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His Eminence Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche - Education 

Rinpoche received a six-year traditional monastic education at Rumtek monastery, the main seat of Karmapa, from 1973 until 1979. There he learned monastic practices and traditions, Tantric scriptures, sadhanas and so on. This was followed by two years of study of treatises (shastras) and literature at Jamyang Khang, Rumtek.

In 1981, Rinpoche entered the Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies, where he studied for nine years - four years secondary, two years shastri (academically equivalent to B.A.), and three years acharya (academically equivalent to M.A.), and graduated with First Class Honors in 1990. His education included the five major domains of studies: literature, painting and drawing, medicine, epistemology and philosophy. Philosophy of non-Buddhist tenets, history, arts, astrology and languages were also included in his course work. The special emphasis of studies was devoted to Buddhist epistemology, ethics and philosophy of various schools originated from Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

During this time, Rinpoche received initiations, transmissions, instructions on Mahamudra and meditation training from many accomplished and renowned masters such as H.H. the 16th Karmapa, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Lama Gendun Rinpoche and his own tutor Lama Drupon Trinley Paljor (Khenchen Rinpoche).

In the early days while studying at Nalanda Institute, Rinpoche's aspirations were already clearly expressed by his answer to his personal tutor regarding his future plans:

"I want to complete the programs laid down by the institute, and want to acquire all Buddhist and other secular knowledge, following the advice given by my guru, the 16th Karmapa. Presently while learning, I have gained confidence. I strongly believe that I can directly and indirectly help others to generate love, compassion and bliss. I wish to share with others the Buddhadharma, the truth, the path of nonviolence, the path of peace. I believe there will be many committed people who believe in the same and who will work with me to accomplish this goal of sharing truth and caring for others and oneself."

Rinpoche in a library
Rinpoche in Nalanda Institute   Rinpoche's Graduation at Nalanda Institute   Rinpoche learning Chinese    
Rinpoche (middle) at Nalanda
Institute [enlarge]
Rinpoche's Graduation at
NalandaInstitute [enlarge]
Rinpoche learning Chinese

In order to help people of various backgrounds, Rinpoche also learned several languages. He is fluent in Tibetan, English, Nepali, Sherpa, Chinese, Sanskrit, Hindi and French.

Besides traditional Buddhist education, Rinpoche also studied liberal arts in Iowa, did research at the University of Michigan Buddhist Research Center, and was involved in teaching exchange programs and sutra translation there in 1992.

In 1994, Rinpoche studied Chinese for six months in Taiwan at the Language Learning Center of National Taiwan Normal University.

From 1997 to 2004, Rinpoche persued a doctorial program specialized in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with focus on comparative studies at Harvard University and was awarded PhD. Through such studies in the modern academic system, Rinpoche has become one of the few Tibetan masters who have the ability to accurately translate the full subtlety and effectiveness of Buddhist practices for the western student. His dessertation on Gampopa - the most prominent desciple of Milarepa - reveals and analyses in depth the life and works of this important figure in Buddhist history who caused the Kagyu school to flourish in its unique style in Tibet.

Rinpoche as a student in Harvard

Rinpoche at Harvard Rinpoche at Harvard
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More about Rinpoche...

Pages about Rinpoche:
introductionabout Rinpoche & UTBFincarnation • education
activitiesphoto galleryRinpoche in the news

* Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana: another practical way of naming the different vehicles in Buddhism.

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