Buddha Shakyamuni with Arhats (18th c) © Himalayan Art Collection

Khenchen Rinpoche

Venerable Khenchen Trinley Paljor Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1930 and is one of the chief lineage holders of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. Khenchen means Great Khenpo (teacher) of the lineage.

Khenchen Rinpoche's training includes a transmission of the complete Karma Kagyu teachings from the 16th Karmapa in addition to main teachings from the Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Khenchen Rinpoche is a retreat master (Druponla). The three-year, three-month, and three-day retreat is a traditional practice in Buddhism which leads to rapid advancement. Khenchen Rinpoche accomplished this retreat on three separate occasions. Until 1959, he was the retreat master for the Six Yogas of Naropa retreats at a major Kagyu monastery in Tibet.

One day, Druponla received a letter from the 16th Karmapa conveying a special assignment: to serve as a personal tutor for the young Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche. Therefore, on an auspicious day, he began to teach Rinpoche the Tibetan language, then various rituals and practices. Throughout the course of Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche's studies, teacher and student formed a strong personal bond. In 1999, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje conferred the title, 'Khenchen' (Great Khenpo) Rinpoche upon him and appointed him senior abbot of monastic ordination for the Kagyupa School.