Ngala Nor’dzin first met Khamtrül Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche in McLeod Ganj in India in 1983. McLeod Ganj is the little Tibetan township that Western people tend to call Dharamsala – but Dharamsala (both upper and lower) is the Indian town a thousand feet lower down the mountainside.
She had made a pilgrimage of six weeks to Northern India at that time, and stayed at Gangchen Kyishong (Gang chen kyi shongs – the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives). She received daily teachings whilst at the centre – mainly from Geshé Ngawang Dhargyey (dGe bShes Ngag dBang Dar rGyas) and Geshé Sonam Rinchen. Geshé Ngawang Dhargyey was also a teacher of Ngak’chang Rinpoche in 1971, when he studied the Sutryana Madhyamaka-Prasangika philosophy with him (Uma Thal gyür – dBu ma thal ’gyur ba – Chandrakirti’s consequentialist dialectic of absolute reductionism). There are two types of Madhyamaka (Uma chi-nang tra rag-nyi – dBu ma phyi nang phra rags gNyis), the ‘coarse outer’ and ‘subtle inner’. The coarse outer Madhyamaka of the Svatrantikas and Prasangikas, and the subtle inner Madhyamaka of Yogacara-Madhyamaka. Ngak’chang Rinpoche went on to study the subtle inner Madhyamaka with Könchog Rinpoche in Tso Pema – and has always remained grateful for the thorough grounding in logic he received from Geshé Ngawang Dhargyey when he lived in McLeod Ganj.
Ngala Nor’dzin comments:
I used to walk up to McLeod Ganj from the Library several times a week. I met Khamtrül Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche on several occasions in the street. He did not speak English, so we were not able to understand one another, but he seemed particularly delighted to see me and always waved and was most friendly. Unfortunately when Khamtrül Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche visited Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen in Cardiff, I had suffered an accident and was in Chepstow Burns Unit. However Ngak’chang Rinpoche kindly brought Khamtrül Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche to the hospital so that I would be able to receive the empowerment of Tröma Nakmo that I had missed. It was a wonderful afternoon – receiving empowerment from Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche in my hospital bed, and having Ngak’chang Rinpoche tell me that he was surprised that I had not developed a broad Scots accent, being as I had been in the ‘Severe Burns Unit’ for a week.