About Our Teachers

His Holiness the Sakya Trichen
41st Patriarch of the Sakya Lineage

Born in Tibet in 1945, His Holiness ascended to the throne of Sakya at the age of seven. Trained in the various teachings of Sutra and Tantra, His Holiness embodies the complete qualities of a Tantric master. Presently residing in Mussoorie, Northern India , His Holiness travels frequently and is tireless in bestowing initiations and teachings to a growing group of dedicated students. His Holiness the Sakya Trichen is our supreme teacher and guide. Click here for more information.


His Holiness Ratna Vajra Rinpoche,
The 42nd Sakya Trizin

His Holiness the 42nd Kyabgon Gongma Trizin was born in 1974 at Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh , India. His Holiness did his basic religious studies at the Sakya Centre, Rajpur and then joined the Sakya College and finished his Kachupa degree. His Holiness has given many teachings and initiations in India and abroad and has also done many retreats on the principal deities of the Sakya Order. For more about His Holiness’ activities, visit:  http://www.glorioussakya.org/history/hhrvs


His Eminence Gyana
Vajra Rinpoche

His Eminence Gyana Vajra Rinpocheis a senior lineage holder of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism, and the younger son of His Holiness Sakya Trizin. His Eminence received decades of rigorous training from His Holiness himself, as well as many other lamas such as H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, H.E. Luding Khen Rinpoche, The Very Venerable Khenpo Appey Rinpoche, and the late Khenpo Migmar Rinpoche. H.E. Gyana Vajra Rinpoche completed his monastic ritual training at Sakya Monastery and his philosophical training at Sakya College.


teacher_luding1His Eminence Kyabje Dorje Chang
Luding Khenchen Rinpoche

His Eminence Luding Khencen Rinpoche is one of the most highly respected and learned teachers of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. His Eminence is believed to be the emanation of Vajrapani and is head of the Ngor, one of the two sub-sects of the Sakya tradition. His Eminence was born to the clan of Shang, Sharchen, or Ludingpa, which is renowned for producing great scholars and siddhas.


teacher_ludingkhenHis Eminence Luding
Khen Rinpoche

His Eminence was enthroned on March 16, 2000 as the abbot of the Ngor Monastery of the Sakya Order, and is head of hundreds of branch monasteries. His Eminence is one of the most important young lineage holders of the Sakya Order.


teacher_hereminenceHer Eminence Jetsun
Kushok Chimey Luding

Jetsun Kushok, or “Jetsunma,” is a leading female teacher of Tibetan Buddhism living in the West. Her Eminence is one of three women in the history of Tibet to have given the Lamdre (“Path and Its Fruition”) teachings, the special system of contemplative and meditative practice of the Sakya Order. Her Eminence is a thoroughly trained lineage holder. Click here for more information.


teacher_krVenerable Lama Kunga
Thartse Rinpoche

Venerable Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche was born into a noble family in Lhasa in 1935, the son of Tsipon Shuguba, the Treasurer in the Dalai Lama’s government. At the age of 7, Lama Kunga was recognized as a reincarnation of Sevan Repa, a heart disciple of Milarepa, Tibet’s great 11th century poet-saint. Rinpoche entered Ngor Monastery at age eight and was ordained as a monk at age sixteen. In 1959, Lama Kunga became Vice-Abbot of Ngor Monastery in the Sakya tradition, but fled through western Tibet with some of his countrymen due to situation in Tibet. Rinpoche came to America in 1972, and subsequently established the Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center in Kensington California. Lama Kunga has also taught in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Arkansas, Florida, southern California, and Hawaii. Click here for more information.


teacher_2Venerable Khenpo
Kalsang Gyaltsen

Khenpo Kalsang is the spiritual director of Sakya Phuntsok Ling in Silver Spring, Maryland. Khenpo Kalsang is a widely recognized and accomplished teacher and translator of Tibetan Buddhism and is also vice president of Tsechen Khunchab Ling, Seat of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin in the United States. His Holiness and other Lamas of the Sakya Order have repeatedly praised his Dharma activities as exemplary. Click here for more information.


teacher_mygVenerable Khenpo
Lama Migmar Tseten

Khenpo Migmar was born in 1956 at Chimdok, Gyaltse in Central Tibet. Khenpo Migmar left Tibet with his family in 1959 and resettled in South India. In 1980, Khenpo Migmar received the Acharya degree and in 1981, at the request of His Holiness, the Sakya Trizin, became the head of the Sakya main Monastery at Puruwala, India and the Sakya Center at Rajpur, India. While serving these monasteries, Khenpo continued his study and practice in Sutra and Tantra, and received transmissions such as LamDre, Vajrayogini and many others from H.H. the Sakya Trizin, H.E. Chogye Trichen, H.E. Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, Khenpo Sangye Tenzin and Khenpo Appey Rinpoche. In 1990, Khenpo Migmar became the head of the Sakya Retreat Center in Barre,MA. He founded the Sakya Institute in Cambridge, MA and the Manjushri United States, and is the Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University. Click here for more information.


lamapemaVenerable Khenpo
Lama Pema Wangdak

Khenpo Pema was born in Purang , Tibet , in 1954 and is a student of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and other great masters from the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism. Khenpo Pema is a graduate of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Benares, India. In 1980 Khenpo received his Acharya (Master’s) degree. Khenpo Pema was sent by His Holiness Sakya Trizin in 1982 as the first of the younger generation of Tibetan teachers to America from the Sakya School and has been guiding Western students for over 20 years. Click here for more information.


lamadorjeVenerable Lama
Dorje Gyaltsen

Venerable Lama Dorje Gyaltsen is one of the lamas in residence at Tsechen Kunchab Ling. His dedication to the Dharma and steadfast perseverance are widely known and respected. Lama Dorje is one of the most senior Sakya lamas in the United States. Born in Menyak, Tibet, Lama Dorje was trained as a monk at Sakya Monastery in Tibet and received extensive training in sutra and tantra from many great masters of the Sakya tradition. In addition, Lama Dorje also also received rigorous teacher-training in India in how to teach the sutra and tantra, and served in various teaching positions in monasteries in India. From 1983 to 2003, Lama Dorje performed excellent service as the resident lama of the Singapore Sakya Center, successfully carrying out the wishes of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin. In 2003, at the request of Venerable Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen, His Holiness appointed Lama Dorje to come to the U.S. to assist in establishing Tsechen Kunchab Ling.

2016_LamaGongphel_sLama Thupten Gongphel
Resident Lama

Lama Thupten Gongphel became a monk of the Sakya Order in 1984, when he joined the Sakya Centre in Dehradun and took his novice vows.  He completed the Sakya curriculum of Tibetan grammer, and Buddhist rituals and scriptures.  He took his full monk’s vows in 1990.  In 1997, he joined the Sakya Institute, Puruwala and, in 2004, he obtained his Kachupa degree (equivalent to a BA in Buddhist Philosophy), and his Loppon degree (equivalent to an MA) in 2006.  He spent the next two years teaching Buddhist Philosophy at the Sakya Institute.

In 2008, Lama Thupten Gongphel joined the International Buddhist Academy as a member of the Monastic Leadership Program.  There, he learned English and Mandarin, while teaching Buddhist Philosophy in English to foreign students during the summer courses held at the Academy.  He served as monastic disciplinarian during his last two years there.  He is qualified to act as translator and interpreter in Tibetan, English, Mandarin, and Hindi. Lama Thupten Gongphel is known as a genuine monk of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism and a person of excellent moral character and standing.

In January 2016, we joyfully welcomed our new resident Lama, Lama Thupten Gongphel, to Minneapolis.  Lama Thupten Gongphel was given “Khenpo” title by His Holiness the Sakya Trizin on May 15 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in front of about 1300 participants.