The ri-mé approach – excerpt from the introduction to “The Autobiography of Jamgön Kongtrul”

Posted on July 26, 2010


Richard Barron

Richard Barron

In the introduction to his masterful translation of the autobiography of the Great Jamgön Kongtrul, Lödro Thayé (1813-1899), Richard Barron comments on the meaning of the ri-mé approach:

In the mid 1980s, I had the opportunity to interpret a public talk given by the late Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoché in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. During that evening, Rinpoché spoke of the ri-mé approach. He defined this quite succinctly: “To adopt the ri-mé approach means to follow your own chosen path with dedication, while maintaining respect and tolerance for all other valid choices.” The operative word here is “valid”; what is meant is not a blanket acceptance of anyone’s doctrines. A khenpo of the Nyingma School recently remarked to me, “We are to maintain a pure outlook toward all other beings, but not necessarily toward their opinions… Jamgön Kongtrul also stressed, in that evening talk, that it is important for the values of Buddhism to imbue a culture, not for those of a culture to imbue Buddhism.”

– Richard Barron, “The Autobiography of Jamgön Kongtrul – A Gem of Many Colours” (2003: Snow Lion)