Khenchen Trinley Paljor Rinpoche is a retreat master and one of the chief lineage holders of the Karma Kamtsang (Karma Kagyu) lineage.
Originally from Nangchen, Eastern Tibet, Khenchen Rinpoche entered the Bakyod Samdrup Choling monastery at age 5. At age 19, Rinpoche took the gelong or full monk’s vows from the 11th Situpa, Pedma Wangchok Gyalpo and entered his first of three 3-year retreats. During Rinpoche’s first two 3-year retreats he received the complete empowerments, reading transmissions and practice instructions of the Karma Kamtsang lineage. These retreats were conducted according to the tradition of Tsurphu monastery, the historical seat of the Karmapas. Also during this time Rinpoche made a pilgrimage to the holy places of Central Tibet and met the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje for the first time. During Rinpoche’s third 3-year retreat he guided the retreatants in the capacity of Drubpon or retreat master.
In those years spent practicing in the retreat center, Khenchen Rinpoche relied upon three retreat masters: Saljey Rinpoche and Tenpa’i Nyima Rinpoche, both incarnate lamas of the monastery, and Beru Karma Konchok, who, having spent twelve years in sealed retreat, taught the retreatants through the small window of his room. In this way, Khenchen Rinpoche received detailed guidance through personal experience in the practice of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. In 1959, due to the communist invasion, Khenchen Rinpoche fled his native Tibet for India, where he was to take part in the activities of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa’s new monastic seat in exile, Rumtek Monastery.
While at Rumtek Monastery, as well as in Bhutan and elsewhere, Rinpoche received a wealth of empowerments, reading transmissions, practice instructions and pith advice from numerous accomplished masters headed by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. From the 16th Karmapa, Khenchen Rinpoche received the Treasury of Kagyu Tantras (Kagyu Ngagdzo), the Guru Sadhanas of Marpa, Mila and Karma Pakshi, Long Life empowerments, as well as personal guidance. From Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Khenchen Rinpoche received a vast amount of Dharma teachings, guidance through personal experience and transmissions primarily of the Nyingmapa tradition as well as from the Kagyupa and Sakyapa schools, such as the New Treasures of Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa(Chokling Tersar), the Treasury of Precious Termas(Rinchen Terdzo), The Hundred Thousand Tantras of the Old School(Nyingma Gyubum) the Four-Part Heart Essence(Nyingtik Yabzhi), the 7 Treasuries of Longchenpa(Dzo Dun), the Hearing Lineage of Rechungpa(Rechung Nyengyu) , the Treasury of Pith Instructions( Dam Ngag Dzo), the Compendium of Sadhanas (Drupthap Kundu), the Collected works of the 15th Karmapa (Kakhyab Dorje Sungbum), and the Prajnaparamita and the Root Verses of the Middle Way. From Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, he received the Hundred Empowerments of Chod (Chowang Gyatsa). From Dudjom Rinpoche Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje, Rinpoche received the mind treasures (gong ter) of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye and the Prayer to Guru Rinpoche in seven Chapters (Lu‘e Dunma). From the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche Dongyu Nyima, Khenchen Rinpoche received Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation and other transmissions.
Born in 1930 in the Kham region of Tibet, Khenchen Rinpoche Drupon Trinley Paljor began his monastic training at the age of five in the Bakyod Monastery and received a traditional monastic education, taking his full monk’s vows at age 19. Shortly after, he began what became a series of three long-term retreats—traditionally each three years, three months and three days. During the second retreat, he was given the title of Druponla, or retreat master. The third retreat was ended prematurely during the massive destruction of Tibet in 1959. With four other lamas, Druponla made a perilous one-year sojourn to Nepal during which he faced life-threatening situations, hunger and physical exhaustion. These deprivations only deepened his confidence in the Dharma, as he regarded them the result of karma. Once settled in Nepal, Druponla made pilgrimages to the eight holy places of the Buddha in Nepal and India, then made wishes to see 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage. That wish was fulfilled in In 1960. When Druponla met the Karmapa at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, His Holiness instructed him to stay. Several years later, the Karmapa dispatched Druponla to Bhutan to take care ofthe Tashi Choeling Monastery, which had been offered to the Karmapa by the King of Bhutan. During his three-year stay, Druponla received many from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a prominent teacher in the Ningyamapa lineage. He also visited numerous holy places, including the famous “Tiger’s Den” cave where Guru Rinpoche had subdued hostile forces. In 1972, Druponla received a letter from the Karmapa conveying a special assignment: To serve as tutor for the eight-year-old Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche. Druponla hesitated, then checked again with Karmapa if he was indeed qualified for the task. “If I’m not sure, why would I choose you?” the Karmapa wrote back. “I chose you from many lamas.” Therefore, on an auspicious day, he began to teach Rinpoche the Tibetan language, then various rituals and practices. Teacher and student formed a strong personal and Dharmic bond. In 1992, Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche asked his tutor to move to Taiwan and work mainly on behalf of the United Trungram Buddhist Fellowship, which Rinpoche founded to advance the United Trungram Buddhist Foundation (UTBF), a worldwide organization Rinpoche established to advance the principles of non-violence, social justice and mutual understanding.
In 2001, Khenchen Rinpoche was asked to extend his teaching duties to Dharma centers in Hong Kong and the United States. Most recently, Khenchen Rinpoche has dedicated himself to guiding retreats and leading sadhana practices on behalf of Dharmakaya in New York State. His love, insight and powerful practice has given great joy to students in different parts of the world. Khenchen Rinpoche will be the leading retreat master at the future retreat center at Cragsmoor