LAMA KHEMSAR RINPOCHE, SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR
OF THE TIBETAN YUNGDRUNG BON STUDY CENTRE
Lama Khemsar Rinpoche spent a day at Coedcae School during March 2002. The main Religious Studies classroom was converted into a Tibetan shrine room and staff and pupils from other schools and colleges were invited to take part in Rinpoche's teachings. Pupils were very taken with Rinpoche's warm personality and wonderful sense of humour.
Students discovered that Rinpoche had left Tibet in 1959 with many others including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He described his experiences as a young refugee and the plight of the Tibetan people. He taught students a special mantra for their own use and explained that Yungdrung Bön, which is the original spiritual tradition or Bon Buddhism of Tibet, means 'Eternal Light and Enlightened Teaching'. He explained that the most important thing in life is to show loving kindness and compassion to all living beings.
Lama Khemsar Rinpoche is the only Bön Lama resident in Europe. He teaches widely in the UK, Italy, Switzerland and the USA. Rinpoche represented Yungdrung Bön at the launch of the Peace Mala.
Rinpoche, who is known as "smiling lama" by the children of Coedcae school, contacted Pam Evans after a 21 day retreat for world peace in Los Angeles. When asked if he would be a patron, his reply was:
"Thank you for your work for the human kind. I will be very happy to become one of the patrons of the Peace Mala. I value the trust you have in me and will do my best to support your great vision."
The 17th Lama P.Phuntsog Khemsar Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director
of The Tibetan Yungdrung Bön Study Centre United Kingdom, The Tibetan Yungdrung
Bön Institute Miami FL, USA, Kun-zhi-Ling Lugano, Switzerland and Kun-zhi Ling,
Torino, Italy. In UK, TYBSC is a British Charity No.SC023439; In Switzerland,
Kunzhi-Ling is a registered organization; in Italy,Torino, Kun-zhi Ling is a
registered association and in USA, TYBI is a non-profit 501c (3) organization in
Miami, FL, USA.
The Lama was admitted to Pungmo Gön's monastic school run by Aa-zhang Yungdrung
Gyaltsen at the age of 5 along with his elder brother. However the schooling was
interrupted due to the Cultural Revolution. From late 1960s and early 1970s,
Lama P. Khemsar Rinpoche received his spiritual training in Dolanji, India,
under the tutelage of many prominent masters including his root Lama Neljor
Tsöndru Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Yungdrung Ling Khenchen Sherab Tenpei Gyaltsen
Rinpoche, Horpa Ponlob Sang-gye Tenzin Rinpoche, Ponlob Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche,
Ghelong Aam-chhod and Kunszang Rinpoche, Gheghen Paldhen Tshultrim and latterly,
H.H. Menri Trizin Lungtog Tenpei Nyima Rinpoche the head of Yungdrung Bön. In
addition to various solitary retreats, in 1987 Khemsar Rinpoche also completed
the traditional Three Year Retreat, under the guidance of Lama Tenpa Gyatsho,
his immediate predecessor who later died in Bhutan in 1998. Lama Tenpa Gyatsho
was the 16th Lama Tri-pa (Throne Holder) of the Pungmo Gön Monastery, who's
Yang-sid Trul-ku Norbu-la is born and lives in Hong Kong. In the earlier days of
the 1960s, Lama P. Khemsar Rinpoche also studied Buddhism under several Buddhist
Lamas including Gheshe Lobsang Tharchin, Professor Samdhong Trulku Rinpoche and
Jamchen Rinpoche, etc. He had also received teachings, in different times, from
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama including a five day teaching on Lo-jong (Mind
Training) in Scotland. Similar teachings given by H.H The Dalai Lama in U.K were
also organised by Dharma Network of which TYBSC is a memeber.
Lama Khemsar Rinpoche explored many other faiths too, including Hinduism,
Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In doing so, he discovered that the
lessons taught and the wisdom insights gained therein are, in essence, similar
and compatible. However, in these faiths, he found that the view based
progressive spiritual path (Ta-drub) which leads one to complete enlightenment
seemed lacking. This is to say, he remarked, that when it comes to
theTa-Gom-chod-dre (views, meditations, characteristics and result) of Yungdrung
Bön Buddhism and the Buddhist Tradition, the above mentioned spiritual
traditions do have a vast gap to be filled in. He thus extends a warm welcome to
all to attend his teachings in abridging and enhancing wider views, regardless
of faith, creed, or gender, etc., and stresses that as common themes tend to run
through all the spiritual paths, it is possible to use his teachings to
complement and abridge wider views thus enhancing the teachings of other paths
and vice versa. The Lama is ari-med (Non-sectarian) teacher thus he
teaches "Spiritual Knowledge" rather than religious dogma. He preaches not to
change one's faith but one must change one's mind and explore other faith's
spiritual knowledge in order to enhance one's own faith. He tells us not to talk
about Religion but to practice and live religiously!
The Lama is an eminent master of Yungdrung Bön Buddhism; the Pre-Buddhist
spiritual Tradition of Tibet. He is renowned for his lively disciplined teaching
style and sparkling wit. Rinpoche has been teaching in the West for almost 20 years.