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The Rinchen Terdzo Returns!
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and His Eminence during the enthronements

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and His Eminence during the enthronements

Walker Blaine, author of the Rinchen Terdzo blog, describes the ways the transmission lives on through ongoing empowerments, commemorative books, and transmissions to each generation of Sakyongs.

December 5th marked the two-year anniversary of the start of the three-month Rinchen Terdzo conferred by His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche on Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in Orissa, India. The Rinchen Terdzo is a collection of nearly 900 empowerments and teachings that represent the heart of the terma tradition of the Nyingma lineage, the earliest transmission of the dharma from India to Tibet. This was a historic event in Shambhala’s history because Namkha Drimed Rinpoche received the Rinchen Terdzo from the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche; the empowerments represented the Sakyong fully receiving his father’s transmission of the Nyingma lineage, which is intimately connected with the Shambhala teachings.

The Transmissions Continue
This time of year is an excellent time to begin a Rinchen Terdzo because it allows the concluding ceremonies to arrive around the auspicious time of Losar or Shambhala Day, the beginning of the New Year. This year, on December 1st, the first Rinchen Terdzo to be conferred in North America began at Orgyen Dorje Den in Alameda, California. The empowerments are being bestowed by the Venerable Yangthang Rinpoche, one of the senior teachers from Dhomang Monastery in Eastern Tibet. He is being hosted by Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche, who many Shambhala students know well as one of the earliest Nyingma teachers to come to the United States. Gyatrul Rinpoche has taught many vajrayana students in our community and is responsible for introducing His Holiness Khenpo Jigme Phutsok to the West in the 1990s. Visit the Orgyen Dorje Den website to learn more about these teachers and the Rinchen Terdzö.

The main shrine room in Orissa, India

The main shrine room in Orissa, India

The Book that Marks the Occasion
The start of this new Rinchen Terdzo seems an appropriate time to announce a few small developments in connection with the Rinchen Terdzo book, The Great River Of Blessings. Two years ago, the Sakyong asked me to write daily reports from India so that the Shambhala community at large could witness the empowerments and the Sakyong’s life in Asia through words and pictures via the internet. To date, more than 14,000 people have visited the blogsite rinchenterdzo.org, which remains on the web as a record of the amazing events in India.

In the year after returning from India, I revised and edited the entire blog into a free downloadable PDF called The Great River Of Blessings, which is available at the Sakyong Foundation website. The book is a history of the event and a general introduction to the Nyingma lineage. It is offered for free to encourage people to help with the Sakyong Foundation’s relief efforts in Asia, which are currently focused on reducing malaria mosquito breeding by building roads with proper drainage in the Tibetan camps in Orissa. To date nearly 1,000 people have downloaded the book and small gifts totaling $1,500 have been given to the roads project.

Empowerment List
During the events in India, translator Patricia Kirigin diligently prepared a bilingual list of the empowerments before the start of each day. This helped the Sakyong, the western students, and (on the occasions when the Tibetan list was inaccurate or unprinted) some of the Tibetan lamas follow the elaborate, interwoven series of rituals each day. The resulting list of empowerments is more than 200 pages long and continues to be revised with the help of Lama Tenzin, the head shrine master during the Rinchen Terdzo in Orissa.

The Great River Of Blessings

New Editions Now Available — in print and for download
A draft of the empowerment list, as well as the final update of The Great River Of Blessings — which now includes final letters from the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo, are available for free download at the Sakyong Foundation website. These documents are among the suggested supporting reading for people attending the Rinchen Terdzo in California.

It is also a pleasure to announce that with the permission of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Jigme Rinpoche, who is the representative of his father, Namkha Drimed Rinpoche, The Great River Of Blessings is now available in printed format via this link at the on-demand publishing house, lulu.com. The price of the book is $60.00, the lowest price available for a book of this size with color images. No one other than lulu.com will receive any money from the sale of this book. We had many requests to print the book and did our best to keep the price down and the quality up.

A Part of the Lineage of Sakyongs
In the future, each Sakyong will bestow the Rinchen Terdzo on their successor. The transmission will nurture the lineage of practice and realization that flows through the terma tradition, which is one of the main supports for the Shambhala teachings to arise in our time. The Great River Of Blessings was created so that the history and flavor of the transmission in Orissa will be available to us and our descendants.

May all beings realize the goodness that is their own mind and heart. May the Nyingma lineage and all other wisdom traditions be sustained and increased in the garden of the Shambhala kingdom.
_________________________
Photos courtesy of Christoph Schonherr

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