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Footprints on the Journey

One Year Following the Path of Dzogchen Master Khenpo Sodargye

Translated by Sally Yuanghong
Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

Inspiring diary entries from a challenging year in the life of the renowned Dzogchen master Khenpo Sodargye demonstrate right conduct for the path to liberation.

This personal diary that the renowned Dzogchen master Khenpo Sodargye kept for one year gives serious Dharma practitioners a lifetime of inspiring, wise guidance for practicing right conduct on the path. The backdrop is the Tibetan plateau, from which Khenpo invites us to see the world—from native people to a spider, from vast galaxies to a water droplet—as he does, with candor and humor, and with a Dzogchen master’s sharp analysis. He shares with us his perceptions of this world, describing his ups and downs in a way that we can relate to and be inspired by, even if we do not have the fortitude to stand up to the oppression of crustaceans or to ransom yaks from the slaughterhouse. Spontaneous and lively, the entries play out the vicissitudes of his life throughout a challenging year, tracking the passage of his thoughts and actions, leaving footprints for whoever is able to follow.


Life Liberation

I will soon be forty, an age defined by Confucius as “when one is no longer confused.” With not too many days left, how can I catch the fleeting moments and use them meaningfully? Sages and past spiritual teachers have left abundant advice for watching one’s own mind and conduct. If I can apply even one verse to discipline myself, it definitely will be beneficial.

Today is Losar, celebrating the Tibetan New Year, and it’s also the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. An intensely festive mood pervades the streets and neighborhoods. Many people put on their traditional stylish Tang outfits to celebrate. They go to the marketplace to buy meat—live chickens, ducks, fish, shrimp, birds—as special treats for family and friends. But for those poor animals, this festive period is actually the ultimate doomsday.

No sooner had I walked into the local wet market than I was presented with a shocking scene. A young man grabbed a little quail in a cage and mercilessly pulled out its feathers. The poor bird cried in pain, yet its scream was too meek and brief to stop the butcher. The quail’s feathers were soon cleared, exposing its naked pink body. Then, in less than a minute, a sharp knife sliced open its body cavity, the internal organs got thrown out, and the head and feet cut off and cast aside. The quail’s body, emptied of its contents, still quivered faintly. Its eyes remained open on the lopped off head, as if to protest the utterly brutal treatment: “Why? Why?”

I could not bear to look at this scene any longer and bought up the remaining quails, 150 in all. Bringing them into the woods next to the Minnan Buddhist Academy, I released them while reciting lifesaving prayers to bless them. I resolved to continue saving the lives of the doomed captured beings for as long as I could.

Due to a medical condition, I was advised to stay away from the snow-capped Tibetan highland, so I came to the southern city Xiamen more than a month ago. As a lonely visitor in a strange city, I can’t help feeling like a rootless wanderer traveling to the far ends of the earth. How fondly do I miss the days at Larung! On an impulse, I called my brother and asked him to place the phone receiver next to the loudspeaker. Soon the melodious chanting at the academy came through the receiver, filling my heart with a deep yearning. How I wished that the snow and ice would melt and that the warm season for green leaves and blossoms would arrive soon. May beautiful Larung enjoy spring always and the sangha members no longer suffer from the bitter winter. May they bask in the warm sunlight of spring and be showered with the Dharma nectar!

May such a day arrive soon! Lama chen!

February 13

About The Author

Khenpo Sodargye was born in Tibet in 1962 in what is today the Sichuan province of China. He spent his early years herding yaks, and after attending Garze Normal School, he entered Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Serthar, becoming a monk under the great Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche. He is now one of the leading scholars of that institute, the fastest-growing Buddhist monastery in China today. He has been especially effective at popularizing Tibetan Buddhism among Han Chinese students, with numerous bestselling books, and he regularly speaks at universities in Asia and the West.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (March 26, 2024)
  • Length: 344 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614298922

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