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Celebrating the Publications of the 71-volume Collection of the Rinchen Terdzö

By Matthieu Ricard on May 21, 2018

Terdzo Celebration 94 A

On the 29th of March, 2018, a joyful celebration, led by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, was held at Shechen monastery in Nepal to commemorate the completion of the new edition and publication of the 71 volumes of the Rinchen Terdzö Chenmo, The Great Treasury of Rediscovered Teachings. A thanksgiving ceremony was performed to express deep gratitude to all those who tirelessly worked on this project for 13 years.

A very special homage was paid to Dagpo Tulku Rinpoche, who spent all these years, working with unflinching perseverance and expertise at Shechen retreat center, Pema Ösel Ling, at Namo Buddha in Nepal, to bring this edition of the Rinchen Terdzö to an unparalleled level of excellence. Thanksgiving offerings were also made to Dagpo Rinpoche’s main assistant, to the seven monks who over many years worked for inputting the texts at the monastery in Kathmandu and to Eric Colombel and other members of Tsadra Foundation, who were honored for their unflinching generosity in sponsoring this monumental work fully.


Why do a new edition of the Rinchen Terdzö?

In 2006, Rabjam Rinpoche and I felt that one of the best offerings we could do to honor Kyabje Dilgo Rinpoche’s memory, would be a project that would have pleased him and fulfilled his aspirations for all sentient beings, like to prepare a carefully checked and edited version of the Rinchen Terdzö.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche had indeed inspired the publication of a previous edition, which was printed in Delhi in the late 1970s by Rinpoche’s treasurer, Lama Ngodrup, and his team. This first Indian edition was published thanks to the matchless support of E. Gene Smith and the United States Library of Congress. But even though it served a most beneficial purpose, Khyentse Rinpoche was not quite satisfied with it since many of the wood-block prints were not clear enough for direct reproduction and had to be calligraphed rather hastily using semitransparent tracing paper that created many unfortunate mistakes.
We therefore felt that it would be highly desirable to prepare a new edition. Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche also once told Dagpo Rinpoche that it would take at least a year for ten expert scholars to correct the original Tibetan editions properly of the Rinchen Terdzö.

In our case it took thirteen years to one accomplished scholar and his team to accomplish this task. Dagpo Rinpoche meticulously tracked down mistakes, omissions, duplications, and other inconsistencies. He carefully compared the two editions that existed in Tibet (from Palpung and Tsurphu monasteries) and on many instances went back to the original sources of the termas included in the Great Treasury. He sometimes spent up to two months on a single volume, merely taking one afternoon of rest every two weeks. During all these years, he was faithfully assisted by Tsewang Rigzin who input all the corrections under Rinpoche’s close supervision.

All along these years, a team of Shechen monks worked hard to input twice the 71 volumes (this allows to run a software that highlights the difference between the two inputs and thus to eliminate typing mistakes). Under the supervision of Lopön Samten Dorje, this team included Sonam Wangpo, Ugyen Phuntsok, Pema Tsechok Dorje, Do-ngak Tenzin, Karma Tenzin, Tenzin Wangpo, as well as the Khenpos and Lopöns of Shechen Philosophical College. Tulku Rigzin Pema also kindly did a first round of proofreading.

Konchog Lhadrepa, the head master of Shechen Tsering Art School, skillfully drew the illustrations and the dakini scripts found in the volumes. In addition, he prepared a new set of drawings for over one hundred large-size yantras and chakras, which have now been included for the first time in the Rinchen Terdzö collection.

In India, Samdrup Tshering, in charge of Shechen Publications, has been responsible for all the printing work, which was carried out in the best possible way in Delhi. Tony Duff kindly provided the TibetDoc software that has been essential for realizing this work.

A short presentation of the Rinchen Terdzö

The Rinchen Terdzö Chenmo is the largest of the Five Treasuries that Jamgön Kongtrul the Great (1813-1899) compiled throughout his life. This extraordinary collection is comprised of the main Rediscovered Treasures (gter ma) of Tibetan Buddhism and the texts necessary to bestow the related empowerments and explanations to practice them.

At the same time, the matchless master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892) traveled for thirteen years throughout Central and Eastern Tibet to collect precious texts and receive the transmissions for the many lineages that had become nearly extinct and held by only a few people. He then gave all these transmissions to Jamgön Kongtrul and others.

The actual redaction of the Rinchen Terdzö was done by Jamgön Kongtrul at the monastery-hermitage of Dzongshö Deshek Dupa, a secluded mountain retreat located between Dzongsar and Kathok in Eastern Tibet. Wooden blocks were then carved at Palpung Monastery creating a 60-volume edition. A new set of revised wooden blocks was carved at Tsurphu Monastery with three additional volumes, under the supervision of the XVth Karmapa, Khakyap Dorje, (1871-1922).

During his lifetime, Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991) gave the transmission of the Rinchen Terdzö five times. In the first Indian edition, Khyentse Rinpoche included the four-volume manual written by the XVth Karmapa, Khakyap Dorje (1871-1922) that are indispensable for giving the numerous empowerments found in the Rinchen Terdzö. Khyentse Rinpoche also included a number of significant texts that, according to the indications given by Jamgön Kongtrul himself, should have been added to the original collection. Among these are Chogyur Lingpa's Dzogchen Desum, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo's Tsasum Ösel Nyingthig, and Jedrung Trinley Jampa Jungney's Pema Sangthig. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche himself gathered three volumes of supplementary texts to be inserted at the appropriate places in the collection. These contain lineage prayers, texts for giving empowerments, manuals for recitation practice, and so on.

May this new edition of the Rinchen Terdzö Chenmo be dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings, to the perpetuation of the Dharma, which is the source of all temporary and ultimate happiness, to the long life and compassionate activities of all the great holders of the Buddha’s teachings, and especially to the flourishing of the beneficial activities of the reincarnation of Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Yangsi Rinpoche, Ugyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup, and of Kyabje Shechen Rabjam VII, Shedrup Chökyi Senge.

Matthieu Ricard is the Coordinator of the Rinchen Terdzö project.