A Journey to the West

Thirty years ago, in 1993, His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche traveled to Europe and North America to share the dharma with people in the West. During this trip, His Holiness bestowed upon the western audience, completely and without reservation, empowerments of all his most renowned termas and also imparted pointing-out instructions on the most profound Dzogchen teachings. Such concise but profound and complete instructions were difficult to obtain even within the Tibetan monastic community. The exceptional wisdom and preeminent realization of His Holiness deeply impressed and influenced a large number of Europeans and Americans.

This year coincides with the 30th anniversary of His Holiness’ visit, and the 20th anniversary of his parinirvana. Considering such a special occasion, Khenpo Sodargye, as a close disciple who accompanied Rinpoche on the trip, compiled His Holiness’ teachings, together with his own recollections, into this new book, A Journey to the West. May whoever read it be connected with His Holiness, experience his extraordinary blessing, realize their own primordial wisdom and achieve the same state of realization as His Holiness.


For all of us as teacher and disciples, I pray that in this life, we will meet again and enjoy the sublime Mahayana teaching together. When we pass from this life, we will be immediately reborn in the western pure land of Sukhavati and reunite in the presence of the Buddha Amitabha. Tashi Delek!


This book, A Journey to the West, mainly focuses on the precious teachings of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche during his travels to Europe and North America to spread the dharma in 1993. From the Land of Tibet, which was starved of information, to the technologically advanced United States, Canada, and France, the audiences’ dispositions and preferences were completely different, and as a result there was a huge variance in the way Chojé, Lord of Dharma, delivered the dharma teachings. If he were an ordinary person, Chojé would have felt very uncomfortable with the unfamiliar culture and environment. But he was quite at ease, and with his exceptional wisdom and preeminent realization, he deeply impressed and influenced a large group of Europeans and Americans.

This year coincides with the 30th anniversary of Chojé’s visit to Europe and North America, and the 20th anniversary of his parinirvana. Given such a special occasion, Khenpo Sodargye put everything else aside and primarily focused on this book. Starting in December 2022, Khenpo began to write this book in both Tibetan and Chinese simultaneously, and also had the International Translation Team translate it into English, Japanese, French, and so forth. Through Khenpo’s diligent work, this book was finally completed. Meanwhile, under Khenpo’s instructions and with the help of many, it was rendered into English, Japanese, French, and other languages.

Thirty years ago, Yidzhin Norbu clearly observed the capacity and preference of westerners, and without any reservation, he passed onto them the precious teachings of Secret Mantra that were difficult to obtain even in the Tibetan monastic community. Such an exception was the first and also the last time. If anyone wants to practice any of these supreme tantric teachings in the future, they must first seek the empowerment, transmission, and guidance manual of the teaching from a qualified lineage master. Otherwise, it will be harmful and unproductive.

In this day and age, most people are used to speed reading on the Internet and are inseparable from their smart phones. They may not have the patience to read through long articles of dharma teaching, preferring short quotations and magical experiences to satisfy their searching minds instead. However, for a person who truly seeks liberation, these profound teachings that arose naturally from the ocean of Rinpoche’s wisdom are priceless beyond all else. Especially, for those who never met him, just reading this book is equivalent to meeting Chojé in person and listening to his teaching face to face.

This book is a true documentation of the teachings given by a great Buddhist master in this modern age. For worldly people, it may be easier to learn more about Buddhism from another perspective. For dharma practitioners, they can find the actual pith instructions they need for their own practice right here. For dharma teachers and propagators, they can be inspired by these stories about H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche. For lineage disciples, they will refresh their memories of Chojé’s impressions that spread the dharma in the West, and they can go on to be inspired by emulating his spirit of propagating the dharma for the benefit of all beings.

I will never forget you and my sincere wish for you is, no matter whether I can come back or not, please persevere in the practice of Peaceful Manjushri. If you can actively engage in this practice, then it would be the same as if I came back personally. As long as you, my American students, do not waver in your intention and devotion on your dharma path, you will always stay in my mind. This I will not change, just like the sun and the moon will never deviate from their own paths.

—Chojé taught in the USA, 1993

This year, I visited the United States and then came to Canada. To the present day, it has been two months and five days. I have built a karmic connection with tens of thousands of people in the US and Canada and spread the dharma in these places, which makes me very satisfied. Today, I will bid farewell to all of you with auspicious wishes. Disciples, you should further enhance your present merit and try to generate merit that you have not yet gained as much as possible. May the light of auspiciousness pervade everything and everywhere!

—Chojé taught in Canada, 1993

The previous life of Lerab Linpa, the mantra adept Nanam Dorje Dudjom, captured the hearts of Orgyen Rinpoche and the King Trisong Detsen. Unlike any other disciple or minister, he served them with extreme loyalty and devotion. This became an interdependent cause for his future activities; in every one of his future reincarnate lives, all his activities of spreading the dharma and benefiting sentient beings became very vast.

—Chojé taught in France, 1993



Khenpo’s Teaching on the Book

Starting in August of 2023, Khenpo Sodargye began giving teachings on A Journey to the West. These teachings are now available, with simultaneous translation in both English and Japanese. Click here for the teachings.

The sun, universally benefiting all,

Rises behind the mountains in the east,

And shines to the west.

Ignorant lower mountains,

Do not be haughty.

When you are covered by the shadows before you,

Though you are free from the sunlight temporarily,

Eventually, you will be completely exposed to it.