Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche’s teachings, Malaysia 2020
At the beginning of this month, I decided to fly to Malaysia to take part in a very special event. Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche had requested Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche to teach about the Chokling Tersar Lineage and about one of the most important and widely practiced cycles of terma revealed by the Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa: the Thukdrub Barché Künsel, Dispeller of All Obstacles. I just couldn’t miss it!
A Great Master
Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche is a great master of our lineage. His knowledge and experience of the Chokling Tersar are without equal. He received many teachings and transmissions from many realized masters, such as the 16th Karmapa, 11th Situ Rinpoche, Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse. While in Tibet, he was very close with Kela Chokling Rinpoche and gave him many dharma teachings. His incredible wealth of knowledge and his great devotion made his teachings very special to us, followers of the Chokling Tersar.
The whole scene was perfect and powerful. Having Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche teaching about dharma and devotion in front of an amazing shrine of the Thukdrub Barché Künsel, with a huge statue of Guru Rinpoche surrounded by all the Chokling Tersar Lineage masters, was the perfect setting for this event.
More Than a Life Story
I have personally read a couple of versions of Chokgyur Lingpa’s life story in the past (for example, in The Great Tertön. The Life and Activities of Chokgyur Lingpa.) Nevertheless, it meant so much more to receive teachings from such an accomplished master as Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche. As he explained, reading the life stories of realized masters is not the same as reading normal biographies. In fact, the word in Tibetan to refer to the life story of a realized master (namtar) is different than the word to refer to the biography of common people (logyü).
For example, the life story of Chokgyur Lingpa contains not only an account of where he was born, his family background, his teachers, his activities, how his teachings spread and their importance. Although we learn these details, the life story actually represents a teaching in itself, as it describes how he followed the spiritual path in order to reach the greatest accomplishment.
Blessings of the Lineage
The way that Khen Rinpoche transmitted the teachings on Chokgyur Lingpa’s life story made all of us who were present realize how fortunate we are to have connected with this lineage and engage in its practices. The first Chokgyur Lingpa was a unique realized master. In his incarnation as prince Murub Tsenpo, Tibetan King Trisong Detsen’s second son, he was one of the 25 main disciples of Guru Rinpoche. Therefore he was a direct recipient and custodian of his teachings. He requested various teachings and transmissions from Guru Rinpoche which were actually meant for practitioners of our time. Guru Rinpoche himself appointed Murub Tsenpo, in his future incarnation as the tertön Chokgyur Lingpa, in order to reveal and spread his teachings far and wide to benefit all. Moreover, his compassion and realization were so great that, when he passed away in his 40’s, he manifested a pure land where all Dharma devotees who would have a connection with him (like us!) could easily be reborn in order to have the perfect conditions to complete the path to enlightenment. How extraordinary is that! No other lineage masters have developed such a feature.
Now, having received these explanations, I understand better why Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche has constantly advised us to read the life stories of accomplished masters in order to give rise to the most profound devotion, which is indispensable in the path.
Thukdrub Barche Künsel
After a brief but profound account of Chokgyur Lingpa’s life story, Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche then taught about the Thukdrub Barche Künsel cycle, one of the termas revealed by this great tertön. This terma comprises about a third of the whole Chokling Tersar! It is a complete set of practices and instructions that Guru Rinpoche taught and hid in Tibet when his disciples, the Dharma King Trisong Detsen among them, requested from him a method to dispel all obstacles to the path to enlightenment.
The Time is Now!
The teachings were then hidden and Chokgyur Lingpa was the appointed tertön to reveal them at the right time, when they would bring most benefit… And that time is now! As Kyabjé Khen Rinpoche explained, Guru Rinpoche foresaw that at this point in time, practitioners will experience a whole variety of different obstacles in life and practice. And because of his immense compassion and wisdom, he left these practices to deal with such obstacles. How amazing! We are extremely fortunate to be part of a short lineage of such realized masters who transmit exactly what we need for these difficult times.