Lama Karma Phuntsok
A Brief Introduction to Lama Karma Phuntsok
Resident Teacher of Palpung Yeshe Chökhor, Canada
Lama Karma Phuntsok was born in 1970 in rural Sikkim near Gangtok to a refugee Tibetan family from Derge in Eastern Tibet. When he was very young his parents remember that he was always interested in holding the family dharma text in his small hands and crying when the text had to be put away. They also remember that he would make a drum stick and drum from a small piece of wood and an old tin can and sit and beat out the rhythm for himself while he "chanted" his imaginary texts. For these reasons Lama Phuntsok's family felt that he had a strong karmic connection to the monastic lifestyle and so dressed him in a little brown chuba, the traditional Tibetan clothing, and started calling him "the little monk" from the time he was about four or five years old.
When Lama Phuntsok was nine years old his parents sent him to Sherab Ling Monastery in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India, in order to receive the traditional education of a Buddhist monk. He was put in the care of Tai Situ Rinpoche, the founder and Abbot of Sherab Ling. Lama Phuntsok's father had a connection with Tai Situpa and Palpung Monastery in Eastern Tibet and so decided that his young son should receive his monastic education from Tai Situ Rinpoche at Sherab Ling in India. The young Lama learned to read and write in the monastic school there and continued his studies under the great Rime teacher Khenpo Khedrup Rinpoche for another five years.
When Khenpo Khedrup left to rebuild his monastery in Tibet a teacher called Palpung Umze Zopa came to Sherab Ling to teach the new generation of young monks. Tai Situ chose Lama Phuntsok as one of two monks to receive special instructions from this great ritual master and so for the next two years Lama Phuntsok's education focused on receiving and practising the ritual, music, mudra, tormas, and chanting styles associated with the Karma Kagyu Palpung tradition. When his teacher returned to Tibet, Lama Phuntsok further studied with the revered masters Saljey Rinpoche and Druppon Lama Tsultrim. He received teachings and empowerments of the entire Kagyu tradition from Saljey Rinpoche. He received instruction of the Treasure of Knowledge, Utara Tantra, Shastra, and instruction of Inner Profound Knowledge, Hevajra Tantra and so forth.
In 1989 Tai Situ Rinpoche initiated the first three year retreat at Sherab Ling with Kalu Rinpoche, Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche and others. After a pilgrimage to some of the sacred sites of Buddhism in India including Bodh Gaya, Vulture Peak, Sarnath and Nalanda University, Lama Phuntsok entered this retreat with Mingyur Rinpoche who was only thirteen years old at the time with other monks from the monastery. After completing this retreat in 1992 Lama Phuntsok continued his Umze (chant master) duties and began teaching the younger students grammar, dharma texts, art, and torma making. Lama Phuntsok has a special talent for calligraphy and taught these skills to younger students and received an award from Tai Situ Rinpoche.
At the completion of his monastic training Lama Phuntsok was sent by his teacher to Hong Kong and Taiwan to assist with new Karma Kagyu centres there. In 1998 he moved to San Francisco to study English for six months. In February 1999 he travelled to Canada to continue his studies in English. The summer of 2000, Lama Phuntsok moved to Gampo Abbey, a monastery founded by Ani Pema Chodron and her root teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. At Gampo Abbey, located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada he taught the three year retreatants and assisted in organizing and performing monastic ceremonies with the Abbey community. He shared his knowledge regarding Tibetan musical instruments and painting at the Abbey.
In December 2001 Lama Phuntsok moved to Waterloo, Ontario to continue his study of the English language and assisted by Ani Sonam Lhamo established a new Dharma centre there under the direction of Tai Situ Rinpoche. The centre Palpung Yeshe Chökhor provides instruction in textual study, meditation, and Tibetan translation.
In 2005 and 2006 he returned to Sherab Ling to receive the Rinchen Terdzo Great Hidden Treasure from Tai Situ Rinpoche. Rinpoche appointed him as the Choeje Lama of Palpung Yeshe Chökhor according to the Palpung tradition. He also appointed Lama Phuntsok as the Tibetan Editor of Omni Dharma Publications.
Lama Phuntsok is an artist who paints in traditional as well as contemporary styles. His paintings are on display at the centre, and in a local gallery, and through this web site where they are available for sale.
Recently, Lama Phuntosk was invited by Zhepe Luyang, Chinese translating & editing team, to Taiwan to guide them in translation, study and practice. He will visit Eastern Asia on a regular basis.
Ani Choying Drolma
A Brief Introduction to Ani Chöying Drolma
An assistant teacher & Mandarin translator of Palpung Yeshe Chökhor, Canada
Ani Chöying Drolma was born in 1962 and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. One year after earning her law degree she was ordained as a Buddhist nun by Ven. Bai Yun, a great Zen master of the Chinese Mahayana tradition. She studied and practiced Mahayana Buddhism under his guidance for nine years. During that time, she was also involved in Dharma-related activities, such as teaching meditation at a Buddhist institute, and becoming an editor and consultant for Dharma organizations. The experience she gained from the roles she assumed supported her in the subsequent solo sojourns she undertook in various countries for further study and practice, and to serve others.
From 1996 to 2002, she spent most of her time in the Himalayan region in northern India, engaging in meditation and studying the science of holistic health. In 2002, she made a strong connection with Tibetan Buddhism on a trip to Dharamsala, India, to visit the 17th Karmapa and to meet Chamgong Kenting Tai Situpa. She has since been treading the path of Vajrayana Buddhism under the guidance of Tai Situ Rinpoche and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. From 2003 to 2010, she received teachings in Taiwan, India, Nepal, US, Canada and Germany, mainly on Mahamudra meditation, from Yongey Minyur Rinpoche and committed herself to practice under his guidance. She also visited Palpung Sherab Ling, India regularly to receive teachings on the instructions of Gampopa: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path, Chigshe-kundrol empowerment, the Five Treasuries empowerment/transmission and 6-year Mahamudra transmission (the Ocean of Certainty) given by Tai Situ Rinpoche.
Through Zhepe Lhuyang Meditation Group, Gu Tsuan Yen Education Foundation and Zhepe Lhuyang Publishing House, the organizations she founded, she has been serving as a bridge between spiritual seekers and authentic masters and the supreme Dharma. In recent years, she has also been invited by Dharma centers in North America to serve as an oral translator and to assist in teaching programs. She is the translator/editor of four Chinese titles:
The Journey to Mind-Awakening by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche,
The Great Liberation through Hearing by Guru Rinpoche (A Chanting Text of Tibetan-Chinese Edition),
Chanting CDs of Liberation through Hearing in Tibetan and Mandarin,
Concise Teaching on Bardo instructed by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche in Chinese, English and Tibetan languages.
At the end of 2010, her spiritual journey shifted from 'travelling for learning' to 'settling down for practice'. In line with her master’s instruction, she has started preparing systematically for a long-life retreat, and have committed to studying and practicing under her spiritual tutor, Chöje Lama Karma Phuntsok. She has thus mainly focused her activities on working for Zhepe Lhuyang in Taiwan and Palpung Yeshe Chökhor in Canada