Dear sponsors of the togdens,
Here is finally the annual newsletter Of the Tashi Jong togdens, my apologies for taking so long this year. I was caught in the April 25th earthquake in Nepal and experienced at least 50 aftershocks during the following 10 days until a Dutch Air Force plane evacuated me on May 5th. ..For the Nepali people who have been through it all and are mainly busy trying to survive, it won’t be easy to get rid of such a trauma.
This spring Khamtrul Rinpoche and two of the togdens were invited on a tour to several European countries, England, Norway, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, as well as Argentina, organized by Tsoknyi Rinpoche who combined the tour with his annual seminars there. Khamtrul Rinpoche gave a teaching on Mahamudra texts by Tilopa and the third Khamtrul Kunga Tenzin, the tour was very successful and inspired many people.
I arrived in Tashi Jong late December 2014… and stayed there till the last week of March when I left for Nepal. After organizing my retreat cabin, I got an appointment to see some of the togdens of the lower retreat center and met with Tsawa Lama and Togden Thutob Nyima at the gate, where they have built stupas with relics of the late Togdens Semdor and Lama Osel. I offered them the sponsor money and it was good to catch up. A few days later I got an appointment to see Togden Gyamtso at the upper Yamantaka retreat center, we usually meet in the doctor’s room which is at the gate of the upper retreat center, nobody can enter the actual boundary. It’s always delightful to go there as it is way up the hill with a beautiful view, and Togden Gyamtso is very kind. The other togdens there were in very strict retreat…
In the lower retreat center, they mainly practice the Six Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra, there used to be seven togdens there but two monks joined last year after completing almost 10 years of studies at the Khampagar Monastic College, so there are nine of them now. In the upper Yamantaka retreat center they mainly practice Trochu, a wrathful form of Manjushri which was the eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche’s patron deity.
There are now six yogis there, Togden Gyamtso and five togdens in training, Namgyal Chodrup,Tsultrim Tharchin, Lhawang Lodro, Shenphen Kunchap, and Chonyi Zangpo, most of them have been there nearly ten years.
Staying with Khamtrul Rinpoche is Togden Achos, the oldest togden and only one remaining from the original togdens that escaped Tibet in 1959 with the eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche. He has been Khamtrul Rinpoche’s tutor for the last 25 years or so and is 83 now. So altogether there are sixteen togdens, nine of whom are togdens in training.
The sponsor money we collected this year was divided into sixteen .. to take care of their medical and other expenses. They are doing well and are very grateful for your continuous support.
Khamtrul Rinpoche and Togdens Achos and Thutop Nyima are back in Tashi Jong now. Tsawa Lama went to Nepal early April and has been in retreat in Maratika doing long life practice at the main cave there. Fortunately, he did not suffer much from the earthquake.
View some photos from the togden community in 2014—2015 here.
With many thanks and blessings from the Tashi Jong togdens,