Even after completing this long and arduous
course of study, Khenchen Rinpoche wanted only to deepen his knowledge
and practice of the Dharma. With the same intensity that he brought to
his earlier studies, Rinpoche sought out and received teachings and instructions
from great Buddhist masters. One was the Venerable Khunu Lama Rinpoche,
with whom Khenchen Rinpoche studied two works of Gampopa The Jewel Ornament
of Liberation and The Precious Garland of the Excellent Path. Rinpoche's
studies with the Venerable Khunu Lama also included Mahamudra and many
of the songs of Milarepa.
Maintaining a balance between theoretical understanding and the practice of meditation, Khenpo Rinpoche began a three-year retreat in 1978 under the guidance of the enlightened master Khyunga Rinpoche. During this time, he was able to deepen and enhance his understanding of The Five-fold Path of Mahamudra and the profound Gong Chik text of Lord Jigten Sumgon. He also received many other transmissions.
In 1985, Khenchen Rinpoche traveled to the
main seat of the Drikung Kagyu lineage, Drikung Thel, in Tibet. There,
he was able to receive personal blessings, as well as instructions and
transmissions of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa, from the enlightened
master Venerable Pachung Rinpoche.
Wanting the teachings of Dharma to reach as
many people as possible, Khenchen Rinpoche has quickly adapted himself
to Western forms of communication. He has made appearances on television,
been a guest on many radio programs, lectured extensively at colleges and
universities, and spoken to the public through countless newspaper articles.
Between 1983 and 1990, Khenchen Rinpoche singlehandedly translated critical
Drikung Kagyu practices, prayers and histories into English. The originals
of the texts were all written out by his hand: Achi Chokyi Drolma, Amitabha,
Bodhicitta, Chakrasamvara, Chod, the complete Ngondro, Five-fold Mahamudra,
Four-Session Guru Yoga, Green Tara, Lama Chopa and tsok, Mahakala, Mandala
offering, Manjushri, Medicine Buddha, Milarepa Guru Yoga, Nyung Ne, Peaceful
Guru Padmasambhava, Phowa, Refuge, Chenrezig, Vajrapani, Vajrasattva, Vajrayogini,
and White Tara. The Illusory Body teachings, Supplication to Tara, Treasury
of Benefit and Happiness, Meaningful to Behold, many other prayers and
three of his four books were all translated and published during this time.
This priceless work formed the essential base from which the holy Dharma
could be taught and practiced.
In more recent years, Khenchen Rinpoche spends
a great deal of his time traveling in order to give teachings and lead
retreats. He has established centers throughout the US and in Chile, and
he frequently visits in Europe, especially Germany and Austria, as well
as Southeast Asia. Last year, he taught the Gong Chik to the monks and
nuns at the Drikung Kagyu Institute in Dehra Dun, India. With the financial
assistance of the Tibetan Meditation Center's Text Project, Rinpoche arranged
for 1,200 copies of the text to be printed, and then distributed them to
monks, nuns and monasteries in India, Nepal and Tibet.
The Garland of Mahamudra Practices is very
helpful for those who already have a little understanding of the Dharma.
It contains a description of all the Ngondro practices: the four foundation
thoughts (precious human life, awareness of impermanence, karma and the
suffering of samsara) , the four extraordinary preliminary practices (refuge,
Vajrasattva, mandala offering, and Guru Yoga), yidam practice, special
guru yoga and a mahamudra session itself. The mahamudra section a little
more detailed, but still quite condensed. There are basically two points
-- establishing the view of mahamudra and then how to practice it.
The Great Kagyu Masters is a translation of a 13th Century text which puts the life stories of the great masters together in one volume. It is very helpful to practitioners to have these accounts available for inspiration and guidance.
Two other books are in production and will be released soon. One is a Handbook for Practitioners, which is designed for study by individuals or groups without ready access to a lama. The second one is a translation of A Hundred Verses of Advice, a profound yet accessible teaching written by Drikung Dharmakirti.
In each case, Rinpoche has taken enormous care to make the translations as precise as possible. Because he himself has been so moved by these words that come directly from great masters, he believes it is critical that these same words be presented in an unadulterated manner. For example, to translate this text, he and his editor went through the entire text word by word four times, sometimes spending an hour or more on a single phrase or sentence. It is his sincere hope that, through this painstaking effort, many others will be as inspired as he was by these precious Dharma teachings.
Remembering the struggles of his early years, Khenchen Rinpoche inspires and supports monks, nuns and lay people in their practice of the Dharma and is always ready to assist them in whatever way he can. To all, he gives of himself freely. With his heart and mind turned firmly toward the Dharma, he compassionately and patiently shows the way.