Ribur Rinpoche on Je Pabongka 2

Venerable Ribur Rinpoche

Venerable Ribur Rinpoche

More Wonderful Quotations about Je Pabongka from Ribur Rinpoche’s
Pabongka Rinpoche: A Memoir


(Published in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand By Pabongka Rinpoche, Wisdom Publications 1991)


Kyabje Pabongka reacts to having a beautiful residence built for him…

Rinpoche’s chang-dzoe (attendant) was a very fierce looking man said to be the emanation of a protector. Once, when Rinpoche was away on a long tour, out of devotion the chang-dzoe demolished the old small building in which Rinpoche lived and constructed a large ornate residence rivaling the private quarters of the Dalai Lama. When Rinpoche returned he was not at all pleased and said, “I am only a minor hermit lama and you should not have built something like this for me. I am not famous and the essence of what I teach is renunciation of the worldly life. Therefore I am embarrassed by rooms like these.”

Something very special inside….

I took Lam-rim teachings from Pabongka Rinpoche many times. The Chinese confiscated all my notes,

Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche

Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche

but as a result of his teachings I still carry something very special inside. Whenever he taught I would feel inspired to become a real yogi by retreating to a cave, covering myself with ashes and meditating. As I got older I would feel this less and less, and now I don’t think of it at all. But I really wanted to be a true yogi, just like him.

On Visiting Pabongka Rinpoche…

Visiting Pabongka Rinpoche was what it must have been like to visit Lama Tsongkapa when he was alive. When he taught he would sit for up to eight hours without moving. About two thousand people would come to his general discourses and initiations and fewer to special teachings, but when he gave bodhisattva vows up to ten thousand people would show up.

Kyabje Pabongka gives the initiation of Heruka…



When he gave the Heruka initiation he would take on a special appearance. His eyes became very wide and piercing and I could almost see him as Heruka, with one leg outstretched, the other bent. It would get so intense that I would start crying, as if the deity Heruka himself was right there. It was very powerful, very special.


The Most Important Tibetan Lama of All…..

To my mind he was the most important Tibetan lama of all. Everybody knows how great his four main disciples were (these include Trijang Dorjechang and ling Rinpoche, the two tutors of the Dalai Lama)— well, he was their teacher. He spent a great deal of time Thinking about the practical meaning of the teachings and coming to an inner realization of them, and he had practised and accomplished everything he had learned, right up to the completion stage. He didn’t just spout words, he tried things out for himself. Also, he never got angry; any anger had been completely pacified by his bodhichitta.


8 thoughts on “Ribur Rinpoche on Je Pabongka 2

  1. Robertect

    Just to say – its a great piece of work you are building up here, thank you – please keep up the effort!

  2. compassion

    I like what you are writing but the book “Lib. in Palm” was written by Trijang Rinpoche – your acknowledgement need to be changed.

  3. truthaboutshugden Post author

    Hi Mr. Compassion-
    Thanks for your interest.

    As many people know, the book Liberation in The Palm of Your Hand is compiled from Je Pabongka’s teaching at Chuzang in 1921. Trijang Rinpoche, the faithful disciple of Pabongka Rinpoche, took notes as fast as he could. At the end of the teaching he presented his notes to his lama, who said “Some of the people present could not follow the teaching. I am afraid I do not trust all of the notes people took during the classes. I therefore ask you to publish a book. Put in it anything you feel sure of.”

    When the writings of Trijang Dorjechang were published by Wisdom Publications, they decided to ascribe authorship to Je Pabongka, and list Trijang Rinpoche as editor. Michael Richard was the translator who rendered it into English. Since the purpose of the acknowledgement is to enable others to find the source material, I will leave it as is, although there is some truth in what you say.

    Anyway, it’s not too important, since these two lamas’ minds were completely unified, like the eastern and western parts of the sky. We may as well say Buddha Shakyamuni himself is the author, or Atisha! Perhaps Je Tsongkhapa….. :)

  4. truthaboutshugden Post author

    Hello Robertect-

    Thanks for your kind words. This blog means a great deal to me. As a Buddhist practitioner, I ran into this issue early on in my practice, and it became a big stumbling block for me. Over many years, I have read nearly everything there is to read on the topic (including many things by you!) and done a lot of thinking about it. Now I want to gather in one place all the ideas that have helped me so much, and reading the works of these great Dorje Shugden Lamas is one of the best ways to gain faith!

  5. Thubten Samdup

    I was close with Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche throughout the later part of his life. Rinpoche was always incredibly moved when talking about Pabongka Dorje Chang. He had total, incredible devotion for both Pabongka Rinpoche and for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also, I thought you and your readers might want to know that once His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who Rinpoche viewed totally as Chenrezik in person and with whom Rinpoche was very close after escaping from Tibet, openly requested that people not do Shugden practice, Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche not only didn’t do the practice himself but also quite openly advised others not to do the practice or to stop doing the practice. Obviously, of course, this never in the slightest way decreased his total devotion to his gurus, Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and also Trijang Rinpoche. But, Rinpoche was very open and clear that he had faith in the advise of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and that other students with devotion for Pabongka Dorje Chang would also be best off following the advice of His Holiness. I don’t share this information to create any disagreements. I think that your quotes from Ribur Rinpoche are accurate and quite beautiful, and I really appreciate them. I just thought that along with them it might be beneficial to share this additional information in terms of Rinpoche’s views.

  6. Thubten Samdup

    I was just re-reading some of your post. Actually also there is one part of a sentence that is incorrect. Ribur Rinpoche for sure was not a “life-long practitioner” of Shugden. He for sure stopped doing that particlar practice for quite a few years of his life, from the time when H.H. The Dalai Lama strongly urged his students not to do the practice.

  7. leo robinson

    I dont know how long Ribur Rinpoche was blessed with the presence of Pabonka Rinpoche, nor what his relationship with the Dalai Lama was. But to hear his love and forgiveness despite suffering under chinese torture speaks volumes about the real meaning of Pabongka Teachings, and by the way all his practices. Please read: Scholars and Yogis please check. Both Pabongka and Trijang were fully qualified Gurus of kadampa Buddhism in Tibet, and were recognised as such. For the Dalai Lama to sayu that there was something evil and spooky in DOrje Shugden practice shows the wily old politicians many contradictions. And it astonishing how many intelligent people “His Holiness” has fooled by the act he keeps up.
    It is very important to keep in mind the context of Oppression and cultural destruction under the dalai Lamas ban on Dorje Shugden practice, and the later cover up of this well documented ban by the Tibetan administration. Under threat of intimidation and expulsion from communities, and destroying the precious heritage of this 400year old Buddhsit practice, many people who were devotees of Shugden were obliged to keep their practice secret under the threat to others and their livelihood. Just because he could not practice openly does not mean that he abandoned his faith in his root Gurus.

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