Talk Categories Tibetan Culture | Talk Locations Columbia University

A Contemporary Rimé Movement Among Tibetan Buddhists

Khenpo Sodargye explains why the nonsectarian Rimé Movement, as it stems out of Buddhism, is an essential ingredient in the search for tolerance and world peace in today’s dangerous world. The message of Rimé—unity within diversity—is our only true hope for the future.


“I believe that in the 21st century, with all the religions that exist in the world, it is essential to awaken to this spirit, which is none other than the spirit of Rimé.”

Speech from Khenpo Sodargye

A Contemporary Rimé Movement Among Tibetan Buddhists

Introduction by Professor Annabella Pitkin

Let me begin by introducing myself, then I’ll say just a few words about our program and our most distinguished guest, who we are so happy to have here with us today.

My name is Annabella Pitkin. I am a visiting assistant professor in the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures program at Barnard. My own work is primarily on 19th and 20th century Tibetan intellectual history. So for me, this is a very exciting visit, since we have here today a particularly prominent and important figure in the contemporary history of Tibetan Buddhism.

Columbia has a very long history of studying Tibetan materials in various settings within Columbia’s Department of Religion, and also in the modern Tibetan Studies programs. So it is wonderful to have so distinguished a visitor as Khenpo Sodargye here with us today. He is one of the leading figures in the Tibetan Buddhist renaissance that is taking place within contemporary Tibetan culture.

Khenpo Sodargye was born in Kham in 1962 and was ordained as a monk in 1985. He has written more than 100 books on the subject of Buddhism and has over one million followers on his Chinese language account on Weibo. He is very active in both charitable work and academic activities. He is presently based in eastern Tibet at the Larung Gar Monastic Center, which has played a vital and exciting role in the revitalization of Tibetan Buddhism as it is a place where Buddhist students from many different backgrounds have gathered together to study. Tonight’s talk is a chance to be with one of the great living masters of Buddhism in the modern world, who has trained as both a scholar and a practitioner.

So without further ado, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Khenpo Sodargye.

Impression on Columbia University

As a guest here today at Columbia University, I’m very happy to have this opportunity to meet with professors and students who are interested in Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism, and to exchange ideas about the Rimé movement in Tibetan Buddhism. I’m humbled and delighted to have the opportunity to discuss this topic with you.

Although it’s my first time here at Columbia, it is not my first time to New York, as I visited this city about 20 years ago. Today, when the professors showed me around the campus and I saw the many magnificent buildings, including the library, I thought how fortunate it is for professors and students from different nations to be able to work and study in such a wonderful environment. I was not surprised to learn that during its history 98 students from Columbia University have gone on to become Nobel laureates. Students from every country in the world, regard Columbia as an unparalleled university, which embodies a free and open learning spirit.

Today, in this same spirit, my hope is that we can learn from each other. Although we are from different countries, we have all been studying Tibetan Buddhism for a long time or hold a great passion for it on many levels, so this is a very good opportunity for me as well as for all of you. My talk today concerns the Rimé Movement in Tibetan Buddhism, which is a movement that is also known as “nonsectarianism.” The first part of my talk will address this subject. Then I’ll talk about the nonsectarian philosophy in relation to other Buddhist schools and finally, touch on how the essence of Tibetan Buddhism can be seen in the effort to maintain a Rimé spirit toward all other religions. These are the three main points I wish to share with you today.

Background on the Rimé Movement

At the end of the 19th century, as is historically recorded, the Rimé Movement was initiated because of the great number of religious traditions that existed at that time in Tibet; these included the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug, Bonpo, Jonang and others. Rimé was primarily propagated by leaders like Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo from the Nyingma school, Jamyang Loter Wangpo from the Sakya school, Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche from the Kagyu school, Nyak Kunzhang Chodrak from the Gelug school, along with others who all supported this movement. Although each school held different views, they all agreed that it was essential to spread the idea of nonsectarianism and founded what is known as the Rimé Movement.

Generally speaking, as many of you who have been to Tibet for research know, a variety of schools and traditions continue to exist in Tibet, but from the Buddhist perspective, the great masters of all these schools are all emanations of one and the same presence. As the great master Panchen Lobsang Chokyi, the 4th Panchen Lama, once said, “The lord of great saints, Padmasambhava, whose emanation is the glorious Dipamkara Shrijnana, and again whose emanation is Tsongkhapa, I have no refuge other than you.”

Padmasambhava is, of course, the founder of Ngagyur Nyingma, while in the later period, Peerless Lord Atisha propagated the Dharma again. After that, Lord Tsongkhapa carried Buddhism forward even more widely. Although they appeared as three different masters, actually, their emanations share the same basis. Following this understanding, we can see that the masters of many schools, such as the Jonang, are also the emanations of this same essence. Many great scholars agree on this and have validated reasons for this acknowledgment, but unfortunately, we don’t have the time to explore this topic here.

Rimé was primarily propagated by leaders like Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo from the Nyingma school, Jamyang Loter Wangpo from the Sakya school, Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche from the Kagyu school, Nyak Kunzhang Chodrak from the Gelug school, along with others who all supported this movement. Although each school held different views, they all agreed that it was essential to spread the idea of nonsectarianism and founded what is known as the Rimé Movement.

Benefits of Practicing Tibetan Buddhism

The Essential Seed of Rimé

Although there are a variety of schools in Tibet, the essence of the Dharma is not different. The Nyingma’s, Finding Comfort and Ease in the Nature of the Mind; the Gelug’s, Lamrim Chen Mo and The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra, the Kagyu’s, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, the Sakya’s The Instruction of Three Visions and Three Tantras and the Jonang’s The Ocean of Definition of Mountain Doctrine: by studying and examining these treatises carefully, you will find that although Buddhism in Tibet was established as many different schools, the ultimate essence of the Dharma remains the same. Understanding this will also deepen your confidence in its teachings. I’ve spent many years on Buddhist study, and have a profound conviction in my heart that in the Land of Snows, the ultimate and essential meaning of the Dharma is the same across all of these traditions.

Some of you may follow Nyingma practice, or Gelug practice, or other traditions, and this is acceptable. However, we should not hold onto sectarian views, as this can only lead to long-term irreversible damage, and what’s more, at some point, your practice will undoubtedly encounter larger spiritual obstacles. So we should treat every school equally to develop a deep conviction in the Buddha’s immaculate wisdom. This is extremely crucial.

Some people refer to Nyingma as the Red Hat sect, Gelug as the Yellow Hat sect, Sakya as the Multiple-Colored sect, Bonpo as the Black Hat sect and so on. The different schools are sometimes named in this way. In Tibet, however, they’re interpreted in quite another way.

Once Patrul Rinpoche went to a monastery and was asked, “Do you wear a red or yellow hat?”

Rinpoche answered, “Neither a red nor a yellow hat, I only have this one.” He pulled out a faded hat. The questioner thought the difference between an old and a new school just depended on hat color, so he asked the same question again.

Rinpoche’s answer was this, “A faded hat stands for the great union of all.”

As Buddhism is flourishing today in Tibet, all of the great Dharma masters emphasize the importance of nonsectarianism. Lord Tsongkhapa stated the four kinds of greatness in the Lamrim as such: “The greatness of enabling one to know that all of the teachings are free of contradiction; the greatness of enabling one to understand that all of the scriptures are instructions for practice; the greatness of enabling one easily to find the Conqueror’s intent; and the greatness of enabling one to refrain automatically from great wrongdoing.” These are profound pith instructions.

While I believe that the theoretical study of Tibetan Buddhism is important, to remain at this level is not sufficient. In Tibetan Buddhism, there are many types of practice, but we can only attain realization if we combine practice with theoretical study. Nowadays some people focus only on theoretical study and thus can neither develop an understanding of the profound meaning of the Dharma or the supreme behavior of enlightenment, nor can they achieve a true conviction towards the Dharma for themselves.

Benefits of Practicing Tibetan Buddhism

These days, many people, whether they are American or European, have mastered the Tibetan language and are also studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism. This pleases me profoundly. Why am I so glad about this? It is because I have also been studying Tibetan Buddhism and as I have received such great benefits from my many years of study, it’s my wish that you will also receive these great benefits. As an antidote to all the chaotic things going on these days, the lineage and blessings of Tibetan Buddhism can bring us peace and happiness. So I’m really happy for all of you because I believe that anyone who learns the Dharma will undoubtedly attain benefit.

Although I’m not a great or wise man, even as a simple Buddhist practitioner, the Dharma has brought me many benefits and I believe the same will be true for all of you. This is my first point.

Larung Gar: Contemporary Rimé at Work

Secondly, concerning Buddhism’s linguistic lineage, over time, the language of Buddhism has been translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan and Chinese. The texts that have been translated into Tibetan form the basis of what is called Tibetan Buddhism, which is also very popular in the Mongolian regions, while the lineage of Northern Buddhism is preserved very well in the Han areas, where it particularly thrives, and in Japan as well. Finally, the lineage of the Pali translations is known as Southern Buddhism and has spread to Thailand and its neighboring countries. As we consider Southern, Northern and Tibetan Buddhism, we should accept these three major lineages in a nonsectarian manner as, in fact, they all represent the traditions of Buddhism.

The great scholars and masters, both at home and abroad in the 20th century, propagated the Rimé Movement to advocate nonsectarianism. When talking about the Rimé Movement, some, who claim that they support nonsectarianism, never put their words into action and may even reject other schools or monasteries.

More than 10 years ago in Sertar, at our Larung Gar Five Sciences Buddhist Academy, H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche built a mandala. Inside there are shrine rooms dedicated to both Southern and Northern Buddhism; there are statues of the monk Ji Gong and Maitreya of the Han tradition, and statues of the Buddha and Shravaka of Southern Buddhism. We also built chapels for eight other Tibetan schools; for the Bonpo school, we placed Shenrab Miwoche’s statue, which is considered quite controversial. We have included the Northern, Southern and Tibetan traditions of Buddhism, and built more than ten cohesive shrine rooms in a way that is in keeping with their traditions.

This is what I refer to as an ideal symbol of Rimé. We don’t just provide lip service, but rather we built these shrine rooms for people to make offerings, to freely circumambulate and to prostrate. I think that this embodies the true spirit of the Rimé Movement, which should not just be one of the superficial appearances, for indeed, all of these schools carry the Buddha’s message.

The Buddha said: “Do not commit any evil, cultivate virtue, and tame your own mind, this is the Buddha’s teaching.” He taught people to avoid all evil deeds and instead to employ wholly virtuous deeds while taming one’s mind without getting distracted. These are the teachings of the Buddha. So we could say that Buddhism is a religion as well as a form of education. The nature of the Buddhist teachings is primarily one of education, and within that context, they can be said to exist in the realm of science as well.

Similarly, in the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters, the Buddhist teachings are described using the metaphor of honey; it states that as honey is sweet from the outside to the inside, the Dharma is able to meet every person’s needs. Similarly, the Sutra of the Wise and the Foolish describes it as water, in the sense that water is essential to support the physical body. Some may think that Buddhist teachings are just for certain groups of people, but to me, this is a narrow-minded notion.

As far as the three major traditions are concerned, almost every follower of Chinese Buddhism is an advocate of vegetarianism and emphasizes compassion for sentient beings, while the followers of Southern Buddhism emphasize pure precepts and uphold them based on the practice of renunciation. Tibetan Buddhism emphasizes teaching, debating and writing, which are characteristics that are unique among the different traditions.

In light of such diversity, we should learn about the unique features of each tradition and of each school. As I’ve always said, medicine has the same effect whether produced in the West, in the East, in Tibet, in India or anywhere else. Consequently, it can be said that there is no doubt that it benefits our individual and our collective health. This is a fact that is equally acknowledged by everyone. Similarly, all the different Buddhist traditions can cure the afflictions of the mind. It is in this respect that we emphasize the Rimé spirit; all of us should reflect on this goal.

If this spirit is ultimately accepted by most religions in the world, then people of different beliefs, whether they are scholars or leaders, can sit together to communicate and learn from each other, which is essential to world peace and to the welfare of humanity as a whole.

How Can Rimé Spirit Contribute to Religious Harmony

How Can Rimé Spirit Contribute to Religious Harmony?

Thirdly, I believe that by embracing the Rimé spirit, Buddhism and other religions can maintain a harmonious relationship. Speaking in general terms, religion in the West, is primarily dominated by Christianity and Judaism, whereas, in other countries, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are very popular. Nevertheless, all these religions can solve our spiritual problems and bring us inner peace.

By the same logic, consider how America is a nation with a wide variety of religious beliefs, and nearly all of its people—from the average Joe to the President—have their own religious beliefs to which they feel very devoted. In this, I deeply rejoice and feel overjoyed. In light of this, according to Tibetan Buddhism, it is unreasonable to exclude other religions and other points of view. As required by the 6th of the 14 root Tantric vows, the exclusion of your own tradition or other traditions is a root downfall of samaya. So it is important for all religions to find harmony with each other and thus have the opportunity to learn from each other.

From my point of view, every religion has its own unique features. Those who don’t hold any religious belief may not easily restrain their behaviors and may accept the doing of bad deeds as a matter of course. On the contrary, if one is immersed in a religion, one will generate the traits of a good person, because any major religious belief can guide one towards profound kindness. In light of this, I believe that in the 21st century, with all the religions that exist in the world, it is essential to awaken to this spirit, which is none other than the spirit of Rimé.

If this spirit is ultimately accepted by most religions in the world, then people of different beliefs, whether they are scholars or leaders, can sit together to communicate and learn from each other, which is essential to world peace and to the welfare of humanity as a whole. In the pursuit of this, we should learn about all holy places, including the shrines and deities of different religions. Furthermore, by studying the texts of other religions, it is without doubt that we will be able to attain great benefit from them.

From this point of view, we may ask, how do we as Tibetan Buddhists treat nonreligious people? Simply put, we should maintain a nonsectarian spirit rather than ask or force them to embrace a belief they don’t hold. According to the Buddha’s teaching, all sentient beings innately possess Buddha nature and have the potential to become buddhas. This means that, not only Buddhists, but everyone, will have the opportunity to study the Dharma sooner or later.

We Must Cultivate the Mind of Compassion

In conclusion, I would like to add that, if we wish to benefit all sentient beings, we must cultivate the mind of compassion. By clinging to a certain religion, whether it be Buddhism or Christianity, your compassion will remain limited and trapped within an invisible sphere. On the other hand, compassion without religious boundaries enables you to completely benefit all sentient beings. This kind of compassion should be integrated into the educational curricula from primary school all the way up to the university level. This is an extremely important consideration, especially for today’s society.

Typically, we human beings possess selfish minds, even though we aren’t always aware of it. We tend to prefer our own religions and criticize others for having different belief systems. However, for the benefit of all sentient beings, I encourage everyone to work hard to help develop universal compassion and to spread the ideology of secular ethics in any way you can. Everyone in the world should make an effort to further this cause as this is precisely the teaching of Buddhism.

So before I wrap up my talk, I want to stress, as I also mentioned at Harvard University, regardless of whether we are scholars, professors or students, the cultivation of altruism is of great importance. Without altruism, even if you have superior skills and abundant knowledge, you will be unable to benefit either yourself or others. But with altruistic intentions along with the kind of knowledge that can be gained at such an elite university, you will be able to extensively benefit all sentient beings. So please integrate your knowledge with altruism and make efforts in this direction. This is my greatest hope.

Finally, I’d like to express my deep appreciation to the professors and students I’ve become acquainted with, and to the host organizations and to those scholars who have shown a keen interest in Tibetan Buddhism and culture, and to everyone else who has invested their precious time to listen to my talk.

Thank you all again. Tashi Delek.

Question & Answer Session

How to Protect Tibetans from Cultural Assimilation


Thank you so much Khenpo for your extremely interesting and thought-provoking talk. I know I have many questions myself percolating in my own mind. And I’m sure all of you do as well. I see a hand over there.

How to Bring Forth Compassion?

Question #1

First of all, I want to thank you for a lovely talk and for coming here. You emphasize the importance of people developing compassion. I want to ask what you think prevents people from developing compassion? What are the roadblocks for developing compassion?

Khenpo Sodargye

The practice of compassion and altruism requires a training of the mind. Accordingly, we should offer help to all beings who might need support and protection.

In Singapore there was once a rather ordinary lady who devoted her entire life to helping unfortunate people. Her name was Xu Zhe, and she lived 113 years. She said, “The earth is my home so helping the needy is my obligation.” Though she was an ordinary lady, her words really touched a lot of people. Whether humans or other sentient beings, everyone wants happiness rather than suffering. Therefore, altruism is a very important concept for everyone to grasp.

Unraveling Rimé — from Larung to Bonpo

Question #2

You are from Larung, Sertar. Can you tell me a little bit about how many people there are from the local area and how many from the outside or other parts?

The second question is about the Rimé Movement of Tibetan Buddhism. There were no different schools when Buddhism first entered Tibet. It has taken root in Tibet for about 1500 years, and different schools have been initiated since then. Through the Rimé Movement, Buddhism has been propagated broadly in the world. But I’m confused about what you said earlier. You mentioned four major traditions and Bonpo. Since Bonpo does not belong to Buddhism, how should we understand this?

Khenpo Sodargye

To answer your first question, we now have approximately 6,000 ordained individuals officially registered at Larung Gar, including people from Serta and other places. There are some people temporarily living there and unregistered. Also many more people will gather there for big Dharma events, but we never count the exact number.

Speaking of nonsectarianism, it does not mean that Nyingma and Gelug are exactly the same. Mainly I’m saying that if you belong to Gelugpa, you should follow your unique tradition. Likewise, if you belong to other schools, you should remain true to your own tradition. I believe that different sects shouldn’t criticize or repulse one another. We shouldn’t do that because every tradition has its unique value and advantages. The understanding of nonsectarianism is crucial in helping to maintain cohesion among all sects.

Throughout history, there has been a lingering controversy as to whether or not Bonpo is Buddhism. From the Buddhist perspective, taking refuge in Shakyamuni Buddha makes you a Buddhist; if you do not, you are not a true Buddhist. So being a Buddhist or non-Buddhist mainly depends on refuge. As far as history is concerned, Bonpo’s teachings are known as being very vast and are credited with many profound doctrines. In every aspect, Bonpo has maintained a respectable presence.

Weibo — Khenpo’s Influence on Social Media

Question #3

Rinpoche, I know that your Weibo has attracted a large number of fans throughout mainland China. I would like to ask why are there so many interested followers? And what kind of influence do you think Weibo brings to you, to Tibetan Buddhism, as well as to Tibetans? What would you say are the residual effects?

Khenpo Sodargye

The word Fen Si is derived from the English word “fan”. As I said before, there might be some inaccurate manipulations on Weibo; I don’t know much about the details.

I share Buddhism and Tibetan culture on my Weibo, and many people seem to enjoy these insights. When I was in Germany a few days ago, I posted a story about a Tibetan, and it was read more than 14 million times. However, I can’t really tell why it is so.

As I said before, on Weibo there are some manipulated data, yet personally for me, it is not necessary to do this. Instead, what is of importance for me is to propagandize such a valuable culture through networks and high tech.


It’s so fascinating. I mean this is one of the reasons why tonight’s topic is so exciting. We are now in a world of new media and this is an opportunity to talk with someone who is exploring what new media can do for something that is over 2,000 years old. So it’s a really interesting historical and cultural moment that we are at. And I thank you for that question. That’s a very interesting question.

How to Protect Tibetans from Cultural Assimilation?

Question #4

First, thank you for coming here to speak with us. I’ve heard at Larung Gar, many Khenpos, such as yourself and Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö, make great efforts to protect and promote Tibetan culture. I want to thank all of you.

Khenpo just mentioned that Buddhists should not disparage or repel other religions. In Buddhism, we do not encourage people of other traditions to follow our own tradition.

Tibetans’ traditional belief is Buddhism. However, today many Tibetans may easily follow other traditions. Such a phenomenon exists at home and abroad. Khenpo, do you have any advice on that, how to avoid such phenomenon, and how to protect these kinds of people?

Khenpo Sodargye

You are quite right. On one hand, we should understand the general world trends and pursue both religious and nonreligious knowledge. It is important to open our minds. On the other hand, however, as I just mentioned, no religious sect should dominate another, for example Gelug versus Nyingma, and so on. We should not do that. Just like in some initiations, we choose our deity by throwing a flower. It mainly depends on your causes and conditions.

Meanwhile, Tibetan youth should carry on their own traditions, such as language, scripts, costumes, and so on. They should not be assimilated by other cultures. It’s important to maintain their own cultural characteristics. His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche once said, “Do not lose your own path, and do not disturb others’ minds.” We should remember this profound teaching. The young people can never be assimilated if they appreciate the value of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture and study them earnestly. Otherwise, without that understanding, one day they will lose the traditions.

During my time here in the US, I’ve found some Tibetans have preserved their identities very well, while others have lost the traditions of language and culture, and are not different from Americans.

What Can the Modern World Learn from the Rimé Movement?

What Can the Modern World Learn from the Rimé Movement?

Question #5

Khenpo-La, thank you very much for coming all the way from Tibet. You spoke about the secular values of Buddhism, such as compassion, and it seems like a very individual practice. But I’m wondering specifically about the Rimé Movement. Since there’s such a rich history of the process it’s taken, and it’s a lot about understanding and creating dialogue, I’m wondering if that could also be a contribution that Tibetan Buddhism can make to the modern world in solving very difficult challenges in the secular public life in terms of war, politics, and things like that. So what do you think we can learn from the Rimé Movement and the process? Not necessarily the content of Buddhism, but rather the process of creating more understanding in the world. Thank you.

Khenpo Sodargye

Today people talk about the global village. Regardless of economy, politics, and democracy, everything is becoming more and more globalized. We Buddhists should not show off our achievements, but rather we should learn extensively. This is the essence of Rimé. Keeping this spirit in our minds, there will be no conflicts or disputes among sects. Thus we can accomplish more meaningful things and achieve temporary and ultimate benefits in this and future lives. This is very necessary. And I believe people of the world will accept the necessity of Rimé more widely in the future, in the 22nd, and 23rd century.

Concerns About Tibetans’ Being Vegetarian

Question #6

First of all, thank you, Khenpo Sodargye for coming here today. My question is I’ve heard that in Tibet there is a movement among farmers and nomads that, because of their belief or other reasons, they are encouraged neither to kill animals nor to eat meat. This is very common in Tibet now. We are from Tibet and very familiar with the cold environment there. So if we don’t eat meat, is it beneficial or harmful to our health? This is my first question.

Also if we don’t kill animals, then indirectly we create an opportunity for other ethnic groups, such as Muslims to make money. They buy animals from us and then sell meat back to us at higher prices. It may happen like this. So do you think the movement of not killing animals and not eating meat can help the development of Tibet in the long run or not? What is your opinion?

Khenpo Sodargye

This is about the issue of abstaining from meat. Many nonreligious people in the world stop eating meat for the sake of their health. Without meat, one can still be very healthy. For instance, pigs and yaks don’t eat meat and they are very strong. On the other hand, various diseases from animals can infect human beings through meat consumption, something that has been proven through scientific research. So I believe that not eating meat will not adversely affect our health, but in fact benefit it. This has been documented in modern medical science.

Whether in Tibet or Han areas, for those of us who are ordained, not killing is a divine and superior discipline because depriving any sentient being of its life causes major suffering, just as being deprived of our own lives brings us immense suffering. That is why killing is considered the most severe karma.

Will the cessation of the killing of livestock cause an economic loss? I don’t think so. For instance, a cargo of 40 to 50 yaks is sold right away. They might make money in the short term, but without farmlands and cattle to sustain a growth economy they will become rather poor in the long run. However, by raising them instead of killing them, they can maintain a more stable income. So killing livestock has unintended consequences and ultimately causes even worse results. So in terms of living conditions, not killing also brings more benefits.

The Future of Rimé in Tibetan Buddhism

Question #7

Thank you, Khenpo. My question is about the Rimé Movement in Tibet as well as the existence of different schools. These have existed with a long history. Do you think the Rimé Movement, as you just mentioned, is supported by high lamas or tulkus from other schools? And how do the ordinary Tibetans regard Rimé? What will be the future of the Rimé Movement in Tibetan Buddhism given the current situation?

Khenpo Sodargye

Speaking of nonsectarianism, in the Kham and Amdo regions of Tibet, most monks, lamas and tulkus agree that nonsectarianism has great meaning for this age. In the Kham area, there are roundtable meetings every year in monasteries, and people from Sakya, Nyingma, Kagyu, Gelug, and Bonpo come together to discuss face to face about how to better study Dharma, how to protect Tibetan culture, and how to promote Tibetan culture and Buddhism. The discussion follows the Rimé spirit exactly. This is of great importance. We’ve had many meetings in the past four or five years, and these discussions have been very fruitful.

Regarding ordinary Tibetan people, many of whom reside near monasteries, according to Tibetan tradition if there are influential masters who support the idea, the majority of ordinary people are also supportive. So there are fewer sectarian disputes. We all believe that the promotion of Tibetan language, scripts and culture is meaningful and culturally enduring. Although there are a few opponents, most people are extremely supportive.

When talking about the future in light of today’s world, if we Tibetans do not spread the Rimé spirit and remain content with the status quo, then Tibetan culture may finally become assimilated into other cultures and religions. We should keep our own tradition and thereby learn from each other. The world then becomes more harmonious. So I believe we should keep pace with the times.



That’s a lovely place for us to wrap up. Please hold your applause for just a short moment. I’d like to ask that after we conclude our program for the evening, if people could just stay seated for a few moments, and give Khenpo a chance to leave. He’s worked very hard. We’ve made him stand up for a long time, and we’ll just give him a chance to exit, and then we’ll all leave the room. So I want to thank everybody who made this wonderful event possible. I think we’ve all learned a tremendous amount and this is a very rich and rewarding discussion. And most of all we’d like to thank Khenpo. Thank you so much! It’s really wonderful to have you here!

Columbia University