The Late Kalu Rinpoche

The Late Kalu Rinpoche

His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche is one of the great masters of our age. Born in Eastern Tibet in 1905 he was raised by his father and mother, both Dharma practitioners. His father was a recognized incarnation and at first refused to give his son to the monastery, opting to raise him himself. During his mother's pregnancy, there were many wonderful signs that the child would be special. The root guru of both his parents was the great Jamgon Kontrul, Lodru Thaye. As a young child he showed remarkable compassion to all living beings and his intellect was keen After being admitted to Palpung monastery of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, he began his monastic career. At the age of thirteen, he gave his first Dharma teaching to many Rinpoches and Lamas. There were all very impressed by through knowledge of the scriptures and the understanding of its meaning.

After his three year retreat he decided to wander the high mountains practicing, not worrying about food or clothing. After spending almost twenty years alone in the mountains, he was asked to return to Palpung and serve as retreat master in the retreat started by Jamgon Kontrul. His activity started to spread throughout Tibet and he was recognized as the activity emanation of Jamgon Kontrul. Among his other incarnations were:, Ananda, attendant to the Buddha, Vairochana the translator, and Kyungpo Naljor who started the Shangpa lineage.

Before the Chinese takeover of Tibet, His Holiness sent Kalu Rinpoche to Bhutan to prepare for the exodus. There he established ChangChub Choling monastery, then moved to northern India in the Darjeeling area. At Sonada, he was given a small monastery and immediately began to rebuild, add on and start a Three year retreat. This monastery at Sonada serves as Kalu Rinpoche's seat. In the early 1970's His Holiness Karmapa sent Kalu Rinpoche to west to help with the establishment of the Dharma there. Arriving in Canada, people began to discover his depth of caring and wisdom. He traveled many times to many parts of the world and established many centers and three year retreats. His activity was vast and he affected many numerous people and set them on the path to freedom. In 1989 he manifested death at his monastery.


After Rinpoche's passing in 1989, many felt a great loss and all of his students and all the great Rinpoches started praying for his quick rebirth and the continuation of his activity. All the Rinpoches present at the final ceremonies assured the world that he would return soon. In September of 1990, Kalu Rinpoche took rebirth, being born to his former nephew Lama Gyeltsen wife Drolkar. Although no announcement was made till he was about 18 months old. People started to flock to Sonada to pay their respects to this wonderful child. It was finally announced by His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche and His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama that this child was indeed the reincarnation of our precious teacher. He has shown remarkable qualities and is able to remember people and students from his previous incarnation. It is indeed a blessing to have such compassionate beings manifest in this world to help us all. We continually pray for his long life and the increase of his activity, as he manifests his true nature for all of us caught in the bonds of samsara.

More Information on Kalu Rinpoche


photos from KDK and the Bodhisattva Institute Archives


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