Other Heart Gurus of Khandro Thrinlay Chodon
Although these Masters have passed from this external world, they remain in my heart. My work and life are an offering to their inexhaustible kindness.
In addition, there are countless people who have inspired me in this lifetime. My work is now a dedication to all of them. Without their compassion, I would be lost in this big wide world. They embrace and hold me every moment.
May their blessings impartially expand to all beings.Khandro Thrinlay Chodon
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991)
Due to our family connection with His Holiness, I had heard much about his great realisation since I was a little girl. I had a strong wish and made fervent prayers to see him in person. When I finally met him in Nepal, it was at a time when I was deeply grieving the loss of my mother and felt that my world had fallen apart into a thousand pieces. His radiant presence melted all my pain. His personal guidance, the way in which he held me and the intimate teachings I was so fortunate to receive, brought me back to life. It felt as though I had been rescued by Guru Rinpoche himself. Physically, he was awe inspiring, strong like a mountain. When he performed mudras, his huge, elegant, soft hands, and gaze of kindness made everyone rest in timelessness. He had the presence of a real Tantric Master. To this day, if my mind feels any agitation, in merely thinking of His Holiness, I feel my mind expand. Maybe that is a glimpse of Dzogchen blessings. From His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse, I was so fortunate to receive so many empowerments and teachings among a whole retinue of young Masters. Finally, he sent me to the mountains of Tatopani to study under the guidance of His Eminence Sengdrak Rinpoche, who was a devoted student of both His Holiness and my father. I rejoice in having really met him and bow to this genuine Master.
Kyabjé Adeu Rinpoche (1931-2007)
Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche had a very soft voice and a subtle, flawless presence. He was very humble, with the pure energy of a genuine monk. He possessed vast scholarly knowledge, as well as a great meditative practice. When I was young, I was fortunate to be amongst a throng of lay and monastic practitioners who gathered at Tashi Jong, where he gave a series of empowerments and teachings. I was very fortunate to receive the whole corpus of the Drukpa Lineage empowerments and transmissions from him at this time. As a Drukpa lineage holder, I am ever grateful to His Eminence Tsoknyi Rinpoche for inviting Kyabje Adeu Rinpoche from Kham, in eastern Tibet, to bestow all the sacred and secret teachings, which otherwise would have been lost. It was because of him that many of these texts were compiled, printed and distributed. In addition, I had the chance to receive personal guidance from him on Mahamudra. How fortunate to have actually met him in person and received teachings from him directly. May I prove worthy of this profound blessing.
Khunu Lama Rinpoche (1894-1977)
Khunu Lama Rinpoche was very well known and came from Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, north India. He travelled all the way to Tibet, before the Cultural Revolution, to study under the great Masters who were still alive and living there at that time. He became a great Master and scholar of our time, who lived the hermit’s life of a yogi. We don’t have these kinds of Masters today. He is also one of the gurus of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who especially highlights Khunu Lama’s teachings on bodhicitta calling him, “the Shantideva of our time”. I was very fortunate, when I was thirteen, that Khunu Lama came to our house in Manali and lived with us for several months, a year or two before he passed away. He gave endless teachings and empowerments from all the lineages and I was very fortunate to be part of the retinue who received them. He was very Indian looking in appearance. He had glasses and, by that time, almost no teeth but still had a very powerful presence. I was very young, and he spoke very fast, so I could barely understand what he was saying, but I could still feel his words creating ripples in my mind. After he left us, he travelled to Lahoul, the Land of Dakinis where I was born, and taught many people before passing away in Shashur Monastery.
Kyabjé Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche (1931-2011)
Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche was one of the greatest Dzogchen scholars and practitioners of our time. Again, I was very fortunate to know this great Master from a young age. He was very low key, not even wearing robes. He was dressed simply in a wrap of cloth, a lungi, but had very refined handsome features. The son of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, he had a very regal bearing even though he was so simple in appearance. When I met Kyabje Rinpoche, he was very kind and told me that he knew my father when they were both young. He had many lovely stories of their days together and of his white horse. I received many empowerments from Kyabje Rinpoche. His knowledge of dharma was vast, deep and profound. When he spoke he overflowed with ceaseless teachings. Also, during my studies in the United States, I had time with Kyabje Rinpoche, being able to visit him in upstate New York and Palm Springs. I received guidance and care. I feel that Kyabje Rinpoche married His Holiness the 9th Shabdrung and myself. His pith instruction at that time was to serve His Holiness. After the passing of my husband, Kyabje Rinpoche held me in my pain and grief, offering unfathomable practical & spiritual advice. He was very strong and could be wrathful. To this day, when I feel clogged, I feel his strength still shaking me.
His Eminence Sengdrak Rinpoche (1947-2005)
His Eminence Sengdrak Rinpoche was, for me, the Milarepa of our time. He was born to a humble family and, as a young child, he studied under Tripon Pema Choegyal, a direct student of Togden Shakya Shri. Sengdrak Rinpoche came to Manali in the 1970s and studied the Six Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra under my father, Apho Rinpoche. Later, he also studied all the Dzogchen teachings under His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, becoming one of his treasured students. Sengdrak Rinpoche lived in hermitages in remote areas of Nepal, where he guided his students strictly under the purity of Togden Shakya Shri’s tradition from morning till night. I remember being with hundreds of nuns practicing in their tiny meditation huts. The beautiful sound of their drums during practice mesmerise my mind to this day. I am very grateful for the time I spent with Sengdrak Rinpoche and for the gentle guidance he offered throughout my ngondro practice and my meditation. It was the most insightful, profound and protected time of my life. In this degenerate age, the purity and simplicity of his lifestyle, and the teaching schedule that flowed in his hermitages, is as rare as a star in the daytime. I remember as I was growing up that, despite the depth of his practice, his humility was so strong that his realisations remained hidden and he appeared to me to be an ordinary monk. Any time I feel any ego or pride, I think of him and it subdues my mind. May his blessings permeate my being.
Kyabjé Stagna Rinpoche
Kyabje Stagna Rinpoche was one of the great Drukpa masters of Ladakh, Himalayas. He was the student of the great Tripon Pema Choegyal of Ladakh, who studied under Togden Shakya Shri and later passed away in Tibet. Stagna Rinpoche travelled on foot all the way from Ladakh to Tibet, in order to study with his Guru. Later he came back to Ladakh and studied under my father Apho Rinpoche. He received many empowerments and teachings from both my father Apho Rinpoche and His Holiness Dudjum Rinpoche and became one of the prominent Masters of our time. He also guided His Holiness the 9th Shabdrung and became his root Guru. I was very fortunate to receive many teachings and empowerments from him. After my husband, His Holiness the 9th Shabdrung passed away, he became my guardian and refuge. He was well known for dedicating his services to the local people of Ladakh and is highly revered by every tradition.
A Prayer dedicated to my Beloved Masters
As I sit on my meditation cushion,
My heart is filled with gratitude to you,
My precious masters,
For showing the intrinsic nature of mind,
My eyes are filled with tears of devotion to you,
The jewel of my heart.
When I think of the inexhaustible ocean of your wisdom,
Your kindness and unfathomable qualities,
I truly believe that you are the essence of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Please remain inseparable from the lotus corolla of my heart.
Please bestow upon me, your unfortunate child,
The blessings of your body, speech and mind.
Never let me stray from the shadow of your compassion,
Even for a second.
Hold me deep, deep within you.
May the radiance of your being manifest itself again and again,
In this world, to liberate countless beings from their endless suffering.
KHANDRO THRINLAY CHODON