VENERABLE KHENCHEN RINPOCHE KONCHOG GYALTSEN RINPOCHE
The village of Tsari and the surrounding areas are among the most sacred places in Tibet. It was there that the most Venerable Khenchen Rinpoche Konchog Gyaltsen was born in the spring of 1946, and it was there that he spent his early years. In 1959, because of the political situation in Tibet, Khenpo Rinpoche fled to India with his family. The family then settled in Darjeeling, where Rinpoche began his education. Even at a young age, he was an excellent and dedicated student, and was able to complete his middle school studies in less than the average time.
At about this same time, a new university, the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, opened in Varanasi, India. Determined to be among its first students, Khenchen Rinpoche traveled to Varanasi in October 1967 to seek admission. He then began a nine-year course of study that included Madhyamika, Abhidharma, Vinaya, the Abhisamayalankara, and the Uttaratantra, as well as history, logic, and Tibetan grammar. In early 1968, he had the good fortune to take full monastic ordination from the great Kalu Rinpoche and, shortly after graduating from the Institute, he received teachings from the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa on The Eight Treasures of Mahamudra Songs, by the Indian mahasiddhas.
Even after completing this long and arduous course of study, Khenchen Rinpoche wanted only to deepen his knowledge and practice of the Dharma. With the same intensity that he brought to his earlier studies, Rinpoche sought out and received teachings and instructions from great Buddhist masters. One was the Venerable Khunu Lama Rinpoche, with whom Khenchen Rinpoche studied two works of Gampopa The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and The Precious Garland of the Excellent Path. Rinpoche's studies with the Venerable Khunu Lama also included Mahamudra and many of the songs of Milarepa.
In all his studies, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation is one of the texts that Khenpo found to be most inspiring. Lord Gampopa lays out the teachings in a clear and systematic way that is understandable to beginners. At the same time, the work is of such profound depth that scholars and practitioners can study it over and over and still not fully grasp its meaning. He has said on several occasions, "Anyone who knows the Jewel Ornament well can say that they really understand Buddhism."
Maintaining a balance between theoretical understanding and the practice of meditation, Khenpo Rinpoche began a three-year retreat in 1978 under the guidance of the enlightened master Khyunga Rinpoche. During this time, he was able to deepen and enhance his understanding of The Five-fold Path of Mahamudra and the profound Gong Chik text of Lord Jigten Sumgon. He also received many other transmissions.
In 1985, Khenchen Rinpoche traveled to the main seat of the Drikung Kagyu lineage, Drikung Thel, in Tibet. There, he was able to receive personal blessings, as well as instructions and transmissions of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa, from the enlightened master Venerable Pachung Rinpoche.
In 1982, the force of karma and the requests of many practitioners combined to bring Khenchen Rinpoche to the United States. By late 1983, the Tibetan Meditation Center was well established in Washington, DC. Their original location was the site of innumerable teachings, practices, retreats and ceremonies. In September 1984, and again in 1987, the young Center was blessed with personal visits and teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Through Khenchen Rinpoche's and the Center's efforts, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche visited later in 1987, and people in several states were able to receive benefit from his teachings and presence.
Wanting the teachings of Dharma to reach as many people as possible, Khenchen Rinpoche has quickly adapted himself to Western forms of communication. He has made appearances on television, been a guest on many radio programs, lectured extensively at colleges and universities, and spoken to the public through countless newspaper articles. Between 1983 and 1990, Khenchen Rinpoche singlehandedly translated critical Drikung Kagyu practices, prayers and histories into English. The originals of the texts were all written out by his hand: Achi Chokyi Drolma, Amitabha, Bodhicitta, Chakrasamvara, Chod, the complete Ngondro, Five-fold Mahamudra, Four-Session Guru Yoga, Green Tara, Lama Chopa and tsok, Mahakala, Mandala offering, Manjushri, Medicine Buddha, Milarepa Guru Yoga, Nyung Ne, Peaceful Guru Padmasambhava, Phowa, Refuge, Chenrezig, Vajrapani, Vajrasattva, Vajrayogini, and White Tara. The Illusory Body teachings, Supplication to Tara, Treasury of Benefit and Happiness, Meaningful to Behold, many other prayers and three of his four books were all translated and published during this time. This priceless work formed the essential base from which the holy Dharma could be taught and practiced.
For different reasons, Khenchen Rinpoche and the Tibetan Meditation Center moved to Frederick, Maryland in November 1991. Nestled inside a state park, the Center is now situated on four wooded acres. A small temple has been built there, and was consecrated by His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche in 1994. With this larger facility and in surroundings more conducive to contemplation, Rinpoche has been able to benefit even more people with his teachings. Now that Western students are becoming interested in long term retreat practice, plans are being made to establish a residential retreat center nearby.
In more recent years, Khenchen Rinpoche spends a great deal of his time traveling in order to give teachings and lead retreats. He has established centers throughout the US and in Chile, and he frequently visits in Europe, especially Germany and Austria, as well as Southeast Asia. Last year, he taught the Gong Chik to the monks and nuns at the Drikung Kagyu Institute in Dehra Dun, India. With the financial assistance of the Tibetan Meditation Center's Text Project, Rinpoche arranged for 1,200 copies of the text to be printed, and then distributed them to monks, nuns and monasteries in India, Nepal and Tibet.
Rinpoche consistently strives to make important texts available to the public and to provide his students with thorough and systematic training in the Dharma. A skilled and dedicated translator, he has published four books before this one—Prayer Flags is a small book which contains brief life stories of Gampopa, Phagmo Drupa and Lord Jigten Sumgon, as well as some Dharma-realization songs by lineage masters. There are some short teachings on the stages of Mahamudra practice, and condensed instruction on how to carry the experiences of sickness and death into one's practice.
The Garland of Mahamudra Practices is very helpful for those who already have a little understanding of the Dharma. It contains a description of all the Ngondro practices: the four foundation thoughts (precious human life, awareness of impermanence, karma and the suffering of samsara), the four extraordinary preliminary practices (refuge, Vajrasattva, mandala offering, and Guru Yoga), yidam practice, special guru yoga and a mahamudra session itself. The mahamudra section a little more detailed, but still quite condensed. There are basically two points—establishing the view of mahamudra and then how to practice it.
In Search of the Stainless Ambrosia is good for beginners and more advanced practitioners. First, it summarizes the fundamental teachings of refuge, love and compassion, and the six paramitas. Then, there are short sections on mahamudra and yidam practices, the experience of dying, an explanation of Chod practice and some Phowa teachings.
The Great Kagyu Masters is a translation of a 13th Century text which puts the life stories of the great masters together in one volume. It is very helpful to practitioners to have these accounts available for inspiration and guidance.
Two other books are in production and will be released soon. One is a Handbook for Practitioners, which is designed for study by individuals or groups without ready access to a lama. The second one is a translation of A Hundred Verses of Advice, a profound yet accessible teaching written by Drikung Dharmakirti.
In each case, Rinpoche has taken enormous care to make the translations as precise as possible. Because he himself has been so moved by these words that come directly from great masters, he believes it is critical that these same words be presented in an unadulterated manner. For example, to translate this text, he and his editor went through the entire text word by word four times, sometimes spending an hour or more on a single phrase or sentence. It is his sincere hope that, through this painstaking effort, many others will be as inspired as he was by these precious Dharma teachings.
Remembering the struggles of his early years, Khenchen Rinpoche inspires and supports monks, nuns and lay people in their practice of the Dharma and is always ready to assist them in whatever way he can. To all, he gives of himself freely. With his heart and mind turned firmly toward the Dharma, he compassionately and patiently shows the
IDrupon RINCHEN DORJE
n 1984, Drupon Rinchen Dorje joined Tana monastery and stayed for nine years. He took novice monk's vows from Tulku Nyendrak Gyaltsen Rinpoche, receiving many profound teachings from him such as the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. From Tulku Thogme Rinpoche he received wang, (empowerment,) transmission and pith instructions on Five-Deity Chakrasamvara in the tradition of Drilbupa.
In 1990, at Drithil Ogmin Jang Chub Ling monastery, he received Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon's Five-fold Mahamudra wang, transmission and teachings from Master Gelong Tenzin Nyima. He went on pilgrimage to Dhaglha Gampo temple and did retreat there for several weeks. In 1993, he made a pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash and then joined the Drikung Kagyu Institute - Jang Chub Ling monastery near Dehra Dun, where he studied Buddhist logic, philosophy, etc. From great masters such as Khenpo Khonchog Gyaltshen and Khenpo Thogdrol he received teachings on Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon's Gong Chik, the Uttaratantra and more.
In 1995, during his stay at the Drikung Kagyu Institute, he accomplished the preliminary practices to Mahamudra and the recitation of Chakrasamvara in group retreat under His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, and was ordained as a full bikshu by him. In 1996, in Almora, he received wang on the Six Yogas of Naropa, Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra, Chakrasamvara/Vajarvarahi and the symbolic whispered lineage from H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche, and accomplished a three year retreat in the Drikung Thil tradition under Gelong Yeshe Rinpoche. In 2000, he received Snake Year teachings form H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche and H.E. Garchen Rinpoche.
In 2001, he went to Lapchi in Nepal, the site of many sacred caves where the great yogi Milarepa practiced. In a cave there, he accomplished another three-year retreat on Rechungpa's whispered lineage of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi, the Six Yogas of Naropa and the naked instructions of the
bardo. In 2004 he was enthroned as a Drupon - Accomplished Retreat Master.
In 2005, he received wang and transmission on the five deities of Hevajra in Marpa's tradition from H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche, and in 2006 he accomplished a retreat on it at Almora. Thus, our precious teacher has completed over seven years of retreat!
Currently, Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche is the Resident Lama for Chicago Ratna Shri. His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, Venerable Khenchen Khonchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche, Khenpo Sherab Odzer Rinpoche and Drupon Thinley Nyingpo Rinpoche all recommended him because of his high degree of realization and his gentle, understated presence. He arrived in Chicago from India in October of 2006, accompanied by a member of Chicago Ratna Shri, after a grueling but successful Visa-getting mission, and much hard work also by the Drikung Kagyu Dharma Circle of Madison, Wisconsin
KHENPO NYIMA GYALTSEN
Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche was born in 1976 in Sha, near Drikung in Central Tibet.
In 1987, when he was eleven years old, he traveled to his homeland of Kham and entered the religious life at Lho Lungkar Ogmin Thubten Shedrub Ling, where he studied ritual practices under the monastery’s senior lamas Gongyam and Drugsing.
In 1994, he went with Thubnying Rinpoche to Jangchub Ling in the Holy Land (India), where he took the novice monk vows from His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.
In 1998, Khenpo received full monk's ordination from Mewa Khenchen Thubten Ozer Rinpoche. At the beginning of 2002, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang authorized and instructed him to teach at the Kagyu College at Jangchub Ling and in 2004 enthroned him as a Khenpo of the College.
Then, in 2006, Khenpo returned to his own Lungkar Monastery to teach the monks and nuns of the monastic college, Jamyang Gatsel Ling, Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
The title of Khenpo signifies his high degree of learning. Currently, Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen resides at Jangchubling Monastery in India.
Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche
From an early age, Drupon Thinley Ningpo natural inclination towards religion developed into a determination to pursue higher spiritual studies. With his father's encouragement, Drupon Thinley entered Brong-ngur Monastery, and became a student of the eminent Buddhist scholar, Lama Kedrub Siddhi Rinpoche. While studying at Brong-ngur, he met the great yogi and scholar, Drubwang Pachung Rinpoche in Drikung Thil, the sublime seat of Drikung Kagyü Order.
As a result, he had the great fortune to receive the profound essence instructions in the practice and mastery of the peerless Mahamudra. In 1988, Drupon Ningpo went on a pilgrimage to the sacred places of Western Tibet and took advantage of a fortuitous opportunity to escape to India through an arduous and perilous two-month journey on foot across the Himalayas.
Once in India, he proceeded to the Drikung Kagyü Monastery and entered into the institute for higher education. After completing his course of study, he was appointed dean of the institute, where he served with distinction for 6 years.
Today, Drupon Ningpo tirelessly serves the dharma community from his home at the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, Maryland.
|KKHENPO SHERAB OZER RINPOCHE
henpo Sherab Ozer Rinpoche was born in 1966 to his father Trithub and mother Luyang. As a child in a nomadic family, he had no opportunity to attend school and instead spent his days tending livestock. He learned to read and write from his father, and, having a passion for fighting, used to spend the entire day pouring over the Gesar Epic, full of battles and heroic warriors, as his herd grazed.
In 1985, after liberalizing reforms permitted some religious practice in Tibet, Khenpo Sherab Ozer took refuge vows from Daktrul Thubten Shedrub. He then entered Drong Ngur Monastery, in Nakchu, where he applied himself to learning the monastery's particular ritual practices. At this time, he completed the 400,000 accumulations of the preliminary practices under the direction of Khenpo Karma Tengye Rinpoche. Following this he spent several years on pilgrimage during which he stayed in retreat at many remote places. In 1987, Khenpo Sherab Ozer took full monastic ordination from Drubwang Pachung Rinpoche.
Starting in 1992, he studied the principal Buddhist scriptures with Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche, Khenpo Togdrol Rinpoche, and Khenpo Kunmon Rinpoche at Drikung Jangchub Ling in India. In subsequent years, while in Nepal, he listened to and contemplated the various classes of sutra and tantra teachings at the feet of Khenchen Pentse, Khenpo Chodzo, Khenpo Jadrel, and Khenpo Pema Gyaltsen.
As a result of his comprehensive studies, he was named an Acharya ("Master [of Scripture]") and served as a teacher for two years at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling, the monastic college attached to Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal. At the same time, Khenpo Sherab Ozer served as a teacher at Rangjung Yeshe Chetho, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling's sister college for foreigners.
In 2000, Khenpo Sherab Ozer attended the Drikung Kagyu Snake Year Teachings in Dehra Dun, India, at which he received empowerment, transmission, and instruction on various collected writings of Drikung Kagyu masters, given by many great Drikung Kagyu lamas and khenpos such as His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, and Choje Togden Rinpoche. The transmissions he received include The Extensive Mahamudra Scriptures (of the Indian mahasiddhas), The Collected Works of Lord Gampopa, The Collected Works of Lord Phagmodrupa, The Outer and Inner Collected Works and Profound Teachings of Lord Kyopa Rinpoche (i.e., Jigten Sumgon), and The Collected Works of Lord Chokyi Dragpa. In the course of the Snake Year Teachings, he was installed as a Khenpo of the Drikung Kagyu Scriptural College.
In 2001, Khenpo Sherab Ozer was invited to the United States by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche. He has been asked by H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche and H.E. Garchen Rinpoche to stay in the West specifically in order to teach the Bodhicaryavatara. In May of 2004, Khenpo Sherab Ozer established the Buddhist center Drikung Namgyal Ling in Tucson, Arizona, where he currently resides.
Khenpo Sherab Ozer has devoted his life to serving the Drikung Kagyu lineage. He is known for his crystal-clear, uncompromising presentations of the authentic Dharma and the loving care with which he guides his students. He is an accomplished scholar and a skilled teacher, author, singer, songwriter, and sewer. He maintains an active teaching schedule in America, Europe, and Asia.
Rinpoche is an accomplished Dzogchen master, having received profound foundational
and the most advanced teachings from some of the greatest living masters
of Tibetan Buddhism including His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, His Eminence
Garchen Rinpoche, Khenchen Jigme Phuntsog and many others. From Garchen
Rinpoche, Traga Rinpoche received teachings on all Drikung Kagyu texts on
regular Dharma service and practice, the five-fold Mahamudra, the entire
Dzogchen Yangzab teachings, and many profound pith instructions. He then
did his Dzogchen Yangzab retreat at Lho Miyel Gon monastery.
1984, Traga Rinpoche received full gelong ordination from the Nyingma
master Khenpo Munsel, who gave him the detailed teachings on Dzogchen Cutting Through the Resistance to Primordial Purity. Khenpo
Munsel gently looked at Traga Rinpoche and said, Your karmic propensity
is to practice Dzogchen. I am your karmic lama. If you can meditate, you
have today found the way to liberation in one life. You will never find
something like this even if you went to look for it with your horses
hooves encased in steel. Spend one year near me and meditate. For
the next seven years, Traga Rinpoche did retreat near Khenpo Munsel, and
practiced Cutting Through, Passing Over, and many other advanced practices.
Lamchen Gyalpo Rinpoche - determined to make Traga Rinpoches vast
knowledge and profound experiential understanding of the highest level
of Dzogchen teachings accessible to as many students as possible - enthroned
him as Lopon Rinpoche (Precious Master), with lavish praise
for his hard work and outstanding achievements. His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche
selected Traga Rinpoche as the retreat master and resident lama at the
Garchen Buddhist Institute, and asked his students to have full
confidence in Traga Rinpoche, just as I have full confidence in him."
Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin was born in 1970. At the age of 14 he took his monk's vows and began his Buddhist studies. In 1987 he traveled to Jangchub Ling in Dehra Dun to attend the Drikung Kagyu Institute. He was an outstanding student, and excelled in all of his subjects. He completed the nine-year program of study in only five years while also teaching part time. He was enthroned as a Khenpo in 1998 and spent three more years teaching Buddhist philosophy at the Institute. He has completed the Ngondro and Chakrasamvara practices in retreat.
Khenpo Tsultrim arrived at TMC in April 2001. He is the Spiritual Director of TMC in Frederick, Maryland.
In Summer of 2003, Khenpo came to Sky Heart Retreat Center to lead an Achi Chogi Drolma retreat. He is a brillliant schollar, and we hope to invite him to Madison soon, to teach on Madyamila philosophy.
At the Tibetan Meditation Center, in 2008 and 2009, Rinpoche taught on the Vinaya vows and practices for the ordained sangha. It is his wish to continue to give these teachings to Drikung monks and nuns every year.