Our Abbot – The Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche

About five hundred years ago, the seventh Gyalwa Karmapa founded Thrangu monastery. He appointed as its abbot one of his most gifted disciples, the first Thrangu Rinpoche. More recently, incarnations of Thrangu Rinpoche have spent much of their lives in retreat. The present ninth incarnation was recognized at the age of four in 1937 by the Gyalwa Karmapa and Palpung Situ Rinpoche, who prophesied the names of his parents and his place of birth.

In the time from the ages of seven to sixteen, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche learned to read and write, memorized pujas, and studied their practice. He began his formal studies in Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic, debate, and scriptures with Lama Khenpo Lodrö Rabsel. At the age of twenty-three he received the Gelong ordination along with Garwang Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche from the Gyalwa Karmapa.

Following this, Thrangu Rinpoche engaged in a period of intense practice and retreat and received further instructions from his lama, Khenpo Gyangshar Wangpo. 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 Vajra Upholder of the Three Disciplines of His Holiness Karmapa. He is full holder and teacher of all the Kagyü Vajrayana lineages and has a special, very direct transmission of the Shentong philosophical tradition. Being so gifted, he was chosen to educate the four great Kagyü regents.

Khenchen 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, and offers yearly Namo Buddha Seminars for beginning and advanced students of Buddhism.

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche established a school in Nepal to educate the children of the Tibetan community in exile. The School for Himalayan Children is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture.

On June 4, 2023, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche died at his monastery in Nepal. As is traditional, all of the Thrangu Monasteries observed Rinpoche’s parinirvana by conducting seven weeks of pujas. This was followed by a week-long Chakrasamvara Grand Puja ending with his cremation on November 4, 2023.

For more information on some of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s live and activities, click here.

For an interesting biography of his life with pictures click here