Kangyur Rinpoche Foundation
Kangyur Rinpoche & Amala’s Lives
(Longchen Yeshe Dorje)
Longchen Yeshe Dorje, commonly known as Kangyur Rinpoche, was a remarkable scholar, physician, and Tertön born in 1898 in Kham, eastern Tibet.
He began his Dharma studies and practice at a very young age with his root teachers Jedrung Trinle Jampa Jungne Rinpoche and Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche. He was later recognised as an emanation of Namkha’i Nyingpo, one of the closest disciples of Guru Rinpoche.
Rinpoche was the abbot of Riwoche Monastery in Kham, an important landmark of the non-sectarian Rime tradition; there Nyingma and Taklung Kagyu lineages were both practiced. However, he eventually decided to leave the monastery and live the life of a hermit, committing to study and contemplation.
The four activities he cherished the most were taking care of the sick, the elderly, and orphans as well as preserving and spreading the Dharma. Rinpoche became famous for bestowing the oral transmission of the Kangyur – the sutras and tantras, which comprise the complete collection of Buddha’s words. He transmitted the Kangyur more than twenty-four times, and thus came be known as Kangyur Rinpoche
Later, Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche married Jetsün Jampa Chökyi (Ama-la). They had three sons: Taklung Tsetrul Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Rangdrol Rinpoche and Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche – and three daughters: Rinzin-la, Yangchen-la and Chokyi-la. All of them became extraordinary Buddhist practitioners and teachers.
At the end of the 1950’s, predicting further deterioration of the situation of Tibetans prior to the Chinese invasion, Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche left his homeland, together with his family. They brought an enormous and priceless collection of books - saving them from the destruction of monasteries and libraries that occurred during the Cultural Revolution. Once settled in Darjeeling, India, Rinpoche founded the Orgyen Kunzang Chokhörling Monastery. Among his many other activities there, he also fostered and educated many underprivileged children until he passed away in 1975.
Kangyur Rinpoche was one of the first great Tibetan teachers to teach Western students - like Matthieu Ricard, among others - and to manifest the desire to establish centers in the West. He was also a prolific author. His works include the commentary to Jigme Lingpa’s Yonten Rinpoche Dzö (Treasury of Precious Qualities, Padmakara Translation Group, Shambhala, 2001) and the commentary to Nagarjuna’s Suhrlekka (Letter to a Friend, Padmakara Translation Group, Snow Lion Publications, 2006
These brief few words aren’t enough to express the importance of his life and activities, as well as his role in the preservation of Dharma and its spread in the West. For all of
us, Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche was a perfect paradigm of how to integrate the teachings of the Buddha into
(Jetsun Jampa Chökyi)
Jetsün Jampa Chökyi, commonly known as Ama-la, was born in 1922 into a family descended from the king Trisong Detsen of Tibet. At the age of 7, she met her first teacher, Drakshung Rinpoche, from whom she received guidance concerning the training of the mind and preliminary practices.
At the age of 8, Ama-la entered the Samten Yangtse Monastery in Nyemo, where she was revered by peers due to her remarkable kindness and compassion towards the vulnerable (both humans and animals) and also due to her discipline and meditation practice.
In 1936, at the age of 14 years, Jetsun Jampa Chökyi embarked on a pilgrimage to the Sacred Sites of southern Tibet. She first met Kangyur Rinpoche during this journey at the Samye Chimpu hermitage. From 1938 onwards, Jetsün Jampa Chökyi pursued studies and advanced meditation practices under the guidance of Kangyur Rinpoche. In 1943, she married Kangyur Rinpoche, with whom she had six children.
Ama-la spent her last years in Monchique, Portugal, on the land that is now home to the Kangyur Retreat Center. She passed away on February 15th, 2004.
Dedicating her life to studying and practicing Dharma, Ama-la always supported and furthered the endeavors of Kangyur Rinpoche. Despite her extreme humility, she had an inspiring air of wisdom and compassion. Those who knew her, including many important masters, always thought of her as a fully accomplished practitioner.