Our Precious Teachers

 Traga  Rinpoche (Visiting Teacher)
Traga Traga 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 -- and completed many retreats.

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.

In early 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 horse’s hooves encased in steel. Spend one year near me and meditate.” For the next seven years, he did retreat near Khenpo Munsel, and practiced Cutting Through, Passing Over, and many other advanced practices.

In 1998, Lamchen Gyalpo Rinpoche -- determined to make Traga Rinpoche’s 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."

His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche is a Drikung Kagyü lama who was known in the thirteenth century as the Siddha Gar Chodingpa, a heart disciple of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon, founder of the Drikung Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. In ancient India, he had incarnated as Mahasiddha Aryadeva, the lotus-born disciple of the great Nagarjuna. In the seventh century, he was known as Lonpo Gar, the minister of the Tibetan Dharma King Songsten Gampo.

Garchen Rinpoche was recognized and enthroned in eastern Tibet by the former Drikung Kyabgon Zhiwe Lodro. When he was seven, he was brought to Lho Miyal Monastery, which he administered from the age of eleven. Studying and practicing under the direction of the Siddha Chime Dorje, Garchen Rinpoche received vast and profound instructions on the preliminary practices (Ngöndro), the fivefold practice of Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa.

Then, at the age of 22, after completing a two and a half year retreat, he was imprisoned for 20 years during the political turmoil of China’s Cultural Revolution. While in the labor camp, he received meditation instruction from his root lama, the Nyingma master Khenpo Munsel. Enduring hardship and practicing secretly, Garchen Rinpoche attained realization of the lama’s wisdom mind.

Since his release from prison in 1979, Garchen Rinpoche has made great effort to rebuild the Drikung Kagyü monasteries, reestablish the Buddhist teachings, and build two boarding schools for local children in eastern Tibet. Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of the Garchen Buddhist Institute in Chino Valley, Arizona.


Chagme Rinpoche is the ninth incarnation of Gyalwa Cho Yang, one of Guru Rinpoche’s twenty-five heart-students. The first Karma Chagme was a very learned and realized Buddhist master who founded the Nemdho Kagyu Lineage, and was revered throughout Tibet for his remarkable qualities and accomplishments. Most notably, he composed the “Rechu” (“Mountain Retreat Manual”), which is regarded as the definitive text on retreat practice in the Drikung Kagyu, Karma Kagyu and Nyingma orders of Tibetan Buddhism.

The present Chagme Rinpoche was born in 1975, and is the grandson of Terton (hidden treasure master) Ozer Dorje.

When Chagme Rinpoche was a young boy, he received many teachings and empowerments from his father. And at twelve, was officially recognized by His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche as the ninth Drikung Kagyu incarnation of Karma Chagme. Chagme Rinpoche has received many teachings and empowerments from His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche and other renowned teachers, and has spent a great deal of time in retreat.

Chagme Rinpoche has also studied in India and received special empowerments of the Drikung Kagyu lineage from H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche. At present, he is the administrator of his monastery in Tibet, and travels to Tibet and China, where he teaches regularly.

Konchok Dr. Bhauchung Lama was born in 1979. He became a Buddhist monk at an early age and studied Buddhist philosophy, arts and dance, and rituals. In 1994, he entered the Drikung Kagyu Institute, founded by H.H. the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang at Dehra Dun, India. There he continued his studies of Buddhism and also spent four years studying Tibetan language and literature. In 1995, along with all the other senior monks at D.K. Institute, he participated in the six-month Chakrasamvara meditation retreat lead by the Drikung Kyabgon. In 1998, he and five other monks were selected by the Drikung Kyabgon to study traditional Tibetan medicine at the Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute in Darjeeling. In 2003, after five years of studies, he passed examination at the Tibetan Medical and Astrological College in Dharamsala, he and his classmates were granted a special audience by H.H. the Dalai Lama.

After graduation, Dr. Bhauchung completed a six-month residency at the Men-Tsee-Khang clinic in Darjeeling and a five-month residency under Dr. Nyima Tsering at the Lhunkhang Tibetan Medical Clinic in Delhi. Dr. Bhauchung has also completed courses in acupuncture and first aid. He is currently a practitioner of Tibetan medicine registered under the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine. In 2004, he returned to Dehra Dun to serve the Drikung Kyabgon, and since that time he has been working as a volunteer at Songtsen Library’s Medical Department, editing texts on Tibetan medicine in general and the Drikung lineage’s special medical tradition. At the end of last year, Songtsen Library published the Collection of Drikung Medical Knowledge, on which Dr. Bhauchung had worked extensively.
Rinchen In 1984 Drupon Rinchen Dorje entered Tana Monastery, receiving his vows as a novice monk from Tulku Nyendrak Gyaltsen Rinpoche. While helping with the reconstruction of the Monastery, he received teachings on the Fivefold Path of Mahamudra and Kunsang Lama's Words of Profound Instruction, Dzogchen's Great Completion Parting from Samsara and Nirvana, Pointing Out the Nature of Mind, and other teachings from Tulku Nyendrak Gyaltsen Rinpoche. Rinpoche has also received Chakrasamvara according to Drilbupa, including the empowerment, scriptural transmission, and pith instructions from Tulku Thogme Rinpoche.

Drupon Dorje joined the Drikung Kagyu Institute in 1993, and has received instruction in philosophy, Gongchig, Theckchen Tenying, Dhagpo Thargyan, and Uttaratantra from Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen and other profound teachers of the Lineage. In 1995 Drupon Dorje received full ordination vows from His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, and in the same year accomplished the ngondro practices to mahamudra and the grand mantra recitation of Chakrasamvara. In 1996, he received initiation into the Profound Path of the Six Yogas of Naropa. Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche has completed two (2) three-year retreat courses, one at Almora and one at Lachi, holy retreat place of the great yogi, Milarepa. He has received profound instructions too numerous to mention during these retreats.

In 2005, he received the five-deities Hevajra according to Marpa's tradition of empowerment, transmission and instructions from His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, and in 2006 he completed the grand mantra recitation of glorious Hevajra's fire puja at the Almora retreat center.

Drupon Rinchen Dorje currently resides in the Chicago area and is the Resident Lama for Chicago Ratna Shri.

Nyima Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche was born in 1976 in Sha, near Drikung in Central Tibet. At the age of four he learned to read due to the kindness and care of his father and grandmother. At age nine he entered the local village school and studied writing, math, and other subjects for four years. During this time, when Kyabje Ontrul Rinpoche came to Tibet, Khenpo offered his hair and took the refuge vow.

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 for six years.

Then, 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 Chetsang Rinpoche. For two years he studied the Essence of the Mahayana Teachings and the Single Intention under Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche as well as the ordinary subjects and the major scriptures with the Khenpos and teachers there. In the south of India Khenpo received the great empowerment of Kalachakra from His Holiness the Dalai Lama after which, according to the expressed wishes of both the Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Thubnying Rinpoche, he went to Bihar to study the major scriptures for eight years.

In 1998 he received full monk ordination from Mewa Khenchen Thubten Ozer Rinpoche. Since then he has received the oral transmission of the precious Kangyur of the Buddha from Choje Togden Rinpoche as well as the pig, snake, and monkey year teachings from Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche. At the beginning of 2002, H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche 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. From among the ordinary lamas and monks of his land he was enthroned as a Khenpo. Currently, Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche resides at Jangchub Ling in India.
Konchog Khenchen Rinpoche, born in Tsari, Tibet in the spring of 1946, came to the West in the early 1980's to found the Tibetan Meditation Center in Washington, D.C. The only Khenchen in the Drikung lineage, Rinpoche completed a nine-year course of study at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, India beginning in 1967.

After leaving Tibet as a child with his family, Khenchen Rinpoche became a novice monk while a student at a school for Tibetans in India. In early 1968, he had the good fortune to take full monastic ordination from the great Shangpa Kagyu master 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.

Maintaining a balance between theoretical understanding and the practice of meditation, Khenchen 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 Thil, 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.

In more recent years, Khenchen Rinpoche has spent 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 Europe, especially Germany and Austria, as well as Southeast Asia.

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 translated many texts and published numerous books. 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.

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 way.

Khenchen Rinpoche currently resides in India, where he continues to teach and work to spread the precious Dharma of the Drikung lineage.
Thupten Ven. Thupten Nima was born in 1965 into conditions of political turmoil and exile associated with the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Ven. Thupten Nima had the good fortune to receive instruction at the age of fourteen on the effects of virtuous and harmful actions by the great yogi Tamga, and he completed the four hundred thousand accumulations of the preliminary practices (Ngondro) according to the Buddhist Yangzab terma.

His family having long been associated with Gar Monastery prior to the Cultural Revolution, Ven. Thupten Nima made great efforts to travel to the Gar Monastery where he received refuge ordination from His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche. He then received full monastic ordination and the bodhisattva vow from the great siddha Karma Norbu, and was admitted to the Gar Monastery. There, he trained in the ritual practices of the tantras of Old and New Schools and other diverse religious activities. He was selected for special training at Lho Lungkar Monastery, including the Eight Heruka Sadhanas, the Embodiment of the Masters' Realization, Vajrakilaya, and Essence of Great Bliss. He served as chant master and, later, as disciplinarian of the Gar monastery.

Thereafter, he received teachings from many of the great living Buddhist masters including Dzogchen trekchod and thogal from Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche, the entirety of the Drikung Kagyu protectors and the higher and lower tantra sections from HE Garchen Rinpoche, and received from Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok his own terma (mind treasure) of the Kilaya cycle of teachings. At Drigung Thil, he received from Drubpon Tendzin Nyima some of the profound teachings of the Drikung Kagyu such as the Fivefold Mahamudra and the Six Yogas [of Naropa]. He studied the Gong Chig (Single Intention), Essence of Mahayana, The Bodhisattva Way of Life, and the Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices with Drigung Khenpo Namzig. Under the elder Drigung chant master Konchog Samten, he trained in the ritual practices of Chakrasamvara, Varahi, the Yangzab, Sarvavid and Akshobhya.

Thereafter, HE Garchen Rinpoche asked him to undertake a series of assignments to help reorganize and reestablish Buddhist practice and monastic discipline in monasteries throughout the region after, in some cases, a twenty-five year breach in the Buddhist practice tradition including Lho Miyel Monastery, Khargo Monastery, and later Tseri Monastery in Sichuan where he reestablished the Great Accomplishment (Drupchen) practice of Yamantaka and gave other teachings. Then, again at the request of HE Garchen Rinpoche, he served as Lama (religious teacher and minister) for two years at Tamgo Monastery in Central Tibet, the former dwelling place of Chung Dorje Dragpa, the fourth lineage holder of the Drikung Kagyu. There, Gape Lama established the summer retreat, set up a yearly teaching schedule, and appointed a chant master, disciplinarian and shrine master.

Subsequently, at Gar Monastery, Ven. Thupten Nima took responsibility for instructing the nuns at the Fivefold Mahamudra Meditation Center of Gargon Nunnery. In the year 2000 he went to India and received the complete Drikung Kagyu empowerments, transmissions and teachings during the Drigung Snake Year teachings. Thereafter, he went to Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. He then came to America to do a Yamantaka Retreat with HE Garchen Rinpoche, and served as the resident Lama for the Mercy and Treasure Buddhist Foundation in California. At present, he serves as a Resident Lama and Chant Master for the Garchen Institute in Arizona, as well as continuing to serve as visiting Lama (religious teacher and minister) at the Mercy and Treasure Buddhist Foundation. HE Garchen Rinpoche has also requested Ven. Thupten Nima to serve as Chant Master (religious ritual master) all the Gar Buddhist Dharma centers in the West.
Thinley From an early age, Drupon Thinley Ningpo's 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. Over the ensuing years, he engaged in spiritual retreats involving practices of Five-fold Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa.

In the year 2000, Drupon Ningpo participated in the Drikung Kagyu Snake Year teaching and received the entire body of Drikung Kagyu empowerments, transmissions, and instructions for advanced practice. In this body of Drikung Kagyu lineage, he earned the exalted title of Drupon, "master of spiritual attainment." With this well-deserved distinction, he has now traveled to America and is responding to the sincere prayers of many people for authentic guidance in Buddhist practice.

Today, Drupon tirelessly serves the Dharma community from his home at Drong Ngur Jangchubling Buddhist Center in Wesley Chapel Florida. Drupon also travels extensively and as a visiting teacher we are indeed fortunate to have him and his precious teachings. .
Sherab Khenpo 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, 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 Khenpo 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, 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 Kyobpa 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 Drikung Namgyal Ling Drikung Kagyu Buddhist Center 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.
Bongtul His Eminence Lho Bongtul Tendzin Nyima was born in 1965. As a little boy, H.E. taught himself to draw, to do Tibetan calligraphy,and to paint. As he got older, he calligraphed many lengthy religious texts like the Liberation Sutra and Drikung dharmapala texts. At the age of eighteen, His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche performed the hair cutting ceremony, and H.E. Lho Bongtul Tendzin Nyima entered Lho Lungkar Monastery. From Togden Drogon, a direct disciple of the previous Bongtul Rinpoche, H.E. received teachings on Dzogchen (Thoe-gal), Yangzab treasure teachings, and Drikung Phowa and did the 400,000 accumulations of Ngondro practice.

In accordance with Achi Chokyi Drolma's prophecy, Togden Drogon recognized H.E. as the mind emanation of Lho Bongtul Rinpoche and announced the prophecy. By that time, H.E. had already mastered all the religious chants, rites, and rituals of the monastery.

Later in life, H.E. received the most profound teachings on the Ultimate Tantra ground, path, and fruition and the "Blessings of the Continuum" from Drubwang Pachung Rinpoche. From the meditation Master Gelong Tendzin Nyima, a principle disciple of Pachung Rinpoche, H.E. received many profound Drikung Kagyü teachings like the Six Yogas of Naropa and the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra. H.E. received the novice ordination from Khenpo Sogtul Rinpoche in Drikung Thil and was given the name Konchog Tendzin Trinlay Thaye. His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche subsequently recognized H.E. as the mind emanation of Lho Bongtul Rinpoche, and gave him the name Konchog Tendzin Sherab Jungney Pal-sangpo.

H.E. did a four-year retreat and other lengthy retreats on Yamantaka and Yangzab treasure teachings. From Dzogchen Khenpo Thubten Namgyal, H.E. received profound teachings and empowerments on the Bodhicaryavatara, Uttara Tantra, sadhana teachings of the Eight Pronouncements, the "Embodiment of Realization", Vajrakilaya, and Rigzin Jigme Lingpa's "Highest Awareness" as well as many other teachings and pith instructions.

In 1997 H.E. received many teachings and empowerments from His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche. From His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, Dulmo Choeje, and Gyalpo Rinpoche, he received teachings and empowerments of the Five Treasuries of Jamgon Kongtrul containing the quintessence of all the Kagyu empowerments. Once more H.E. went to Drikung Thil and sought the guidance of the meditation master Gelong Tendzin Nyima on specific aspects of the Six Yogas of Naropa and the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra.

H.E. introduced the yearly drupchens of the Eight Pronouncements (eight heruka sadhanas), the Assembly of Realization, the Embodiment of Divine Intentionality (gong-due), Vajrakilaya, and the Lho Lungkar Gon tradition of the Grand Mind Propitiation of the Essence of Great Bliss (Dechen Nyingpo). He also introduced many deity dances to his monastery. For the benefit of those presently interested and to meet the needs of future generations, H.E. has composed many sadhanas (method of practice of deities), texts on altar arrangement, histories, and a guide of sacred places of worship and has recorded three albums of Dharma songs. H.E. also studied and practises Tibetan herbal medicine.

From time to time, H.E. has guided, taught, and given empowerments of the Six Yogas of Naropa and the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra to the monks and nuns of Gar Monastery, Khargo Monastery, Sichuan Tsele Monastery, Nyizong Monastery, Gewu Monastery, and to others who were on retreat. In 1997 H.E. accompanied the Drikung Dance Tour around North America and Europe. In 1998 H.E. rebuilt the historical stupa, Lungkar Chorten Bummo Che. Among many significant accomplishments, H.E. has rebuilt Lho Lungkar Monastery and its retreat center. Seeing the needs of the local population, H.E. built a medical dispensary and a school for the local children.

His Eminence Lho Bongtul Tendzin Nyima is a scholar, painter, doctor, a singer-song writer, and above all, a Drikung Kagyu lineage master of outstanding insight, aptitude, and divine qualities.
Chetsang His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the 37th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage and 7th reincarnation of the Chetsang Rinpoche is a manifestation of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara).

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Konchog Tenzin Kunsang Thrinle Lhundrup, was born on the 4th day of the 6th Tibetan month of the Fire-Dog-Year 1946 into the aristocratic family of Tsarong in Lhasa. This auspicious day marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s first turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Many prodigious signs and visions accompanied his birth. His grandfather, Dasang Damdul Tsarong (1888-1959), has been the favorite of the 13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933), Commander General of the Tibetan army and one of the most influential political figures in the early 20th century in Tibet. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang's father, Dundul Namgyal Tsarong (b. 1920), held a high office in the Tibetan Government and he was still active in important positions for the Exile Government in Dharamsala after the escape of the Dalai Lama and the cabinet ministers. His mother, Yangchen Dolkar, is from the noble house of Ragashar, which descended from the ancient royal dynasty.

Few years after the passing of the previous Drikung Kyabgon, Shiwe Lodro (1886-1943), two parties began to look for his reincarnation throughout Tibet. Based on a vision of the Drikung regent Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche (1924-1979) at the oracular lake Lhamo Latso and on many additional divinatory signs, in 1950 the son of the Tsarong family was recognized as the reincarnation of the Drikung Kyabgon. The boy subsequently passed numerous tests, such as identifying religious items and ritual objects of his former incarnations. His incarnation was further confirmed by divinations performed by Taktra Rinpoche (the Regent of Tibet), H.H. the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, and H.H. Taklung Matrul.

In the fall of 1950 the formal enthronement as Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang took place at Drikung Thil, the main monastery of the Drikung Kagyu order. Immediately thereafter the first Chinese invasion of Tibet took place. Rinpoche was allowed to travel to Kalimpong in Northern India with his family, in order to stay in a safe place. His older brother and his two sisters were attending boarding-schools in Darjeeling. After some months Rinpoche was met by a delegation from the Drikung monastery and brought back to Tibet.

According to ancient tradition, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang resided in turns in one of the four main monasteries: In the spring in Drikung Tse, during the summer in Yangrigar, in autumn in Drikung Thil, and during the winter in Drikung Dzong, which also served as the administrative center of Drikung. His spiritual instructors (yongzin), Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche and Ayang Thubten Rinpoche (1899-1966), were responsible for his education. His curriculum included reading, writing, memorizing, astrology, and grammar. From his yongzin and from Bhalok Thupten Chodrak Rinpoche, Lho Bongtrul Rinpoche, and Nyidzong Tripa he received the basic empowerments, transmissions, and teachings of the Kagyu tradition and the Drikung Kagyu tradition in particular.

At the age of eleven, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang gave his first public teaching and transmission, a long-life empowerment, during the 1956 Monkey Year ceremonies of the Great Drikung Phowa. Subsequently he began his philosophical studies at the Nyima Changra monastic college of Drikung. Although he was four years younger he studied together with the second Drikung lineage holder, Chungtsang Rinpoche. His instructor was Bopa Tulku Dongag Tenpa (1907-1959), introducing him to the philosophy of Madhyamaka. He first studied basic texts, like The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva by Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo and Introduction to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life (Bodhicharyāvatāra) by Shāntideva.

Soon thereafter Tibet underwent a great upheaval. In the wake of the Tibetan uprising of 1959, as many Tibetans fled the country, among them the Dalai Lama, the cabinet ministers and a host of spiritual dignitaries, several attempts were launched to bring Chetsang Rinpoche and Chungtsang Rinpoche out of Tibet into safety. These attempts failed because of the inexorable resistance of the monastery manager. Rinpoche’s family had already fled to India in 1956.

The monks in the Drikung monastery were put under house arrest, and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had to endure with them for months Communist indoctrinations. After some month Tritsab Gyabra, who had left the monastery some years before, took Rinpoche to live with him in Lhasa under rather dismal conditions. In 1960, Drikung Kyabgon was admitted into an elementary school in Lhasa. In very short time he mastered the subject matters of several classes, being able to finish the six years of education in only three years. Thereafter he was admitted to the Jerag Lingka middle school. The subjects there included Chinese, natural sciences, history, and biology. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang excelled in his studies, especially in Chinese. He also became a keen athlete and a passionate and brilliant soccer player.

When the Red Guards infiltrated the schools at the onset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang found himself caught up in the midst of the factional fighting of two opposing groups of Red Guards. Classes and business came to a halt. Many aristocrats and Rinpoches had to undergo brutal “people’s tribunals” known as struggle sessions. Chetsang could no longer stay with Tritsab Gyabra, who had fallen from grace. He lived at the school, where he cooked for the few remaining schoolmates and studied the books he found in the school’s library. Lhasa sank into chaos. In this atmosphere of anarchy Rinpoche several times was saved by a fraction from certain death.

In 1969, he was assigned to a commune in the countryside, where he had to carry out the hardest physical labor. A partly decayed verminous shack on top of a sheep pen was his shelter. He did not own more than a pot and a cup and some slats to sleep on. An uncle, who came to visit him one day, struggled against his tears, stunned that his nephew was living in such squalor. But His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang always reacted with great equanimity to all the many upheavals in his live. When the uncle became aware of the serene calmness pervading every aspect of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s being, he compared him with Milarepa, who lived in comfortless caves and outwardly austere, but inwardly excessively rich spiritual life.

In the spring and in summer His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang drudged on the fields of the work unit. In autumn he had to climb high mountains to cut firewood for the commune and carry home heavy loads. In the winter he had to shovel out the sewage from the cesspits in Lhasa and carry it to the farm. Despite the strenuous labor, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang helped others, whenever he could. Nobody knew that he was the Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche, but his extraordinary deeds amazed many.

Due to his class background as aristocrat and high incarnate lama there was no prospect for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang in Communist occupied Tibet. After meticulous planning, he finally found a means of escape in 1975. This was at a time when China had established a tight system of spies and informers all over Tibet and the military had a close grip of control, so that only few succeeded to take flight. He set out alone and without help to cross the border of Tibet into Nepal across high passes and glaciers. The Drikung Kyabgon accomplished what was thought to be impossible. Unscathed he reached Nepal and eventually the residence of the Dalai Lama at Dharamsala.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang conceded to the appeals of the Drikung lamas in exile and so he was again symbolically enthroned as the Drikung Kyabgon during a ceremony with the Dalai Lama. By this act he expressed the promise to take responsibility for the lineage in the future. Initially though, he traveled to the USA, where his parents had in the meantime emigrated to. There he learned English, while earning his living as a part-time at a McDonald's and other restaurants.

During the third year of his stay he received a very rare ancient Tibetan text uncovered in Nepal dealing with the history of the throne holders of the Drikung Order and written by his former incarnation, the 4th Chetsang Peme Gyaltsen (1770-1826). He started analyzing this work and studying the history of Tibet, of the Drikung Kagyu, and of his former incarnations. Shortly thereafter he returned to India in 1978, to take on the lead of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage as its throne holder.

For many years in occupied Tibet and in the USA, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had outwardly led the life of a layman. Nonetheless he had always strictly kept his monk’s vows. Now he resumed his monastic lifestyle once again and took up residence at Phyang Monastery in Ladakh. Instantly he entered a traditional three year retreat at Lamayuru Monastery under the guidance of the stern meditation master Kyunga Sodpa Gyatso (1911-1980).

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang studied with numerous highly accomplished lamas and Rinpoches of different traditions and received from them teachings and initiations. He regards Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991) as one of his most important teachers. He received from him the essential teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism (Dam Ngag Dzo), the highest Dzogchen teachings (Nyingtig Yashi), as well as the collected writings of Jamgon Kongtrul (Gyachen Kadzo) and the treasury of the oral Kagyu transmissions (Kagyu Ngag Dzo). In addition he received precious teachings and empowerments from H.H. the Dalai Lama (Chakrasamvara, Kālachakra, and Yamantāka), from H.H. the 16th Karmapa (Six Yogas of Nāropa, Milarepa), from H.H. Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche (transmission of the Taklung Kagyu teachings) and from H.H. Taklung Tsetrul the Northern Treasures. He studied Buddhist philosophy under Khenpo Noryang in the Drukpa Kagyu monastery Sangnag Choling in Bhutan, who gave him teachings on the Bodhicharyāvatāra by Shāntideva, the Madhyamakāvatāra by Chandrakīrti and on the Uttara Tantra. Khenpo Noryang also transmitted to him teachings of the general Kagyu tradition and the particular teachings of the Drukpa Kagyu on Mahāmudrā. Moreover His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang received important Drikung Kagyu empowerments and teachings on Mahāmudrā from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and Drubwang Konchog Norbu.

In 1985, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang received full monk's ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, during the Kalachakra initiation in Bodhgaya. He mastered all challenges with remarkable ease. Since 1987 Chetsang Rinpoche began to give teachings in many countries throughout the world. At the same time he started to rebuild the weakened Drikung Lineage with great energy. In Dehra Dun, India, he established a monastery and an educational center, attracting many monks from Tibet and Buddhist practitioners from many countries: the Drikung Kagyu Institute. In the beginning it consisted of the monastery Jangchubling and the retreat center and nunnery Samtenling. The Drikung Kagyu Institute is an education center, which emphasizes both the traditional monastic education, as well as present-day training to meet the needs of these times. Special consideration is also placed on discipline, meditation practice and the specialties of the Drikung Kagyu teachings. In 2003 Chetsang Rinpoche established near his monastery a magnificent edifice: the Songtsen Library, a center for Tibetan and Himalayan studies. A building epitomizing in content, function and form the essence of his vision as a treasury and think tank for the cultural and spiritual identity of the peoples of the Himalayan region and of the Drikung Lineage in particular. It contains rare texts about all subjects of the Himalayan region, works on Tibetan culture, tradition and geography, and of course the Buddhist texts of all schools. It houses an important collection about the famous Dunhuang manuscripts unearthed along the Silk Road. There, an unimaginable wealth of texts in various languages dating from the 4th to the 11th centuries was discovered. The Tibetan corpus alone includes thousands of manuscripts of all kinds, including the earliest Tibetan medical drawing known at present. Thus these ancient texts provide the researcher with a vast array of source material on the earliest period of Tibet, which His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would like to make accessible in its entirety, as his scope encompasses the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion.

In 2005 close to the Songtsen Library, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang built a large College for Higher Buddhist Studies, the Kagyu College. With its inauguration the new Drikung Mandala in Dehra Dun has been completed.

Drupon Trinley Yeshi Rinpoche has in the past served as the head retreat master at the Drikung Kagyu Institute in India. At the age of 12 he took the novice monk vows from H.E. Thritsab Thubten Wangpo (the former Thritsab Rinpoche). Afterwards he became perfectly well trained on how to play ritual instruments, how to chant, perform ritual ceremony, and the traditional Lama dance. At the age of thirty he took the full ordination vows from late master Pachung Rinpoche; hence he has received many teachings from Pachung Rinpoche and his close disciple, fully ordained Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche.

H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche asked him to lead the Three-year retreat for Rinpoche’s monks and nuns. Meanwhile His Holiness appointed Rinpoche as one of the head retreat masters in the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. At that time, he was also appointed as Dorzin (The representative of the head of lineage) for the holy place of Labchi.  After a successful three-year retreat, H.H. highly praised Drubpon Yeshi Rinpoche for his excellent duty in guiding the three-year retreat in a very skillful and enthusiastic way. In honor of all of his noble activities within the past many years, his many years of sincere practice, and his realization His Holiness honored him with a compliment letter and a recognition letter of being an authentic retreat master within the Drikung Lineage.

In Spring 2009, Rinpoche made his first European tour to confer Dharma teachings to European Dharma friends.  This is Rinpoche's second visit to Europe. In March 2013, Rinpoche will be in the United States for the first time and will be here teaching the Dharma until the end of August.


Khenpo Yeshi was born into a noble family in Kham, East Tibet in 1969. From early childhood, he showed a deep interest in the study of Dharma. Tibetan Dzogchen master, H.E. Lungdok Rinpoche, as well as H.E. Khenpo Könchok Gyaltsen took a personal interest in guiding young Yeshi and, at the age of thirteen, he was granted empowerments, transmissions and oral instructions in the cycle of sNying thig.

Arriving in South India at nineteen, Khenpo Yeshi went to Sera Monastery. He continued to excel in his academic studies, ascending to the top of his Shedra classes. Later, he entered Dzogchen Monastery in order to complete his studies in both the Sutra and Tantra trainings.

Over the years, Khenpo Yeshi studied closely with more than two dozen eminent Khenpos, including H.E. Khenchen Meiwa Tubten Rinpoche and H.E. Khenchen Pema Tsewang Rinpoche. Moreover, he received empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions of both kama and terma of the Nyingma tradition from such renowned high Lamas as His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, H.E. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, H.E. Dodrupchen Rinpoche, H.E. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche and H.H. Khathok Moktsa Rinpoche.

In 1992 Khenpo Yeshi traveled to Changchub Ling at Dera Dun, India, where he received teachings, transmissions, and empowerments of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage from His Holness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang Rinpoche, Khenchen Könchok Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Togden Rinpoche and many other great teachers and masters of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage.

At the completion of his academic Buddhist studies, Khenpo Yeshi traveled to Nepal to undertake an intensive three-year meditative retreat under the guidance of the renowned Dzogchen master, H.E. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. At that time, H.E. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche granted Khenpo Yeshi special dzogchen teachings and personal instructions, placing him in retreat at Asura Cave Retreat Center in Pharping, south of Kathmandu.

Upon completion of his retreat in 1997, H.E. Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche invited Khenpo Yeshi to teach at the monastery's Shedra (program of advanced Buddhist studies). In 1989, Khenpo Yeshi received teachings and empowerments from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche in Nepal. In 2001, Khenpo Yeshi participated in his 45-day Yamataka Retreat in Arizona's Garchen Institute. While in America, Khenpo Yeshi received further personal teachings from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche.

In December 2001, Khenpo Yeshi arrived in the United States. Since that time, he has participated in retreats at Lama Tharchin's Dharma center, Pema Oser Ling, in Santa Cruz, California and at Garchen Rinpoche's summer retreats held in Arizona. He continues to instruct students both from Asia and America and currently attends university classes, studying English grammar and composition. He currently resides at Gyatrul Rinpoche's Dharma center, Orgyen Dorje Den, in Alameda, California.

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