A Short Biography of Garchen Rinpoche

Gar Konchog Nyidon Nyima Chokyi Senge (Garchen Rinpoche) was born in 1936. The previous Chetsang Rinpoche (Senior Throne-holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage), Zhiwa'i Lodro recognized him as the tulku of Garchen Thrinley Yongchap, the previous Garchen Rinpoche.

As he was very young at that time, the King of Nyanchen took responsibility for him. When he was seven years old, he was taken to the Drikung Kagyu monastery called Lho Miyel Gon. There, amidst great celebration, they performed the ceremony of changing his clothes (a special ordination whereby a tulku becomes a monk). At that time, the child pointed out the image of Lord Jigten Sumgon from among many others and said, "This is my lama."

That caused the great masters to have faith that he was an authentic incarnation of the previous Garchen Rinpoche. He stayed at Lho Miyel Gon and took care of the monastery until he was 22. During this period, he was taught by his former disciple, Chime Dorje, who gave him many empowerments, transmissions and teachings. When Garchen Rinpoche was 13, Chime Dorje started giving him the Mahamudra teachings. Then in the Lho Lungkar Gon monastery, Tulku Thubten Nyingba Rinpoche gave him all the Drikung Kagyu empowerments and teachings. After that, he started the Ngondro practice, and studied the Six Yogas of Naropa.

During the Cultural Revolution, there were no Dharma teachings freely available. However, he secretly received instructions from Khenpo Munsel. Exhibiting enormous perseverance, Garchen Rinpoche secretly practiced all these teachings for twenty years. Khenpo Munsel was very pleased and reportedly said, "He is a very special bodhisattva incarnation. Of this there is no doubt."

Since 1979, his only thought has been to benefit sentient beings, with special compassion for the poor. Whatever food and wealth he received as offerings were always used for the monks and nuns; he kept nothing for himself. He promised that none of the offerings that were given to him would be given to his family for their personal enjoyment. Rinpoche has become one of the primary upholders of the Dharma in Tibet today. He has kindled the rebuilding of many monasteries.

Rinpoche is very respectful to all persons. he has a very sepcial quality of being able to give beneficial and effective advice to those with negative habits. He is a humble person without any signs of arrogance, always thinking that he is the lowest person. With loving-kindness, compassion and bodhicitta he thinks only of how to benefit others. Therefore, many have faith in him and regard him with deep respect. Garchen Rinpoche's activities are especially suited to this degenerate times; he is a protector of all sentient beings. He is currently establishing a Buddhist College at his monastery - Lho Lungkar Gon, which houses almost one hundred monks.

Read a short Mahamudra Teaching given by Garchen Rinpoche