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Buddhadharma : Summer 2012
SUMMER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 49 NOT BOUND by TIME and SPACE TRALEG KYABGON RINPOCHE says that like his famed father, Thinley Norbu was the kind of role model that’s difficult to find in this world. His Eminence Thinley Norbu Rinpoche was a shining star in the darkened world we live in, and I am honored to write this piece for the commemoration of his passing. I grew up in the Tibetan monastic system and had contact with many elderly lamas from whom I received teachings. They all passed away, one after the other. In recent years I had no connection with lamas of that generation except for Thinley Norbu. He was generous in accepting me as one of his students, and I had the great fortune of being in his presence over a prolonged period of time. I am saddened that he entered into parinirvana, as are his many devoted followers. His passing has left this world a darker place. He was an exceptional teacher. He embodied two qualities that are essen- tial in Buddhism: one is learning and the other is practice. Due to his learning and impeccable conduct he attracted Tibetans, Nepalese, Bhutanese and even people from East Asia and the Far East. As many of you know, Rinpoche was the eldest son of His Holi- ness Dudjom Rinpoche, an accomplished and incomparable Nyingma master. I had the opportunity to meet with Dudjom Rinpoche and attended several pujas with him in Darjeeling. The first time I met Thinley Norbu was in the 1960s, and recon- necting with him years later was a great blessing for me. Personally, I think Rinpoche possessed all the qualities that Dudjom Rinpoche possessed. He was a great scholar, a great meditator, and very com- passionate—the kind of role model that is very difficult to find in this changing world. Masters of such caliber are not bounded by time and space. Nev- ertheless, not having the opportunity to see him again weighs heavily on my heart, and I pray for his quick return to this world. phenomena, including one’s body, the objective gross elements, whatever arises from these gross elements, and whatever can be perceived. There are many different ways to understand substance within relative truth, since there are infinite rela- tive truths. Nihilism means becoming caught within each temporary circumstance of relative truth and believing in its reality, so the perception of substance seems real. From the Buddhist point of view, everything that exists in samsara is substance. The origin of substance is dualistic mind. There is no end to substance because there is no end to the concep- tions of dualistic mind. Whenever the buddha- nature of sentient beings is dormant and dualis- tic mind appears, the ordinary passions and the incalculable phenomena of the karmic elements arise, which are all composed of substance. Substance is not only one part of something. It is all the immeasurable forms of samsaric exis- tence, unless it is transformed into immeasur- able, substanceless, wisdom light appearances which are beyond all interdependent cause and result. This is the meaning of substancelessness. Substanceless wisdom is unobstructed and per- vades everywhere in samsara and nirvana with- out intention as self-accomplished compassion, so it can manifest within substance, but it never remains there. Its essence is always nonsubstance, which is the quality of Buddha. From White Sail: Crossing the Waves of Ocean Mind to the Serene Continent of the Triple Gems Buddhas The beginningless wisdom of Buddhas is not ordinary beings’ wisdom. When the state of full enlightenment is reached, there is no name of worldliness. One cannot only conceptualize this. Fully enlightened Buddhahood is full wis- dom and full wisdom activity. Buddhas’ mind is wisdom, but Buddhas such as Guru Rinpoche and many others emanate in samsara to benefit beings. They teach faith, meditation, and realiza- tion, manifesting in the state of impure worldly wisdom to guide others, but their mind is fully enlightened Buddhahood. This wisdom excels beyond samsara in order to guide beings by showing a history and an order of stages of how to enlighten, but Buddha does not have any con- ception of order. If there is no conception, there TRALEG KYABGON RINPOCHE is the spiritual director of E-vam Buddhist Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and E-vam Institute in Upstate New York. He is a lama in the Kagyu tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism and the author of several books, including The Influence of Yogacara on Mahamudra. Thinley Norbu (right) with his father, Dudjom Rinpoche PHOTOGRAPHERUNKNOWNPHOTOGRAPHERUNKNOWNPHOTOGRAPHERUNKNOWN