Regardless of all the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, monks attending the Ngagyur Nyingma College, Mindrolling, have been following the full curriculum of the college as usual. All monks followed protocols of COVID-19 when attending the classes. As is the norm at all institutions of Tibetan monasteries and colleges, free education, meals and lodging are provided to all monk students. In addition to this here at Mindroling college, H. E. Minling Khenchen Rinpoche gives pocket money of Rs.500 monthly to each monks.
This is the rain retreat for one and a half months from the 15th day of the 6th lunar month to the 30th day of the 7th lunar month. The retreat is held in accordance with the instructions of the Buddha in the Vinaya Sutra directing all monks to observe certain restrictions and engage themselves in meditation and practices for the period. Khenpos and Lonpons gave teachings each day and ‘Sojong’ or confessions are offered by the sangha during this retreat. Many butter lamps are offered and pujas are done during the retreat. On the evening of the 30th, the last day of the retreat, selected monks give teachings and expound the Dharma to the community. The retreat is usually followed by a 3-5 day holiday break for the monks.
Gyen Shedrup la (1925-2021)one of the senior most Master (Nga Ramjamba) passed away on the 15th day of 2nd month of the Lunar calendar in Lhasa, Tibet. He was 96 years old.He is the last remaining Master of the previous generation of Mindrolling lineage. On the 22nd day of the 2nd Lunar month, his kudung will be taken to Mindroling monastery, Lhoka for cremation according to the tradition.
Brief life story of Gyen Shedrupla
After the cultural revolution in Tibet, Gyenla along with Lt. Tenzin Nyimala, revived all the Mindrolling rituals and ceremonies. They continued to teach to all the younger generations who were newly joined the monastery.
After Gyenla was invited to Mindrolling in Dehra Dun, India, he taught all the ceremonial rituals, ritual lama dances, chanting melodies, torma making etc always making sure the monks got it perfectly.
After completing his work, he returned Tibet. All the ceremonies and aspects of the ceremonies that continues to be followed today are the fruition of his contribution.
Lt. Tenzin Nyima la also had passed away a few years ago in Tibet. He too was invited to Mindrolling in India where he gave the oral transmissions of Rigzin Gyurme Terdag Lingpa’s Kabum to the sangha and then left for tibet. After arriving in Tibet, he stayed in solitary retreat till he passed away.
Mindrolling Sangha in Tibet, India and all the followers in the world are indebted to them for their diligence, patience, kindness and great efforts in giving this generations the continuity of Mindrolling rituals which will flourish till eternity. We as the the followers of this lineage are indebted to them. We feel a great sense of loss, deep gratitude and pride in their great contributions to the lineage.We hope that the guidance they have provided may continue through this generation and the future.
Gyen Shedrup la and Tenzin Nyima la were the last of the older generation of Mindrolling Sangha.
The Day and stars were in perfect harmony for the Ceremony of consecration of the Memorial stupa of Lt. Lorde Gyari Rinpoche, father of H.E. Tulku Penam Rinpoche. It was held in Mindroling Monastery. The ceremony known as RABNE in Tibetan was led by Minling Khenchen Rinpoche, Khenpos and all the senior most monks of Mindrolling and was hosted by H.E. Tulku Penam Rinpoche and his family.
Brief life story of Lt. Lodi Gyari Rinpoche(Pema Lodro Gyaltsen)
Lodi Gyari Rinpoche (Pema Lodrö Gyaltsen, Tib. རྒྱ་རི་བློ་གྲོས་) (1949-2018) was one of the founding members of the Tibetan Youth Congress and the Executive Chairman of the Board of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). He was also the special envoy to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington D.C., USA.
In terms of the Nyingma lineage, he received a traditional monastic education as the tulku of Khenchen Jampal Dewé Nyima from Lumorap Monastery in Tibet, before fleeing the country with his family in 1959. His predecessor was one of the main teachers of Dudjom Rinpoche.
Lodi Gyari Rinpoche passed away in San Francisco on 29 October 2018.
Annual ritual dance of 8 manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava was held in Mindroling Monastery today. Due to the covid 19 restrictions, no public was allowed to attend.
H.E. Minling Khenchen Rinpoche gave the oral trasmission of Tri Yeshe Lama to the sangha of Mindrolling. The transmission was held in the shrine hall of Ngagyur Nyingma college. The text is one of the most important cycle of teachings of Terton Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798). He was a tertön of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and was the promulgator of the Longchen Nyingthik, the Heart Essence teachings of Longchenpa, from whom, according to tradition, he received a vision in which the teachings were revealed. The Longchen Nyingthik eventually became the most famous and widely practiced cycle of Dzogchen teachings.
Tri Yeshe Lama is the most important practice manual on the Great Perfection teachings of the Nyingma tradition. The teachings and practices taught in Yeshe Lama encompass the innermost cycle of upadesha teachings and clearly define the Dzogchen practices of trekchö, cutting through to original purity, and tögal, crossing over with spontaneous presence. These are the swift practices that can lead to the attainment of the rainbow body and the complete attainment of buddhahood, and this is the same path that has been followed by many of the great spiritual Masters of India and Tibet. Consequently, if one studies and trains in the Yeshe Lama correctly and with deepest respect and diligence with a qualified Master, the possibility of enlightenment within one lifetime is within reach.
Today the 5th January, Mindroling Sangha celebrated the birthday of H.E. Minling Khenchen Rinpoche.
On 7th December, after the completion of Oral transmission of Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche’s teachings, given by Ven. Khenpo Tsegyal to the Mindroling Sangha, Minling Khenchen Rinpoche bestowed the Manjushree Empowerment or wang to the sangha. This empowerment is from the 32 volumn teachings of Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche.
There are two empowerments in his teachings. Wisdom and long life empowerments of Manjushree. Both were bestowed to the sangha. This concludes the final completion of oral transmission of Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche for the year 2020.
The oral transmission of Jamgon Ju Mipham Rinpoche’s teachings which is about 32 volumes has successfully completed on the 6th of December. Jamgön Ju Mipham Gyatso, or Mipham Jamyang Namgyal Gyamtso (also known as “Mipham the Great”) was a very influential philosopher and polymath of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. His teachings, 32 volumes, were on topics such as painting, poetics, sculpture, alchemy, medicine, logic, philosophy and tantra. Mipham Rinpoche’s works are still central to the scholastic curriculum in Nyingma monasteries today. He is also considered one of the leading figures in the Ri-me (non-sectarian) movement in Tibet.
Venerable Khenpo Tsegyal tirelessly with dedication, throughout the 45 days gave the transmission to the Mindroling Sangha. Although lay people could not attend due to the restrictions of Covid 19 but they contributed by offering meals to the Sangha for which we are grateful.
On November 12th 2020, I was invited to inaugurate the bust statue of H.E. Payul Dzongna Rinpoche at Dhondupling, Tibetan settlement in Clement Town, Dehra Dun in North India. After we had completed the program that was scheduled for that day, I came to know that many people, especially the younger generation of Tibetans, from the age 15 to 45, had no idea who Payul Dzongna Rinpoche was and what his contribution to the Tibetan community was spiritually and in other ways. They just knew he was a Rinpoche (spiritual master), that’s it. So I am here today sharing what little I know about him or heard about him with you all.
His Eminence Payul Dzongna Rinpoche was born in the year 1931 in Tibet. There Rinpoche completed his studies in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and received many teachings from great masters in Tibet during that time. In the year 1964, due to the difficult situation in Tibet, many Tibetans felt insecure and fled to India, so did Rinpoche. The Indian Government without any hesitation generously welcomed around 80,000 to 90,000 Tibetans. They also gave land to them to build what they then thought was their temporary settlements. During the first year in India, Tibetans had to go through many difficulties, food was scarce, funds were low, they were not accustomed to the hot climate and the language was foreign to them.
Under the circumstances the Indian government did their level best. Due to the sudden change of climate, unfamiliar environment and lack of immunity to new disease, many Tibetans died. After Rinpoche’s arrival in India, Rinpoche along with H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and Gungtang Tsultrim (Rinpoche’s childhood friend) served the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharmasala under the leadership of His Holiness Dalai Lama.
They were in the Education Department along with other Rinpoches and other lay Tibetan people. Realizing that education was a very important and integral part for the survival of our language and culture, they worked very hard for many years with the best of their ability. The basic format of the modern school curriculums which still continues to be followed in schools for Tibetans in the remote places and in the settlements were conceived during their service. Later, due to differences of viewpoints with the authorities, 3 of them and many others left their service. Rinpoche then went to Rewlasar (Tso Pema), the holy pilgrimage place of Guru Padmasambhava which was around 4 hours’ drive away from Dharmasala. Dudjom Rinpoche left for Kalimpong and Gungtang Tsultrim left for Clement Town, Dehradun. During Rinpoche’s stay in Rewalsar, Rinpoche came to realize that the religious sector was in a poor state. In Tibet there was no problem as both the religious and the civil sectors were flourishing but as refugees in a new country, everything had to rebuild again from scratch, especially for the sake of the younger generation of Tibetans. As such there in Rewalsar, Rinpoche decided to work towards the continuity of Buddha’s teachings. Thus Rinpoche started the Ngagyur Nyingma Philoshopy and Research College which was the first of its kind in India, with just few students.
While Rinpoche was in Rewalsar guiding the monk students, Rinpoche’s childhood friend, Gungtang Tsultrim, on his request had been given land by the Indian government in Clement Town, Dehra Dun. This land is now the famous Dhondupling, Tibetan Colony, Clement town, which is known to be one of the most advanced Tibetan settlements in India and also where Mindroling Monastery, main seat of Mindroling Lineage in exile is located.He had also opened a sulfur factory(chuna) and a handicraft factory for the Tibetan people to earn their livelihood. Although Rinpoche and Gungtang Tsultrim were in different places at that time they were in close contact with each other. Gungtang Tsultrim invited Rinpoche and offered him the land. It was a barren land which used to be an army camp during the British time. When Rinpoche arrived there he realised compared to Tso Pema , the land was conveniently close to the town , Dehra dun. Connectivity to other places and access to resources was easier than in Tso Pema. Rinpoche saw the potential in the land and accepted the invitation. Rinpoche continued with his Ngagyur Nyingma College curriculum here.
During his time here, Rinpoche and H.E. Khochen Rinpoche had discussions about the Nyingma tradition, how to sustain it and about setting up Mindroling, as being the source of Nyingma Lineage. This is how the main seat of Mindroling was established to what it is now. Rinpoche provided financial support to many other projects and provided fooding and lodging to the younger monks who came there to study. Although Rinpoche himself had financial constraints not having any personal wealth to support those in need, he would borrow money to continue to help them. Many had benefited from Rinpoche’s compassionate generosity. A few of those who completed their studies and are elderly now continue to serve the monastery and community. A few have left the monastery but are successful in their own life. Around the year 1996/97 Rinpoche, with great difficulty was able to payback the debt. The debt he incurred was not for himself but for the people in need. Few years after Rinpoche was in Clement town, just when things were going fine, Gungtang Tsultrim, his childhood friend was unfortunately assassinated.It was rumoured that he was assassinated by a Tibetan due to disagreements and because of political intrigue. It was a big loss for the Tibetan settlement here in Clement Town.
After his childhood friend’s passing, Rinpoche was elected as the President of the settlement in succession to his friend. After a few years, Rinpoche got permission to go to Tibet. There he helped in the reconstruction of the Payul monstery. Rinpoche also traveled to many different countries teaching the Dharma. Rinpoche continued his work in Dehra dun but due to the continued political intrigue in the Tibetan community, it was difficult for Rinpoche to stay in India, so He left for Nepal. There in Nepal Rinpoche build a monastery and school for the people. Around the age of 56, at the end of the year 1987 Rinpoche passed away. It was a great loss for the Tibetan people and especially for the younger generation. After Rinpoche’s passing, H.E. Khochen Rinpoche was elected as the President of the settlement and continues to remain so.
Among all of his great works one of H.E. Payul Zongna Rinpoche’s biggest contribution is being the Pioneer who reestablished Mindroling Monastery in India and inviting HH. The 11th Mindroling Trichen Rinpoche and his family to Mindroling Monastery from Kalimpong. His was known to be an honest and straight forward person, fearless in expressing his opinions and not hypocritical. So today in remembrance of this great being I am sharing with you his memorable life story and his contributions to the Tibetan society in exile and in Tibet. This memorable bust statue is not a show piece or decoration piece. we need to know about Rinpoche’s life-story, appreciate his contribution to the Tibetan community and the younger generation need to know about him.Whatever wherever we are now, the benefits,the recognition in the world,who we are as Tibetans, why we enjoy those benefits, are due the contributions of great people like him who sacrificed their life for the continuity of our traditions or religious beliefs. We should never forget them.
This is my short message.
Mindroling College celebrated HH Minling Trichen Rinpoche’s birthday on the 10th November. May His Holiness live long with best of health and May His Dharma activities flourish for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Venerable Khenpo Tsegyal, one of the senior most Khenpo of Mindroling, Is giving complete oral transmission of Mipham Rinpoche’s teachings to mindroling sangha. The transmission is held in the shrine of Ngagyur Nyingma College. It would take almost one and half month to finish.