H. H. the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
Bringer of the Dharma from Tibet to the West
The 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, was head of the Kagyu
lineage. He left his homeland of Tibet in 1959, and later toured
the western world. On his first world tour, His Holiness visited
the United States, Canada, and Europe. Accompanied by other
teachers, a full entourage of monks and other staff, he performed
the Vajra Crown ceremony in the Western hemisphere for the first
time, giving empowerments and dharma advice.
On November 5th, 1981, the 16th Karmapa passed away at the American International Clinic in Zion, near Chicago, Illinois, USA. His Holiness' body was flown back to India. The fact that His Holiness chose to die in North America is considered a sign that the West was a suitable place to transplant the Dharma.
The 16th Karmapa was the main teacher of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, founder of Nalandabodhi, during Rinpoche's early education at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India.
H. H. the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Supreme Head Of The Kagyu Lineage
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the successor to His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Born in Tibet on June 26, 1985, Ogyen Trinley Dorje assumed the title of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa at the age of eight. He presides over Tsurphu Monastery, which has been the traditional seat of the Karmapas in Tibet since the 13th Century. At the age of fourteen he escaped from Tibet to India, the ancient birthplace of Buddhism, to fulfill the role of the Karmapa, to pursue his religious education, and to aid the Tibetan people. Nalandabodhi was honored to host His Holiness the Karmapa on his historic first visit to the U.S. in 2008.
H. H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Embodiment of Enlightened Activity
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was born in 1910 in Denkhok Valley, eastern Tibet, to a family descended from the royal lineage of the ninth century King Trisong Detsen. He was recognized by the great master Mipham Rinpoche as an extraordinary incarnation.
He was one of the last great masters to have completed his entire training in Tibet.
When he left Tibet and went into exile, he traveled throughout the Himalayas, India, southeast Asia, Europe and North America, transmitting and explaining the teachings to his many disciples. He became a master of masters - His Holiness the Dalai Lama considers him as his main teacher of Dzogchen - and also became spiritual advisor to the royal family of Bhutan. He passed away in Bhutan in 1991.
Throughout his life, he was a true embodiment of enlightened activity. His teaching and his life were one.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
Great Modern Day Yogi and Impeccable Scholar Of Buddhism
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso is an impeccable scholar renowned for his equally flawless compassion. He also embodies the arduous training and imperturbable temperament of a true yogi. As the primary teacher to Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche holds a special place in the hearts of Nalandabodhi students.
Alak Zenkar Rinpoche
Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University
Zenkar Rinpoche is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University in the East Asian Institute. He was the co-founder, vice-principal and Professor of Tibetology at the Sichuan Tibetan Language School in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, where he established a school for advanced studies in Tibetan language and culture. Rinpoche is also the main editor and Co-Founder of the Project for the Compendium Dictionary of Tibetan Buddhist Terminology of Eight Different Schools, jointly with Nitartha International of Vancouver, BC , Canada.