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Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche

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by Sangharakshita

... or 5 emanations. One for body, one for speech, one for mind, one for guna, and one for karma, or quality and action, or essence and action. So, Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche, Bhante's teacher, was the activity emanation of Jamyang Khyentse The Great, and Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, who was born later, well in fact 14 yrs after Jamyang Khyentse The Great's death was recognized as the mind incarnation. And he was recognized by one of Jamyang Khyentse The Great's disciples. Apparently he saw this young, aristocratic monk, or boy as I think he was at that time, and said "'right, I know this one. This one is Jamyang Khyentse" and quite quickly after then of course he was taken to the monastery and educated in the way that most of the young lamas are. Probably his education was not too different from the sort of education that Dhardo Rimpoche had had.

And he excelled in his education, and very early in his youth, in the middle of his - it seems to be quite a common story, but anyway - in the middle of his studies, he came down very very ill, very seriously ill, he was almost on death's door. And somehow they got him back to good health, and his physician said "this illness will recur unless you get married" so he instructed that when Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche grew older, he should marry. And of course according to the instruction of the physician he did marry. And as far as I know he had a conventional wife, not, I don't know whether his wife was partner in the, er, in the Tantric initiations and Tantric rituals that some lamas go through. I think she was a conventional wife and he had by her at least 2 daughters. I don't know whether he had any more... I think it was just 2 daughters.

And as an incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse, he got to be well known in eastern Tibet.

I wouldn't say very well known, but he got to be well known. He was brought up in the Nyingmapa tradition, and he had been recognized by Ningpan (?), who was a Nyingmapa lama himself, Ningpan Rimpoche (?), and he was brought up as part of the Nyingmapa tradition. But as he grew older, and as he appreciated what Jamyang Khyentse had been doing, Jamyang Khyentse The Great had been doing in his previous life, he thought he too should not maintain strict limitation within just one school, that he should actually receive teachings, and he received initiations from all the other teachers. And he thought that what he should do is he should try to regain all the teachings which the previous 3 lamas, Jamyang Khyentse The Great, Jamgon Contrul and Patrul Rimpoche had gathered together. He should receive all those teachings. So that's what he did. He set out to look for the disciples of those teachers and receive back again the teachings, and to continue the work of hunting out rare and precious teachings. And this activity with I think not just Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche but with your own teacher Jamyang Khyentse, that activity went on for almost all their lives, just, you know, continue looking for another thing that had been missed, to bring it back in to the stream, to the main stream. I'll come back to this just later on in the story.

Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche in his youth, he also formed a friendship with the new Jamgon Khyentse Rimpoche. Again there were 2 or 3 other incarnations of JamgongK, we'll call him The Great as well, Jamyang Khyentse The Great, the previous one. And he formed a strong friendship, spiritual friendship it seemed to have been, with Jamgong Kontrol, one of the Jamyang Khyentses, and he took your teacher Jamyang Khyentse, to be his teacher as well, because he would have been recognized 10 to 14 years before him as a lama. He'd been born 10 to 14 years before him as a lama. So of course by the time he was, Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, was 20 years old, of course Jamyang Khyentse was well into his teaching phase, he was already between 30 and 34 years old, and already imparting many of the initiations which he'd received. So Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche took as one of his main teachers Jamyang Khyentse. One of the other main teachers he took was Tarthang Tulku who was the, this is.. I'm sorry not Tarthang Tulku I beg your pardon, Trungpa Tulku Rimpoche as the 10th Tulku Rimpoche, not the one that we are familiar with from America, but his predecessor, or the previous incarnation. And Tarthang Tulku was the chief abbot of the Surmang group of monasteries in eastern Tibet, which had many of the famous Nyingmapa lamas, and Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche spent many years just in that group of monasteries learning underneath all these different lamas.

But mainly with Tulku Rimpoche. And it's because of that connection with Tulku Rimpoche, that later on with the 11th tulku, the tulku which came to the West and settled in America, that that Tulku Rimpoche took Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche as being his teacher. So the teachings sort of like leap-frogging forward. You can get the impression that, you know, whatever had been passed to Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, he'd pass it on to Tulku Rimpoche, and Tulku Rimpoche would pass it on to his disciples.

So apart from that, I don't know much more about his life in Tibet. You know people came from all around to receive teachings from him. And sometimes when you pick up books by different lamas, or different Tibetans who are telling their life story, you sometimes hear that they went to such-and-such a monastery, and there was an initiation, or set of initiations, from Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche. Or maybe they had initiations from Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche alongside many other tulkus, and among the tulkus who are often mentioned, Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche often appears.

I've just finished reading a biography by Lady Jamyang Shakya, who is the wife of one of the main Sakyapa lamas, and you know she tells how her husband, who is being groomed to be the leader of the Sakyapa sect, the Sakyapa school, he decided to go to eastern Tibet and study with Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche and so off they went to eastern Tibet. And she describes sitting with Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche alongside all these other tulkus. She was the only woman there but she sat with all the other tulkus, and she names them all, and of course Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche is there with the rest of them, all receiving initiations from Jamyang Khyentse, who was very very famous.

So, later on of course, trouble comes in Tibet, in the 1950s and I think it's round about 1957, 1958, that Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, along with many other Nyingmapa lamas in eastern Tibet - because it's eastern Tibet that suffered many of the difficulties first of all - decided that you know look you know, it's just not on staying here, and decided to leave. Jamyang Khyentse himself sent notes to his main disciples saying he was leaving the West, the East, of Tibet, there was no point in being there, in fact there was no point in being in Tibet, and he was going to go and settle in India, and many of his disciples followed suit. And I think that was part of the reason that Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche came out of Tibet. But he left a bit later than Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche, and because of that, he like many of the others, had great difficulty in actually getting out of Tibet, and it was quite a close thing. One of these you know gruelling stories, of you know climbing over passes, and sliding down glaciers and whatnot, and only just making it Bhutan before the Chinese get to them. And when he arrived, with his wife and his family, he was apparently very very poor. He took, he brought almost nothing with him from Tibet, just as I understand just a few texts, and a few little belongings was all he managed to escape with. And I think he was admitted entry into Bhutan, or at least into India, travelled through Bhutan, where he settled in Kalimpong.

And that's where your story will take over, and I won't say anymore about that part.

And he lived in Kalimpong for some years, and during some of the years, I don't know whether he was in Kalimpong, I don't know where he was, but he had a premonition or he had a vision of some sort. And the vision was that he saw a monastery being built in Bodhnath in Nepal, just outside Kathmandu. And he decided well we've got to build this monastery, and he set about and he built this monastery, in Nepal. And that became his main seat. There were a number of smaller, other monasteries where he'd give teachings, and go round making sure that his monks and his disciples were getting on okay, but the main seat was this, well it turned out to be quite a large monastery, in Nepal.

And he got to be quite well known, especially as some of the Nyingmapa lamas, the more famous ones, had died. And people began to rely on him more and more to pass on important initiations. In fact the Dalai Lama himself received some initiations from him, which he wouldn't have had those initiations otherwise, because only Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche had had them by that time. But also the Dalai Lama regarded it was very important that he receive even teachings that he'd had from other people, that he should also have them from Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, because he thought that his understanding and appreciation of Buddhist teachings was quite incomparable really.

One of the things that Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche spent his life doing was studying and writing. Apparently his writings are quite extensive. I saw a pile in one of the monasteries of texts that he'd apparently written, which was you know like Tibetan texts, these book, loose-leaf book things. The pile was sitting about this high, and this was Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche's writing. He wrote commentaries on the various lineages which had come down to him, the various philosophical teachings, the basic texts of the Hinayana. He wrote commentaries upon many, many things. He also wrote poetry, and if you get a chance to hunt out a little, it's like a soft back magazine, not just ...

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