By William Higareda
Sakya Monastery had a very special visitor this summer. H.E. Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche gave a two day teaching on August 4 & 5 entitled “Dharma Lecture: Introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism”. Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa holds a both special and unique position within the Sakya Lineage as the throne holder of the “Dzongpa” tradition. Within the Sakya Lineage the main branches are the Ngorpa and Tsarpa traditions. The Dzongpa lineage is not as well known. Gongkar Rinpoche (Tenzin Jampel Lungtok Namgyal) was born in 1978 high in the mountainous region of Arunchal Predesh in northern India, close to the Tibetan border. At the age of eleven, he was recognized as the reincarnation of Dorje Dhenpa Kunga Namgyal by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Sakya Trizin.
The teachings ended on August 5th with a focus exclusively on the Vajrayana tradition. Gonkar Rinpoche’s emphasis was on the importance of correct motivation (Bodhicitta), Ngondro, proper visualization, finding a qualified Lama, and he explained how and why Vajrayana is a swift path to enlightenment. Gongkar Rinpoche was very humble with his approach to teaching westerners. He stressed the importance of receiving teachings with an open mind, even if one has heard the teaching many times before.
Gongkar Rinpoche is currently working on building the “Gongkar Tsedup Lhakhang” monastery which is approximately 7 km from the Gongkar Choede Monastery. He is deeply committed to preserving the Dzongpa lineage and it’s precious texts. Hopefully we can look forward to another visit from Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche and hearing more about his work that will benefit countless sentient beings.