The Golden Age and Shambhala Fireside Chat


[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text]This fireside chat between Khentrul Rinpoche and Judith Simmer-Brown occurred before the 2023 Kalachakra Empowerment in Boulder, Colorado. The renowned Kalachakra-tantra, the most detailed Vajrayana literature, speaks about the degenerate age and the coming Golden Age. The Shambhala teachings are said to be the hidden inner teachings of the Kalachakra, which envision an enlightened society imbued with harmony, compassion, and the diligence of a warrior spirit fighting for the good of all sentient beings. What are the Shambhala teachings of the Kalachakra, and how do they relate to the visions of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche?[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Play1 hr 22 min


Yeshe Wangmo: Hello everyone and welcome to the beginning of our 2023 Kalachakra empowerment program at the Bolder Shambhala Centre. We’re really excited to be back here for the first time since 2019, and finally doing a Kalachakra in this really incredibly blessed and special space. It’s very exciting having the connection to Trungpa and the Shambhala lineage and it’s an honour to be in the space today. Today we’re really fortunate to have Judith Simmer-Brown and Khentrul Rinpoche to have a conversation about Shambhala and Kalachakra. It’s answering one of the most emailed in questions that we have gotten at Dzokden over the years, which is how does the Trungpa Shambhala lineage connect with the Kalachakra teachings? And what commonalities, or differences are there between them. So hopefully we’ll all learn along today with Rinpoche and Judith as they have an informal chat. So for those who are new to us, Judith Simmer-Brown has a PHD and is a distinguished professor of contemplative and religious studies at Emerita and Naropa University in Boulder Colorado, where she has taught since 1978. As a Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970’s she became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974 and served as a acharya in Shambhala from 2000 to 2022. Her books are ‘Dakini’s Warm Breath’ and ‘Meditation in the Classroom; Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies’. She and her husband Richard have two adult children and four grandchildren. We are really honoured to have you here. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Thank you so much.

Yeshe Wangmo: And we also have Shar Khentrul Jampel Lodro Rinpoche. He is a Jonang Kalachakra Master as well as a Rime Master having studied in over twenty-five different monasteries of all of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. He finally happened upon Jonang after a very long time, and found that the teachings of Shambhala and the Jonang Kalachakra affected him the most profoundly and he has dedicated his life to sharing them with us around the world. He has written over 30 books and they are translated in many languages, on Shambhala and Kalachakra including the ‘Realm of Shambhala’ by Shambhala Publications. And we are very thankful that we have Rinpoche here to have this talk with Judith today. So thank you very much.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Hello everyone. Oh, this is wonderful you know I always wanted Trungpa’s teachings, learn, and then finally I connected with Judith, so it is fantastic today. You have to lead. Lead today. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: I’m so honoured Rinpoche that you’re here and that we’re having a chance to talk about this very profound subject. In this particular very blessed space. So precious for us in the Shambhala community and wonderful that we will be able to share the Kalachakra with you. We thank you so much for conferring it.

Khentrul Rinpoche: I feel very, very grateful and feel very special in this room, you know. 2018, I come here, I want to talk, but it was very rushed so… that time, yeah, it was very nice, but this time, even more I can feel is very special, you know. So yeah, it’s very exciting. So how we start?

Judith Simmer-Brown: Well, I think Rinpoche and I came up with some questions we want to have a conversation about, and I’m going to be turning toward you, because I’m hoping we can talk to each other. Yes

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So the first question is really what is Shambhala, and how does it relate to the Kalachakra? Maybe you could start.

Khentrul Rinpoche: So the Shambhala is we can say many ways, you know, depend how you understand and how you express. But the traditional standing name pure land, you know, pure land. But the pure land, general pure land and the Shambhala is not same, so there’s many, many… how do you say? Many, many secret, or many, many factors, you know like the Shambhala different, you know. And then what is Shambhala and, what did you say?

Judith Simmer-Brown: How does it relate to the Kalachakra? 

Khentrul Rinpoche: How related to Kalachakra is, that’s significantly most important because Kalachakra taught because for Shambhala, okay? Because Shambhala, the first Dharma King Suchanrda, request Buddha taught Kalachakra. And then the Kalachakra transformed Shambhala. So in my understanding, the Shambhala is not always same. Before Kalachakra, and after. Kalachakra, not same. Incredible transformation. And then how we got Kalachakra in this Earth, also come from Shambhala. So that means the Shambhala Dharma Kings and Rigdens, all of them is our, actually our lineage, you know. We have the teaching come from Shambhala, the Kalachakra, unbroken lineage directly from Shambhala. So yeah that’s the short answer. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes okay. And I would say that Kalachakra tantra is the most sophisticated, subtle and detailed tantra of all the tantras of India taught by the Buddha a year before his passing, to Suchandra Dawa Sangpo, who is the king of Shambhala.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes.

Judith Simmer-Brown: And you could say that with all of the many, many teachings in the Kalachakra, the innermost secret teachings of the Kalachakra, are the teachings of Shambhala. And those teachings have been so treasured, because they talk about the human potential of complete basic goodness, of Buddha nature, or you could say as well, of complete wakefulness is at the heart of every human life. And that that is something that people can uncover and realize in their experience. But more than that, King Suchandra, as he understood it in his kingdom, it was possible for the people in this kingdom not to practice just as solitary practitioners, but to practice in society. And so, it’s a recognition of the basic goodness of society as well. That what we could have was an enlightened society. We could have groups of people living together around the principles of basic goodness. And these were brand new teachings, completely unique teachings in the Kalachakra that are esoteric, they were not so obvious. But Suchundra understood those teachings and took those back to his people. And one thing I wanted to say is that I’ve read Rinpoche’s book, ‘Demystifying Shambhala’ and it’s an excellent book, excellent. And I really want to recommend it. It presents Shambhala in quite a different way than Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche did, the Dorje Dradul but it fills out in with history and context, many things about the Shambhala teachings. And so I’m hoping that you will go home and get this book and read it, because I found it very enriching and it’s one of the reasons that I volunteered to do this fireside…we don’t have a fire here except you (indicated the audience), the fireside chat, is because this book is quite lovely. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah you put very beautifully, you know like you connect very nicely, you know like what Trungpa taught and the traditionally taught, you know. If not brilliant mind, then you can see something very different, but I think your brilliant mind, you understood the very, you know like, weaving together. You know, as she say, Kalachakra tantra is the most profound and the most extensive the spiritual system in this world, you know. You could easily to say nobody can argue, “oh we have much more profound than Kalachakra”, or “we have much more detail than Kalachakra”. Can’t say that, you know. So especially go more high and higher, the Kalachakra more elaborate, elaborated…

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: …any other tantra so that’s…but then, little problem, people always give up because “oh it’s so big, so detailed and it’s too much”. People think that way. So Trungpa, I think he is so skilfully. He don’t talk about these too much details and then he take this, the essence, you know like the essence, what he have to do. That’s I feel, you know. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes, I think so. Because if you… there are many books on the Kalachakra and many scholars have devoted their scholarly life to the Kalachakra, and I’ve read many of those books and they seem to miss the point.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes.

Judith Simmer-Brown: And so this beauty of the hidden essence of the Kalachakra being the Shambhala teachings.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes yes. That’s why I try to, you know like, what I introduced the Kalachakra the world, I’m trying to do the essence try. Maybe I’m not good as Trungpa, really practical, incredible many skills, I try to do, introduce the essence. Because everybody introduces the details and all the traditional ones they lost in the details. So which means they focus on the secondary. Secondary factors, not the primary important, they forget, you know. So that’s what I’m trying to do, you know. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: So, I wanted to ask you, that in all… I’ve read your life story and you’ve studied many different schools, many different monasteries, many different teachings, but in all of your study and practice, and such extensive training you had, you decided to focus on Jonang, and on Kalachakra. Can you say why, and then we’ll talk about Jonang. Why did you pick this as something to devote your life to?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah is a… first I didn’t go Jonang, because Jonang is a not the biggest, not the largest you know. So that’s why, I think the human beings always somewhere attracted big or large, or something. I didn’t do that particularly, but somehow, when I, when we had opportunity, first, when I was very young, we’re not allowed any religion. But after, once allowed, that time, where I am is Nyingma tradition. So I ordained there and then around many Nyingma and these things I went there. Like that. And then, I also Kagyu lamas, many connected. And then the Sakya, some connected. So I asked them give me practices, and that time I can’t read. I can’t even read, but they just give me some practices and I just did, you know, 100,000 prostrations, everything I do. So I do you like this. At that time not a monk, okay? I’m not a monk, I’m illiterate. But doing these things, these things. And then after monk, also then yeah, I went to many monasteries. Sometimes the monastery have not all the time teaching. So if it’s winter, I’m Nyingma monastery but the summer I go to the Gelug. And then they’re very different, and then misunderstanding a lot each other. But I experienced both you know, and then is I’m always, if I am Nyingma, then I’m represent of Gelug. And if I’m Gelug, then I represent Nyingma, like this. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Rime, real rime. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Become like this naturally because, because I’m going everywhere. So traditionally everybody stick one monastery whole life. But I just jumping everywhere you know. But it’s very good to me jumping because then you don’t develop any bias, you know. So like that way. And then after like ten years I did this, and then after that, okay now I never went to Jonang, I went to go Jonang. See how it goes, you know. So then I went to Jonang, and then I got opportunity to practice Kalachakra retreat. So then this, my Lama, Lobsang Trinley, is in the thangka (indicates the wall off screen). So he is believed real Vajrapani. So if is real Vajrapani, of course the Suchandra, the same. So, but really, really you know, I completely feel connected with him. So then becomes my main practice. I held many lineages and I did many practices, but becomes main lineage is, you know, I becomes the Kalachakra. That’s why.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So people may not know that the Jonang lineage, which is not well known in the West, there are the major lineages of Kagyu, Nyingma et cetera, Jonang has been considered a long time a sub-school and it’s been known especially for the teachings of Buddha nature. And the great Dolpopa, who was the major Jonang leader established and spread the teachings of Jonang. This was a school that has been much more yogic than many other schools. Still a very scholastic tradition. So Jonang is a school that’s always been small, but very strongly associated with the teachings of Buddha nature, and you can understand the attraction to Kalachakra and the teachings of basic goodness. Which are just another way of talking about Buddha nature. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes. Yes, yes the basic goodness, now I understood in Tibetan you know, [Tibetan]. So [Tibetan], if longer. If you say very longer, then like this. So Trungpa is so skilful, he make more understandable, otherwise primordial something blah, blah, blah, you know. It’s very difficult, but he made very easy. So yes, if you want this details, who explains exceptional way, the basic goodness is Jonang, you know. So Dolpopa is, he coming in 14th century, but the Jonang start in…Jonang name is start in 13th century you know. So Gelug 14th century. Kagyu and Sakya 11th century. So Nyingma 8th century, so like this so. But, Dolpopa become very well known because he… oh Jonangpas always hidden because they always yogic practices. Focus practice, practice don’t too much intellect. But then Dolpopa, he is not first even Jonang. He’s in Sakya, and he went everywhere scholar, studying everything. So he become incredibly known and everybody call him omniscient. Kunkhyen Dolpopa, which means omniscient. Everybody calls, it’s not his followers call, is other people call, you know. So after that, he impressed, went to Jonang and he went impressed. Why impressed? He said, “oh Jonang, everybody realize Buddha nature. Oh my God! We are just lost in intellect”. So then he became Jonangpa Then why he’s so popular? Because in… realization wise, it’s not Dolpopa only. Dolpopa is not only, everybody is realized masters, but he become like this because he’s so scholar and then he wrote the Jonang, and how exception, the view, the Zhentong, how is exceptional and then nobody can debate. So that’s why he became incredible well known Even the emperor, Chinese emperor want him, you know. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: And he was known partially because he had such realization, and such personal power because of that as well. As I understand. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes yes. He has both, you know, incredible intellect but is realization. First lead by intellect, but later on he built this huge stupa for his Lama. And then he said when I build this mountain like stupa, I had you know, the realizations, the teachings like ocean like come. So like that so. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yeah, yeah. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah so, I think even a very scholar, independent scholar, an unbiased scholars, I heard, you know, in internet they say, the Western scholar they say, “oh Dolpopa is exception. You can’t compare anybody”. They talk like that.   

Judith Simmer-Brown: So the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche, the Dorje Dradul are a little different from Kalachakra and I thought I should say something about that. Rinpoche, he combined the teachings from the Kalachakra, the core teachings that Suchandra Dawa Zangpo received, but he also mixed in, you could say that his Shambhala teachings are a combination of the Kalachakra tradition, the Gesar tradition, and Dzogchen, particularly. With mixtures of other things as well. The number of other teachers in Kham had a way of mixing together Kalachakra, Gesar and Dzogchen together, with a bit of Confucian influence, particularly around the principles of leadership in government and some elements also of the puranas in Hinduism as well. So it’s a kind of mixture, but it’s because that was Eastern Tibet was soaked in the culture of these various streams. And the Dorje Dradul received Shambhala teachings from his root Guru, Sechen Kongtrul, but he also, he was very well known as a turton, a treasure discoverer. And he received many different terma on Shambhala that mixed these various themes together. So if you are looking at the Shambhala teachings only through the lens of Kalachakra, you find things in Rinpoche’s terma that might be a little different. But these qualities of mixing together the more shamanic elements of the Gesar tradition of Tibet, mixed with Kalachakra, and mixed with very profound Dzogchen teachings and how they all came together in a very organic way for Rinpoche. So Rinpoche received his first Shambhala terma…so he had a long transmission, transmission from his root guru Senchen Kongtrul, but he had the short transmission of terma of a visionary series of transmissions, and the first one he received during his escape from Tibet in 1959. And he went on a month-long retreat, and during that retreat, had incredible transmission of Shambhala texts. Two huge volumes around 600 pages, and he carried that with him as he escaped from Tibet. Unfortunately, he lost that text. There are various versions about what happened to the texts.The most well-known one is that it went overboard as he crossed the Zangbo [?] River. This is what Akong Rinpoche said. But there are other stories that he left the text in, the 600 pages in Pemaco [?] when he was there. There are various versions, but this was in 1959, Rinpoche said that when the Chinese came into Tibet, what arose in his mind was the importance of the Shambhala teachings. And then after the terma were lost, it wasn’t until 1975 when he began to receive some kind of messages about the Shambhala teachings, and it was in 1976 and onward, until around 1980, that he received the Shambhala terma. So the Shambhala terma came as a series of transmissions for Rinpoche. And so one of the things that people often wonder about, when Khentrul Rinpoche is teaching about Shambhala from the Kalachakra, is this the same as Trungpa Rinpoche’s transmission? Same in many ways, different in many, many ways. And Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings were presented very differently than Rinpoche’s teachings are, but many of the same source, source of views and wisdom come through both. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, you’re right. You put together very nicely. Yeah so, I always felt, you know like, the Trungpa’s teachings must be there is, you know, must be there is link, you know, always think like that you know. But I couldn’t find any text and you know. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: He’s been searching the internet for Rinpoche’s Shambhala teachings and as we know, terma don’t usually appear on the internet. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes yes.

Audience member off screen: So far.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So far yeah, so far.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah, but termas, many, many termas you can find online nowadays you know. But this is a little bit exception.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes that’s right, that’s right. So of course, Trungpa Rinpoche wrote the book, ‘Shambhala; the Sacred Path of the Warrior’ that became very popular after his passing. It’s become such a popular book, reprinted many times and the second book is called ‘Great Eastern Sun’, which is additional teachings from Trungpa Rinpoche, the Dorje Dradul on Shambhala. So those two books are publicly available and they aren’t drawn directly from the terma. They’re more like introduction of the basic themes of the terma to the public. The more private teachings are ones that are reserved for advanced students, particularly vajrayana students. And there are also a number of commentaries and practices and quite a rich tradition has grown from these original terma of the Dorje Dradul. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, I hope one day I know everything, and then you know we link together and very nicely elegantly, as Judith said today. So that’s maybe we can do. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: So I know that you have a special interest in the Shambhala teachings from the Kalachakra and what they have to say about enlightened society and the new Golden Age. And I wanted to ask you if you could share what your understanding is of what enlightened society is, according to the Kalachakra? 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah so, the Golden Age is a more simple way, and this Golden Age is this language already exists in English, that’s why we’re using. But is like, in Tibetan called dzokden, dzokden ghe karwa. Karwa dzokden, or dzokden ghe karwa . Or khapa or karwa. Means that. Dzokden means like completion, you know, compilation golden age, you know like, a completion golden time. You know golden period, golden age, whatever you translate. So that. So that means, that means we’re talking about this Earth, this Earth. We’re not talking about Shambhala. Sometimes people mix together you know. So how this humanity happened you know. So they’re talking about that so, That’s for me, when Trungpa say enlightened society, so my…I hoped, I hope that he means this Golden Age on this Earth, and then Shambhala both. I think that’s his meaning. You know that’s my interpretation, so what do you think? 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Well, let me clarify. What you’re saying is that the Golden Age is not some future time, not some other place. But right here, now? 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Tradition, if you ask traditional people, not now, okay. It’s not now, is coming in after maybe 400 years okay. 400 years later they have some calculations. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: With the 25th Rigden? 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes. With the 25th Rigden you know, and right now I think like 20 or 21, depend, there’s many other disagreements. So then 25th come, and then we have the Golden Age you know. So means that in traditionally I just tell you. If it’s very traditional, that is the correct information okay. But I’m personally, I personally, I not satisfied with this you know. To me this interpretation of the text is too much literal. Too much literal. So my understanding is the Golden Age, you know like some people say “oh Golden Age just now. Just now like this”, but when we say “just now”, I think we have to be a little bit individuals, you know pure karma, our pure perception. But is I’m kind of the middle. I say, in my point of view is the Golden Age is up to us how long it takes. Is we have to wait 400 years, or we only wait, you know, few decades? Or we don’t want to wait. All that is up to us. Which means we all together. Because it depends how, what is our view, and our attitude, and our motivation. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: So when you say it’s up to us, does this mean we have to do a lot of things in the world? Become social activists and stop climate change and you know, reverse… what does it mean it’s up to us? 

Khentrul Rinpoche: We have to, you know, we…how do you say? We develop our view and the attitude and the motivation. This is up to us. Is nobody can change your view, and nobody can force you to change your view. And nobody can force your attitude, nobody can force your motivation. So it’s up to us. Only we need this change we need, not external activities. Is any external activities to make these things happen, then yes, you know. So that’s, yeah that’s my meaning. So please yeah.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yeah so I think that Trungpa Rinpoche, the Dorje Dradul would say something very similar. That it is, that there is such a goodness in how people are with each other in everyday life, with families particularly, how people want happiness for their children, that they care about human connection. That there’s a lot of other things that people become distracted by and depressed by, but if they really work on their human connection and love of beauty and appreciation of culture, the golden age is already here in some way. We can always increase our awareness of that. We can put focus on culture. Rinpoche put a lot of emphasis on culture and the importance of the human community, creating some kind of connection with each other and care for each other in cultural settings. And so put a lot of emphasis on what it is to be together in ways that are kind and inclusive and uplifted with a love of beauty. So then we find the golden age right here. So would you say the Golden Age is something like dak nang, sacred outlook, or pure perception? 

Khentrul Rinpoche: No. Because when we say dak nang, we talking about individual person you know, individual person. Okay today we are in this room, okay everybody okay see just Judith, just Judith okay. It’s Judith. But one person didn’t see Judith, is something Tara, or something you know like. That is we call pure perception, you know. But is when I’m talking about, this is not a pure perception. It is, it is you know like still can be, still karma. But you know a positive karma you know. Because I think the I’m not satisfied the traditional explanation is because many…it seems everything too literal. If you take as too literal then you have many, many contradictions, you know. many, many contradictions that’s one thing. The second thing is…also you know like Buddha, or always Buddha, or anybody enlightened beings teach, always depend what audience at that time.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Okay, so these things if you take forever, then is a is not, is not suitable in Dharma itself. Okay? That’s I think. So the other problem is, I think the most important we have to remember what is the core Buddhism. You know the core Buddhism is everything our experience is our karma, our karmic version, right? And our karma is who created our mind. So that’s why we can change anytime, but it’s not like personal change right now quickly. It’s not like this, because we this is sharing karma. The whole Earth and everything we are sharing karma, so we need work together, you know. It doesn’t mean oh everybody, the whole 100% of humanity have to be agree together. It doesn’t mean that, but we need a little movement of the mind set, you know. So then this happens is not a few people’s experience. The whole world is experience, then this Earth and everything changes you know, rejuvenate everything. The people’s, the people and people’s age and the Earth. Earth we have like disease and we have like you know, climate problem. All of them rejuvenate. So is I’m thinking that way. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: So the Kalachakra teachings have as the foundation, the notion of the dark age. And as I understand it, the teachings that the Buddha gave to Suchandra were about how to overcome the forces of the dark age. And in Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings, he talked about this as Setting Sun as opposed to Great Eastern Sun. Great Eastern Sun is much more uplifted and much more the Shambhala teachings are symbolized by the Great Eastern Sun. But the Setting Sun is the degenerate age, the dark age. So the question I would have is how you understand the forces of the dark age now, in our world and how receiving a Kalachakra abhisheka is helpful for reversing the dark age? Many of you know that the Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has done the Kalachakra thrity-two times.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Thirty-four now. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Thirty-four times now? Thirty-four times now in different places in the world, as a contribution to turning back the forces of the dark age. And it’s really rather remarkable that very often in those empowerments, there’s not a lot of discussion about how the Kalachakra abhisheka turns back the forces of the dark age. I wonder if you could say something about that. How, if we come to receive the abhisheka from you, how might this help us see the new Golden Age?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Okay so the Kalachakra, why is relevant? Because the Kalachakra, the purpose, the purpose is this. Because in general, and in general we say, always say, “oh degenerate, degenerate, degenerate” But Kalachakra have a new solution, you know, new solution. So that’s why Kalachakra and the Shambhala, the Shambhala warriors, they work together and then this, you know, we have this huge possibility, you know, that’s why. So you’re talking about the Kalachakra now, recently, only just few days ago happened, in Tibet, one lama give Kalachakra empowerment, like they said hundreds of thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands of people. There’re just tents everywhere, it’s just like a village. Bigger than village, actually. A small town.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Like a city. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Like become city. This never happened any other empowerment, impossible. Only Kalachakra. So it’s like this kind of indication we already have. And this dark forces and everything, this prophesies, everything come from Kalachakra. Nowhere else, Kalachakra tantra itself.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: So that’s why it’s very, very relevant. Maybe we don’t have that number, because I’m not in Tibet, so we don’t have that many abhisheka audience, but I think we focusing quality. Because this most people, they don’t know even what’s happening. You know, when do Kalachakra empowerment, the lamas “ohhhhh”. And then people “ohhhhh”. Some people not even listening, they just keep talking each other, and then gone. They don’t know what they’re done. They just “oh this is important”. That’s it. But we’re not doing this, we have, you know like, we have a booklet and every step you have understand. How can you not understand? Because I say, “oh number one now”. It’s almost like spoon feed like children. You know teaching like this way we’re doing you know. So that’s why I have many impacts. Many, many impacts. That’s why I believe this is, you know, especially in we have this fortune here, we can do. So Trungpa’s, you know, the incredible blessing and you know this, these things, maybe meant to be come together. So that’s why I, you know. We have many other options, we can do other places, but we really wish to do here you know. So that’s why we’re doing. I believe this is make huge differences. 

Even recently I saw some documentary, they said this year going to start, okay. This documentary said they got three phases of the change. The first one start 2023. Second one, second phase is going to change 2030. Okay so yeah. This one is they’re talking about scientifically okay. They’re talking about the genes and the cells and everything, how it’s possible. Okay I didn’t understand 100%, but they’re talking like this, so. Then we know there’s many negative forces, you mentioned, you know so, the prophecy always say start by negative forces, negative problems then turn, become wonderful. So that’s why I’m very, very positive about it you know. 

So then then also we have to remember, you know our mind create everything. If you don’t believe Dharma at all, zero, then is zero. But otherwise, the core Buddha’s teaching is our mind the creator of our world.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes. The most foundational Buddhist teaching of all. So you could say that the Kalachakra is bringing about a tipping point. You know this word tipping point?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Where things are going this way, but they could tip this way. And with Kalachakra, it could be where the tipping point. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes. Kalachakra have this always, you know like, this magical things you know that happen, you know. Like always, “oh that’s why happen this. Why happened this”.  You know like that must be tipping points.

Judith Simmer-Brown: The tipping point, yes. So one of the aspects that comes from the Kalachakra is the notion that in the dark age, the human beings lose their life force. And that sense of tsok is gone, and people begin to feel depressed very easily and get sick very easily and think the worst of things very easily. So Trungpa Rinpoche, the Dorje Dradul, taught practices to rouse our energy, our wind horse. To awaken the life force and to give us a sense of possibility and that we have some kind of personal power individually and as groups to bring about some kind of transformation. So this has been very much part of the Shambhala teachings and Shambhala practices that we have been doing as a community for a long time. That sense of going right to the tsok of us, that we lost that life force and we can rouse it again, we can reawaken it again. So many of our practices are about lungta, really reviving wind horse.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes. So yes, we Tibetans we have lungta and we have, you know, this Gesa and we have many things, but it in general, they are all separate, you know, they’re separated. There’s no relevant to each other, like this. But Trungpa, he beautiful he put together you know that’s also it’s something…

Judith Simmer-Brown: Very unique. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Very unique.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah, very unique, but somehow, you know like, in the two, three years ago, the Covid come, that time, something happened to me, you know like when I’m stuck somewhere, in the Covid time. And then I take as like opportunity, like retreat and then something happened to me, so I made the huge, big lungta you know through the Tara.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Ah ha.

Khentrul Rinpoche: So somehow that’s happened. So that’s why now we everywhere we practicing this. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: That’s why you’re traveling everywhere. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: So now I’m very glad, you know like this connected with Trungpa’s idea, this lungta is like the part of this, you know, the Golden Age process you know. So this is yeah, it just seems like coming along together you know. Sounds wonderful. Yeah, and then you know this, he’s saying this the people lost energy, you know like these things. Yeah it’s a different name, but I often, I often say we need the warrior nature of the compassion.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Our love and compassion, everybody have love and compassion but is all a little bit, I call contaminated. Contaminated. We have to purify our love and compassion. So which means I always try to explain the compassion is the masculine form and the courageous nature. Is you know like nothing is make you discouraged, you know.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: And then love is this, you know, very warmth and the connector you know. So the feminine aspect. Their union together, then everything is work well. So I try to explain that way you know. But this sounds like different way, but same meaning isn’t it?

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yeah, same meaning. For Rinpoche, it’s like the Kalachakra teachings of Shambhala were like the ground, and then the path was very much the practices of Gesar and warriorship is how you actually enact the view of Kalachakra. And so it carries forward that way. And then they blend so beautifully together.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes. You know even the Gesar, in the past some people questioned me, is there any connection the Gesar and the Shambhala? I kind of answered, “oh not sure connection”. Because Gesar this, this, and Shambhala this, this. I try to Shambhala warriors like this, and so I try to probably similar answer. Maybe not 100% same, but a similar answer of the traditional answer. But you know, a few years ago I went to my hometown and you know, and everywhere Gesar. Gesar is everywhere.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Gesar everywhere?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Gesar is eveywhere. Even government allow do these things and like this and so then I thought, hmmmmm? Maybe, maybe the Shambhala and Gesar

Judith Simmer-Brown: And lungta at the Lhasa airport. A great big horse, you know, it’s like it’s there, everywhere.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes. But also, when I doing this lungta, big lungta, at that time I realized so many…I realized that the lungta also have many process and you know like why it called lungta and everything. Why called ta and everything. Yeah, I realized that time. Yeah so we maybe we don’t need talk about this today but….yeah so. What about you know this Trungpa’s enlightened society? If you can explain a little bit more further?

Judith Simmer-Brown: Well, I think that Rinpoche didn’t teach it theoretically as much as he tried to create it with us.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah.

Judith Simmer-Brown: He was less telling us, “it’s like this, like this, like this”, and more saying “do this. Do this. Do this”. So first he had us get nice clothing. And then he wanted us to learn how to waltz. Waltz dancing you know?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes.

Judith Simmer-Brown: And then he wanted us to learn how to have a party where everybody was dignified with each other and you know, not just lying on the floor and smoking pot but you know. He introduced many things to try to teach us how to be more dignified and gentle and present with each other.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes.

Judith Simmer-Brown: And to make sure that we cut our hair and cut our beards, you know and live a more uplifted life. So that’s how he taught it. And he didn’t like say there are these three levels, and that he didn’t teach it in a scholastic way.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Oh yes.

Judith Simmer-Brown: And he instead created a court. And he was very much influenced by the British and created a… he felt the British were much more uplifted than Americans. So he tried to teach it, have us learn how to speak like sunni [?] in English as opposed to American English. He thought that we could learn to be more genteel with each other. So that’s more how he taught it.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes I think his skilfulness, without telling many theories, and he just make, you know, society, you know, make very beautiful and everything. Because this is fitting the tantrayana. Because Shambhala is tantrayana realm.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: You have to remember that Amitabha, those things, in general people’s knowing, Amitabha, and how to practice to reborn Amitabha, all of them is like more sutrayana way.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: But the Shambhala is clearly said is tantrayana realm. Of course Kalachakra, everybody in Shambhala, everybody practice Kalachakra. So that means the most high, high level of tantra. So tantra means, you know like, you don’t have to abandon, you know, the wealth and anything, you know. You don’t have to abandon even your anger, you’re jealous, you’re anything. Yeah, I wrote a book on this, coming. So that’s why is basically in sutrayana is all the beautiful things we have to abandon you know like.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: We should not have attachment, you know like everything. But in the tantrayana no. Is everything useful, everything incredibly useful on enlightened path, you know. So that’s why he I think, he talking, doing these things without telling too much.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Well, we talked about the Buddhist military. He wanted to transform the notion of military to gentleness. So he used many forms in culture, transformed it to have a different meaning.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah that’s also must be very skilful because…

Judith Simmer-Brown: Very skilful. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Usually if we say military or anything we always think of aggression, you know like aggressive and killing, fighting and this. And then he bring that, you know, like same words and different showing. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Completely different motivation. Completely different manifestation. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah. That means skilful means that. So that’s why I think he… I always said, many Tibetans they don’t even know Trungpa because they don’t know English. They don’t know any foreign languages, so they don’t know. So I taught many, many. The most impact Tibetan lama, most impact in a short time, you know like, incredible is Chogyam Trungpa.  I told them, you know. Yeah so. Oh. they don’t know.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So can I ask you a question about the Rigdens?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Rinpoche spoke about the Rigdens as if he saw them every day. Or he had visions of Rigdens all of the time. And so there was a sense of intimacy with the Rigdens. Can you tell us more about who the Rigdens are, and their importance in Shambhala? And how the Rigdens are supporting the development of the Golden Age?

Khentrul Rinpoche: So in traditionally we call seven Dharma Kings and twenty-five Rigdens. So seven Dharma Kings means before the Kalachakra introduced in Shambhala. That time from Suchandra and then we have seven. They are seven Dharma Kings. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: And by the way, Rinpoche’s book has a fantastic appendix. That has the list from the Sanskrit sources and the Tibetan sources of all the Dharma Kings and…

Khentrul Rinpoche: The traditional list and also we have traditional list and then Derek Ragul, he found some traditional mistakes. So we made two lists you know.

Judith Simmer-Brown: It’s very, very useful, so I want to recommend that. So please, I’m sorry to interrupt.

Khentrul Rinpoche: So then Rigden means is not king anymore. It’s not king. King means, you know like you are the above, and then above, anybody do whatever you say. Then you conquer other nations, like this. But then Rigden, how Rigen becomes, is Rigden means everybody is equal. But he is the symbol of the, you know, equal. So he is the leading, leading to this, you know… how to say? Everybody togetherness you know. Like he leading that. So that’s why called Rigden, okay? Rigden, then we have twenty-five. Twenty-five then have few princes. Like that in traditionally, but I have a few times, you know like, experiences I have. So I found out, do you know 108 female Rigdens, okay. 108 female Rigdens.

So I’m… in Tibet, thangka school, Karma Kagyu, Karma Gadri I let them this year. I feel this year I feels something very urgent. And people say, why you want that many thangkas? Where you hanging them? Regardless, hanging them, I feel is very… so urgent, so they’re drawing. They’re drawing, you know this time, they’re drawing all traditional ones, and then the other ones. And now it’s like almost forty that we’re drawing.

Judith Simmer-Brown: My goodness.

Khentrul Rinpoche: In the future we have this so… because after Golden Age, my understanding, after Golden Age, then female Rigens.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Ah ha. I’ve not heard this before.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Oh yeah, nobody heard this before. So this is my understood, this is my big statement, you know, to the world you know. So yeah I’m very, very certain about this. So yeah, they have many reasons behind, but this maybe we talk another time.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Okay that’s great. So Rinpoche, should we open to some questions here?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Sure.

Judith Simmer-Brown: See if people would like it. We’ll take just so little time. Yes, Dan. There’s a microphone for you. And speak clearly so that Rinpoche can understand, okay. You may have to turn it on. Yes good.

Audience member: Judith, sort of bringing things back down to earth a little bit. In the beginning you mentioned the blending of various lineages that Trungpa Rinpoche presented to us. And you briefly mentioned shaman. And I’m wondering if you were also referring to Bunpo at that point? And how does you know relating to the earth, the sky, the trees and so on, how does that fit into the whole situation that we’re discussing here?

Judith Simmer-Brown: That’s a great question and so I hope everyone heard this, and if people online heard this, so the question is coming back to what I said at the beginning about, they weren’t schools, but more streams of influence, that influenced the culture of Eastern Tibet at the time that the [?] was being trained. And that is particularly the Kalachakra tradition of Shambhala which many people in Tibet talk about Shambhala all the time, because it’s sort of in the culture. And then the Gesar traditions and then Dzogchen. And lots of Dzogchen themes in the Shambhala terma. And those have come through quite a bit and then the sprinkling of Confucian notions of rulership and also Hindu notions from the puranas. A lot of the literary forms and imagery from the puranas. So Gesar as a tradition is a folk tradition that can’t be called Bunpo particularly. More basic than that and much more related to the natural world, and to the grassroots culture of Tibet. So Gesar traditions I would say have a lot of shamanic elements and there’s also the Gesar epic as well. Gesar is not a unified tradition or school. It’s much more the characteristic of a lot of aspects of folk culture and I’m influenced a great deal by the scholarship of Robert Cornman who did a lot of work on this and he spoke of this as not just Gesar the epic, but Gesar as a folk shamanic culture of Tibet. 

Bönpo is a specific sort of branch of that, of folk culture. But I’m talking about something more basic and more folk than Bönpo. Is that helpful? And by the way Robert Cornman, before his untimely death, did a lot of excellent research on foundations of the Shambhala teachings, and published a number of very influential articles on the Gesar tradition and the influence on the Shambhala terma of the [?]

Audience member: I guess, you know further to my question, what I was really asking was, how does you know these teachings relate to the natural world? How do we relate to the natural world within these teachings?

Judith Simmer-Brown: That’s very important and I think that is a unique quality of the Dorje Dradul Shambhala teachings. A lot of emphasis on the elements, and on the power of the elements. A lot of emphasis on drala and the fact that there’s a natural power that takes place all around us, that speaks to us. And the dralas, he saw the dralas as naturally connected to the Rigdens and that they are like the messengers of the Rigdens. It’s almost as if the dralas connect us to the Rigdens directly. So this is a another way that the Kalachakra teachings about the Rigdens connects with the Gesar tradition on this more elemental level of drala. Thanks so much for asking that.

Audience member: I was very fortunate to recently peruse the realm of Shambhala and I haven’t read ’Demystifying’ as yet. But what seems to come back to me is the sense of the other emptiness and that perception, and how that’s understood. Also of course the relationship to the natural world, in that it’s very scientific this, and the respect for science is there. And that things are always changing and evolving, so you can predict, but you also have to be grounded in what’s known. So I just wanted to hear a little bit more about the other emptiness.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So she’s asking is something related to Zhentong?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah.

Judith Simmer-Brown: And how Zhentong relates to the world of perceptions and relationship with the natural world. This is a great topic for you.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes. When we say zhen, means other. Tong means empty. So the other one called rangtong. Rang means itself, tong means empty. So if it’s rangtong, if it’s not zhentong, then is rangtong. Rangtong means empty itself. So usually we are Buddhist, we say two truth, right? Relative truth and ultimate truth. So if ultimate truth and relative truth are both is empty itself, then we have nothing left.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: And nothing inspire. Right? So zhentong means Buddha nature. Our Buddha nature is only empty of other, but not empty itself. Okay? So that’s why it is very inspirational. And it’s incredible logical and practical and that’s why the Golden Age how related, if we are perfect our own truth… so we, you know this, we have little problems, is just temporary. An illusion. So that’s why is so much, you know encouraged. Anything possible. Right? Any transition you know, it’s very easily. That suggest zhentong. But rangtong is a little bit, you know, is wobbly. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: You could say that here, no one will get upset.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, is wobbling, because is every time I talking to people, I feel they are wobbling. Any scholars I discuss, and they just wobbling. I feel is wobbling. They have to change many things, and contradict many things. But simple way, if we, if somebody not incredibly philosophical but think about, “oh there’s nothing, then what we do?”. You know like. It’s like that. But the rangtongpa is process, process of understanding. We need rangtong, no problem.

Audience member: Thanks so much.

Judith Simmer-Brown: One way to talk about the other emptiness is that it is the gateway to luminosity and the experience of the vividness of the world, which is not inherently existent, but that quality of being saturated with wakefulness. So it’s a beautiful…with only rangtong, there’s not as much pointing to yogic practice. But zhentong is all about pointing to the non-conceptual experience of luminosity. Which is what we experience with the sense perception. So the Dorje Dradul put a lot of emphasis in the Shambhala teachings, on the ayatanas. On the sense perceptions, and on the beauty and vividness of sense perceptions and luminosity, you could say. And this as an expression of goodness in our world.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So it’s yogic.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes yoga practice, because the Jonangpas, before named Jonangpa, they called the Six Yoga lineage.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Kalachakra come to Tibet, you know like twenty-one versions of translation. They came. But it seems like all of them mostly intellectual. So that’s why is only practice really yogic way, real practice coming seems like the Dro lineage. So Dro lineage is the Jonang lineage. So yes, so that’s why is Jonangpa was never interested politics. Never, never involved in politics. Other than Jonangpa, everybody ruled Tibet sometime. Yeah so like that. So, is yogic practice really, so many, many centuries they didn’t even care intellect. If you look at Jonang tradition, many years they didn’t care. Sometimes big things happened like Dolpopa, then Taranatha, Dolpopa’s fourteen disciples were quite scholars, you know like these things. Seems like that always.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So another question? Yes, Phil. There’s a microphone right there.

Audience member: I’ve been reading your books recently and I’ve been thinking a lot about the zhentong view and Western science. Is the zhentong view of the mind qualities that exist in pure emptiness, the same as the five elements earth, water, fire, wind and so forth, as the qualities that remain after an experience of luminosity?

Khentrul Rinpoche: So the zhentong, you know like rangtonpas say the qualities…is empty but quality is luminosity. So that means they’re already saying zhentong. Even they saying “I’m rangtong”, but they saying already they agreeing zhentong.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Yes, yes.

Khentrul Rinpoche: But they don’t go further more than that. But the zhentongpas go very much everything, every, everything, like five elements, everything is in, you know, the Buddha nature. Everything there, nothing’s missing.

Audience member: Yeah, I guess what I’m wondering is in the experience of luminosity, the clear sky, the five elements are not there and the five senses are not there, except in potential. Is that correct?

Khentrul Rinpoche: No, is the.. you know our normal lives senses, normal lives the five elements, yes, not exist in that. That state. But we call Supreme five elements, Supreme five senses. Everything there, everything. Nothing’s missing, nothing.

Audience member: So in the experience of clear light, and the experience of a pure land, is that the same thing?

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yeah, if you put, you know like, absolute, the word with Absolute, or otherwise you can Supreme, and then is everything there. Everything same.

Audience member: Thank you.

Khentrul Rinpoche: If we don’t use the Supreme, or Absolute, then it’s just normal, normal five elements, normal, everything normal.

Judith Simmer-Brown: So maybe one more question? Vicky.

Audience member: It’s good to see you. I want to reiterate what you said about not being too literal and how important that is, thank you Judith too. When we talk about Kalachakra, there’s always one word that stays with us, and that’s the word of time. Which our minds can so readily conceptualize and be too literal. Do you have any suggestion about that word and about some of us, like myself who is running out of time, and how we might relate to time in the sense of Kalachakra? If there’s a different view of it? Thank you.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Okay. Yeah, as far as I understood, you want to know that Kalachakra, wheel of time, what it means, right?

Judith Simmer-Brown: What we mean by time in that, but also for all of us particularly as we get older, and we have only so much time in our lives, how can an understanding of the Kalachakra help us have a different understanding of time? Is that right?

Audience member: Yes. Coming back to not being too literal. 

Judith Simmer-Brown: Not being too literal about time. 

Audience member: In the West we’re very literal.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes yes.

Audience member: I think this could be helpful to have a little more of your taste of not being too literal.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes, yes. So when we say wheel, you know, if simple way think about then is wheel. but there’s profound meaning, you know. So, because usually everything we have oh this beginning/end. It’s not like wheel, everything is like rope. Or stick, or beginning/end. We everything think like that way. But we not think like wheel, you know. But the reality, the truth is everything is wheel. Which means there’s no beginning there’s no start. That’s why there’s no such thing “oh I’m old and die, no time”. Is not exist because you are in the wheel. You know wheel of time. So wheel of time means always you have time, okay. Always you have time. You are always this [Rinpoche gestures a circle turning]. Not, “oh, nearly finished. The end” It’s not that. So you know like, when we are old, old is only the gross level. The gross level. And the subtle level, no old. Nobody is old, you know. And then die also is obvious level, just dissociation of the temporary the body and mind. But there’s no die because impossible. That’s why we have to understand the Buddha nature, you know. So that’s why, so.. Yeah depends how we think you know. If we understand this way, think this way, then is not. But we have just bad habit to think is like stick and will end, and there’s no more time, you know like. I hope this isn’t still not too literal. Maybe you can help.

Judith Simmer-Brown: No, no, it’s interesting to think of rope, or stick is the way we think of linear time, as opposed to the wheel of time so…

Audience member: Our bad habits, so thank you.

Khentrul Rinpoche: Yes bad habits always thinking like stick or rope. Not thinking like wheel, you know.

Judith Simmer-Brown: Thank you so much Rinpoche for being with us and for this wonderful conversation. And thank you all so much for coming tonight. I hope you’ll come back for tomorrow and for the Kalachakra this weekend. I know that for myself I wouldn’t miss it. So should we close with the dedication of merit? By this merit, may all obtain omniscience. Eradicate the enemy wrongdoing from the stormy waves of birth, old age, sickness and death from now until samsara ends, may I free all beings. By the confidence of the Golden Sun, the Great East, may the Lotus Garden of the Rigdens bloom. May the dark ignorance of sentient beings be dispelled. May all beings enjoy profound brilliant glory.

Khentrul Rinpoche: That’s wonderful thank you.

Yeshe Wangmo: Thank you so much Rinpoche and Judith.  And then for everyone else, I’d just like to let you know a little bit about the program we have here this weekend.  So tomorrow evening we have another complimentary talk where Rinpoche will go over what is the Kalachakra path for those who might be interested to follow it. Some people are just curious because they aren’t sure what that actually looks like, or means in the form of practice. So they want to learn about it so they can also either understand how it relates to either their current practice, does it have some relationship, or is it a totally a different path, or how that works. So Rinpoche will take us through what is the Kalachakra tantra path. And then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we have the Kalachakra empowerment, the initiation, and anyone is welcome to come to that. You don’t have to be Buddhist, Rinpoche always explains. Many people come who have the great merit to like walk past the door and see a picture, and they’re like “oh today I decided to come in for the first time in ten years” And then they show up. So anyone is welcome to come, and obviously the best is to come and take the full empowerment. Even better if you decide you want to do the Kalachakra path, but many people come also for the blessings and to connect with Shambhala, since this is connected to the realm of Shambhala and that has great merit too. And then for those who decide they want to be able to get going on the Kalachakra path, on Monday and Tuesday we’re doing a tiny ngondro workshop here. Very intimate, with lots of questions to get people going with practice. So that will be, and also all of this is online, for those online. Today’s talk, our translators are asleep mostly in Europe and Asia. Thank you to the Romanian brave one who woke up at 3:30 A.M for this. But all of you can watch it after it’s translated and online regularly, and the rest of the program is translated in real time.

Thank you everybody and thank you so much. 

Khentrul Rinpoche: I’m want to say one thing. I’m going to explain what is Kalachakra means empowerment. How you receive you know and those things I explain always before empowerment. Then also people always worry about, you know like, oh what kind of samayas and like these things you know. So then I always detail explain this. But briefly if I say something, you know I think somehow everywhere becomes like burden. You know like anything Dharma practices is appears like burden. You know like going empowerment also burden. You know, “oh I have to keep this, take these vows and if I’m not then I go to hell”, you know like, “better to not go”, you know like. But empowerment means always, is you know, there’s motivation and courage. So which means, “oh I want to take all vows, all samaya”. If you think that for one minute, is like is eons, eons you can’t find. It’s like that kind of opportunity so. Eons, eons we are born in samsara, haven’t done this you know. So that’s why one minute, so that’s why even His Holiness Dalai Lama give empowerment, that time I helped many people. Everybody is so nervous. “Oh how can we receive? Maybe we don’t receive. And even receive, how we not taking the vows, or breaking the vows. How we can keep maybe can’t keep?”. You know like this. 

So what I’m telling them, everybody, how you receive is how you relaxed. How you relaxed, then you receive. But if you thinking… then also I heard many, many Lamas say, “oh you don’t take any vows. You don’t need you just take blessing. Just take the blessing”. But I disagree about this. You know, there is no blessing if you don’t have motivation, you don’t have courage for even one minute. But if you keep the vows one minute, that is trillion times better than you never took. That’s one thing. 

Second thing, tantra way of vows and samayas is not like pratimoksha and sutrayana. Is any time you can, anytime you can repair. You know, refresh. So that’s why the empowerment is the way of how to reconstruct all your samayas broken in the past. You know. That’s certain people didn’t get it you know. That’s somehow, some others presenters always focusing something secondary focus, and not telling the essence and the primary important. So that’s why, that’s what I’m going to talk details, you know, Thursday and Friday yeah. Okay?

Judith Simmer-Brown: Okay.=

Khentrul Rinpoche: Goodnight everyone.


Judith Simmer-Brown

Judith Simmer-Brown

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies Emeritx at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978. As Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970’s, she became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974, and served as an acharya in Shambhala from 2000-2022. Her books are Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala 2001)and Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011). She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and four grandchildren.

Khentrul Rinpoche

Khentrul Rinpoche

Jonang Kalachakra & Rimé Master

Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö is the founder and spiritual director of Dzokden. Rinpoche is the author of Unveiling Your Sacred Truth, The Great Middle Way: Clarifying the Jonang View of Other-Emptiness, A Happier Life, and The Hidden Treasure of the Profound Path. Rinpoche spent the first 20 years of his life herding yak and chanting mantras on the plateaus of Tibet. Inspired by the bodhisattvas, he left his family to study in a variety of monasteries under the guidance of over twenty-five masters in all the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Due to his non-sectarian approach, he earned himself the title of Rimé (unbiased) Master and was identified as the reincarnation of the famous Kalachakra Master Ngawang Chözin Gyatso. While at the core of his teachings is the recognition that there is great value in the diversity of all spiritual traditions found in this world; he focuses on the Jonang-Shambhala tradition. Kalachakra (wheel of time) teachings contain profound methods to harmonize our external environment with the inner world of body and mind, ultimately bringing about the golden age of peace and harmony (dzokden).