Archive | DJKR News

The Cremation of Khandro Tsering Chödrön

Many great lamas gathered photo arne schelling

By Arne Schelling

Khandro Tsering Chödrön, who was the spiritual consort of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, passed away in Lerab Ling in France on the 30th May.Universally respected, loved and revered as one of the foremost female practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism of recent times, she was an inspiration and source of blessings to Buddhist practitioners everywhere.

Khandro Tsering Chodron Kudung Photo Arne Schelling

Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche called her “the queen of the dakinis”. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche visited her regularly during the past years and re-arranged his schedule to see her during her final days, particuarly on the 28th May when he conducted many pujas for her.

Now three months later, on the 2nd September, the cremation of her kudung, which was now only about 60 cm tall, took place in the presence of a great gathering of masters. In the east gathered H.H. Sakya Trizin (and his consort Gyalyum Chenmo), Dungse Gyana Vajra Rinpoche and Khen Rinpoche to practice the Yajrayogini Jinsek. In the south gathered Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Rangdröl Rinpoche and Tulku Yeshe to practice the Thukdrub Barche Kunsel. In the west was Sogyal Rinpoche and his mother (Khandro Tsering Chödrön’s elder sister), Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Alak Zenkar Rinpoche and Tulku Rigdzin Pema to practice the Minling Dorsem; and in the north the practice of Hevajra has been conducted by Dungse Ratna Vajra Rinpoche and his Lamas.

Alak Zenkar Rinpoche & Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche at Lerab Ling Sept 2011 Photo Arne Schelling

H.H. Sakya Trizin and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche at Lerab Ling Sept 2011 Photo Arne Schelling

It was a very peaceful and blissful day, celebrating the life of such a great and inspiring dakini.

H.H. Sakya Trizin concluded with the words “Her passing away is of course a great sadness to myself and to many of you also, and I extend my deep condolences to everyone. The most important thing now for us to do is to fulfill her wishes.”

3rd September 2011

Many great lamas gathered Photo Arne Schelling

Khandro Tsering Chodron Photo Jurek Schreiner

Khandro Tsering Chödrön Courtesy of Shechen Archives

Kyabje Trülshik Rinpoche enters parinirvana

Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche

Some days ago we got the sad news that Kyabje Trülshik Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma Lineage, entered parinirvana on 2nd September at 8 AM. Kyabje Rinpoche remained in tukdam meditation for 3 days in his monastery in Sitapaila near Kathmandu, Nepal.
Trulshik Rinpoche was the tutor of H.H. the Dalai Lama, and a close disciple and holder of both Dudjom Rinpoche’s and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s lineages, as well as other lineages including the treasure teachings of his previous incarnations. Rinpoche was a pure holder of the Buddhist monastic Sarvastavadin ordination lineage, which traces its origins back to Buddha Shakyamuni. In his life, Rinpoche ordained over ten thousand monks and nuns, and his monastery Thubten Choling in Solukhumbu in Nepal is home for several hundred monks and nuns, who are known for their pure discipline and meditation practice.
Kyabje Trülshik Rinpoche’s passing is a profound loss to the Nyingma lineage, to all of his students, and to all those who have been touched by his compassionate wisdom throughout the world. The following days and weeks are an important time for all of his students to practice as much as possible, to think of him, and to merge their minds with his.

For more about Kyabje Trülshik Rinpoche and his life see:

Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche (born in 1924), one of the most remarkable spiritual masters of the Ancient Tradition (Nyingmapa) of Tibetan Buddhism. He is also one of the last living teachers of the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. Trulshik Rinpoche is the lama who, from his isolated monastery near Everest, identified a young child as the incarnation of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, his spiritual master. 1988 Photo Matthieu Ricard

This rare image shows the fourteenth Dalai Lama receiving an initiation from one of his last living teachers, Trulshik Rinpoche, a highly respected Tibetan master. Dharamsala, India. 1999 Photo Matthieu Ricard

Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche Photo Matthieu Ricard

Dillgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche Photo Matthieu Ricard

Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche at Shechen Monastery Nepal, 2003 Photo Matthieu Ricard

Khenchen Appey Rinpoche

Khenpo Appey Rinpoche Kudung

In December last year Khenpo Appey , a very important teacher of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche passed away.
It was very remiss of me not to have honoured this in some way in the last issue of Gentle Voice so when I recently caught up with an old student, Inge Riebe , I asked her to write something. Pamela Croci

By Kunga Södron

It is very difficult to write something about Khenchen Appey Yönten Zangpo Rinpoche because he was totally dismissive of the cult of the ‘personality’. When I met with him after the death of Gyaltsay Tulku Rinpoche, who had originally introduced me to Khenchen Rinpoche, I asked him ‘how best to maintain the connection to Gyaltsay Tulku’. Rinpoche gave me the quiet-searching-look and said, ‘We don’t do that, the point is not personal connection – just do his work.’ It is even difficult to feel ok about including a photograph of him.

When I worked on the first brochure for the International Buddhist Academy that Khenchen Appey set up for ‘those foreign students with a sincere interest in Buddhist philosophy’ he did not want any photos of himself or of His Holiness, who is the patron. He eventually agreed to only two quite small formal pictures. He also did not allow any detailed descriptions of his major teaching role in Tibet and India allowing only ‘He taught in several seminaries of Tibet and India’. For this phrase please understand that he was a foremost scholar, monk and practitioner who taught many of the great teachers of today, and established Sakya College a key seat of learning in India. His students included Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche who studied formally under Khenchen Appey Rinpoche for five years from 1972-1985 as well as receiving further teachings from him thereafter.

For Khenchen Appey Rinpoche establishing anything, whether stupa or college, included everything, from carrying bricks and sacks of cement to overseeing the development of his students, and the spiritual and ritual correctness of all endeavours. When the IBA in Tunchili Kathmandu was being built, Rinpoche was there daily checking details – I remember him carefully making decisions as to the height of the handles on the cupboards.

Being taught by him was life changing. His incisive razor-like, breathtakingly deep, wide and subtle teachings were an overpowering shining mountain, of which one aspired to grasp just the smallest part. If one asked a ‘good’- that is unpretentious, heartfelt question – he would answer with a twenty minute Teaching and then often the next day add some extra point he had considered from another sutra or text. But if one asked something that came from the desire to impress, or some poorly thought out idea, he cut through with one or two words. Despite his incredible exactness and toughness, his compassion and kindness made everything acceptable. It was always an honour and a huge pleasure to see him and a single word of praise from him resonates for the rest of ones life.

So what could we take as ‘to do his work’? Khenchen Appey RInpoche dedicated his life to furthering ‘the great Buddhist tradition of rigorous scholarship and soundly based practice’. To take some words from a teaching of his, that outlined the activities on the path,

The Mahayana path must be completed with these four characteristics: moral discipline which is the cause of not being distracted; hearing which is the cause of not being ignorant; contemplation which is the cause of ascertainment; and meditation which is the cause of parting from defilements.

and then gave encouragement to the union between practice and scholarship,

In the Sutra known as Nam mKa’ mZod kyi mDo it is said, ‘No virtue or non-virtue accumulated earlier will go astray; no virtue accumulated through making offerings to the Tathagatas will go astray; no virtue accumulated through altruistic thought will go astray; no hearing accumulated primarily through practicing will go astray.’ Therefore, one must engage in the practice as said.

Khenpo Appey gave credit for that which actually was one’s achievement. I wrote to him on one occasion in 1992, inviting him to Australia on behalf of Gyalsay Tulku Rinpoche and expressing my desire to do what ever would be helpful for foreign students to be able to study at Sakya College which at that time was supported by Khenpo Migmar. Khenpo Appey’s reply letter concluded ‘Finally thank you for your good motivation…’ which was really all I could be thanked for.
So as he taught,
The Sutra known as Paltreng Sengei Dra states that all the prayers are combined into one. If one should ask ‘what is that prayer?’ it is “May I hold the Holy Dharma “.

If we sincerely pray that prayer, Khenchen Appey Rinpoche would thank us for that.

A few small words by the very poor student Kunga Södron.

For Jurek Schreiner’s photo gallery of Kenpo Appeys Cremation click here

Khenpo Appey Rinpoches Kudung Photo Jurek Schreiner

Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative Launch

DJKR in Deothang, Butan

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s address
to the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative Launch

At the Chokyi Gyatso Institute for Buddhist Studies, Deothang, 18 Dec, 2010.
Translated from Tshangla-Lo by Tshewang Dendup

Compared to talking face to face with you, it is much more difficult to talk on camera. It is also difficult to remember all the things I want to say. Even so, on the occasion of the launch of the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative, I would like to convey my deepest gratitude to you for being here this weekend.

I have been thinking about an initiative like this for some time. But it was only the last time when I visited Deothang in March this year that I really got to talk about it with our friends and the people of Deothang.

In general in Bhutan, lots of changes and progress are taking place. Some of these could be good changes, but it is difficult to comment on them because it is hard to distinguish if the changes are good or bad. What we think is a good change this year could be a bad one next year.

Following the wishes of our monarchs to establish democracy, we now have democracy in place, and in line with these developments, it is important for the people to shoulder our responsibilities and start fulfilling our responsibilities and activities properly. Based on that, the idea was to start a project like the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative and see what it can bring forth, even though the project is not on a big scale.

However, I want to make one thing very clear. There are those who understand this clearly and very well. But on the other hand, those who don’t might embark on this venture with pomposity and a lot of hullabaloo as if they were setting up a new association, organisation, or party. Some people like to go around saying that they are members of a special organisation and they exude an excitement similar to those belonging to an archery or cricket team. Sometimes, these people also display a sense of exclusivity, as if to say “I am better than them.” I want to make it very clear and stress that the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative isn’t in any way like that at all.

Although religion is deeply woven into our lives in Bhutan, I also want to make it very clear that the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative is not a religious entity at all, and it will not have any religious trappings like tshechus and holy days and stuff like that. Needless to say, I also want to emphasize the apolitical nature of the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative..

So what then is the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative?

Bhutan has seen good progress which is due to the collective merit of the people of Bhutan, the blessings of the Three Jewels, and on top of that, the far-sighted vision of our Kings who have guarded the well being of Bhutanese people for generations.

While Bhutan continues to embrace the offerings of the modern world and learns the ways of the modern world, it has done so without losing the essence of our unique culture, our unique thinking and mentality, even the way we sit and eat. All these have not diminished, and the credit for this goes to our monarchs.

Our country Bhutan is now in a new set up. Bhutan is a democracy now. So far things have gone well. So why then are we forming the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative?

The Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative is being formed mainly because our people and the Bhutanese citizens have a responsibility. The English word “initiative” is hard to translate but its meaning includes carrying or shouldering responsibility.

It is carrying our responsibility without someone else having to tell us. It is US fulfilling our responsibilities without the prodding of a cowherd. It is for us and it is for our children, and it is for the future well being. Taking such an initiative and to be concerned in this manner, that is the main aim of the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative.

As I said before, establishing clubs and creating teams and stuff like hosting parties, picnics, gathering people for enjoyment, distributing leaflets, hoisting flags and blowing horns that is not our intention and thinking. Please keep this in mind. This is very, very important.

The government has looked after us like a mother after a child. The government has looked after us even beyond the stage that it should, even after the child is now able to ingest solid foods. The government has taken care of us thus far. We are now like 15 and 16 year old teenagers. With democracy in place, Bhutan and her culture, education, environmental preservation and protection, our unique philosophy and psyche, our thinking the caretaker and the custodian of these should not be just the government and the work of a department alone.

Once a child grows up, it should not expect its parents to take care of it further. When the child reaches the age of 15 or 16 or 20 and still expects the parents to look after it, then that is not good. Likewise, the people of Bhutan should now work sincerely in tandem to fulfil the aims of the government and the vision of our King. In doing so, we have to think not only of the present but of the generations to come in the future.

Coming to Gross National Happiness, we should not only engage in talk but also translate it into action  to “walk the talk.” And in doing so, we should not wait for others. Rather, all of us, each one of us, on our own, being concerned, should shoulder the responsibilities, and we should start working in line with the philosophy of the government.

The government is doing its job and in the future also, the hope is that it will continue to do so. But we have to do our bit and not just leave it to the government. After all, it is for us that these actions are being done. We have also become dependent on aid like some other countries. A mentality like that means that we can never mature and grow up.

So being self reliant and realizing our potential I think these issues will come up in discussions in the upcoming meetings, but I am mentioning this here just to highlight its importance.

In our villages, even though we have enough to feed our children, the trend has set in where our youth want to go to Thimphu and to the urban areas. These days you can no longer say things like “you cannot go” and “you should not go.” Why are our young ones wanting to go to the urban areas? Once they reach the urban areas, if they have no problems living a decent life, it is not a problem at all. But often they end up having no jobs, or if they get jobs, those jobs are not up to their expectations, and then they get exasperated and land up in a situation where they feel ashamed to go back to their homes and end up abusing drugs or drinking alcohol.

How can we stem this flow of our youth to the urban areas? We cannot use force and threat. Within Samdrup Jongkhar and Deothang, what are the things that we can do to create the enabling environment and conditions that will keep our young men and women here?

As I say these words, I am reminded of this way of thinking that many of us have  a tendency amongst us to think: “We cannot do this. This is un-doable.” We should do away with such thinking and abandon such thoughts.

Even if something does not work this year, next year, or in five or six years, if we start our project now, we will have a long term plan, because we have to think long term. We have to think long term. If we start now, if we begin our activities now and start now, then even if we are not able to accomplish our aims during our lifetimes, it is not a problem. If we start this plan and establish it now, then it will bear fruit in our children’s lifetime. If we don’t do this now, it will be too late later.

In Bhutan, when we build a house, we face labour shortages. We cannot get labourers. There is a lack of skilled workers. Even if we get labourers, we have to contend with the shame factor because such vocations are looked down in our society with the common aspiration to land a white collar job. How can we change this attitude, this thinking?

Deothang and Samdrup Jongkhar are fertile areas and receive abundant rainfall. Yet we get our food and vegetables from outside. How can we be self sufficient and feed ourselves? How to inculcate such thinking? How do we make our people think in those terms and in terms of environmental conservation and ecological awareness and prevention? Education is the key.

With the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative, the thinking is to go beyond the common and established view, the prevalent view that chanting mantras and counting malas constitutes practice and instead take it beyond those rituals and really integrate spiritual practice. So the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative will look at how to integrate religious practice and go beyond the chanting and counting of malas. And with this kind of initiative, we will work with all of us united in such thoughts.

Many people, including civil servants and business folk, have worked and helped in launching the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative, and I want to thank them. From my side, the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative has been started with good intention and we should all rejoice. And if this goes well, this initiative could be replicated in other districts.

Please keep this in mind and thank you all.

For more information go to

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche taking care in Deothang 2010 photo Pawo Choyning Dorji

From Russia with Love


This is a brief summary of Rinpoche’s first visit to Russia in July of this year. According to Rinpoche, this historic trip has been 20 years in the making, starting with the first invitation by Victor, a legendary Russian chö practitioner who lived in Nepal.

During his time in Russia, Rinpoche visited and gave teachings in Moscow, Kunphenling retreat center near Moscow, and St.Petersburg.

Visit Highlights

Rinpoche in Red Square Photo by Arne Schelling

Rinpoche visited Red Square including Lenin Mausoleum as well as Kremlin Cathedrals–resting places of many Russian tsars, including Ivan the Terrible.

Rinpoche visited Leo Tolstoy museum, which featured Leo Tolstoy’s correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi on the topic of spreading the view of practical compassion in the world.

Rinpoche visited a first Moscow Stupa of Enlightenment (the only stupa in Moscow) built on the ground of Roerich Museum.

Rinpoche held a luncheon with Moscow-area volunteers who helped with the visit.

Rinpoche met with several dharma patrons and discussed their various projects in Russia, such as:

  • Translation of the Dudjom Tersar sadhanas into Russian
  • Collaboration across Russian, Buryat and Kalmyk Buddhist sanghas to build first Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Moscow
  • Project to bring several Buddhist relics from Sri Lanka and Burma to Russia


In both Moscow and St. Petersburg, Rinpoche gave evening talks (open and free to the public) on “Fundamental View of Buddhism”. In each case, the talk was attended by over a hundred people.

Listening to Rinpoche In Russia Photo by Arne Schelling

In St.Petersburg Rinpoche gave a weekend teaching on Madhyamakāvatara. (First six chapters of Russian translation of Rinpoche’s commentary on Madhyamaka are available on Russian website, The weekend teaching was warmly received and attended by over 100 people.

In Kunphenling (a retreat center near Moscow), Rinpoche gave a three day retreat on Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s short Ngondro from the Longchen Nyingtik, which was attended by to close to 200 people, hailing from all over Russia. (A particularly moving story included Rinpoche’s meeting with a teenage boy from a small town in rural Russia, who was absolutely new to Buddhism, and upon learning of Rinpoche over the internet, saved his earnings for 8 months to be able to travel to Rinpoche’s retreat.) Teachings from the retreat were broadcast to both Dharma Gars under the direction of Rinpoche (European Gar and North American Gar).

Also in Kunphenling, Rinpoche conducted a Gesar Sang during which a Peace Vase was buried on the grounds of the retreat center. Rinpoche’s moving teaching about Peace Vase project generated tremendous enthusiasm in the project among Russian sangha. Several sanghas are in contact with us regarding possible placement of the vases in Russia (Samara and Siberia near Lake Baikal), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and others.


Due to generous support and sponsorship of this visit by Khyentse Foundation and Siddhartha’s Intent many students who would not otherwise be able to hear Rinpoche’s teachings, were able to participate. Both public talks were free, and there was only a nominal charge for the weekend retreats in both cities.

Rinpoche in Russia Photo by Arne Schelling

Concurrent with the visit, a second printing of the Russian translation of “What Makes you Not a Buddhist?” was released in paperback.

A Russian audio book of “What Makes you Not a Buddhist?” in Russian is now also available, read by a famous theater actor and movie director Ivan Vyrypaev.

Teachings were recorded on video and audio by Arne Schelling and Alexandra Ermoshina and will be available for KF/SI archive.

Photo documentation of the trip was conducted by Arne Schelling, David Zwieback and several teaching participants

To date, the Russian website for this trip ( received 1,946 unique visits, mostly from Russia and the Ukraine.

Recording of the Russia teachings (with translation) will be available free of charge on the website for 15 days following posting.

Incognito Photo by Arne Schelling

Welcome to Poland & Czech Republic


Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche teaching at Warsaw University Library,
Warsaw, Poland, July 2010

Warsaw University Library Photo by Rafael Izyk

Rinpoche teaching in Warsaw Photo by Rafael Izyk

Rinpoche in front of Warsaw University Library's famous wall
Photo by Rafael Izyk

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche teaching from The Way of the Bodhisattva in Prague,
Czech Republic, August 2010

DJK Rinpoche teaching in Prague, Czech Republic Photo by Vladimir Vimr

Listening to Rinpoche teach in Prague Photo by Vladimir Vimr