I will not be pulled into conflict – HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche


Some people think if they trust Trijang Rinpoche they are against H.H. Dalai Lama. Some people think if they have faith in H.H. Dalai Lama which they should, they cannot accept Trijang Rinpoche. That is wrong view. Certainly H.H. Dalai Lama is a high incarnation, highly attained and one of the greatest scholars of Buddhism in this world. He really practiced the sacred teachings and became attained…lifetimes ago and incarnate to benefit others. But His Holiness the Dalai Lama was not the only one. Many great beings male and female, high and ‘low’ practiced and became highly attained. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was one of these. One highly attained being cannot be better than another one. It’s just how they manifest. Highly attained beings all should be respected and they can manifest as Kings, Queens, ministers, generals, homeless, monks, nuns, scholars, bridges, animals, animate and inanimate beings. Never limit the abilities of enlightened Ones. Therefore we can respect and have faith in both Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. the Dalai Lama. I do. I do not see conflict.

Sometimes enlightened beings can manifest ‘conflict’ for a higher purpose, the great senior monks of Gaden used to relay to me. I respect all lamas. These are my views. You may have your own and I respect it, but respect my views too. I’ve always for the last 30 years had natural spontaneous faith in H.H. the Dalai Lama. When I first saw a picture of Trijang Rinpoche in Howell, New Jersey, I spontaneously cried from deep natural faith. It still happens now. Whenever I read about His Holiness, I also gained greater faith. It’s from inside of me. Some people say my faith in these beings are ‘questionable’. But you know what, that is their own opinion. They don’t know me. Nor have ever met me.

I do not need to agree to everything these higher beings may share, but that is my level. But I respect all great beings and not say negatives. Just do our practice. Gain compassion. Gain wisdom. Gain tolerance. Bring peace to everyone and everywhere we go and don’t create conflict. This is important. We may speak up or ‘fight’ for our views and rights, but do it in a way that gives honor to our practice and what it stands for.

Tsem Rinpoche

P.S. For me I make no distinctions between any lamas and their views. Each lama has their way to guide their students to enlightenment. Hence 84,000 teachings by the Sage Shakyamuni the Conqueror. So we should never get into conflicts and criticize this or that lama. In Buddhism we are suppose to be kind to even ghosts, beggars, thieves, snakes and all sentient beings. All deserve compassion. So the least we can do is refrain from negativities. Our job in dharma is not to find who is right or wrong in others, but to find who is suitable for us and respect all other teachers, traditions and their methods. I will never go against any lama or be pulled into criticizing anyone. I have my practice from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche which some may like and some may not, but it suits me and I will continue. I will never give up any practice my guru gave me 31 years ago. No other guru or student will convince me otherwise. I have examined Zong Rinpoche and his teachings in terms of suitability for me and how they helped in my life to become a better person and that is good enough for me. I remain firm and loyal to my teacher/lineage and practice while respecting everyone else’s. I respect all and will continue to. My job in this life is to create peace, compassion and tolerance in my mind and hopefully affect the environment around me to be happy. I have a long way to go, but I will get there. Thank you very much.

I personally really feel warm to see this picture. It is His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche bestowing a set of initiations to His Holiness the young 14th Dalai Lama. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche had conferred teachings, oral transmissions, commentaries and vast corpus of Dharma to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for over thirty years. This teacher and disciple relationship is sacred and should be respected in Tibetan form of Buddhism. Especially in Tantra where attainments are fully dependent on our respect and trust in our teachers and to never blame, begrudge or abandon him or his teachings. We should never listen to the negative talks of others about our teachers and what he kindly bestowed upon us. If by karma we find it hard to be with a teacher, respectfully ask to be excused but never criticize or justify it publicly or privately. It will not help your mind, the minds of others and our spiritual development.

Sometimes we can have two teachers that manifest opposing views. We can choose the view we find suitable to us and not criticize the other ‘opposing’ view. Dharma is individual. This is especially important for students who have received teachings, practices and initiations from various teachers who have manifested ‘opposing’ views like I have. Which teacher to choose? Our job is not find right or wrong, but to practice the best we can to be a beneficial person in society. Our practice and behavior will show the wisdom of our teacher through us.  We choose the teachings that suit us and still respect the teachers who shows ‘opposing’ views. I have teachers who have opposing views of different spiritual practices, so my views have to suit those in the same situation. I am not allowed to choose or have that option so please understand. I have to respect all my teachers. All fifteen of them. You may not be in this situation, but I am. In Gaden, we had to go to various teachers for teachings. That is my humble opinion.

I often get criticized for picking one teacher’s views instead of another. Or coerced to choose. I have teachers who have manifested conflicting views and I have to find a way to come to terms with it peacefully and respectfully. But I know my Dharma enough and I choose the teacher that has impacted a great change in my life. I do not follow teachers because they are famous, well known, wealthy, have many followers or influential.  This does not affect my decision alone. Many great lamas had teachers who were simple hermits in caves and in reliance on their teachers, they gained liberation. Read the stories of the 84 Mahasiddhas. I follow the teacher who touches my heart and inspired me to change from a selfish, angry, intolerant and difficult person to be better. After all our actions create our karmas and their effects we dread. So if our actions change due to our mind, this is the kindness of the teacher and how he/she impacted our minds. Ultimately whatever the views of the teacher, he/she has changed my mind to look within and to change from within. To this teacher I owe everything especially my transformations. I don’t care what this teacher prayed to, practiced or not practiced, liked or disliked or still doing. I don’t care if my teacher prays to a tree believing it is Manjushri. I will not criticize any teacher and I will never abandon my teacher who showed me that being tolerant, compassionate and working for others is the true meaning of my life.  True spirituality is tolerance, forgiveness, kindness and compassion in action. I am far from it, but I am inspired enough to keep practicing until I achieve these qualities.  I thank and bow to my teachers eternally. All of them. I do not see or get involved with conflict. I respect all teachers who train their students with utmost compassion and in the best circumstances they can. I will not point fingers and say this teacher or that teacher is good, bad, wrong, right or whatever. I am not the judge, jury and executioner of any teacher or tradition or practice, but a humble, simple and afflicted denizen of samsara doing my best. We only can decide for ourselves which teacher is right for us and no one else can decide for us.

Good luck everyone!

Tsem Rinpoche



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