The importance of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche on the Karma Kagyu tradition quite simply cannot be overstated. Since he was recognized as a Tulku of the previous Thrangu Rinpoche in 1938 by the 16th Karmapa and 11th Tai Situpa, he engaged in the rigorous traditional study, practice, and retreat training.
To give a flavor of Rinpoche's qualities, here is Pema Chödrön giving a glimpse of him in her most recent book, Welcoming the Unwelcome:
"Once I attended a talk at Gampo Abbey by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, the abbot of the monastery. When he stopped speaking, one of the monks rang a gong to signify the end of the teaching. Although that is the custom at Gampo Abbey, Thrangu Rinpoche thought the gong indicated the beginning of a meditation session. So for the next hour and a half, he sat on his cushion, totally relaxed, shifting his weight from time to time. We audience members weren’t exactly sure what was happening, so we also sat there the whole time, in a state of not knowing. Was he waiting for us to end or were we waiting for him? Each of us must have had our own way of being in that situation—from relaxing with the groundlessness to wanting to shout out—but witnessing Thrangu Rinpoche’s ease gave me a deep appreciation for how one can become comfortable with nowness—with emptiness in everyday life."
The list of Rinpoche's books below is a demonstration of someone who has in many ways held a deep responsibility for the lineage. Here we have a list of works explaining many of the most important texts of the Kagyu tradition including those authored by Tilopa, Naropa, the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, the Eighth Karma Wangchuk Dorje, Jamgön Kongtrül the Great, and many more. He has trained many of the next generation of Kagyu lamas and was an early teacher to Orgyen Thinley, one of the two present Karmapas.