Lamas at Kathok Gonpa

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Lingtrul Rinpoche is the reincarnation of Ling Lama Chökyi Dorje, and thus is an emanation of Vimalamitra and Longchenpa. He is the 8th head of Tra Ling, a Kathok Monastery in Golok, Tibet.

He was born in Amdo-Golok in 1955 to a well-endowed family. At the age of 3 he was recognized as the incarnation of Ling Lama Chökyi Dorje by many great lamas in the Golok area. But due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, his identity was kept secret.

As a young tulku, Lingtrul Rinpoche was forced to work in labor camps and hide any sign of interest in Buddhism. In 1983 the Chinese government lifted the restrictions on religious practice, and Lingtrul Rinpoche was able to meet with his root teacher, the great Khenpo Munsel.

The lineage of the Clear Light Great Perfection teachings began with the Dharmakaya Buddha and was passed gradually from teacher to disciple, through Khenpo Munsel to Lingtrul Rinpoche. As one of Khenpo Munsel’s closest heart sons, Lingtrul Rinpoche received all the transmissions of the Clear Light Great Perfection over a period of 3-4 years. In retreat he practiced all the development stages of the Vajrayana from the preliminary practices through Trekchöd and Todgyal. He also received all of the Longchen Nyingthig transmissions as well as many other empowerments.

At the age of 37, Lingtrul Rinpoche journeyed to central Tibet, Nepal and India to visit the great power spots in these holy lands. While in Sikkim he was imprisoned for 6 months and then rescued by H.H. Dodrubchen Rinpoche. Shortly thereafter he was invited to the United States.

Lingtrul Rinpoche presently maintains residences at Tra Ling Monastery in Golok, at Kathok Gonpa in Oakland, California and at Kathok Gonpa in Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada.

Lama Tenzin Tsundu is a student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He lives in Courtenay and is generous with his time and energy by leading practices at Kathok Gonpa, particularly Chenrezi and Tara. Lama Tsundu also holds teachings and practices in the Courtenay area. He and his wife Sherry Matson can be reached at the Pure Land Gift Shop on Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay, (250) 338-7552.

Tenzin Tsundu fled Tibet as an infant with his mother and sister. While on route his 4-year old sister died of exposure to the severe weather in the high mountain passes between Tibet and Sikkim – a common fate of Tibetans trying to find sanctuary outside their homeland. At the age of 8 he entered Sakya Monastery and then later entered Namgyal Monastery (the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama). He remained there for 27 years studying Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan writing, sand mandala, ritual dance, butter sculpture and meditation. His extensive studies earned him the title of Master of Buddhist Sutra and Tantra in 1992.

Since arriving in Canada in 1993, Lama Tsundu has lived in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. He teaches in a unique, simple style, referring to himself as our friend, who shares the Dharma with us.

Lama Jhampa Shaneman is a western lama who presently travels between Mexico and the Kootenays. Jhampa spent 13 years in India studying with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and with his root teacher, Geshe Ngawang Dhargaye. Jhampa was very generous with his time in helping Kathok Gonpa to get established, especially in the beginning – Jhampa acted as our main translator and organized work parties to help with construction. Lama Jhampa and his students and friends are building a retreat center in the Kootenays. Maria Shaneman continues to sponsor the Thubten Choling Dharma centre in Duncan where her daughter Aimee and son-in-law Pema provide translation for visiting lamas.

Eric Forgeng first came to Canada in 2000 to translate for Gyatrul Rinpoche’s teaching visit to Kathok Gonpa. We are fortunate that Eric has chosen to reside in Port Alberni with his wife Jackie. Eric provides ongoing translation at Kathok Gonpa, as well as for visiting lamas across North America.