We started as a regular Tibetan Buddhist center in Bulgaria, Eastern Europe, back in the late 90’s. With rich background in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the group and center activities gradually focused on the Nyingma (Tib. རྙིང་མ། “The Ancient“) tradition and we formally became affiliated to the Shechen Monastery in Nepal – the seat of the late head of the Nyingma School – H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. For years we were guided by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, the abbot of the monastery, and by the prominent teachers of the Khyentse sub-lineage, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, who visited our center on various occasions to teach and bestow transmissions. Our center was named “Thegchog Lamsang Ling” by Rabjam Rinpoche – meaning “Place for practice of the Excellent Path of the Supreme Vehicle” – an allusion to the Ati Dzogchen teachings.
Locally the center was under the direction of Lama Ivo, a senior Buddhist practitioner, and student of some of the most eminent teachers of the Tibetan tradition. His energy and inspiration empowered everything we did and he was a key figure of introducing the Tibetan Buddhist teachings to Bulgaria – a country to which Buddhist philosophy and tradition were virtually unknown. Under his guidance a small but serious group of Buddhist practitioners were able to receive and practice some of the most precious Buddhist transmissions from the Tibetan tradition and his expertise and vast knowledge were indispensable in translating the often foreign and esoteric nature of these doctrines and practices into an understandable and easy to follow system. This went on for many years.
Breaking the bond
With the inspiration of his root teacher H.H. Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, then head of the Nyingma Buddhist Lineage, Lama Ivo eventually assumed a full teacher status and responsibility in the summer of 2011. A whole cycle of esoteric Dzogchen teachings had already began to manifest as a Dag snang transmission and the Dharmapalas were making it very clear that we had to move forward. After extensive consultations with our teachers it seemed best to establish a different framework for teaching and practice. It all depended on Ivo, and, as he often does, he chose to radically change everything. This led to The Journey.
Although mind is clear, one needs a lama;
Although a lamp burns brightly, it still needs oil;
Although mind is self-evident, it needs recognition.
That is the teaching on the three needs.
– Drugpa Kunley