Excerpt from the Liner Notes from Vol. II
THE CHARIOT OF BODHICITTA
In 2001, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche returned to Dzongsar Monastery in Eastern Tibet. Two exquisite photographs in a book entitled, On the Path: Tibet capture the moment in which Khyentse Rinpoche rides on horseback into a huge crowd of Tibetan nomads. In black and white, photographer Alan Kozlowski conveys something both medieval and holy in this portrait of Khyentse Rinpoche.
In July 2003, Khyentse Rinpoche made a second visit to Khadro Ling in Tres Coroas, Brazil, to continue teachings on Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva [Bodhicharyavatara]. He arrived in an elegant black and gold Cherokee Jeep and was just about to release his second film, Travellers and Magicians, to the international film festival circuit. In full techni-color, there is something very hip and holy about Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
Dzongsar Monastery was once the site of the palace of the Tibetan Prince Gesar of Ling. Khadro Ling, the site of the first traditional Tibetan temple in Latin America, was founded by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. Both places are centers of the teachings and practices of the precious bodhicitta, the enlightened wisdom and compassion in us all. In all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Shantideva’s Bodhicharavatara is considered to be the quintessence of the teachings on bodhicitta.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche writes in the introduction to Kozlowski’s book that nine hundred horsemen greet him simply for the name he carries as the third incarnation of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche – principal lama at Dzongsar Monastery. This monastery was the seat of the Rime or nonsectarian movement and excelled in the teaching of traditional art and all Tibetan Buddhist schools of thought and practice. This greeting was in fact a testimony to the enduring blessings and teachings of the person who personified the very spirit of nonsectarianism.
When he teaches, Khyentse Rinpoche draws easy comparisons between such notable filmmakers as Ridley Scott, John Boorman and Abbas Kiraostami along side great Buddhist thinkers: Chandrakirti, Nagarjuna and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – his own root teacher. What do film and Buddhism have in common? The mind has the potential to perceive life as cinema.
In the Vajrayana path, Rinpoche tells us, one only needs the merit of devotion to the teacher – even a split second – to become in tune with our own true inner movie lover. Because of our lack of merit, we cannot hear the person sitting next to us in the cinema – the teacher – tell us that this film is just a projection of light through celluoid. We cannot hear them whispering that this life, this movie, is not real, that it is essenceless. A single moment of devotion has immense merit. Then we too can have the teacher’s own freedom of mind, his or her depth of being.
On CD 1, track 1, Dzongsar Rinpoche quotes his own precious teacher, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, from a time in Bodh Gaya when he was his attendent. As an example of bodhicitta, both typical and powerful from the Sutras, he states:
“If there’s a chariot and there’s no horse to pull this chariot and if there are five hundred arhats on this chariot, Shakyamuni Buddha might condescend to dragging this chariot with his toe. But let’s say suddenly, if there’s one human being who has heard the name bodhicitta, then Shakyamuni said that he himself would have to drag this chariot with his neck.”
At Khadro Ling in July of 2003, there was not just one human being, but four hundred, who wanted to hear the name bodhicitta from the man who is a living embodiment of it. To be in the presence of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is to be in all holy places at once: the Palace of Gesar, Dzongsar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Khadro Ling. He is the very presence of the living dharma.