Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

dzigar kongtrul rinpocheOccasionally we encounter people in our lives who have an immediate effect upon us. We are struck by the selfless nature of their presence, the strength of their confidence, the wisdom in their eyes, or the warmth they radiate. Contact with such people can awaken our intelligence, curiosity and longing, and perhaps even inspire us to look deeper into the meaning of our ordinary lives. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche is one of these people.

Unbroken lineages of wisdom traditions are rare in these times, and Kongtrul Rinpoche descends from a pure lineage of the Dzogpa Chenpo Longchen Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Born into a noble dharma family in Northern India, his father was the third incarnation of the great tertön Chogyur Lingpa, while Rinpoche’s first teacher, his mother, was a great and renowned practitioner, completing thirteen years of solitary retreat before she married. At the age of nine, Rinpoche was recognized as an incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, by Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa. Raised in a monastic environment, Rinpoche received extensive training in all aspects of Buddhist doctrine. In particular he received the teachings of the Nyingma lineage from his root teacher, Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Rinpoche also studied extensively under Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Nyöshul Khen Rinpoche and the great scholar Khenpo Rinchen. 

In 1989 Rinpoche moved to the United States with his family and in 1990 began five-year tenure as the first holder of the World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University. During that time Rinpoche founded Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to establishing a genuine sangha of the Longchen Nyingtik Lineage in the West. Weaving his ancient spiritual heritage with the many threads of a modern Western culture, Rinpoche is known for his uncompromising integrity, deep conviction in altruism, and insistence that all beings can awaken to their own enlightened nature.

Kongtrul Rinpoche's life defines what it means to be a spiritual person in modern times. Whether through his teaching, his passion as an abstract painter, his steadfast dedication to his lineage and students, or through his joy in solitude, and his unshakable determination to engage his own path, throughout it all, Rinpoche integrates his practice and his life. "Isn’t that the goal of the spiritual path?" Rinpoche often asks. Indeed it is -- to be flexible, courageous and exploratory in the face of life’s joys and paradoxes, while never losing touch with a connection to its deepest meaning.

Rinpoche is the author of four books, It’s Up to You: The Practice of Self-Reflection on the Buddhist Path, Light Comes Through: Buddhist Teachings on Awakening to our Natural Intelligence, Uncommon Happiness: The Path of the Compassionate Warrior, and The Intelligent Heart: A Guide to the Compassionate Life

If you are interested in finding out more about pursuing the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual path of the Dzogchen Longchen Nyingtik lineage under Rinpoche’s guidance, please visit the Becoming a Student webpage.