Rinchen Terdzo


March 20th, 2009 by Walker Blaine

Thanks, Gratitude and Sources for the Blog

By Walker Blaine

According to the dharma, everything happens by interdependence, there is no special individual or source who is the sole creator of everything. This was especially true of the Rinchen Terdzo blog. I’ve received a great many letters of thanks from people, for which I am most grateful. But it is important to make clear that most, if not all, of the good ideas in the blog didn’t come from me, but from my teachers and the authors of many amazing books, websites and Tibetan resources used these past few months. About all I can really take credit for are the mistakes in the blog.

While by no means a complete list, I want to give thanks to the many who made the blog possible:

First and foremost, I wish like to express my gratitude to His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche for bestowing the Rinchen Terdzo. As the weeks went by I found myself increasingly humbled by the immensity of the gift he was bestowing. While there is a personal joy in being able to be present at the empowerments, I am most grateful that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche was able to receive the Rinchen Terzo and strengthen his relationship with his father’s mind and heart. It is amazing that there is such wealth being shared during an era of such difficulty on this earth.

Thanks must also go to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for a multitude of reasons. I am very grateful to him for asking me to attend the Rinchen Terdzo and write this blog. I would never have chosen to do write a blog like this on my own; I’d characterize it as ‘karmically edgy’ to do such a thing without the direction of one’s teacher. The Sakyong provided me with a great deal of help, direction and support throughout the empowerments. May his wishes for the spread of Shambhala and the Rinchen Terdzo come to quick fruition.

The Sakyong Wangmo, Dechen Choying Sangmo was, befittingly, the embodiment of the mother lineage during the months in Orissa. In meetings with her and the Sakyong, she’d offer many useful insights and observations about what was happening. Along with that she was quite attentive to how all the westerners, not just Patricia and me, were doing during our stay in Orissa. Many thanks to the Sakyong Wangmo for her care and attention in Inda.

I would like to express my gratitude to Lhuntrul Rinpoche for bestowing the reading transmissions of the Rinchen Terdzo. Because of working on the blog, I attended very little of the reading transmissions, but many breakfasts and lunches I’d ask for reports on what was going on. The reading transmissions were not initially expected to happen, but Lhuntrul Rinpoche’s visa came through at the last minute. He didn’t even know he’d be giving the transmission until the day he arrived in Orissa. (There are a few more sections of the transmission to be given to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Jigme Rinpoche at a later date.)

Jigme Rinpoche deserves a massive amount of praise; he was a huge help throughout the blog as is evidenced by the number of his talks that were posted. At some point I realized that Jigme Rinpoche would help however much I asked him, so I had to hold back a bit. Besides being a brilliant and wonderful teacher, his actions are like a tireless bodhisattva. I am particularly grateful to him for helping me understand the relationship between a terton and his or her heirs. This helped me make sense of the Vidyadhara’s relationship with the Sakyong and the development of the Shambhala terma in the West.

Thanks also to Tulku Kunkyab Rinpoche for his presence at the empowerments.

Many thanks also go to the Ripa family, and especially to Khandro Chime, Semo Palmo, Semo Sonam, and Semo Pede. Everyone at the Ripa Ladrang was very kind and helpful. 

Two others teachers of mine must be thanked: the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. Without the Vidyadhara, my root teacher, I would be without vision and direction in my life. Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche has, for many years, been like a dharmakaya father to me along with being a mainstay of understanding and inspiration in the dharma. May all their wishes for peace and harmony in the world come to quick fulfillment in the hearts of everyone.

I am grateful to the many acharyas and senior teachers who offered their encouragement and advice before and during the Rinchen Terdzo. Three of the acharyas, Acharya Larry Mermelstein, Acharya Judy Leif, and Acharya Fenya Heupers, provided excellent and inspiring contributions to the blog.

There were several translators who provided direct and indirect help and I offer my heartfelt appreciation for the help and for their work in general.

In particular, Patricia Kirigin and I are especially grateful to Peter Alan Roberts who gave us his translation and the Tibetan for the empowerment list of the Rinchen Terdzo given by His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche at Sherab Ling a few years ago. Patricia used this as a basis to create the empowerment record of this event. Peter also provided helpful suggestions and generous support before and during the Rinchen Terdzo.

While not a translator, Lama Tenzin (the head chopon) was of inestimable help to Patricia in making the empowerment list. He’s a wonderful person whom many of you will get to know this year as he accompanies His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche in the West.

Mattieu Ricard, one of the most eminent translators of all, sent along some very useful advice along with some of the upcoming digitization of the Rinchen Terdzo. Many other translators were indirectly helpful: Richard Barron’s translation of Jamgon Kontrul Lodro Thaye’s autobiography was invaluable. Eric Pema Kunsang’s work along with his Rangjung Yeshe Dictionary provided much assistance, as did Tony Duff’s masterful Illuminator Dictionary.

Other translators whose works and/or encouragement buoyed us during the Rinchen Terdzo included Jules Levinson, Ari Goldfield, Elizabeth Callahan, the late Robin Kornman, Christine Keyser, Mark Nowakowski, and Scott Wellenbach.

Finally, at the end of this list of major helpers, I would like to express my heartfelt and warmest thanks to my girlfriend, Patricia Kirigin, who accompanied me to India this winter. She worked day and night to produce the drafts of the empowerment list that turned out to be a big help to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and to the western sangha. Patricia was listening to most everything I wrote, providing me with comments and editing suggestions all along with way. Most of all, she was a very supportive dharma friend while we spent an incredible amount time studying and writing in the background of six to seven hours of empowerments a day. I don’t think I could have managed fulfilling the Sakyong’s request without Patricia’s unflagging help, love and support.


The many other helpers and friends to the blog included:

President Richard Reoch

Ashe Acharya John Rockwell, Kalapa Acharya Adam Seth Lobel, Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Acharya Robert Puts, Acharya Jenny Warwick, Acharya Norbu McKeever, Acharya Moh Hardin

David Brown, secretary to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Emily Hilburn Sell, the Sakyong’s editor

Alan Goldstein

James and Sharon Hoagland

Cynthia Moku, who provided a beautiful image of Jamgon Kongtrul, Marcia Usow

Holly Gayley, Cameron Wenaus and Michael Duerr of the Shambhala Times Magazine

Bodhi Gefren

Connie Brock, Terry Rudderham, Allya Burke, Laura Leslie, Greg Wolk, Josh Silberstein, Liz Downey

Myriah McGorrill, Katharina Cherney, Valery Conner, and many others from Padma Ling

Frank and Kathrin Stelzel who brought cough medicine


In Asia, primary helpers on the blog included:

Lama Kunsang Namgyal (His Eminence’s text helper)

Lama Gyurme Dorje, the Sakyong’s half-brother

Sherab who brought us the monastery’s daily Tibetan empowerment lists

Tenzin Namgyal our guest house manager, Sonam Palmo, Tashi, Suraj and Pema the cooks

Christoph Schoenherr, continuity kusung and photographer extraordinaire

Mark Whaley, continuity kusung

Kristine McCutcheon, Anky Aarts

Ursula Von Vacano and Peter

These people provided direct help, but all the Asians and westerners at the Rinchen Terdzo provided some sort of support and friendship.


Texts I consulted included:

The History of the Nyingma Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism by Dudjom Rinpoche

Masters of Meditation and Miracles by Tulku Thondop Rinpoche

Hidden Teachings of Tibet by Tulku Thondop Rinpoche

The Rime Philosophy of Tibet by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

Nectar of Sacred Advice Volume I by His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche

The Brief History of the Rinchen Terdzo by the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute

Buddhism, The Spiritual Lineage of Dzogchen Masters by Karma Wangchuk

Buddhist Ethics by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

Systems of Buddhist Tantra by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet by Karma Thinley

Perfect Conduct, by Ngari Panchen

The Life of Chogyur Lingpa by Orgyen Tobgyal

And from among the works of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche I looked at:

Born in Tibet, Journey Without Goal, the Lion’s Roar and his vajrayana seminary transcripts, soon to be published as The Root Text Project 


And finally, Google, the gateway to a great many useful buddhist web sites.