Bokar Rinpoche

BOKAR RINPOCHE was born to a nomadic family in Western Tibet. He was recognized at age four by His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa as the reincarnation of the previous Bokar Rinpoche. Bokar Rinpoche left Tibet at age twenty and at that time met the great meditation master Kalu Rinpoche. Beginning in 1967, under the guidance and direction of Kalu Rinpoche, Bokar Rinpoche stayed in retreat for three years, practicing the Six Yogas of Niguma. After that, he did another three-year retreat for the Six Yogas of Naropa. Bokar Rinpoche became the retreat master of the retreat center at Sonada, and later His Holiness appointed him master of the new retreat facility at Rumtek as well. Due to his remarkable qualities and deep realization, Bokar Rinpoche was considered the spiritual heir of Kalu Rinpoche, and holder of the Shangpa Kagyu Lineage.

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In June of 1996, Bokar Rinpoche offered a retreat in the United States on the complete meditative stages in the great Mahamudra tradition of the Karma Kagyu lineage. In response to his experiences with Western students, Bokar Rinpoche formulated this retreat and an accompanying program of meditation practice to meet the needs of sincere lay practitioners of Buddhism. It allowed lay Westerners to remain involved with family and community while nourishing dharma practice by committing an hour a day or more to formal practice. Rinpoche said, "Our approach with the seminar, at the very beginning , was to emphasize not rejecting work, family and so forth-but to integrate a daily practice into one's lifestyle." Through this program, hundreds of students worldwide have received dharma instruction in English, French, Tibetan and Chinese in annual seminars in India, France and North America.

Bokar Rinpoche founded a retreat center in Mirik, India, and then, at the urging of the local community, a monastery. Both continue to thrive: the monastery is currently undergoing significant expansion and a second three-year retreat facility is just being completed. Well-known for his emphasis on the importance of long retreats, Bokar Rinpoche was also known for holding the Kalachakra lineage, which he had received from Kalu Rinpoche along with the entire Shangpa Kagyu transmission.

Bokar Rinpoche passed away on the morning of August 17, 2004. During the funeral ceremonies present were: His Eminence Gyaltsap Rinpoche and monks from his monastery, monks from His Holiness Karmapa's seat at Rumtek, His Eminence Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche, and Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche, as well as Drupon Rinpoche, who accompanied Karmapa out of Tibet, and many other lamas. Numerous students from all over the world made the journey. Rinpoche's kind presence will be deeply missed by both his Asian and Western disciples.

Much of the information was kindly provided by Kagyu Changchub Chuling.

Bokar Rinpoche has written A Brief Biography of H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche that is also included in this section of the Web site.

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