachings that have great significance to our time, and to the issues we are facing in the West. Furthermore, he is honest: he is focused on the Dharma. He is not out to make a name for himself -- not out for the "rockstar lama" circuit.
I have been extremely fortunate in this lifetime to meet and have a personal connection with several great lamas. In a few cases, because of the time and the place, I was able to meet some of them when they were around the age Ogyen Tulku is now. In so many ways, he reminds me of those lamas in the past. You know, over a period of 45 years or so, you get a feeling for things. You get a feeling for what is genuine and what is not.
So, although because of my own shortcomings, I was not able to do very much with the remarkable opportunities I had, there is still a developed sense of being able to appreciate and value the true qualities of those who it is useful to appreciate and value. Many of you no doubt have the same experience, and can relate to what I am saying. If you spend much time around your teacher, after a while, you begin to realize certain qualities when you see them -- even if you are as dull witted as I seem to be.
Although the primary economies that support Tibetan Buddhism are now under great stress -- as is the world economy - and although there is, admittedly, a certain "greying" of interest in Tibetan Buddhism, the information I receive through DTBA leads me to believe -- or, at least hope -- that there are many who are seeking a meaningful connection with a legitimate teacher, and many more who would benefit by cultivating such a connection with Ogyen Tulku.
I wish I were younger. I wish I had not thrown away a fortune. Yet, there are those of you who are currently young and energetic enough to make a difference. There are those of you who managed your finances better than I managed mine. It is my suggestion that you should get together and try to help Ogyen Tulku. It is my prayer you will get together and try to help Rachab Ogyen Samten Choling.
Ogyen Tulku bestows an empowerment in Tibet, 2002
DTBA has an amazing readership, and in the past, we have been able to accomplish things that might otherwise seem improbable, or difficult. I am in fact frequently amazed at the resources available to our readership. We have people from all walks of life -- some quite humble, some quite prominent and powerful -- yet, all of our readers are uniformly dedicated to supporting Tibetan Buddhism in any way possible. Really, we have an absolutely outstanding on-line community of the best people I have ever met.
Rinpoche's worldwide organization is called the Buddha of Compassion Society. He has a presence in Canada, Taiwan, India, and Massachusetts, in the U.S.A. He also tours to various other states in America. The organization is in its embryonic stages, and they can use all the help they can get.
Won't you please, after reading this, consider offering your assistance? If you feel as if you would like an introduction, then please write to me, and I will introduce you.
In order to inculcate some clear confidence among those who have the seed of connection with a precious master of the sublime Dzongchen, I have set down this word-map to the Land of Liberation. To those who have aspirations, please remember these words:
"Bend the bow of practice without slack.Attach the bowstring of commitment that's not feigned.Draw together the thumb and notch of connections and aspiration.To shoot the arrow is to shoot at every kingdom.To hit is to hit those with whom there's a karmic link.To satisfy is to satisfy their every wish,So that your accomplishment is to accomplish buddhahood in a lifetime."--Jigme Lingpa
The number one question we receive here at DTBA, year in and year out, is "How do I make a connection with a real teacher?" I have always refrained from answering that question, but now I have answered from my heart.
May it be auspicious.