About Our Founder
TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is President and resident Lama of Chamma Ling, near Crestone Colorado and the Ligmincha Institute, headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tenzin Rinpoche is a master of the Dzogchen meditative tradition of Tibet. Since he was thirteen years old he has studied and practiced Dzogchen with his masters from both the Bön and Buddhist schools: Lopon Sange Tenzin, Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, and Geshe Yungdrung Namgyal. He completed an eleven-year course of traditional studies in the Bön tradition at the Bönpo Monastic Center, Dolanji, HP, India, whereupon he qualified for the advanced degree of philosophy, Geshe. He is an accomplished scholar in the Bönpo and the Buddhist textual traditions of philosophy, exegesis, and debating. Upon graduation in 1986, he was employed at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives at Dharamsala, India. That same year he was appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the representative of the Bön School to the assembly of deputies of the government in exile.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche was the first to bring the precious Bön Dzogchen teachings to the West in 1988, when he was invited by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche to Italy in order to teach at his center. He is one of the very few Bonpo masters living in the West who is trained in the Bön tradition and qualified to teach. Rinpoche is a well-known master, having traveled widely, giving teachings in Tibet and in the West for the past thirteen years. He is a scholar as well, having written several books and articles in Tibetan and English. During the 1991-92 academic year he was selected as a Rockefeller Fellow at Rice University in Houston, Texas. During this period he continued his research on early Bonpo Tantric deities and their relationship with Buddhist traditions in the early period of Buddhism in Tibet. Rice University invited Rinpoche back to teach for the spring semester of 1993 and he was awarded a second Rockefeller Fellowship. Tenzin Rinpoche is the author of Wonders of the Natural Mind, in which he presents the view and practice of the Bön Dzogchen ("Great Perfection") teachings. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for 1994-95 to conduct academic research on the logical and philosophical aspects of the Bön tradition. He appeared on the Discovery Channel in 1994, where he explained the principles involved in Tibetan dream practices as part of their three-part series entitled The Power of Dreams. In 1998 he wrote The Tibetan Yogas of Dream published by Snow Lion Publications. In 2002, Tenzin Rinpoche published Healing with Form, Energy, and Light, The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen.
Rinpoche founded Ligmincha Institute in March of 1992 to preserve the culture, religious teachings and arts of Tibet and Zhang Zhung. The aim of the Institute is to introduce to the West the wisdom traditions of the Bonpo which are concerned with the harmonious integration of internal and external energies, and most importantly with the spiritual path to enlightenment. He founded Chamma Ling in 2002 as a solitary restreat center to support practitioners in this tradition throughout the country. Rinpoche resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, but travels and teaches extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Mexico and South America.