Dudjom Rinpoche’s Interview about Guru Padmasambhava

The following article appeared in Volume 5 (Winter, 1976) of the Shambhala Review of Books and Ideas, a magazine that was part of Shambhala Publications (unaffiliated with Shambhala International or the Shambhala Sun), a magazine that ran a few issues in the mid 1970’s.

Tibetan Buddhism, Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje (1904–1987)

This interview with Dudjom Rinpoche was conducted by Shambhala Publications’ staff with the assistance of Tulku Sogyal who was present at the time.

Shambhala Review of Books and Ideas Magazine Volume 5 (Winter, 1976)

Shambhala Review

A Guru for Turbulent Times


An Interview with His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche

His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje, is one of the greatest living scholars and tantric masters of Tibetan Buddhism today. His Holiness was born in 1904 in the province of Pemakod in southeastern Tibet and was recognized as the reincarnation of the great Tibetan master and yogi Dudjom Lingpa, who was famous for his discovery of many secret texts which bad been hidden away many centuries before by Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism in the eighth century. He is also the reincarnation of Shariputra, the disciple of the Shakyamuni Buddha and the reincarnation of Khyeuchung Lotsawa, one of the original twenty-five disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. His Holiness is recognized by the Tibetan community as the Guru Rinpoche of our time.

Nyingmapa is the oldest and original school of Tibetan Buddhism. The name itself means “The Ancient Ones.” This School has preserved through an unbroken lineage the highest tantric teachings of the Buddha. These teachings known as Dzogchen or Ati Yoga deal directly with the original nature of mind, and through their practice one can attain liberation in the course of a single lifetime. Dzogchen is transmitted through an oral tradition. His Holiness is the supreme holder of these teachings.

Tulku Sogyal Rinpoche was trained in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet by some of Tibet’s greatest lamas and was raised as a son by the great Jamyang Khyentse. Rinpoche was educated at Cambridge and founded a Dharma center in England. Recently he has been traveling with His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche as interpreter and aide.


Shambhala Publications Staff: I would appreciate your talking about the Dzogchen (rDzog-cben) teachings, or what is known as Ati yoga. Could we begin with some historical background? Does any of the Dzogchen teachings predate Buddhism?

Dudjom Rinpoche: The Buddhist teachings that we know in this age were given to us by Buddha Shakya­muni, the historical Buddha. This is the Buddha­dharma period of Buddha Shakyamuni. However, in actual fact, the Dzogchen teachings originate from Samantabhadra Dharmakaya. They have existed from time immemorial. According to the Dzogchen lineage, there are twelve teachers, or twelve Buddhas. Buddha Shakyamuni is one of these twelve; he was the last to appear.

Sogyal Rinpoche: So in a sense, these teachings do predate the Buddhism that is known today.

Dudjom Rinpoche: Dzogchen teachings have, from time immemorial, been in the Dharmakaya and have been directly transmitted to the Sambhogakaya Buddhas, who have been continuously teaching in the Sambhogakaya field of timeless time. So therefore Dzogchen goes beyond historical time.

Continue reading the interview