“Compassionate activity is at the heart of our practice. We can’t ignore it. It is absolutely vital.” – H. E. Ayang Rinpoche
His Eminence K.C. Choeje Ayang Rinpoche was born into a nomadic family in eastern Tibet after numerous auspicious signs appeared. He was recognised to be a reincarnate Drikung Kagyu lama by a delegation of high lama including Ayang Drubchen Tenpal Nyinpa. Melong Drubchen, Traleg Kyamgon, Chabdra Rinpoche (the tutor Of H.H. the Drikung Kyabgon), and the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa.
Following his early education at Drikung Thil Changchub Ling, the main monastery of Drikung, he continued his studies at Nyinma Chang Ra, the Drikung philosophical college. He received all the initiations of Rinchen Ter Dzod and Kagyu Ngag Dzod from Nyinsum Tripa, a great Drikung lama. The second tutor of H.H. the Drikung Kyabgon, Ayang Thupten gave him the teachings of the Six Yoga of Naropa and Mahamudra. From Khenpo Tsense Sangpo, he received all Nyingthig initiations and teachings as well as his first Phowa teaching (this of the Nyingma tradition). He received the Upadesha from a great Nyingma Yogi, Rahor Chodra Rinpoche.
After finishing his studies and receiving many teachings he went on pilgrimage in Tibet to many of the holy places of Guru Rinpoche, doing a lengthy retreat at Phulung, where Guru Rinpoche practiced Phowa for a long time. At the end of the retreat, he performed an offering puja which was attended by many Naga, who came with offerings and circumambulated his retreat while performing mantras of Guru Rinpoche. Venerable Ayang Rinpoche felt that this was a great sign and felt it might mean that in the future he would be teaching Phowa in foreign countries.
After leaving Tibet, he received the Kalachakra initiation from H.H. the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, and in Rumtek, H.H. the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapo gave him the initiations and oral transmissions of Chagchen Kundzod Chig She Kundrol and a special Mahamudra introduction. From Dilgo Khyentse Rinposhe in Bhutan, he received the Dam Nag Dzod, which contains the essence of all initiations and teachings of all schools. He is a lineage-holder of both the Nyingma and Drikung Phowa , and has done extensive retreat on the practice.
Ayang Rinpoche is also the founder of two monasteries, including Thupten Shedup Janchub Ling at Bylakupee, a Tibetan Settlement in the Indian State of Karnataka, Chogyab, and Ayang Tulku, Ayang being the name of a 435-year-old monastery in Kham (eastern Tibet) which is a branch of the Drikung main monastery.