Golden Blue Lotus Tara

Meditation Group, Moscow


An Introduction to Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

By Bruce Heavenor, one of his students

September 1998, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Since the time the Buddha died, the monastic communities have taken it upon themselves to preserve the teachings and communicate them and make them available to people so that they can integrate something positive into their experience. We don't have monasteries here in Canada, but we do have centers. And our center has been here since, I think it was 1982. And since we first got this center, it has been so wonderful to see all the encouragement, the participation of the people here. And now we are here to do this course [The Union of Sutra and Tantra], it is my pleasure to be able to introduce Zasep Rinpoche.

Since the time that the Buddha first taught the Dharma, the importance of receiving the teachings from a qualified teacher of a lineage tradition has been stressed. The reasons being that a person who has received the teachings from a qualified master, and taken those teachings and worked with them to integrate them into themselves and bring the insights alive — they have the ability to communicate that to others, from having worked with it and done something with their own experience. So I would like to explain a little bit about Zasep Rinpoche, his history and his qualifications, so you can have a sense of confidence in what you are receiving.

The most venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche was born in 1948 in the eastern province of Kham, in Tibet, and early in his age he was recognized as the thirteenth incarnation of a lama named Lama Chabdak. (At the time of Lama Chabdak, he was a contemporary of the second Karmapa—that's the Kagyu tradition.) He was recognized by three different highly realized lamas, one being the sixteenth Galwa Karmapa, another the Junior Tutor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Trijang Rinpoche, and a highly realized Nyingma lama. They all recognized him as being the thirteenth incarnation of Lama Chabdak. At the age of seven he was enthroned in Zuru Monastery which was the seat of all the Zasep Rinpoches previously. And then soon after he went to Sera Monastery, and it was there that he was enthroned, in Sera Monastery, as the thirteenth incarnation of Lama Chabdak.

In 1959, when the Chinese invaded, Zasep Rinpoche escaped Tibet to India, in Dalhousie. He was eleven at that time, and he wanted to practice Dharma very much. He approached Trijang Rinpoche for some advice on what to do, and Trijang Rinpoche arranged to have him study under a very highly realized yogi named Geshe Wangjub. It was under the personal tutorship of Geshe Wangjub—Zasep Rinpoche lived with Geshe Wangjub, and during the winter months he did intensive retreats, and in the summer months he would study a series of, I think it was five different subjects—texts—under the tutorship of Geshe Wangjub. And it was a very hard thing, being with the very highly realized yogi who was teaching him all the different traditional methods, and studying in this manner. There were high demands, and he met them very successfully, over ten years.

At the end of ten years, he had studied, doing intensive retreats each year in the winter and studying in the summer, at the end of ten years of study he went to the Sanskrit University in Sarnath. It was at the Sarnath University he completed an Acharya degree, which is the equivalent of our Master's here in the university. And then at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he went to Thailand to study the meditation techniques as taught by the Vipassana—the Vipassana methods as taught in Thailand. He meditated in the forests with the monks using the Vipassana methods, as they have been taught to the Thai monks, for eighteen months.

And then he was requested by Lama Thubten Yeshe, who has about seventy different Dharma centers, to go to Australia and participate with Geshe Loden as a translator and to do some teachings. And he taught in Australia for approximately three years, and then he came to Canada to teach at the David Thompson University in Nelson.

Then in 1981, at the request of His Holiness Ling Rinpoche, who was the Senior Tutor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he assumed the directorship of Gaden Choling in Toronto. Gaden Choling was the Dharma center originally under the directorship of Ling Rinpoche, and he requested Zasep Rinpoche to take the directorship and lead the students in Toronto. And since that time his centers have grown under the direction of Zasep Rinpoche. He has been teaching now for twenty-one years to students in the west, and he has twelve different centers in Canada, Australia and America. Also, Zasep Rinpoche speaks six different languages: Tibetan, English, Urdu, Hindi, Sanskrit and Thai.

The teachings of Dharma encourage us to look at the Lam Rim as personal instructions, and when you study the Lam Rim you'll see. You'll find sections where they say they encourage us to take the teachings as personal instruction. Since I've met and studied with Zasep Tulku Rinpoche from 1984, I've continuously seen this encouragement come alive in Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. Zasep Rinpoche has had twenty-one years of teaching to western people, and his teachings are very practical, and he understands the western mind. I continuously see the way in which he communicates the Dharma, a way in which the teachings can be taken as practical advice. They can be taken as practical advice for each of us to experience a more wholesome improvement in our daily lives.

So I would like to introduce Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, and it's a wonderful opportunity for us to be here and listen to this. These are great teachings, and it's very rare to have the opportunity to receive these kind of teachings from someone as qualified as Zasep Rinpoche. We are very lucky, and very fortunate. Thank you.


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