biography of vajra regent ösel tendzin

On August 22, 1976, Vidyadhara the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche formally empowered Ösel Tendzin, as his Vajra Regent, dharma heir, successor, and lineage holder in the Karma Kagyü and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Trungpa Rinpoche bestowed upon him the name Karma, Moon of Dharma, Excellent Intellect, Radiant Holder of the Teachings, Victorious in All Directions. The Vajra Regent was the first Western dharma student to hold these lineages. His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyü lineage, during his 1977 visit to the United States, confirmed Trungpa Rinpoche's appointment of the Vajra Regent as a lineage holder. At the time of Trungpa Rinpoche's passing into parinirvana, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage, reconfirmed the Vajra Regent as Trungpa Rinpoche's lineage holder and empowered him with the highest Maha Ati abhisheka, giving him the name Lord of Yogins, Coemergent Accomplishment Vajra.

In 1988 the Vajra Regent became gravely ill. Having sought the guidance of one of his beloved teachers, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage, he entered into retreat in Ojai, California, for what was to be the remainder of his life. During that retreat, he formally empowered Patrick Sweeney, Trimé Lhawang, as his dharma heir and lineage successor. Mr. Sweeney and a small group of close students remained on retreat with the Vajra Regent until, on August 25, 1990, he passed into parinirvana.

The Vajra Regent was both the model of a devoted student and an inspiring teacher. His example was powerful as well as provocative. Through his inspiration, joyful energy, and hard work, he was a bridge for many students, enabling them to encounter the teachings of Buddhism and Shambhala Training and embark upon the practice of meditation. He played a unique and vital role in the task of planting these profound spiritual teachings firmly in the Western world. His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said, "Without the Vajra Regent, the Vidyadhara could never have accomplished all that he did."

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