The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche Writes for The Washington Post.

Via Reverend Danny Fisher
on Apr 12, 2010
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My wonderful Naropa University prof The 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Karma Sungrap Ngedon Tenpa Gyaltsen, whom I previously produced a little biography for here, writes today for The Washington Post‘s On Faith section.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Photo by Meryl Schenker for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Check it out:

ponlop rinpoche


About Reverend Danny Fisher

Rev. Danny Fisher, M.Div., D.B.S. (Cand.), is a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West in Rosemead, CA. He was ordained as a lay Buddhist minister by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California in 2008. In addition, he is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International. A member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, he serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. In addition to his work for elephant journal, he is a blogger for Shambhala Sun. He has also written for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Religion Dispatches, The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, The Journal of Religion & Film, Eastern Horizon, New York Spirit, Alternet's Wiretap Magazine, and other publications. His award-winning website is


17 Responses to “The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche Writes for The Washington Post.”

  1. Alli says:

    Wonderful piece! Thank you!

  2. Hi, Greg.

    From all the many rich discussions you and I have had about Buddhism, I would say confidently that your ideas about Buddhism are diametrically opposed to Ponlop's.

    I'm with him on this one.

    Ponlop correctly states that the Buddha had a lot more in common with the ancient Yoga sages than he does with the elaborate and rigid Buddhist religions that were created in his name, which is not surprising, really, because that's exactly what he was, an ancient Yoga sage!

    What could be more clear than the title, "The Buddha wasn't a Buddhist"? Ponlop means it!

    Bob Weisenberg

  3. Greg says:

    And then there are all the other wonderful discussions that are prompted by the article.

    What is a Buddhist? What is a Buddha?

    And what does Ponlop REALLY mean?

    Not to mention the rich discussion about the nature of the ancient yoga sages…

    We need to find a sponsor who will underwrite our conversation as it will take some time and effort.

  4. Greg says:

    Hey, Bob, did I mention my yoga teacher was better than your yoga teacher? : >))

  5. Ben Tremblay says:

    My teacher's such a cool cat he don'need to do yoga! ;-^

  6. "Is not"
    "Is too"
    "Is not"
    "Is too"

  7. Ben Tremblay says:

    I hear tea is good for cooling the mind.


  8. My Teacher is "That" (the entire universe.)

    As it says in the ancient Yoga texts, "I am That".

    Therefore I am my own teacher.

  9. Ben Tremblay says:

    Some might make reference to "the Guru within" … too precious for me.
    I like the notion of "each of us, a sage general". I came up with that after a workshop with the translation team for the Shambhala edition of Sun Tzu.
    As Rinpoche pointed out: thinking for ourselves.

  10. No, not the "the Guru within", but the "Guru everywhere, within and without". Not "I am This", but "I am That".

    To me, not precious at all, rather far and away the most central and profound message of ancient Yoga. Absorbing this one simple cosmic truth towers above all other experience and learning.

  11. Ben Tremblay says:

    I know why I said "no" to "Guru within" … because it sounded too precious.

    Why did you? Do you know?

  12. Sorry, Ben. Might have misunderstood your comment. I thought you were referring to my previous comment as saying "the Guru within", but looking back you don't really say I said that, rather that "some might make reference…" I was just trying to clarify my previous comment.

    Clearly I say "no" to "Guru within" simply because it's infinitely too narrow.

    Let me know if I'm still not understanding. Trading brief comments has its limitations!

  13. Ben Tremblay says:

    Sure, Bob, all good, I'm sure we're basically on the same page.

    I appreciate the poetry of ecstasy (Do you read Rumi?) but sometimes folk use language that (seems to me) amounts to huge claims of accomplishment and realization … can get to be a habit, that.

  14. I'm with you there. To me spirituality is Einsteinian wonder about things we can't understand, not pretending to know a great deal about things we do not. See Albert Einstein as Yoga Sage

  15. Robert J. Bullock says:

    Thinking for ourselves, hard. Honest with ourselves, even harder. Ponlop Rinpoche has challenged my assumptions about who or what I am time and time again. For that I'm grateful. He's also helped me not feel so bad about being a fairly lousy practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. I'm trying to absorb the essence, but the packaging sometimes mystifies me and feels so very alien. Rinpoche recognizes that in a lot of us, I think, and is taking steps to bridge the cultural gaps like nobody before him.

    He is a brilliant and lovely man that I am so happy to have connected with. The message I hear is: you investigate, you decide, you are fully capable of doing these things. You're free already, just realize it!

  16. my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insight at the end there, not leave it with 'we leave it to you to decide'.

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