Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche in Vermont

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche
Photo by Ron Stubbert

Photo by Katie Yates
Photo by Katie Yates
Photo by Katie Yates


Photo by Adam Mitchell
Photo by Adam Mitchell
Photo by Adam Mitchell


Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche is traveling with an exhibition of sacred relics and artifacts that belonged to HH Dilgo Khyentse. Here are a series of photographs from the exhibit.

Naropa’s bone ornament. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Footprint of Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Meditation belt of Milarepa. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Bone of Marpa Lotsawa. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Hair of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s bone relic. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Hair of Karmapa Kakyab Dorje. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Lord Buddha’s Relic. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s boot. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Personal Belongings of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Photo by Ron Stubbert
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s reliquary. Photo by Ron Stubbert

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche in Vermont — The Children’s Blessing

by Katie Yates

A most delightul children’s blessing with Yangsi Rinpoche at Pema Osel in Vershire, Vermont, August 9, 2010

Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche was greeted with a chorus of You Are My Sunshine and a blend of electrically lit fans from a lively, colorful bunch of children in the early morning light at Pema Osel. Rinpoche in turn gave the children a Manjusri empowerment, reciting the mantra with them carefully and then offering each child an insightful piece of sweet chocolate along with a protection cord. With my children, Gabriel and Juliette Forstrom, he was playful and sincere, treated each according to their special temperament. He followed their lead with inscrutable insight. I have with me a profound teaching from Rinpoche on the importance of offering both the gifts of intellect and gentleness to our children.

When asked by a 17 year old young sangha member how he felt about teaching American teenagers the dharma, Rinpoche admitted he had been raised rather differently but was curious nevertheless to get to know our traditions. His offering of playfulness and his warm wisdom are extraordinary.

perfect, liquid in silken domesticity
bearing wisdom delicious in this morning
light’s question endures

The Dude Abides

by Colin Stubbert

Adam Mitchell and Colin Stubbert at Pema Osel

Driving down to Vermont I really didn’t know what to expect. Of course I was excited, being well aware of the connection the previous Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche shared with the Vidyadhara. However I was much more excited to have a chance to see Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche because of an experience I had with him at the consecration of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya wherein he informed me that a certain Mahakala was a midget.

The center was beautiful and totally welcoming. There were distinct differences in their style compared to the Shambhala sangha but these were only superficial. They didn’t seem to do much drinking and smokers were few and far between. However I was struck intensely by a certain sense of family. Before the Yangsi ever made his first appearance it was obvious to us that although these people belonged to the Mangala Shri Bhuti community they were still our sangha.

The Yangsi blew me away, absolutely. I think he blew everyone away. I’m not trying to say that he’s a living Buddha; that he turns the wheel of dharma effortlessly and with every action he performs, absolutely not. But for a seventeen year old to be giving a dharma talk in a foreign language with his teachers sitting on either side of him, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I’m sure we’ll all be very interested to see what he’s like in ten years.

In terms of meeting enlightened masters Rabjam Rinpoche and Kongtrul Rinpoche were the real deal. The morning before we practiced the sadhana, Kongtrul Rinpoche gave an incredible talk about the practice of sadhanas in general. It was one of the best, most enlightening talks I’ve ever heard and reminded me very much of the all encompassing style in which Trungpa Rinpoche taught the dharma.

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Rabjam Rinpoche really brought to mind the saying “the Dude abides,” and although he seemed totally joyful and chilled out it’s hard to imagine he goes easy on the Yangsi. His devotion to the previous Khyentse Rinpoche coupled with his love for the Yangsi (which is totally evident and beaming) must be incredibly potent ingredients in making him a masterful teacher and guru for the young tulku.

I never could have imagined the total shifting of my point of view that took place at this program. It’s so easy as Shambhalians for us to feel like we’re alone in the world, that the foothold of Dharma in the West begins and ends with us. What this weekend made totally evident was that we are not alone, that the entire weight of the world is not on our shoulders. There are so many more people just like us out there, and although they may have different thangkas on their wall and they practice different texts what they’re trying to do is fundamentally identical to us. It takes a lot of pressure away, creates so much space, knowing that there is a greater world of the Dharma outside the walls of the Kingdom, that there are other brilliant teachers out there. I came away from this program with so much hope, so much positivity and so much space but more than that I came away hungry for more.

An Anthem to Celebrate

by Carolyn Rose Gimian

The second day of the program at Pema Osel in Vermont began with a talk by Ven. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche on the nature of sadhana practice. It was powerful, pithy and to the point. After a break, Khyentse Rinpoche and Rapjam Rinpoche joined us, and we began the practice ?- which we had received the day before. Following morning practice, we began the feast section of the sadhana. During the feast itself, there were many offerings of song. Kongtrul Rinpoche offered a story about Milarepa meeting an Indian master, and he sang the songs that they exchanged. Students of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso Rinpoche offered a song and dance led by Jan Wilcox, a dapon in another life. A Bengali dance was offered by two beautiful young women. Amazing Grace was sung out by the Western choppon. Towards the end of the offerings, Jim Gimian was asked to lead the Shambhala Anthem. Jim rose and asked Jan Wilcox to give us the note. Everyone stood. Almost everyone in the room knew the anthem, and we sang a rousing rendition, with Rapjam Rinpoche notably joining in with relish. It was a moment that tied the room together beautifully.

Lineage of Good Heart

by Carolyn Rose Gimian

Friday, August 6th, 400 people converged on the parking lot of a rural school in West Fairlee Vermont to be ferried to Pema Osel Do-Ngak Choling, or Pema Osel as it’s abbreviated. This is the rural, very rural retreat center of the Ven. Dzigar Kongtrul and his students, where the Ven. Yangsi Khyentse Rinpoche and his party are being hosted for four days. An army of volunteers directed our cars to the grass behind the school and then to the registration tables. Seeing so many old friends ? some seen last week in Halifax, some a few months ago, some not for years. People searching for names to put to faces they remotely remember…a preview of old age or the bardo—

Then onto yellow school busses driven by Vermonters to take us to this forested spot. Beautiful shrine room with a residence above it for the Yangsi. He is accompanied by Ven. Rabjam Rinpoche, who many will remember from the visits of HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Friday night he gave the opening talk, which began with a standing ovation to thank him for his years of work on behalf of what is being called here “the lineage of good heart.” His personal connection and devotion to his grandfather, HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, so evident in his loving remarks about him, telling us intimate stories about Khyentse Rinpoche and also connecting us to the 17 year old Yangsi, or incarnation, of Khyentse Rinpoche.

We leave for a few hours of sleep, and then return for the empowerment on Saturday morning. The day, after coffee and muffins, begins with sitting practice led by Dzigar Kongtrul, and then a talk by the Yangsi. Young but so collected, with great English, including surprising use of the vernacular for one who has just landed in the West a few weeks ago (France and Croatia before New York). He tells us ? with all due respect ? that we North Americans are “uptight.” But understandably so, given our busy lives. He gives us a list of 8 things that promote the lineage of good heart, which ends with “not imposing on people’s personal space.” Very interesting.

Running now to attend Sunday. Most of Saturday was actually the transmission of an abhisheka for a terma practice of Khyentse RInpoche’s that was intended to be given to the Vidyadhara’s students ? but never happened.

At the end of the day, Dzigar Kongtrul says, “We will remember this day for the rest of our lives.” Probably he is right!

Hopefully other bloggers have more to say. Just a taste for you.

Carolyn Gimian from Good Heart Central

Photos from Pema Osel, courtesy of Mangala Shri Bhuti
Pema Osel Do Ngak Choling
Rabjam Rinpoche
Khyentse Rinpoche, Kongtrul Rinpoche, Matthieu Ricard, and Rabjam Rinpoche
Practicing the Rangjung Peme Nyingtik