Patrul Rinpoche with Tulku Chimed, painting the ornaments in the big aquarium under the statue of Guru Rinpoche in the gompa, Dharma City.
“Sometimes look at the miraculous
display of the four elements in space;
You will see how effort subsides
in the true nature of mind.”
When you are an artist, you need to have many different hats! And Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche has many hats. He has carpenter’s, painter’s, designer’s, engineer’s, tailor’s, scientist’s, builder’s hats and many more. With that wide array of skillset, Patrul Rinpoche is an artist in his own right.
The scope of Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche’s activity is truly astounding, from morning to night he takes upon himself fulfilling beings’ needs in whatever way he can.
Summertime in Dharma City. Between the many hours of teachings, there will always be a building project that he oversees. It could be installing huge prayer wheels, digging ponds, making vegetable gardens and greenhouses, building a swimming pool, planting trees and much more.
During the intense preparations for drupchens, he builds wooden floors, constructs mandalas and thrones. He solves problems with ingenuity and humour. It is a playful and inspiring experience. If you pay attention, you will understand that Patrul Rinpoche always gives a teaching during the creation of any project. Every activity Patrul Rinpoche engages in is infused with supreme bodhicitta and brings benefit to all sentient beings.
In Dzogchen Monastery Patrul Rinpoche painted several large thangkas and traditional masks for the ceremonies. The traditional painting follows strict rules, every detail has a meaning and nothing is painted at random. It demands a skillful eye and precise strokes with the paint brush.
Rinpoche was responsible for overseeing the building works of Shri Shinga University. For three full seasons he worked tirelessly doing hard physical building work, working with over two hundred workers. Alongside all the hard work, he was studying intensely to complete his PHD–degree (graduating with the title of Khenpo) in Buddhist philosophy.
Patrul Rinpoche takes matter into his own hands when it comes to realizing any project and he does it with astounding energy and passion. Whether it’s digging with the excavator, fencing, masonry, casting, carpentry for roofs, buildings, furniture, drawing, painting and sewing. What really makes Patrul Rinpoche stand out is that he understands how the different elements work. From that point of view, when he creates, the impossible is made possible, he makes the difficult look easy as he works with the elements with skill and ease.
He is also a skillful tailor and designer.
He has designed the Dharma robes for the lay Sangha. For practitioners it gives a sense of community and when we wear the Dharma robes, we are representatives of the Dharma. These beautiful clothes designed by Patrul Rinpoche can be worn by his students in ceremonial and celebrative situations. Wearing Dharma robes has a lot of deep meaning but on a daily basis it simplifies the sophistication of dressing up.
In this way it supports the practice and allows Buddhist adepts to focus. Rinpoche’s design is more ornamented than traditional Dharma robes, nonetheless, it is simple and smart.
He has also designed and created all the logotypes for his different projects, some of them present here on this website!
He has designed and drawn many architecture plans for buildings and building projects
– Zangdok Palri in Dzogchen valley, Tibet. The marvelous representation of Zangdok Palri in Dzogchen. Patrul Rinpoche has had the responsibility of designing, building and organising all the work. Venerable Kyabje Pema Kalzang Rinpoche gave Patrul Rinpoche this honorable task in 1999. The representation of Zangdok Palri was inaugurated 2010. It is a place for meditation and practice; it is the pure land of Guru Rinpoche. It is hard to put into words the importance of this image and place, every connection with it is auspicious and just seeing it invokes faith.
– Dharma City, a three-hundred-year-old farmhouse in Belgium. Since 2007, Patrul Rinpoche has completely restored and built up this fantastic place, to a vibrant and active place for the Dharma. With a large, magnificent temple, Tisha rooms for students, a bed and breakfast, restaurant, shop, vegetable garden, pond, prayer wheels and much more.
– Dhumatala, in Georgia. The land of Dakinis, one of Rinpoche’s beautiful centers in Tbilisi, with many building projects complete and the ongoing project of building Tisha Rooms for students to rent during their stay, for drupchen and other Dharma events.
– The latest center in Portugal, Palge Nyishar Ling, was inaugurated in 2018. Already Rinpoche has transformed an old barn to a place for drupchen practice, updated water pumps for the center and many more projects to develop in this area. The fantastic hilltop view overlooks Portugal’s beautiful nature. Being here instills peace and calm to the mind.
It’s an exhilarating experience to take part in the activities of Patrul Rinpoche.
Rinpoche loves building, rebuilding, creating and changing. The moment students get used to something Rinpoche is just there on the site to change it. There is no room for boredom, no doubt. For attentive students this prolific creativity and deconstruction leaves no space for fixation or a trace of stability. His active involvement in building is clearly beneficial on several levels.
For the newcomers, he will create opportunities to try and challenge their own knowledge and accomplish what they thought they couldn’t. Skillfully he provides the guidance and right amount of pressure to his older students, so that they continue to grow and progress on the path. In this way, Patrul Rinpoche perfectly accomplishes the twofold goal of benefiting oneself and others, through skillful means and profound wisdom.
“Unlimited they are in spiritual qualities,
And great in learning and compassion.
Vast their wisdom is; their ways
and realization are like space.
Boundless are their works,
And every link with them is meaningful.
Abandoning all weariness,
And filled with love, they labor constantly.
Rely on them, for they lead beings
on an upward path.”
LONGCHENPA, FINDING REST IN THE NATURE OF MIND