Garchen Rinpoche was born in 1936 in Nangchen Kham, Eastern Tibet. He was recognized and enthroned in by the former Drikung Kyabgon Shiwe Lodro. Garchen Rinpoche is considered one of the most important masters of the Drikung Kagyu tradition. His lineage of incarnations can be traced back to Gardampa Chodingpa, a heart-disciple of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon, the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. In ancient India, he had been incarnated as Mahasiddha Aryadeva, the lotus-born disciple of the great Nagarjuna. In the seventh century, he was known as Lonpo Gar, the minister of the Tibetan Dharma King Songsten Gampo.
When he was seven, he was brought to Lho Miyalgon Monastery, where he received the official ceremonial robes. He pointed at an image of the Drikung lineage founder Jigten Sumgon saying: “He is my Guru.” This strengthened the confidence in the people that he was the true reincarnation of the Gar Rinpoche.
Studying and practicing under the direction of the Siddha Chime Dorje, Garchen Rinpoche received vast and profound instructions on the preliminary practices, the fivefold practice of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa.
Then, at the age of 22, after completing a two and a half year retreat, he was imprisoned for 20 years during the political turmoil of China's Cultural Revolution.
While in the labor camp, he received meditation instruction from his root lama, the Nyingma master Khenpo Münsel. Khenpo Munsel was astonished by Rinpoches progress and praised him with the words: “Gar Rinpoche is the emanation of a bodhisattva.”
Since his release from prison in 1979, Garchen Rinpoche has made great effort to rebuild the Gar Monastery as well as 27 other Drikung Kagyu monasteries in Eastern Tibet. At the same time he has devoted himself wholeheartedly to the task of passing on the teachings of the lineage.
In 1997 Rinpoche first visited the West and founded many Drikung Garchen centers in the USA and in Europe. He travels tirelessly to the various centers and monasteries in Asia, America, and Europe.
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