Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche
Dzigar Kongtrül Jigme Namgyel was born in northern India in 1964. His father, the third Neten Chokling Rinpoche, established the Tibetan community settlement of Bir. When Rinpoche was nine years old, his father passed away. Soon after this Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche recognized him as an incarnation of Jamgön Kongtrül the Great, which the Sixteenth Karmapa confirmed. Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche was enthroned at Chokling Gompa in Bir. His root teacher was Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and he also studied extensively with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, and the great scholar-yogin, Khenpo Rinchen.
Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche moved to the United States in 1989 with his family and began a five-year tenure as a professor of Buddhist philosophy at Naropa University in 1990. Not long after arriving in the United States, he founded Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to furthering the practice of the Longchen Nyingtik lineage. He established a mountain retreat center, Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, in southern Colorado, where he spends much of his time in retreat and guides students in long-term retreat practice. His students include Pema Chödrön, the best-selling buddhist author. Rinpoche’s wife, Elizabeth, has also become a respected teacher under his guidance. Rinpoche is a fine abstract painter whose work has been reproduced, along with his insightful essay on the relationship of art and spirituality, in his book Natural Vitality.