It is great joy for us to announce that Khenchen Lama Rinpoche accepted the role of spiritual director of Dharmakirti College after repeated requests by students, the board of directors and the president of Dharmakirti College. Khenchen Lama Rinpoche has been providing invaluable support and advice to Dharmakirti College since 2004 and significantly contributed to its growth. Over the last five years he bestowed numerous empowerments, reading transmissions and teachings to students of Dharmakirti College, ranging from preliminary practices to the highest teachings on Buddha wisdom in the cycle of hidden treasures of his previous incarnations. Rinpoche embodies the purest aspirations of Dharmakirti College having both the most advanced academic training and extensive meditation practice experience. In his teachings he combines precise scholastic knowledge with practical meditation advice in a suitable form for ordained lay practitioners in the West. A teacher of his qualities is difficult to find. We are truly blessed to be in presence of his radiating compassion and wisdom and to benefit from his guidance. Please join our celebrations in honor of Khenchen Lama Rinpoche, our spiritual director.
I have accepted the position of spiritual director of Dharmakirti College with the only motivation to benefit its students, the organization and all sentient beings in broader sense, since we are all interconnected. The benefit of all is especially relevant to the goal of Dharmakirti College to educate future qualified teachers of Tibetan Buddhism who can guide others on the path. My wish is that the students at Dharmakirti College engage in sincere study and meditation practice of the best teachings the Tibetan Buddhist tradition has to offer. In all our study and practice we need to remember, that genuine Dharma is about examining the nature of our mind and realizing its purest Buddha essence, the ultimate wisdom and compassion. To achieve this, we need to practice the teachings everyday as much as we can. This can be sometimes challenging, especially with all the worldly commitments linked to work and family that current lay practitioners face. Here we need to remind ourselves of the authentic lineage of householders in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition who have studied, practiced and achieved full realization for centuries without abandoning their worldly commitments. Their example shows us that it is possible to turn all mundane activities into spiritual practice. This makes the tradition of Tibetan yogis particularly relevant to serious practitioners of the Dharma in the West. My goal is to support, encourage and guide students of Dharmakirti College on this path using all my knowledge, practice experience and blessings I was fortunate to receive from my root guru and teachers. I pray every day that students at Dharmakirti as well as other serious spiritual practitioners bring their study and practice to the fruition of enlightenment in this lifetime or after death and come back in the next life as great teachers of the Dharma.
Khenchen Lama Rinpoche is a highly accomplished scholar, teacher and meditation master of the Nyigma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in Kham (Eastern Tibet) and since very early childhood displayed unusual compassion and inclination towards meditation. At the age of three, the head of Nyigma lineage, His Holiness Sera Yangtul Rinpoche, recognized Khenchen Rinpoche as a reincarnation of Padma Dagnag Lingpa - a high Rinpoche of Nyigma lineage. Padma Dagnag Lingpa was a reincarnation of Nupchen Sangye Yeshe, one of the five closest disciples of Padmasambhava and the founder of the yogi lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. H.H. Sera Yantul Rinpoche wrote an elaborate prophesy of Rinpoche’s life in which he also mentioned that Khenchen Rinpoche would especially benefit students in the West in this lifetime. Despite pressures to take over abbot responsibilities at four monasteries at an early age, Khenchen Lama Rinpoche was encouraged by his mother to undergo rigorous scholastic and meditation training. For 25 years he studied and practiced primarily Buddhist philosophy and meditation, but also logic, medicine, astrology, languages, grammar, lexicography, dance, and drama. Over a period of ten years he received instructions from his root teacher, His Holiness Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche at the Larung Buddhist University. H. H. Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche is known as the most extraordinary meditation master of contemporary Tibetan Buddhism. While studying, Rinpoche spent two to three months each year in silent solitary retreat summing up to about four years of retreat practice in total.
Since receiving his Khenpo and Khenchen titles, Khenchen Lama Rinpoche taught debate, astrology, sutra and tantra at many different monasteries and centers in Tibet, Nepal, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. He is the spiritual director of yogi centers in Malaysia, Singapore, UK and Europe. Since 2004 he has regularly taught at Dharmakirti College in Tucson, Arizona. Khenchen Rinpoche’s teachings mainly focus on the topic of Buddha wisdom in the cycle of hidden treasure teachings of Padma Dagnag Lingpa. He is especially known as a dream yoga master practicing meditation during day and night. In his teachings Rinpoche combines precise scholastic knowledge with practical meditation advice in a suitable form for ordained lay practitioners. He is unique in his emphasis of the importance of practice to his students and often provides teachings with a meditation practice requirements. Having both the most advanced academic training and extensive meditation practice experience, a teacher of his qualities is difficult to find. Being in the presence of his radiating compassion and wisdom is a true blessing.
Rinpoche authored three books on sutra and tantra, and wrote a book of songs. His most recent book on ’21 Taras’ is currently being published in China. But besides teaching and writing, Khenchen Lama’s main efforts have concentrated on building and sustaining an orphanage in Tibet that currently provides accommodation, food, clothing and education to 150 children and 30 elders. To support his humanitarian activities, in 2008 Rinpoche’s students established AWAM Foundation. Rinpoche would also like to build a retreat center for yogis in Tibet in the future.