Bringing the Authentic Traditions of the Ripa Lineage to the West
Bringing Dharma to the West
When the Ripa teachers first came to the West and brought the Vajrayana teachings, they did so fearlessly, trusting that their students would be able to integrate all the wealth of accomplishment that they shared. During times of significant external upheaval, they contributed significantly to overcoming obstacles and establishing positive conditions for the welfare of others. Their students come from all walks of life and have contended with myriad difficulties due to the difficulties of the times, but nevertheless they succeeded in their practice and their lives. The practices are authentic and traditional, similar to those practiced in the monasteries themselves while still oriented for the present time. Because the blessings they contain are timeless, they have the ability to transform negative conditions and to increase positive conditions. This has been demonstrated in all that the Western students have been able to achieve in a relatively short time. On the outer level, within twenty years the monastery in Tibet was refurbished, the monastey in Nepal was built, a new larger monastery in Orissa was built, and a Center in Europe was established. On the inner level, the students themselves have seen profound changes in their own understanding, and are now sincere practitioners in their own right.
H.E. Kyabje Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche is a great living Terton, who as part of a family lineage, understands the perspective of day-to-day living yet is also profoundly accomplished, including in the highest Dzogchen practices, and who shares so patiently and with such gentleness his wisdom and rare teachings with his western students. He lives a pure life according to the traditions of Tibet, entirely dedicated to the benefit of beings. To be able to study and practice directly with such a being is a tremendous opportunity. It is unusual that very high practices would be shared with westerners, and yet His Eminence has generously done so.
Even as the energies of Gesar are refreshingly masculine, His Eminence is profoundly close to feminine energies as well, having clear memories of the great female Siddhas and practitioners like Yeshe Tsogyal. The all-encompassing breadth of His Eminence’s capacities, experience, and his supreme purity, are truly unparalleled. The western Sangha were invited to participate in two of the major transmissions given by His Eminence Kyabje Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, including the Rinchen Terdzo, the ‘Close Transmission of the Precious Discovered Termas’ and the Kama or ‘Long Transmission of Pronouncement’; these two transmissions were principally bestowed upon the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche, and many thousands of devotees.
His Eminence’s son and spiritual heir is Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, who refers to himself as a socially engaged Buddhist, and is also the reincarnation of Gyeling Yonten Lhundrub Gyatso, a manifestation of the Bhutanese Terton Pema Lingpa, one of the five principle or emperor Tertons of the Vajrayana. Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche first came to the West in 1996, giving his first teachings in Europe. Rinpoche has since established Padma Ling Centers, a network of Dharma Organizations, in Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, the UK, as well as center in Japan. In this way, the practices of the Ripa Lineage, which are based on Tagsham Nuden Dorje’s vast cycle of revealed teachings, and the complete cycle of His Eminence’s Mind Treasure teachings, specifically the ‘Life of the Enlightened Warrior- King Gesar of Ling,’ came to the West.
The Dharma teachings of this particular lineage have now been brought to the West with the establishment of the first Ripa International Center, located just outside of Bern, Switzerland, in 2012. Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurmey Rinpoche, or Tamdrin Lhunpo Rinpoche, is the spiritual heir of Kyabje Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, and the youngest son of the Ripa family. Lhunpo Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of Jigme Tenpe Gyaltsen, the 3rd Tamdrin Lhunpo Chogtrul. He was enthroned at Namdroling Monastery amidst an ocean of Lamas, Tulkus, and monks presided over by Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, who bestowed upon him the name Gyurmey Thekchog Shedrub Tenpe Gyaltsen. He graduated after nine years of Buddhist academic study, with a Master of Tantric Ritual Practice degree from Ngagyur Nyingma Institute (Higher Buddhist Studies and Research Center), Mysore, India. Lhunpo Rinpoche has recently started to travel and teach in the West and his presence is much appreciated and enjoyed by many disciples throughout western countries.
His Eminence’s youngest daughter is Khandro Tseyang Palmo Mukpo who is married to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche (Temporal and Spiritual Director of Shambhala, a Global Network of Meditation and Retreat Centers). She was empowered as the Sakyong Wangmo in 2008 by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in a ceremony attended by thousands. Sakyong Wangmo means ‘Earth Protector Lady,’ whose role is the manifestation of feminine energy, gentleness and peace. As the Queen of the Shambhala tradition, her role in Shambhala society includes cultivating peace and harmony through communication and encouraging true sophistication and elegance. By radiating gentleness and warmth, the Sakyong Wangmo promotes enlightened leadership and uplifts our world by joining all of us in a celebration of Basic Goodness.
His Eminence’s other three daughters: Semo Sonam Palzom, Semo Pema Dechen, and Semo Sonam Palmo are equally engaged in the service of the Dharma, and in particular tirelessly look after His Eminence’s projects, activities and his personal well being. They also act as His Eminence’s and the Ripa family’s representatives to the the Tibetan lay and monastic communities for which he is responsible, as well as his Western students, VIPs, and the greater public.