Karma Thinley Rinpoche

Biography of Karma Thinley Rinpoche

Karma Thinley Rinpoche is a Buddhist master of the Sakya and Kagyu traditions, was born into the noble family of Bongsar in 1931 in the Nangchen area of Kham, Eastern Tibet.

Over the last twenty-five years Rinpoche has founded centres and taught extensively in Canada, the U.S.A., New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He has hundreds of devoted Western, Tibetan and Nepali students.

For more information visit www.karmathinleyrinpoche.com

Early Life and Recognition

Age two Rinpoche was recognised by the head of the Sakya tradition, Sakya Trizin Dakshul Thinley Rinchen as the reincarnation of the Sakyapa master Biru Sharyak Lama Kunrik, who was considered an incarnation of the great Vairocana.

Teachings  and Buddhist Education

Karma Thinley Rinpoche received a vast number of teachings during his childhood. He received Kagyu and Nyingma teachings from his uncle the famous yogin Jigje Lama and from his great uncles Shabtrung Rinpoche and Pangchog Rinpoche, the heads of Riwoche monastery.  At the monastaries of Lachung, Dilyak and Neten, Rinpoche studied the classical mahayana texts under a number of masters.

Recognition from His Holiness 16th Karmapa

Later at Tsurphu monastery in central Tibet, Rinpoche received full monastic ordination from H.H. 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. It was during this period that H.H. Karmapa recognized Rinpoche as the fourth incarnation of Karma Thinleypa, the famous Kagyu and Sakya scholar. In 1959 Rinpoche left Tibet in the party of the Karmapa and became abbot of a newly established nunnery at Tilokpur in 1962. In 1967 he received the Path and its Fruit from H.H. Sakya Trizin at Sarnath.

Emigration to Canada and meeting Lama Jampa Thaye

In 1971 Rinpoche settled in Canada, accompanying a group of Tibetan refugees as their spiritual teacher. In 1973 Rinpoche founded Kampo Gangra Drubgyud Ling meditation centre in Toronto and also spent three months in Scotland, where he met his English student Lama Jampa Thaye for the first time.

Later Teachings

Rinpoche returned to India in 1978 to receive the Rinchen Terdzod, the famous collection of Nyingma treasure cycles, from H.H. Dingo Khyentse Rinpoche. Four years later he made his first return to Tibet for over 20 years, travelling throughout Nangchen visiting his relatives and giving teachings. In 1983 Rinpoche received the Drubthap Kundu, the collected sadhanas of the new tantra schools, from H.E. Chogay Trichen in Lumbini.

Buddhist Activities

In addition to being an accomplished poet and artist, Rinpoche is a renowned historian, having written (in English) The History of the Sixteen Karmapas.

His major projects are the continuing supervision of his nunnery Tegchen Lekshey Ling in Bodhnath, Nepal and of Sangngak Phodrang in Nangchen.

“You are the activity of the holders of the Black and Red Crowns
Making the lineages of Buddha’s sutra and tantra shine like the sun.
Supreme root lama, Karma Thinley
May your life be long and your activities be completely fulfilled”

Extracted from the Long Life Prayer by Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro