Our Resident Teacher
Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche was born in 1962 into a nomadic family in the region of Nag-chu in Eastern Tibet at the height of religious and cultural persecution during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. At the age of seventeen he became a school teacher and soon after studied to become a veterinarian. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 there was a Buddhist revival that spread throughout Tibet and a period in which many of the destroyed monasteries and holy sites were reconstructed. Tibetans while still under tight political control were allowed to practice their spirituality openly and freely to some extent, for the first time since the invasion of 1959.
During this time Drupon Rinpoche became deeply inspired to devote his life to the spiritual path. He soon took monastic ordination and was very involved in the work of rebuilding Drong Ngur Thubten Namgyaling, the monastery in his local community. Throughout this time he studied closely with the eminent Buddhist scholar, Lama Kedrub Siddhi Rinpoche and became well trained in a wide range of Drikung Buddhist traditions, including ritual practices, mandala and stupa design and construction as well as bronze casting. Subsequently, he was made director of a project to construct a new stupa for the monastery.
Upon the stupa’s completion he went on a pilgrimage to Drikung Thil Monastery where he met the great yogi and scholar, Drubwang Pa-chung Rinpoche. Drupon Rinpoche was inspired to ask for instructions on the higher spiritual practices. Recognizing his unique abilities, Pa-chung Rinpoche agreed and asked him to return at daybreak. He thus was able to receive profound pith instructions from Pa-chung Rinpoche himself as well as the pö-lung transmissions for all the important empowerment cycles and collections of teachings central to the Drikung Kagyu lineage.
In 1988 he went on a year-long pilgrimage, visiting holy places throughout Tibet which culminated in his dramatic escape, a perilous journey of twenty-nine days on foot traveling at night, across the Himalayas from Tibet to India.
Once safely in India, he entered Janchubling Monastery in Dehradun which is the main seat of the Drikung Kagyu lineage outside of Tibet. There he studied Buddhist philosophy. Upon completing his studies, he was appointed disciplinarian of the institute and served in this capacity for six years.
in 1996, having completed all of the preliminary practices, Drupon Rinpoche went to Dorje Ridrubde hermitage in Almora where he entered into the traditional three-year retreat and accomplished the practices of the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa.
He participated in the Drikung Kagyu Snake Year teachings where he received the entire body of Drikung Kagyu empowerments, transmissions, and instructions from HH Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche. It was during this event that he was formally acknowledged for having completed the process of advanced spiritual training and was given the title of Drupon “master of spiritual attainment.”
Motivated by his deep and constant desire to help others to attain liberation, Drupon Rinpoche traveled to America in 2001 where he served as the Spiritual Director and Retreat Master of the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, MD. He now travels extensively with the blessing of HH Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, teaching the precious Dharma and leading Dharma students in retreat.
In 2012 Drupon Rinpoche relocated to Wesley Chapel, where he is currently establishing a Dharma center for study, practice and retreat. We have been very blessed here in Florida by Drupon Rinpoche’s kindness and practical wisdom, which shines forth like the rays of the sun. Drupon Rinpoche 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.