One of the spiritual leaders in Nyingma lineage
As a Tibetan high lama of Nyingma Lineage, Khenpo endorses Rimé spirit and offers teachings from a variety of Buddhist lineages to hundreds of thousands of worldwide students.
A Dzogchen lineage holder
As a Vajra guru and a Dzogchen lineage holder, Khenpo is empowered to transmit Vajrayana teachings and practices such as Yeshe Lama, Lama Yangtik, Seven Treasuries, Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease, Trilogy of Natural Freedom, The Guhyagarbha Tantra, The Dzogchen Practice of Peaceful Manjushri, etc.
A Buddhist teacher
Khenpo emphasizes a systematic approach of listening, contemplating and meditating on the Dharma. He has been teaching traditional Mahayana Buddhism such as The Way of Bodhisattvas, The Ornament of the Middle Way and the whole collection of Five Great Treaties since 1987.
An experienced meditator
As an experienced meditator of high level realization, Khenpo believes that meditation goes beyond sitting practice. Using a Mahayana approach, he promotes “Meditation in Life” which helps people reach a meditative state of mind even while walking, talking, eating and cooking.
A prolific translator
Khenpo has translated, from Tibetan to Chinese or vice versa, more than 100 sutras, shastras, commentaries, liturgies, and pith instructions of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in the past 30 years.
A learned Buddhist scholar
Since 2010, in order to extend the spirit of wisdom and compassion, the essence of Buddhism, to an even wider audience, Khenpo has given talks at more than 100 universities across world. Their topics are as diverse as happiness, compassion, meditation, Buddhist psychology, and Buddhism in Modern Society.
A best-selling book author
Khenpo is an author of best-selling books for the general public, most of which were sold more than 100,000 copies in China and were also translated and published in different languages.
Youthhood and the Desire to be a Buddhist Monk
In 1962, Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche was born into a nomadic family that practices Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in a small valley of Kham, formerly an eastern region of Tibet. Khenpo developed a deep connection to Buddhist practices as early as his toddlerhood. He spent his childhood herding over 300 yaks for the local collective, while learning prayers, mantras and sutras by heart at the same time. It was at the age of 14 that Khenpo attended primary school. He graduated in record time with outstanding grades, and after his middle school, Khenpo entered Garzê Normal School where he began training as a teacher.
In the last year of his study at Garzê, driven by the profound desire to be a monk, Khenpo forewent his teacher’s life and became an ordained monk with Khenpo Depa. He remained for a year at Dhomang Monastery, where he studied and practiced the masterpiece written by the 19th century Nyingma master Patrul Rinpoche, Words of My Perfect Teacher.
In 1985, however, Khenpo Depa decided to send him for deeper training at Larung Gar Five Sciences Buddhist Academy. There, he was personally taught and nurtured by His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok—one of the most eminent Tibetan Buddhist masters of the time. Shortly afterwards, he earned his Khenpo degree, the highest scholastic honor awarded in the Nyingma tradition.
As a Teacher, a Translator and the Dzogchen Lineage Holder
In 1987, upon the request of His Holiness during the pilgrimage trip to Mount Wutai, Khenpo Sodargye was involved in the translation of the Tendrel Nyesel terma (“a hidden treasure teaching”) which had been revealed in 1900 by the great tertön (“revealer of spiritual teachings”) Lerab Lingpa. Khenpo’s fervency in translating Tibetan texts into Chinese was further heightened when he was again asked by His Holiness during the same trip to provide the oral translation of The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas when His Holiness was offering the teaching to an audience of Han Chinese Buddhists.
Since then, Khenpo has been inspired to work unceasingly to translate Sutrayana and Tantrayana scriptures into Chinese. Up to now, there are more than one hundred of them, including Sutras, Shastras and commentaries and pith instructions of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, most of which have been further taught to Han disciples directly in Chinese.
Khenpo has been teaching the Dharma using traditional Buddhist teaching methods since 1987. To solidify his disciples’ Buddhist studies, Khenpo emphasizes a systematic approach of listening, contemplating and meditating on the Dharma. Nowadays, hundreds of thousands of monastic disciples and lay followers across the world study the Dharma, such as Words of My Perfect Teacher, The Way of Bodhisattvas (Bodhicaryāvatāra), The Ornament of the Middle Way (Madhyamakālaṃkāra), the whole collection of Five Great Treaties, as well as many other related texts, with Khenpo through on-site, live stream, and video teachings.
Meanwhile, as a Vajra guru who is the Dzogchen lineage holder, Khenpo is empowered to transmit Vajrayana teachings and practices such as Yeshe Lama, Lama Yangtik, Seven Treasuries, Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease, Trilogy of Natural Freedom, The Guhyagarbha Tantra, The Dzogchen Practice of Peaceful Manjushri, etc.
Global Lecture Tour and a Prolific Author
Since 2010, Khenpo added a new project to his already innumerable activities— extending the spirit of wisdom and compassion, the essence of Buddhism, to an even wider audience. He has been invited to give talks at more than 100 universities in Asia, Europe, Oceania, North America and Africa, including most top universities of the world, such as Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Stanford University, Princeton University, Sydney University, University of Göttingen, etc.
The topics discussed in these settings are as diverse as happiness, compassion, meditation, Buddhist psychology, and Buddhism in Modern Society. Meanwhile, wide-ranging conversations with leading scholars have included topics such biology, physics, psychology, sociology and many of the challenges presented by the rapid changes in modern life. In several occasions, Khenpo Rinpoche said in a joking way, that the terma he has revealed in this lifetime could be these university talks and dialogues.
Khenpo is also a prolific author of best-selling Chinese books for the general public, including Living through Suffering, Achieve by Doing, What Makes You Busy, Youth is Cruel etc., most of which were sold more than 100,000 copies in China and were also translated and published in different languages. His most recent English book is titled “Tales for Transforming Adversity: A Buddhist Lama’s Advice for Life’s Ups and Downs”, which is published in 2017.
Blessings and Words from Khenpo Sodargye
In addition, Khenpo writes song lyrics and recorded himself chanting. Among his chanting, The Great Cloud of Blessings: The Prayer which Magnetizes All that Appears and All that Exists, Verses of the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones, Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche, Praises to the Twenty-One Taras become very popular and well known by most Tibetan Buddhists.
Although Vajrayana is flourishing around the world and many practitioners have relatively easy access to it, Khenpo still thinks it is fundamentally important for a Vajra master to lay a solid theoretical foundation of Vajrayana for his disciples; otherwise, Vajrayana will easily become a ritual and lose its profundity.
“In order to become a fit vessel for Vajrayana, one must thoroughly understand how Sutrayana and Vajrayana are seamlessly integrated through a systematic learning of relevant theories. This is the basis for Vajrayana practices, or else one might encounter many obstacles and will even generate wrong views towards the Dharma.”
This is the message conveyed by Khenpo Rinpoche as always. A systematic approach of listening, contemplating and meditating on the Dharma will contribute to the upholding of Buddhadharma and the carrying forward of the spirit of wisdom and compassion.