I am sad to share the news that Gyurme Dorje, one of the giants of Tibetan translation and practice passed away on February 5th, 2020, the anniversary of the passing of his teacher, Kangyur Rinpoche.
Gyurme spent a decade in Asia and sat at the feet at many of the greatest masters of our day: Dudjom Rinpoche, Kangyur Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. His translation work has been inestimably important to thousands of people. In the 1990s there were far fewer books available for practitioners and one of the essential volumes for many of us was The History of the Nyingma School which he co-translated with Matthew Kapstein. This is much more than a history, as it embodies the living tradition. He also is renowned for his three volume 3,000+ page dissertation on and translation of the Guhyagarbha Tantra.
Most recently he published several immensely important works with us:
- The volume Indo-Tibetan Classical Learning and Buddhist Phenomenology from Jamgon Kongtrul’s the Treasury of Knowledge
- Philosophical Systems and Lines of Transmission, book 13 from The Complete Nyingma Tradition from Sutra to Tantra
- The two volume set on The Essential Tantras of Mahayoga of The Complete Nyingma Tradition (also based on the Guhyagarba Tantra)
His Tibet Handbook and Bhutan Handbook have been the companions of thousands as they trekked, made pilgrimage and visited the sacred places of those blessed lands. And he published a wide variety of other works on Tibetan divination and art, a dictionary, sacred architecture and more. His translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead is considered one of the very best. A full list can be seen here.
Happily, there is more work to come from. The next project he completed was the Jonang volume Kongtrul’s Treasury of Precious Instructions that will come out later this year. And there is more after that.
We raise our hands together in appreciation for a lifetime of work that benefited so many.