In Memory of Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche 悼念仙藩甯波車
By Master Tam Shek-wing
Translator’s note: H.H. Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche was a good friend of Master Tam. Tam wrote the following in memory of him. The original Chinese text can be found below the English translation.
My good friend, H.H. Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche, the son of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, entered into Parinirvana on April 15 shortly after midnight. Prior to that, there were no signs of crisis.
The time when I interacted the most with Shenphen and his sisters was in the 1970s. Then Dudjom Rinpoche gave lectures in Hong Kong and gave me two Archarya empowerments. Among the two, one was with twenty or so people, another time it was a secret empowerment in his room. Because it was a secret empowerment, the three siblings and I became very close, as if I was part of the family, and I really miss that time of my life. Shenphen was not the type who liked to boast his knowledge of Buddhism, but I know that he was very familiar with the teachings of Dudjom Rinpoche. In many ways, Shenphen was my guide, my consultant. At one time, I couldn’t quite grasp what Dudjom Rinpoche said about snang ngos. Shenphen explained, you can think of it as the manifestation aspect, but in truth, it is a function, a capacity of Dharmakaya. Because of this ability, we can manifest in this world. Because of his explanation, I managed to associate snang ngos with Adāna.
There was a time he did not come to Hong Kong with his father, our relationship grew distant. Yet, he thought of me often. By then, he was practicing Dudjom Tersar, and was asked by Dudjom Rinpoche to translate some of the practices into English. He sent the English translation to me and asked me to translate them into Chinese. That said, he told me his father said I should follow his teachings instead of Dudjom Tersar in my practice. As well, Shenphen sent me Rinpoche’s To the Guru From Afar (Bla ma rgyand ’bad) along with the commentary that Shenphen wrote, which was also to be translated into Chinese. On and off, we had been in touch this way. The essence of the Great Perfection is everywhere his commentary. A person without any realization could not have authored it.
I don’t recall what year when Shenphen said he wanted a Long-Life ceremony for his longevity, where I contributed an offering. At the end, he offered me a large package of pills of long life and pills of nectar, which I placed in a drawer in my study for safekeeping. Unluckily, in 2003, there was a fire in my study. It so happened the whole drawer, including the nectar pills and the long life pills were all destroyed. I am always saddened by this incident.
The last time we were in contact, he asked me to translate Rinpoche’s The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, something he urged me to do many, many years ago. Along with Gyurme Dorje’s English translation, he also sent me the manuscript in Tibetan. Then I was occupied by other matters and didn’t get on with it. He told me to hurry so I passed the task on to my students as I took on the editor role. Now the task is completed finally, which resulted in two volumes. I had always wanted to send him a commemorative copy, but somehow I misplaced his contact information.
A few days ago, a student of mine told me that there would be a Long-Life ceremony for Shenphen. I was so very happy that I told the student to reach out to him. However, in the early hours of April 15, I had a feeling and I told the student to reach out again. By then, Shenphen Rinpoche had passed into Parinirvana. Upon hearing the news, reminiscing the past, I wrote this poem of praise in memory of Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche:
Born in the land of thunder and snow,
By wondrous transformation, a great terton master.
Also an emanation of his father’s father.
The twofold cause is very magnificent.
The age of decline, like a tangled web.
Lives like dusts, fluttering aimlessly.
Shenphen Guru, the Vajra mallet,
The worldly anchor guiding the blind.
Forty years of sowing in the West,
Dudjom Tersar, the Dharma Holder.
The nectar of dharma, falling like raindrops,
A cooling antidote for the afflicted world.
Guru like a green lotus, blossoming
Out of the mud, releasing a delicate bouquet.
Actualizing the pristine great equality,
In the Great Perfection, spontaneously immersed.
Shenphen Dawa Norbu, his dharma name.
For the sake of all, for sure he will return.
For the self and for the benefit of others,
The three Vajra syllables, radiantly complete.
我的好朋友、敦珠法王的兒子仙藩甯波車（Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche），於四月十五日凌晨入湼槃。事前無病。
我跟仙藩兄妹三人來往得最密切的時期，是上世紀七十年代，敦珠法王來港傳法，並賜給我兩次阿闍黎灌頂之時。這兩次灌頂，一次是二十多人同時受灌，一次是在法王房間秘密受灌，正由於這次秘密受灌，所以他們兄妹便跟我來往得特別密切，好像我也是他們的家庭成員，現在真的非常懷念那段日子。仙藩沒有多談佛法，但我知道，他對法王所傳的法，實在相當理解，所以他有如我的導師，或者說是顧問。舉例來說，我對法王說的 snang ngos，始終無法理解。他便解釋說，你可以把它看成是 the manifestation aspect，但其實不是，因為這其實是一種功能，如來法身的功能，由這種功能，我們才能顯現，這樣一說，我便可以將snang ngos跟阿陀那（Adāna）聯繫起來。
後來一段時期，他沒有跟敦珠法王來香港，所以便比較疏遠了，不過，他還是很關心我，那時，他已經學習法王的「敦珠寶藏」（Dudjom Tersar），他受法王之命，將敦珠寶藏一些儀軌譯成英文，轉來給我，囑我譯成漢文，不過他說，法王不主張我修習這些儀軌，我仍應依照法王的系統教授來修。接着，他又將法王的「遙啟上師讚頌」（Bla ma rgyand ’bad）連同他的釋論寄來，要我們譯成漢文來唸誦，我們便是這樣斷續地有所聯繫。他這篇釋論，充滿大圓滿道的法要，如無證量，很難寫得出來。
最後一次跟他接觸，是他催促我翻譯法王的 The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism，在多年前，他已經建議我翻譯這書，除了 Gyurme Dorje 的英譯本之外，他還寄來藏文文本，可是我卻因為事忙，一直沒有完成任務，所以他便加以關注，因此，我便將此翻譯事務交給弟子完成，我則詳作校訂，目前此翻譯本已經完成，分成兩本。我一直想將翻譯本送給仙藩甯波車作為記念，但卻找不到聯絡他的方法。