H.E. Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche Rinpoche
The present Thritsab Rinpoche was born in 1981 and was identified by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche in 1986. In 1990, His Eminence was formally enthroned and began training under the tutelage of accomplished teachers. From 1996 to 1999,His Eminence undertook the traditional 3-year retreat of the Drikung Kagyu under the supervision of the esteemed retreat-master Gelong Yeshe (b. 1941], a student of Vajradhara Pachung Rinpoche [1901-1988] and his heart-disciple Drubwang Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche).
At the Snake Year teachings in 2001, His Eminence took the full-vows of a "bhikshu" in the presence of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and other Khenpos and masters. At that time, His Holiness also formally announced that His Eminence Thritsab Gyabra Rinpoche would be representing His Holiness in all matters of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage in the future, thus re-affirming the recent Thritsab Gyabra Rinpoches' role as Regents of the Drikung Kyabgons during their interregnums.
His Eminence Thritsab Gyabra Rinpoche is a reincarnation of the second Drikung Kagyu Throne Holder Khenchen Tsultrim Dorje (Vow Vajra, 1154-1120). Khenchen Tsultrim Dorje was ordained at a very young age and at the age of forty-six he traveled to Drikung Thil Monastery in Tibet to pay his respects to Lord Jigten Sumgon. Upon meeting with Lord Jigten Sumgon, he felt an immediate strong connection with Lord Jigten Sumgon. From then onwards, he stayed by Lord Jigten Sumgon's side and obtained all the essential teachings from Lord Jigten Sumgon.
His Eminence Thritsab Gyabra Rinpoche's last reincarnation Gyabra Thubten (1921-1979) was the heart disciple of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang Rinpoche of that time. After these two Holinesses passed away, he became the acting head of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Upon the recognition of the reincarnation of the two present Holinesses, he became responsible for their education. Thritsab Rinpoche also transmitted all the dharma teachings, empowerments and practices of the Drikung Kagyu lineage to the two reincarnated Holinesses and other Lamas.
Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche
Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche is the founder of the Drikung Meditation Center. He was born in Tsari, Tibet in the spring of 1946. After escaping from Tibet, he received his Acharya degree at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Varanasi, India a nine year program.
He then studied for years with many highly realized masters of the different Tibetan Buddhist lineages. While completing the traditional three-year retreat he studied the Five-fold Profound Path of Mahamudra, the Six Yogis of Naropa and other teachings.
In 1982, he came to the USA and established the Tibetan Meditation Center in Maryland. Since then he has devoted himself to establishing and teaching at various centers, writing, and translating texts. In January of 2001, Rinpoche was honored with the title "Khenchen", which translates roughly as "Great Abbot".
It is so rare to meet a Lama with extensive training in Buddhist Philosophy as well as profound meditation experience. In addition, Rinpoche's complete fluency in English makes him exceptionally capable of communicating the profound meaning of the teachings.
Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam
Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam is the Spiritual Director of the Drikung Meditation Center. Born in Lhasa, Tibet, Lama Sonam began his Buddhist training when young within the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. At the age of 18, Lama Sonam took full ordination and became a monk (Gelong). Lama Sonam then went on to complete a retreat on Ngondro (Common and Extraordinary Preliminaries) and the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra under H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and Gelong Yeshe. Lama Sonam received teachings and blessings from more than twenty-five great masters, including Nyedak Rinpoche, his beloved main teacher, and the Most Venerable Pachung Rinpoche, the renown scholar and retreat master at Drikung Thil monastery. Lama Sonam served as disciplinarian at Jang Chub Ling monastery, in Dehra Dun, India. This difficult position required an extremely vast knowledge of the Dharma, and inspirational deep inner qualities. Lama Sonam has also served as the personal attendant to H.H. Chungtsang Rinpoche, H.E. Drubwang Rinpoche, Tongkar Tulku, and H.E. Thritsab Rinpoche, and tutored American tulku Thadag Rinpoche (Jack Churchward).
On June 9, 2003, Lama Sonam arrived in Boston to be the Resident Lama at the Drikung Meditation Center. Lama Sonam has shown himself to be expert in both the theoretical and practical aspects of training the mind through meditation and Vajrayana methods for awakening our Buddha Nature. In the fall of 2005, Lama Sonam started the Jowo Rinpoche Statue Project to benefit the Boston area, the United States, and the world. Lama Sonam began to realize his vision of bringing the blessings of Buddhism, from Buddha Shakyamuni and countless other enlightened masters from the East- India, Nepal, and Tibet, to the United States by creating a pilgrimage site. Arriving in May of 2008, the centerpiece of the pilgrimage site is an eight foot tall gilded, jewel-encrusted bronze, the U.S. Jowo Rinpoche Statue. The magnificent U.S. Jowo Rinpoche statue is a replica and spiritual emanation of the most revered Jowo Rinpoche statue that was made at the time of the historical Buddha and brought to Lhasa, Tibet in 641 AD.