Since the time of Buddha Shakyamuni and Padmasambhava, accomplished masters in an unbroken lineage of have handed down instructions on how to transform human life into the path of enlightenment. The style of instruction focusing on pithy, practical advice is known as the Practice Lineage.
One branch of this Practice Lineage passes through the great master Chokgyur Lingpa, an emissary of Padmasambhava, to dispel the darkness of this age with well-timed revelations known as terma. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his sons are among the chief holders of this lineage. His oldest son, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche is the seventh incarnation of Gar Drubchen, and among his other principal teachers are His Holiness Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
It was with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s blessings and through his expressed wish that in 1994 the search began for a place in the West for the practice of this tradition. Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s vision is of a place where many teachers will come to instruct and where people from Europe and America can apply the teachings in retreat.
Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé
We now joyfully announce the acquisition of the newly purchased retreat land.
Through Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s vast aspiration and many people’s support, financial and otherwise, a suitable place for retreat was acquired. Right in the heart of Denmark, it is located on the peninsula of Helgenæs, Headland of Saints, one of the most picturesque areas of the country, an hour by car from Århus.
The land consists of almost 45 acres of a beautiful, varied landscape with many fruit trees, ponds and rolling hills. The fields have not been cultivated for years and appear wild and uncontrived. To the east is a panoramic view over the sea, just a half mile away. In all directions the sky appears as a natural companion to the landscape.
Due to the numerous apple trees Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche chose to call the place the Fruit Land. Its local name is Tornbjerggaard, Thorn Mountain Farm. According to tradition, a spiritual site is named in an auspicious way. Rinpoche chose Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé, the Retreat Land of Self-Existing Wakefulness.
The land was formally acquired on the anniversary day of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, June 13, 1995.
A treasure vase, containing special blessings from Padmasambhava, was kindly consecrated by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche to be placed on the retreat land for the purpose of increasing prosperity and positive conditions for the spiritual community.
Rangjung Yeshe Foundation
Out of respect for the generous contributions from devoted students and combined with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s sense of responsibility for the future, it was decided to establish the Rangjung Yeshe Foundation as the formal owner of the estate. A foundation in Denmark is governed by special rules to ensure accountability and appropriate use of funds.
The foundation is managed by a board of directors consisting of five members chosen by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche: Erik Hein Schmidt, Thomas Doctor, Mads Julius Nielsen, Andreas Doctor, and a lawyer appointed by the advocate council. The managing director of the retreat place will be Inge-Lisbeth Sørensen.
The fulfillment of Rinpoche’s vision would be a spiritual environment including the following:
Rooms and huts for individual retreats.
Accommodations for a resident teacher, qualified to guide people through the course of practices corresponding to the traditional three-year retreat.
Facilities for larger seminars, group retreats and teachings.
A shrine hall housing the representations of the buddhas’ body, speech and mind: statues, sacred texts, and relics.
A study program of classic Buddhist texts under the direction of an qualified teacher.
A translation committee to translate and publish books.
In the future, a Danish style high-school for adult education offering courses in Buddhist philosophy and culture, Tibetan studies, cross-cultural programs, and the like.
An elder care facility and hospice for the dying according to Buddhist principles.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche once said, “helping to built a hut for someone to practice gives more merit than offering the entire billionfold universe filled with gold and precious stones to all the buddhas. The reason is that buddhahood is attained through meditation practice, not by merit alone.”
Since the time of the Buddha, it is the tradition that temples, statues and so forth have been erected through the good-will and pure aspirations of benefactors. Accordingly, as funds come in, Rinpoche’s vision can unfold further.