Our beloved guide, Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, left his physical body behind on June 22, 2024. As with all great teachers, his passing has magnified his presence in the hearts and minds of his students, making this a moment of profound sadness and inspiration.

When the sun of dharma, the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, disappeared from view, we entered a long period of darkness and confusion. We soldiered on, trying to maintain the tradition and continue the practices laid out for us by our teacher.

Years passed. Then, quite unexpectedly, the moon of dharma appeared in the sky in the form of a great yogi, Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. He illuminated our landscape, first at RMDC in 1991, and then at Karmê Chöling, and then throughout the Shambhala mandala.

The moon never tried to eclipse the sun. When a disciple of the Vidyadhara asked Khenpo Rinpoche if they could be his student, invariably he said, only If you can see me as inseparable from Trungpa Rinpoche.

For a decade and a half, Khenpo Rinpoche poured the heart treasures of the Kagyu and Nyingma teachings into the Vidyadhara’s world, instructing us in the practices of Mahamudra, Dzokchen and the Six Dharmas of Naropa.

Khenpo Rinpoche took us through such treasures as The Ocean of Definitive Meaning, The Gradual Path to the Heart of Wisdom, The Profound Inner Reality, The Hevajra Tantra, Entering the Middle Way, The Treasury of Knowledge, and of course, the vajra songs of Milarepa and the great teachers of the lineage. The emphasis was always on putting these teachings into practice, not dry scholarship.

By 2006, the causes and conditions for Khenpo Rinpoche to teach were exhausted. Now, the moon of dharma has disappeared from view. It is now, again, up to us. We are blessed with many great teachers to assist us. But it is up to us to continue the path that the sun and the moon have illuminated.

By Chödzin Garchen (Andy Karr),
a mangy dog baying at the moon

Please post a tribute to Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

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Katie Morrow
2 weeks ago

I first received teachings from Khenpo in the early 90s at Karme Choling. I hadn't been back there since the Vidyadhara's cremation, and I was feeling bereft. One day we were invited to have an interview with him and when I walked into the Suite I suddenly saw the Vidyadhara--I looked again and it was Khenpo. I blurted out what I had seen and he drew himself up and seemed to become very big and said, "I am Trungpa Rinpoche." It was such a huge and life-changing teaching. He has my eternal gratitude and may we meet again and again.

Jeff Muñoz
2 weeks ago

An Aspiration song for Khenpo from Prayer Rock's Yogi of Kanaio
(sung to your own tune)

Oh Great Hero!
Conquer of this world's illusions

Through Great Renunciation
You see Samsara/Nirvana as One

Sitting like a child
Resting like a corpse
Centered as a mountain
Calm as a lake

You see appearance/emptiness
Just as it is

All thoughts reflections mire appearances melt within Your gaze
All thoughts reflections mire appearances melt within Your gaze

O Great Hero! Please bless me that I melt within Your gaze
O Great Hero! Please bless me that I melt within Your gaze
When I last saw Rinpoche, I sensed he was headed into retreat.
I asked, "How will I find You?"
He snapped his fingers and said "Just like that!"

robert higgins
2 weeks ago

Sing a Song.
yay Khenpo
he was totally ready to Go
feeling sorry for his students
{me included)
but not not for him
yay Khenpo
he was one of my main teachers in Nepal
always encouraged me to do my retreats in Yolmo

remembering once walking on one of the Mud streets
when a car pulls up, thru the thick mud, sliding to a stop,
Khenpo leaning out the window......"YOLMO"

and when working on the Stupa in Colorado,
up in the Bunpo.......a small group was taking Rinpoche
on a Stupa tour.....he saw me and exclaimed "Yolmo"
Jules was translating and said that HE wants you to go to Karma Choling
of course i left immediately........Thanks for Everything Rinpoche

Ira Abrams
2 weeks ago

I served as a kasung on KTGR's visit to Chicago in something like 2004 or 5. I walked him from his car up to the green room and back again for every session. Or he walked me. At any rate, I remember two things from that time. The second or third time I met him at his car, he paused with one leg out of the vehicle and asked my name. I said "Ira", but he didn't seem to understand. I repeated it without much progress. He just sat half in the car and half out holding my hand. Finally, I said "Ira-Ari; Ari-Ira" (because his student Ari Goldfield was his translator) and he burst out laughing and got out. All the way up the stairs he kept repeating it like a song--Ira:Ari; Ari:Ira. Every time I remember that, I am instantly back in a place where things can be simple and cheerful.
The second thing I remember is that in a Q and A for one of the talks, someone asked why Buddhism sees the emotions as afflictions, but seems to promote love. He gave a long answer, but what I remember of what he said is: love brings us together and helps us overcome ego's separateness.

Linda Lewis
3 weeks ago

My very first memory of Khenpo Rinpoche was at the '85 seminary when he taught the Ngeton School in the octagonal building on the "land", RMDC. Jim Scott was with him singing Milarepa songs to country Western tunes, a humorous contrast to Khenpo's profound Mahamudra instructions, and to the appearance of our root guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in yellow robes, presiding over the last full seminary.

A few years later, after the Vidyadhara's parinirvana and while residing at Karme Choling, I went with a friend to Wappenger Falls, at Lama Norla's small monastery and three year retreat complex, to hear Khenpo teach again on Mahamudra. It was my first time trying to follow a Tibetan text, and I could only make out words which the Vidyadhara had hammered into our heads, like "yeshe" or "sem". Jim Scott was there as well, translating and singing those Milarepa songs with such folksy wording. At night my friend and I were given a bunk beds in a room adjacent to Khenpo's. Being a light sleeper, I awoke whenever he awoke and got up, because the adjoining door was only partially blocked by the bunk bed, and when Khenpo went out into the hallway, it created a draft that opened the door an inch so I could hear Khenpo R. humming or singing some lovely Tibetan tune!

My friend wanted to go on to Karme Triyana Dharmachakra and I was grateful to meet Khenpo Kartar and received the Marpa Empowerment, but I found myself somewhat clinging to the experiences I was having with Khenpo R., and I probably only imagined that he did not want to see me go either, right in the middle of these Mahamudra teachings.

But in a few years he was coming to Karme Choling every summer of the world or so it seemed, and I was there for all but one. Am sure others will have plenty to share of these glorious summer retreats, but suffice it to say they included such adventures as learning "float-us" on Harvey's Lake (how to more easily get into vajra posture or full lotus in the water while floating!) or jumping from the rope swing at the reservoir into vajra posture before hitting the water (practicing to do the "bebs" in trulkhor for the 6 dharmas portion of 3 year retreat!)

As the year 2000 approached, I was in New Zealand and had the opportunity with Marion Bond and Colin Pratt to invite Khenpo R. to Wellington, as he was in Melbourne, Australia. And with little notice, he came with Ari, to give teachings in a Sufi building over the weekend, and then upon request gave both refuge and bodhisattva vows to many on the spacious Bond-Pratt deck overlooking the city.

But on the very first day, Marion and Colin both had appointments, so even though I had only been in Wellington 2 weeks at the most, I was to be their guide to the city! We were dropped off on the beautiful coast and walked along the harbour, looking I'm sure like a very strange trio: Ari so tall, carrying a large camera he'd bought in Australia; Khenpo in Tibetan dress, and me. We came to a boat that had been converted into a tea house and Khenpo wanted to go in. Perhaps picking up on my stubborn Protestant ethic and concern for time, Khenpo R. began to explain how there was NO Time!

As I relaxed and we continued our walk, Ari taking occasional videos, I spotted a ferry going to Day's Harbour. I had no idea where that was and knew nothing about its schedule. But I made inquiries, and it seemed possible to go very inexpensively, and that once there, we would find close by a restaurant where we could have lunch. It felt like Dewachen, a great bliss realm, riding atop the ferry in the sun, stopping briefly at an island that once held prisoners but now was a sanctuary for many flightless birds. (Until the Maori and then Europeans brought animals to NZ, there were no predators on the ground for birds, so many, like the Kiwi, lost the ability to fly!)

At the restaurant, while waiting to be served, Ari played the morning video for Khenpo, and Khenpo remarked that "even my eyebrows are white!" I tried to say something profound, like "No time, no old age, no white eyebrows!" and Khenpo loved it, thinking maybe I had got his earlier tea time message.

But alas, as the only scheduled return trip on the ferry approached, Khenpo and Ari were strolling along the coast in the opposite direction from the ferry and I panicked! The ferry was filling with boisterous boys from a day school, in grey shorts, white shirts, pulling off their ties...I think Khenpo was testing me to see if I really got the message of timelessness! But we did just make the ferry, found seats in the crowded, smelly cafeteria inside, and Khenpo R. promptly fell blissfully asleep, Ari taking advantage of the time to sleep as well, and there was I, watching boys pass objects over our heads, and shouting but not at all disturbing those two!

While Khenpo R. stayed at Marion and Colin's, a house like many on stilts overlooking the city, Khenpo R stayed in their bedroom which was below the main floor. Each morning I would fix breakfast while Khenpo watched Ari do lujong (exercises, literally "body training"). Once their breakfast was served, I'd run downstairs (still time conscious!), gather up their laundry and start a wash, run back upstairs and see if they wanted more tea, etc., run down again to straighten up beds, and then back up to collect the breakfast dishes.

But one of those times I was off, miscalculated, and burst into Khenpo's room finding him completely un-startled, but stark naked before me! I was the embarrassed one! It was just another teaching of the precious, timeless guru!

3 weeks ago

I was blessed to take part in a weekend talk in Clapham, London, UK a number of years ago. I occasionally remark to myself and others, thast of all the spiritual teachers i have had the auspicious causes and conditions to see / meet, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche seems to be one of the very few that to have genuine realisation. Rest in Peace 🙏🙏🙏

Vicky Segal
3 weeks ago

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche taught us for some months at
Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Centre in Scotland in the 1970’s.
I can still visualise the farewell Blessings and predictions for our well being after many months. It was a beautiful timeless happy home in our childhood in the Teachings, so safe .
You have all been so blessed to have had those Teachings, be happy.

Samten Lha-Ö
3 weeks ago

Still almost young, confused but happy, working on the Stupa....
A Buddha realm !....
Suddenly..... Hey! Ho!
A dancing, singing yogi appears, shooting arrows of
Mahamudra !!??
What incredible karma we all share ....
How can one not find the way ... ??

Joan west
3 weeks ago

The Khenpo was my Tibetan language teacher at Marpa School for Translators in Boudhanath, Nepal. I felt so stupid and slow. Every time I attempted to study it was a frustrated lost endeavor. At that time my home was in Pawo Rinpoche's monestary which was right around the corner from Marpa School. One day I recall being on the edge of giving up completely so I took a walk around the muddy road bend.
As I passed the school for translators rinpoche appeared and said to me in colloquial Tibetan "slowly, slowly, slowly, little bit by bit you will understand and everything will be fine. There is no need to rush". Amazingly, I understood without a translator!!!!!!! Please know we were studying pecha Tibetan at his school and not colloquial language of which I have almost no grasp!
With this said the decision was made to continue....however...Surely it will take at least another life time if not more for me. I could not make much progress before I left Nepal :/
0h gosh, how wondrous khenpo Tsultrim was.

Reed Bye
3 weeks ago

It seems, as they say, "inconceivable" that the khenpo came along when he did-- as I understand, at Sakyong Mipham's request-- to deepen the view, meditation, conduct, and fruition of Kagyu and Nyingma teachings in students the Vidyadhara had prepared to receive them.

May his joyful realization continue to inspire beings on the path--

David Darwent
3 weeks ago

Thanks Andy for your moving tribute.
Khenpo's departure has left us sad, inspired and blessed. His 1991 teachings at RMDC were such a powerful and inspiring moment in our growth. I am so grateful to him. While CTR is always sitting on my head, Khenpo joined him on my shoulder and has taken up residence there. "Now it is up to us" once again and the longing will be a boost to the energy of our practice and gives us the confidence to continue as always, dorje nyma (David Darwent)

Marcia Usow
3 weeks ago

What I remember and recite every day:
"All phenomena are appearance emptiness. Like dreams, watermoons, rainbows and movies." He demonstrated Great Appearance and now he demonstrates and teaches the second part.

Shauna Jade Larson
3 weeks ago

The songs of realization have been flawless ambrosia to this mind seeking liberation. My mind heart pulls with your passing so fortunate to have encountered your blessings in this lifetime. Dancing Yogi your light burns bright.

James Sacamano
3 weeks ago

If there were a box, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamsto Rinpoche would be out of that box. Yet, he was the box, the endless box of the wisdom of our lineages. He meant so much to me and to so many others. Completely in line with the tradition, but always fresh. I was blessed to have met and studied with him, as were many of us. May we meet again soon.

Angela Penton
3 weeks ago

I'm so sad to hear that your beautiful teacher has died. His students are continuing his dedication by helping students see and understand the Dharma. Andy has recommended Sun of Wisdom for my study and it is helping reflection and meditation come more alive. Thank you Rinpoche and his students! May all beings be free.

Rose Thorn
3 weeks ago

Thank you from this heart!

3 weeks ago

A mighty, powerful, loving, compassionate man in human clothing.

Larry Falllon
3 weeks ago

Rinpoche will always have a place in my heart/mind. His teachings, his example, his aspirations for all of us will fuel my practice.