Dear friends of the togdens,
Here is finally some news about the togdens in Tashi Jong again…I spent 3 months in Tashi Jong from late December 2013 till late March 2014, and during the first two weeks there I was able to meet some of the togdens in the lower retreat center — Togden Lekden, Togden Thutob Nyima, Togden Drubgyu, and Tsawa Lama. Togden Thinley Kunchap and the two togdens in training Jampa Wangdu and Sonam Jigmey were in strict retreat…
Togden Achos was away as Khamtrul Rinpoche asked him to accompany him to Korea where he was invited by some Korean students to spend time getting treatment for his back. Khamtrul Rinpoche has had a severe back problem for many years and last winter stayed more than three months in Korea for various treatments, especially physiotherapy and exercise, which proved to be very helpful.
When I arrived during the last week of December they had already left for Korea and were away till early April…and right after Korea they went on a pilgrimage to Burma and didn’t return to Tashi Jong till early April, so unfortunately I didn’t see either Khamtrul Rinpoche or Togden Achos the whole winter…
In any case the togdens at the Six Yoga retreat center were well, and I was able to offer each of them [sponsorship funds]…They are extremely grateful for your support, which is mainly spent for supplementary food items and medical things.
Last January two monks from Khampagar in Eastern Tibet, who spent the traditional nine years studying at the Khampagar Monastic Institute in Tashi Jong and passed their acharya exams, got permission to join the yogis and spend the rest of their lives in retreat. They will be part of the retreat center from now on… They were in strict retreat doing their preliminary practices when I visited the retreat center in January. So besides the usual seven togdens there are now two more, altogether nine, at the Six Yoga retreat center.
All the togdens at the upper Yamantaka retreat center were in strict individual retreats, they are all fine and very happy to be able to practice there, it is such a wonderful place with beautiful views. In January Togden Gyamtso had to conclude his recitation retreat in order to join the annual Yamantaka drupchen, an elaborate sadhana practice performed annually for two weeks with the whole monastery in January. For each annual drupchen one or two of the togdens have to join. So the day before the drupchen started he came to see me in my retreat house and it was good to catch up on how they are doing. I was able to offer the sponsor money… for the six of them.
Towards the end of my stay in Tashi Jong I went to visit Togden Gyamtso at the Yamantaka retreat in the doctor’s room which is just outside their gate,…They were all in strict retreat without seeing anyone…The sponsor money for Togden Achos I left with one of Khamtrul Rinpoche’s attendants before I left there. He received it in April and conveys his heartfelt gratitude.
After Khamtrul Rinpoche and Togden Achos returned to Tashi Jong during the first week of April they joined the annual Guru Rinpoche puja with the lama dances….
…I would like to thank you all again on behalf of the togdens for your support for their livelihood, and rejoice that you are able to continue doing this. As you may know, offering support to lamas in retreat one shares in all their merit!
View some photos from the togden community in 2014—2015 here.
With fond regards and thanks,