Ven. Thupten Kalsang, Rinpoche

Kalsang Rinpoche with Chogyam Trugpa Rinpoche
A young Kalsang Rinpoche at the Taj Mahal with Dharmadatu founder Chogyam Trugpa Rinpoche shortly after they escaped from Tibet.
Thupten Kalsang, Rinpoche, was recognized through a dream of the fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche at the age of three. Born in 1939 in Gyarong, East Tibet, he was trained as the fourth incarnation of the founding abbot of Rahob monastery, a complex serving both local farmers and a large group of nomads. Sent at the age of twelve to Goman College at Drepung Monastic University in Lhasa, he excelled as a scholar until the Chinese repression sent him over the Himalayas by foot, ultimately becoming one of the Dalai Lama’s chief translators. In this position he traveled to Thailand, where he studied Therevada and introduced the Dalai Lama and the Vajrayana to Buddadasu Bikku, the reformer monk who inspired Thich Nhat Hanh. Leaving Thailand in the company of British writer John Blofeld, he first visited Japan, then returned to study Japanese Buddhist traditions while teaching as a layman. Here he met Prof. Robert Thurman, who invited him to teach at Amherst. He was at Tufts University in 1980 when he met Laurence McKinney and the two worked to found the American Institute for Mindfulness to provide a center for their work. He remained Director until 1986, when he left to return to Tibet and oversee the reconstruction of his monastery. Since that time he has divided his time between Rahob; Tempe, Arizona, and his teaching schedule at numerous Buddhist centers.

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