There’s no better sign of accomplishment
Than a disciplined mind.
This is true victory for the warrior who carries no weapons.
– Chatral Rinpoche
Kyabje Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, also known as Chetul Sangye Dorje*, is one of the few living disciples of the great master Khenpo Ngagchung and is widely regarded as one of the most highly realized Dzogchen (Zogpachenpo) yogis. In addition to his relationship with Khenpo Ngagchung, Chatral Rinpoche also studied with some of the last century’s most renowned masters, including Dudjom Rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, and the famed dakini Sera Khandro.
Chatral Rinpoche is the heart disciple and Vajra Regent of the late Dudjom Rinpoche and is the chief lineage holder for three main traditions in the Nyingma School: Dudjom Tersar, Sera Khandro and Longchen Nyinthig and in particular the lineage that descends through Jigme Lingpa’s heart son Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu and then on to Patrul Rinpoche (see video).
His greatness was first revealed in the 1930’s when his root teacher Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, author of A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher, told a large assembly that “his realization is no different from mine.” On the recommendation of his teacher, he became the head spiritual master for Regent Reting, the political ruler of Tibet, in 1947. The huge amount of attention drawn to him through this prestigious position was a distraction for his practice, and he soon retreated back to the mountains where he spent the next several years in solitary meditation until he reached the highest state of realization. This is how he acquired the name “Chatral” meaning “hermit”.He traveled from Tibet to Bhutan in 1958 and constructed the first Longchen Nyinthig retreat center outside of Tibet a year later in Sikkim. He
Rinpoche is a ngakpa who has consistently shunned institutional and political involvement, choosing instead whenever possible to live the life of a wandering yogi ceaselessly working to overturn samsara for all sentient beings. For many years in Tibet, Chatral Rinpoche meditated alone in caves and was renowned as a realized yogi.
From the outset Rinpoche chose whenever possible always to walk on foot, declining the use a horse. He preferred always to stay in caves, hermitages or in a small tent, never wishing to accept the invitation of wealthy patrons to stay in the their house. Today he stays in his own small place in Parphing Nepal near a sacred site of Guru Padmasambhava who founded Buddhism in Tibet. He is married to Kamala and has two daughters, Tara Devi and Saraswati.
Although he has never traveled to the West, his amazing story and teachings have gradually been infiltrating the Western Buddhist consciousness since Father Thomas Merton first met him in 1968 and famously remarked that he was “the greatest man I ever met.”
Opponent of meat eating
Chatral Rinpoche is one of the most vocal opponents of meat eating in Tibetan Buddhism.
If you take meat, it goes against the vows one takes in seeking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Because when you take meat you have to take a being’s life. So I gave it up.
Source: Compassionate Action, chapter 2
Meat, the sinful food, is not permitted according to the three vows: the vows of individual liberation, the Bodhisattva vows and the tantric vows. Thus Buddha stated: “I have never approved, do not approve, and will never approve of a meat diet.” He declared: “my followers must never eat meat.”
Source: Compassionate Action, chapter 3
Rinpoche considers that becoming a vegetarian can be a gradual path. Many of his students do not eat meat, fish and egg, nor drink alcohol, but some of them do.
There are lamas who eat meat and those who don’t. At my monastery in Tibet there are also lamas who take meat and those who don’t.
Source: Compassionate Action, chapter 2
Chatral Rinpoche also releases large amounts of fish** from the Calcutta fish markets every year (see video recording 2002 and video recording 2004). Rinpoche composed a song about this practise of saving lives, tsethar (Ch: fangsheng): Benefits of Saving Lives
Biography borrowed from http://www.shabkar.org