Home > Events > Receiving the Kangyur and Tengyur


Some projects are meant to happen. Myriad necessary conditions for them fall so easily into place that the entire endeavor feels inevitable. This is how the auspicious arrival of thevKangyur and Tengyur to Sangdo Palri Temple has felt. The Kangyur is a collection of Tibetan texts containing the words of the Buddha in 102 volumes, while the Tengyur is a collection of commentaries, in 225 volumes. Together they form the primary corpus of Buddhist thought, both the roots and branches that have flowered in the centuries since the Buddha walked this earth. This precious collection of texts was donated to MSB by Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, who has worked diligently for many decades preserving, printing and distributing countless Buddhist texts. We are very grateful for his generosity.

On February 5th 2017, the Samten Ling retreatants, and Crestone sangha, gathered for a procession, lead by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dungse Jampal Norbu, and Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, to carry the recently gifted Kangyur and Tengyur texts into the temple to their home in the second floor library.

Once the texts arrived at the Temple, Rinpoche quoted the Buddha, who once said, “One day I will return as writings.” Having the Kangyur, then, is like having the Buddha present in the Sangdo Palri Temple. The commentaries of the Tengyur contain the teachings of the great masters of our lineage, including Nagarjuna, Shantideva and other luminaries of the tradition.

To recount more of the story, Kongtrul Rinpoche wrote a letter to Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche requesting the collection in the fall of 2016. He asked Dungse-la and Elizabeth to deliver it while they were at a conference in California, which was taking place at one of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche’s centers. While delivering a letter sounds simple enough, it was only through a series of auspicious “coincidences” that they were able to pass it along with assurance that it would arrive. Not long after making the request, Rinpoche received word that MSB would indeed be given a set of the Kangyur and Tengyur, but that the texts were in India.

In November 2016, Dungse la led a group of students to India on the Offering and Dana Pilgrimage. On the very day that the group was traveling by bus from Bodhgaya to Varanasi, we received word that the texts were in Sarnath (located just outside of Varanasi), that arrangements for shipping would need to be made, and that perhaps we could go there. The next day Dungse la and a few students went to the Sarnath International Nyingma Institute to meet Tarthang Rinpoche’s daughter Tsering Gellek, who graciously hosted us for lunch and presented the texts – all one thousand pounds of them. Since we were in Varanasi with many MSB students, Tsering invited Dungse-la and the entire group to return the following day, and suggested we do a small ceremony together to transfer the texts and to join them for lunch.

The entire pilgrimage group returned the next day, forming a circle with many of the khenpos who are studying at the Institute, to recite aspiration prayers, to dedicate the merit, and for Dungse-la to formally receive the texts on behalf of MSB.

This was not planned before the MSB pilgrimage departed for India but the timing of the meeting worked out in the most amazing way. It felt like a blessing for us to meet in person and to have a face-to-face exchange. Now it was just a matter of getting the texts shipped to Colorado. After considerable paperwork and many emails, WeChat and WhatsApp exchanges, the shipping was completed. The texts arrived by air in Denver and were transported on their final leg to Crestone and the temple. Dungse Jampal Norbu generously sponsored the cost of shipping.

Rinpoche expressed his deep appreciation for this gift and spoke at length about the significance of such a treasure in the temple. We look forward to making that recording of Rinpoche’s talk available in the near future. The texts are now housed in the cabinets of the second floor library. Many thanks to Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, Tsering Gellek, the staff of Sarnath Institute, Dungse Jampal Norbu, Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, and especially to our teacher, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche for his tireless endeavors to benefit beings.