Venerable Karchen Lobsang Chodar was born in Shigatse, central Tibet. At a very young age, he enrolled in Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, one of the largest monastic universities in Tibet where, alongside thousands of fortunate young monks like himself, diligently studied the topics of Sutra and Tantra.
Upon completion of his basic studies in Tashi Lhunpo, Karchen-la spent eight years in Sera Jey Monastic University in Tibet to further his studies before returning once again to Tashi Lhunpo. It was in Sera Jey that he became classmates with various leading Buddhist masters today, amongst them Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, one of the most respected and well known Tibetan Buddhist teachers in the West.
Karchen-la is a direct disciple of our illustrious lineage Lama, His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, from whom he received many teachings, initiations and empowerments. In fact, Karchen-la is one of the last surviving direct disciples of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche in the 21st Century.
When the Tibetan Uprising began in 1959, Karchen-la made the arduous journey through the Himalayas to India. Despite encountering great hardship and having to adjust to life in a foreign land with vastly differing culture and environment, Karchen-la’s determined pursuit of the Dharma never waned.
In India, Karchen-la lived a solitary life in various places such as Vanarasi, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Sikkim. Alongside his private retreats and meditation practices, Karchen-la continued to receive teachings and initiations from various great masters of our time such as His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, His Eminence Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, His Eminence Kyabje Rato Rinpoche, His Eminence Kyabje Panglung Rinpoche, His Eminence Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche and many others.
In the later half of his life, Karchen-la spent much time in solitary retreat in Nepal. During this time, he would often visit Phelgyeling Monastery in Kathmandu and in 1999, the monastery invited Karchen-la to live in their monastery long term so that they could care for the needs of this ageing but great meditation master.
To this day, this highly realised teacher continues to live the life of a very simple monk in Phelgyeling Monastery.
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