Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

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Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche.jpg
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche uses his specially altered edition of the text, The Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness
Religion Tibetan Buddhism
Lineage Nyingma and Karma Kagyu
Nationality Tibetan, naturalized to United States
Born 1965
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim, India
Senior posting
Based in Seattle, Washington
Title Rinpoche
Religious career
Teacher Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, Dilgo Khyentse, Alak Zenkar Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
Students Dennis Hunter

The 7th Dzogchen Ponlop (Karma Sungrap Ngedon Tenpa Gyaltsen, b. 1965) is an abbot of Dzogchen Monastery, president of Nalandabodhi, the founder of Nītārtha Institute, a leading Tibetan Buddhist scholar, and a meditation master. He is one of the highest tülkus in the Nyingma lineage and an accomplished Karma Kagyu lineage holder.


The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche was born in 1965 at Rumtek Monastery (Dharma Chakra Center) in Sikkim, India. His birth was prophesied by the supreme head of the Kagyu lineage, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, to Ponlop Rinpoche's parents, Dhamchö Yongdu, the General Secretary of the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, and his wife, Lekshey Drolma. Upon his birth, he was recognized by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa as the seventh in the line of Dzogchen Ponlop incarnations and was formally enthroned as the Seventh Dzogchen Ponlop at Rumtek Monastery in 1968.[1]

After receiving Buddhist refuge and bodhisattva vows from the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, the Dzogchen Ponlop was ordained as a novice monk in 1974. He subsequently received full ordination and became a bhikṣu, although he later returned his vows and is now a lay teacher.

Rinpoche received most of his teachings and empowerments from the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse, though his primary teacher has been the yogi Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. Ponlop Rinpoche began studying Buddhist philosophy at the primary school in Rumtek at age 12. Three years later, in 1980 on his first trip to the West, he accompanied the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa to Europe, United States, Canada, and Southeast Asia. While serving as the Karmapa's attendant, he also gave dharma teachings and assisted in ceremonial roles during these travels.[2]

In 1981, he entered the monastic college at Rumtek, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies where he studied the fields of Buddhist philosophy, psychology, logic, and debate. During his time at Rumtek, the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche worked for the Students' Welfare Union, served as head librarian, and was the chief-editor of the Nalandakirti Journal, an annual publication which brings together Eastern and Western views on Buddhism. Rinpoche graduated in 1990 as Ka-rabjampa from Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies in Rumtek Monastery. (Ka-rabjampa means "one with unobstructed knowledge of scriptures", the Kagyu equivalent of the Sakya and Gelug's geshe degree.) He simultaneously earned the degree of Acharya, or Master of Buddhist Philosophy, from Sampurnanant Sanskrit University. Dzogchen Ponlop has also completed studies in English and comparative religion at Columbia University in New York City.[3]


As a witty, humorous and sensitive speaker, he is warmly greeted worldwide; as a teacher and prolific author[4] the Dzogchen Ponlop, Rinpoche is well known for his teaching contributions to Bodhi magazine and elsewhere. He has also penned a number of books and articles:

  • 2010: Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom. ISBN 1-59030-874-3 (SP)
  • 2007: Mind Beyond Death. ISBN 1-55939-276-2 (SLP)
  • 2006: Penetrating Wisdom: the Aspiration of Samantabhadra. ISBN 1-55939-266-5 (SLP)
  • 2003: Wild Awakening: The Heart of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. ISBN 1-59030-096-3 (SP)
  • 2003: "Brief Histories of the Sixteen Karmapas". In: Music in the Sky: The Life, Art & Teachings of the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Snow Lion Publications, U.S.A. First Indian Reprint: New Age Books, New Delhi. (2004). ISBN 81-7822-193-4.

Mindstream emanation lineage of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche[edit]

  1. The First Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Namkha Osel
  2. The Second Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Pema Sang-ngak Tenzin
  3. The Third Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Namkha Chokyi Gyatso (1806-1821?)
  4. The Fourth Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Jigme Choying Osel
  5. The Fifth Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Kunchok Tenpe Nyima
  6. The Sixth Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche : Jigtral Tsewang Dorje
  7. The Seventh Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Karma Sungrap Ngedon Tenpa Gyalts


External links[edit]