Sangha Updates

Teachings on Khenpo Ngakchung’s Commentary on Words of My Perfect Teacher

For a sweltering, but inspiring and deeply rewarding, couple of days over 4th of July weekend, a few lucky sangha members were able to receive teachings from Tulku Migmar Tsering on Khenpo Ngakchung’s commentary to Dza Patrul Rinpoche’s essential Nyingma text, Words of My Perfect Teacher.

Khenpo Ngakchung

The course, the shortest of Gomde’s offerings this summer, was nestled between the longer Mahāmudrā, Ngöndro, and Sādhana Ritual courses over the holiday weekend and was originally slated to be taught by Khenpo Sonam Rinpoche. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, Khen Rinpoche had to cancel at the last minute, but fortunately and auspiciously for us, Tulku-la was ready and willing to step up to save the course and teach in Rinpoche’s stead.

Dza Patrul Rinpoche

Tulku-la focused the teachings on a lengthy and profound explanation of the text’s title, structure, lineage, and introduction. And though he claimed to have not studied the root text in years, Tulku-la’s mastery of the material was evident to all.

It was a small, intimate group which allowed us ample time to ask questions and discuss. Tulku-la emphasized the value and benefit of the blunt style of such practice manuals. They’re direct and to-the-point and totally uncompromising in their presentation of the Dharma. It was exciting for some of us to be exposed to that style of text for the first time.

As the teachings progressed, we all enjoyed great fellowship, fantastic food, strong practice sessions and even distant fireworks. Oriane Lavole, as always, managed to provide tireless and superb translation, and Kelly Maclean did her very best to keep us limber with her Qigong teachings on the 5 animals.

In closing, Tulku Migmar encouraged us all to read the full text thoroughly in preparation for further teachings on it next year. All the participants were inspired by this brief introduction and left making aspirations that Khenpo Sonam Rinpoche will begin his teachings in summer 2020.

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.