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Biographies: Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Venerable Khenchen Thrangu RinpocheThe most Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche was recognized at the age of four in 1937 by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and Palpung Situ Rinpoche, who accurately prophesied the names of his parents and his place of birth.

From the ages of seven to sixteen, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche was an ardent student. He memorized pujas, and studied their practice. At sixteen he entered into the study of higher Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic, debate, and scripture under the direction of Khenpo Lodrö Rabsel. At the age of twenty-three he received the full Bhikshu ordination along with Garwang Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche directly from the Gyalwa Karmapa. He has lived a chaste and celibate life, entirely dedicated to the spiritual path, ever since.

Following graduation as a khenpo (somewhat the equivalent of a PhD in Buddhist Studies) or abbot, Thrangu Rinpoche engaged in a period of intense spiritual practice and retreat. He then received further instructions from his lama, Khenpo Gyangshar Wangpo. With time he was able to master all the wondrous meditation techniques of the Kagyu lineage.

At the age of thirty-five he was given the degree of Geshe Rabjam with honors and was appointed Vice Chancellor of the Principal Seat of the Kagyü Order. He is a full holder and teacher of all the Karma-kagyü lineages and has a special, very direct transmission of the Shentong tradition of insight and awakening. Being the most gifted scholar within the Kagyu school, he was chosen as special tutor to the four great Kagyü regents, and is to this day their teacher. He now also acts as tutor to His Holiness the 17th Karmapa as well.

Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche has traveled extensively in Europe, the United Sates, Canada and Asia. He has a three-year retreat centre at Namo Buddha in Nepal, is in charge of long retreats at Samye Ling, Scotland, is abbot of Gampo Abbey in eastern Canada, the abbot of the Dharma Fellowship centres in western Canada and San Francisco, USA, and offers yearly Namo Buddha Seminars for beginning and advanced students of Buddhism.

The venerable Thrangu Rinpoche is a great examplar of the monastic principles of Buddhism. His role of abbot in the Dharma Fellowship means that he oversees the life and conduct of all monks and nuns who take ordination in or through the fellowship.

Thrangu Rinpoche is the author of many books published in the west, some of the most notable being: Essentials of Mahamudra, Looking Directly at the Mind; The Medicine Buddha Teachings; Pointing out the Dharmakaya; Showing the Path of Liberation; The Middle Way Meditation Instructions of Mipham Rinpoche; The Life of Tilopa and Ganges Mahamudra; and Buddha Nature. His books are readily available at

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