Garchen Rinpoche (born: 1936, east Tibet) is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the Drikung Kagyu lineage. He is believed to be an incarnation of Siddha Gar Chodingpa, a heart-disciple of Jigten Sumgön, founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage in the thirteenth century, C.E. He is also believed to have incarnated as Mahasiddha Aryadeva in ancient India - the lotus-born disciple of Nagarjuna himself. He was known as Lonpo Gar, the minister of Tibetan dharma king Songsten Gampo in the seventh century CE
Garchen Rinpoche was born in 1936 in Nangchen, Kham in eastern Tibet. When Garchen Rinpoche was seven years old he was brought to Lho Miyal Monastery after he was recognized by the former Drikung Kyabgon Zhiwe Lodro where he was instructed by Siddha Chime Dorje.
When he was 22 he was imprisoned by the Chinese for 20 years and put in a labor camp during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. During that time he met with Khenpo Munsel who became his root guru. Khenpo Munsel was a Nyingma master who taught him during the whole 20 years of his imprisonment. During that time, while enduring the labor camp hardships, Garchen Rinpoche kept on practicing in secret, according to his guru's instructions until he achieved the wisdom-mind which Khenpo Musel called "an emanation of a Bodhisattva".
Garchen Rinpoche was released from prison in 1979. As soon as he was released, he took it upon himself to rebuild theDrikung Kagyu monasteries, reestablish the Buddhist teachings, and build two boarding schools for local children in eastern Tibet.
Garchen Rinpoche first came to North America in 1997, teaching in Canada and the United States.
Current Activities and Expertise
Garchen Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of the Garchen Buddhist Institute in Chino Valley, Arizona, the Drikung Mahayana Center in North Potomac, Maryland and Gar Drolma Choling in Dayton, Ohio. Rinpoche is also the spiritual director of many other Dharma centers and teaches throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.
Rinpoche is a master of dzogchen, the fivefold practice Mahamudrae six yogas of Naropa, and the preliminary practices (Tib. ngondro). He widely promotes Thogme Zangpo's Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and White Tara practice.