His Eminence Chhoje Tulku Rinpoche is a classically trained Tibetan Lama, a Buddhist meditation master, and teacher. He has been teaching in the North America, and around the world, for over 26 years. He understands the way western students think and feel, as well as the challenges they face on a daily basis. Chhoje Rinpoche’s humor is infectious, he has a delightful way of opening people’s hearts and sparking access to the state of mind that makes things workable.
Rinpoche was recognized at an early young age by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche and His Holiness the 16th Karmapa as the reincarnated tulku of Chhoje Rinpoche VII. Rinpoche is a lineage holder of both the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He is referred to as “Rinpoche” by his students, a title Tibetan Lamas are honored with, which means “precious one” as a title of respect, courtesy and affection.
When Rinpoche was one year old, the 16th Karmapa prophesized that the previous Chhoje Rinpoche had incarnated in the village of Chemday, near Leh, Ladakh, in Northern India. Soon thereafter, H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche also officially recognized the young Chhoje Rinpoche, granting him refuge in the traditional Buddhist ceremony. Dudjom Rinpoche advised the young tulku’s parents to let their son fulfill his destiny as a lama and receiving a traditional Buddhist education. Eventually Rinpoche would spend several of years with H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, studying closely with him and practicing under his guidance.
Rinpoche explains, “For me, personally, watching His Holiness’ infinite compassion for beings was the most powerful experience of my life.”
Rinpoche also studied meditation under the personal guidance of His Eminence Soktse Tulku Rinpoche, the Venerable Lama Acho Rinpoche, and His Eminence Khenpo Ngakchung Rinpoche. He received extensive empowerments from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. In addition, he received extensive philosophical teachings from the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Khenpo Thubten Rinpoche, Khenpo Dazer and Khetsun Zangpo Rinpoche. As a recognized lineage holder, he is fully qualified to transmit Vajrayana teachings and practices.
In 1983, Chhoje Rinpoche came to New York City where His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche was residing at the time. A few years later, Chhoje Rinpoche began to give formal teachings. In 1988, Rinpoche founded Padma Shedrup Ling in Northern California. Since then, he has taught extensively throughout the United States, as well as India, Nepal, Japan and Greece.
While he has rigorously trained in the centuries-old traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Rinpoche is a 21st century Lama whose command of English and familiarity with western culture make his teachings accessible to contemporary audiences. He offers his students instruction tailored to their specific needs and life circumstances. With his amazing insight into human nature, he is able to touch people’s hearts and to recommend practices and activities that will be of greatest benefit.
After completing a three year retreat in the summer of 2010, Rinpoche returned to Chumur Monastery in Ladakh, in Northern India – the monastery he had founded in his previous life – for the consecration of new buildings and sacred items. About 1,000 people gathered to participate in a week-long practice and celebrate Rinpoche’s return. In addition to the teachings and empowerments, Rinpoche was able to consecrate new prayer wheels, statues, monks’ quarters, classrooms, a library during his stay.
In 2011, Rinpoche was Leh, Ladakh when a catastrophic cloudburst killed or injured hundreds of victims and destroyed homes, shops, bridges, and even massive prayer wheels. He provided critical support: counseling, medicine, practice for the dead, food, supplies and funds for rebuilding destroyed homes to the people of Leh, Choglamsar, Hanley and Chumur.
After that, he returned from Asia and the first public teaching he gave in North America was “Awakening Mind: The Field of Bodhi, a Teaching on the Heart Sutra” at a one week retreat in Loveland, Colorado. He continued to travel, giving teachings in India, Colorado, and California. Several of Rinpoche’s teachings are available in the media section of the website.
In March 2014, The Padmasambhava Meditation Center opened in Denver, Colorado. The Center serves as the North American seat for Rinpoche’s activities.
Chhoje Rinpoche’s continuing projects
- Construction of new buildings and the renovation of current structures at the Korseong Monastery near Darjeeling in west Bengal, India;
- The creation of the Mandarava Retreat Land, which includes road building and the construction of a lakhang, a nunnery, residence and resident retreat center in Tso Pema, Rewalsar, Himachel Pradesh, India.