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22April2021

Lineage Masters

Category: Lineage Masters

Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche

His Eminence the Eighth Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche was born in 1946 in Wari-Chaksam Kha, in Nangchen, Tibet. While still in his mother's womb Choegyal Rinpoche was recognized by the late Sixteenth Karmapa as Choegyal Yonten Gyatso, the present and Eighth Drugu Choegyal incarnation in the Drukpa Lineage. Choegyal Rinpoche took refuge with the Most Venerable Sonam Tenzin and Kathog Getse and was enthroned at the age of four. He spent the subsequent years of his childhood in the Drugu region of Tibet, where, he says, "art, spiritual training and meditation practice were inseparable."

Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche began his training at the age of five. He memorized many religious texts and studied the nine yanas. He was trained from 1955 to1979 by the late Kyabje Eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche (an accomplished artist as well as meditation master) and received teachings and continual personal guidance from Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He became the lineage holder of a number of unique teachings. His other teachers were the late Sixteenth Karmapa, Kyabje Tsentul Logan Sotan Rinpoche, the Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche, the late Kyabje Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche, Togden Choelek, Togden Anjam and the Most Venerable Sakya Khenpo Rinchen. Rinpoche also received important teachings from Nubgon Khen Lekshe, Zigar Khen Choedar, Drugu Gegan Dechen, Khenpo Gedun of Kathog, Khenpo Tsondue, Khenpo Thubchoe, Sogchen Khenpo Tsega, Nangchen Yangwen Khen Chen, and Khenpo Tipa of Chakzam Gelugpa Monastery.

In 1959, when the political upheaval took place in Tibet, Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche moved to India, joining his root guru, the Eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche and a group of highly realized disciples and Tokdens (a special group of tantric yogis). An increasing number of monks and lay followers from Eastern Tibet gathered around Khamtrul Rinpoche, forming a refugee community in Kalimpong. Later, the community moved to the Kangra Valley in the high country of Himachal Pradesh, first to Dalhousie, then to their present location at Tashi Jong. Here, under the snow-capped Dhauladhar Range of the Himalayas, Khamtrul Rinpoche acquired land for his followers to rebuild their lives and to continue the rich heritage they brought from Tibet. Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche served the Tashi Jong community from 1988 to 1994, first as vice-president, then as president.

Like most of his previous incarnations, Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche is a highly gifted and well known artist. His paintings, which have been widely exhibited, are remarkable for their vibrant immediacy of expression. They display a mastery over a broad range of styles, from the ornate precision of the traditional thankas to impressionistic evocations of meditative experiences.

His creative work also includes sculpture and carpet designs. Rinpoche founded Drugu Unique Tiger and Snow Leopard Carpets in cooperation with a Tibetan artisan community of carpet weavers near Tara Bir. His high quality limited edition carpets can now be found in museums and private collections. Please See Art Page for more information.

Since 1994 Rinpoche has been directing his efforts towards the restoration of the traditional art and culture as well as the improvement of social welfare and environmental integrity of the Drugu region of Tibet. Rinpoche has travelled extensively throughout the world to teach the Dharma, exhibit his art and promote his projects. Rinpoche divides his time between Tashi Jong, the Jangchub Jong Buddhist Institute (near Dharamsala) of Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche, and the Tara Bir Drugu Retreat Center in Nepal.

Each of these places is special in its own way: Tashi Jong is now the seat of the Ninth Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche Shedrub Nyima, the reincarnation of his root guru, towards whom he has unshakable devotion and gratitude; Jangchub Jong Buddhist Institute is the seat of Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche, one of his most highly respected Dharma brothers and his most revered living Drukpa Lineage teacher; and Tara Bir Drugu Retreat Center is a sacred sanctuary of the goddess Tara. Tara Bir serves as Rinpoche's refuge, both as a place of retreat and a base for the coordination of his many projects.

For more information about His Eminence the Eighth Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche, please visit his official website: www.choegyalrinpoche.org

Category: Lineage Masters

Tenzin Palmo (Jetsunma)

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo was raised in London and whilst in her teens she became a Buddhist. In 1964, at the age of twenty, she decided to go to India to pursue her spiritual path.

Read more: Tenzin Palmo (Jetsunma)

Category: Lineage Masters

Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche

His Eminence the Third Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche is an important lama of both the Drukpa and Nyingma lineages. He was born in 1966 in Kathmandu, Nepal, to the family of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who holds the Tsangsar Family Lineage, a special family lineage of tantric yogis. Tsoknyi Rinpoche's great great grandfather was the treasure revealer Chokgyur Lingpa and Rinpoche has been trained in that family tradition by his father from an early age.

The First Tsoknyi Rinpoche (1828-1904) was an emanation of Milarepa's disciple, Rechungpa, and the Nyingmapa Terton Ratna Lingpa. He was born in Nangchen, Eastern Tibet, in the first half of the 19th Century and was a contemporary of the three great lamas of the time, Jamyang Khyentse, Jamgon Kongtrul, and Chokgyur Lingpa. He fully mastered the practices of the Six Dharmas of Naropa and became the principal guru in those practices for the Sixth Khamtrul Rinpoche Tenpai Nyima and the renowned master Shakya Shri. He also practiced the Nyingma tradition of Ratna Lingpa, with its special yogas, as well as his own Nyingmapa practices. He established many centers for the practice of the Dharma in Tibet.

The Second Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche was born into the family of the king of Nangchen in the first half of this century and received the teachings of Naropa from the Seventh Khamtrul Rinpoche. He was expert in the Six Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra as well as his own Nyingmapa lineages.

The present Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche was recognized by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa at the age of eight. When he was thirteen he was brought to Khampagar Monastery in Tashi Jong, North India, the seat of Khamtrul Rinpoche. Tsoknyi Rinpoche's principal teachers have been His Eminence the Eighth Khamtrul Rinpoche Dongyu Nyima, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and His Eminence the Eighth Adeu Rinpoche.

Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche completed his formal studies and returned from India to Nepal in 1990. He established his seat in Kathmandu at Ngedon Osel Ling Monastery which he planned and built in consultation with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Ngedon Osel Ling is the site of on-going, traditional Tibetan three-year retreats and an International Buddhist Meditation Centre. It is the headquarters for the Drukpa Heritage Foundation which is working to preserve the written texts of the Drukpa Lineage. In addition Tsoknyi Rinpoche is the spiritual head of the largest nunnery in Tibet, located in Kham, Eastern Tibet; and the abbot of Chumig Gyatsa Abbey, a nunnery at Muktinath in Western Nepal and Parphing Gechak nunnery. He is widely recognized as a brilliant meditation teacher and is the author of Carefree Dignity and Fearless Simplicity from Rangjung Yeshe Publications.

For more information on Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche, please visit his official website: www.pundarika.org

Category: Lineage Masters

Sonam Gyatso (Khenpo)

Khenpo Sonam Gyatso was born in 1952 and ordained at the age of fifteen from H.E. the First Thuksey Rinpoche in Druk Thupten Sanga Choling Monastery located in Darjeeling, India.

He completed his Masters Degree in 1976 and was honored as Khenpo by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa. And he is regarded as one of the most learned Khenpos (abbots) of Drukpa Lineage.

Category: Lineage Masters

Dzigar Rinpoche

His Eminence the Ninth Kyabje Dzigar Choktrul Rinpoche, Karma Tenpa Gyurme Gocha Trinley Kunchap Palzangpo was born in Bhutan in 1961 with many wonderful signs. Rinpoche was born in a family of devout Buddhist practitioners. His father's name was Lodoe Wangchuk from Gangtey and his mother's name was Tshomo from Bumthang. Rinpoche was officially recognized as the reincarnation of the previous Dzigar Rinpoche by H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa who clearly predicted his parents' names, the birthplace, the sign of the year and so on. Rinpoche was formally enthroned in Thimphu by H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, many other Rinpoches, Lamas and lay disciples. His Gurus are H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, H.H. the 68th Je Khenpo Tenzin Dhondrub Rinpoche, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, H.E. the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche (Gyalwa Dokhampa) Dongyud Nyima and H.E. the 8th Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche.

Read more: Dzigar Rinpoche

Category: Lineage Masters

Shedrub Tenzin (Khenpo)

Biography will be available in due course.

Category: Lineage Masters

Trinzam Rinpoche

The First Trinzam Rinpoche Drubthob Dorje Gyaltsen was believed and considered to be an emanation of Vajrapani, and was also the direct disciple of the First Gyalwang Drukpa Drogon Tsangpa Gyare.

As predicted by his own meditational deity, Dorje Gyaltsen had been in very strict retreat for twelve years at a holy place known as Trinzam Dorje Drakzong, which was also believed to be blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. This was the place where Dorje Gyaltsen established his monastery, which was located in the Tsang province of Tibet.

Read more: Trinzam Rinpoche

Category: Lineage Masters

Popa Rabjam Rinpoche

In 1965 at the age of eight, Popa Rabjam Rinpoche became a monk in the monastery of Khamtrul Rinpoche (Gyalwa Dokhampa) in Tashi Jong, Himachal Pradesh. He was later recognized by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche as the reincarnation of one of the three Rinpoches at Nub Gon Paljor Ling monastery in Gonjo in the west of Kham province in Tibet. Nub Gon Monastery is one of 200 branches of the original Khampagar monastery and was built in the 17th century. Ancient Tibetan scriptures revealed that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) meditated for full three days and nights in a special cave situated in Gon Jo, near to Nub Gon Paljor Ling which flourished during the spread of the Drukpa Lineage under the guidance of the First Khamtrul Rinpoche Ngawang Tenphel.

Nub Gon was severely damaged during the Cultural Revolution and it is Popa Rabjam Rinpoche’s sincerest intention to return it to its former state. So as to facilitate this and many other charitable projects, he initiated the incense-making project in Tashi Jong under the auspices of Togden Amtin, and the help of monks from the monastery and personal friends. Popa Rabjam Rinpoche's wishes for the proceeds from these activities to be used towards other projects benefiting the Tashi Jong community.

For more information on Popa Rabjam Rinpoche and his activities, please visit his official website: www.fnm.in

Category: Lineage Masters

Thrinlay Chodon (Khandro)

Khandro Thrinlay Chodon was born in Lahaul (Tib. Garsha), known in the sacred texts as the 'Land of the Dakinis'. Her great grandfather was none other than the great Drukpa yogi, Drubwang Shakya Shri (1853-1919), who was a realized master in both Dzogchen and Mahamudra and was widely renowned for skillfully combining these two views. Her father, the late Kyabje Apho Rinpoche (1922-1974), was responsible for reviving the Drukpa Lineage in Lahaul, Ladakh, Manali, Zanskar and Pangay, where he established several retreat centers. He was also one of the first spiritual masters who began teaching students from the West.

Read more: Thrinlay Chodon (Khandro)

Category: Lineage Masters

Ngawang Tenzin (Drubpon)

His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa promoted his representative in Europe, Ngawang Tenzin, to the position "Drubpon", meaning "accomplished master of spiritual practices" in early 2007. His Holiness also wrote a short biography on Drubpon Ngawang Tenzin, as follows:

Read more: Ngawang Tenzin (Drubpon)