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Born in 1938 in eastern Tibet, Lama Norlha Rinpoche became a monk at the age of fourteen, and completed two three-year meditation retreats by the age of twenty-one. His first retreat emphasized the practices of the Kagyu lineage, and his second those of the Nyingma lineage. After escaping from Tibet in 1960, he met Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche in India and became his close disciple. Lama Norlha Rinpoche foremost activity in India involved the establishment of several three-year retreat facilities, the first in that country, where he trained monks in the complete course of study and practice of the Kagyu lineage.
At the urging of Buddhist students in the United States, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa and Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche requested Lama Norlha Rinpoche to come to New York City in 1976 to direct Kalu Rinpoche's east coast Dharma centers. Three years later, he founded Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, offering a full range of programs, including introductory courses on Buddhism, seminars taught by masters of the lineage, Tibetan language classes, and for the first time in the Americas, the traditional three-year intensive meditation retreat. The fifth cycle of the retreats is currently in session, and close to one hundred westerners have participated in the program to date. Participants read and chant from the original Tibetan texts, learning and practicing the same progressive stages of meditation traditionally taught in Tibetan three-year retreats.
Over the past two decades, Lama Norlha Rinpoche has returned to his native Tibet several times in order to re-establish the Dharma and create basic educational and medical resources there. He initiated and sponsored the rebuilding of his own monastery, Korche, with its two retreat facilities. In order to create an equal opportunity for women in Tibet who wish to devote their lives to Dharma study and practice, he built a monastery and retreat center for nuns at Kala Rongo, a sacred place where treasure teachings hidden by Guru Rinpoche were discovered by the famous tertön Chogyur Lingpa. As a result of Lama Norlha Rinpoche efforts, four three-year retreats have been completed at Korche since 1984, and the third retreat at Kala Rongo began in 1998. In addition, Lama Norlha Rinpoche has recently founded a central primary school, over thirty village schools, and a network of health care workers to service the remote region of his homeland in eastern Tibet. He is also engaged in establishing at Kala Rongo the first college for nuns in the history of Tibet.
Lama Norlha Rinpoche is renowned for his master of the Six Yogas of Naropa and is one of the most experienced teachers of the traditional Kagyu three-year retreat in the world today. Dedicating his life to the service of this teachers, most notably the Gyalwa Karmapa and Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, and to the guidance of his students, Lama Norlha Rinpoche is known for his tireless efforts in preserving the purity of the Buddha's teachings and the Kagyu lineage.
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Writings About Norlha, Lama