Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Greetings

Winter Greetings from Alameda and Happy New Year to everyone.

Lama Chonam, Sangye Khandro and students are all attending the Rinchen Terdzod Empowerments being bestowed by the Venerable Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche at Gyatrul Rinpche's center Yeshe-Nyingpo-Orgyen Dorje Den in the Bay Area. The empowerments commenced on December 1st and we are now almost one month into this experience. The schedule is set to last until about February 19th of 2011. Each day the empowerments begin at 1pm and continue until about 6pm or longer. For more information about them you can go to the Orgyen Dorje Den website (

Kyabje Dudjom established this center in 1980 and then appointed the Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche as his spiritual representative. It was Kyabje Rinpoche's wish that the center host masters from all traditions and operate in an ecumenical way. Over the years Gyatrul Rinpoche and Sangye Khandro along with many students who came and went sustained the center as best as they could. Finally, in 2001 Rinpoche was able to acquire the present center which had been a prominent mortuary in the heart of downtown Alameda. Since that time the center has hosted countless important events, in particular the teachings that are given each year by Khen Rinpoche Namdrol and translated by Light of Berotsana.

The empowerments that are presently being bestowed are also being translated by Light of Berotsana and, as of about one week ago, Shashi Reitz has been able to take the hot seat and begin doing the oral translation on her own. Sangye Khandro is seated at her side and is coaching her along as she makes great strides each day. This is one of the important goals of Light of Berotsana that is actually maturing before our very eyes and ears! After two more months of this Shashi will have arrived at another level of oral translation skill.

Each day it is necessary to prepare by reviewing the empowerment texts and reading the history of each empowerment, then to look through the sections and mark where the repetitions will occur and the specific visualizations that each attendee is required to perform. From time to time the Rinpoche will also give pointing-out instructions. We are grateful for this opportunity to learn and serve the doctrine as well as the many beings who are attending these wangs and soaking up the blessings.

So for the next two months this is where you will find us and in our spare time we are working on the Troma liturgy and waiting for the the Dispelling Darkness and Gesar of Ling manuscripts to return to our court for the final once over.

Finally we want to say that all of us are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of the most venerable Gene Smith who recently passed away. For more information on that you may go to the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center website ( in case you did not know who this great man was and what his legacy is. May this New Year see the fruition of all of our deepest wishes and goals.

Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall greetings!

Warmest fall greetings to our friends and colleagues. Fall has brought changes and also completion for Lama Chonam and I as we have been able to practically complete two of the main translation projects that we have been consumed by for many years. One is the Epic of Gesar of Ling which we began working on with Robin Kornman in the fall of 1995. Hence this project has spanned nearly two decades to reach completion. The manuscript is now with Shambhala Publishing and we will look for this great Epic to appear in book form in August of next year.

The other project is the translation of Longchenpa's masterful commentary to the Guyagharbha Tantra entitled The Thorough Dispelling of Darkness Throughout the Ten Directions. This book includes a full translation of the root tantra followed by the word- by word commentary with the root words embedded and bolded within it. Extensive end notes are included. Lama Chonam and I have been working on this project for the last eight years. During the first four years we received the entire oral commentary from Khen Rinpoche Namdrol and offered the oral translation of this teaching simultaneously to a large gathering of vajrayana disciples. Following the completion of the teachings we were then able to work on the translation of Longchenpa's commentary and consult with Khen Rinpoche particularly one year by traveling to Parping Nepal for that purpose. For the last year we have devoted all of our time to this effort and now with the amazing assistance of our skillful editor and devoted vajra sister Kay Henry have finally sent the manuscript to Snow Lion publications. It is expected to be available in book form sometime this spring.

Words cannot describe to you how it feels to finally have reached this stage with these two lifetime endeavors. Many of you may know that the other two commentaries to the GG tantra, one written by Dodrubchen Tenpai Nyima called Key to the Precious Treasury and the other by Ju Mipham Rinpoche entitled Essence of Clear Light are already published and available through the restricted book section in the Snow Lion catalog. We hope you will take the time to order them and begin the important process of studying their crucial and pithy content.

These translations represent the authentic texts that are studied by our own masters and the information that allows a vajrayana aspirant the opportunity to understand how to appreciate and actually practice this profound path. They are not written to be an easy read or for entertainment nor will they be books that you can just sit down and pour through. With the root tantra coming out in English this will be invaluable for the study of all three commentaries each of which has it's own particular emphasis and benefits.

As for our translation plans to follow, many of you may know that we had published several translations of Heruka Dudjom Lingpa's Chod teachings corresponding to Dakini Troma Nagmo. These books are now out of print and so we will rework the translations and in the case of one of them, Sole Essence of Clear Light, we will include additional liturgies and commentary that are crucial to the six month Troma togal retreat practice. Hence the completed book will include everything that a practitioner should need to engage in that retreat. These books will be published by our own Kama-Terma publishing through the kindness and sponsorship of our dear vajra brother David Bolduc of the Boulder Book store. Stay tuned for more updates as to the timing of these translations.

In the immediate future we plan to attend the Rinchen Terdzod Empowerments in Alameda scheduled to begin on December 1st of this year. I will offer the oral translation to start out but it is our hope that the illustrious Shashikala Reitz will be able to take over and carry the load as they say for the duration of the empowerments. It is important training for Shashi and besides that she will do an awesome job.

That is the update for now. I would like to close by expressing our deepest gratitude to our generous sponsors and volunteers who allow us the dignity to continue serving the dharma and all of you by devoting all of our time to the translations. We can never thank you enough for your what you are doing. Please join us on this blog as we would welcome any feedback or communications that have to do with these projects or any other thoughts you all may have,

in the dharma,
Sangye Khandro

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New donations page

This new donation page is amazingly SIMPLE...even for me. Thank you, to all who made this happen. Now I can easily contribute on a regular basis through the "recurring membership" option. Also, I am happy to know that my donations go directly to the translators, because all other support is provided by volunteers.

I do not speak or understand Tibetan, and so I have long been aware of the importance of the work of the Tibetan/English translators. They enable me to understand the profound teachings. These beautiful Lotsawas transmit the subtleties of the Dzogchen, non-conceptual methods with words I comprehend! I depend on them and wish to support them my entire life.

With gratitude to Sangye Khandro, Lama Chonam, Chris Monson and Sean Price. And thank you to the guidance and care of David, Mukara, John and Scott. May all sentient beings benefit over many lifetimes until samsara is completely exhausted.

(Light of Berotsana has just converted to a new and easy to use payments system.  The website has a link to donations and memberships on the Support Us page).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Recent photos from teachings at ODD

These photos include our new translators, Chris Monsoon and Sean Price

Chris Monson and Sean Price join Light of Berotsana

Light of Berotsana is delighted to announce two new members to our team of translators. Chris Monson has graciously and enthusiastically agreed to join forces and she and Lam Chonam have already begun working together to help her complete the biography of Sera Khandro that she has been working on. Since Chris lives in Nepal they join together through Skype and have the same experience as if they were in the same room.

The other new colleague is Sean Price who is absolutely fluent in Tibetan and also spends most of his time living in Nepal and Asia. Sean is also working for Tsadra Foundation and so at this time he joins LoB not as a full time member but as a colleague who will work together with the translators on particular projects. Sean also serves as an adviser for the group.

Neither one of these highly qualified and wonderful practitioners needs to accept financial support from LoB's dedication to producing quality translations in a timely manner.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2008 Conference of Translators

In 2008 over 140 translators gathered in Boulder, Colorado USA, for three days of provocative dialogue among peers regarding such topics as excellence in translation; language issues and dilemmas; personal projects and research; translation resources and technology; training, and mentorship. There was additional discussion and focus on safeguarding the future of translation of Tibetan texts to English in the West. The Conference was a deeply meaningful and joyful event.

Videos featuring Dzigar KongtrĆ¼l Rinpoche, Jeffrey Hopkins and Alak Zenkar Rinpoche can be seen below:

Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche, 9/26/2008

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, 9/27/2008

Alak Zenkar Rinpoche, 9/27/2008 session I

Alak Zenkar Rinpoche, 9/27/2008 session II