When we get a sense of the nonexistence of the self, we might feel afraid.However, there is no need for fear. If the self were to exist, we could be harmed, but since the self does not exist, there is no “I” to be harmed.With the realization that the self does not exist comes great courage, and fear simply disappears.
– Thrangu Rinpoche
THE SEVENTH KARMAPA founded the Thrangu Monastery some 500 years ago and appointed one of his most gifted disciples to be its abbot. This was the First Thrangu Rinpoche. More recent incarnations have spent much of their lives in retreat.
The Ninth Thrangu Rinpoche was born in 1933 in Kham, Tibet. At the age of five, he was recognized by His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa and the Eleventh Palpung Situ Rinpoche. During childhood Thrangu Rinpoche studied reading, writing, grammar, poetry, astrology, and other subjects at Thrangu Monastery.
When Thrangu Rinpoche was twenty-three, along with Sumang Gawang and Chogyam Trungpa, he received the Gelong ordination (monk’s vows). For the next several years, he received many initiations, engaged in religious practice and retreats, and was introduced to the Absolute Nature by Lama Khenpo Gausha Wangpo.
Rinpoche is the highest scholar of the Kagyu school and has been responsible for the education of the highest tulkus of the Kagyu order including H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche, H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and H.E. Gyaltsab Rinpoche. He is a full holder and teacher of the Kagyu Vajrayana lineages and holds a direct transmission of the special shentong philosophical tradition.
He is now the khenpo (abbot) of Rumtek Monastery and Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies, in Rumtek. He founded his own shedra (school), Thrangu Tashi Choling, in Nepal. He has also travelled extensively throughout Europe and the United States.
In Sarnath, India, Thrangu Rinpoche completed a large, beautiful monastery overlooking the Deer Park where the Buddha gave his first teaching on the Four Noble Truths. This monastery is named Vajra Vidya after the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, and it is now the seat for the annual Kagyu conference led by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa.
In Crestone, CO, Thrangu Rinpoche founded the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center.