Ven. Bokar Rinpoche

1940 - 2004

For the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the practices of Kālacakra are derived from the Jonang tradition, in particular the writings of the great Jonang masters, Dolpopa, Tāranātha, and the more recent Banda Gelek.

Many in the Karma Kagyu tradition practise Kālacakra in one form or another, but the chief Kālacakra lineage holder for the Karma Kagyu was Bokar Rinpoche. He passed away on Tuesday 17th August 2004, on the way to hospital from his monastery in Mirik.

He inherited the mantle of Kālacakra lineage holder from the previous Kalu Rinpoche, who passed away in 1989.

The perfection process meditations of Kālacakra are known as the six yogas. More widely known are the six dharmas (or, doctrines) of Nāropa, sometimes misleadingly called the six yogas of Nāropa. The two systems are quite different, but they are both sets of perfection process meditations. The six dharmas of Nāropa are based on the methods of the Cakrasamvara Tantra, and the six yogas are based on the Kālacakra Tantra.

Largely because of the difficulty of finding the necessary texts, before he passed away, Kalu Rinpoche was not able to pass the complete tradition of the six yogas over to Bokar Rinpoche. Bokar Rinpoche therefore felt that the tradition he held, although extensive, was to some extent incomplete. In order to correct this, he recently invited from Dzamthang in Tibet, the Jonang master Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche to pass on the full transmission of the Jonang six yogas to Bokar Rinpoche himself, Khenpo Lodro Donyo, and some of Bokar Rinpoche's monks. (I am told that H.H. Dalai Lama also recently requested the same transmission because he felt that his lineage for the six yogas had also been broken.)

This took place over a period of ten days during April and May 2004. This was just before the annual Kālacakra ceremonies (pūja) at Bokar Monastery, Mirik, in the Darjeeling district. Apart from the two at the top and the two at the bottom, the photographs on this page were taken during this event. This transmission was a very important event for Bokar Rinpoche, and for his plans for the future of his monastery. These photographs are therefore placed here as a small dedication to his memory, with the hope that his future plans will be fulfilled.

A new main monastic building is in the process of being built at Mirik, and Bokar Rinpoche spoke in April of his plans to build within this a temple dedicated to Kālacakra. This will include a three dimensional representation of the Kālacakra maṇḍala palace. The photograph at the bottom of this page shows one of the models for this structure, a similar palace built recently by Jonang lamas in India.

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The new monastic building under construction at Mirik

Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche conducts a Kālacakra empowerment associated with the six yogas

The Jonang Khenpo Choenang and Bokar Rinpoche discuss some minor differences
between the offerings used in the Karma Kagyu and Jonang traditions

Bokar Rinpoche and a group of his monks receive the six yoga transmission
from Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche

After the completion of the six yoga transmission, Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche,
flanked by Bokar Rinpoche and Khenpo Lodro Donyo

Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche and Bokar Rinpoche,
together with the full six yoga class

Before the main Kālacakra puja begins, Bokar Rinpoche and
Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche discuss the powder Kālacakra maṇḍala
prepared for the ceremonies

On top of the new retreat centre under construction in Mirik. The retreat
will be used for the six yogas of Kālacakra and the Shangpa Kagyu tradition of the six dharmas

Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche with His Holiness Dalai Lama

A three-dimensional maṇḍala palace of Kālacakra according to the tradition of Tāranātha.
This example was constructed in recent years in the Jonang monastery in Dzamthang,
eastern Tibet. This photo was provided by Jonang Takten Phuntsok Choeling, in Shimla, northern India.

    Last updated 3 February 2010.
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