|Excerpt from the Liner Notes from Vol. I
DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE AND
CHAGDUD TULKU RINPOCHE
By Chagdud Khadro Incredible though it seems in retrospect, we were concerned that we might fall asleep. During the weeks prior to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s visit to Chagdud Gonpa Khadro Ling in southern Brazil, the sangha was driven by a powerful wish to present him with the best possible appearance –a wish thwarted by the general untidiness of the ongoing construction, statue and stupa projects. Items on the work list began to be sorted with a terse, “BD or AD?” Meaning, “Before Dzongsar or After Dzongsar?” And people began to wonder aloud if they might not fall into stupified exhaustion the first chance they had time to sit down, which would be the first teaching.
Such concerns evaporated as soon as Khyentse Rinpoche arrived. Lithe and quick, he sprang from the car at the temple gate rather than waiting to be driven to the steps as we had planned. Leaning heavily on attendants, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche walked down the steps to greet Khyentse Rinpoche with the traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarf and to escort him to the shrine room where the students offered their own prostrations and scarves. The crowd who participated in this first ceremony was much smaller than the 360 persons who would assemble for the first teaching a few hours later, but for some of us versed in the continuing story of these two lamas, witnessing their reunion was profoundly moving.
In about 1945, when Chagdud Tulku was a teenager who had just completed his first three-year retreat, and Dzongsar Khyentse was His Holiness Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, one of the most illustrious masters of the twentieth century, Chagdud Rinpoche journeyed with the great Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche to request that His Holiness Khyentse Chokyi Lodro indicate the whereabouts of two important tulkus of Tenp’hel Gonpa [in the Kham region of eastern Tibet]. Several days later His Holiness gave the Tenp’hel Gonpa lamas a letter with precise instructions about the location of the two tulkus — how far their villages were from the monastery, their ages, the names of their parents, all the information necessary to find the boys without contradiction or doubt. To this day the monastery is blessed by those infallible indications. On the occasion Chagdud Rinpoche also received from Khyentse Chokyi Lodro Rinpoche the Rinchen Tangyud empowerments and caught his first glimpse of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who was attending the empowerments.
The auspicious connection with His Holiness Khyentse Chokyi Lodro continued through another meeting in eastern Tibet, many meetings in Lhasa (Chagdud Rinpoche often accompanied his root guru Khenpo Dorje, when he visited His Holiness) and later, with their ages reversed and the teenage Dzongsar Khyentse recognized as the tulku of His Holiness Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, meetings in India and Nepal. Then, about six years ago, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche fulfilled a long-standing request and offered the empowerments into the treasures of Dewai Dorje Sera Khadro at Rigdzin Ling, Chagdud Rinpoche’s main center in California. This was an occasion of consummate joy and blessing.
The sangha in Brazil had repeatedly asked Khyentse Rinpoche to teach here and fortunately our request coincided with his own aspiration to teach Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara on five continents. He brought this text alive with his examples, leading his listeners into a miasma of Indian sense pleasures one moment and in the next stranding them in an Istanbul coffee shop, waiting for 70 years to accomplish a single bodhisattva action. His teachings helped move the Bodhicharyavatara off the shelf of dusty classics and onto the bedside table, where it can be picked up for daily guidance and inspiration.
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