Kushok Lobsang Dhamchöe was born in the remote valley of Kyedong, Tibet in the mid 1950s. This valley is mentioned in the famous book Seven Years in Tibet. by Heinrich Harrer, who wrote: "I shall never cease thinking of this place with yearning, and if I can choose where to pass the evening of my life, it will be in Kyirong." (Tibetan spellings of the valley vary.)
Kushok was orphaned at four years old. His aunt cared for him within the sacred valley until he escaped from Tibet in 1963. Kushok's paternal uncle was Drakar Rinpoche Tendzin Norbu, the 16th reincarnation of the Drakar Rinpoches. This monastic lineage is a combination of Kagyu and Nyingma. After Kushok's uncle's death the 17th Drakar Rinpoche was discovered at the direction of the 16th Karmapa; he now resides in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kushok's uncle's lineage is revered and treasured, and is unique to the valley of Kyedong. He inspires visiting lamas and pilgrims from Tibet and Nepal. For more information, go to www.dakkartaso.org.
After escaping Chinese Communist occupied Tibet, Kushok enrolled at Kalimpong Central School for Tibetans in India. He received his novice monk's vows from the great Tibetan master Kyabje Song Rinpoche. But after only a few years the school closed from lack of funding and Kushok was left homeless. He spent several years working and living in Clementown, India, and then traveled to Dharamsala. He was accepted at Namgyal Monastery, the personal non-sectarian monastery of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Kushok obtained his Geshe degree from the Council of Religious and Cultural Affairs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1991. He became an expert in Buddhist scripture, ritual, philosophy, chanting, meditation, ritual dance, and the intricate arts of sand mandala and butter sculpture. Kushok's primary teacher was His Eminence Lobsang Nyima Pal Sangpo, the 100th holder of the throne of Je Tsongkhapa - known as the Ganden Tripa.
In the year 2000, after 30 years of study and service in India, Kushok moved to Edmonton at the request of Gaden Samten Ling to become the society's spiritual director. Since then he has worked unceasingly to advance the vision of the society's founding teacher, Geshe Ngawang Kaldän, and Gaden Samten Ling has grown under his constant guidance and care. The small house that served as the society's meditation centre became too small for its growing numbers and was torn down in May 2011, along with the neighbouring house which the society also owned, to make way for a brand new centre.
Gaden Samten Ling's Alberta Centre for Peace and Meditation opened in 2012 and since opening Kushok has already started to introduce new courses including the Introduction to Meditation and Introduction to Buddhism classes which have drawn dozens of new people to the centre. The centre's programming is intended to accommodate anyone with a desire to learn about meditation and developing positive states of mind. The centre also serves to preserve the Tibetan cultural traditions by continuing to study Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and conduct Tibetan meditation practices in both the Tibetan and English languages. We invite you to join us for any of our weekly classes to experience the wisdom of Kushok's teachings firsthand.
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