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Yangsi Rinpoche

Yangsi RinpocheBorn in Katmandu, Nepal, in 1968, Yangsi Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of the Geshe Ngawang Gendum, a scholar from western Tibet, at the age of six. He trained in the monastic system for 25 years, starting his studies at age ten, and graduating in 1995 from Sera Je Monastery in South India. After completing more studies, in 1998 he came to the West. Yangsi Rinpoche (whose name means “precious reincarnation”) had the desire to teach and benefit Western students of the Buddha dharma, and since then he has traveled extensively in America and Europe.

For five years he was the resident teacher at Deer Park Buddhist Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Yangsi Rinpoche was also the Spiritual Director for Ganden Shedrup Ling Buddhist Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Recently at that center, the first group of students completed the initial phase of a two-year program of study and practice. This program is based on traditional Tibetan curriculum, but it is tailored to modern students of the Buddha dharma. Yangsi Rinpoche is President of and on the faculty at the Maitripa Institute, a new Buddhist University in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches regularly.

Yangsi Rinpoche teaches in English, and has found a ready Western audience for his unique blend of the dharma and enjoyment of Western culture. His embodiment of the compassion and wisdom of the Buddhist path is obvious to all who he comes into contact with. Rinpoche has a deep understanding of the traditional teachings and a gift for explaining them in contemporary language. He also has an understanding of Western metaphors and the Western mind.

Of his early years, Yangsi Rinpoche says he decided to become a monk when he was five years old. “In Tibetan families, every month when the new moon comes, in order to remove obstacles, we make prayers. And so monks come into our homes. I always liked to participate and join in with them. I said I would like to become a monk.” At first his parents resisted the idea but shortly thereafter, he learned he had been recognized. “One day Lama Yeshe came and brought lots of Western toys. At the same time he brought a letter from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche saying I was recognized. These two things came together so they gave up.”
Yangsi Rinpoche is the first reincarnation of Geshe NgaWang Gendum. “He was Tibetan,” Rinpoche says. “I think he was very simple, and a very qualified scholar and practitioner. He was respected in all the three major schools—Sera, Ganden and Drepung Monasteries—he was very qualified.”

Yangsi Rinpoche is the author of Practicing the Path: A Commentary on the Lamrim Chenmo. The Lamrin Chenmo is a classic of Tibetan literature, an overview of the entire path to enlightenment and Yangsi Rinpoche’s commentary on it brings the work to light in a lively, modern manner. This book is based on the month-long teachings Rinpoche imparted to a group of Western students in Dharamsala, India a few years ago. Lama Zopa Rinpoche wrote the preface for the book.

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