Sangyum Urgyen Chodon
Sangyum Urgyen Chodon (1931-1985)
HE Sey Rinpoche’s mother was born into a great Tibetan aristocratic family in South Tibet. Her most famous ancestor is the Lopon Gar Dongtsen, Minister of the Dharma King of Tibet Songsten Gampo. He is especially renowned for having invited to Tibet the Chinese princess who married the king and then brought the Jowo, Tibet’s holiest and most famous Buddha’s statue, from the Chinese empire. It was hosted in Jokhang temple, in Lhasa. Sangyum Urgyen Chodron was very devoted to the Dharma from a young age and she refused to marry into a life of privilege.
She spent many years in retreat, completing seven sets of preliminary practices (ngondro) and meditating under the personal guidance of Tripon Apho Rinpoche. After marrying Apho Rinpoche, she went into still more intensive retreat. Later, she kept on practicing diligently for the rest of her life, with great devotion and love for the lineage. She was an accomplished yogini. When she left her body in 1985, she remained in a state of thugdam (post-mortem meditation) for seven days.
My mother, Ama-la, was born into an aristocratic family in South Tibet. From a young age she was very devoted to the dharma and refused to marry into a life of privilege. After marrying my father she went into intensive retreat and practiced diligently for the rest of her life. For me she truly integrated the depth of her practice into her daily activities without separating the two. She was the most loving and compassionate mother. If it were not for her pure vision and guidance I would not have been able to understand the real meaning of my life.
She made sure that, even in this female form, I received the best, both from our own tradition and the modern educational system in India. With her devotion and love for the lineage, and her living example of the dharma, she was my role model and my inspiration. Her compassion and love for each person who stepped into our house was overwhelming. She would not let anyone go hungry and she had a great dignity. She opened my heart and grounded me in my spiritual life. She is not only my mother, she is also my guru.
My treasured mother was without doubt my guide and inspiration in both spiritual and worldly life. Her love and devotion to the lineage infused in me a deep respect for the profound teachings. My mother was often the secret guide for my father’s students and would give beautiful commentaries on the teachings he taught. She always liked to remain in the background, providing assistance to everyone who visited the monastery. She left a permanent imprint in my mind of what is a genuine practitioner, and in so doing she gave me a most essential gift – an understanding of dharma that has brought deep meaning to my life. I will always cherish the memories of our time spent together.