Words from my perfect teacher (Tib: Kunzang Lame Shyalung), written by the great Nyingma master Patrul Rinpoche (1808–87), is an explanation of the preliminary practices (Tib: Ngondro) of the Longchen Nyingtik Cycle of teachings discovered by one of the most important figures of the Nyingma lineage, Jigme Lingpa (1730–98). This famous commentary is a written record of the oral teachings that Patrul Rinpoche received directly from his teacher, Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu (1765-1843), who was one of Jigme Lingpa’s foremost disciples.
Words of My Perfect Teacher: A Complete Translation of a Classic Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism was translated from classical Tibetan into English by the Padmakara Translation Group, which was also responsible for publishing the book in French, German, Russian and Spanish. This classic Tibetan Buddhist text has now been translated into Bulgarian by Yavor Konstantinov and published by East-West Publishing House in Sofia on February 10, 2022.
BDG recently had the privilege of interviewing Konstantinov. Born in Sofia, he received a master’s degree in German and Comparative Literature from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Konstantinov began translating the Dharma teachings into Bulgarian and German after meeting his teacher Pema Rinpoche from the Palyul Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He has also translated Dharma books from German and English into Bulgarian. His translations include: Eight years in Tibet by Peter Aufschnaiter and In love with the world by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. In 2020, Konstantinov began working as the editor of the Buddhist almanac lotus, which is published twice a year by Ost-West-Verlag, was a great success. He is co-founder and co-chair of the Palyul Center Bulgaria, founded by Pema Rinpoche in 2011, and co-chair of the Nyingma Buddhism religious community.
Buddhistdoor Global: How did your Dharma path begin?
Yavor Konstantinov: I first met my root teacher Pema Rinpoche in 2003 and three years later I took refuge vows from him. It was a turning point in my life. Over the years I have received teachings from him on both the preliminary and main practices in the Palyul Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Pema Rinpoche also enabled me to meet and receive teachings from His Holiness Karma Cake Rinpoche, Khenchen Pema Sherab Rinpoche, Palyul Chogtrul Rinpoche and other great teachers of his precious lineage.
BDG: Can you briefly describe Patrul Rinpoche’s book?
YK: Patrul Rinpoches Words from my perfect teacher is a classic introduction to the spiritual practices common to all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, written more than a hundred years ago. Although presenting the introductory practices of the Nyingma school’s Longchen Nyingthig teaching cycle, this book carries a universal message that transcends all divisions of schools and traditions and continues to ring relevant and fresh in our modern times. Dedicated and thorough, Patrul Rinpoche, one of the greatest Buddhist teachers of the 19th century, presents the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment.
BDG: How did you come up with the idea of translating this book into Bulgarian?
YK: Long ago Pema Rinpoche pointed me to this book as essential for understanding Buddhist practices. A year ago I offered it to the renowned Bulgarian publishing house East-West for translation and publication, and to my great delight they agreed. The English translation from Classical Tibetan was made by the famous Padmakara Translation Group, which is also responsible for publishing the book in other major Western languages. The Bulgarian publisher soon managed to settle the rights and fortunately I was able to meet Padmakara’s not inconsiderable requirements as a Bulgarian translator. These requirements included a certain amount of practice, experience in translating Dharma books, and so on. Therefore, Words from my perfect teacher is now available in Bulgaria in the wonderful edition of Ost-West-Verlag.
BDG: Which of the messages in the book do you remember most deeply?
YK: Patrul Rinpoche’s book is an inexhaustible source of wisdom. From this I learned that Teacher’s instructions should reveal our hidden flaws not as “a window through which to observe the faults of others, but rather as a mirror through which to examine one’s own. Look within yourself carefully to see if you have these hidden flaws or not. If you do this, spot them and bring them out of hiding. Correct your mind and set it on the right path. . . .”
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