Category Archives: Kind in Three Ways

“My guru, kind-in-three-ways, who met face to face with Heruka, whose name I find difficult to utter…” The Great Lama Je Pabongka According to His Disciples and Others

Je Pabonka

Je Pabongka

Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Dechen Nyingpo was an unbelievable lama who lived in the early part of the twentieth century (bio). His two main students, Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche, were the most highly esteemed Gelugpa Lamas of their day, so respected that they were chosen to guide the education of the Dalai Lama when he was chosen and enthroned.

Pabongka Rinpoche, a recognized reincarnation of Chankya Rolpai Dorje, was the one who was responsible for widely propagating the practice of Dorje Shugden among the Gelugpa tradition.

As a result of the attempt in recent decades to convince the world that Dorje Shugden is a worldly Deity, Je Pabongka’s reputation and lineage has come under attack, so I thought it would be nice for students who practice in his lineage to see, once again, that things are not as cut and dried as his detractors would have you believe….Scholars and yogis, please check!


His Eminence Trijang Dorjechang Losang Yeshe

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche

His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang was one of the foremost Tibetan Buddhist Masters of our time, taking birth at the turn of the twentieth century and passing away in 1981 at the age of eighty-one.

Not only had he followed in age exactly the example of the Enlightened Buddha, but also through his precious activities and in particular through his extraordinary method and capacity of teaching he fulfilled the purpose of countless beings and the teachings of the Buddha, particularly the tradition of Je Tsong Khapa. All the great Masters and the followers of this tradition were brought up by his compassionate spiritual guidance.

Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang served His Holiness the Dalai Lama first as philosophical assistant, then as personal tutor, together with Kyabje Ling Dorje Chang, for altogether fifty years.

Trijang Rinpoche (Right) with Ling Rinpoche (Left) and their disciple, the present Dalai Lama (center)

Trijang Rinpoche (Right) with Ling Rinpoche (Left) and their disciple, the present Dalai Lama (center)

Not only did he offer to His Holiness studies from the elementary level up to the highest tantric transmissions, he was also the backbone of the struggle against the Chinese occupation at the most difficult and confused time of Tibetan history. The escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959 was also thanks to the wisdom and efforts of Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang.

Up to the end of his life Trijang Rinpoche continuously turned the Wheel of Dharma for the sake of all sentient beings. The flourishing of Dharma in the West is also directly and indirectly connected with him, because of his own teachings as well as the precious activities of his disciples, such as Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Ven. Geshe Rabten, Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Ven. Lama Yeshe and many more. Without him the situation of Tibetan Buddhism in the West would be completely different.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche said

The (present) incarnation of Kyabje Dorje Chang, His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s guru and the lama of all the Tibetan people…. In his previous life (as Trijang Dorjechang Losang Yeshe) he performed incredibly holy actions; therefore, his present incarnation has the potential to spread Dharma in both the East and the West like the rising sun spreads light.

Trijang Rinpoche receives offerings at Monlam

Trijang Rinpoche receives offerings at Monlam

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has likened Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche to

“a vast reservoir from which all Gelugpa practitioners of the present day received ‘waters’ of blessings and instructions.”

He held many important positions within the Gelug School including Ganden Tripa, the head of Gelugpa tradition. He was the Lama most responsible in his generation for spreading the Dorje Shugden practice, especially to the west. Trijang Rinpoche was also responsible for editing the classic Lam Rim text Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, by Kabje Pabongka Rinpoche, from which the following quotations are drawn.

“…Our childish minds were unfit vessels for so vast an ocean of teachings…”

(From Trijang Rinpoche’s introduction to Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand- A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment By Pabongka Rinpoche, Edited by Trijang Rinpoche Translated by Michael Richards Wisdom 1991. All emphasis and formatting mine)

Trijang Dorjechang

Trijang Dorjechang

Prasdrin pararia syaklutaki yanta,
Tray am guhyanatd tigolama eka,
Sudhi vajradharottarah muni aksha,
Prayachchha tashubham valdruga kota.

O Lama Lozang Dragpa, One with Shakyamuni and Vajradhara, O sum of every perfect refuge, O mandala-guise complete With three mysteries of enlightenment, rain upon us ten million goodnesses.

(About Pabongka Rinpoche) O my guru, my protector, who, through the Supreme Vehicle, vanquished the extreme of selfish peace, who, unattached to worldly comforts, upheld the three high trainings and the teachings of the Victor, whose noble good works remained untarnished by the eight worldly concerns.

Kyabje Pabongka

Kyabje Pabongka

You were the very fountain-head of goodness. Everything you said was medicine to drive out hundreds of diseases;

Our childish minds were unfit vessels for so vast an ocean of teachings,

So precious a source of qualities. How sad if these teachings were forgotten!

Here, I have recorded but a few. Immeasurable, countless numbers of Buddhas have come in the past. But unfortunate beings such as myself were not worthy enough to be direct disciples even of Shakyamuni, the best of protectors, who stands out like a white lotus among the thousand great Buddhas, the saviours of this fortunate aeon. First we had to be forced into developing even a moment’s wholesome thought; this took us to the optimum physical rebirth as a human.

We have been taught this most unmistaken path, which will lead us to the level of omniscience, at which time we shall gain our freedom. But, to be brief,

I was saved time and time again from infinite numbers of different evils, and was brought closer to an infinity of magnificent things.

My glorious and holy guru did this.

Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on Je Pabongka

About Zong Rinpoche….


Kyabje Zong Rinpoche- "Kyabje Phabongka had such vast qualities it is difficult to comprehend them" Zong Rinpoche- “Kyabje Phabongka had such vast qualities that it is difficult to comprehend them”

Zong Rinpoche was one of the foremost Lamas of his generation, and a life-long Dorje Shugden practitioner besides…

“(Zong) Rinpoche was born in Kham in 1905. He went to Lhasa when he was eleven years old to study at Shartse. He studied effortlessly and became renowned as a powerful and irrefutable debater. A learned geshe at that time said that ‘even if Shri Dharmakirti had been present, he would not have been able to debate better than that.’

After graduating as a high ranking Lharampa geshe at the age of twenty-five he moved on to the Tantric College of Gyuto. In 1937 he was appointed abbot of Shartse, a position he held for nine years.

Rinpoche was known as a strong, detached and wrathful lama. He had impeccable knowledge of all rituals, art and science, and he never hesitated to give reasons to others why this action or that painting was wrong.

He was renowned for his ‘many actions of powerful magic,’ as a result of which ‘the most marvellous, indescribable signs occurred.’”

Wisdom: Magazine of the FPMT, Number 2, 1984.

In 1916 ( Zong Rinpoche) went to Lhasa to study the dharma at Shartse college (of Ganden Monastery), where he studied the sutras of the Prajnaparamita, Madhyamika, the Abidharma and the Vinaya. He quickly became famous as a sharp analyst and master of philosophical debate. In 1929 he successfully completed his geshe examinations and was awarded with the highest degree, the Geshe Lharampa title …. in 1937 he became abbot of the Shartse college.

So his name spread all over the country of being a powerful tantrika and he gave many empowerments and teachings on those subjects with a special emphasis on the tantras of Heruka, Hayagriva, Yamantaka, Gyelchen Shugden, Guhyasamaja, Vajrayogini, Green Tara, Mahakali, White Tara, Vaishravani and others. …

He was one of the last teachers of the old generation with the aura of authority and a kind of aristrocratic touch or vajra pride. In his teachings he followed very strictly the original texts. But, concerning his age, he was very open and patient to us Westerners, always kind, polite and helpful to answer our many questions concerning detailed tantra explanations.”

From the Biography of Zong Rinpoche by Hans Taeger (

Zong Rinpoche On Je Pabongka

(From: Chod in the Ganden Tradition The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche By Kyabje Zong Rinpoche Snow lion 2006)

Vast qualities…

Kyabje Phabongka had such vast qualities that it is difficult to comprehend them. Sincere and pure practitioners should consult the birth stories of this high lama. Je Phabongka was an emanation of Krishnapada. Krishnapada was a great mahasiddha, a scholar and realized being …

An actual bodhisattva…

…When he was young, he received lamrim teachings from Dagpo Lama Jampel Lhundrub, and when the customary ritual for generation of bodhichitta was held at the end of the teachings, he actually generated bodhichitta. When this happened, Jampel Lhundrub ordered a throne to be set up for the young Phabongka. On hearing the Sevenfold Cause-and-Effect instructions for the first time, his mind was greatly moved, and he wept.

Je Pabongka was Heruka himself….

Kyabje Phabongka was also an emanation of Heruka Chakrasamvara, but degeneration of the times and jealousy of ordinary beings have made it difficult to become aware of his tremendous qualities. There are many biographies of Kyabje Phabongka that make his realized qualities very clear.

A Dalai Lama acknowledges a great teacher…

The thirteenth Dalai Lama requested Kyabje Phabongka to give the yearly lamrim teachings in 1925, instead of asking the Ganden throneholder, as was customary. Usually these teachings lasted seven days, but these lasted for eleven days. These were my first teachings from Kyabje Phabongka. Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang was also present at these teachings.