By Shyamal Sinha
The highly venerated 8th Khangser Rinpoche (which means yellow house), Tenzin Tsultrim Palden, was born in Kathmandu, Nepal in May 1975. At the age of 5, he was recognized as the reincarnation of 7th Khangser Rinpoche who was one of the three high lamas (Keutsang Rinpoche, Khangser Rinpoche, Phurchok Rinpoche) responsible for searching the 14th reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Khangser Rinpoche started basic study of buddhist philosophy in the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala. Thereafter, he completed advanced buddhist studies on sutra and tantra in Sera Jey Monastery, Karnataka and Gyuto Tantric Monastic University in India, where he obtained Geshe Lharampa (equivalent to a Ph.D) and a Doctorate Degree in tantra both with highest honor among the top division.
During his recent tour of the United States, Buddhist monk Tenzin Tsultrim Palden visited Forest Hills Elementary School in Oregon, where he spoke to the students, parents, and teachers about meditation and controlling one’s emotions. According to the school’s principal, Amy Blakey, “Most of the kids and the adults have not had an interaction with a Buddhist monk,” so the school invited Tenzin Tsultrim Palden as a guest speaker to “share his story and unique cultural background.” (Pamplin Media Group)
“His message aligns with all of the work we have done on empathy-building, as well as our Peace Pole rededication ceremony,” Blakey observed. The Peace Pole, erected in 2015, is part of effort by Lake Oswego Rotary Club to inspire community unity and is inscribed with the text “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” (Pamplin Media Group)
One fifth-grade student, Connor Olshey, expressed his enjoyment at learning firsthand about a different culture, noting that the students also received a lesson on breathing, mindfulness, meditation, and concentrating on the mind and body. Tenzin Tsultrim Palden also taught them how to unite people through peace. “I feel like it’s true how peace can bring people together,” Conner remarked. (Pamplin Media Group)
This is exactly the message principal Blakey wants to share with the students. In this intense and fast-paced world with easy social media access, people are often unable to empathize or view situations from the perspective of others. “We live in a very stressful society, and that’s probably one of the No.1 factors in terms of the challenges we see, much more so than when we [the generation of the parents and the teachers] were growing up,” she emphasized. (Pamplin Media Group Khangser Rinpoche presently serves as a spiritual teacher at Sera Jey Monastic University, one of the three great Monastic Universities affiliated with the Gelugpa tradition which follows the rich culture and knowledge of the ancient Nalanda University, established in Tibet in 15th century. He teaches Buddhist philosophy to several hundred fully ordained monks and novices of the monastic university. He also teaches Buddhism according to Nyingma and Kagyu traditions at several Nyingma and Kagyu monasteries in Dharamsala, India and Nepal. In addition, Khangser Rinpoche delivers public teachings on Tibetan Buddhism to diverse audiences from India, Nepal, Vietnam, China, Korea, Tibet and the West.
Another student, Henry Mygrant, said he had learned a lot from the meditation exercise and mentioned that he appreciated the monk’s message of peace and the teachings about anger. “I don’t think I get angry that much, but when I do, it’s not pleasant, like most kids,” Henry said. He added that he had learned from Tenzin Tsultrim Palden that slamming doors does not help when one is angry—instead it only feeds the anger. Such emotions, however, can be controlled and reined in with meditation. “If you control your emotions, you can become a better person,” Henry said. “Anger is one of the bad emotions, and if you conceal it, you might become a better person, in a way.” (Pamplin Media Group)