This month is the 84th birthday of the great yogi-scholar practitioner, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. For more details on his remarkable life please visit his official website here.
I first met and came across the view of Shentong and the name of Rinpoche when I studied the Uttaratantrashastra by Maitreya at the Rigpe Dorje Institute, Pullahari Monastery in 2012. At that time, the Pullahari Khenpo’s translator was Jim Scott, an old-time student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. The view taught at Pullahari, as followed by Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, as well as Khenpo Rinpoche is Shentong. It was through this marvellous introduction to Shentong that led me to do further research into it. In addition, I was fortunate to meet Khenpo Rinpoche at his Nepal nunnery twice.
One of his students, scholar and teacher, Lama Shenphen Hookham, wrote an extended analysis of Shentong and its connection with Buddha Nature in The Buddha Within (SUNY, 1991). Aside from many other texts and commentaries, Khenpo Rinpoche also gave teachings, now a book called
Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness, in which the view of Shentong is taught as the peak of that progress.
Khenpo Rinpoche is also the head of the Karma Drubdre nunnery in Trongsa, Bhutan where HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, another great Shentong master and practitioner, has just commenced giving the Kagyu Ngag Dzod transmissions. He was a former teacher of Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche at Rumtek monastery during the 1970’s.
As part of remembering and showing gratitude to this great Tibetan Buddhist master, I am working on a new translation of the ‘Eight Swirlings of a Spear in Space‘ (mdung skor brgyad) by Gotsangpa Dorje (rgod tshang pa mgon po rdo rje) (1189-1258) , with a compiled and edited commentary of recent teachings on this short text by 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. This wonderful and profound text is a song that Khenpo Rinpoche used to teach a lot.
Also, here is a new translation in English of the ‘Long-Life Prayer’ for Khenpo Rinpoche (together with the Tibetan script) written by HH 17th Karmapa.
Aspiration Words for Lasting Stability
Prayer for Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
composed by HH 17th Karmapa.
Gloriously endowed with the universe of qualities of ethical discipline,
Illuminating each distinctive meaning of the ocean of Dharma,
Chanting inspiring songs of the profound view and meditation,
Genuine spiritual friend, please remain long and stable!
This Aspiration Prayer was composed for the incomparable spiritual friend, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche by HH 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, at Gyuto Monastery India, after being urged and requested again and again by several Asian devotees.
Translated by Adele Tomlin, 1st March, 2019.