Kangyur Rinpoche
The life of Kangyur Rinpoche

Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche

Longchen Yeshe Dorje was born in Kham, Oriental Tibet, in 1898. His spiritual qualities became evident ever since his childhood. He studied with some of the most prominent spiritual masters of his time, such as Jedrung Rinpoche Trinle Jampa Jungne (himself a disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye) and Jamgön Miphan Rinpoche. Longchen Yeshe Dorje was a great scholar and a Tertön (a discoverer of spiritual treasures). One of his most extraordinary activities was the oral transmission of Kangyur (the canon of Buddhist writings which consists of more than one hundred volumes), which he accomplished for more than thirty times. For this reason, he became known as Kangyur Rinpoche.

The life of Kyable Kangyur Rinpoche consisted of two distinct periods. The first half was dedicated to his studies and practices. His diligence was unparalleled. He became a respected authority not only in the teachings of all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, but also in many other areas of knowledge, such as Medicine (Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche was a doctor), Astrology and the Natural Sciences. Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche combined his great wisdom with an enormous discipline in his spiritual practices. These qualities led him from a young age to the position of Abbot of Riwoche monastery in Kham, an important center of the non-sectarian Rime tradition, where both the Nyingma and Taklung Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism were practiced. However, he soon chose to leave the monastery in preference of a life as a hermit, travelling through Tibet and the Himalayan regions, receiving many precious teachings and collecting rare books and manuscripts.

The Family (left to right): Pema Wangyal Rinpoche,
Chökyi-la, Ama-la, Rigdzin-la, Yangchen-la,
Rangdröl Rinpoche. In the center Kangyur Rinpoche.
Below, Dawa-la and Dikey-la (daughters of Rigdzin-la),
and Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche

In the second period of his life, Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche married Jetsün Jampa Chökyi (Ama-la), with whom he fathered six children (in order of birth): Rigdzin-la, Yangchen-la, Taklung Tsetrul Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Chökyi-la, Rangdröl Rinpoche and Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche.

This period was characterized by vast activities of compassion and dedication towards others, particularly those in need (such as the sick, the elderly, and orphans), as well as to the transmission of precious spiritual teachings. Predicting the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche left Tibet before 1950 with his family and a rare collection of invaluable books. They settled in Darjeeling, India, where Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche founded Orgyen Kunzang Chokhörling monastery. He was one of the first Tibetan masters to accept western students and to express the aspiration of establishing centers in the West.

Orgyen Kunzang Chokhörling Monastery,
in Darjeeling

Image of the interior

Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche was also a prolific writer; one of his most well-known texts is The Quintessence of the Three Paths (translated from Tibetan to English by the Padmakara Translation Group and published by Shambala in 2001), which comments on the text Treasury of Precious Qualities by Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa. This commentary is considered an indispensable guide for those with a genuine interest in Buddhism. Another of Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche's seminal works is his commentary on Nagarjuna's "Letter to a Friend" (translated from Tibetan to English by the Padmakara Translation Group and published by Snow Lion Publications in 2006).
These brief words are no more than a small vignette of the life and range of activities of Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche. In reality, his existence was a perfect paradigm of how to integrate the teachings of the Buddha into one's daily life.
Activities in the West

Stupa in Chanteloube

After the death of Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche, his family moved to Dordogne, in France, in order to fulfil the aspirations of their master. Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche's eldest son, founded Songtsen in France. This organization includes the Center of Tibetan Studies of Chanteloube, the Padmakara Translation Group of Tibetan Texts and the Siddhartha Project, which supports various schools and monasteries in India and Nepal.

Some books and texts translated by Padmakara

Siddhartha Project. Pema Wangyal Rinpoche
with children

Since the 1980s, under the patronage of Songtsen, a large number of students were extremely fortunate to receive many teachings from the most reputable Tibetan teachers of our time, including His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, H. H. Sakya Trinzin Rinpoche, H. H. the XVIth Karmapa, Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, amongst many others. In France, under the guidance of Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche and Rangdröl Rinpoche, traditional 3-year retreat programs were implemented. Recently, periodic parallel retreats have been offered to students with active professional lives who wish to practice the teachings of the Buddha.

Jetsün Jampa Chökyi (Ama-la),
wife Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche

The relationship between Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche's family and the Iberian Peninsula is more recent. The efforts of Pema Wangyal Rinpoche were essential towards promoting the visits of H. H. the Dalai Lama to Portugal in both 2001 and 2007. In 2002, the family of Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche began living for long periods of time in Portugal and, in February 2004, his wife, Jetsün Jampa Chökyi, passed away in the Algarve. Following the instructions of Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Songtsen - Casa da Cultura do Tibete (Tibet House Portugal) was created in Portugal. Inspired by the example of H. H. the Dalai Lama, it strives towards the promotion of world peace, the preservation of Tibetan values and culture, and the support of inter-religious understanding and harmony.
© Kangyur Rinpoche Foundation 2013