Ngala ’ö-Dzin Tridral and his wife Ngala Nor’dzin Pamo are a teaching couple within the Aro gTér tradition of the Nyingma School. They amalgamate practice, teaching, and the pastoral care of their apprentices with professional and family life.
Lamas Nor’dzin and ’ö-Dzin were already students of Buddhism when they first met at a Tibetan Buddhist Centre in 1980, and it was from the time of their meeting that they became committed vajrayana practitioners. Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen told them later that their meeting was directly responsible for provoking their desire for deeper involvement with the lineage of Yeshé Tsogyel, and that they would be of benefit to people through the way in which they led their lives.
In 1984 they became disciples of Ngak’chang Rinpoche. Ngala Nor’dzin was the first of Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s students to be ordained by him into the ngakphang sangha in 1989. Ngala ’ö-Dzin took ordination shortly afterwards in 1991. Ngala Nor’dzin and Ngala ’ö-Dzin married in 1985 with a civil ceremony followed a week later with a Buddhist blessing ceremony by Ngak’chang Rinpoche. In 1993 they followed in the footsteps of their root Lamas, Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, and became a married ngak’phang teaching couple. In their relationship they exemplify the teaching of the Khandro-pawo nyida mélong gyüd (mKha’ ’gro dPa bo nyi zLa me long rGyud) according to the Aro gTér. They have two sons, Daniel, (Yeshé Norbu) and Richard, (’ö-Tak Dorje Rolpa’i Düdül) aged eighteen and sixteen (2005). Ngala Nor’dzin and Ngala ’ö-Dzin have apprentices in Britain, France and Germany.
In the early years Ngala Nor’dzin and Ngala ’ö-Dzin worked closely with
Ngak’chang Rinpoche in establishing the organisation Sang-ngak-chö-dzong in order to
provide a coherent setting for the Nyingma teachings in South Wales. At first they produced private
circulation booklets of Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s transcribed teachings on the Four Noble
Truths and the Eightfold Path, Refuge, and Bodhicitta. Later, as interest grew, Ngak’chang
Rinpoche was approached with the idea of writing full length books for publication with Element
Books. These books were ‘Rainbow of Liberated Energy’ (recently republished as
‘Spectrum of Ecstacy’) and ‘Journey into Vastness’ (now republished as
‘Roaring Silence’). It was Ngala Nor’dzin, Ngala ’ö-Dzin, and Khandro
Déchen who provided the questions which made the books so readable.
Ngak’chang Rinpoche says:
Without Ngala Nor’dzin, Ngala ’ö-Dzin, and
Khandro Déchen it would have been difficult to have known how to present material to a
western audience. I had spent so much of my life in a vajrayana context that it was necessary for
me to be introduced to the questions of my own culture. Ngala Nor’dzin and Ngala
’ö-Dzin provided a wealth of intelligent, down to earth questioning which was a
continual delight. Their questions always came from their own experience and honest desire to
understand. It was their genuine pragmatic exuberance, and vajra simple-mindedness which encouraged
me that the teachings could really take root. In those early days we had the leisure for many long
and detailed discussions, and much of my teaching style evolved through my talks with them.
It was Ngala Nor’dzin and Ngala ’ö-Dzin’s work to establish the UK charity Sang-ngak-chö-dzong that provided the basis for the growth of the Aro sangha in Britain. In 1985 Ngala Nor’dzin and Lama ’ö-Dzin established the Cardiff Vajrayana Buddhist Meditation Group which has met once a month since then, and has provided an avenue into the experience and practice of Vajrayana Buddhism for many practitioners within the Aro gTér in Britain. Recently this group has become a weekly meeting on a Tuesday evening, and is still hosted by Ngala Nor’dzin and Ngala ’ö-Dzin in their own shrine room, providing anproviding an opportunity opportunity to practice and hear teachings for members of the public and the apprentice group.
Over the last ten years, they have gradually retired from administrative and management
work, to concentrate on teaching, writing, and working with their own apprentices. They
successfully integrate practice and ordinary life. They have a wealth of experience in helping
people with everyday problems, in which the stresses and strains of ordinary life become the
subject matter of Tantric practice. They also offer the valuable perspective of parents who have
successfully raised a family while continuing their own practice and establishing a sangha at the
Ngak’chang Rinpoche says:
I had not spent much time with Ngala
Nor’dzin and Ngala ’ö-Dzin before I realised that they were unique. It was obvious
to me that they had great energy and great devotion to the teachings. Their level of interest was
never distorted by flamboyant ideas or esoteric madness. They were very kind and natural, and I
really appreciated that. I realised that if this was the beginning of my life as a teacher, then it
was a very good beginning. It was the end of my life as a wanderer, and the beginning of a joyful
responsibility. These were two human beings upon whom I could completely rely – without such
total reliance, the rôle of a Lama is implausible.