Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche
Namkha Rinpoche is the founder of the Rigdzin Community, and our root lama.
Although he resides in Switzerland, he currently guides students all over the world, and in particular in the European countries where the various Rigdzin centres are established: France, Spain, Lithuania, Holland, Sweden and Italy.
Although Namkha Rinpoche has not yet come to the UK, his disciples meet with him regularly on the numerous retreats he guides each year.
Rigdzin Sangye Dorje
Sangye Dorje has been following the Vajrayana path since meeting his root lama, Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche, 20 years ago. Since then, he has been working as his main translator and personal attendant, thus receiving Rinpoche’s most precious pith instructions, oral transmissions, and ripening empowerments.
Sangye Dorje has been teaching the Dharma for ten years, and was recently entrusted as Namkha Rinpoche’s representative. Every year, Sangye Dorje comes to the UK to lead practices, teach rituals, and share some of his experience, training under the close guidance of a Vajrayana, and most specifically Dzogchen master.
Rigdzin Rinchen Dorje
Rinchen Dorje has been following the Buddhist path since age twelve, when he decided to do his first retreat. Since then, he has received numerous teachings and initiations from over twenty masters from all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He has followed a gradual path, starting from the Sutras, through to Mahamudra, Vajrayana, and Dzogchen.
In 2004, he received the ngakpa vows, and has been focusing on tantric practices and the Dudjom Tersar lineage ever since, first under the close guidance of Lopon Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche and now as a heart disciple of his root lama Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche.
Rinchen Dorje combines a thorough knowledge of the Buddhist path with a deep experience of the practice, having attended a 5-year Masters program in Buddhist Studies, spent more than a year and a half in closed retreat and thousands of hours sitting in practice.
He is the president of the french branch of the association, Rigdzin Drolo Ling, and the resident teacher there.
"It is thanks to the blessings of the Lama that realisation will dawn. Therefore pray to him, mingling your mind with his. If you do, there will come a moment when you will see that what is called the Buddha is not different from your own awareness."
Rigdzin Sangye Dorje
Sangye Dorje was born in France in 1978, and has been living in Switzerland since 1995. In 1999, Sangye decided to take a break from his psychology studies, and travelled to India to go and meet Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche, who would become his root lama and inspire his whole life’s spiritual path. Along with a very small group of seven other students, Sangye Dorje spent the following six months in India and Nepal, receiving many teachings from Namkha Rinpoche and visiting sacred places of pilgrimage.
In 2001, after resuming his psychology degree in, Sangye and another Dharma brother invited Namkha Rinpoche to Switzerland for the first time. A year later, they helped him move there and establish Rigdzin Thegchok Ling, the main centre of the International Nyingmapa Rigdzin Community. The association now comprises nine European centres in Lithuania, Switzerland, Spain, France, Sweden, Italy, Holland and England. Since then, Sangye Dorje has been working as Namkha Rinpoche’s close personal attendant, spending countless hours by his side and receiving his precious heart advice.
In 2004, Sangye Dorje went back to Nepal to learn Tibetan. He quickly became Namkha Rinpoche’s main translator, following him on his travels and receiving the vast majority of his teachings and empowerments. Throughout the years, Sangye has received the crucial points of the Vajrayana path according to the Dudjom Tersar and Longchen Nyingthik tradition, including the highest Dzogchen teachings. He has also learnt to prepare, chant, and perform the Dudjom Tersar rituals.
In 2014, Sangye became president of the Swiss Rigdzin Association. Working with the association’s committee, he has helped organise the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the University of Lausanne and the teachings of His Holiness Karmapa Thinley Dorje and Khenpo Sodargye, the head of Serta Larung Gar, the largest monastery in Tibet. Sangye Dorje translated for these great lamas, as well as for Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, or Patrul Rinpoche.
Sangye Dorje started teaching the Dharma in 2006, and has been doing so increasingly frequently ever since. He has been teaching within the Rigdzin community, as well as publicly in various countries. Teaching in a clear, warm and open way, Sangye really maintains the authenticity of the traditional Dharma he has received. By speaking from his own experience as a Western disciple with two decades of experience and practice, he knows how to skilfully transmit the Dharma in a way that is both accessible and relevant to our modern lives.
Meeting such a great master as Namkha Rinpoche has been the greatest fortune and inspiration in Sangye Dorje's life, and the root of the spiritual transformation that lies at the very heart of his path. Namkha Rinpoche has considered him among his dearest disciples for years, and recently officialised this by naming him his representative, with the blessings of Katok Getse Rinpoche, the late Head of the Nyingma school. In his lay life, Sangye Dorje also has a family and works as a social worker. Every year, Sangye Dorje spends over six months travelling with Namkha Rinpoche in the different centres in Europe, as well as in India and Bhutan.
"Leave the mind in the natural condition, just as it is. Then being a monk and wearing monk’s robes is good, being a Buddhist yogi and wearing white robes is also good, and not wearing any robes at all, the mind is still pure in the natural condition. The most important thing in Dharma is to purify one’s mind as much as possible. Purification of the mind is the real meaning of Dharma and the basic importance of practice."
Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
Rigdzin Rinchen Dorje
Rinchen Dorje was born in Brazil in 1972 and grew up with his adoptive family in Wales and England. He moved to the south of France in 2005, where he helped establish Rigdzin Drolo Ling, under the guidance of his root lama Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorje has been serving as president of the french branch of the organisation. Three years ago, he bought some land on which he has worked very hard to build a beautiful dharma centre, of which he is the resident teacher (photos below). He now lives there with his family, and makes meditation cushions and water fountains as a profession.
At the age of twelve, following an inner longing to practice dharma, Rinchen Dorje entered his first retreat. He lived close by to a Tibetan Buddhist centre where he would spend every weekend receiving teachings, learning how to cook, clean, and meditate, and always by the side of Geshe-la. Since then, he has been practicing and studying dharma in a continuous, sincere and rigorous way.
Up until his twenties, Rinchen Dorje received mostly teachings and transmissions from the Sutra. When he turned twenty-four, Rinchen Dorje was ordained by H. H. Dalai Lama, and thus lived and practiced as a monk for some time. He progressed on to train in the path of Mahamudra. In 2004, he received the ngakpa vows and entered more tantric practices, focusing on Vajrayana meditations on yidam deities and transformation. From his thirties onwards, he started receiving Dzogchen, and has now received instructions on the entire Dzogchen path, from the beginning until the end.
Rinchen Dorje also attended a 5-year Masters program in Buddhist Studies of Sutra and Tantra, at Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy. During this training, he did not miss a single teaching, regardless of being ill or tired. He listened, reflected, and meditated upon the five major texts.
Before meeting Namkha Rinpoche and becoming one of his heart disciples, Rinchen Dorje had been following the Dudjom Tersar lineage for about seven years, notably as a close disciple of Lopon Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche. In addition, he has received teachings and initiations from over twenty teachers from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, from such great masters as H.H. Dalai Lama, H. H. Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche, H. H. Gyalwang Drukpa, Trulshik Rinpoche, and Jigme Palden Rinpoche.
Over the years, Rinchen Dorje has spent thousands of hours sitting in practice, and the equivalent of over a year and a half in closed, silent solitary retreat, including a 9-month retreat in a cave at Ösel Ling, Spain. After finishing his ngöndro, he completed the approximation retreats for thirteen different deities, including the concluding fire pujas, as well as mo (a Tibetan form of divination that helps people make decisions in their lives).
As a Westerner, Rinchen Dorje is particularly interested in creating a bridge between people here in Europe, and the profound dharma that he received from his Tibetan Buddhist masters. He is keen for people to understand their natural state, and learn how to abide in the recognition of their true nature. Rinchen Dorje is dedicated to supporting people gain confidence in this practice, in a way that makes their present lives more meaningful but also prepares them for the time of death. This, in his view, is a good motivation for trying to understand different states of minds, meditation, and the nature of reality.
“If we can have an understanding of, and confidence in who and what we are, it is useful when we are living, but even more so when we pass away. It will give us confidence.”