Tsoknyi Rinpoche in Lerab Ling, Nov. 2009
As the last Lama visiting Lerab Ling during the 3-year-retreat, Tsoknyi Rinpoche spent a whole week with us and taught on various subjects as well as answering countless questions of students that had not been resolved before.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche is a frequent guest at Rigpa retreats in Lerab Ling and elsewhere. Not only is he a son of one of Sogyal Rinpoche's main teachers Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, he is also one of Sogyal Rinpoche's closest friends.
Once again his deep knowledge of the teachings, his thorough familiarity with the western mind, and his wonderful humor captured everybody's hearts and minds. Over the years the connection between the students and Rinpoche has grown very intimate, and many were sad having to say goodbye after days of receiving illuminating instructions and clarifications.
Erik Pema Künsang
Present with Tsoknyi Rinpoche was the great translator Erik Pema Künsang. Like last year, when he accompanied all three of Tulku Urgyen's sons that visited Lerab Ling, he was invited again to translate. Erik is an example of a translator: He has been translating for approximately 30 years, has a phenomenal memory and remains completely undistracted when listening to a Lama teaching, and he is the same on stage as in private: very relaxed, warm-hearted and not taking himself too serious.
Besides translating for Tsoknyi Rinpoche, he was also invited by Rigpa Shyönnu, Rigpa's younger generation of students between 18-30 years. Erik answered questions concerning being a Dharma-student in the west, translating and other topics. Without a need for a break before the next teaching, he sat together with the small group in the Nirmanakaya of Lerab Ling's temple for almost 2 hours.
Having acted as Erik's attendant earlier this year, when he translated for Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, I was given the opportunity to receive some personal advice by him about how to approach Tibetan studies.