Chögyam Trungpa and Dilgo Khyentse: A Heart Connection

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest 20th Century teachers of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991). The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse has just been published by Shambhala Publications to celebrate this event, as well as to commemorate the visit of Rinpoche’s reincarnation to the West this summer.

Dilgo Khyentse was a preeminent master within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He was a personal teacher of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other great teachers. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche studied with Khyentse Rinpoche in Tibet and greatly revered him. Trungpa Rinpoche helped to bring His Holiness to North America to teach in 1976 and 1981. Khyentse Rinpoche also conducted the funeral of Trungpa Rinpoche in 1987 and gave many teachings to his senior students. Khyentse Rinpoche was also one of the teachers of Chögyam Trungpa’s eldest son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. So this is a  close dharma family relationship that spans a number of generations.

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche was confirmed as the reincarnation of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in 1995 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Now turning eighteen, Yangsi Rinpoche is travelling to many parts of the world this year, including Europe and North America in July and August. I had the opportunity to attend the 100th Anniversary celebrations at Shechen Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, this spring. I was very fortunate to also have two small group audiences with the Yangsi tulku. Knowing the close association between Trungpa Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and also having heard that Yangsi Rinpoche was very interested in the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, I carried the eight-volume Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa to Nepal with me to present as a gift. Rinpoche was filled with youthful exuberance and at the same time it is clear that he has a great deal of composure and depth. I look forward to seeing him in the U.S. in August.

Before our personal audience with Yangsi Rinpoche, my family and I were very fortunate to be able to offer khatas—offering scarves—to some of the body relics of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in his personal quarters in the monastery in Shechen, which have been left unchanged since his parinirvana in 1991. Entering this sacred space was overwhelming for us, and even as I write this my eyes fill with tears, thinking of the tremendous kindness of His Holiness and his unceasing activity to benefit all beings.

I myself am looking forward to delving more deeply into his teachings, as presented in The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse. This wonderful three-volume compendium was edited by Matthieu Ricard and Vivian Kurz, two of Dilgo Khyentse’s heart disciples. To learn more about The Collected Works, click here.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dilgo Khyentse, Shambhala Publications and Ocean of Dharma are giving away a set of The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling us what you think makes a great teacher. Winners will be randomly selected on Monday, June 14.

Congratulations to entrant #264, Sharon Robinson!

563 thoughts on “Chögyam Trungpa and Dilgo Khyentse: A Heart Connection

  1. A great teacher can be anyone who or anything that helps you wake up to the true nature of reality. Usually this involves the heart, not just the mind, and that is where a human who has gone before you can be your own great teacher.

  2. Hi everyone,

    One of the first quotes I ever read regarding dharma was from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche…Like clouds of impermanence and illusion dances the lightning of life. Can you say you wont die tomorrow? Practice the Dharma!

    Therefore, i think a really great teacher is one who inspires and cuts through to the truth. Like a doctor, the teacher should be wise and compassionate with the courage to cut through ones self-clinging. Though it might be painful to accept, they should be like the doctor who gives a vaccination knowing that it will be painful yet of ultimate benefit to the patient.

    Much love and warmest regards,

  3. A great teacher is one who is able to give you insight into who you are and how your life is an inner reflection. They have understanding and compassion that everyone is on their own evolutionary path and help you to be open to your growth, no matter what shape or form it is shown to you. One who touches your soul.

  4. A truly great teacher will cut you to pieces, will tear up every single last strand of belief and concept in the separate self, so all thats left are the burning ashes of awareness, shimmering in the luminious vast expanse of primordial awareness. All concepts of enlightenment and awareness are seen and cut through, all ideas of so called spirituality, all notions of lineages and traditions are surpassed to truly see once and for always that the teacher is not outside but everything is a myriad reflection of the supreme source, an aspect, flavour and taste of emptiness…a true teacher will show that enlightenment is not about being a better person, successfull or even happier, its just a funeral pyre of beliefs…….

  5. Although I see I’ve missed the deadline for describing what a great teacher is, your post inspired me to write a post of my own about what a Teacher really is–a post that I’ve been meaning to write for more than a year. It’s the top post on the Not So Big Life website.

    And I really look forward to reading The Collected Works of Dilgo Khyentse. I have always felt deeply connected to him for some reason, though I haven’t studied his words as yet. Perhaps now is the time. With deepest gratitude. Sarah

  6. A great teacher abides softly in immeasurable, unconditional lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity and deeply in pure, nonconceptual awareness of the ineffable, oneness, openness, and spontaneous radiant display for the benefit of all … always and all ways. OM AH HUNG HRI DRUM

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