Master, you have seen the sharp downpour of negativity
upon our world and all that is - upon myself and others -
in these impossibly dark times and felt its effect.
And you embraced a yogic lifestyle of humble non-doing,
roaming in lonesome places and isolated retreats,
sustained without companions, alone.
Then like a stream flowing day and night,
your thoughts and perceptions became unending wisdom,
where meditation and post-meditation are equal and complete
and everything, you savor as a single taste.
Beloved master, please, know me fully!
- Chatral Sangye Dorje
Chatral Sangye Dorje (1913-2015) was a self-arisen buddha. Born into a nomad family in Nyarong in eastern Tibet, a land known for its bandits and great meditators, Chatral attained realization in one lifetime by following the swift path of the Great Perfection. Never officially recognized as a tulku or reincarnated master, he demonstrated the potency of the heart essence teachings of the Nyingma School by awakening through the precious oral instructions of his lineage masters. In the manner of a carefree renunciant, Chatral spent more than half of his life in retreat, wandering Tibet’s wilds, and later, reveling in pure mountain sanctuaries and sacred places in Nepal, India and Bhutan.
Sera Khandro Dewai Dorje (1892-1940) and Khenpo Ngakchung (1879 -1941) were two of Chatral’s most important teachers. He directly received the nectar of their transmissions and then skillfully internalized the crucial key points through practice experience. He spent six years at Nyoshul Monastery with Khenpo Ngakchung and clarified all doubts, uprooting confusion from its root. Thereafter, he spent the remainder of his life deepening the realization that had already dawned, in unfabricated, open, and effortless ease.
Chatral held fourteen different Nyingma lineages in their entirety, including those of Dudjom Lingpa, Sera Khandro, Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje and the Longchen Nyingtik. He practiced each from its beginning stages all the way through to the advanced practices, culminating with the Great Perfection. He was a perfect Vajra Master, qualified in every way.
He taught through direct and personal oral instructions, often just a few words, that powerfully illuminated the truth of the absolute nature of reality. He never traveled to the West, and was completely free from spiritual materialism. The majesty of his authenticity touched all connected with him, even in just a single meeting.
As high as his view, Chatral was equally profound in ethical conduct. He championed a vegetarian lifestyle and devoted enormous material and physical resources to the practice of saving lives. While his great compassion for beings was unbiased, he especially cared for humble and simple people and loved animals. He was at home everywhere, perhaps happiest tenting in the pure elements of Guru Rinpoche’s Himalayan hidden lands.
Chatral and Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje had a special connection. They were students and teachers to each other. In actuality, their connection was beyond the domain of ordinary comprehension. Since their deep spiritual bond transcends the confines of a single lifetime, Chatral recognized and took full responsibility for Dudjom Rinpoche Sangye Pema Shepa. The blessings of his legacy are unfathomable. Chatral’s teachings and exemplary life live on as a wellspring of wisdom and inspiration for future generations.