Karmapa means "the one who carries out buddha-activity" or "the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas." In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously arrange to be reborn as a teacher who can carry on the teachings of a predecessor in a prior life. Pursuant to this tradition, the Karmapas have incarnated in human form for seventeen lifetimes, as of the present, and all have played the most important role in preserving and propagating the Buddhist teachings of Tibet.
Prior to the birth of the first Karmapa, the arrival of a Buddhist master who would be known as the Karmapa was been prophesied by the historic Buddha Shakyamuni and the great tantric master of India, Guru Padmasambhava. Throughout the centuries, Karmapas have been the central figure in the continuation of the vajrayana lineage in general and Kagyu lineage in particular, and have played a very important role in the preservation of the study and practice lineages of Buddhism. The current Karmapa is the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. For more information about Karmapa and his activities go to www.kagyuoffice.org.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, a true yogi who spent many years meditating in caves of Tibet, is well-known in Dharma centers in the U.S., Far East, and Europe. He is famous for his skill in debate, his spontaneous songs, and his ability to present complex and subtle Buddhist philosophy in a clear, accessible, and lively way. His books, Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness and The Sun of Wisdom are used by many Buddhist groups and schools. For more information about Rinpoche and his activities go to www.ktgrinpoche.org. The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is acknowledged as one of the foremost scholars of his generation in the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Fluent in English and well-versed in Western culture, Rinpoche has adapted the traditional Tibetan education curriculum for Western audiences. In 1996 he helped establish Nitartha Institute (www.nitarthainstitute.org) and he is a visiting professor at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. In 1997 Rinpoche founded Nalandabodhi to preserve the genuine lineage of the Nyingma and Kagyu Schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Nalandabodhi is headquartered at Nalanda West in Seattle, Washington. For more information on Rinpoche and his activities go to www.nalandabodhi.org.
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
Thrangu Rinpoche is a renowned Tibetan Buddhist master known for his deep compassion and the clarity of his teachings. He was selected by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to serve as the principal tutor to His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Thrangu Rinpoche is a full holder and teacher of the Kagyu Vajrayana lineages. He founded the Namo Buddha retreat center in Nepal, has established two shedras (monastic universities) in Nepal and India, and serves as Abbot of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia. He built Tara Abbey, where nuns receive a full dharma education qualifying them to become Khenpos or teachers. Thrangu Rinpoche teaches extensively throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. In the U.S. he has centers in Maine and California and the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado. For more information about Rinpoche and his activities go to www.rinpoche.com.Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche is the Abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery (KTD). In 1975, the Sixteenth Karmapa acknowledged Rinpoche’s attainment with the title “Superior Dharma Master”. At the request of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rinpoche immigrated to the U.S. in 1976 to establish KTD. Additionally, he has founded over 30 affiliated dharma centers (KTCs) and also directs Karme Ling, a traditional three-year retreat center where he serves as retreat master. Rinpoche is known for the compassion, wisdom and clarity that he manifests in his teachings. For more information about Rinpoche and his activities go to www.kagyu.org.
Bardor Tulku Rinpoche
Bardor Tulku Rinpoche was born in Kham (East Tibet) and was recognized by the Sixteenth Karmapa as a reincarnated teacher. Rinpoche fled Tibet in 1959 and trained at Dharma Chakra Center in Rumtek, Sikkim. After traveling with Karmapa to the U.S., Rinpoche remained to guide the construction of KTD. He teaches at KTD and throughout North America and serves as the spiritual director of the KTCs. He founded Kunzag Palchen Ling in Red Hook, New York, a center dedicated to promoting the practices and teachings of the Kagyu lineage and supporting the redevelopment of Raktrul Monastery in Tibet. For more information about Rinpoche and his activities go to www.kagyu.org.
Lama Lodu Rinpoche was appointed resident lama of Kagyu Droden Kunchab in San Francisco in 1976 by His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa and His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche. His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa during one of his visits to San Francisco, emphasized that those who are interested in the teachings of the Buddha are very fortunate to be involved with KDK and should take advantage of the precious opportunity to study and practice the Dharma with Lama Lodru Rinpoche. Lama Lodru's teachings are very clear, unique, and profound. They touch the heart of everyone who listens. For more information about Rinpoche and his activities go to www.kdk.org.
Patrick Sweeney was empowerd by the Vajra Regent, Osel Tendzin, in 1989 to carry on the lineage transmission of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Since the Regent's death in 1990, he has studied, practiced and taught under the direction of prominent lineage teachers. His aspiration is to develop a method of teaching and transmission uniquely suited to the Western mind and culture. Patrick Sweeney has practiced hatha yoga for over twenty years and has developed an approach to teaching the buddhadharma using yogic methods to support meditation practice. His yoga instruction is drawn from the traditional yogic disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism and the tantric teaching of India. Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche have encouraged his integration of yogic discipline into fomal Buddhist practice. For more information on Patrick Sweeney and his activities go to www.satdharma.org.
Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen was born in the region of Trakar, in Nepal. At a very early age, he began studying dharma texts with Lama Amjl of Trakar. He moved to Kathmandu at the age of 13 where he entered the monastery. Some years later, he was instrumental in building the Kagyu monastery in Matopanai, Pokhara, Nepal. He joined the Karma Shri Nalanda Institute at Rumtek in 1981 and graudated as an acharya and ka rabjampa. In the 1990's he completed a traditional three year retreat at Pullahari Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has bee a very important teacher at Nitartha Institute in North America and Europe and he leads the Institute with The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. He currently resides in Boulder, Colorado where he teaches at Naropa University.
Acharya Tashi Wangchuk is the resident teacher at the Nalandabodhi International Event's Center in Seattle, where he teaches regularly. He is the main Acharya overseeing The North American Nalandabodhi centers. Also, he is one of the principal editors in the Nitartha International project of publishing the renouned Eight Great Treatises of the Karma Kagyu lineage, and remains active while in Seattle in prepariung for publication in many different forms classical Tibetan texts vital to the continuity of the Kagyu lineage.
Khenpo Tashi Gyaltsen is one of the brightest Buddhist scholars to be trained in modern Tibet. At a young age, Khenpo Tashi became a monk at Raktrul Monastery (Bardor Tulku Rinpoche’s monastery in Tibet). For fifteen years Khenpo Tashi received instructions, empowerments and transmissions on mahamudra and dzogchen, deity practice, philosophy, and Buddhist sciences from accomplished masters of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1999, Khenpo Tashi left Tibet to become a professor at the monastic college at Sherab Ling (Tai Situ Rinpoche’s monastery ). He now serves as dean of khenpos at Sherab Ling, overseeing instruction of one hundred students.
Lama Wangdu entered Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery in Boudha, Nepal when he was 16 years old. He graduated from Namo Buddha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies in Nama Buddha, Nepal, in 1995. He completed the traditional three year retreat in 1997, became the Retreat Master at the Retreat Center in Namo Buddha, Nepal in 2001 and was appointed by Thrangu Rinpoche in 2004 as a resident lama at the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado.
Khenpo Jigme has been studying with Thrangu Rinpoche since 1980. In 1994 he completed a five year program of study at Namo Buddha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies in Namo Buddha, Nepal, and in 1997 he ocmpleted the traditional three-year retreat at the retreat center in Namo Buddha. He has been appointed by Thrangu Rinpoche as a resident lama at the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado.
Lama Kathy Wesley has been a student of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche since 1977. She participated in the first three-year retreat at Karme-Ling Retreat Center, completing the retreat in 1996. She now serves the Columbus KTC as its resident teacher. Lama Kathy has taught regularly at Hartford KTC since the fall of 1998. She is a delightful and warm person who teaches with clarity, compassion and humor.
Lama Yeshe Gyamtso was a student of Kalu Rinpoche and completed two three year-retreats under the direction of Lama Norlha. He has served as translator for many eminent Kagyu teachers including His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa. The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche and others. He has published two books translating significant texts, Vajra Garland and The Lotus Garden: Treasure Biographies of Padmakara and Vairochana and Precious Essence, The Inner Autobiography of Terchen Benway Dorje.
Lama Chodrak. Under the direction of Bokar Rinpoche, Lama Chodrak assisted in organizing several of the recent Kagyu Monlam's conducted by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa in Bodhgaya, India where the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Tyler Dewar translates for The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and for other teachers at Nalandabodhi Buddhist centers. He has published Trainings in Compassion (Snow Lion) and is a teacher for the Nalandabodhi Sangha.
David Karma Choephel graduated from the Shedra program at Nama Buddha Institute for HIgher Buddhist Studies in Nama Buddha, Nepal. He has transled for His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa and currently serves as a translator for Thrangu Rinpoche.
Ani Yeshe Palmo completed a traditional three year retreat and numerous other long personal retreats under the supervision of Thrangu Rinpoche. She was ordained as a nun by Thrangu Rinpoche. She has recently rescinded her monastic vows.
Rita Gross is a scholar and practitioner who is famous around the world for her innovative and challenging work on Buddhism and gender. She is the author of the influential book, Buddhism and Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism as well as many other books and articles on Buddhism, comparative religions, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, religious diversity, and gender studies. A student and teacher in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, studied with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and is now a student of the Venerable Khandro Rinpoche.