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Kalu Rinpoche

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Title: Kalu Rinpoche  
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Language: English
Subject: Kagyu-Dzong, Bokar Tulku Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Shangpa Kagyu, Kagyu
Collection: 1905 Births, 1989 Deaths, 20Th-Century Lamas, Jamgon Kongtrul Incarnations, Lamas from Tibet, Rinpoches, Shangpa Kagyu Lamas
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Kalu Rinpoche

Kalu Rinpoche
Kalu Rinpoche in 1987 at Kagyu Rintchen Tcheu Ling in Montpellier, France
Religion Tibetan Buddhism
School Kagyu
Lineage Shangpa Kagyu, Karma Kagyu
Nationality Tibetan
Born c. 1905
Kham, Eastern Tibet
Died May 10, 1989
(age 84)
[Sonada Monastery], Darjeeling West Bengal [India]
Religious career

Kalu Rinpoche (1905 – May 10, 1989) was a Buddhist lama, meditation master, scholar and teacher. He was one of the first Tibetan masters to teach in the West.


  • Early life and teachers 1
  • Teaching activity in Tibet 2
  • In exile 3
  • Controversy 4
  • Second Kalu Rinpoche 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life and teachers

Kalu Rinpoche was born in 1905 during the Female Wood Snake year of the Tibetan lunar calendar in the district of Treshö Gang chi Rawa in the Hor region of Kham, Eastern Tibet.

When Kalu Rinpoche was fifteen years old, he was sent to begin his higher studies at the monastery of Palpung, the foremost center of the Karma Kagyu school. He remained there for more than a decade, during which time he mastered the vast body of teaching that forms the philosophical basis of Buddhist practice, and completed two three-year retreats.

At about the age of twenty-five, Rinpoche left Palpung to pursue the life of a solitary yogi in the woods of the Khampa countryside. For nearly fifteen years, he strove to perfect his realization of all aspects of the teachings and he became renowned in the villages and among the nomads as a representative of the Bodhisattva path.

Teaching activity in Tibet

Kalu Rinpoche returned to Palpung to receive final teachings from Drupon Norbu Dondrup, who entrusted him with the rare transmission of the teaching of the Shangpa Kagyu. At the order of Situ Rinpoche, he was appointed Vajra Master of the great meditation hall of Palpung Monastery, where for many years he gave empowerments and teachings.

During the 1940s, Kalu Rinpoche visited central Tibet with the party of Situ Rinpoche, and there he taught extensively. His disciples included the Reting Rinpoche, regent of Tibet during the infancy of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

Returning to Kham, Kalu Rinpoche became the abbot of the meditation center associated with Palpung and the meditation teacher of the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. He remained in that position until the situation in Tibet forced him into exile in India.

In exile

Kalu Rinpoché and Lama Denys at the Karma Ling Institute in Savoie

In the late 1960s Kalu Rinpoche began to attract Western disciples in India. By the 1970s, he was teaching extensively in the Americas and Europe, and during his three visits to the West he founded teaching centers in over a dozen countries. In France, he established the first retreat center to teach the traditional three-year retreats of the Shangpa and Karma Kagyu lineages to Western students. On request of Shoko Asahara, founder of Japan's controversial Buddhist group Aum Shinrikyo, Kalu Rinpoche lectured to his followers in a number of Japanese cities.[1] The group was more mainstream at that time and had casual ties to a number of prominent Tibetan lamas, including the Dalai Lama.


June Campbell, a former Kagyu nun who is an academic feminist, acted as Kalu Rinpoche's translator for several years. In her book Traveller in Space: Gender, Identity and Tibetan Buddhism[2] she writes that he subjected her to an abusive sexual relationship which he told her was tantric spiritual practice. She raises the same theme in a number of interviews, including one with Tricycle magazine in 1996.[3] Since the book was published she has received "letters from women all over the world with similar and worse experiences" with other gurus.[4]

Second Kalu Rinpoche

At 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 10, 1989, Kalu Rinpoche died at his monastery in Sonada. On September 17, 1990 Rinpoche's Tulku was born in Darjeeling, India to Lama Gyaltsen and his wife Drolkar. Lama Gyaltsen had served since his youth as his secretary.

Former kalu rinpoche, he himself choose his reincarnation. He did that by showing the mother, from whom he is going to talke a birth. Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche officially recognized Kalu Rinpoche’s yangsi (young reincarnation) on March 25, 1992, explaining that he had received definite signs from Kalu Rinpoche himself. Situ Rinpoche sent a letter of recognition with Lama Gyaltsen to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, who immediately confirmed the recognition.[5]

On February 28, 1993, Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche was enthroned at Samdrup Tarjayling. Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche and

  • Kagyu Tekchen Choling, Argentina
  • Kagyu Pende Gyamtso, Brazil
  • Kagyu Kunkhyab Chuling, BC Canada
  • Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, Wappingers Falls, NY, USA
  • Kagyu Dzamling Kunchab, New York, NY, USA
  • Kagyu Droden Kunchab, CA, USA
  • Dashang Kagyu Ling, France
  • Karma Ling Institute, France
  • Centro Milarepa, Italy
  • Kagyu Changchub Chuling, Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Kagyu Tenjay Choling, Vermont, usa
  • Karma Rimay O Sal Ling, Maui, HI, USA
  • Dag Shang Kagyu, Spain
Monasteries and centers founded by Kalu Rinpoche
  • Biography of H. E. Kalu Rinpoche at the Wayback Machine (archived February 6, 2006)
  • When two masters meet Kalu Rinpoche of Tibet and the Korean Zen master Seung Sahn
  • International Shangpa Kagyu Network

External links

  • Surya Das, Lama (1998). Awakening the Buddha Within. Lark Books.  


  1. ^ Kalu Rinpoche lectured in a number of Japanese cities on YouTube
  2. ^ Campbell, June (1996). Traveler in Space: In Search of Female Identity in Tibetan Buddhism. New York: George Braziller.  
    For a review of the book, see Lang, Karen (1997). "Traveler in Space: In Search of Female Identity in Tibetan Buddhism"A Review of . Journal of Buddhist Ethics.  
  3. ^ The Emperor's Tantric Robes: An Interview with June Campbell on Codes of Secrecy and Silence
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche". Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  6. ^ Kagyu Lineage Teachers
  7. ^ Program of Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche visit in Vancouver
  8. ^ Mary Finnigan, The YouTube confessional sending shockwaves through the Buddhist world,, 9 March 2012
  9. ^ Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche Confession on YouTube


See also

  • Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism, Snow Lion Publications, 2004, ISBN 1-55939-212-6
  • Luminous Mind : Fundamentals of Spiritual Practice, Wisdom Publications, 1996, ISBN 0-86171-118-1
  • Gently Whispered: Oral Teachings by the Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, Station Hill Press, 1995, ISBN 0-88268-153-2
  • Excellent Buddhism: An Exemplary Life, Clearpoint Press, 1995, ISBN 0-9630371-4-5
  • Profound Buddhism: From Hinayana to Vajrayana, Clearpoint Press, 1995, ISBN 0-9630371-5-3
  • Secret Buddhism: Vajrayana Practices, Clearpoint Press, 2002, ISBN 0-9630371-6-1
  • The Dharma: That Illuminates All Beings Like the Light of the Sun and the Moon, State University of New York Press, 1986, ISBN 0-88706-157-5
  • The Gem Ornament of Manifold Oral Instructions Which Benefits Each and Everyone Appropriately Snow Lion, 1987, ISBN 0-937938-59-9


In the fall of 2011, Kalu Yangsi gave a talk at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.[7] At the end of the talk, a student in the audience asked for his perspective on the sexual abuse and sexualisation of children in the west. Kalu disclosed he was abused, paused then broke down, revealing for the first time that he had been sexually abused at the age of 12 by older monks[8] from the monastery he attended. Shortly after that he posted a video on YouTube[9] so that the story would not become unsubstantiated gossip.

) [6]

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