Sakya Master H.E. Luding Khen Rinpoche in North America

The following article is from the Autumn, 1988 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

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H.E. Lading Khen Rinpoche

Rinpoche is the 75th throne-holder of Ngor Ewam Choden and head of the Ngor sub-sect of the Sakya School. The Ngor sublineage was founded in 1429 by the great scholar and meditation master Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo. Ngor Evam Choden, the monastery founded by Ngorchen, became an important center for tantric and philosophic teachings, famed throughout Tibet. This January, the new Ngor Evam Choden was consecrated in Manduwala, U.P., India. The following short biography gives some indication of the extent of His Eminence's teaching mission in all three vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism.

H.E. Luding Khen Rinpoche was born in 1931 in the palace of Dargen Charpa near Shigatse in Tsang. He was named Sharchen Luding Jamyang Tenpa'i Nyima and his father, Tashi Gyaltsen, was of noble class and the lord of a large estate in Tsang. Rinpoche is the second of 3 children. His elder sister, Dechen, presently lives in Rajpur, U.R, India, and his younger brother, Rinchen Wangyel, is married to Jetsun Kushola, the older sister of H.H. Sakya Trizin.

Beginning studies at the age of 7, Luding Khen Rinpoche quickly mastered the fields of Prajnaparamita, Vinaya, Madhyamika, Abhidharma, Logic, and Epistemology. At the age of 10, Rinpoche was chosen by the Luding Khenpo of the Ngor Monastery to be the future abbott of the Monastery.

Rinpoche was ordained as a monk by age 10 and entered the monastic community to begin strict disciplinary training. He continued for several years with his studies of Buddhist philosophy and the sciences, with special emphasis on the field of Lam Dre (Path and Fruit) tantric system of meditation. Starting at 16, Rinpoche did his first major retreat, after which he continued for 5 consecutive years practicing the sadhanas of all the major deities.

In 1954, Rinpoche was enthroned by request of His Holiness Sakya Trizen as the head of Ngorpa School. He began his extraordinary teaching activities, each year ordaining 400-500 monks. Rinpoche, as the Dorje Lopon, conducted all of the High Tantra rituals conducted in the Monastery. Again, for 3 further years he stayed in retreat perfecting many common and uncommon practices. These activities and his extensive education qualified him to transmit empowerments and expound commentary as a renowned scholar of the Tantras.

In 1959, at the age of 29, Luding Khen Rinpoche left his monastery in Tibet due to the invasion of the Chinese communists. He fled to Sikkim with a small party of 10 people followed by horses and pack-mules, carrying the minimum necessities for the journey. He was only able to take 5 large wooden boxes of Buddhist texts from the great monastery's extensive collections.

Outside Tibet, Rinpoche immediately continued his teaching by establishing several monasteries in Sikkim, India and Nepal. In 1985 Rinpoche gave major teachings and initiations in many cities in the USA and Canada. To date, Rinpoche has taught 9 complete Lam Dre cycles, numerous Vajrayogini initiations and teachings, and the Hevajra Cause and Path Empowerments several hundred times.

Rinpoche will be at the following locations this Fall: Victoria, BC, Canada: Oct 10-17, Sakya Thubten Kunga Choling, (604) 385-4828; Seattle, WA: Oct 7-28, Sakya Monastery, (206) 522-6927; Oakland, CA: Oct 28-Nov 7, Ewam Choden, (415) 527-7363; Los Angeles: Nov 7-16, Sakya Thubten Dhondrup Ling, (213) 388-5922; Hawaii: Nov 17- Dec 12, Nechung Drayang Ling, (808) 928-8539.

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