Adeu Rinpoche lives at Tsechu monastery in Nangchen, Quinghai province.
CTF: When did you meet Samten Gyatso?
Rinpoche: I guess I was about 9 or 10, probably 10 yrs. old and the King of Nangchen had a son. There was some kind of childbirth syndrome in the family and they were afraid that the newborn son would die too, so they called upon a lama to cure it. That was the first time Samten Gyatso was invited to the palace and that was also when I met him for the first time. After that he would be invited back occasionally and as my tutor Tubten Wangpo was a lama who was close friends with Samten Gyatso, whenever Samten Gyatso came to the castle he would visit the royal family for a day and then come to visit us the next day.
CTF: What empowerments did you receive from him?
Rinpoche: The first empowerment that I received from Samten Gyatso was an empowerment for Manjushri composed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo which is called “The Entrustment of Knowledge”. Mawey Senge, Lion of SpeechThe second one was The Lord of Speech, Mawey Senge, one of the twelve emanations of Padmasambhava belonging to the cycle of Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel. These two Manjushri practices were the first ones I received from him. After that I received a large number of empowerments, reading transmissions and instructions from him as well as Dzogchen teachings. One of the Dzogchen teachings was actually composed by my previous incarnation, also by the name of Adeu Rinpoche. in whose monastery and under whose care Chokgyur Lingpa had grown up as a monk. The previous Adeu Rinpoche was also one of Chokgyur Lingpa’s teachers. There is a particular guidance manual in Dzogchen which was requested by Chokgyur Lingpa and written by Adeu Rinpoche called The Oral Teachings of Vajrasattva. Chokgyur Lingpa had transmitted this to his son Tsewang Norbu, who gave it to Samten Gyatso and then he passed it on to me again. In addition to that, since Samten Gyatso was a holder of the Tukdrub Barchey KunselBarom Kagyu, I also received the Chakrasamvara, Vajra Yogini, Mahakala and Mahakali empowerments from that tradition, as well as many other teachings. So, in short, I received plenty of transmissions such as the Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel in full including both its primary and subsidiary aspects in their entirety.
CTF: Perhaps Rinpoche could give us his impressions of Samten Gyatso’s qualities.
Rinpoche: I can clearly remember what Samten Gyatso looked like, his manner of speaking, how he carried himself and what kind of presence he had. There was no particular feature which stands out except that when he gave empowerments it was really impressive, unlike any other teacher that I have met. It was like the tone of his voice, how he sang, how he performed every single detail during an empowerment was really with a lot of presence, very unique.
CTF: When did Rinpoche first meet Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche?
Rinpoche: The first time I met Tulku Urgyen was when Samten Gyatso came and gave the extensive empowerments of Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel which lasted about an entire month. During this time Tulku Urgyen, we called him Tulku Karma Urgyen, acted as the shrine master and made all the tormas, he was also Samten Gyatso’s attendant together with another servent named Dudul. Another time we met was when Samten Gyatso was giving the Barom Kagyu empowerments and Tulku Urgyen alternated with another as umdze (chant master). On another occasion he came back with his father, Chimey Dorje, his brothers Pema Jigmé and Tenzin Dorje. They all came and it was during this time that I became good friends with Tulku Urgyen.
CTF: Could Rinpoche please tell us what Kyabje Tulku Urgyen was like at that time?
Rinpoche: I was really young, just a kid, and Tulku Urgyen was young too. He seemed to become quite fond of me and, you could say he would act as my babysitter. He was very skilled in different games, we would carve wood together and make drawings and masks. He was quite adept at these sorts of things, so he would distract me by playing with me. Sometimes he would run around with me on his shoulders. His brother, Tendzin Dorje, wasn’t interested in playing any games at all, he would just stay by himself and never do anything, so I never got close to him. But Tulku Urgyen was much more playful.
CTF: Could Rinpoche describe his relationship with the Chokling Tersar and which practice is most wonderful for him?
Rinpoche: First of all, I haven’t been able to bring any practice to completion nor do I feel that I should discriminate between any of the termas of Chokgyur Lingpa – evaluating which one is good and which inferior, not at all. But I did receive all of the Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel in great detail, both the primary empowerments and the subsidiary empowerments and the subsidiary subsidiary empowerments and so forth. During that time Samten Gyatso told me that among the twelve manifestations of Guru Rinpoche there is one called Dzutrul Tuchen, Great Power of Miracles, about which he said, “This is your destined deity to dispel obstacles, so you should practice it.” I followed his advice but later all of a sudden while I was sitting and memorizing, I was still quite young, my tutor had gone to do circumabulations, and I was just sitting there trying to repeat what I had learned by heart earlier in the day, when all of a sudden I opened my eyes and there was Samten Gyatso with his attendant Dudul who had a tray with all the empowerment articles. They simply walked in, my tutor hadn’t returned yet, but Samten Gyatso said, “I already prepared for the empowerment, I have done the preparation and now it has to be given.” While I was arranging their seats etc. my tutor came back and Samten Gyatso said, “I am going to give the tulku,” meaning me, “his empowerment.” This was the empowerment of Sangtik Phurba, the Vajrakilaya of the Secret Essence which was one of Chokgyur Lingpa’s termas. It occurred to me that there must be some kind of sudden obstacle and that Sangtik Phurba would be the practice or blessing through which this obstacle could be dispelled. Later, after Samten Gyatso had given the empowerment, my tutor asked him, “Why didn’t you give it to all the monks in the monastery?” To which Samten Gyatso replied, “No, no it’s just for the tulku, this is enough.” Then he said to me, “If you can you should practice this daily without break, or at least for one month without break.” Since then I have practiced it everyday my entire life until now.
In addition to this I also did the Rakasha Totreng recitation and the Ngensong Dongdruk from the New Treasures, but only a minimum number of recitations. I have also done the Trinley Nyingpo, as well as the Samten Phurba, the extensive version of the Sevenfold Profundity of Vajrakilaya.
CTF: Thank you Rinpoche.
Rinpoche: I have met a lot of great masters in my lifetime, but the one whom I treasure in my heart and whom I have the deepest respect and devotion is Samten Gyatso. The last teaching I received from Samten Gyatso, just before he passed away, was the terma of Guru Chowang [Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s previous incarnation ed.] called Lama Sangdu, The Secret Assemblage of the Guru.
CTF: Rinpoche many people receive our newsletter and your story is very inspiring and will probably help many people find inspiration to practice the dharma.
Rinpoche: Very good. Thanks a lot.
Note: Samten Gyatso is the root Guru of Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Our field reporter was Erric Solomon.
The interview was translated by Erik Pema Kunsang. Transcribed by Michael Tweed.
Appeared in Chokling Tersar Times, 1999