Kangyur Rinpoche

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Kangyur Rinpoche (1897–1975) was a Tibetan teacher who was influential in the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

He was born in Kham in the east of Tibet and, at a very young age, met the great master Mipham Rinpoche. He studied for many years at the monastery of Riwoche, which was an important center of the Rimé (nonsectarian) tradition.[1]

In due course, he withdrew from the monastery and the positions of importance that he held there and took up the life of a wandering hermit, living in mountain caves and visiting places of pilgrimage all over Tibet and the Himalayan region—in every sense following in the footsteps of Patrul Rinpoche (the author of The Words of My Perfect Teacher), in whose tradition he is very obviously to be located. To magisterial learning were thus added many years of meditative retreat and yogic practice, resulting in supreme accomplishment. Many stories are told about him: of his meditative experiences, his visits to hidden lands, and his discovery of Dharma treasures.[1]

Kangyur Rinpoche was considered to be a tertön, a revealer of Dharma treasures, and was regarded as an emanation of Namkha’i Nyingpo, one of the foremost disciples of Padmasambhava.[1]

A notable feature of his innumerable activities was the reading transmission of the Kangyur, the canon of Buddhist scriptures consisting of over a hundred volumes. And it was from the fact that he completed this immense undertaking no fewer than twenty-four times that the name Kangyur Rinpoche came to be applied to him.[1]

He left Tibet prior to 1959 "and traveled to India with a large collection of books and precious manuscripts, thereby preserving many texts which would otherwise have been lost forever. He eventually settled in Darjeeling with his family and founded a monastery there. It was here, in the late sixties and early seventies, that he encountered the spiritual aspirations of Westerners and was one of the first Tibetan masters to accept them as disciples.”[1]

He never traveled to the West himself, but after his death, and following his instructions, his eldest son, Tulku Pema Wangyal, traveled to France and established a dharma center in Dordogne.[1] This center became an important site for the tranmission of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. It was one of the first sites where Westerners were able to complete a traditional three-year retreat. Many translators, including the members of the Padmakara Translation Group, studied and practiced at the center.



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