Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: President of Ligmincha Institute
President of Ligmincha Institute, as well as its resident Lama, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is a master of the Dzogchen meditative tradition of Tibet. Rinpoche was born in India after his parents fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet.
He was recognized as the reincarnation of the famous master Khyung Tul Rinpoche who was not only a great meditator but also a noted scholar and prolific author. From the age of thirteen, Tenzin Rinpoche practiced Dzogchen closely with his masters from both the Bon and Buddhist schools: Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche, Lopon Tenzin Namdak
Rinpoche, and Geshe Yungdrung Namgyal. He completed an eleven year course of traditional studies in the Bön tradition at the Bönpo Monastic Center, Dolanji, HP, India, whereupon he qualified for the Doctorate Degree of Geshe, the highest degree in the Tibetan spiritual tradition. He is an accomplished scholar in the Bönpo and Buddhist textual traditions of philosophy, exegesis, and debate.
Upon graduation in 1986, Tenzin Rinpoche was employed at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives at Dharamsala, India. That same year he was appointed by HH the Dalai Lama to be the representative of the Bön school to the assembly of deputies of the government in exile.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche was the first to bring the precious Bön Dzogchen teachings to the West in 1988, when he was invited to Italy by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in order to teach at his center. During the 1991-92 academic year he was selected as a Rockefeller Fellow at Rice University in Houston, Texas. During this period he continued his research on early Bönpo Tantric deities and their relationship with Buddhist traditions in the early period of Buddhism in Tibet. Rice invited Rinpoche back to teach for the spring semester of 1993 and he was awarded a second Rockefeller Fellowship. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for 1994-95 to conduct academic research on logical and philosophical aspects of the Bön tradition. He appeared on the Discovery Channel in 1994, where he explained the principles involved in Tibetan dream practice as part of their three-part series entitled The Power of Dreams. Tenzin Rinpoche is the author of Wonders of the Natural Mind, in which he presents the view and practice of the Bön Dzogchen ("Great Perfection") teachings. [Originally published in 1993, this book has been reissued by Snow Lion Publications.] His next most recent book, released in 1998 by Snow Lion Publications, is entitled The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep.
Tenzin Rinpoche is one of the very few Bönpo masters living in the West who is trained in the Bön tradition and qualified to teach. Rinpoche is a well-known master, having traveled widely, giving teachings in Tibet and in the West for the past ten years. He is a scholar as well, having written several books and articles in Tibetan and English.
Tenzin Rinpoche currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, where in March of 1992 he founded Ligmincha Institute for the Preservation of the Religions and Cultures of Tibet, in order to preserve the culture, religious teachings and arts of Tibet and Zhang Zhung. The aim of the Institute is to introduce to the West the wisdom traditions of the Bönpo, which are concerned with the harmonious integration of internal and external energies, and most importantly with the spiritual path to enlightenment. In addition to the Charlottesville headquarters, which includes the newly acquired rural retreat center, Serenity ridge – "A home for Bön in the West" – there are study groups and branches of Ligmincha throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Rinpoche travels regularly to teach at these centers.