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Sep 02
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Vivid Awareness in Boulder

Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche in Boulder, photo courtesy of Marv Ross

Hundreds gathered for a teaching by Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche at the Boulder Shambhala Center in early August. His teachings focused on two texts of esoteric instructions by Khenpo Gangshar, a root teacher for the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The event drew together people from various Kagyu sanghas in Colorado to practice and study with the Shambhala community, including Vajra Vidya and Nalandabodhi.

As a result, there was a heartwarming quality of reunion in the air. One participant commented, “We should do a program like this every year. It feels like a gathering of our extended family.” In their remarks to open and close the program, Bob King and Jim Fladmark echoed this statement. They referred to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche as “our dharma uncle.” Thrangu Rinpoche studied alongside the Trungpa Rinpoche as a young monk in eastern Tibet and has supported the Shambhala community in myriad ways over the last three decades, especially in his capacity as the abbot of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia.

Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche arrives at the Shambhala Center, photo courtesy of Marv Ross

Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche offers a blessing to those attending the teachings, photo courtesy of Marv Ross

Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche departs after the teachings, photo courtesy of Marv Ross

This program was a special treat for the Shambhala community in Boulder since Khenpo Gangshar was one of the Vidyadhara’s main teachers. The teachings found in the root text were presented at Thrangu Monastery in the late 1950s with both Thrangu Rinpoche and Trungpa Rinpoche present. In it, Khenpo Gangshar explains how to work with the emotions in conditions of adversity — a technique that surely had some influence on the Vidyadhara’s style of teaching in the West.

Teachings on these two esoteric texts by Khenpo Gangshar can be found in Thrangu Rinpoche’s recent book, Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar, available on the Shambhala Publications website. The book begins with a forward by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in which he states:

I’m extremely delighted that this book, Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar, is available in the West, since the increase in materialism and overwhelming power of strong emotions has not lessened since the time of Khenpo Gangshar, but has increased. He forewarned that this was a time of change, and in order to not be overwhelmed and seduced by the negativity of modern speed, it is essential to understand one’s mind. The text clearly lays out the step-by-step process of how one begins that journey. The instructions contained within it are both profound and simple.

Vivid Awareness includes a translation of the two texts by Khenpo Gangshar discussed over the weekend, titled “The Concise Mind Instructions Called Naturally Liberating Whatever You Meet” and “Naturally Liberating Whatever You Meet: Instructions to Guide You on the Profound Path.” The reader is guided through these esoteric texts by Thrangu Rinpoche in his commentary, which the Sakyong describes as “both lucid and incredibly penetrating.”

Thanks to Marv Ross for permission to use his photos of this event. Visit marvinrossphotography.com to see more of his work.

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