History of H. E. Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoch
Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche a Senior Meditation Master of the Shangpa and Karma Kagyu tradition was considered a great Meditation Master whose teachings were sought by all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche was born in Kham province of Tibet in 1905. His father, the thirteenth incarnation of Ratak Palsang Tulku was an accomplished Yogi, well known Doctor and Master of Vajrayana Meditation. Ratak Palzang and Rinpoche's mother were both devoted students of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Mipham Rinpoche—great leaders of the nineteenth century Rimay Movement that revitalized Buddhism in Tibet by minimizing sectarian differences and stressing the importance of Meditation as the Common Ground of all Lineages.
Kalu Rinpoche's parents Ratak Palsang and Dolkar went into Retreat immediately after their marriage and saw little of each other during this period. Towards the end of Retreat, one night they dreamed they were visited by their deceased teacher, Jamgon Kongtrul, who announced that he was coming to stay with them and asked to be given a room. Not long after completing retreat Drolkar realized she was with child and her pregnancy went well with no complications. Her time to give birth came on while gathering medicinal herbs in the Mountains with Ratak Palzang. They quickly returned home under skies filled with many Rainbows signaling the birth of a Special Incarnation. Directly after birth, the healthy baby Boy looked around and smiled radiantly, showing no fear or shyness and singing the Om Mani Peme Hung, the Mantra of Loving Compassion.
Conventionally, a special incarnation a (tulku) as this would have been moved to a Monastery at the earliest possible age. Never the less Kalu Rinpoche's father realized his son would become a Great Master and stated “If the boy is not a high incarnation, the training would be wasted; if he is, a special
incarnation he would be quite capable of seeking the appropriate teachers and education for himself.” As a young child, Kalu had no interest in worldly concerns and wanted only to practice meditation in isolated places. He displayed keen intelligence, strong devotion, and compassion towards every living being. As a small boy noble virtuous tendencies stirred within and his innate propensities for compassion and devotion arouse naturally. His compassion for sentient beings would often move him to tears, particularly for those afflicted and oppressed by suffering.
Kālu’s father, the thirteenth incarnation of Ratak Palsang Tulku skilled in the 5 Traditional Buddhist Sciences became his exceptional Son s first Teacher. Kalu having been endowed with a good intellect was an obedient and respectful student who rose early and retired late, his days filled with meditation, practice and training. After completing his preliminary training in medicine grammar, writing and meditation with his Father, Kalu Rinpoche began his formal studies at Palpung Monastery at the age of thirteen. Under the guidance of, the Eleventh Tai Situ Rinpoche, Pema Wangchok Gyalpo who gave Kalu his first level monastic ordination and named the young monk Karma Rangjung Kunchab meaning "self-arisen, all-pervading." At Palpung Monastery, Kalu studied the teachings of the sutras and tantras, receiving both instruction and empowerments from many great Lamas and Rinpoche’s.
At fifteen, before entering his first three-year retreat Kalu spoke on the three ordinations before an assembly of hundreds of monks, nuns, and lay people. Speaking with out fear, with confidence and a sound understanding, his exposition captured the hearts of everyone. People commented on his clear intellect, good delivery, and accurate presentation. At sixteen, Kalu Rinpoche entered Kunzang Dechen Osal Ling, the retreat center founded by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye at Palpung Monastery and completed this three-year retreat under the direction of the retreat master, the Venerable Lama Norbu Dondrup, from whom he received the complete transmission of the Karma Kagyu and Shangpa Kagyu Lineages.
After completing the traditional 3-year Retreat Kalu Rinpoche resolved to turn away completely from worldly activities and dedicate himself to accomplishing perfect Enlightenment. At age twenty-five, he departed for extended retreats in the desolate mountains of Kham. Wandering without possessions, taking shelter in caves and under cliffs, seeking and needing no human company, he intended to spend the rest of his life in solitude spent twelve years Solitary Meditation. His Teachers realizing that it would benefit all beings if Rinpoche were to return and formally teach the Dharma requested that Kalu returned and appointed Retreat Master of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche's three-year retreat at Palpung Monastery. After leading two Retreats, Kalu Rinpoche asked Tai Situ Rinpoche and Palden Khyentse Ozer for permission to make a pilgrimage to Lhasa and requested permission to travel like a beggar, carrying his own food and clothing. His Teacher Tai Situ Rinpoche objected, saying, "You are like my precious jewel," and offered him many yaks and attendants. Kalu Rinpoche, however, accepted only half the number of yaks and went accompanied only by his brother and one monk. While in Lhasa, Kalu Rinpoche restored several Shangpa Holy Sites that had been destroyed and gave Shangpa Lineage initiations and teachings to many geshes, lamas, and tulkus. When visiting Tsurphu Monastery for the first time Kalu offered everything he had to the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Rikpay Dorje, who recognized Kalu Rinpoche as the activity emanation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye. In 1955, a few years before the full Communist military occupation of Tibet, Kalu Rinpoche again visited the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, who asked him to leave Tibet in order to prepare the ground in India and Bhutan for the inevitable exile that was to come. Kalu Rinpoche accepted and first traveled to Bhutan, where he established two retreats and ordained three hundred monks. Proceeding to India, he made an extensive pilgrimage to all the great Buddhist sites. In 1965 he established his own monastery and retreat, Samdrup Tarjay Ling, at Sonada (near Darjeeling, India)
In 1971, Kalu Rinpoche began traveling to Europe and North America, where he established numerous Dharma Centers and was the first Tibetan Master to build facilities for Westerners to undertake the traditional three-year retreat. In 1982, at the urging of the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Kalu Rinpoche gave the complete Kalachakra Empowerment and Cycle of Teachings in New York City. Rinpoche remained in NY preparing his students for the three-year retreat. In June 1982, Kalu Rinpoche performed the commencement ceremonies for the very first traditional three-year retreat in North America. Through the intervening years H E Kalu Rinpoche continued to visit N American on his frequent World Tours supporting his newly formed Dharma Center and growing numbers of Students.
During his 1986 visit America Kalu Rinpoche announced that due to his advanced age, he would probably not be able to come back again. He invited everyone to visit him at his monastery in Sonada, where he would be residing. Nevertheless, despite his age, Kalu Rinpoche gave a full cycle of teachings and empowerments and ordained many monks and nuns. After several more years of extensive Dharma activity in many countries, he returned to his monastery in Sonada. On May 10, 1989, in a state of profound meditation, Kalu Rinpoche left for the pure realms. Because of this great Meditation Masters pure life and reaching Enlightenment Dorjay Chang Kalu Rinpoche’s physical body has not corrupted and remains intact. You may visit and view this extraordinary Buddhist Saint interned as a Kardung at his Home Monastery
PO Sonada, Pin. 734,219,