His Dharma Activities
In 1976 and 1980, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche accompanied the Gyalwa Karmapa on a tour to numerous places in America, Europe and Southeast Asia. After His Holiness's parinirvana, Jamgon Rinpoche continued to travel to Europe and Asia and established branches of the Rigpei Dorje Foundation in many countries and the Paramita Charitable Trust in India to further his activities of social development for the benefit of others. Through empowerments, explanations, and advices, he generously gave teachings to three different types of students in accordance with their needs, and so became like the medicine that restores the teachings and healed sentient beings.
In 1983, in order to counteract obstacles to the swift return of His Holiness the Karmapa, Jamgon Rinpoche built a Sidok Stupa with the proper measurements, mantras, dharanis and consecration. For the same reason, he initiated the practice of 100 million recitations of the Vajrasattva mantra every year on the occasion of Saga Dawa (the fourth Tibetan month). In 1984, following the wishes of His Holiness, he started the construction of a new building for Karma Shri Nalanda Institute and it was inaugurated in June 1987. Not only did Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche provide for all the furnishings of the entire building including the statues and so forth for the shrine hall, but he also found the means to support about 150 students which comprised of many tulkus, lamas, and monks.
Jamgon Rinpoche visited Tibet in 1984 and at Palpung Monastery, he gave empowerments and teachings to a vast gathering of monks and lay people, and ordained about 500 monks giving them getsul and gelong vows. He then visited Lhasa and Tsurphu Monastery (the seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa) where he gave empowerments and teachings to monks and lay people, and the vows of getsul and gelong to about one hundred. Furthermore, he was able to obtain permission for the reconstruction of Tsurphu towards which he donated all the offerings that were made to him during his journey. In 1988, Rinpoche constructed a new monastery at Lava near Kalimpong, West Bengal, and presently over a 100 monks reside there. Some of the monks are involved in a three year retreat following the tradition of the golden Dharma in the Shangpa Kagyu. Likewise, in 1988 he started the construction of Pullahari Retreat Center in Nepal. In 1990, he gave the great Kalachakra empowerment to the monks and lay people of Rumtek and donated funds to initiate the conducting of the Kalachakra puja there on an annual basis. In 1991, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche returned to Tibet and visited Derge Gonchen where he gave an empowerment, re-consecrated the old and new Derge Printing House and made donations to them. Thereafter, he journeyed to Palpung Monastery and gave the great Kalachakra Initiation to about 550 tulkus and lamas of the area including Nangchen lamas and many others from different places. Further, there was a crowd of about 10,000 lay people. He also gave getsul and gelong vows to many people. Next he traveled to Damkar Monastery in Nangchen where he again gave the Kalachakra empowerment to about 10,000 sangha members including lamas and tulkus, such as Dolmo Choje Rinpoche, Shangu Tulku, Kyodrak Salga, Drukpa Tulku, Demon Tulku and many others.
In February of 1992, he gave Kagyu Ngakdzo empowerments to the monks, nuns, and lay people of Rumtek and to numerous sangha members from the East and West. He also inaugurated the new building of Karma Jamyang Khang, a primary school for monks, for which he had arranged funding and participated in the design and construction. As his last activity, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche offered mantras and dharanis to fill the new Buddha statue in the main shrine hall of the Rumtek monastery. Due to his pure samaya with His Holiness, he was able to cover the entire statue with gold. Once he had consecrated the statue, Jamgon Rinpoche told his attendants, "Now I have fulfilled the wishes of His Holiness.”
From childhood, he naturally had all the qualities of a noble being. His faith and pure vision of his teachers were unparalleled, and especially, his devotion to his root lama, Vajradhara Gyalwa Karmapa was fully equal to that of all the previous lineage holders of the Kagyu tradition. From the time His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa became ill until he dissolved his mind into the dharmadhatu, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was not separate from him for even one moment. He was never tired or careless for a moment in attending to the physical needs or following the commands and wishes of his lama. With great respect, he served His Holiness even to the point of cleaning His Holiness' personal bathroom and sweeping his floors when it was necessary. His life was a teaching to people like us who tend to treat the Dharma and the lamas like water by the roadside, which we take when we need it but do not respect or give devotion from our heart.
Jamgon Rinpoche studied numerous sutras, tantras, their commentaries and oral instructions from all traditions in particular and in general. As a sign of having genuinely realized these teachings, he displayed the qualities of faith, pure vision, loving-kindness and genuine concern for the well-being of others that were so much a part of him that they became inseparable from his name. He constantly fulfilled the wishes of others through giving away all that was offered to him for building monasteries, established centers of learning and practice to create representations of the Buddha's body, speech and mind to support the sanghas, the poor and needy. With clear wisdom of the world and of Dharma, he soothed the mental sufferings of others, cut through the net of their doubts and guided them onto the right path through direct and indirect means. To his attendants and all those, high or low, with whom he related, Jamgon Rinpoche always showed the qualities of constant friendship, modesty, humility and gratitude he perfected all these qualities which are esteemed throughout the world. We, his disciples, should always remember this perfect life story of our supreme guide and seek to emulate it with faith, respect and pure vision.