Mitra Tyler Dewar met Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 1997, just one year after beginning his journey of practicing the dharma. Through an auspicious coincidence, he learned the Tibetan alphabet that summer and soon after formed the conviction to serve the dharma through translating Tibetan into English. He became a formal student of Rinpoche’s in 1998 and began translating for Rinpoche’s organizations, Nalandabodhi and Nitartha Institute, in 2000. In 2001 he became the regular translator for Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen Negi at Nalandabodhi Seattle.
From that point onward, Tyler has traveled extensively with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche on Rinpoche’s teaching tours, translating for the Tibetan segments of Rinpoche’s teachings and occasionally presenting aspects of Rinpoche’s teachings himself. In 2003 Nalandabodhi welcomed Acharya Tashi Wangchuk as a resident teacher; Tyler served as Acharya’s oral interpreter and also worked closely with Acharya on the translation of several texts from the philosophical and intuitive traditions of Indian and Tibetan Buddhadharma. Tyler has served as a secretary in the Office of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche for the past seven years, and has thus felt enriched by the opportunity to support Rinpoche’s teaching activity from many perspectives.
In terms of his formative dharma training, Tyler completed two dathuns (month-long intensive meditation retreats) in the late 90s and resided for one year, 1997-1998, at Gampo Abbey Monastery in Nova Scotia, Canada, practicing intensively, participating in several study curricula, and attending lengthy seminars by Ani Pema Chödrön on Mind Training. He has attended Nitartha Institute’s summer program since 1999 and has been a faculty member since 2000, translating for such courses as Collected Topics, Abhidharma, Mind Only, and Madhyamaka. He attended his first Nalandabodhi Sangha Retreat in 2001 and has been in attendance ever since.
In 2005, Tyler was appointed as one of five Western Nalandabodhi teachers and given the title “mitra” (friend). He was one of five of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Western students appointed to be senior teachers within his lineage for the Nalandabodhi sangha. Rinpoche gave them the title Mitra (“spiritual friend”) and authorized them to impart a broad range of teachings and carry significant spiritual responsibilities in relation to the students of Nalandabodhi.
Two books of Tyler’s translations have been published by Snow Lion Publications: Trainings in Compassion: Manuals on the Meditation of Avalokiteshvara (2004) and The Karmapa’s Middle Way: Feast for the Fortunate (2008), a translation of a major philosophical work by the Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje.