After a few years of savoring this important text in Tibetan, Jnanasukha Foundation has moved forward to make it available in English in 2016. Our first choice for translation into English was Chonyi Drolma, a long time friend of Lama Yeshe Wangmo and Jnanasukha Foundation. Amazingly, there was time in her schedule and we rushed to draw up the paperwork.
As part of the final publication, we hope to partner with a few qualified contributors to enhance our understanding of the book and suggest perspectives relevant to the modern day. The target date for digital publication is Fall 2016.
Chönyi Drolma completed six years of retreat under the direction of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Lama Tharchin Rinpoché in 2012 at Pema Osel Ling. She translated the autobiography of Traktung Dudjom Lingpa into English, published as A Clear Mirror. She currently lives in Montreal where she continues to translate and take her lamas’ instructions to heart.
From the Translator. . .
During retreat, we were advised to read the life stories of sublime masters, inviting their paths to inspire our own. After doing this for many years, I now have the privilege and pleasure of translating Yeshe Tsogyal’s secret life story. What distinguishes a secret life story is the depth to which we are granted access to an individual’s life. In this book, we are invited to share Yeshe Tsogyal’s innermost voyage and experiences, in all their layers. These include the outer overlay of her family and society, the inner transformation that begins when she meets Guru Rinpoche, and most importantly, her secret awakening process, as she enters into twelve years of retreat at Chimphu and miraculously journeys to Oddiyana.
As I read this, did I hope to find an extraordinary narrative full of teachings and revelations? Yes, of course. That said, I could not anticipate how fully her account would touch and shape me, both as a practitioner and part-time hermit, and as an enthusiastic citizen of this very uncertain world of ours.
At a spiritual level, her story renewed my meditation practice, uplifting my mind to enlightenment amid moments of doubts and confusion. Yet Yeshe Tsogyal’s ancient trials reach beyond the spiritual domain. They are also modern and topical and urgent. Her life, during which she is referred to simply as “Princess,” was rife with current issues of female agency, choice and consent, and the expectations imposed by family and society. As for her spiritual journey, for all its visionary wonders, Yeshe Tsogyal simply had to face and transcend the person who disappointed her the most: herself.
So how did Princess become Yeshe Tsogyal? For me, this is the most reassuring part of this book. Everything she is and does and becomes is fueled by aspirations. Her wishes pave the way. Yeshe Tsogyal wishes to attain enlightenment, she wishes to meet an enlightened master, and she wishes to continue against all odds. So she does, as should we all.