His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (1930-2002) belongs to the last generation of teachers to have been fully trained in Tibet in the vast wealth of Vajrayana teachings and methods. He held superb teaching lineages, primarily in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Vajrayana, which he taught unceasingly throughout his life. The main emphasis in whatever he taught was pure motivation.
After the Communist conquest of Tibet in 1959, Rinpoche went into exile in India and Nepal. During the next twenty years, in various refugee camps and settlements, Rinpoche served as lama who administered to the refugees’ spiritual needs, as a camp leader who organized work projects, and as a physician Tibetan medicine.
Rinpoche traveled to the United States in 1979. The combination of his warm personality, his depth of knowledge, and his meditative realization magnetized thousands of students. His tireless teachings led him to Europe, Russia, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, and South America. He resettled in Brazil in 1995 after successfully establishing numerous centers and meditation groups in the United States and other places. In order to maintain his lineage teachings, he ordained a number of his Western students as teachers and gave them specific authorizations to teach. Since Rinpoche’s Parinirvana on November 17, 2002, the extensive Brazilian network of centers—many with their own resident lamas—and meditation groups have been under the spiritual direction of Chagdud Khadro, Rinpoche’s wife, whom he ordained as a lama in 1997.Rinpoche’s work is maintained by Chagdud Gonpa Foundation in North America, by Chagdud Gonpa Brasil, and by Chagdud Gonpa Hispanoamerica in Spanish-speaking Latin America. The Mahakaruna Foundation administers support for Chagdud Gonpa and associated monasteries in Tibet and Nepal.
Chagdud Khadro met His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in March 1978, married him in November 1979, and remained his devoted student for twenty-three years. At the time of her ordination as a lama in 1997, Rinpoche invested her as the future Spiritual Director of Chagdud Gonpa Brasil. Since Rinpoche’s Parinirvana in 2002, she has focused on maintaining the high caliber of Vajrayana training he had established.
During her time with Rinpoche, Khadro received constant training from him both in organizing dharma activities and in the teachings and practice of Vajrayana. She was among the collaborators for his autobiography Lord of the Dance and with his guidance, she compiled commentaries of his teachings on the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro, the Longsal Nyingpo Phowa, and the concise version of Apong Terton’s Red Tara. Formerly the managing editor of Padma Publishing in the United States, Khadro has edited many translations of Tibetan works.
Chagdud Khadro has been tireless in upholding his legacy. She has guided the construction of a Zangdog Palri (Guru Rinpoche Pureland), works with translation and publishing of texts in Portuguese and Spanish, helped establish Sítio Esperança, a school and educational project in the state of Minas Gerais, and continued to support spiritual care for the dying and there caregivers. Khadro supervises the activities and teaches in all the Chagdud Gonpa Brasil centers and Chagdud Gonpa Hispanoamérica. She also teaches in Europe, United States and Australia.
Jigme Tromge Rinpoche
Jigme Tromge Rinpoche was born in 1964 in Orissa, India, where he had the good fortune to receive a traditional Buddhist education. He has had extensive training in the teachings and practices of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and has studied with many great masters of our time including His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche. He also studied philosophy with Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche and at the philosophy school of Penor Rinpoche in south India. Rinpoche immigrated to the United States in 1988. After completing the traditional three-year retreat under the guidance of his father His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, he moved to Chagdud Gonpa Foundation's Bay Area center Ati Ling in 1992 and became its resident lama. Rinpoche now travels throughout North and South America and Asia giving teachings and counseling people with his gentle wisdom and warmth. He is jointly responsible for Tromge and Chagdud Monasteries in Tibet and also the retreat center Kathog Rithro in Nepal. Jigme Rinpoche is also director of the Mahakaruna Foundation, an international charitable organization founded by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche that offers assistance to the old, sick and impoverished in various parts of Asia, and also works to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Lama Padma Yontan Gyatso
Lama Padma Yontan Gyatso (Richard Baldwin) began his formal Buddhist training in India in 1970 with the outstanding meditation master, the late Venerable Kalu Rinpoche. Returning to the U.S., he entered the Buddhist Studies Program at the University of Washington. At this time he also received many teachings at the feet of the late Venerable Dezhung Rinpoche, a master of all lineages. He received his degree in 1974 and subsequently embarked on a number of meditation retreats. In 1982 he became a student of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. In 1996, Chagdud Rinpoche ordained him as a lama and appointed him as the teacher at Chagdud Gonpa Amrita, Seattle. Lama Padma teaches and practices with meditation and study groups throughout the Northwest, including several Buddhist groups in state prisons.
Having translated from Tibetan the extensive Tromge Chenrezig text, in 2004 Lama Padma deepened his connection with the Chenrezig practice when he traveled to Tibet and met with the terton Tromge Dechhen Kyabje Wangpo, who acknowledged him as a lineage-holder of the practice. After completing extensive retreats over several years as directed by Tromge Dechhen Rinpoche, Lama Padma was authorized to offer the empowerment for the Tromge Chenrezig. Additionally, Lama Padma is coordinating the development of Chokdrup Ling, a 320 acre retreat center in the Four Corners area of Southwest Colorado.
Lama Padma is the Head Lama of Chagdud Gonpa North America and is currently the Lama in residence at Rigdzin Ling.
Lama Tsering Everest
Lama Tsering Everest spent her childhood in Helena, Montana, a place that resembles Tibet in it scenery and its attitude. She first became interested in Buddhism after hearing a series of lectures by Sogyal Rinpoche in early 1980. She received her refuge vows from Dudjom Rinpoche and met her root teacher, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. A year later, she became Rinpoche’s translator. Her warm and humorous style reflected Rinpoche’s own humor and empathy. Under Chagdud Rinpoche’s supervision, Lama Tsering completed a three year retreat in 1995 and was ordained as a lama in the same year. In her ordination, Rinpoche recognized her as an emanation of Tara and a realization holder of the Red Tara lineage. Immediately afterwards, she was requested to teach in Brazil, and some months later became the resident lama of the dynamic Chagdud Gonpa center in São Paulo. Since that time, she has given empowerments and teachings, and conducted retreats in the Americas and Australia.
Lama Chodak Gyatso Nupba
Lama Chodak Gyatso Nubpa was born in 1951 in Aninkar, Tibet, into an eminent Nyingma lineage family. His training began at the age of four at Nyendril Ling Monastery, which has since been destroyed. In 1959 Lama Gyatso's family was forced to flee Tibet. Many of his immediate family died during the perilous escape into India. Lama Gyatso's extensive traditional and modern education and training continued in exile until the age of fifteen, when he entered the prestigious Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. He later spent two years at the University of Delhi, studying both Eastern and Western philosophy at the postgraduate level.
Lama Gyatso's principal spiritual teachers include: Nubpa Lama Ogyen Rinpoche, Zang Zang Lama Dhonyod Rinpoche, His Holiness Dodrupchen Rinpoche, His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, His Holiness Chatral Rinpoche and HisHoliness Trulshik Rinpoche. Lama Gyatso has also received teachings and transmissions from Khenpo Tsondru Tinpoche, Khenpo Thupten Rinpoche, Lama Topgyal Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, and His Holiness Dilgo Kheyntse Rinpoche. From 1979 until 1990, Lama Gyatso worked closely with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Lama Gyatso served as a representative of the Nyingmapa community in exile, and subsequently served as both the Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Tibetan Congress in Exile. While serving in these respective offices, Lama Gyatso directed programs to preserve and promote Tibetan culture, religion and human rights, thus supporting the Tibetan peoples' aspiration for their national identity.
Lama Gyatso came to
Los Angeles in 1992 at the request of His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and served as the Lama in residence at Thondup Ling until his passing in 2009. Lama Gyatso's activities at Thondup Ling were vast and extensive, hosting profound teaching events for Rinpoche and other great lamas, and included preservation of sacred Tibetan art in the creation of the Shi Tro Mandala and establishment of the Ari Bhod retreat center in Tehachapi, California.