The Venerable Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro is a renowned contemporary Nyingma teacher of Tibetan Buddhism based at Larung Gar (formally known as the Serthar Larung Five Sciences Buddhist Institute), where he serves as a standing Vice Principal. He is a native of Draggo (Ch: Luhuo) County in Sichuan Province. He is an influential public intellectual and a strong advocate of Tibetan culture.
Khenpo Tsutrim Lodro Memorabilia
The Khenpo was born in an ordinary family in Draggo (Ch: Luhuo) County, Sichuan Province. As a child he attended the local Kasa elementary school and learned to read and write Chinese. He acquired literacy in his native Tibetan entirely through self-study, mastering even challenging classical grammar and poetics through his own efforts. Members of his local community considered him as a gifted child, and teachers and fellow students held him in pride and admiration.
As he grew older, his desire became stronger to become a monastic practitioner and benefit other beings by advancing the Buddhadharma. At the beginning of 1984, Khenpo turned down the position of Committee Secretary in the District Three division of the Luhuo County Government. Thereafter, at 22 years of age, he received ordination at Larung Gar, becoming a disciple of the great contemporary spiritual master, Kyabje Khenchen Jigme Phunstok. He successively received Pratimoksha, Bodhisattva and Vajrayana vows..
After arriving at the teaching encampment, Khenpo joyfully faced the hardships of his immediate living conditions. Day and night he applied himself diligently to his studies of both the sutric and tantric divisions of the Buddhist scriptures and assimilated all content without difficulty. After years of effort and consecutive levels of strict examinations, he was personally awarded the Khenpo degree by Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok. At the age of 24 he began practicing the highest Nyingma tantric teachings transmitted by Khenchen Jigme Phunstok. The results of his practice were personally verified three times face-to-face by his root teacher.
In 1987 Khenchen Jigme Phunstok led over 10,000 followers on a pilgrimage to the sacred Wutai Mountain, creating auspicious conditions for accepting four kinds of Chinese disciples (monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners). Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro accompanied his teacher on this trip, serving him by his side for most of the time. During the daytime Khenpo served as his root teacher’s secretary, translator and cook, and at night time washed his feet and prepared his bed. Seeing to all the daily chores from cleaning to cooking meals, Khenpo personally served his master with careful attention to every detail. During the six months of pilgrimage, he quietly concentrated on his practice and made constant aspirations and dedications of merit in accordance with ‘The Extraordinary Aspirations of Samantabhadra.’
From 1991 to 2013, Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro was the director of the Larung Gar Education Department, an important appointment with many responsibilities. Over the course of this 21-year-position, he gave daily teachings at the same time as fulfilling his administrative responsibilities. He also trained a large cohort of outstanding monastic students capable of carrying on the lineage and spreading the Dharma.
In 1994 Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro was sent by Khenchen Jigme Phunstok to Singapore to teach the Dharma, beginning his ongoing journey of teaching to overseas audiences.
Having seen the severity, prevalence and brutality of killing and taking lives in the ethnic Han region (mainland China), Khenpo took some time every year to organize massive live-release activities in mainland China since 1997, promoting the notion of “equality of all sentient beings, stop killings and support lifes”, emphasizing applying “rational attitude and scientific based approach”to protect life. Therefore billions of living beings have been saved from slaughering in the past 20 years, he is called with respect as “the Life Release Khenpo”.
Since 2003 Khenpo has visited many agricultural and nomadic regions in Tibet, teaching the basics of correct views and practices of Tibetan Buddhism, promoting the notion of stop killing and protecting life, vegetarian and environment protection, education， ethics and moral principles. He also called the monks and nuns for their responsibilities of spreading the dharma and benefiting all sentient beings, and asked all the monasteries to have retreat center, Buddhist Academy and elementary schools, which had great impact in the Tibetan region.
In 2005, to protect and promote Tibetan speaking and written language, Khenpo invited the experts and scholars from Tibetan area in five provinces to kick off the project of compiling a Tibetan-Chinese-English dictionary for the new words, and took on the role of chief editor. After 10 years and over 30 meetings of research and discussions, “Chinese-Tibetan-English Dictionary of New Daily Vocabulary with Illustrations”, “Chinese-Tibetan-English Dictionary of New Daily Vocabulary”(the App for this dictionary is available on Apple App store and Android App store”, and “Dictionary for Traditional Tibetan with Illustrations” have been published so far.
In 2007, Khenpo established Jiangda Elementary School in a remote valley on the border of Sertha and LuHuo County. There are over 700 boarding students enrolled in this school now, all coming from the remote nomadic or mountain area. The creation of Jiangda Elementary School changed the history of no elementary school graduates in the surrounding villages of tens of kilometers radius.
In 2012, to prevent the spread of AIDS in Tibetan area, Khenpo initiated the trainings for AIDS prevention volunteers in Tibet, and further established General AIDS Prevention Association which spread the knowledge of AIDS prevention and drug prohibition in the entire Tibetan region.
Since 2014, Khenpo resumed his overseas journey again after 16 years and was invited to give lectures in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand etc.
Khenpo was also invited for Academic exchange and talks at Universities like Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Columbia, Washington University, Virginia University, Toronto University, Auckland University, Sidney University, Melbourne University and companies like Google, together with experts and scholars of science, philosophy and psychology, discussing the mystery of life and spirit based on scientific and Buddhist topics.
Because Khenpo is very modest and keeps a low profile, always hiding his merits, all the above really can not summarize his abundant merits and accomplishments, hence a few more points is added here so the audience can get some more insights:
Superior Wisdom; Deep Knowledge of both the Eastern and the Western
During his studies at the Institute, Khenpo has acquired all the precious sutra and tantra dharma from his master, his talent at speech, debate, and writing of dharma was preeminent among all the monks and nuns at Larung, and Khenchen Jigme Phunstok exalted him for these.
Since 1990 Khenpo took further research into western science, philosophy, psychology etc. His room is full of all kinds of books from the past and contemporary, from China and overseas, covering a broad range of subjects. Many people are deeply impressed with his broad and erudite knowledge of different subjects.
Khenpo’s dharma name “Tsultrim Lodro”was given personally by Khenchen Jigme Phunstok, this is also the dharma name of the Omniscient Venerable Longchenpa. Venerable Longchenpa, Lama Tsongkapa and Sakya Pandita are all reincarnation of the body, speech and mind of Manjushri，and are respectfully regarded as the second Buddha after Guru Rinpoche. This is just the tip of the iceburg of how highly Khenchen Jigme Phunstok thought of Khenpo and the expectations he had for Khenpo.
Carry on master’s ambition and mission; Compassionate and Benefiting Sentient Beings
Khenpo once blogged on his Weibo:”My master told me: the only reason and value of our live is cultivating and giving love! I will never forget this for my whole life, and hopefully for all my future lives too!”
With such compassionate motivation, Khenpo’s footprint of spreading the dharma and benefiting sentient beings has come across all regions of Tibetan area, mainland China and overseas, the audiences including ordinary people, Buddhists beginners, practitioners, scholar and experts.
For ordinary people, Khenpo is concerned about their psychological health issues. Focusing on the mental crisis caused by the rapid development of material life yet the void of spiritual life, he visited university campuses, enterprises, and all kinds of groups, sharing the Buddhism wisdom, conducting deep pe analysis of the cause of the spiritual suffering, revealing the relationship in between suffering and desire, selfishness and attachment，and guiding people how to use Mahayana Buddhism and meditation to resolve afflictions and emotions, recognize the truth of life and find genuine happiness.
For those who have faith and want to learn and practice Buddhism, Khenpo encouraged them to follow the sequences of dharma rigorously，learn and practice with a down to earth attitude, from establishing the right views, cultivating renunciation and bodhichitta, to the realization of emptiness, and eventually reaching the ultimate goal of Mahayana Buddhism.
The style of Khenpo’s teachings is well structured and organized, easy to understand yet with profound meanings. Khenpo is really good at referring to scientific cases and examples, explaining arcane dharma theories using languages and terminologies modern people are familiar with, hence Khenpo is very popular among the intellectuals. Khenpo also put equal emphasis on both theories and practices, always coupled the explanation of theories with corresponding guidance for practices.
Khenpo is also deeply and constantly concerned about the chaotic phenomena of secularization, commercialization and formalization in the Buddhist circles, and is willing to risk the public criticism to provide sincere and constructive suggestions, emphasizing that the authentic Buddha dharma practice is to enhance one’s life through learning and training. He tried very hard to revert the trend of Buddha dharma practice back to the correct way of listening to, contemplating, and practicing the Buddha dharma.
Persistent writing；Prolific publications
Khenpo kept writing diligently at any spare moment he has on his nonstop journey of spreading the dharma. Among all the publications, the series of 《Wisdom Light》is acclaimed as a Buddhism masterpiece which can stand the test of time, from theory to practice, with rigorous sequencing, and encompassing both sutra and tantra in harmony. The content of the series is practical and appropriate, the style of language is concise, penetrating, incisive, and thorough, meeting the psychological needs of the contemporary audience, hence becoming widely accepted and very popular. To the vast Buddhism learners and practitioners, it points out the direction of liberation like a lighthouse.
Publications so far:
Simplified Chines Version:
1.《Wisdom Light》 Series 1-10 (Tibet Publishing House, Hainan Publishing House);
2.《Lotus Light Kindled by Wisdom Words》(Zhejiang Ancient Books Publishing House)
3. 《The Truth of Life》(World Books Publishing House)
4.《Why We Are Not Happy》(Zitu Books)
5. 《Exhortations》(China Social Science Publishing House)
Traditional Chines Version:
1. 《Stories of Samsara (Cyclic Existence?)》(Taiwan Oak Forrest Tree Publishing House)
2. 《Buddhism – Superstition or Wisdom?!》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
3. 《Decipher the Mysterious Code of Tibetan Buddhism》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
4. 《Lifting the Mysterious Veil of Tibetan Buddhism 》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
5. 《The Truth You Must Know – the Four Dharma Seals》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
6. 《When Heart Sutra Meets Quantum Physics》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
7.《Are you ready? – Don’t be Scared by the Paper Tiger》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
8. 《Comprehend the Book Called Life》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
9. 《Journal on the Wisdom of Precepts》(Larung Culture Enterprise Press)
《Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro’s Complete Collection》Four Volumes (Beijing Ethnic Publishing House)
《Rain In Time》(Gansu Publishing House)
《Contemporary Beats of the Dharma Drum》(Buddha Education Foundation Press)
《Conversations in between Eastern and Western Cultures》(Qinghai People Publishing House)
1.《The Right View》(Larong Culture Publishing)；
2.《Are You Ready for Happiness？Don’t Let the Paper Tiger Scare You Off》(Larong Culture Publishing)；
3.《The Handbook for Life’s Journey》(Larong Culture Publishing)；
4.《DAILY INSPIRATION from Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro》(Larong Culture Publishing)。
Low key and Rigorous; Seeking truth and being pragmatic
Khenpo’s noble conducts and profound wisdom won him reverence and admiration by the eminent monks and masters of the various schools and lineages as well as his followers worldwide. He became the spiritual master of the Larung Buddhist Institute and Tibetan regions after Khenchen Jigme Phunstok. Yet he keeps a very low profile, rarely reveals his merits and level of realization, rather leading a simple, pure and contented life as an ordinary monk.
There have been some eminent monks and masters confirming Khenpo as reincarnation of certain Tulku, urging him to receive the enthronement repeatedly, but were all turned down by Khenpo. Not only that, Khenpo inculcated to his disciples that they should rely on the dharma but not the person, stay away from supernatural powers and senses, worldly fame and fortunes, and keep a simple and pure mind of pursuing studies, only this can lead to the success of dharma practice. He established a great model himself as he took on the responsibilities of spreading the dharma and benefiting the sentient beings as his own, his words and actions epitomizing the best of Mahayana practitioners. He is a truly qualified teacher who has the courage to raise the lamp of authentic dharma at this dharma degenerating age.
In front of all these glorifications, Khenpo only said “I am just a teacher of the Buddha dharma”.