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His Eminence Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche Jikmé Chökyi Senge (Wyllie: shes chen rab ’byams rin po che ’jigs med chos kyi seng ge) took birth in 1966 as the grandson of Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the prominent non sectarian rime (ris med or no preference) master. He started obtaining teachings from his grandfather, who brought him up when he was only three years of age. Throughout the long period of twentyfive years, he attended and received teachings and initiations from Ven. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (dil mgo mkhyen brtse rin po che) who first took him to the West in 1976. Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche is the seventh in the line of the Rabjam succession. We have been fortunate enough to personally talk to the Rinpoche about the monastery and Khyentse Rinpoche and the Rinpoche himself.

Q. “Vairochana” is a Boudha community based Newsletter to be published bi-monthly to raise spiritual awareness among the people in the Boudha region. Our mission is to encourage a community spirit among the people. I feel fortunate to have this opprotunity to have an interview with you.

Rinpoche: First of all, I would like to thank you for launching this kind of newsletter which will be really helpful to the community around Boudha. I think, communication among the local people, the monastery and the Lama is very important. Talking about this monastery, the first idea of building a monastery here occurred in the 1960s. I think, I was 5 years old then and my grandfather, the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was giving transmision of Tripitaka (sde snod gsum) in Dabhang Rinpoche’s monastery. At that time, the Cheney lama offered Khyentse Rinpoche a land and asked him to build a monastery. That was the first seed for building monastery in Nepal. Another reason is that the previous Sechen Rabjam, one of the Khyentse Rinpoche’s teacher in Tibet asked some Sherpa Lamas to build a monastery in Nepal so that it would benefit the cause of the Buddhadharma and especially of the Nyingma tradition. Therefore Khyentse Rinpoche decided to build the monastery in 1980s. Of course when we started the construction, the work was very slow because Khyentse Rinpoche himself looked into all the details like the fresco paintings, the statues and also the mantras to be kept inside the statues. It took months to prepare and consecrate them.

Q. How was HH Khyentse Rinpoche recognized later?
shechenRinpoche: After Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche passed away, we all desciples, were assembled together for a meeting. We decided to ask Kyabje Thulshik Rinpoche to find the true reincarnation. Kyabje Thulshik Rinpoche didn't take it so long. After a few years, he had a wonderful dream or revelation that the young Khyenche Rinpoche was born to our neighbor. He consulted with his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Thereafter Thulshik Rinpoche declared publicly that he was the true re-incarnation. When Khyentse Rinpoche was four and half years old, he came to live with us in the monastery. In the summer time, Rinpoche lives in Bhutan because the late Khyentse Rinpoche was also a guru of Bhutanese people. The present Bhutanese royal grandmother was very close to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. So the young Khyentse Rinpoche is undertaking his studies over there and during the winter season he comes back to Kathmandu. Rinpoche also keeps pace with the fast changing modern world. He is studying English and is sports loving person as well. Therefore Rinpoche is well informed about the whole and fast changing modern world. Not only that, he has also received teachings, empowerments and transmissions from his senior teachers like Kyabje Thulshik Rinpoche and HH Penor Rinpoche. He recently received teachings from HH the Dalai Lama. So those things we feel are very important because these teachings and transmissions were given by his predecessor to Thulshik Rinpoche from whom he now received back the same transmissions so that he can continue with his own activities. So this is what we are trying to do.

Q. There is a diaspora of people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds in Boudha. What could be the initiatives to bring them all into one common community like the phrase goes “Unity in diversity”?
Rinpoche: There are different ethnic groups In Nepal. Buddhists and Hindus are also living together peacefully. Not only that, now that there are Christains and Muslims also. Specially in Boudha, I think there is a mixture of people from various ethnic groups living together. I think in the Boudha area, we can see most of the people are Buddhists. Actually when it comes to the Dharma practice there is no race or ethnic group. You know specially when Kyabje Thushilk Rinpoche gives empowerment, all the people come together for one reason to see one Lama, to receive one teaching. So I think that is a very beautiful thing. That way we help each other and that will be very beneficial as well..

Q. what projects are you working on this year?

Rinpoche: Right now, I am like an interim government. When one government dissolves and before another government takes charge, we have a care-taker government. Currently, I am in between my late Khyentse Rinpoche who had already passed away and the young Khentse Rinpoche who have been rediscovered and receiving education. So I am an interim care taker. Now Rinpoche has already grown up and become quite a mature person. Of course I will continue to serve and follow his injunctions. At present, actually we have two projects: one is more about spiritual and cultural heritage and another one is, a type of, humatarian, cultural and traditional, i.e., mainly about running the monastery and so forth. Now we have about 450 monks in our monastery. Therefore we need new schools, classrooms. We are looking forward to making monastery green and environment friendly. So we are looking for every possible to use solar energy to light all our monasteries here and not only here but also those in Namobuddha. So this is I am very much looking forward to. We are already using bio-gas for cooking. Secondly, we are trying to do the rain harvest which means collecting the monsoon rain. So here we are wasting so much rain-water falling down off our roofs. This rain-water we are trying to collect. Then we preserve them underground so that we will have enough water for the whole year. So this is not only talking about and meditating about, but also trying to work on it, trying to be green so that we will be environment friendly and hopefully many other monastries and many other community are already following and will follow this kind of example. As for the humatarian project we have this clinic and hospice.

Q. Why are people not content, unsatisfied today, these days?
Rinpoche: I think as Buddhist practitioners, we should see all the problems and suffering in this world as an message to learn because as we always talk about this samsara is full of suffering. So by seeing this suffering we should understand that we need to practice more and, and I think it is nice to practice in the community together so as to communicate and share some positive merits thus accumulated. Sometimes I like the community to do one million times Vajra Guru mantra ( Glossary Link Padmasambhava’s mantra). Fortunately this is now going to happen in Solukhumbhu where HH Yangsi Rinpoche will be present to give empowerment at the request of Kyabje Thulshik Rinpoche. So this will lead to the more positive karma that we need to create in order to overcome the negative forces. I think the one way to help is to spread the message of loving kindness, generating good heart (sem zang po). I think that is what all the Lamas are doing. I think we really want more people to not only just pray and worship but understand the message of Buddha, accordingly practice and implement it in their daily life.

Q. How do we keep Buddhism relevant in 21st Century?
A - I think that it is essential for the children of Buddhist families to learn the meaning of Buddhist teaching, not only just worship and say mantras. They should understand it because if you look back in 1960s and 70s, many hippies were looking for some kind of exotic religion. So they tried to follow Buddhism and some of them also became Hare Krishna followers. But the audience is different now. When you go to the west there are doctors, lawyers, and professors, all very educated people who are studying and learning Buddhism. Therefore I think in the future we will have to learn from them….it will happen also and is already happening. For example, in Bhutan, we have American Buddhist professors giving lectures on Buddhism to the Bhutanese. So I think it’s the universal treasure which can help the whole universe. So I think the younger generation should study and read more books and that’s important.



Hi! I am Pasang, your editor-in-chief and publisher of Vairochana. The Vairochana newsletter is created on a vision to galvanize a sense of community in the Boudha region of Kathmandu.


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