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Born in Eastern Tibet in 1937, the 8th Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche was the incarnation of a 12th century highly realized yogi named Gar Chodingpa, one of the heart disciples of the famed Jigten Sumgon, Kyobpa Rinpoche – founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage that traces back to the translator Marpa Lotsawa and greatest poet-yogi of Tibet by the name of Milarepa. Garchen Rinpoche is also considered to be the emanation of Aryadeva, the lotus-born heart disciple of the great Nargajuna Bodhisattva.

The 8th Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche was recognized as a reincarnated lama at the age of seven by Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche, Shiwe Lodro, the 36th holder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. Then, at the age of twenty-two, soon after Rinpoche completed 2 and a half years of sealed retreat, Tibet was invaded by China. Following the war, Garchen Rinpoche was imprisoned for almost twenty years. It was in prison that he met his root lama, the great Khenpo Munsel, and practiced diligently in secret until signs of realization spontaneously appeared. Through twenty years of imprisonment and hardships, Rinpoche was able to transform his body, speech and mind and emerged as a selfless master of vast compassion and wisdom.  

Following his release from the prison, Rinpoche had worked tirelessly to rebuild his monastery in the Gar village, as well as many other monasteries in the greater area of Eastern Tibet. For a period of ten years, it was said that Garchen Rinpoche did not lie down to sleep at night. Rinpoche would sit on a low table to meditate throughout the night and if he were too tired and sleepily felt down from the table, he would get up and climbed back onto the table to continue with his meditation.


The 8th Garchen Rinpoche was known throughout the world as a master of vast love and compassion with the sole wish to benefit all beings without exception. He was highly revered not only by masters and disciples of his own lineage but also masters and disciples of other traditions as well. He always holds a prayer wheel in his hand, continuously spins the wheel to pray for, and to radiate compassionate energy to benefit all beings. The great compassionate Tara is Garchen Rinpoche’s main yidam deity and his aspiration is to follow in her footsteps to bring love and compassion to all. He has devoted all his time to traveling around the world to teach the Dharma, especially the infallible law of karma cause and effect and the essence teachings of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, a commentary written by the Bodhisattva Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo.


When the 8th Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche made it to India for the first time in the late 1990’s and met with His Holiness Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, he did not request for any high tantric teaching or empowerment as other reincarnated lamas would normally request for. What Garchen Rinpoche wished to receive from His Holiness Dalai Lama were the Bodhisattva vows which he felt that he had broken during the war. During a public teaching the following day, His Holiness commented to the audience how happy he was to have received a high reincarnated lama from Tibet who requested for nothing but the Bodhisattva vows.


GaR_17_mila_song_tchng2_song-of-mahamudra (1).mp3

Thangka of Lord Jigten Sumgon

Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche



Garchen Rinpoche (circa 1980’s)

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