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.
H.E. Jigmed Lodro Rinpoche was born in 1969 in Golok-Dhome, Tibet. Chakshul Tulku Sangye Lodro and Doctor Gyarong Samdup Gyatso recognized him as the reincarnation of Genyen Dharmata, said to be the server of the sixteen principal arhat disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha as well as a realized master from the Alasha Monastery at Five Peaked Mountain in China, only three months after his birth. At age eight he joined Talang, a large monastery in Golok, Gemang Hermitage Place, Larong, the city of Dharma in Sertha, and other Dharma places in Kham. He studied sutras, tantras and Tibetan culture and religion, becoming well-known for his qualities and knowledge.
In 1998 he went to India and became a great editor for both the Tibetan-in-exile government and private centers. More than two hundred of his essays have been published in Tibet and Tibet-in-exile communities. Some of his books have been published by acclaimed publication centers of the Tibet government-in-exile, including the Department of Education, Department of Information, as well as Tibetan cultural and religious publication centers. His writings are well-respected by many great scholars. H.H. the Dalai Lama sent Jigme Rinpoche a letter praising him for his writing.
In January 2005, H.E. Trulshig Rinpoche also recognized and declared that he is indeed the reincarnation of Genyen Dharmata. Accordingly, H.H. Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche, the throne holder of the Nyingmapa lineage, enthroned Tulku Jigme Rinpoche in Bodhgaya, India.
Currently, Jigme Lodro Rinpoche is compiling additional historical accounts of the Nyingma schools and the Tibetan culture and religion. He aspires to establish a research center in India called the Ngayur Nyingma Research Center to begin work on the Chronicle Treatises of the Nyingma lineage, as well as a Nyingma Lineage Comprehensive Dictionary.
"Khenpo Sherab Sangpo studied under the lord of refuge Khenchen Padma Tsewang Rinpoche…and with numerous masters of all traditions. He has taught the profound Dharma of sutra and mantra to students of numerous nationalities. This teacher should be treated with reverence and respect. Doing so will bring goodness in this life and the next and establish a profound connection with the Buddha's teachings." -Katok Getsé Rinpoche
Khen Rinpoche began his studies in Tibet with the famed master Petsé Rinpoche, with whom he studied for over twenty years. He became a monk at the age of seven at Gyalwa Phukhang Monastery, a branch of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's Sechen Monastery. Under Petsé Rinpoche's guidance, he first studied Tibetan Buddhist ritual, eventually becoming one of the monastery's ritual leaders and chant masters. Even at a young age, he was renowned for his ability to memorize the vast number of texts used at the monastery and his command of Tibetan Buddhist ritual.
Recognizing his great potential, Petsé Rinpoche enrolled him in the monastery's monastic college, Ngedön Shedrup Targyé Ling, when he was only thirteen years old. For years, the only task his master gave him was to memorize the countless texts that form the core of the Buddhist education system. Only once he had memorized them all and could recite them from memory did he go on to receive teachings on their meaning. A tireless teacher, Petsé Rinpoche taught the monks himself, which is extremely rare for such a high lama.
Khenpo studied for years, receiving teachings on the entire range of Buddhist philosophy and practice. The teachings he received were so extensive, in fact, that he studied many texts three, four, or even five times. His studies did not stop with philosophy, meditation and ritual, however. Petsé Rinpoche also gave extensive teachings on the "five sciences." Khen Rinpoche is renowned for his knowledge of these topics, which include astrology, poetry, medicine and grammar. To this day, monks and practitioners seek him out not only to teach the subtleties of Buddhist thought and practice, but also to give astrology readings and consult him on other such topics.
In a further recognition of his talents and realization, Petsé Rinpoche appointed him as his personal teaching assistant when Khenpo was only 19. For years, he acted as his master's "kyorpon," a teaching assistant who leads review sessions that supplement the main class being taught. In the process, he became one of the most renowned Khenpos in Eastern Tibet, a "khenpo" being a formally recognized master of Buddhist philosophy. He also accompanied his teacher as he traveled throughout Tibet, Nepal and India, often giving teachings in his stead at monasteries that had invited Petsé Rinpoche to teach.
In addition to the rigorous academic training in the monastic college, Petsé Rinpoche locked the doors of the monastery for three months every year and allowed no outsiders in. During this time, he led his monks in strict meditation retreat. This allowed Khen Rinpoche to deepen his understanding of the Buddha's teachings through meditation.
After his decades of study with Petsé Rinpoche, Khen Rinpoche traveled to Larung Monastery in a remote area in North-Eastern Tibet to study under the great Khenchen Jigmé Phuntsok Rinpoche. He spent six years with this master, at the end of which his abilities as a teacher were again recognized formally by the monastery and his teachers. He also received rare teachings, such as The Treasury of Precious Revelations (Rinchen Terdzöd), from great Rimé masters like Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche, both of whom are root teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Following his time in Larung, he returned to his home monastery. Shortly thereafter, Petsé Rinpoche gave him a letter of introduction and sent him alone to receive teachings from the famed meditation hermit Adzom Drukpa Rinpoche. From this meditation master, he received the most secret and profound teachings of the Dzogchen tradition, instructions that are forbidden from being written down or transmitted to more than one student at a time.
Khen Rinpoche received the entire "hearing lineage" of the Dzogchen teachings from one of the greatest masters in Tibet. At the end of this period, Adzom Drukpa Rinpoche recognized that Khen Rinpoche had truly mastered the teachings. He then commanded Khenpo to uphold all the Buddha's teachings, formally empowering him to teach all aspects of sutra and tantra, give empowerments, and work for the benefit of others using whatever methods are appropriate. This great honor is a testament to the fact that Khen Rinpoche has mastered not only the theory of Buddhist philosophy and practice, but has also had direct experiential realization of the teachings as well.
Though Khen Rinpoche is renowned for his ability to teach virtually any topic, he is especially known for his knowledge of the tantras, Madhyamaka philosophy and his mastery of the writings of the great 19th century Rimé master Ju Mipham.
In short, Khenpo Sherab Sangpo has received a wealth of teachings from some of the greatest Buddhist masters of the century. His innate abilities and intensive training allowed him to master these teachings, both in terms of theoretical knowledge and experiential realization. For this reason, his knowledge and realization have been recognized time and again by some of the most respected masters in the Tibetan tradition.
"Khenpo Sherab Sangpo has completed his study and practice of Buddhist ritual and received a virtual ocean of teachings from great Buddhist masters, including Kyabjé Jigme Phuntsok, Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche,Adzom Druktrul Rinpoche, and Khenpo Pedma Tsewang, Not only has he thoroughly studied and contemplated all these teachings on Buddhist sutra and tantra, he has brought this process to fruition." - Khenpo Pedma Tsewang
At the age of six, Lama Gursam entered Drikung Kagyu Monastery in Tso Pema, India, where he completed his basic education and studied Buddhist philosophy, practice, ritual and conduct. In 1981 he began his college education at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (University) in Sarnath, Varnasi, India. He earned his Bachelor's degree in 1988 in the Sanskrit, Hindi, Tibetan and English languages and in Buddhist philosophy. Pursuing graduate study at the University, he was President of the student union, and served two years as a Kagyu Committee member. In 1990 he received his Master's degree in advanced Buddhist philosophy.
Upon graduation he also received a special award from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After graduation, Lama Gursam was requested by His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche to come to the Drikung Kagyu Institute in Dehra Dun, India. There he served as a volunteer for five years, teaching Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy and history. He also held the posts of Instructor, Head of Examinations and Assistant Director while serving as secretary to His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, the head of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. During this time, he also did a one-year meditation retreat and received Dzogchen teachings and empowerments from Khenchen Thupten Rinpoche and other lamas of the Nyingma lineage. He also studied with Dr. Pema Gyaltsen, a specialist in the Tibetan language.
In 1995, Lama Gursam was sent by His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche to the United States, where he taught Buddhist philosophy for five years. Then Lama Gursam met His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, whom he considers to be the second Milarepa. Under H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's guidance, together with the Venerable Traga Rinpoche, in 2002 he completed a traditional three-year retreat in the United States, practicing Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. After a nationwide teaching tour, he then traveled to India, Nepal and the border of Tibet, where he completed a six-month retreat in Milarepas cave at Lapchi. Following his 2003 teaching tour, he again returned to India and Nepal to take part in the Monkey Year teachings and Yamantaka retreat at Lumbini, the Buddhas birthplace, with more than 100 monks and nuns. Lama Gursam then received special teachings from H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche, and continued doing retreat in India.