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Geshe Namgyal’s Background

  • I would like to share my story with you regarding how I entered the path of Pure Dzogchen. I began my studies at a very young age with my father, ritual master of the Karshod in the Kham region of Tibet; it’s in the hill area, very green with natural flowers in the summertime, but snowy and cold in the winter.  Villagers would request my father to perform traditional Bön rituals and prayers for many of life’s occasions - birth, illness, prosperity, good crops, animals and property, health, marriage, emotional stability, or dying peacefully and provide guidance into the next life. I would accompany him everyday. In addition, my father and I would enter into retreat for tantric practices, sometimes with many people. There were also regional events and holy days for ceremony. Ceremonies were requested to rebalance and create harmony, peace with the natural elements and spirits. When people became sick, they would first seek a ritual master, as 99% of health problems were considered caused by spirit harm or loss of soul power. 


    I received the preliminary practice of Dzogchen, with nine hundred thousand round Ngondro practice, from Togden Sherab Phuntsog Rinpoche while still residing at my childhood home. One day, I left my home and went to the monastery. I became a resident monk at Lung Kar Monastery. I studied mind training where one searches for inner peace; it’s beyond materialism, beyond only surviving. I completed a three year ngondro retreat for Kalung Gyatso with the text  “Treasure of Ocean” from SharZa Rinpoche (Ati ngondro) learned from Lobpon Tsultrim Namdag; also, Master Khanpo Nyima Lodo gave essential Dzogchen teachings, including Phowa, Rushen, and meditation. After some years at the monastery, these teachers encouraged me to further my studies of logic and philosophies. Many Dzogchen masters said that in order to achieve perfect Dzogchen realization, it would also be good to learn about other vehicles. 


    In order to acquire more extensive training, I left Tibet and walked to India. For five years at Menri Monastery, the seat of the Bön tradition, under the guidance of H.H. Menri Tridzin Rinpoche, I studied Bön culture, philosophy, meditation, and received multiple spiritual initiations. 


    In 1995, I went to Sera Je Monastic University of the Gelupa lineage, and studied with the great master H.E. Kyabje Choden Rinpoche, the previous Abbot H.E. Losang Tsering Rinpoche, and previous Abbot H.E. Khanzur Losang Delek. I was also fortunate to attend numerous teachings with H.H. the Dalai Lama. Here, the studies presented were Madhyamaka, Buddhist Logic, Buddhist psychology and Prajnaparamita, Buddhist science­; Western academic methods and the relation between science and religion. 


    So I returned to my home lineage via Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Topics of study included the nine ways of bon: cosmology, sutra philosophies, vinaya, tantra and bon Dzogchen, guided by H.E. Yongdzin Lopon Rinpoche. In 2011, I studied and trained in Bon and Indian Buddhism and was awarded a Geshe degree (Doctor of Philosophy). Simultaneously, I researched many parts of ancient bon history, culture, religion and was invited to conferences at  Oxford University, England (11th IATS), in France, Japan, India and the United States.


    In 2013, I was invited to be the resident teacher at the Ananda Dharma Center in San Jose, CA by the great Master H.E.Chodon Rinpoche. I taught Lamrim, Buddhist psychology and Prajnaparamita, Buddhist philosophy, and so on.


    Finally, I realized I was more interested in the Pure Dzogchen. And in 2015, I concluded that Dzogchen teachings, unencumbered by sutra or tantra, would better serve Western students. So I founded Kunsang Gar and now teach Pure Dzogchen and the Kunsang Gar Wisdom Program. 


    No matter what one’s background—country, gender, age, race, beliefs or history of painful experiences and emotions, the Pure Dzogchen path can swiftly bring one to the transcendent recognition of the Nature of Mind. Meditation on the Nature of Mind is the most powerful way to purify the mind of even eons of negative karmic patterns. The ultimate fruition of Pure Dzogchen practice is the attainment of the Rainbow Body of Light, a manifestation of deep realization unique to the Dzogchen path.


    I believe that by directly introducing the primordial Buddha Nature through the Pure Dzogchen teachings, those receiving these teachings can enter into that recognition and discover

    true peace, strength, and fearlessness in life; and confidence in an eventual, positive death, Bardo, and rebirth experience.

    –Geshe Dangsong Namgyal