At the age of 7, he was recognized as a reincarnation of Sevan Repa, a heart disciple of Milarepa, Tibet’s great 11th-century poet-saint. Rinpoche entered Ngor Monastery at eight and was ordained as a monk at sixteen. In 1959, he was Vice-Abbot of Ngor Monastery, in the Sakya Tradition, but fled Western Tibet following the Dalai Lama during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.
Establishment of Tibetan buddhist center
In 1972 Lama Kunga Rinpoche came to the United States and established the Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center in Kensington, California. There he has sponsored visits from teachers of all four schools of Tibetan buddhism diaspora, including the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin, Kalu Rinpoche, Chögyam Trungpa and many others.
Lama Kunga has also taught in New Jersey, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, Oregon, Florida, Utah, San Diego, Minnesota, and Arkansas.
Lama Kunga authored the following books:
- Drinking the Mountain Stream: Songs of Tibet's Beloved Saint, Milarepa - with Brian Cutillo ISBN 0-86171-063-0
- Miraculous Journey New Stories and Songs by Milarepa - with Brian Cutillo,
- In the Presence of My Enemies : Memoirs of Tibetan Nobleman Tsipon Shuguba, - with Sumner Carnahan. This is the biography of his father
Lama Kunga Rinpoche is licensed in California to perform marriages with a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony.