Lineage Masters: H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche

Junior Tutor to the present Dalai Lama

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In 1967 he taught Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land (the Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa according to the Segyu lineage) to hundreds of students in Dharamsala, and in 1970 he gave similar teachings in Bodhgaya. In 1969, he gave the major empowerment of Heruka according to Luipa to around 1,000 people at the request of the Tantric colleges. Two years later, in the Fall of 1971, he visited Mysore in the south of India at the request of the monks of the three major monasteries who had settled in the Tibetan camp at Mundgod, and gave extensive teachings and initiations to the monks and to lay people, and ordained hundreds of young monks. On this trip, Trijang Rinpoche also made offerings to the Sangha and donated statues of Je Tsongkhapa and his Two Sons to the main temple of Ganden, along with thangkas.

In 1972 he gave Vajrayogini empowerment and teachings in Dharamsala to 800 monastics and lay people and in Bodhgaya. Later that year he taught at the Tibetan Studies Institute in Varanasi, and the following year he gave empowerments into Heruka and Vajrayogini to 700 people at the Tibetan monastery there.

During this time, Trijang Rinpoche exchanged teachings and initiations with Ling Rinpoche, the other main Guru of the Dalai Lama. In 1969 he taught Ling Rinpoche the Lamrim Chenmo, and in 1970 he granted him Yamantaka empowerment. In return, in 1970 he received from Ling Rinpoche the Action Tantra empowerment of Vairochana and also teachings on Lamrim Chenmo. In 1972 he gave Ling Rinpoche teachings on the Guru Puja and Yamantaka, and in return received a teaching on tormas (ritual offerings) to Yamantaka.

Although respected by Lamas in all Tibetan Buddhist schools, and even invited by them to give teachings and initiations, Trijang Rinpoche taught primarily from the Gelugpa tradition of Je Tsongkhapa. He was also the holder of the Ganden, or Geden, Oral Tradition that was passed to him in its entirety by his root Guru Pabongka Rinpoche. According to Geshe Helmut Gassner, the Dalai Lama’s translator for 17 years and one of only two ordained Western Geshes:

The great master Pabongka was in the first half of the twentieth century the pivotal or key lineage holder of the Oral Geden Tradition. Many other teachers before him mastered certain aspects of the tradition’s teachings, but it was Pabongka Rinpoche’s particular merit to locate and find all these partial transmissions, to learn and realize them, and bring them together once again to pass them on through a single person. In his lifetime there was hardly a significant figure of the Gaden tradition who had not been Pabongka Rinpoche’s disciple. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was the one capable of receiving and passing on the entirety of the Oral Gaden Tradition once again.

Such were his attainments and influence on the development of Tibet, both spiritual and secular, that even the current National Anthem used in Tibetan Settlements throughout India / Nepal today was composed by Trijang Rinpoche. Through his tireless work and countless teachings, ninety percent of the great lamas throughout the world today disseminating Dharma are either disciples of Trijang Rinpoche or of his students. It was through his commitment that the major practices and lineages of Kalachakra, Yamantaka, Lamrim, Mind Training, Guhyasamaja, Heruka and Vajrayogini remain pure. In this way, Trijang Rinpoche is the lineage guru for all these practices and many more too numerous to mention.

His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche on the left, in the centre is His Holiness the Dalai lama and to the right is His Holiness Ling Rinpoche. This was taken in Bodhgaya in the world famous stupa built by Ashoka to commemorate the Bodhi Tree Lord Shakyamuni attained enlightenment under.

As H.E. Tsem Rinpoche himself says: “This is just an extremely brief biography of this illustrious master whose single-handed work to salvage the Dharma in this degenerate age brings only tremendous faith, tears and respect from deep within me. Because Trijang Rinpoche existed, I believe the Buddhas exist and there is enlightenment. Trijang Rinpoche wrote an extensive autobiography of himself before he passed away. It is in Tibetan and untranslated. Maybe one day we may have the merits to read through his sacred life to know that such a legendary being actually existed not so far in the past.”

I fold my hands and bow my head eternally to the lotus feet of H.H. Trijang  Rinpoche whose kindness is that of Atisha, Tsongkapa and Shakyamuni all combined into one…

Tsem Rinpoche

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