Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International. He is a widely respected and loved teacher by practitioners around the world, from the United States of America to Mexico, Europe and Asia . Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is also a poet and acclaimed author of popular books on the history and practices of the Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition, renowned for his depth of wisdom and his clear and engaging teaching style.
He is fluent in English and with the experience he has gained teaching throughout the West since the 1990s, he has acquired the ability to make ancient Tibetan teachings easily accessible in modern Western lives. Since 2009, he has also been teaching online via social media such as Facebook, Youtube, and Zoom, with the aim of overcoming the limitations of space and time and offering infinite possibilities for connecting and sharing the Dharma teachings. As a result of this, the CyberSangha.net project website was launched in 2019
Tenzin Wangyal was born in 1959 in Amritsar in India. Not long after his parents were able to flee their Tibetan homeland during China’s Cultural Revolution, a very young Tenzin Rinpoche was ordained as a monk at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India.
Here he began his studies to become Geshe, the highest academic degree in Tibetan culture equivalent to the Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in the West. At the age of 13 studying under the guidance of several eminent masters, including by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche the 33rd Menri Trizin, spiritual head of Bön, by his root lama His Eminence Löpon Tenzin Namdak Yongdzin Rinpoche, Geshe Yungdrung Namgyal and by Löpon Sangye Tenzin, is recognized by the latter as a reincarnation of the famous meditation master, teacher, scientist and healer (menpa) Khyung Tul Rinpoche, who passed away in the mid-20th century, and is established in the Menri Monastery.
He studied Dzogchen first under the guidance of Löpon Sangye Tenzin, and then in close contact with Yongdzin Löpon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. Tenzin Rinpoche was one of the first 12 students of the Bön Dialectic School of the Menri Monastery to study philosophy, dialectics, logic, grammar, exegesis, discussion, astrology and medicine, acquiring the title of “Geshe” in 1986. He was one of the first Geshe bönpo to be graduating in exile together with: Nyima Woser Choekhortshang Rinpoche, Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche, Lungkar Gelong, Tulku Yungdrung Gyalshen, Lama Tashi Yangton and Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen.
After completing these eleven-year studies, Tenzin Rinpoche was hired in 1981 by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. That year, his Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama designated Rinpoche as the representative of the Bön tradition at the “Tibetan Government-in-Exile Assembly for the Tibetan People”.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche was one of the first to bring the precious teachings of Bön to the West. In 1988, he was invited by dzogchen master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche to teach in Italy, which gave him more opportunities to teach in other countries throughout Europe. The same year, he also collaborated with IsMEO (Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East) located in Rome.
In 1991, Tenzin Rinpoche was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship (scholarship) at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he continued his research into the correlation between the first Bön tantric deities and the Buddhist traditions of ancient Tibet. He was awarded a second Rockefeller Fellowship in 1993 when Rice University, in the person of Prof. Anne Carolyn Klein (Lama Rigzin Drolma), invited him to teach again during the spring semester.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche has lived in the West since 1989. In 1992, he founded a retreat center in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States – the Ligmincha Institute, dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the teachings of Bön. In 2006, he also founded the Lishu Institute in Dehra Dun, India, to give Western students the opportunity to carry out longer retreats with intensive study of the Bön tradition.
In the spring of 2004, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche married Khandro Tsering Wangmo, sister of Lama Khemsar Rinpoche, founder of the Tibetan Yungdrung Bon Institute, in the United Kingdom. In the fall of 2005, their first son, Senghe Wangyal, was born.
In 2011 Senghe was recognized as Rinpoche by Löpon Tenzin Namdak, reincarnation of Kundun Yungdrung Tshultrim the 15th Menri Trizin, and was enthroned at the Triten Norbutse Monastery.
Currently Tenzin Wangyal with his family lives near San Francisco, California.
As mentioned previously, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche launched the CyberShangha.net project in 2019. CyberSangha is a way to connect with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, the ancient Tibetan teachings, and fellow students around the world through regular live broadcasts. All broadcasts are free and open to all. You don’t need a Facebook account to view them. You can learn more by visiting https://cybersangha.net