His Eminence Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche
His Holiness Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche
His Holiness Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche was born in 1905 in eastern Tibet. During his early years, he was tutored at home by his father who was a very learned master himself. He received a thorough grounding in the meditative and ritual traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and he was well versed in medicine and art.
When he was fifteen years old, he was sent to begin his higher studies at the great monastery of Palpung, the foremost center of the Karma Kagyu school in Kham, east Tibet. During his time there he mastered the vast body of teaching that forms the philosophical basis of Buddhist practice and completed a three-year retreat. Rinpoche received teachings from many of the most prominent teachers of his time. Among all his teachers he regarded his supreme guru to be the Great Lama Norbu Dondrup, who was inseparable from Varjadhara Buddha. Among his other gurus were the Fifteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje; Situ Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo, ruling incarnate of Palpung Monastery. His spiritual siblings, dharma brethren, included the foremost masters of his generation; Kongtrul Khyentse Ozer, Zhechen Kongtrul Rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse Choki Lodro, Dingo Khyentse Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, and many others.
At age twenty-six, Rinpoche left Palpung to pursue the life of a solitary yogi in the mountains of Kham. For nearly fifteen years, he strove to perfect his realizations of all aspects of the teachings. His simple and direct style of teaching is a result of his enlightened mind.
Because of his tremendous spiritual achievement, Rinpoche was requested to become the retreat master of Palpung Monastery. During the 1940’s, he and his meditation companion, Kalu the Younger, visited all the holy places in central Tibet during which time many people became his students. Among them, Reting Rinpoche recognized his true enlightened qualities and became his disciple. Reting Rinpoche was the Regent of H.H. Thirteenth Dalai Lama and headed the government of Tibet until H. H. Fourteenth Dalai Lama was old enough to assume responsibility.
Rinpoche knew what was to happen when the Chinese invasion took place, which began in 1951 and ended in 1959 when H.H. Dalai Lama fled. He left Tibet in the mid-50s and went to Bhutan, where he established retreat centers and taught many people. From there he went to Darjeeling, India, and that is where he lived for the duration of his life.
He traveled at the invitation of his students to North America, continental Europe and the Asian subcontinent, and he taught extensively. During these visits he founded many dharma centers and retreat centers.
With many auspicious signs which everyone saw, His Holiness Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche passed into parinirvana in Sonada Monastery, India in 1989.
On September 17, 1990, amid many auspicious signs, His Holiness Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche’s tulku (reincarnation) was born in India. On March 25, 1992, Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche officially recognized Kalu Rinpoche’s incarnation explaining that he had received definite signs from Kalu Rinpoche himself. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama immediately confirmed the recognition.
At the time of his birth, many people saw rainbows above His Eminence Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche’s monastery at Sonada, India, and reported that identical rainbows had appeared above the monastery after His Holiness Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche passed away. Out of his great compassion and kindness, he took birth again in answer to the prayers of his disciples.
On February 28, 1993, His Eminence Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche was enthroned at Samdrup Tarjayling Monastery in Sonada, Darjeeling.
In June 1995, Rinpoche made his first visit to North America, accompanied by Bokar Rinpoche. He was adored by everyone during that trip.
His Eminence, the young Kalu Rinpoche’s interest in meditation, chanting, calligraphy, and traditional musical instruments reveal his deep affinity for Dharma activity. Even as a child, he displayed the qualities of a true Bodhisattva. His presence dispels suffering and his gentle and loving nature evokes joy.
In 2005 His Eminence entered into the traditional Shangpa Kagyu Three-Year Retreat at Bokar Monastery which he completed in 2008.
He has since began teaching to large audiences throughout the world, welcomed by devoted and delighted followers.
For more information on Rinpoche's activities and teachings please visit paldenshangpa.org.