It’s time for Ponlop to do as Trungpa did and lose the robes

Picture of Trungpa and Ginsberg from a time when our relationship with our Rinpoches were much more egalitarian minded

“Beware Tibetan Buddhists in robes.”

So says Caroline.

Charlie responds.

“Unless you are in a monastery, of course, and keeping all the vows of a monk as such.”

Caroline adds.

“A rarity among Tibetan Buddhists in the West.”

Caroline continues.

“There are too many of us parading around in robes today that have no business doing so.”

End scene.



Filed under Buddhism

18 responses to “It’s time for Ponlop to do as Trungpa did and lose the robes

  1. Gary

    Camera pans across beautiful rich verdant virgin pine forest eventually settling on a Toyota minivan pulling over at a scenic rest stop.

    The driver steps out, a youthful man of Asian descent appears. Donning a classic plaid fleece button down and worn jeans he takes his cute daughter out of the back seat and joins his wife who is readying a picnic.

    This is the future of mahamudra…

  2. Jackie

    It’s very interesting how much Geshe Michael Roach gets criticized for wearing robes & how little Ponlop Rinp gets criticized for doing the same exact thing.

    • Jackie

      Is it OK for a TIbetan teacher but not for a white teacher?

    • Gary

      I guess it’s a he difference in tradition. GMR is geluk, those folks take the merging of vinaya and physical appearance very seriously.

      DPR is a Nyingma Tulku, there can be wide leeway in that tradition.

      This being the case, it is still confusing to many, and in some cases off-putting to others, which at the end of the day is disservice to the dharma. This is very very unfortunate.

      I think these two blokes are sitting pretty with their name and fame, women and wealth, and high position. Why would they come down to our ordinary level?

  3. tenzin

    I heard many years ago that Trungpa announced that he would not return to this work and not to look for him. He said that if his Tulku was to be found after his parinirvana, then he would surely be a fake. Can anyone corroborate on this?

    • Jackie

      He told his followers not to bother looking for him, since he would be reborn as a Japanese businessman. Of course, his followers didn’t listen.

      • That’s what I heard, too.

        It was Surmang monastery in occupied Tibet that enthroned a Trungpa Yangsi.

        That isn on us.

        It was a purely Tibetan machination.

        Short sighted.


        Let it suffice to say Trungpa never would have put another through what he went through as a child at Surmang monastery.

        • Rob

          Tai Situ Ripoche recognised Choseng Trungpa. Rinpoche is one of the most senior tulkus of the Karma Kagyu tradition. Choseng Trungpa also studied at the Palpung Sherabling Shedra. Rinpoche’s recognition is valid enough for me.

          • Trungpa reincarnated as the nephew of Surmang monastery’s abbot.

            How convenient.

            I think not.

            Reincarnation is a narrative.

            Validity has nothing to do with it.

            The narrative is not plausible.

            • Rob

              Shamarpa was the nephew of the 16th Karmapa. Are you implying that the 16th Karmapa got it wrong or had invested political interests?

              I believe you said before you have taken teachings from the 16th Karmapa.

              Careful careful Bill, you wouldn’t want to put your foot in a big old pile of bad Samaya now would you?

        • yeshe

          Did he recognized Trunga along with these hundreds of Tulkus in 1991 when he met HH Ogyen Trinle as well?

          • I’m not privy to the extent of Situ’s machinations in 1991.

            • yeshe

              me neither but Gyalwang Drukpa complained in private that Situ made some of those hundreds of Karma Kaygü “Tulkus” head of Drukpa Kagyü monasteries… anyway Lama Gendün knew why he only admitted two Tibetans to the monastery he built for the 16th Karmapa in France… He didn’t want business but people practice meditation… all best

    • That’s what we are in the process of disambiguating as such.

      Trungpa returned his robes, as did Traleg Rinpoche, for example.

      Did Ponlop?

      Clearly he stopped being a monk at some point.

      He still appears in robes though.

      What’s up with that?

      I don’t know.

      • Gerd

        Dear Bill, of course he can’t give back his vows as he broke them. Dzongsar and Beru Khyentse wear robes, but those are the robes of a Lama, maybe Ponlop does the same. But I he should be clear about, open and speak about it. All best Gerd

        • But he doesn’t explain why he dresses in robes.

          Traleg Rinpoche would on occasion change into his robes.

          It was for the occasion though.

          Otherwise he would dress in whatever he felt like wearing.

          He walked his dog in a jogging suite I’m told.

          To his neighbors he was just another middle aged Asian guy, an ordinary bloke out and about, living his life.

          Not one of these weirdos that are poised to descend upon poor Wadsworth, IL.

          They Zion would be problematic.

          Thus their choice of Wadsworth for this eyesore of theirs.

          The bloody freaks.

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