The Twelfth Situpa, Pema Dhonyö Nyinche

12th Situpa, Pema Dhonyö Nyinche

THE GREAT LAMA Chokyi Gyaltsen (1377-1448) was the first to bear the title Tai Situ, which means "far-reaching, unshakable, great master, holder of the command."

The current, Twelfth Tai Situpa was born in 1954 to a family of farmers in the Palyul district of the Derge Kingdom. He was traditionally recognized and enthroned at Palpung Monastery at the age of eighteen months.

When he was six years old, political conditions forced him to leave Tibet with only a few attendants. He traveled to Bhutan first and then to Sikkim, where he joined the Sixteenth Karmapa who had also come out of Tibet. After recovering from illness and exhaustion, Tai Situpa went to live at the newly constructed Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the new seat of the Sixteenth

Karmapa. He received his formal religious training under the guidance of the Sixteenth Karmapa, until 1975, when at the age of twenty-two, he assumed his own traditional responsibilities. He established his first monastic project, called Sherab Ling, at the request of his Tibetan followers who had settled in northern India.

In 1980, Tai Situpa made his first tour to European countries at the request of Buddhist organizations. Since then, he has traveled widely in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia lecturing on Buddhist philosophy and meditation. He founded Maitreya Institute in 1984 in response to Western interest in multicultural activity and spirituality. Tai Situpa visited his homeland, Tibet, in 1984, for the first time since fleeing the communist invasion. During his visit, he ordained more than 2,000 men and women and presented to the Chinese authorities a plan for the rebuilding, preservation, and propagation of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. His Eminence was instrumental in the identification and enthronement of His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage. Currently, His Eminence is involved in the advancement of interfaith and intercultural humanitarian efforts around the world. 

Photo courtesy of Wen-lin Chiu

A more extensive biography of the Twelfth Tai Situpa can be found here.

Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche is an emanation of the future Buddha, Maitreya

To learn about activities of H.E. Twelfth Tai Situ Rinpoche, please visit the Palpung Web Center at

Also Available: