Monday, 11 May 2009

1996: The Incredible Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche

In August 1996 Orgyen Tobgyal arrived in Lerab Ling, Sogyal Rinpoche's retreat centre in France, for the first time. With him came a very young Neten Chokling Rinpoche, the reincarnation of Pema Gyurme, (the Third Neten Chokling and father of Orgyen Tobgyal), as well as a troupe of monks from his monastery in Bir to perform various ceremonies. Lerab Ling was then only five years old, the temple still a large white tent where students and teachers alike, huddled against the cold, stormy weather that frequently visits this mountain top throughout the year.

Orgyen Tobgyal's visit profoundly changed and advanced a lot of things around here when, over the next few years, he and his monks performed many
drupchös, including lama dances and the constructions of elaborate mandalas. Towards the end of the summer retreat, in his inimitable style of a great orator, Orgyen Tobgyal gave an elaborate and captivating speech about the Life of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. Many of Sogyal Rinpoche's students had already formed a close, personal bond with Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö through the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, first published in 1993. Further deepening our knowledge, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche's speech covered a vast scope of Tibetan Buddhist history and geography, beginning with Vimalamitra, to Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and then to Chökyi Lodrö's life at Katok Monastery and later Dzongsar Monastery. This opened our eyes for a deeper understanding of the lineage to which we had been introduced by Sogyal Rinpoche, and sparked our eagerness to learn more.

It was
this teaching, which stretched over two days, that broke the ground for our present research.

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