Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Occasionally we encounter people in our lives who have an immediate effect upon us. We are struck by the selfless nature of their presence, the strength of their confidence, the wisdom in their eyes, or the warmth they radiate. Contacts with such people can awaken our intelligence, curiosity and longing, and perhaps even inspire us to look deeper into the meaning of our ordinary lives. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche is one of these people.

Unbroken lineages of wisdom traditions are rare in these times, and Kongtrul Rinpoche descends from a pure lineage of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in India to a Dharma family and recognized as a reincarnated lama, he received traditional training from a young age, yet his life evolved in ways that stretch far beyond a traditional setting. In his youth he traveled throughout India to study with various masters, carrying all his belongings in a simple sack and sleeping on hemp cots on the roadside. Later, he met and married his American wife Elizabeth, and a surprising turn of events led them to settle in the U.S.A. Here, weaving his ancient spiritual heritage with the many threads of a modern Western culture, Rinpoche continues to follow what he calls his "life-long assignment": to offer the revered wisdom of the Buddhist teachings to those who have an interest.

Kongtrul Rinpoche's life defines what it means to be a spiritual person in modern times. Whether through his teaching, his passion as an abstract painter, his steadfast loyalty to his lineage, family and students -- which he describes as one of his most cherished qualities -- or through his joy in solitude, his fierce independence, and his unshakable determination to engage his own path, throughout it all, Dzigar Kongtrul mixes his Buddhist practice and life. "Isn’t that the goal of the spiritual path?" Rinpoche often asks. Indeed it is -- to be flexible, courageous and exploratory in the face of life’s joys and paradoxes, while never losing touch with a connection to its deepest meaning.

If you are interested in finding out more about pursuing the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual path of the Dzogchen Longchen Nyingtik lineage under Rinpoche’s guidance, please visit the Becoming a Student webpage.