A Brief Biography of H.E. Garchen Rinpoche

Garchen Rinpoche Photo

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche is one of the four Eminences of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. His incarnations originated from the Siddha Gar Chodingpa, the heart son of Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon. The first Garchen Rinpoche was born in 1180. He was the emanation of Mahasiddha Aryadeva, a disciple of Nagarjuna. The moment he was born, he was able to recite the Six-Syllable mantra. Later, he took refuge in Lord Jigten Sumgon and received ordination. He became one of the three greatly accomplished disciples of Lord Jigten Sumgon.

The current eighth Garchen Rinpoche, well-known for his great compassion, is an accomplished Tummo practitioner. He is also one of the most important lineage holders of Drikung Kagyu. Rinpoche was born in Nangchen, Qinghai, in 1936. After his enthronement at a young age, he followed Drikung Kagyu’s Jongtrul Rinpoche, Ganchong Rinpoche and Thubten Nyingpo Rinpoche, and attained great accomplishment on the practice of White Tara. The seventh Garchen Rinpoche had even seen the emanation of White Tara in his meditation and received teachings directly from her. Thus he composed the essence of The Uncommon White Tara Sadhana and its pith instruction on meditation.

After the Chinese Communist Party had entered Tibet, Garchen Rinpoche was imprisoned for almost twenty years together with many other rinpoches. As there was a lack of food supply, Rinpoche had once fasted for ninety days, and he trained himself to stay up in the nights without sleep. During this period, Rinpoche met the great Nyingmapa Dzogchen Mahasiddha, Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche, from whom he received the Dzogchen teachings.

All the previous incarnations of Garchen Rinpoche had been the teachers of the two Drikung Holinesses. The current Garchen Rinpoche is also one of the teachers of the Drikung Holinesses. They have praised that Garchen Rinpoche is an important and great yogi of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche has also revealed that Garchen Rinpoche has attained above the One Taste Yoga of Mahamudra. He is indeed an experiential and realized practitioner.

Currently, Rinpoche resides in America and he shoulders the great task of rebuilding the Drikung Kagyu monasteries in eastern Tibet. Out of great compassion, Rinpoche travels tirelessly every year around America, the Soviet Union, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, etc. in order to benefit sentient beings through the teaching of Dharma. Rinpoche has students all over the world.