Our Resident Teacher
The Venerable Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche was born in the Nag-chu District of Tibet. From his earliest years, the Venerable Thinley Ningpo was distinguished by a loving and compassionate nature and an active concern for the welfare of others. He entered school at the age of eight and diligently pursued his elementary education. As he became the outstanding student in his school, he was rewarded with an appointment as teacher for the lower grades when he turned 17 years old. At that time he held a second job as a clerk for the municipal government. In addition to his teaching and clerical work, the Venerable Thinley Ningpo pursued studies in veterinary medicine. After continuing this work for some time, his natural inclination towards religion developed into a determination to pursue higher spiritual studies. His father supported his decision, and applied to the proper authorities. He then entered the ‘Brong-ngur Monastery where he became a student of the eminent Buddhist scholar, Lama Kedrub Siddhi Rinpoche, who chose him from among all the new students to be his disciple. He engaged in the study of a wide range of Drikung Buddhist traditions, including ritual practices, mandala and stupa design and construction and the art of producing bronze images of sacred beings. Subsequently, he was made director of the project to construct a new main stupa for the monastery. After completing this formidable project in an excellent manner, he went on a pilgrimage to Drikung Thel Monastery where he met the great yogin and scholar, Drubwang Pa-chung Rinpoche. Ven. Thinley Ningpo was inspired to ask for the essential precepts for the higher spiritual practices. Recognizing his unique abilities, Rinpoche agreed and asked him to return at daybreak. He thus was able to receive the profound essence instructions in the practice and mastery of the peerless Mahamudra.
In 1988 Ven. Thinley Ningpo went on a pilgrimage to the sacred places of Tibet. This brought him to the western regions where he took a fortuitous opportunity to escape to India. This was accomplished through a very perilous two-month journey on foot across the Himalayas. Once safely in India, he proceeded to the Drikung Kagyu Temple and entered into the institute of higher education. After completing his course of study, he was appointed as dean of the institute. He served in this capacity for six years.
Ven. Thinley Ningpo spent 1994 in spiritual retreat, during which time he accomplished all the preliminary practices of the Five-fold Mahamudra. He then went to the Dorje Redrubde hermitage in Alora where he entered into the traditional three-year retreat, where he accomplished the practices of the Five-fold Mahamudra and the profound path of the Six Yogas of Naropa. He participated in the Drikung Kagyu Snake Year teaching retreat where he received the entire body of Drikung Kagyu empowerments, transmissions, and instructions for advanced practice. In this way he completed the process of advanced training in all the profound and sacred traditions of the Drikung and earned the title of Drupon “master of spiritual attainment.”
Motivated by his deep and constant desire to help others to attain liberation, Ven. Thinley Ningpo traveled to America where he served as Spiritual Director and Retreat Master of the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, MD.
Drupon-la now travels extensively with the blessing of HH Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, teaching the precious Dharma and leading Dharma students in retreat. He has traveled to South America in the last two years and keeps a busy domestic and international travel schedule for teaching and retreat. Drupon Rinpoche has recently relocated to Wesley Chapel, FL, just north of Tampa, and is establishing a Dharma center for study, practice and retreat there. We have been very blessed here in Florida by Drupon-la’s kindness and practical wisdom, which shines forth like the rays of the sun. Drupon-la possesses the special quality of being able to understand deeply the needs of Western students and to provide the Dharma Teachings needed in the moment, so that they can progress on the Path.