Letter of Support for Erick Tsiknopoulos from Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso
Letter of Support from Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso
I, the one by the name of Lobzang Gyamtso, a Dharma teacher for the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten Sizhu Khang], address you with respect.
My name is Lobzang Gyamtso, and my home country is in the region of southern Amdo in the snowy land of Tibet. In both Tibet and India, over the course of eighteen years I completed my studies of four major textual subjects of the Buddhadharma [namely, Buddhist logic and epistemology (Tibetan: tshad ma, Sanskrit: pramāṇa) based on Dharmakīrti’s Compendium of Valid Cognition (Tib: tshad ma rnam ‘grel, Skt: pramāṇavārttikakārika), Perfection of Wisdom literature (Tib: phar phyin/shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa, Skt: prajñāpāramitā) based on Asaṅga and Maitreya’s Ornament of Clear Realization (Tib: mngon rtogs rgyan, Skt: abhisamayālaṅkāra), Abhidharma (Tib: mngon pa, Skt: abhidharma) based on Vasubandhu’s Treasury of Abhidharma (Tib: mngon pa mdzod, Skt: abhidharmakośa), and Middle Way ontology (Tib: dbu ma, Skt: madhyamaka) based on the works of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti). I have also studied the five minor Tibetan arts and sciences [poetry, etymological and synonym studies, writing and composition, astrology, and drama], Chinese language, English language, mathematics, geography, and natural science. In both Tibet and India, I have worked as a teacher for seven years and as a physician for five years. Recently I have been working for about two years as a Dharma teacher for students from ten different countries at the Esukhia Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten S’izhu Khang] in Dharamsala, Northern India. I am also currently working as an author, physician, translator, and online writer and editor.
Now, to elaborate on the subject at hand, my student, the young American scholar known as Erick: He is of good and kind character, and is an intellectual of broad understanding and discernment. He has studied the Sanskrit, Pāli, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Hindi languages in addition to English. He has a good knowledge of Sanskrit Buddhist terminology, and he attained a high level of ability in Japanese language during a six month stay in Japan. For over ten years, he has studied a great deal of the Mahāyāna and Secret Mantra [Vajrayāna] Dharma teachings of the Nyingma (Tib: rnying ma) lineage in America and India with many great Buddhist teachers, as well as the teachings of the other three main Tibetan Buddhist lineages, and has attended and studied many teachings on mind-training, emptiness, madhyamaka, tantra, and various important Buddhist texts.
He has attended and studied at many schools in both America and India. In America, he studied Japanese language, massage therapy, and so on at two colleges in America [College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California and Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon]. In India, he has studied literary and colloquial Tibetan at the Manjushree Center for Tibetan Culture in Darjeeling, Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophical subjects such as tenets [Tib: grub mtha’, Skt: siddhānta] and madhyamaka [Tib: dbu ma] at the Thösam Ling Institute in Norbulingka, mahāyana sūtras [The Sūtra on Recollecting the Three Jewels (Tib: dkon mchog gsum rjes su dran pa’i mdo)], mental states and cognitions [Tib: blo rigs], logic and reasoning [Tib: rtags rigs], Tibetan Buddhist debate, collected debate topics [Tib: bsdus grwa], and Tibetan grammar [Tib: sum rtags] at Dzongsar Shedra (Dzongsar Chökyi Lodrö Institute of Buddhist Dialectics) in Chauntra, tenets, collected debate topics, the seventy topics of the Abhisamayālaṅkāra [Tib: don bdun bcu], and Śāntideva’s Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra [Tib: jang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa la ‘jug pa] at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of Path [Tib: lam rim chen mo], Tibetan grammar, Tibetan Buddhist meditation and praxis, and prajñāpāramitā (Abhisamayālaṅkāra) at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in McLeod Ganj, and prajñāpāramitā [Abhisamayālaṅkāra with its commentary by Panchen Sönam Drakpa], stages of the path [Tib: lam rim] literature, and Tibetan meditation and praxis at Namgyal Monastery (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s main temple). In addition, he has also frequently attended private classes with various Buddhist scholars such as khenpos and geshes, in which he has studied subjects such as the Gyeltsap Darma Rinchen’s commentary on the Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, Chanting the Names of Mañjuśrī [Skt: mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti, Tib: ‘jam dpal mtshan brjod), Ju Mipham Rinpoche’s Gateway to Knowledge [Tib: mkhas ‘jug] and Torch of Certainty [Tib: nges shes sgron me], Tsongkhapa’s praise to Mañjuśrī, mental states and cognitions, logic and reasoning, and the Ākāśagarbha Sūtra [Tib: nam mkha’i snying po’i mdo], and so forth.
Since 2012, he has studied through the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten Sizhu Khang] with me, and together we have reviewed the Sūtra of Golden Light (Tib: gser ‘od dam pa’i mdo, Skt: ārya-suvarṇaprabhā-sottama-sūtrendra-rāja-nama-mahāyāna-sūtra), a collection of sūtras (Tib: mdo tshan phyogs sgrigs), a text on the negative retributions of guns (Tib: me mda’i nyes dmigs), and the Yuthok Nyingthik (Tib: g.yu thog snying thig); I have gone over his translations of these texts with him, and provided him with additional commentary and explanation. I believe that his translation skills are exceptional and outstanding.
He is also currently doing oral translation on a regular basis for Tibetan Buddhist subjects such as Tsongkhapa’s Three Principle Aspects of the Path [Tib: lam gtso rnam gsum] and the Four Noble Truths for an accomplished lama named Geshe Lobsang Chögyel Rinpoche.
His level of aptitude in literary and classical Tibetan language is immense, and his spoken Tibetan language and powers of expression are excellent. In particular, he has trained and continues to train in a profound and deep research of the Buddhist teachings. He is a resourceful young man of strong intelligence who holds an aspiration to spread and promulgate Buddhism in a far-reaching way, and is someone who has vast ambitions to in the future be able to accomplish great service for the Buddhist teachings in their entirety, due to the fact that he has the aim of helping to establish peace and happiness in the world.
On the third day of Joy during the virtuous period of the waxing moon in the month of Saga Dawa [the eleventh day of the fourth month of Vesak] in the Tibetan Water Snake Year, this was written at the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten Sizhu Khang] in Dharamsala, Himachal [Pradesh], India.
Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso