Keys to Happiness

An interview with Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

Wisdom Collection

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Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche is only half-jokingly referred to as dharma royalty. The grandson of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, the son of Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche, the nephew of Chökyi Nyima, Tsoknyi, and Mingyur rinpoches, and the eldest brother of Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi, he grew up in Nepal steeped in the living heritage of Tibetan dharma. He is one of the throne holders of the Riwoche Taklung Kagyu Lineage and a lineage holder of the Profound Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa from the Nyingma School. He also received a rigorous traditional training. Yet all this occurred at a time when the Kathmandu Valley was undergoing its rapid transformation from a medieval outpost to a bustling metropolis, bringing with it all the trappings, glitter, and ruptures of modernity. Phakchok Rinpoche’s comfort and familiarity with both worlds has provided him with an exceptional capacity to address a whole new generation of dharma students. In January 2013, he took a few minutes from an extraordinarily busy schedule to talk with Tricycle’s founder, Helen Tworkov, in Kathmandu, Nepal.


Phakchok RinpocheIn your booklet “Keys to Happiness & a Meaningful Life,” you speak of the importance of knowing one’s own faults, reducing judgments, and practicing lovingkindness and compassion. And you speak of the eight keys to a meaningful life: generosity, patience, discipline, and the other virtues traditionally called the paramitas [perfections]. You emphasize the importance of these qualities for everyone, whether they are Buddhist or not. This suggests that you can develop these aspects independently of a religious context, which is appealing to those who want some kind of “Buddhist” practice without religion. Buddhism introduces wisdom. That’s the difference. For example, compassion with wisdom doesn’t exactly look the same as compassion without wisdom. Wisdom means to be free from complicated mind.

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