His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is the spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He holds, teaches, and inspires the lineage of the Kagyu order, which is known for its meditative practices, its focus on retreat, and the many realized masters it has produced.
The sole purpose of the Karmapa's incarnation is to lead living beings from the suffering of samsara into freedom- the realization of mind's deepest, pure nature. This full awakening, or enlightenment, is possible for every living being who sincerely engages in practice.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche is the spiritual representative of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa in North America. He is the Abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, our parent monastery in Woodstock, NY, and oversees all the Karma Thegsum Chöling affiliate centers. Khenpo Rinpoche was ordained as a monk at the age of twelve in Tibet.
In 1975, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa acknowledged Rinpoche’s attainment with the title Choje Lama (Superior Dharma Master). At the request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Khenpo Rinpoche immigrated to the United States in 1976 to establish and guide the development of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.
Khenpo Ugyen Tenzin was born in a small village in central Bhutan in 1955, the Year of the Wood Sheep. At the age of seventeen Khenpo Ugyen entered the Nimalung Nyingma Monastery where he received many teachings from the great lamas of the Nyingma lineage. Ten years later he enrolled in Karma Shri Nalanda Institute at Rumtek Monastery where he took his monastic vows.
A diligent and talented student, Khenpo Ugyen soon received an advanced degree in Buddhist Studies and went on to teach Buddhist philosophy for a number of years at both Nimalung and Rumtek Monasteries. In 2004, His Holiness the 17th Gwalyang Karmapa asked Khenpo Ugyen to come out of retreat to assist with the teaching at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and it's affiliates where he has benefited countless students ever since.
Khenpo Karma Tenkyong became a monk at a young age. As part of his studies, he undertook an eleven-year course of Buddhist studies at Karma Shri Nalanda Institute at Rumtek Monastery earning a Shastri (B.A.), an Acharya (M.A.), and Master's Degree in Buddha's Teaching in the Sutra Tradition. He has served the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, for more than eleven years at the Karmapa's Office of Administration in Dharamsala, India. In 2014, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa sent Khenpo Tenkyong to our parent monastery, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra to serve as its new president-elect.
Lama Karma Drodul was born in Kham, in Eastern Tibet, and became a monk at the young age of 9 under the tutelage of the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, an esteemed and revered tulku (reincarnated lama) in the Karma Kagyu lineage. Thrangu Rinpoche sent the 20-year-old Lama Karma to America to deepen his understanding of the Dharma under Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, the abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) Monastery.
Lama Karma serves as Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche's principal attendant and assistant. In 2004 he completed his first, and in 2008 his second traditional three‐year,three‐month retreat under Khenpo Rinpoche at Karme Ling Retreat Center. He now is the drupon (retreat master) at Karme Ling and a resident teacher at KTD.
Lama Sean is our resident lama and our current center director. Lama Sean completed the three-year, three-month retreat at the Karma Ling retreat center in 2008 under the guidance of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and thus has earned the title of retreat lama.
While Lama Sean hesitates to call himself a true teacher, as a result of his study, training, and kindness we at Chicago KTC are able to progress on our own path under his guidance. It is also through his connections with Khenpo Rinpoche and other lineage masters that we are able to further benefit through visiting teachers.