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December 7, 2008
To: Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Re: "Let Loose" Interview with Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
Congratulations on a brilliant episode of "Let Loose", the interview with Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. The interaction between Barry Boyce and Khyentse Rinpoche was rich, evocative, powerful, whimsical, and penetrating. And of course, most evocative of all was how powerfully the interview evoked the incredible cross-cultural creative genius of the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. "Creative genius" is hardly the word, an insufficient Western rendition of "Mahasiddha"!
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, despite his disclaimers, is of course of this genre himself, in his own outrageous, highly creative and utterly genuine expressions of Dharma in everyday English language. It was his own immense appreciation of the Vidyadhara, expressed in his own inimitable style, which in itself so evoked the Vidyadhara. The interview reminds us that the Vidyadhara, though unique, was not a solitary force, but was the fresh and vital expression of the Crazy Wisdom lineage of utterly authentic Buddhadharma, of which Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is also an embodiment.
Khyentse Rinpoche noted that "unfortunately" Dharma always requires cultural forms to be expressed, in his focus on the Vidyadhara's highly unique and uncanny ability to form cultural expressions of Dharma for the West. Yet, I would ask Khyentse Rinpoche, cannot such brilliant cultural expressions of Dharma be unabashedly celebrated, rather than considered an unfortunate but necessary conveyance? (Perhaps the word "unfortunately" was used tongue-in cheek by Rinpoche!). When the Absolute Truth of Dharma is inseparably instilled in brilliant and profound Relative Truth cultural expressions, something amazing has occurred, worthy to be praised and celebrated! And indeed Khyentse Rinpoche did celebrate this in this interview!
I would also like to thank Khyentse Rinpoche for pointing out that the Vidyadhara never condemned the Tibetan cultural form of Dharma, even while stepping out of it into raw new space and creating forms and expressions so vital for the West. The Vidyadhara always expressed the deepest devotion to his Tibetan legacy. He lamented the corruptions which had occurred in the Tibetan context, but he did so with the same voice with which he condemned spiritual materialism in the West. Ego distortion and spiritual materialism are not culture-exclusive! More fundamentally, like Basic Goodness, any distortions of it are perceived because the ground is pure. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is himself Tibetan proof that the Tibetan cultural ground is utterly pure.
On occasion, I have noticed some Western students of the Vidyadhara characterizing the Tibetan cultural practice of Buddhism as corrupted or passe. This is certainly a misreading of the Vidyadhara, and of Tibetan Buddhism. Certainly Western practitioners should not try to become Tibetan, yet neither should Tibetans try to be Westerners! The Tibetan cultural dharma continues with a depth, brilliance and strength which will not be approached in the West,
I propose, for yet a few hundred years. Besides, it is precisely because the Vidyadhara arose from the utterly powerful Tibetan cultural matrix of his Tibetan teachers, training and lineage, that he manifested as he did and was able to accomplish what he did in the West. It is not nice to bite the cosmos which feeds you!
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Finally, no matter how great a cross-cultural teacher the Vidyadhara was, he was himself still a distinctly Tibetan "mensch"!
Thank you again Barry, for a wonderful and powerful interview! It was spontaneous guru yoga!
With warm regards, yours in the Lion's Roar,
Dear members of Chronicles Radio,
Thank you very much for putting these very special teachings of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on the website. Being also a student of Khyentse Rinpoche it gave me the chance of listening to them from Holland. Thank you again.
With very kind regards,
Agnes from Holland
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