Kyabje Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche
Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche, also known as Chetul Sangye Dorje, is
one of the few living disciples of the great master Khenpo Ngagchung and is widely
regarded as one of the most highly realized Dzogchen (Zogpachenpo) yogis. In addition
to his relationship with Khenpo Ngagchung, Chatral Rinpoche also studied with
some of the last century's most renowned masters, including Dudjom Rinpoche, Jamyang
Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, and the famed dakini Sera Khandro. Rinpoche is one of the
primary lineage holders of the Longchen Nyingthig, and in particular the lineage
that descends through Jigme Lingpa's heart son Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu and then on
to Patrul Rinpoche.
His greatness was first revealed in the 1930's when his
root teacher Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, author of A Guide to the Words of My Perfect
Teacher, told a large assembly that "his realization is no different from
mine." On the recommendation of his teacher, he became the head spiritual
master for Regent Reting, the political ruler of Tibet, in 1947. The huge amount
of attention drawn to him through this prestigious position was a distraction
for his practice, and he soon retreated back to the mountains where he spent the
next several years in solitary meditation until he reached the highest state of
realization. He traveled from Tibet to Bhutan in 1958 and constructed the first
Longchen Nyinthig retreat center outside of Tibet a year later in Sikkim.
Rinpoche is the chief lineage holder for three main traditions in the Nyingma
School-Dudjom Tersar, Longchen Nyinthig and Sera Khandro. He is the heart disciple
and Vajra Regent of the late Dudjom Rinpoche.
Although he has never traveled
to the West, his amazing story and teachings have gradually been infiltrating
the Western Buddhist consciousness since Father Thomas Merton first met him in
1968 and famously remarked that he was "the greatest man I ever met."
Rinpoche is one of the most vocal opponents of meat eating in Tibetan Buddhism.
If you take meat, it
goes against the vows one takes in seeking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Because when you take meat you have to take a being's life. So I gave it up.
Compassionate Action, chapter 2 [download PDF- 145 KB]
the sinful food, is not permitted according to the three vows: the vows of individual
liberation, the Bodhisattva vows and the tantric vows. Thus Buddha stated: "I
have never approved, do not approve, and will never approve of a meat diet."
He declared: "my followers must never eat meat."
Action, chapter 3 [download PDF- 183 KB]
considers that becoming a vegetarian can be a gradual path. Many of his students
do not eat meat, fish and egg, nor drink alcohol, but some of them do.
are lamas who eat meat and those who don't. At my monastery in Tibet there are
also lamas who take meat and those who don't.
Source: Compassionate Action,
chapter 2 [download PDF - 145 KB]
Chatral Rinpoche also releases large amounts
of fish* from the Calcutta fish markets every year (see video recording 2002 and
video recording 2004). Rinpoche composed a song about this practise of saving
lives, tsethar (Ch: fangsheng):Benefits of Saving Lives [download PDF- 116 KB]
o High resolution picture of Chatral Rinpoche
o Declaration by
Chatral Rinpoche regarding misuse of his name plus advice April 19, 2007
Regarding tshetar see also Lama Kunzang Drojee
The French translation of Tsethar Phan-yon (The Benefits of Saving Lives)
Please note that Chatral Rinpoche releases native fish only. To avoid ecological
destruction it is important not to release non-native species into any water.