By Venerable Geshe Sonam Rinchen

In January 2000, Venerable Geshe Sonam Rinchen taught a short course at Dhargyey Buddhist Centre on “The Heart Sutra”. By way of an introduction to this series of talks he spoke openly about his feelings for The Centre. As it encapsulates so well the special feeling and the special place in the heart which many of us have for The Centre we reproduce those words here.

It is so good that I am sitting in this place, about to give teachings. It makes me very happy.
I think of this place as somewhere very special and precious. Whilst this house was here before the venerable Gen Rinpoche (Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey) was here, it was he who turned it into a place for buddhist teachings. Many people have made great effort to create that opportunity for him to give teachings here. For me; because of what happened in this house, because Gen Rinpoche, who was one of my teachers, taught here so much, this is a place of sanctity, a sacred place for me.

Gen Rinpoche not only taught sutra here but also gave tantric empowerments as well. Through these  many dharma activities this place has been blessed and it is a sacred place. It is a place which benefits many people here and also has brought blessings to New Zealand through this.

The very venerable Khensur Urgyen Tseten Rinpoche has visited here twice and has given teachings on sutra and tantra here, and he is indeed someone who combines great understanding of the teachings with wisdom born from realisations, gained by their practise.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama has visited this area twice. Once he stayed several nights here and his presence has imbued this place with blessings, and nothing could bless a place more than that because he is today a living lineage holder, a great lord- a king of the dharma teachings.

Then you also have two very special tulku’s (reincarnated Lama’s) here- venerable Thupten Rinpoche and venerable  Lhagon Rinpoche. Both of them have taken ordination from a very young age. They are true holders of the teachings and they have performed many dharma activities here, so this also makes this place very special.

The Rinpoche’s studied in India and also served the Tibetan community in exile by  becoming teachers. This was something of the greatest value for the Tibetan community in exile. Having completed this work they have both come here at a time when they were prepared to retire from that work. It is very auspicious that they could come here at a time when they had completed their terms of work, serving the Tibetan community in exile in India.

They are indeed the heart sons of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and also of the two tutors to his Holiness (Venerable Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Venerable Ling Rinpoche), and to venerable Khensur Urgyen Tseten Rinpoche and Geshe Dhargyey Rinpoche.

They have both been very devoted in their practise of guru devotion and have never strayed from that. These days, this is something very rare. In Sera (Monastery in Lhasa), Tibet (in the 1950’s) there were very many great scholars. These Lama’s chose to make that special dharma connection with Gen Rinpoche (Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey). The kind of connection they made with Gen Rinpoche was single pointed and focussed; it was a really good connection and a lasting one. Then although Gen Rinpoche had many students in Tibet they were the two who risked their lives to bring him to safety in India. I have heard many times how much they did in serving and helping him on that journey, how much devotion they had for him.
Gen Rinpoche sat for his Geshe degree in India at Buxa, where the monks all came together in the first Tibetan monastic community in exile in India. Although Thupten Rinpoche and Lhagon Rinpoche had nothing there themselves they made it possible for him to make the necessary offerings for his degree. Once they had done that and it was all finished, they literally had absolutely nothing left themselves. They had a very excellent relationship with Gen Rinpoche, and they kept that commitment that exists between teacher and student very purely. From his side Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey really treasured them, loved them deeply. That was a very pure and special kind of relationship. Gen Rinpoche even treasured the two bowls they drank out of when they came to see him. Even the bowls they used were treasured as important to him.

I have been really happy from the depths of my heart that these two lamas have come here and continued the work that Gen Rinpoche began. I felt right from the beginning, that they were the most suitable people to carry on that responsibility- to fulfill it. That was in my mind all along, so it is very satisfying that they are here to continue that work.

I have been thinking a lot about what will be of true benefit to this centre here, and the country here, and I really feel their presence here will benefit everyone. I have had a very close connection to this centre. I feel involved, with true affection for it. I feel I know generally what goes on here and what has happened here, and am always very happy when I hear things are going well. Great things have been accomplished here in the past, and I hope that in the future more great things will be accomplished too. I hope too that people here are close. Close like the relationship between milk and water when they are poured together.

Since many great being have visited this place and made it holy and scared…. I hope the place will bless me too. Places are blessed by the presence of real authentic practitioners. Thereafter they are imbued with sanctity and they affect people; making them feel more peaceful and interested in practise.

Of course Gen Rinpoche gave such a range of teachings… the heart of Buddhist teachings are the ‘Perfection of Wisdom’ teachings.. so this is a good thing to go through. Teachings on (the true) nature of reality are like a nectar which overpowers all kinds of (personal) demons. The understanding of reality and emptiness is what will free us from all the problems and things that go wrong in our lives so it seems like a very appropriate thing to talk about. The great Indian master Aryadeva says that of course if we understand emptiness correctly it will free us from all difficulties that are involved in cyclic existence. However even just hearing it and taking in mind a small glimpse of what it is about will help us to go from good rebirth to good rebirth, from happiness to happiness. Even if we only think it could be possible that things are empty (of inherent nature) and … that they can still function in a perfectly satisfactory way, this already begins to tear (mundane) worldly existence to tatters. Hearing about emptiness and thinking about it, having the opportunity to meditate on it makes us very fortunate.

Venerable Geshe Sonam Rinchen has been the principal teacher at The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala for many years, a position which Venerable Geshe Dhargyey, the founder of this centre, formerly held. These are the transcribed and lightly edited words of His translator Ruth Sonam. Together they have brought to life many classical Buddhist texts which are available through Snow Lion Publications. The administrators of The Centre accept responsibility for any errors or misinterpretations contained here in.


Hello from The Czech Republic,

I would like to say thank you for all your hospitality and truly pure atmosphere. The Dhargyey Buddhist Centres fulfils all my expectations. It is great and spiritual Buddhist place I have ever found. It gave me some new ideas for my life. Unfortunately I had to leave New Zealand to finish my masters few months ago. However the feeling from your centre is still in my heart.
I can’t think about any better place to recommend to my best friends.

With love – Bedrich