H.E. Tsem Rinpoche
Founder and Spiritual Guide
Beloved for his unconventional, contemporary and often witty approach to Dharma, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche brings more than 2,500 years of Buddhist wisdom and teachings to the modern spiritual seeker by connecting ancient worlds with new people, cultures, attitudes and lifestyles.
A Mongolian-Tibetan heritage, a childhood in Taiwan and America, intensive monastic studies in India and now the Spiritual Advisor of the Kechara organisation in Malaysia – these are but some of the many facets that contribute to Rinpoche’s unique ability to effortlessly bridge the East and the West. His teachings bring the Dharma to our everyday lives and in doing so, he is able to bring the ancient time-honoured Buddhist philosophies and practices into the 21st Century.
A Connection from the Past
Like all Bodhisattvas, Tsem Rinpoche chose to take rebirth amongst difficult circumstances to be closer to those who would need him most. He has been strongly inclined towards Dharma since his early childhood, and has studied under many great Buddhist masters of the Tibetan tradition including H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and H.E. Lati Rinpoche. He eventually went on to receive his formal monastic education at Gaden Shartse Monastery, currently located in Mundgod, South India.
In fact, Rinpoche’s connection with Gaden Monastery goes far back in history. One of his previous incarnations, Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, built the original Gaden Monastery in Tibet. Another incarnation, Panchen Sonam Drakpa, was not only the Abbot of Gaden Monastery but also the 15th Gaden Tripa – the Throneholder of the Gelugpa lineage. Rinpoche’s two immediate preceding incarnations, Gedun Nyedrak and Kentrul Thubten Lamsang Rinpoche, had also studied at Gaden Shartse Monastery in Tibet where they obtained Geshe Lharampa degrees before completing their studies at Gyutö Tantric College. Notably, Panchen Sonam Drakpa was also the Abbot of Gyutö Tantric College.
Gedun Nyedrak went on to become the Chant Master and, later, the 72nd Abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery, while Kentrul Thubten Lamsang Rinpoche brought the Dharma to the lay people of the Phari district of Tibet. The tremendous and virtuous work of his previous lifetimes, which includes such illustrious names as Magadha Sangmo, a student of the historical Buddha, Mahasiddha Virupa, Thonmi Sambhota, King Trisong Detsen, Mahasiddha Naropa, Lotsawa Loden Sherab, Ra Lotsawa, Shakya Shri Bhadra, Butön Rinchen Drub, Sakya Pandita and Qing Emperor Kangxi are clearly reflected in Tsem Rinpoche’s present-day activities, where he continues this selfless practice of teaching vast numbers of non-monastic communities in places where the Dharma has just begun to bloom.
Compassion in Action
During his nine years in Gaden, Tsem Rinpoche was involved in extensive charitable works including building schools for refugee children in India, constructing dormitories and upgrading living conditions for the monastic community, and providing long-term assistance to the poor lay community of Mundgod. Through his constant practice of generosity with a deeply altruistic motivation, Rinpoche continues to sponsor Gaden’s work and activities, and tirelessly shares new ways and means of bringing happiness and relief to people from all walks of life through creative and engaging methods.
“Every action creates the future.” — H.E. Tsem Rinpoche
In the tradition of the great Mahasiddhas, Rinpoche helps and guides us by whatever means will be most beneficial, caring only about our ultimate liberation. Refusing to make an artificial distinction between formal Dharma and everyday life, he is a master at turning every situation into new, contemporary methods to transmit the essence of the teachings, and is recognised as a real-life Bodhisattva by his teachers and students alike.
Never losing or diluting the profound essence of the Buddha’s timeless wisdom, Rinpoche has a wonderful gift of presenting the ancient teachings in ways accessible and relevant to us inhabitants of the 21st-century global village. Basing his Dharma sessions on logic and shared human values renders his message universal, free of the limitations of dogma, culture and individual background.
Creating a Legacy
Armed only with unshakeable faith and persistence, Tsem Rinpoche has emerged as the radiantly inspiring spiritual teacher and friend we know today. His brilliance of mind arouses our interest to explore with him the human condition in a deeper way, and his great kindness, generosity and enthusiasm are contagious and awaken in many the wish to enter the sacred path of study, contemplation and meditation.
He has been teaching in South East Asia since 1992, fulfilling the wishes of his Gurus H.E. Lati Rinpoche and H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche. Now based in Malaysia, Tsem Rinpoche continues this immense work through Kechara, the progressive spiritual organisation he founded, bringing benefit to many around the world.