Incomparable Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche

Oct 12, 2012 | Views: 2,394
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Ever since I was a young boy, I have always loved reading about high lamas… Even now, I occasionally read biographies of both spiritual and secular people as I find them to be very inspirational. A week ago, I was browsing the internet and found a treasure trove of information on Wikipedia about His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche.

When I was around 17 in Los Angeles, I found a picture of Kyabje Pabongka in a Tibet picture book accidentally and was immediately drawn to him. I reproduced, framed and placed the sacred photo on my shrine. I had natural and incredible faith in Kyabje Pabongka although I didn’t know who he really was. It was spontaneous and natural.

Most of my blog readers will know of Pabongka Rinpoche as the author of the lamrim text, “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand“. This text and many of the texts Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche composed are used in Gaden Shartse monastery and primarily in Kechara. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche also composed the Vajrayogini sadhana and many extensive texts on Yamantaka and Vajrayogini that all the Gelugpa monks use.

Please spend some time reading the contents below… By reading and understanding more about the author of the Lamrim, we will learn to appreciate the greatness of this author and have confidence in the teachings. It is through this gained confidence that we practice Dharma all the way. This will enable us to share the Dharma with others more accurately and help them in their Dharma practice. 

How spiritual you are depends on how much effort you put into your practice and how much you transform…

Tsem Rinpoche


Pabongka Rinpoche

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[Extracted from:]



Pabongka Rinpoche (Tibetan: ཕ་བོང་ཁ་, Wylie: Pha-bong-kha; also spelt Phabongkha), Jampa Tenzin Trinlay Gyatso, (1878–1941) was one of the great Gelug lamas of the modern era of Tibetan Buddhism. He attained his Lingsey Geshe degree at Sera Monastic University, Lhasa, and became a highly influential teacher in Tibet, unusual for teaching a great number of lay people. He was the root Lama of both Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, the two tutors of the present Dalai Lama, and the teacher of most of the other Gelug Lamas who have been bringing the Dharma to the West since they fled Tibet in 1959. Pabongka was offered the regency of the present Dalai Lama but declined the request because “he strongly disliked political affairs.”


Early life and education

Pabongka Rinpoche was born in 1878, at a town called Tsawa Li in the Yeru Shang district of the state of Tsang, north of Lhasa in Tibet.

According to Ribur Rinpoche, one of Je Pabongka’s main disciples: “Lord Pabongka Vajradhara Dechen Nyingpo Pal Zangpo was born north of Lhasa in 1878. His father was a minor official but the family was not wealthy. Although the night was dark, a light shone in the room, and people outside the house had a vision of a protector on the roof.”

As a child he was alleged to exhibit unusual qualities and in his seventh year was taken before Sharpa Chuje Lobsang Dargye, one of the leading religious figures of the day, who “felt sure that the boy must be a reincarnated saint” and foretold that if the child were placed in the Gyalrong House of Sera Mey Monastery, something “wonderful would happen with him in the future.” Later on, he was found to be a reincarnation of the Changkya line, which included the well-known scholar Changkya Rolpay Dorje (1717-1786 AD). The Lamas of this line had done much teaching in the regions of Mongolia and China, including in the court of the Chinese emperor himself, and so the name “Changkya” had strong Chinese connotations. As the Tibetan government and people were already sensitive to the pressures put on them from China, the name “Changkya” was ruled out and the boy declared to be “Pabongka” Tulku instead. Pabongka Rinpoche was never awarded his true name and identity when recognized and throughout his life. His true very high status never officially conferred. His line of incarnations as Changya were not allowed by the Tibetan Govt of that time.


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His Spiritual Guide and practice of Buddhism

Pabongka received his formal spiritual education at Sera Mey Monastery. At first he was very poor and not famous. He studied hard to be a Geshe, meditated and gave empowerments. Pabongka studied with Jaba Sonpo Rinpoche; however his root Guru or Spiritual Guide was Dagpo Lama Rinpoche (sometimes spelt Tagpo or Thagpo).

Ribur Rinpoche described how Je Pabongka met his root Guru: “His root guru was Dagpo Lama Rinpoche Jampael Lhuendrub Gyatso, from Lhoka. He was definitely a bodhisattva, and Pabongka Rinpoche was his foremost disciple. He lived in a cave in Pasang and his main practice was bodhichitta; his main deity was Avalokiteshvara and he would recite 50,000 manis [the mantra, om mani padme hum] every night. When Kyabje Pabongka first met Dagpo Rinpoche at a tsog offering ceremony in Lhasa, he cried out of reverence from beginning to end.”

Je Pabongka was a keen meditator and emphasized Lamrim, Lojong and Mahamudra. When he had finished his studies at Sera Monastery, he visited Dagpo Lama Rinpoche in his cave and was sent into a Lamrim retreat nearby. According to Ribur Rinpoche: “Dagpo Lama Rinpoche would teach him a Lam-rim topic and then Pabongka Rinpoche would go away and meditate on it. Later he would return to explain what he’d understood: if he had gained some realization, Dagpo Lama Rinpoche would teach him some more and Pabongka Rinpoche would go back and meditate on that. It went on like this for ten years.”

Pabongka Rinpoche was a renunciate and eschewed worldly attainments and politics. His faithful attendant once demolished the small old building inhabited by Pabongka Rinpoche while he was a way on a long tour, and constructed in its place a large ornate residence rivaling the private quarters of the Dalai Lama. When Pabongka Rinpoche returned he was not pleased and said, “I am only a minor hermit Lama and you should not have built something like this for me. I am not famous and the essence of what I teach is renunciation of the worldly life. Therefore I am embarrassed by rooms like these.”

According to Rilbur Rinpoche, Je Pabongka was always gentle and never got angry: “Any anger had been completely pacified by his bodhichitta.” Even when long lines of people were waiting for blessings, he would ask each one individually how they were and tap them on the head. Sometimes he dispensed medicine.

His two main spiritual qualities according to his disciples were, from the Tantric point of view, his realization and ability to present Heruka, and from the Sutra point of view, his ability to teach Lamrim. He attributed all his qualities to his own Spiritual Guide, showing him deference throughout his life. Whenever he visited his Spiritual Guide’s monastery, he would dismount as soon as it appeared in view and prostrate all the way to the door and when he left he would walk backwards until it was out of sight.

Pabongka Rinpoche’s full name was Kyabje Pabongkapa Jetsun Jampa Tenzin Trinley Gyatso Pel Sangpo, which translates as the “Lord Protector, the one from Pabongka, the venerable and glorious Master whose name is the Loving One, Keeper of the Buddha’s Teachings, Ocean of the Mighty Deeds of the Buddha.” He is also popularly known as “Dechen Nyingpo,” which means “Essence of Great Bliss” and refers to his mastery of the secret teachings of Buddhism. 


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As a Buddhist Teacher

After his graduation from Sera Mey with the attainment of a Geshe degree, Pabongka Rinpoche had great success in his teaching tours through the countryside outside the capital Lhasa, and his fame started to spread. With his great skill as a public teacher, he gradually began to build up a large following, his teachings bringing as many as 10,000 students. These included lay people from all over Tibet, which broke with the long-held tradition of only teaching to those ordained as monks. According to one reincarnate Lama who attended his teachings: “He was an exceptionally learned and gifted scholar, and his interpretation of the Doctrine adhered to the meaning of the Lord Buddha’s words exactly. He was short, broad-faced, and of rather heavy build, but when he opened his mouth to speak his words had such clarity and sweetness that no one could help being moved.” .

Pabongka Rinpoche was the first Gelug teacher who taught lay persons outside the monasteries and became very influential. In his memoir of his root Guru, Rilbur Rinpoche said:

When he taught he would sit for up to eight hours without moving. About two thousand people would come to his general discourses and initiations and fewer to special teachings, but when he gave Bodhisattva vows, up to ten thousand people would show up.

Kyongla Rinpoche described his teachings:

The Rinpoche was accustomed to illustrate his teaching by means of concrete examples and personal stories, with abundant references to the teaching of the Lord Buddha and to the commentaries of ancient scholars and saints. Whenever he noticed that his audience was becoming tired or restless, he would tell a comical story to rouse them and get a laugh.

The Lharampa Geshe Khen Rinpoche described attending Pabongka Rinpoche’s teachings thus:

His voice was incredibly powerful. On many occasions he would address gatherings of many thousands of people, yet everyone could hear him clearly (in those days in Tibet we had never heard of microphones or loudspeakers)… Pabongka Rinpoche had an uncanny ability to relate to his audience, and for this reason he became a teacher for the common man as well as for us monks. The Rinpoche’s great accomplishment was that he found a way to attract and lead listeners of every level. His most famous weapon was his humor. Public discourses in Tibet could sometimes go on for ten hours or more without a break, and only a great saint could keep his attention up so long. Inevitably part of the audience would start to nod, or fall into some reverie. Then Pabongka Rinpoche would suddenly relate an amusing story or joke with a useful moral, and send his listeners into peals of laughter. This would startle the day-dreamers, who were always looking around and asking their neighbors to repeat the joke to them.”

In Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, Trijang Rinpoche says he attempted to convey the “extraordinary” qualities of Je Pabongka’s teachings, which he described:

Each part of the teaching was enriched by instructions taken from the confidential oral lineages. Each section was illustrated by analogies, conclusive formal logic, amazing stories, and trustworthy quotations. The teaching could easily be understood by beginners, and yet was tailored for all levels of intelligence. It was beneficial for the mind because it was so inspiring. Sometimes we were moved to laughter, becoming wide awake and alive. Sometimes we were reduced to tears and cried helplessly. At other times we became afraid or were moved to feel, ‘I would gladly give up this life and devote myself solely to my practice.’ This feeling of renunciation was overwhelming. These are some of the ways in which all of his discourses were so extraordinary.

Je Pabongka apparently had an ability to reach even those of the higher echelons of society who were not much interested in Dharma. For example, Dapon Tsago, a member of the nobility who held a powerful position equivalent to Minister of Defense, once attended a public teaching “not to hear the Dharma but rather to put in an appearance” as Jetsun Khen Rinpoche describes it:

So one day this great general marches in to the hall, decked out in silk, his long hair flowing in carefully tailored locks (this was considered manly and high fashion in old Tibet)… A great ceremonial sword hung from his belt, clanging importantly as he swaggered in. By the end of the first section of the teaching he was seen leaving the hall quietly, deep in thought—he had wrapped his weapon of war in a cloth to hide it, and was taking it home. Later on we could see he had actually trimmed off his warrior’s locks, and finally one day he threw himself before the Rinpoche and asked to be granted the special lifetime religious vows for laymen. Thereafter he always followed Pabongka Rinpoche around, to every public teaching he gave.

According to the Western monk Helmut Gassner, the Dalai Lama’s translator for 17 years:

It is said that when Pabongka Rinpoche gave Dharma discourses many in the audience gained profound insights into the failings of our worldly concerns to develop the lasting determination to exchange the constant quest for honor, praise, well-being and gain with sincere aspiration, kindness and concern for others. This unusual ability to teach is not an integral part of Tibetan culture. It is rather at the heart of the living transmission of the teachings of the historical Buddha from one great master to the next. It is, first and foremost, an oral transmission: the master teaches his gifted disciple continuously until the transmitted knowledge becomes the student’s second nature.

Due to his skill as a Buddhist master, the thirteenth Dalai Lama requested Kyabje Pabongka to give the yearly Lamrim teachings in 1925, instead of asking the Ganden throneholder (Ganden Tripa) as was customary. Usually these teachings lasted seven days, but these lasted for eleven days.

Je Pabongka had a profound and far-reaching influence on the Gelug tradition: 

Pabongka Rinpoche was probably the most influential Gelug lama of this century, holding all the important lineages of sutra and tantra and passing them on to most of the important Gelug lamas of the next two generations; the list of his oral discourses is vast in depth and breadth. He was also the root guru of the Kyabje Ling Rinpoche (1903-83), Senior Tutor of the Dalai Lama, Trijang Rinpoche, and many other highly respected teachers. His collected works occupy fifteen large volumes and over every aspect of Buddhism. If you have ever received a teaching from a Gelug lama, you have been influenced by Pabongka Rinpoche.

His foremost disciple, Trijang Rinpoche, praises his teacher highly in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, including:

Our childish minds were unfit vessels for so vast an ocean of teachings, so precious a source of qualities. How sad if these teachings were forgotten!

In Geshe Ngawang Dhargeyey’s commentary to the Wheel of Sharp Weapons, he says:

Likewise, Lama Trijang Dorje Chang, Junior Tutor to His Holiness the present Dalai Lama, folds his hands upon the crown of his head whenever he mentions Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. He was such a great lama, unsurpassed by any, that hardly any lamas or geshes of the Three Pillars (the monasteries of Ganden, Sera and Drepung) had not been his disciples.


As a Buddhist author

In 1921 at Chuzang Hermitage near Lhasa, Pabongka Rinpoche gave a historic 24-day exposition on the Lam Rim, or “stages of the path,” that was attended by some seven hundred people. Many monks came from the three major monasteries in Lhasa, and many more traveled weeks from the Central Province, from Tsang, and from as far away as Amdo and Kham. This included about 30 lamas and reincarnations of lamas. There were also many lay people present. According to Rato Khyongla Rinpoche, who was present: “During that summer session several traders and at least two high government officials found their lives transformed by his eloquence: they forsook their jobs to study religion and to give themselves to meditation.” 

The teachings covered every topic in the progressive stages to attain enlightenment. These teachings were transcribed and edited by one of his main students, Trijang Rinpoche, who later became the Junior Tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama. Trijang Rinpoche explains the good qualities of the Lamrim teachings given by his root Guru and then explains how the idea of the book came to him:

How could I possibly convey all this on paper! Yet what a pity if all the key points contained in these inspiring instructions were lost. This thought gave me the courage to write this book. As my precious guru later advised me, ‘Some of the people present could not follow the teaching. I’m afraid I do not trust all the notes people took during the classes. I therefore ask you to publish a book. Put in it anything you feel sure of.’ In this book I have accurately recorded my lama’s teachings in the hope that this substitute for his speech will be beneficial to my friends who wish to succeed in their practice.

Published in Tibetan in 1958, these teachings were eventually translated into English and published as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (Tib. rNam grol lag bcangs) in 1991. This book forms the basis of most Gelug teachers’ Lam Rim presentations, including those of the FPMT.

Kyabje Pabongka also wrote many other books. His collected works occupy fifteen large volumes and cover every aspect of Buddhism. These texts provide explanations on sadhanas, chanting, how to make tormas and myriad other subjects. Among these texts, is the sadhana of the female Buddha Vajrayogini, based on the Heruka Root Tantra. This text is widely used in the Gelugpa tradition today.


Other spiritual activities

Also known as Trinlay Gyatso, Je Pabongka held the lineage of the Tantric Deity Heruka. 

Je Pabongka had many disciples, including the most famous Gelugpa Lamas of the twentieth century, who consider him to be a source of uncommon inspiration. Rilbur Rinpoche, for example, was held and tortured by the Chinese for two decades and famously said “If I told you what happened on a regular basis, you would find it hard to believe.” By all accounts he emerged from his trials with a heart full of love and forgiveness and, when asked how, he replied that it was due to the blessings and teachings of his root Lama Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche.

According to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, a highly regarded Lharampa Geshe, Je Pabongka was considered an emanation of the Highest Yoga Tantra Deity, Buddha Heruka. He explains how 32 reincarnate Lamas, including his own teacher Tapu Dorjechang, attended his Lamrim teachings in Lhasa:

Tapu Dorje Chang could hear statues of Avalokiteshvara and Tara speak, and saw visions of multi-armed Yidams (Deities). Once Kyabje Pabongka invoked the wisdom beings of Heruka’s mandala to enter into a statue of Heruka Chakrasambara. Heruka then offered nectar to Kyabje Pabongka, and prophesied that seven generations of his disciples would be protected by the body mandala of Heruka. Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang is cared for by Heruka Chakrasambara, as are his disciples.[25]

 Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey gives an account of his mastery of the practice in his commentary to Wheel of Sharp Weapons:

Once, in the cave-under-water, he experienced a manifestation of Yamantaka for nine days, while he himself was essentially Heruka Chakrasambhava. Further, he experienced a manifestation of Vajra Yogini who told him of the benefits to be derived from merging the Vajra Yogini teachings of the Sakya and Gelug traditions into one meditational practice. When he once made a great (tsog) offering beside a Heruka statue in Lhasa, the wisdom body actually entered into the statue. The statue danced and told him that whoever received Heruka initiation from him up to the seventh generator would be taken to the dakini realms.

Je Pabongka’s most famous disciples were Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Ling Rinpoche because they were the main teachers of the 14th Dalai Lama, who considered Trijang Rinpoche to be his root Guru. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche explains:

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Ling Rinpoche were tutors to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They taught His Holiness everything from basic teachings to advanced levels. Kyabje Pabongka passed all of his lineages to Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. He often said this in discourses. The purpose of this detailed exposition is to affirm the power of the lineage. If we lose faith in the lineage, we are lost.

In addition to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Je Pabongka had two other main disciples. They were Khangsar Rinpoche and Tathag Rinpoche. Tathag Rinpoche was the main teacher of the 14th Dalai Lama when he was a child and gave him his novice ordination. Khangsar Rinpoche’s Chinese disciple, Master Nan Hai, started a Buddhist movement in China that survived till the present day despite political changes in Communist China, with tens of thousands of spiritual descendants and over a hundred monasteries and nunneries throughout China.


Holder of the Ganden Oral Lineage

Pabongka Rinpoche was the holder of the Geden, or Ganden, Oral Lineage. As Geshe Helmut Gassner explains:

The great master Pabongka was in the first half of the twentieth century the pivotal or key lineage holder of the Oral Geden Tradition. Many other teachers before him mastered certain aspects of the tradition’s teachings, but it was Pabongka Rinpoche’s particular merit to locate and find all these partial transmissions, to learn and realize them, and bring them together once again to pass them on through a single person. In his lifetime there was hardly a significant figure of the Geden tradition who had not been Pabongka Rinpoche’s disciple. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was the one capable of receiving and passing on the entirety of the Oral Geden Tradition once again.


Holder of the Heruka Body Mandala Lineage

According to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche:

Once Kyabje Pabongka invoked the wisdom beings of Heruka’s mandala to enter into a statue of Heruka Chakrasamvara. Heruka then offered nectar to Kyabje Pabongka, and prophesied that seven generations of his disciples would be protected by the body mandala of Heruka. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is cared for by Heruka Chakrasamvara, as are his disciples.


His work and retreat schedule

Je Pabongka’s primary residence was first the small monastery atop the Pabongka rock, called Dakpo Gompa, where he allegedly attained enlightenment. When his fame grew, Ngakpa College of Sera Monastery offered him a large retreat complex on the hillside above Pabongka, called Tashi Chuling, or “Auspicious Spiritual Isle.” There were about sixty Buddhist monks in residence there, and about sixteen personal attendants who helped him with his busy schedule. Je Pabongka divided his time between Tashi Chuling and a small meditation cell built around the mouth of a cave, further up the side of the mountain, known as Takden. Pabongka Rinpoche would go to Takden for long periods to do private meditations.


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Position on politics and religion

When the regency of the 14th Dalai Lama was offered to Pabongka Rinpoche, he declined become the regent saying, “If one cannot give up the worldly dharma, then you are not a true religious person.” According to Goldstein, Pabongka was quite well known for saying that “lamas should not become involved in politics.”


Position on other Tibetan Buddhist schools

Although he was a Gelugpa Lama, Je Pabongka respected the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and discouraged sectarianism. In Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, he said:

Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Je Pabongka also said that Padmasambhava (the founder of the Nyingma school), Je Tsongkhapa, Atisha, and Buddha Shakyamuni were all one holy being, not four separate mental continuums.

Pabongka Rinpoche was at times at odds with the 13th Dalai Lama over Pabongka’s supposed antagonism toward the Nyingma lineage. Von Bruck, however, says that Pabongka’s writings “does not say that only Gelukpa teaching leads to liberation, but calls Tsongkhapa’s teaching the highest and the essence of all teachings. But this is traditional parlance and not an exaggerated exclusivity.”

According to academic David Kay, in an account that has been much disputed by Gelugpa scholars: “As the Gelug agent of the Tibetan government in Kham (Khams) (Eastern Tibet), and in response to the Rimed movement that had originated and was flowering in that region, Pabongka Rinpoche and his disciples employed repressive measures against non-Gelug sects. Religious artifacts associated with Padmasambhava – who is revered as a “second Buddha” by Nyingma practitioners – were destroyed, and non-Gelug, and particularly Nyingma, monasteries were forcibly converted to the Gelug position. 

According to Kay, “His teaching tour of Kham in 1938 was a seminal phase, leading to a hardening of his exclusivism and the adoption of a militantly sectarian stance. In reaction to the flourishing Rimed movement and the perceived decline of Gelug monasteries in that region, Pabongka and his disciples spearheaded a revival movement, promoting the supremacy of the Gelug as the only pure tradition.” Buddhist scholar Matthew Kapstein echoes these remarks, writing, “There has been a great deal of sectarian dispute among Tibetan refugees in India. 

However, most Gelug Lamas strongly dispute allegations against Pabongka’s supposed wrongdoing. Some say that Je Pabongka’s popularity made others jealous, serving as the basis of many rumors of sectarianism on his part against other Tibetan Buddhist schools. Responding to this allegation, Lama Zopa of the FPMT has said that criticism of Pabongka is misplaced because he:

“wrote incredible teachings on sutra and tantra; on Heruka, Tara Cittamani and many other topics. All these amazing teachings were written purely from his experience. So it’s impossible that he can really be some kind of evil being, as those extremists accuse him of being. There’s no way he could have done the negative things they say he did.”

Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, a high ranking Lharampa Geshe and Abbot of Ganden Shartse, said in his teachings:

Kyabje Pabongka was also an emanation of Heruka Chakrasamvara, but degeneration of the times and jealousy of ordinary beings have made it difficult to become aware of his tremendous qualities. There are many biographies of Kyabje Pabongka that make his realized qualities very clear.

Kyabje Zong Rinpoche also explained the importance for Gelugpas of developing faith in the Gelugpa lineage passed down through Je Pabongka and his principal disciple Trijang Rinpoche:

Kyabje Pabongka passed all of his lineages to Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. He often said this in discourses. The purpose of this detailed exposition is to affirm the power of the lineage. If we lose faith in the lineage, we are lost. We should remember the biographies of past and present teachers. We should never develop negative thoughts towards our root and lineage gurus. If we do not keep the commitments after having received teachings, this is a great downfall.”


Position on Bon religion

Regarding Pabongka Rinpoche’s attitude toward the non-Buddhist Bon religion, he said that “The dharmas of Bonpos, tirthikas, and so forth are non-Buddhist and should not be taken as our refuge.” Although the Bon religion was originally highly hostile to Buddhists, Je Pabongka never advocated intolerance towards them: “Bon is not a refuge for Buddhists. All the same, Buddhists and Bonpos say things to each other out of attachment or hostility, and this hardly makes for honest debate. It is vital that you should know the sources of the Bon religion.” To support his claim that Bon is not a fitting refuge for Buddhists, Je Pabongka quoted several Buddhist scholars, including Milarepa.


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When Je Pabongka died, an elaborate reliquary was constructed but the Chinese demolished it. Rilbur Rinpoche managed to retrieve some of his cremation relics (“ring sel”) from it, which are usually kept at Sera Me Monastery. They are presently on the relics tour of saints and enlightened masters organized by Lama Zopa.


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Other links to Pabongka Rinpoche

Surprise visit to Kechara House 

Taking Refuge by Je Pabongka 

H H Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche – 1878–1941 

Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche in Tantric Dress 


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自年少时期开始,我就爱阅读高僧大德的故事……即使到了现在,我偶尔还会阅读一些灵修界和世俗界人士的传记,因为我觉得那能带给我启发性。一周前,在浏览互联网时,我偶然间在维基上读到了关于至尊帕绷喀仁波切(Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche)的资讯宝藏。









无与伦比的嘉杰 · 帕绷喀仁波切




  • 早年生活和教育
  • 他的精神导师和佛法修持
  • 成就
  • 立场
  • 圆寂


帕绷喀仁波切(藏文::ཕ་བོང་ཁ་,威利: Pha-bong-kha)强巴·丹增·成烈·嘉措(Jampa Tenzin Trinlay Gyatso, 1878 – 1941年)是近代藏传佛教格鲁派的著名上师之一。他在拉萨的色拉寺获取了格西林赛(Lingsey Geshe )资格后,成为西藏极具影响力的大师,并罕见地向许多在家众讲授佛法。他是现任达赖喇嘛(Dalai Lama)的两位导师即嘉杰·林仁波切(Kyabje Ling Rinpoche)和嘉杰·赤江仁波切(Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche)的根本上师。自1959年离开西藏后,许多格鲁上师们纷纷将佛法弘扬至西方各国,而他们当中许多人的上师就是帕绷喀仁波切。帕绷喀仁波切曾被推荐作为现任达赖喇嘛的摄政,但他由于“极度不喜欢政治”而拒绝了这项建议。



帕绷喀仁波切于1878年生于拉萨北部后藏(Tsang)耶鲁桑(Yeru Shang)地方的擦瓦里镇(Tsawa Li)。

根据帕绷喀仁波切的其中一名主要弟子瑞布仁波切(RiburRinpoche)转述:“帕绷喀金刚持·德钦·宁波·贝桑波(LordPabongka Vajradhara Dechen Nyingpo Pal Zangpo)于1878年生于拉萨北部。他的父亲是个小官,家境并不富裕。据说,在他出生的那一个夜晚,夜色深暗,有一道光射入了屋内,而屋外的人们则看到了一尊护法神降临他家的屋顶上。”

帕绷喀仁波切自小就显示出异于常人的特质。他在七岁那年就被带到当时其中一位最著名的宗教大师萨巴·却杰·洛桑·达吉(Sharpa Chuje Lobsang Dargye)跟前学习。萨巴仁波切“觉得这名男孩必然是一名转世圣人”,并预言说如果将这名男孩送到色拉美寺(Sera Mey Monastery)的嘉绒僧堂(Gyalrong House),“好事将会发他身上”。接着,他被发现是章嘉系(Changkya line)的其中一个转世活佛,此系的转世活佛包括了著名的学者章嘉·若贝·多杰(Changkya Rolpay Dorje , 1717-1786)。章嘉系喇嘛在中国及蒙古地区广传佛法,甚至还被邀请到中国皇帝的宫中教授佛法。然而,“章嘉”这个名字对中国人来说带有特别的含义。由于当时西藏政府及人民对中国当局所施予的压力已相当敏感,他们决定不使用“章嘉”这个名字,而改称这名男孩为“帕绷喀”杜固。帕绷喀仁波切自被认证起,乃至一辈子都不曾被授予其真正的名称和身份。他也从未被授予其真实的崇高地位。章嘉系转世在当时并不受到西藏政府的认同。




帕绷喀仁波切在色拉美寺接受正式的僧侣教育。最初,他十分贫困也不著名,只能努力考取格西学位,精进禅修和给予灌顶。帕绷喀仁波切师从嘉巴·宋波仁波切(Jaba Sonpo Rinpoche),但他的根本上师或精神导师却是达波仁波切(Dagpo Lama Rinpoche,或Tagpo或Thagpo)。

瑞布仁波切形容杰帕绷喀如何遇见其根本上师时说到:“他的根本上师是来自山南地区(洛卡,Lhoka)的达波喇嘛仁波切·绛贝·伦珠·嘉措(Dagpo Lama Rinpoche Jampael Lhuendrub Gyatso)。达波仁波切肯定是一名菩萨,而帕绷喀仁波切则是他最主要的弟子。他住在巴桑(Pasang的音译)的一个山洞里,主修菩提心,本尊为观音菩萨。他每晚都会念诵五万遍的《六字大明咒》(唵嘛呢叭咪吽)。当嘉杰·帕绷喀在拉萨的一项荟供上首次遇见达波仁波切时,崇敬之心使得他忍不住全程都在哭泣。”





帕绷喀仁波切的全名为嘉杰·帕绷喀·哲胜·强巴·丹增·成烈·嘉措·贝桑波(Kyabje Pabongkapa Jetsun Jampa Tenzin Trinley Gyatso Pel Sangpo),意为“来自帕绷喀的护法,名为‘慈氏持教事业海吉祥贤’的伟大上师”。他也被昵称为“德钦·宁波”(Dechen Nyingpo),译为“极乐精髓”或“来自极乐王国的极乐君主”,意指他掌握了佛教的秘密教诲。








穹拉仁波切(Kyongla Rinpoche)在描述其开示时说:


拉让巴格西堪仁波切(Khen Rinpoche)如此形容帕绷喀仁波切的开示:




杰帕绷喀显然拥有能力吸引那些对佛法不太感兴趣的上流社会。譬如说,有一位身份等同于今日国防部长的贵族官员达彭·擦果(Dapon Tsago),有一回出席了帕绷喀仁波切的公开开示。据杰尊·堪仁波切(Jetsun Khen Rinpoche)对他的形容,“与其说是来听法,倒不如说是来现身”:


据从事达赖喇嘛翻译长达17年的西方僧人赫尔穆特·加斯纳(Helmut Gassner)说:




“帕绷喀仁波切可能是本世纪最具影响力的格鲁喇嘛,他持守一切重要的显密传承,并把它们传授给下两代最主要的格鲁喇嘛;他的口述教诲十分深广。他同时也是林仁波切金刚持(1903 – 83年)、达赖喇嘛的初级导师赤江仁波切,以及许多备受尊敬上师们的上师。他的著作多达15卷,涵盖了佛法的每一个层面。若你曾经自格鲁喇嘛那儿接受过任何教诲,你就已经接受了帕绷喀仁波切的影响。”



嘎汪达耶格西(Geshe Ngawang Dhargeyey)在其对《利器之轮》的论述中说:





1921年,帕绷喀仁波切在拉萨附近的曲桑茅蓬(Chuzang Hermitage)给约700人讲授《菩提道次第》,长达24天。出席的僧伽众除了来自拉萨的三大寺院,有些甚至还来自中 部省、后藏、安多(Amdo)和康区(Kham);其中包括了30位喇嘛和转世活佛。许多在家众也前来听课。



这些例子说明大师的说法方式是极其殊胜的,所以没有人能把大师的开示完整无缺地记录下来。然而如果将这些来自经验的教授要点遗忘掉,那是件多麽可惜的事啊!所以我把自己所能回忆起来的都写了下来。后来大师本人也指示我说:「由于未必有机会再为法会中未听明白的那些人另作讲解,而且虽然记笔记的人很多,却又未必全面与可靠,所以把你所能肯定下来 的做个记录吧!」此外,为了对其他想作实修的朋友有所帮助,看到本书就像是看到大师言教的代替品一样,我力求不加任何篡改而将大师的言教编辑成文。

这些教诲最初于1958年在西藏出版,后来于1991年被翻译成英文版的《Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand》(中文版为《掌中解脱》)。此书是大部分格鲁上师传授《菩提道次第》的基础,这也包括了护持大乘法脉联合会(FPMT)的上师们。

嘉杰·帕绷喀的著作相当多,共有15大卷,涵盖了佛法的每一个层面。这些文本包括仪轨、吟诵、朵玛制作法,以及许多其他内容。这些著作当中,根据《胜乐根本续》(Heruka Root Tantra)所编著的金刚瑜伽母仪轨,目前还广被格鲁传承所使用。





根据备受尊敬的格西拉让巴嘉杰·宋仁波切(Kyabje ZongRinpoche)所述,杰帕绷喀被认为是最高密续本尊胜乐金刚的化身。他描述了32名转世喇嘛,包括其个人上师塔普金刚持(Tapu Dorjechang)出席帕绷喀仁波切在拉萨的《菩提道次第》讲学会的情况:






除了嘉杰·赤江仁波切和嘉杰·林仁波切之外,杰帕绷喀还有两名主要弟子。他们是康萨仁波切(Khangsar Rinpoche)和达扎仁波切(Tathag Rinpoche)。达扎仁波切是至尊第14世达赖喇嘛小时候的主要上师,曾授予他沙弥戒。康萨仁波切的中国弟子能海大师在中国发起的佛教运动,尽管经历了中国的政治改革,还依然留存到今天,并在全中国留下了超过百所寺院和数以万计的佛家弟子。











杰帕绷喀最初住在帕绷喀岩上的一所被称为达波贡巴(Dakpo Gompa)的小寺院里,据说他也在那里取得证悟。当他享有盛名之后,色拉寺的阿巴札仓(Ngakpa College)在帕绷喀岩上的山腰处,为他建了一所称为扎西却林(Tashi Chuling),或“吉祥法洲”的大型闭关屋。那儿住着约60名常驻佛教僧人和协助他处理繁忙日程的16名私人助理。杰帕绷喀常往返于扎西却林和另一个建在山上更高处的山洞口,一个称为达丹(Takden)的小禅室之间。帕绷喀仁波切会到达丹进行长时间的个人禅修。










帕绷喀仁波切曾经与第13世达赖喇嘛针对帕绷喀仁波切理应与宁玛派保持对立一事持不同意见。无论如何,布鲁克(Von Bruck)表示,在帕绷喀仁波切的文字中,“他并不表示只有格鲁派的教诲能使人了脱轮回,而只是说宗喀巴大师的教诲是最高尚的,也是一切教诲的精华。然而这只是一种传统的说法,并不是一种逾常的排他主义。”

学者大卫·凯(David Kay)在一个广受格鲁学者争议的论述中提到:“作为西藏政府于康区(西藏东部)的格鲁派代表,同时也为了对在该地区发起并广泛传开的“无宗派运动”(利美运动,Rimed movement)作出回应,帕绷喀仁波切和其弟子对非格鲁派系采取了镇压手段。他们摧毁了跟莲花生大士——被宁玛派行者称为“第二佛”——有关的宗教文物,而那些非格鲁派,尤其是宁玛派寺院都被强制性改投格鲁派。”

大卫·凯也指出:“他在1938年于康区展开的巡回讲学其实是个筹备阶段,他接着加强了其排外政策,同时选择了激进宗派主义立场。针对当时蔓延开来的‘无宗派运动’和对应格鲁派寺院在该地区的没落,帕绷喀仁波切和弟子们发起了一场复兴运动,鼓吹格鲁派作为唯一纯净教派的优越性。”佛教学者马修·凯普斯坦(Matthew Kapstein )也同意这个论点,并著文指出:“印度的西藏难民之间展开了许多宗派之争。”

然而,大多数的格鲁派喇嘛对这项针对帕绷喀仁波切错误做法的指责表示强烈质疑。有些人说杰帕绷喀的知名度引起了其他人的嫉妒,导致出现了他对藏传佛教其他宗派存有宗派之见的流言。对于这项指责,护持大乘法脉联合会(FPMT)的梭巴喇嘛(Lama Zopa)表示,针对帕绷喀仁波切的指责是不正确的,因为他:

 “他编纂了显密二法、胜乐金刚、如意摩尼度母(Tara Cittamani)及其他课题的伟大教诲,而这一切的精深教诲纯然源自他的经验。因此,他不可能如那些极端份子所指控的那样,是邪恶的。他决不可能做出他们所指控的那些坏事。”











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36 Responses to Incomparable Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche


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  1. Bradley Kassian on Jun 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    compiled here by myself, Suddhi Vadzra, a
    monk from the monastery of Den, a man who ails from his lack of spiritual knowledge, a mere pretender
    dressed in robes, the very lowest of the whole great circle of disciples who have reverently bowed and
    touched their heads at the holy dust upon the feet of the great Lama, our dear father, whose kindness defies

    I was able to complete this work because of the blessings of this highest of guides himself; those received
    during the many years I spent at his side while he was living, and those which even now emanate from his
    remains, his precious relics.

    I have written these pages where those relics themselves reside, bathed in the light that blazes from them, at
    that holy hermitage known as Tashi Chuling.

    May it help all living beings!

    Extracted from Tsongkhapa – The Principle Teachings of Buddhism; Classics of Middle Asia; pg 151-153
    Extracted by Bradley Kassian June 10, 2014

    • Bradley Kassian on Jun 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      A Disciple’s Prayer
      by H.H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche

      He’s the lord who stages and then withdraws the show, a myriad ocean
      Of mighty deeds the Victors in all three times perform to keep
      The teaching tradition that joins both ways, those passed from Gentle Voice
      And from the savior Loving One, the deep thought of the Victors.

      He’s a god who goes to the matchless mystery of his mind, a treasure
      Resplendent with all ten forces, to speak the gold mine of the sages;
      He’s Lobsang Drakpa, of shining fame, and into this world came
      The jewels of the holy dharma spewed out from his lips.

      He’s the revered father of all Victors; in the form of their son, a child
      Gave a teaching that draws the essence of the nectar from the cream

      Of the eighty thousand, the mystery of the Buddhas’ speech: we call it
      Three Principal Paths, well-known as the sun in the sky of the immaculate Word.

      His lines are none of those empty words, supposedly deep, incomplete,
      But rather spout a thousand riches, advice from experience
      Of each step of the meaning itself, the high paths in their entirety,
      Capturing the glory of good of the world or peace, wherever.

      Come great warrior, who has no fear of what will make him wise;
      Take up the bow of these wonderful books, the true Word, open and secret;
      Use it with the feathered shafts of reasoning, way of the wise
      Throughout the world, pierce the hearts of those who would teach wrong.

      When will I decide to give the rest of my life some meaning?
      When will I throw away this lie of happiness in this life,
      The shining embrace of grabbing after good things in this world,
      My forever friend, the foe of my forever happiness.

      In this and my future lives may I never fail to collect
      More of the short and long-term causes which bring me both the bodies;
      May I win the beauty of eyes that guide myself and others too
      On the excellent paths, fixed upon the wise and adept ahead.

      This is not a load that the likes of me could ever bear,
      But I’ve tried my best to put his eloquence down in black and white.
      I may have slipped, and lost some words or meaning, or the like;
      I kneel before my Lama and freely admit any errors made.

      By the pure white force in deeds like this endeavor I’ve completed
      May my thoughts, those of others too, all turn to the holy dharma.
      May it come to cause us all to cut what ties us to this life,
      And help us take best essence from the time and chance we have.

      So this is the teaching on the three principal paths given by our lord and lama, the one who granted us all
      three kinds of kindness, our savior, the god who stood at the center of our universe, the Holder of the
      Diamond himself, the good and glorious Pabongka. He bestowed upon us many times this profound
      instruction, using the words of the root text as a guide.

      Various records were made on the different occasions that he delivered this teaching; there were five such
      manuscripts in the hands of different people. They have been compiled here by myself, Suddhi Vadzra, a
      monk from the monastery of Den, a man who ails from his lack of spiritual knowledge, a mere pretender
      dressed in robes, the very lowest of the whole great circle of disciples who have reverently bowed and
      touched their heads at the holy dust upon the feet of the great Lama, our dear father, whose kindness defies

      I was able to complete this work because of the blessings of this highest of guides himself; those received
      during the many years I spent at his side while he was living, and those which even now emanate from his
      remains, his precious relics.

      I have written these pages where those relics themselves reside, bathed in the light that blazes from them, at
      that holy hermitage known as Tashi Chuling.

      May it help all living beings!

      Extracted from Tsongkhapa – The Principle Teachings of Buddhism; Classics of Middle Asia; pg 151-153
      Extracted by Bradley Kassian June 10, 2014

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  3. KYC on Jun 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    As a follower of the Gelug tradition, it is important to know the biographies of one’s lineage gurus. An interesting detail given in this article is that Pabongka Rinpoche was the first Gelug lama to teach lay people. If he hadn’t started this practice, a lot of lay people would not have had the chance to learn the precious Dharma. He was indeed the “lama of the common man”. He gave long discourses that lasted many days because he wanted to affirm the power of the lineage so that students would not lose faith in it. His ability to move people to renounce is proof that he was a sincere religious teacher and an example to his students. For me, Pabongka Rinpoche was one of the greatest Gelug lamas that ever lived.

  4. Joy on Dec 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

    There is really something about H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche that one look at his picture you are mesmerized! I remembered seeing his image in KPSS2, when there was no KH yet and Rinpoche only had 1 outlet KP in SS2. When I saw his image then, I thought to myself, this must be someone powerful! His eyes stares directly in to your “soul” or “spirit”, whatever you may wish to call it… yes and it was like lightning… a positive one of course. I felt drawn to Him and knew He was no ordinary Lama. Later when Rinpoche taught us more and told us who He is… everything was like wow and made more sense!
    He is indeed a living, walking Heruka/Vajrayogini on earth!

    I also had the great merits and fortune, now I think about it, I don’t know how silly me got to be so lucky to have actually had an audience with this great master’s current incarnation when we went to Nepal with Rinpoche in year 2004 or 2005. The thing was it was not even planned and it was so suddenly, we were in Nepal and Rinpoche was trying to call Pabongka’s Ladrang and no one picked up. The just a few minutes later, Pabongka himself actually called our Rinpoche back in the restaurant we were in! Next thing you know we were gonna have an audience with Kyabke Pabongka Dorje Chang… amazing!

    When you first meet him, you would have never thought this could be the great master Je Pabongka for he looked so simple, humble, gentle yet his aura was that of a mountain! I will never forget this memory and his blessings to each and everyone of us who was there! Thank you Rinpoche for such an incredible journey in India and Nepal.

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  6. Ron Wong on Oct 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thanks for sharing the great biography of the author of Liberation in the Palm of your hand or Lamrim. Knowing the greatness of Pabongka Rinpoche helps in strengthening our faith & confidence in the teaching which is essential in order to deal with all the ups & downs in our spiritual practice.
    Thank you Rinpoche

  7. Wah Ying on Oct 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I first know about Pabongka Rinpoche when I started study Lamrim/Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. After I attended Lamrim class, I learned my basic Buddhism knowledge here, in a systematic way. This all wouldn’t happen without simple and systematic book like Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand by Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche, student like me won’t be able to learn Buddhism in such a easy way.

    Especially when I observe other learn Buddhism without knowing there’s a systematic way to understand Buddhism better and with less confusion.

    Another thing I remembered most about Pabongka Rinpoche will be his devotion and respect to his Guru, and this was not shown by the way he treats his Guru but also by studying hard and share the knowledge, pass the lineage perfectly from generation to generation.

  8. tfreon on Oct 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    “Pabongka Rinpoche was the first Gelug teacher who taught lay persons outside the monasteries” – To me this meant H.H able to present Dharma in a way even the lay person able to hear the Dharma. H.H Dharma knowledge is so vast and detail that enable not only monks to listen but layman who do not have the basic of Dharma knowledge to absorb the Dharma. For me, this is truly amazing. H.H is a Great Teacher.

  9. Pastor Yek Yee on Oct 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    After I read through the two articles about Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche biography, I felt very precious become a Glupa tradition practitioner. The reason is what I learn now all direct from the greatest Lama in the world such as Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijiang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. And now we gain the teaching from our lovely Guru Tsem Rinpoche.

    Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche was very different with others children since he is a child. The high lama, who knew him, will predict that this boy will be gain higher attainment in his life and he will benefit more and more peoples.

    Pabongka Rinpoche was very famous about his guru devotion, his attainment of Tantric and Sutra. According to Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s students, Pabongka Rinpoche is a very skilful Guru, his teaching always attract over thousand peoples came to join. If he had initiation event that can be over 10,000 peoples. All of them were attracted by Pabongka Rinpoche’s incredible dharma knowledge and compassion which naturally full of his own energy.

    I really cannot imagine at that time, the facilities and sound system not completed at all… How can over thousand peoples can hear so clear while Pabongka Rinpoche gave teaching? Miracle!!!

    However, before become famous and popular that Pabongka Rinpoche had experienced so much difficulty in his life. For example he evens not enough food to feed himself, sometime he needs to visualize and smell sand as food.

    On other hands, his root guru Dagpo Rinpoche was very strict towards him. Every day, Pabongka Rinpoche should went to his guru cave and received teaching from guru. If his guru thought that Pabongka Rinpoche had realized something then Dagpo Rinpoche will continue teach more, if not then Pabongka Rinpoche need to went back to his own cave contemplate until gain some sort of attainment. That had gone through over ten years.

    And another interesting part I feel want to share is the Pabongka Rinpoche fullname means as Lord Protector. To me I thought was Pabongka Rinpoche really done the part of protector duty, that Pabongka Rinpoche had preserved Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching until today. This is my own opinion regarding Pabongka Rinpoche’s name

    Last, Pabongka Rinpoche had preserved a pure lineage of Tsongkhapa’s teaching, as a Gelupa practitioner we need to respect this great lama by learn more, share more, become a walking dharma practitioner then our lineage will be continue for next generation to next generation…

  10. joey wong on Oct 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Pabongkha Rinpoche’s incredible wisdom and Dharma practice is just mindblowing and incredible. Despite all the allegations of him being sectarian, Pabongkha Rinpoche has mastery over the Nyingma teachings and termas as well as Dzogchen, but he did not teach that so that he does not confuse his students. He is very kind to do so as it exposes him to criticisms but he continued anyway.

    For Pabongka to Fully show us that it is possible to practice Dharma free of the 8 worldly concerns.

  11. Paul Yap on Oct 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    He is such a great Master and Guru. So many still benefits from his teaching, especially “Liberation in the palm of your hand”, this is the definite book, all buddhist should study and learn from this great master!

  12. Li Kim on Oct 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    “His voice was incredibly powerful. On many occasions he would address gatherings of many thousands of people, yet everyone could hear him clearly (in those days in Tibet we had never heard of microphones or loudspeakers)… Pabongka Rinpoche had an uncanny ability to relate to his audience, and for this reason he became a teacher for the common man as well as for us monks. The Rinpoche’s great accomplishment was that he found a way to attract and lead listeners of every level. His most famous weapon was his humor. Public discourses in Tibet could sometimes go on for ten hours or more without a break, and only a great saint could keep his attention up so long. Inevitably part of the audience would start to nod, or fall into some reverie. Then Pabongka Rinpoche would suddenly relate an amusing story or joke with a useful moral, and send his listeners into peals of laughter. This would startle the day-dreamers, who were always looking around and asking their neighbors to repeat the joke to them.”

    Many things shared of Pabongka Rinpoche reminds me of our Rinpoche. For me personally the above quote is like our Rinpoche. Tsem Rinpoche too has this amazing ability to hold the attention of his audience.

    I once read that Pabongka Rinpoche in his youth was not the best student, in fact some called him “dull”. Yet amazingly he is one of the greatest Tibetan Lamas ever. In life, stature, education, etc is not what makes us leaders and influential, Pabongka Rinpoche proves this…

    There are many great leaders in this world. Pabongka Rinpoche is the greatest ever in the “industry” of Tibetan Buddhism and Spirituality!

  13. Mei Fong on Oct 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing such an informative details about Pabongka Rinpoche. It is him and our Rinpoche, Tsem Tulku that we could study LamRim this very day. The quote in the blog post that caught my attention the most is this
    “If one cannot give up the worldly dharma, then you are not a true religious person.”

  14. wei theng on Oct 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, thank you for giving us such a comprehensive information on Pabongka Rinpoche.
    Reading the biography of Pabongka Rinpoche is very inspiring and I learned and how fortunate I am that he is my lineage Guru. All the Dharma and practices that I am learning now is from him, to Trijang Rinpoche, to Zong Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche and to me. This also makes me appreciate further to be the students under Tsem Rinpoche.

    Without him, I will not be able to learn the Lamrim in such a structural and systematic method through “Liberation in the Palm of your Hand”. He had combined both sutra and tantra. He was a great teacher and able to teach with humour and examples and people can easily understand his teaching.

    Besides, the other qualities that Pabongka Rinpoche are showing:
    1. Effort and perseverance – He was very hardworking and studied for 10 years to learn, meditate and gain realization about the lamrim.
    2. Strong Guru Devotions towards his Guru
    3. Humble, humanity and not attached to materialize and politic. He also very respectful to all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism and discouraged sectarianism.
    4. Compassion & Bodhicitta – He was always gentle and never got angry and treat everyone equally and with compassion.
    5. He was the first one that gave teaching to lay person instead of monks only from the long-held tradition. It is why lay person like me able to learn Dharma now.

    These qualities are for me to learn and to work on myself so that I can also more effective in bringing Dharma to other people.

  15. Milly on Oct 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” is our Buddhist “Bible”. This has guided our studies and practice in the right direction following the original teachings as taught by Kyabje Pabongka. Kind lamas uses skilful ways to teach us. Just like our Rinpoche, Kyabje Pabongka also tells amusing stories with useful moral when the students start to nod or loses concentration. Thank you Rinpoche for this article which has helped me to learn more of the high attainments of Kyabje Pabongka.

  16. June Kang on Oct 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I did not realize that Pabongka Rinpoche took TEN YEARS to learn the lamrin. When I read this “Dagpo Lama Rinpoche would teach him a Lam-rim topic and then Pabongka Rinpoche would go away and meditate on it. Later he would return to explain what he’d understood: if he had gained some realization, Dagpo Lama Rinpoche would teach him some more “. Wow! this show that . “Liberation in the Palm of your Hand “is not just a Buddhist Book. It is more than a book. Words cannot describe.
    I am so lucky has chance to study it. When we follow the way Pabongka Rinpoche’s method of learning, i.e. meditate on it, understand and practice, we are able to achieve more in our spiritual practice. Most of us including myself, we lack of mediate on it, we are more on the level of getting knowledge. Need to change my attitude.

  17. Wan Wai Meng on Oct 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Reading the works of high lamas form the past is inspirational and helps us to relate where the tradition has come through so far. It is inspirational to say the least and very helps us to keep on the spiritual path. These lamas did not just become great when they came into this world they also had to do practices and work and put in effort to be who they are finally. Thank this is a condensed article about Je Pabongka but has the essence of this great master.

  18. Sharon Saw on Oct 15, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I love reading about His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche’s biography here. He is truly incomparable for what he achieved. There are so many qualities to admire him for but what particularly struck me about this great Lama are these four points:

    He did not like politics, which i heartily agree with. Ironically, it is because of politics that he is not recognized as the reincarnation of Changkya Rolpay Dorje.

    He had amazing guru devotion, which is very inspiring.

    He taught lay people the Dharma, breaking the convention of reserving Dharma for the Sangha.

    He was always gentle and never got angry. Even when there were long queues of people to see him, he would patiently address each and every one.

    Almost every Gelugpa practitioner owes their practices to Pabongka Rinpoche as our lineage master, and rightly so. When we realise how great Pabongka Rinpoche was, we can treasure the teachings in “Liberation in the Palm of your hand” much much more.

  19. Uncle Eddie on Oct 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Jampa Tenzin Gyatso was one of the great Lamas of the twentieth century. Having attained his Geshe degree at Sera Monastic University, he became a highly influential teacher in Tibet. Pabongka Rinpoche was unique in his ability to bring the complex teachings to the ordained monks as well as to the lay people’s level of comprehension. As a keen mediatator, Pabongka Rinpoche was said to have his way of learning and teaching, that yielded the most impactful of results. Hence through him, a great number of lay people were able to learn and benefit from the Dharma. For this reason, he was known as a Teacher for the common man and monks. He was said to teach according to the spiritual needs of the listeners. His influential teachings, coupled with his powerful way of conveying the Dharma made him a respectful spiritual figure of his day! He was a Guru of all men, and truly, a Guru of Gurus! Thanks to Tsem Tulku Rinpoche for the sharing.

  20. David Lai on Oct 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I think Je Pabongkhapa is such an amazing Lama because he appear to be initially dull in his studies but he overcame that when he was trained in the Lamrim by his Lama till he gained realization. I think this is the most relational aspect of Pabongka Rinpoche’s life and one that continues to inspire ordinary practitioners till this day.

    Reading about Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche made me realize that reaching my full potential is possible and the miraculous activities he performed is just a byproduct of his incredible activities, stability of his mind and the incredible Tantric powers he attained through his practices. He was literally a living proof that Tantric meditation works.

    The last thing that’s just so incredible is that the incredible teachings by Pabongka Rinpoche like the Lamrim is still relevant and very much a part of the studies of many modern day practitioners. Even the very sadhanas that he composed of Vajrayogini, Cittamani Tara and so forth are still very much in use to this day by innumerable High Lamas, yogis and great practitioners.

  21. Mayy on Oct 15, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Reading through this incredible holy master who has the great merits to locate and bring them all together the partial transmissions into one Great book the Liberation in The Palm of Your Hand. This gave a sense of confidence and understanding of the many great feats Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche has achieved and the pure lineage and teachings being passed down till todate.

    Never would there be any doubts on the authenticity of the teachings any more if many reads and find out who this Great Master is.

    May dharma flourish far and wide with Liberation in The Palm of your Hand.

  22. Henry Ooi on Oct 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    This is a another great article of one of the great high lamas, Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, the guru of all great gurus after his time. His total devotion to his root guru, his great attainments and tireless efforts in teaching dharma is phenomenal.

  23. Jace Chong on Oct 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the biography of this great lama. Rinpoche always share with us the story of H.H.Zong Rinpoche, H.H. Trijang Rinpoche, and Rinpoche respects these and others high lamas very very much.

    I personally would like to thank Rinpoche for introducing these high lamas to us. If without Rinpoche sharing with us about them, I will never think this lama or that lama is so important, before this I was so ignorance that I thought all lamas are the same. Rinpoche also let us know that the importance of the lineage, so as the lineage lamas, they are connecting us all the way to the Buddha.

    I remember Rinpoche gave me a picture of H.H.Trijang Rinpoche, and that made me want to know more about this lama, then the biography of Trijang Rinpoche that I found on wikipedia blown my mind. Then I feel the same thing when Rinpoche told us about Pabongka Rinpoche’s story in a teaching in KH.

    Pabongka Rinpoche spent his whole life studying and turning the Dharma wheel with a single motivation to benefit others. Thanks Pabongka Rinpoche for started to teach the lay people, for us that do not have much merits to become monks and nuns, this is so precious to us.

    May The Liberation in The Palm of Your Hand become a compulsory book to study for our next generations, may the Dharma teaching flourish!

  24. DR on Oct 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Without Pabongka Rinpoche’s kindness in teaching for 24 days, the Gelug “scene” today would be very different. Pabongka Rinpoche was the teacher for most of the lamas and teachers today, directly and indirectly. If he hadn’t passed his knowledge and practices and lineages down, I think most of it would have been lost during the Communist invasion of China. Anyway I am sure with his omniscience Pabongka Rinpoche knew the Tibetans would soon have to leave their country, so he planned ahead of time how to preserve the Dharma teachings.

  25. jeanai on Oct 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    The part that moved me the most was this: According to Ribur Rinpoche: “Dagpo Lama Rinpoche would teach him a Lam-rim topic and then Pabongka Rinpoche would go away and meditate on it. Later he would return to explain what he’d understood: if he had gained some realization, Dagpo Lama Rinpoche would teach him some more and Pabongka Rinpoche would go back and meditate on that. It went on like this for ten years.”

    It describes what I find to be the most inspirational about Pabongka Rinpoche, which is his tenacity (which arises out of compassion!). He wasn’t supposed to be a very good student and considered quite ‘dull’ by his compatriots. However, through his dedication to the Dharma and devotion to his guru, he reached such a level of comprehension, attainment and practice that he became “the guru of all gurus”, as Wai Meng stated so beautifully on Rinpoche’s Facebook.

    That is what I really like about Dharma and the Gelug tradition, its meritocracy. A simple farmer’s son with hard work and perserverance, has as much chance as anyone else to become a Gaden Tripa. You reap what you sow; you get out of Dharma what you put into it. And in fact, for the non-spiritual, that also makes perfect sense – if you never invest your time and effort, how can you expect to gain results?

    So even for the non-spiritual, Pabongka Rinpoche’s story can inspire them towards secular success because we don’t always have to remain the failures that everyone says we are!

  26. lewkwanleng on Oct 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Like what Rinpoche said, I only know Pabongka Rinpoche as the author of Lamrim, and that’s about all I know about Him. We have a picture of Him in our office, and though I like the picture, I don’t know much about Him. Thank you Rinpoche for taking the time to compile this information for us.

    I realised that it is important for me to know Pabongka Rinpoche very well because I am part of this lineage, and I am getting all the Dharma teachings because of Tsem Rinpoche, and Tsem Rinpoche get teachings from Trijang Rinpoche, and Trijang Rinpoche get teachings from Pabongka Rinpoche.

    I felt one of the most important thing Pabongka Rinpoche has done is giving teachings to lay person. It was a tradition that teachings are given to monks and He is one of the first who gave public teachings to lay person. May be He felt the time has come to give teachings to lay person (I guess) :) as we are going into degenerate times with so much desire and distractions, and more and more people are not willing to give up to be monks/nuns. If He didn’t “break” the tradition, many of us lay person will not get teachings today.

    It is said that Pabongka Rinpoche’s most famous “weapon” in teachings is humour, and I find this so similar to Tsem Rinpoche :) If you have attend Tsem Rinpoche’s teaching or watched His youtube, you will know what I mean. So many time Tsem Rinpoche throw jokes at us to keep us “entertained” so that we are interested in learning Dharma. Too bad there is no Youtube during Pabongka Rinpoche’s time :)

    After reaching Pabongka Rinpoche’s biography, I am very touch and I aspire to bring benefits to others.

  27. Bk on Oct 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Very inspiring biography of Pabongka Rinpoche. You know that age old question – what have you done with your life? Our biographies would not even be a teeny fraction of what Kyabje Pabongka has accomplished.

    And the other golden question particularly applicable in Buddhism, when sometimes there are so many teachers and traditions that you don’t know which one to choose, or sometimes, even which one is real? The answer in this case is then to look at their accomplishments and particularly their consistency during their lifetime. And even more so, to examine the results of their lives many years after they have passed. Pabongka Rinpoche definitely passes both with flying stars.

    But anyway, while I was reading, a couple of things really stood out in my mind. And it relates to the nature of high reincarnations, the signs surrounding them, and their deeds. First – their birth. Signs surround the birth of all great beings – lights in the case of Pabongka Rinpoche, and dreams of elephants in the case of Buddha shakyamuni as well as none other than Tsem Rinpoche.

    Next, their recognition as well as their attraction to dharma. In Buddha shakyamuni’s case, there was no recognition of course, but he sought out the true nature of things and restarted Buddhism in this aeon. Pabongka Rinpoche was recognised by the highest lamas of his time ay 7 years of age after displaying unusual qualities as a child. While Tsem Rinpoche was recognised at just 7 months, and later, after displaying very unusual attraction to dharma and ability to understand it, he was recognised again many times over by many high lamas of our time.

    Next teaching abilities. Buddha was the greatest teacher of Buddhism but the oral tradition and lineage are held and rejuvenated by the highest incarnations of more great teachers. Pabongka Rinpoche was rare for his abilities to hold an audience and a lay audience at that, through humour, clear examples and logical analyses. Tsem Rinpoche is also another rare breed of teacher, known for this teaching abilities that bridge the east and west, contemporary teachings that resonate with today’s audience and his incredible sense of humour and wit. Like Pabongka Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche has also altered a great many lives, his teachings convincing many to abandon secular pursuits for spiritual goals.

    I could go on and on with more examples, but I will stop here with just one more. Ultimately, the qualities of a spiritual teacher will reflect best in his results. Buddha founded an entire religion that has withstood the past 3500 years and is still growing. Pabongka Rinpoche brought the teachings of the Gelug lineage together, and successfully instilled that lineage in the current generation of Gelug teachers, one of his results no other than the current Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche’s accomplishmensts are many and his work is not yet done. We have yet to see the great deeds that he will do, prophesied by his teachers.

  28. Han on Oct 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Through reading this post, not only gain knowledge about a great master with superb qualities, also realized the power of the lineage. We never lose faith in our lianeage.

    Eg, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche also explained “We should remember the biographies of past and present teachers. We should never develop negative thoughts towards our root and lineage gurus. If we do not keep the commitments after having received teachings, this is a great downfall.”

    This truly the greatest reminder to me, NEVER DEVELOP NEGATIVE THOUGHTS TOWARDS OUR ROOT AND LINEAGE GURUS, I will always practice and keeping this in mind.

  29. Sheryl KH (JB) on Oct 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for putting so much information on H.H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche here. This blog is very useful as it has almost all the basics about H.H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche under one roof. H. H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche is certainly an amazing high lama.

    Many qualities that have been written about H. H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche seems to be those that we can only find in Buddhas – the ability to teach people of different levels (including those from higher echelons of society), humility, compassion, the ability to teach for hours without getting tired and of course not forgetting achievements from both Sutra and Tantra aspects.

    I feel that these are qualities that Tsem Tulku Rinpoche has as well, especially that Rinpoche seems to me never sleep, or perhaps only rest for a few hours, then Rinpoche will be up and do more works, including also times when Rinpoche was not feeling well. It seems that there is really nothing that we can stop Rinpoche’ cares for others.

    The capability to not get angry but rather to crack humorous jokes so as to keep listeners awake is another quality that Tsem Tulku Rinpoche shares with H. H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche.

  30. Lim Han Nee on Oct 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    There are so many ways to begin extolling the incomparable greatness of HH Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. I will begin with his “authorship” of the modern-day Lamrim, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.’Liberation’ is the transcript of his 24-day 1921 epic teaching of the Lamrim. The transcript was lovingly done by his heart disciple, following Pabongka Rinpoche’s instruction.

    As great Masters have testified, in ‘Liberation’, Pabongka Rinpoche had illustrated his teachings with concrete examples and personal stories, with abundant references to Lord Buddha’s teachings and to commentaries of ancient scholars and saints.Each section was illustrated by analogies, conclusive formal logic, amazing stories and trustworthy quotations. In essence, his interpretation of the Doctrine adhered closely to the meaning of Lord Buddha’s words exactly. ‘Liberation’ was ‘written’ by a great Master who had realized (in his mindstream)the Lamrim teachings given by his root guru,Dagpo Rinpoche,over a period of ten years of deep study and meditation.

    ‘Liberation’ displays clearly Pabongka’s great skill as a teacher of effectively directing the teachings to listeners of different levels of ability, from the highest intellectuals to the simplest minds.

    That the lineages of both sutra and tantra of the Gelug school continue to flourish and spread today is thanks to Pabongka Rinpoche’s foresight in collecting all and passing down to one person, his heart son, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. As holder of the Gaden Oral Lineage, he located all partial transmissions,learned and realized and brought them together and passed them on through Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

    He was an emanation of Heruka and many great stories have been recorded about this. He compiled the long sadhana of Vajrayogini which includes all her practices.

    He is the most influential of Gelug Masters. THrough Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and other students of Pabongka Rinpoche and their students, the Gelug Lineage teachings have gone to the four corners of the world. If we have a teacher of the Gelug Lineage now, he would most likely be a student of a student of Pabongka Rinpoche.

    Pabongka Rinpoche was one of the first great masters who made Dharma teachings, like the ‘Liberation’ teachings, available to lay people as well as the monastics. That he was a great teacher was without doubt. Thousands would attend his teachings. he was gentle with people.

    Last but not least he was an epitome of Guru Devotion.Whenever he visited his root guru, he would prostrate ,from within sight of his home, all the way to his doorstep. Likewise he would walk backward, facing the house, until he was out of sight of his teacher’s home.He chose to be within the area of his teacher’s home when he passed away. He would not stand it if anyone said anything negative of his teacher. His face would turn black.

  31. Wan Wai Meng on Oct 13, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Je Pabongka had so much good qualities and was one of the forerunners in teaching the buddha dharma to the lay people. His teachers were beings of immaculate quality and accomplishments, Tagphu Pemavajra and also Dagpo Rinpoche. And the Lamrim many of us are studying is the Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, for him to teach for 24 days non stop to thousands of people and in the order that it benefits people it an amazing feat in itself.

  32. sweekeong on Oct 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I happy to read this article abouut Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. Very impressive account of his life and the contributions he has given to us by his works and teaching the Dharma to laypeople and monks who later became very great Lamas. This article is very well written containing many teachings for those who are pursuing the Buddhist path rigorously and seriously with the motivation of benefiting others.

    Pabongka Rinpoche studied Lamrim in the Sera Mey monastery. After he graduated he found his root guru who main practice is bodhichitta. Pabongka Rinpoche entered Lamrim retreat for 10 years under his guru’s guidance even though he has studied Lamrim in the monastery. Realizations came from meditative practice which illustrated how profound and deep Lamrim is.

    Some of the utmost important points worth repeating here are reliance on our guru for our spiritual journey, faith and commitment to the lineages from Buddha, and not disparaging of other lineages or favoring our lineage.

    Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche who is Pabongka Rinpoche’s student has received the complete lineage and is able to transmit the Dharma and blessing through his teachings. We are very blessed with Rinpoche’s holding this unbroken lineage. Therefore realizations and attainments are definitely very much achievable very quickly in this life. :)

  33. Sean Wang on Oct 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, thank you for sharing this information regarding the wonderful guru, Kyabje Pabonka Rinpoche. It is extremely delightful to learn about his life. Thank you, Rinpoche for allowing me to gain more knowledge about Pabongka Rinpoche. I really like how Pabongka Rinpoche’s stance on religion is neutral as Lamas should not be involved in politics. But I especially like Pabongka Rinpoche’s stance on the various different schools on Buddhism as they are not different but all the same, in the same mental column.

  34. shashi on Oct 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for posting this great article. It is very fortunate for a great mahasiddha or living buddha to exist and teach the path of Dharma in this very age. Very very very precious and those who had blessings or connections with HH. KYABJE PABONGKA RINPOCHE is indeed the most luckiest. I do wish to receive blessings from HIM if possible.

  35. Any Loke on Oct 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Dear Rinpoche, thank you for always spending time looking for articles for us to gain more knowledge , as your instructions , I have read through the article twice, but still need to read again and again, for I realize that the negative energy in me still blocking so much understanding for the article. I will still try my best. Once again thank you and I have saved in my mobile to read it when ever I can.

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  • Pastor Adeline
    Sunday, Oct 4. 2015 05:00 PM
    As you know Dorje Shugden for the last 400 years have had official oracles recognized by the monasteries and high lamas. I have never shared these pictures before and this is the first time. This is the famous Panglung monk oracle of Tibet who has been taking trance of Dorje Shugden, Setrap, Kache Marpo, Namka Barzin, etc for over 35 years. He was trained by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and His Eminence Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche. He was fully authorized and enthroned as an oracle of Dorje Shugden by His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche and Sera Mey Monastery. This oracle visited Kechara and took trance of Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo. I’ve had the great honor to speak with my protector directly during this time again.
  • Pastor Adeline
    Sunday, Oct 4. 2015 04:56 PM
    Recently, I have been open and vocal about my practice. As a result I am attacked and threatened online and insulted daily by Tibetans and their non-Tibetan friends whom I have never met. I don’t know them nor they know me. Yet they can attack me only because I practice Dorje Shugden in the 21st Century. These non-Tibetans who attack me and many other Shugden people online are from countries that are democratic and they enjoy full religious freedom. I say, if there is no ban or discrimination, then why am I attacked and insulted online daily just for my religious beliefs? Who started this negative rhetoric against Dorje Shugden practitioners? Of course the Tibetan leadership. The Tibetan leadership can easily publish online and issue instructions to the Tibetans not to discriminate against Dorje Shugden practitioners. If they did so, the attacks would stop overnight and so will the discrimination. But they don’t and they remain quiet.
  • Pastor Adeline
    Sunday, Oct 4. 2015 04:52 PM
    I wish no harm to His Holiness whatsoever. I would like to request humbly for the unjust ban against the worship of Dorje Shugden to end. I fold my hands in respect and offer a white clean and pure khata to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and beg him to lift the ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Please instruct your people to stop discriminating against Dorje Shugden practitioners please.
  • Pastor Adeline
    Sunday, Oct 4. 2015 04:52 PM
    Breaking samaya to the guru is very serious setback for our spiritual practice, for the growth of our mind and in general our overall peace. As the days pass by it will seem like nothing is happening, but we will see our attachments grow, anger grows and our distance to the dharma grows. We will be happy to engage in deeds that have no ultimate meaning and justify it and feel comfortable. We will fall back to the ways of how we were before meeting the dharma and feel comfortable. We will scourge our teachers and practice and start engaging in more actions that accumulate negative karma. Karma exists independent of our belief in it. We start enjoying what is negative and all that we hold sacred is not seen as sacred because the negative karma grows stronger.
  • Pastor Adeline
    Sunday, Oct 4. 2015 04:51 PM
    Magadha Zangmo lived her life serving the Buddha and the Dharma, bringing benefit to countless beings who came to listen to Buddha’s teachings. It is said that she achieved Arhatship during her lifetime as a lay householder, another indication that a practitioner can gain realizations even when we are not living the life of a monk or nun. Her story is still taught in Buddhist curriculum of today, reminding us to be humble and to always seize the chance to be generous and make offerings to the Buddhas.
  • xuliang
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 11:07 AM
    “The more you think and talk,
    The more you lose the Way.
    Cut off all thinking
    And pass freely anywhere.”
    … Xinxin Ming – Faith in Mind
  • xuliang
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 11:01 AM
    “Truth is within you’ and to discover that truth in the luminous light of perception was to transform the very nature of thought and consciousness. It was to awaken intelligence, insight and an abundant compassion. The total responsibility lay with the individual. No one could free another from bondage.
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:57 AM
    Cherish hard work and well earned results over comfort zones and zero results.~Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:57 AM
    Don’t make laziness your comfort zone because it is really your enemy.~Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:57 AM
    Don’t make being kind and responsible something difficult.~Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:55 AM
    We just have to adapt and familiarize ourselves with something greater, better and with more long term in benefits. To realize in fulfilling the wishes of others may be difficult and the path is very painful but only pursuing one’s own wishes solely ends up worse. Pursuing the path to benefit oneself may seem easier and less problematic as you deal with just yourself but then how come our lives have been filled with pain, disappointment, fear and we sort of become numb and just live like zombies? We live and go through the motions of the day for the sake of the motions and we are numb about it is because we only pursue for ourselves. Because we have to now realize choosing ourselves over others was the cause of our pain and we should reverse our thinking now and work for others before we lose the chance. Yes, working for others is a huge responsibility, but then if we start immediately, we will get use to it and finally it becomes natural as it should be.~Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:43 AM
    For the last 30 years I have some dreams and wishes for myself that are unfulfilled. But so far I have not been able to pursue it them at all. If I did pursue my personal dreams, it would benefit just one person which is myself. Sometimes I feel longing for what I want to pursue and wish I can start. But it is more important to be of some benefit to others as they are more and I am one. I take comfort that although unable to pursue my own dreams, I can bring some hope, fulfillment and purpose to others. After all, life is not about one person but fulfillment. It is fulfilling to benefit many rather than one.~Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:42 AM
    I have helped by dharma, advice, money, works and gifts to countless many for decades. Many of them have ran, make up stories about me and some have cheated me and many stay. Some contribute and some do nothing or little. Some are unstable, some commit and some go all the way.

    But I will not be stained by the 8 worldly dharmas nor affected by their behaviour, but remain steadfast in my resolve to benefit others even if they don’t benefit me. Whether they benefit me or not is not the criteria in which I help others or continue. My criteria is whether they help me or not or praise me or not, I must bring the message of Liberation from samsara to others. Some treat others badly because their samsara is so deep and only dharma can counter this. If I don’t bring dharma and be disheartened because of their behaviour to me then the situation will only get worse so since I know dharma, I must do something and continue. I must not let me and my feelings get in the way. Me and my feelings are not in the bigger equation. The bigger equation is to benefit others no matter how they treat me. I cannot stop something big to grow for somethings small (my feelings and disappointments). I cannot let one person’s pain and disappointment stop the benefit of many even if that one person is myself.

    My purpose is to make dharma grow so there is a oasis (dharma-hope) in the desert (samsara-sufferings). How they treat me I will not let it affect me but drive me on to continue. I only ask for the blessings of Dorje Shugden. I seek to rise above me and will keep on that direction. I am not important compared to the countless. May their sufferings end and may I be the cause of this.

    Lord Buddha’s enligtenment is testimony to compassion and love are fully possible to be embodied by one being.

    Tsem Rinpoche
  • tsemtulku
    Saturday, Oct 3. 2015 06:21 AM
    We are here for such a short time. It is really good if we can contribute and make a positive impact on those around us and if possible the world. We should cherish each day as a day to contribute and not take. We should remember that whatever we give, our short time here would have been well worth it. Make it worth it.~Tsem Rinpoche

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Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Khong Jean Mei, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now


The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
3 days ago
Thank you for this picture
3 days ago
This is a beautiful and unusual thangka.
1 week ago
The Goddess Kandarohi of the Vajra Yogini tantra. She is invoked to expel negative interferences. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal Pelsango. This picture of this very holy lama taken yesterday September 27, 2015. His Holiness is very well. I thank our good karma for this and grateful to see His picture. May we all become like His Holiness Gaden Trisur who is accomplished in his mind. My prostrations to this great lineage master who has commitment, samaya to His guru and who is Lord Tsongkapa's representative on earth, Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Making long life offerings to His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche who is one with Heruka Chakrasamvara.~Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Buddha and Jesus are best buddies and going out on the town to save some souls. Sure wish the followers can be just as open and liberal. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Beautiful mural painting of H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is something interesting:
2 weeks ago
You don't want to miss out what this incredible lady Magadha Sangmo (须摩提女) did that benefitted so many during Buddha's time:
2 weeks ago
You have to see this as it's super cute and brightens your day: --------- Being creative is an expression of helping others to understand something by various unconventional means.~Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Do you know what this flag represents and the meaning behind it:
3 weeks ago
Such wonderful and hardworking people of Kechara! I respect them alot. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
His Excellency the YDP of Bentong gracing Kechara Forest Retreat today! He is taking a picture with our hardworking Kechara Forest Retreat team. They are the team that build, maintain and expand our plans in Kechara Forest Retreat. All future buildings and many exciting new plans will be made manifested by this group of beautiful people of Kechara Forest Retreat. (From Left to right: Ms Phng Li kheng, Pastor Chia Song Peng, Pastor Henry, His Excellency the YDP, Mr Nicholas Yu, Ms. Pammie Yap, Ms. Julia Tan and Mr Khoo. I am so proud of our team and I humbly thank the YDP for visiting us from his very busy schedule. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Parnashavari-Special healing goddess for contagious diseases. I want a 9ft statue of Her on Kechara Forest Retreat's land...very beneficial.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini with the root and lineage guru on top and Her entourage surrounding Her.
4 weeks ago
Mongolian rare statue of White Heruka
4 weeks ago
11th Century Nepalese Manjushri
4 weeks ago
Beautiful ancient carving of Manjushri.
4 weeks ago
A sacred Manjushri made during the Kangxi period of China.
4 weeks ago
You are going to be amazed at these beautiful pictures! Guess what arrived on Kechara Forest Retreat's pond? See here:
4 weeks ago
This is so beautiful. Our Kecharians do deserve to read this and feel good. They are hard working. Thank you so much.
4 weeks ago
You'll have to watch Kechara's version. Camp, funny and really 'good' acting---Some things are just TOO FUNNY to see once! See this-
1 month ago
Beautiful pendant of Dorje Shugden Trakzey available now for your invite and blessings from! So beautifully crafted! This special form of Dorje Shugden rides on a garuda representing destruction of anger and protection of malevolent forces. Dorje Shugden protecting you wherever you go in the form of this sacred art pendant.
1 month ago
Amazing Wangzey Dorje Shugden pendant available now for your invite and blessings from! So beautifully crafted! This form of Dorje Shugden helps us to overcome insecurities, fears and difficult situations. Wear this special form of Dorje Shugden always!
1 month ago
The principle form of Dorje Shugden in 18 inches riding on a powerful snow lion the King of celestial beasts representing Dorje Shugden has overcome all obscurations and four maras and is fully enlightened. The remaining form of Gyenze Dorje Shugden will be available soon here at
1 month ago
Beautiful 18 inches Shitzey Dorje Shugden available now for your invite and blessings from! So beautifully crafted! This form of Dorje Shugden rides on a celestial elephant representing firmness and strength of the enlightened mind of Dorje Shugden. Shitzey helps us to heal, overcome diseases, placate anger and dangerous environmental situations.
1 month ago
Beautiful 18 inches Trakzey Dorje Shugden available now for your invite and blessings from! So beautifully crafted! So very rare riding on a Garuda. This form of Dorje Shugden is powerful to protect from negative energy and powerful energies that disrupt our minds, work and spiritual progress.
1 month ago
Beautiful 18 inches Wangzey Dorje Shugden available now for your invite and blessings from! So beautifully crafted! This form of Dorje Shugden helps us to overcome insecurities, fears and difficult situations.
1 month ago
This stunning Hayagriva thangka is in my aunt's shrine
1 month ago
Stunning Protector Brahmarupa
1 month ago
Protector Brahmarupa
1 month ago
Interesting background on Protector Brahmarupa
1 month ago
The Goddess Trokner Jenma or Bhrikuti...Very nice
1 month ago
So picturesque: Japanese small towns are quaint, neat, clean and very organized and it has very rustic feeling and they connect with nature. They are timeless with modern conveniences but old world feel. I love small Japanese towns.
1 month ago
Japanese small towns are quaint, neat, clean and very organized and it has very rustic feeling and they connect with nature. They are timeless with modern conveniences but old world feel. I love small Japanese towns.
1 month ago
This Vajra Yogini is in Rashi Gempil Temple in Howell, New Jersey. My guru Kensur Rinpoche invited this from India and enshrined Her in his house next to the temple. His house was right next to the temple. I use to go and look at Her always extremely fascinated. The statue is there now and here it is. Beautiful. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Whenever we think we can't we should take refuge in Manjushri and do his practice and retreats and then our minds will open up more and then we will understand we can. That nothing is can't but everything should be CAN!~ Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
H.H.Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche drew this Buddha.
1 month ago
Four wonderful people at a very holy and sacred location making pilgrimage. Many dakinis were sighted in this area.
1 month ago
Nice painting of Tibetan King Trisong Deutsen who did alot for the propagation of Dharma during his reign. He is worshipped as a Dharma king and attained being also.
1 month ago
Congratulations to Kyabje Zawa Rinpoche in Canada! See:
1 month ago
The personal statue of Lord Dorje Shugden of His Holiness Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche. Very holy and sacred. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dorje Shugden statues to be given away
1 month ago
Some Dharma protectors have the special karmic link to take trance in people to speak. Gaden had a such a great oracle called Choyang Dulzin Kuten who took trance of Dorje Shugden, Setrap and Kache Marpo. This is a picture of the oracle of Gaden in full trance.
1 month ago
Two of the best people anyone can have as friends in their life. Left is Beng Kooi and right is Su Ming.
2 months ago
His Eminence Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche visited me in my house in Gaden Monastery back in 1994. What an honour. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
My personal thangka. Centre is H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Left is emanating from his heart is Vajra Yogini. Right is Dorje Shugden. I am at the bottom eternally prostrating to them. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Each one of us should write a respectful letter to this temple head and try to release this poor elephant..Tsem Rinpoche
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • -
    2 weeks ago
    HH the Dalai Lama prays with HH Trijang Rinpoche and HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Such a beautiful video of His Holiness Dalai Lama, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and His Holiness Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche (Very exalted high Nyingma lama) are all praying together. In the background you see a young Kyabje Lati Rinpoche too. So beautiful. This is how it was before the ban. All the sects and high lamas were superbly harmonious. After the Dorje Shugden ban things changed for the worse. May the ban be released soon. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Nice Dorje Shugden rock painting
    3 weeks ago
    Nice Dorje Shugden rock painting
  • His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche teaches the truth of life and our impeding death.
    1 month ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche teaches the truth of life and our impeding death.
  • A kind message from Mr. Tsering Wangchuk to me. Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    A kind message from Mr. Tsering Wangchuk to me. Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Mr Chatreng Yeshe's message to me (Part 1)
    2 months ago
    Mr Chatreng Yeshe's message to me (Part 1)
  • Mr Chatreng Yeshe's message to me (Part 2)
    2 months ago
    Mr Chatreng Yeshe's message to me (Part 2)
  • His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche accepts Long Life puja
    3 months ago
    His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche accepts Long Life puja
  • Dorje Shugden/Kache Marpo makes offerings to Tsem Rinpoche
    3 months ago
    Dorje Shugden/Kache Marpo makes offerings to Tsem Rinpoche
  • My good friend Justin Ripley
    3 months ago
    My good friend Justin Ripley
  • -
    4 months ago
    I requested Choji Lah to do a trusol, rabney and soongdroop for our large DS and Buddha. In this video, he is performing trusol which is ritually 'bathing' the environment and blessing all those who come to visit our Wisdom Hall and Dorje Shugden. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Bigfoot arrives!!!
    4 months ago
    Bigfoot arrives!!!
    Tsem Rinpoche is an avid follower of the paranormal such as bigfoots. For more interesting writings and posts on the subject, please go to
  • Mumu Loves Snack!
    4 months ago
    Mumu Loves Snack!
  • -
    4 months ago
    For H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, a blog post is not just a blog post but Dharma work that generates merits which should be dedicated. Click here to find out what blog post Rinpoche was dedicating the merits for when he recited this prayer: ~Ani Lobsang Pema
  • -
    4 months ago
    Panchen Lama in Beijing on CCTV - China's official news. The respect and position they give His Holiness Panchen Lama is great.
  • Magical fish tank with Buddha statue
    5 months ago
    Magical fish tank with Buddha statue


A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

View All Questions


36 minutes ago
Kechara Puja Team led by Pastor Yek Yee conducted a Bereavement Puja at Nirvana Memorial Center today. Lucy Yap.
5 hours ago
English staff Dharma class with Pastor Gim Lee teaching on the second part of the topic on "Karma" and sharing the blog topic on "Something special to share" at Kechara House gompa this morning. Lucy Yap
16 hours ago
​Did you know that without a stimulating environment, birds will engage in destructive behaviour like feather-plucking? It is one of their coping strategies for negative affective states like stress, loneliness and boredom. By the way, you won't ever see birds like that at the Kechara Forest Retreat​ aviary ;)​ x Pastor Jean Ai
17 hours ago
Kechara Penang Study Group attended Weekly Setrap Puja. Pastor Patsy
17 hours ago
Rejoice to these kind people who decided to take vegetarian vows and stopped killing the animals for food. The vows session taken in Kechara Forest Retreat. By Puja House , 4th October 2015
17 hours ago
Big Dukkar Puja was conducted today. Dukkar puja restores harmony, protection and safety from supernatural interferences. Great safety and release from fear. By Puja House, 4 October 2015
17 hours ago
Although is Sunday, Puja House's volunteers spent their time to benefit sentient being by joining in puja. By Puja House 4 October 2015
18 hours ago
Nadia is getting ready to fit her robes for Sutra Story Performance on Rinpoche's birthday. Victoria, KSDS
21 hours ago
Adult Sunday Dharma classes in Chinese and English Language at Kechara House Gompa. Time : 10.30am - 12.00pm. Lucy Yap
23 hours ago
Can anyone guess who made this? What are these? How to make these? What are these for? :) Stella, KSDS
23 hours ago
Jump around, jump up and get down Jump around, jump around.Jump up and get down Jump up, jump up and get down! Stella, KSDS
23 hours ago
Pastor Adeline gave a briefing to Kechara Sunday Dharma School early in the morning before the teachers started their routines. Don't you love the dynamics? Stella, KSDS
23 hours ago
All Kechara Sunday Dharma School students gathered in Multipurpose Room at Kechara House this morning with eager anticipation to what's going to happen next. Stella, KSDS
24 hours ago
Before the start of our puja in Kechara Ipoh chapel, Kit Ping has come earlier to help out for the offerings arrangement on the altar today. She has been actively participated in most of the activities organised by Kechara Ipoh Study Group. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
24 hours ago
Kenny from Kechara Ipoh Study Group has offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa, Lord Setrap and Dorje Shudgen before our puja in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
24 hours ago
Through the kindness and compassion from our Guru, Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Kechara Ipoh Study Group has completed our Setrap and Dorje Shudgen puja today in Ipoh. Kris, one of our Kechara Ipoh Study Group members has offered jasmine flowers to Dorje Shugden before the start of the puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
24 hours ago
12 people took Vegetarian vow today at Wisdom Hall , Kechara Forest Retreat conducted by Pastor Yek Yee. Lucy Yap
2 days ago
Lama Chopa Puja did at Puja House this morning for Sponsor"s beloved who passed away. By Puja House 3 October 2015
2 days ago
Puja team making tormas for some puja. By Puja House 3 October 2015
2 days ago
Prayer did for the sponsor's beloved whom have passed away and today is his 49 days. By Puja House 3 October 2015
2 days ago
Pastor Yek Yee did prayer for the deceased and placed the ancestor tablet. By Puja House 3 October'15
2 days ago
Met a nice friend and took photo together with Rinpoche's dignified portrait in Kechara House.Alice Tay
3 days ago
Tormas are knead into dough before the shapes are formed. By Puja House 2 October'15
3 days ago
Tormas are ready for tomorrow puja. By Puja House 2 October'15
3 days ago
Thank you for all your support towards the growth of Dharma! KarenC.





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Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....