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Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche
Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche came to help establish dharma in the West in 1972 at the request of HH the Dalai Lama. One of the first Tibetan lamas to arrive, Rinpoche has been a trailblazer. In 1975, HH Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje asked Gyatrul Rinpoche serve as spiritual guide for His Holiness’ new Bay area dharma center, and Gyatrul Rinpoche agreed. During these early years, Gyatrul Rinpoche cared for His Holiness’ Bay area center and also taught at times in other locales.
A teaching visit to Oregon led to the founding of Tashi Chöling in 1980. Thanks to Rinpoche’s vision and leadership, leavened with his wonderful mix of humor, compassion, insight, and genuine humility, hundreds of volunteers and supporters were inspired to help him build Tashi Chöling over a period of several decades. Almost everything at Tashi Chöling was built with volunteer labor.
Rinpoche’s generosity and selflessness continue to be a profound teaching. During one teaching, Rinpoche gave listeners some insight about his lifestyle. ”I don’t have a home. My home is my work. This is the work my guru, Dudjom Rinpoche, gave to me. If someone is cooking lunch, the food doesn’t belong to the cook. Holiness asked me to cook for all you guys.” Continuing, Rinpoche elaborated. “Actually, I gave everything that I had and everything that I got over the years. In Tibet, too, I always gave away whatever I got. I never felt it was mine particularly. I never felt I was working for myself. In Tibet my guru told me to build a house, so I hired workers and built one, with a room for him and one for me. But from the beginning, I never even felt that it was my house or my place, and I was the one building it! I just did it because my guru told me to. Now here too I don’t feel this is my place either. I am just working for my students and my gurus. Hopefully that benefits everybody. I have just tried to give everything and hope that there is benefit.”
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