H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
If I were to leave only one legacy, it would be the wisdom of pure motivation. If I were to be known by one title, I would like it to be the “motivation lama”… In the moment that our heart moves toward compassion for all beings, our motivation expands toward the all-embracing motivation of a bodhisattva.”
His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche was born in Eastern Tibet (Kham) in 1930. Recognized at the age of four as a tulku —the incarnation of a meditation master—, he received rigorous training, deepening his studies through extended retreats. He had a special affinity for the sacred arts, for Tibetan medicine, and he was renowned for his wonderful chanting voice.
In 1959, he escaped the Communist occupation of Tibet and lived in exile in refugee communities of India and Nepal until relocating to the United States in 1979. At the request of his Western students, he established the Chagdud Gonpa Foundation, a thriving network of centers in the Nyingma lineages of Vajrayana Buddhism. In 1994, Rinpoche relocated to Brazil, established Chagdud Gonpa Brasil, and began construction of his main center of Khadro Ling in the southernmost state of Río Grande do Sul. By the time he passed away in 2002, Rinpoche had established more than twenty centers in Brasil, Uruguay, and Chile.
Traveling and teaching constantly, radiating warmth and compassion, he became the heart lama of hundreds of students, and a profound inspiration for thousands of others. Asked why, at the age of 64, he re-settled in South America rather than remaining comfortably in the United States, he answered, “I saw the faith of the Brazilians and their interest in Buddhism, and I wanted to teach them.”
Rinpoche’s wife, Chagdud Khadro, is the Spiritual Director of his South American centers. His son, Jigme Tromge Rinpoche trains students in the highest dzogchen meditation, and serves as Vajra Master for many major ceremonies and empowerments in Chagdud Gonpa centers in North and South America. Chagdud Rinpoche also has a daughter, Dawa Lhamo, who lives and practices in Boulder, Colorado.
Now in a full cycle, the tulku of Chagdud Rinpoche has been recognized by Khenpo Ngagchung in Tibet. Known as Chagdud Yangsi, he is now the focus of profound prayers and aspirations of sangha members throughout the world.