Barom Kagyu Chodrak Drupju Chuling – Tibetan Buddhist Group
The Barom Kagyu Chodrak Drupju Chuling Tibetan Buddhist Group was founded by Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche in 2004 and registered as a not for profit incorporated association in March, 2005. Barom Kagyu Chodrak Drupju Chuling was established by Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche to bring a precious teaching and practice lineage to the west. Until this time, very few, authentic Barom Kagyu lineage holders have been able to come to western countries to teach and transmit the immeasurably beneficial practices of this lineage. Since coming to Australia, in 2002, in keeping with Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava’s pre-sentient vision that the Dharma would flourish in the west, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche has worked toward establishing an authentic Barom Kagyu practice lineage in Australia.
Named by our spiritual director, His Holiness Chodrak Saljey Rinpoche, the goals of Barom Kagyu Chodrak Drupju Chuling are clearly reflected in the English translation – The Barom Kagyu Chodrak Centre for Charity and Peace. It is Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche’s vision that the teachings of the Barom Kagyu lineage will bring peace, compassion, wisdom and loving kindness to his students. He also works tirelessly to promote the welfare of the Tibetan people in Yushu, Kham, in the Tibetan Autonomous Region in China, which has been described as one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in Tibet. Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche’s charitable projects are raising funds for the Chodrak orphanage, the nuns of Dechencholing Chodrak Nunnery and funding for a free medical clinic. More detailed information about each of these charitable endeavours is provided in the web pages that follow.
9th Chodrak Saljey Karma Drugyi Tanbigyaltsen Rinpoche
Throughout his life, His Holiness Chodrak Saljey Rinpoche has embodied the virtue of the Dharma. As an emanation of Manjushri, His Holiness has studied and practised tirelessly, receiving profound teachings from realised masters such as The Accomplished Drupchen Karma Norbu, His Holiness Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche, Jetsun Yeshe Rabgyay, Khenpo Karma Tsenten, Jamyang Lodoe Rinchen, Khenpo Toru Tsenam, Khenpo Chime Rabten and other kind teachers. In the tradition of the great Tibetan yogis, Saljey Rinpoche continuously remained in meditative retreat in mountain hermitages and places of solitude throughout the province of Kham, recognised by Guru Rinpoche as a place of special spiritual and meditative importance. His Holiness undertook rigorous practice of the skilful path of the Great Seal, Mahamudra, and the liberating path of the Six Yogas of Naropa, and actualized fully the excellent virtues of the grounds and path of advanced tantric practice.
In the age of Kaliyuga, His Holiness Chodrak Saljey Rinpoche has been likened to the first glow of dawn appearing among-st the darkening clouds of social and political turmoil. Resolving to work toward the re-establishment of the main and branch monasteries of the Barom Kagyu Chodrak lineage, His Holiness successfully rebuilt monasteries destroyed during the worst excesses of The Cultural Revolution. Saljey Rinpoche established again the Retreat monastery of Gampopa and that of the Barom Kagyu lineage in the north of Kham province. He fostered many hundreds of practitioners engaged in dharma study and practice by giving them sustenance, shelter and teachings. He inspired compassion and diligence in dharma practice by his loving kindness to the poor, the elderly, beggars and the handicapped, encouraging his students to recite billions of Chenrezig mantras to benefit all sentient beings. Following the advice of his kind teacher, Drupchen Karma Norbu Rinpoche, His Holinesse has spent the last several years in strict meditation retreat, working still for the benefit of all beings.
Barom Kagyu Chodrak Drupju Chuling is most grateful to His Holiness Chodrak Saljed Rinpoche for his insights, advice and support given to our endeavours.
Abbot and Founder of Barom Kagyu Chodrak Drupju Chuling
Born at Chodrak Lungmagka, close by Chenjum Sengha, a sacred, holy place discovered by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, in the province of Kham, East Tibet, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche commenced his monastic studies at the age of eight when he was ordained by His Eminence Chodrak Saljey Rinpoche. Under the guidance of His Eminence Saljey Rinpoche and Venerable Lama Yeshe Rabje Rinpoche, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche trained for ten years in both the Barom Kagyu and Karma Kagyu traditions. Ven. Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche received full monastic training in all areas pertaining to monastic life, as well as completing secondary studies in Tibetan language, history and sociology. As an accomplished student, Rinpoche also received additional training at many other monastic institutions. At Palpung Monastery, Zokchen Monastery, Shechen Monastery and Arig Monastery, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche received teachings and tantric initiations conducted by Khenpo Lotsul Rinpoche, Khenpo Daser Rinpoche and Chodrak Monastery under the auspices of Khenpo Dam Cho Dawa Rinpoche and Khenpo Shedrup Gyurmed. In the next eight years, as well as completing studies in higher Buddhist philosophy, Rinpoche mastered the arts of musical instruments, torma making, chanting and Cham, ritual dancing for sacred purposes that westerners often refer to as “Lama dancing”.
Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche was blessed to receive many initiations, instructions and teachings from His Holiness The 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje when he was enthroned at Tsurphu Monastery. From His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, Ven. Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche received essential and advanced teachings. In 1992, Rinpoche followed His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa from East Tibet to West Tibet. Because of the continuing uncertainty of the political climate in Tibet, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche and several other monks took this opportunity to escape Tibet and reached Nepal after an arduous and harrowing journey of twenty nine days.
In Nepal, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche commenced seven years’ study at Tenying Rinpoche’s Monastery in Kathmandu and undertook teaching, conducting pujas, practices and blessings at Chodak Thubten Dolma Shedrup Darjeling. After seven years’ intensive study and practice, Rinpoche completed three years, seven months retreat at Pharping Drubdey Osel Choling Monastery under the close guidance of His Eminence Khabje Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and Venerable Tenga Rinpoche.
In the early months of 2002, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche was invited by Venerable Choje Lama Shedrup to become the resident teacher at Kagyu Thigsum Chokyi Ghatsal Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Launceston, Tasmania. On October 3rd, 2002, Rinpoche touched down at Launceston Airport. In his three years as Resident teacher and Spiritual advisor, Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche has reached out to many, conducting classes in secondary colleges on meditation practices and Buddhist philosophy, regularly visiting the sick and elderly in local hospitals and hospices, conducting weddings, blessings for new born babies and house blessings. The outstanding delicacy and beauty of Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche’s artistry has been recognised by the Tasmanian government, and Rinpoche’s infectious pleasure in the joy of spiritual endeavour as expressed in classical Tibetan Buddhist sadhanas has inspired us all to more meaningful and dedicated practice. Rinpoche regularly travels between various cities in Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Tibet to meet with his students, give dharma talks, conduct pujas and guide us on our spiritual path.
At the age of eight he was ordained by His Eminence Kyabje Chodrak Saljey Rinpoche and entered the Chodrak Khang Nay monastery. For the next ten years he received full monastic training: learning rituals, memorising and chanting prayers, and studying and contemplating different fields of know ledge in Buddhist philosophy.
At 18 years old, he was fully ordained by the supreme third reincarnation of His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche who gave him the ordained name: Karma Tsultrim Yonten Zangpo. He received many empowerments, oral transmissions and commentaries from qualified spiritual masters, including His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe Rabje Rinpoche and the Great Yogi Tsultrim Tharchin. He is particularly devoted to His Eminence Kyabje Aten Phuntsok Rinpoche, his root guru and abbott of the Chodrak Khang Nay Monastery.
At 19 years old, he entered the Sadhana Section Retreat House at his monastery Chodrak Khang Nay. There he spent three years and three months in retreat, during which time he undertook the practice of the Four Extraordinary Foundations (Ngondro) of the glorious peerless Barom Kagyu system, followed by complete Yidam retreats, including generation and completion stages. He has also practiced the Actual Method Path of the Six Yogas of Naropa and the Liberating Path of Mahamudra. After the completion of his retreat in a meditation room, he continued his Dharma practice at Chodrak holy mountain in hermitage for few years.
His Eminence Kyabje Aten Phuntsok Rinpoche praised him as a real Dharma holder. After that, for two years, he taught the monks who were newly entered to the monastery, then for four years he served as the disciple master. Because of his wonderful achievements, he became an object of respect and honour for all the lamas and monks. Therefore, His Eminence Kyabje Aten Phuntsok Rinpoche officially appointed him as a Vajra Master of Chodrak Khang Nay Monastery. Following Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche’s wish to spread the Buddha Dharma to the world and particularly to teach Dharma to students who have strong connections, in accordance with the common interest of lamas and monks, we sent him to Australia. We are hoping that, in the future he will be able to restore the old and degenerated temples and achieve great accomplishments in preserving and sustaining the sangha community.