About Gyeltshen Trulku Rinpoche

This short guide book is meant to be an enumeration and description of the deep and broad spiritual activities that were undertaken by an extraordinary Buddhist master of our times.

It begins with the spiritual lineage of His Eminence Gyeltshen Trulku Rinpoche connecting him to one of the greatest yogic masters in the history of Tibetan Buddhist, Jetsun Milarepa and his primordial provenance. The book also establishes Rinpoche’s amazing spiritual services as a continuation of the visionary initiatives of two of Bhutan’s greatest Buddhist masters, Thruelzhig Gyeltshen Marpo and Lama Sonam Zangpo. They, in turn, were inspired onto the spiritual path by the incomparable master Togden Shakya Shri.

Apart from a brief biographical profile of these masters, including of Rinpoche himself, this guide contains the detailed account (including their origin, founding, present status, and future direction) of main and subsidiary retreat and meditation centres established under the aegis of Rinpoche. 

Kuenzang Tenpai Gyeltshen, popularly known as H.E. Gyeltshen Trulku Rinpoche, is a realized Buddhist yogic master. Rinpoche was born in 1953 in Tashi Yangtse, Bhutan. Orphaned at a very early age, he was recognized by Lama Sonam Zangpo (1888-1984), at the age of nine as an authentic reincarnation of Thrulzhig Gyeltshen Marpo (1874-1950).

Rinpoche received his basic literacy under the tutelage of Lopen Pema Wangchuk, a disciple of his predecessor. At the age of twelve, Rinpoche along with H.E. Trulku Jigme Choeda (current chief abbot of Bhutan) was introduced to H.E. First Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche by Lama Sonam Zangpo, at his monastery in Darjeeling where he studied for ten years. During the ten years tenure, Rinpoche received all the monastic vows and innumerable indispensable teachings and blessings from H.E. DrukpaThuksey Rinpoche, as well as from Khenpo Noryang and Khenpo Ngawang Choeda. He further received teachings from H.H. the late Dudjom Rinpoche JigdrelYeshiDorji. 

As he turned twenty-three, Rinpoche returned to Bhutan and received empowerment, oral-transmission and initiation of both Kagyud and Nyingma traditions from Lam Sonam Zangpo (Rinpoche’s root guru). Thereafter, he went into strict meditation retreat for five years. Among other practices, he mastered complete courses in Chagchen-Choedruk (Mahamudra&Six Yogas of Naropa) and ‘Ro-nyom Kordru, (a cycle of teachings hidden by Rechungpa) and numerous other teachings which Lama Sonam Zangpo had directly received from the Great Master Togdhen Shakya Shri.


Rinpoche then completed five years of Ngondro and Minthri and at the age of twenty-eight and entered into strict meditation for another six years and accomplished the six yogas of Naropa and entire Drukpa Kagyud traditions.

Lama Sonam Zangpo then appointed him as the first Drubpon (Meditation Master) at Phajoding retreat centre in Thimphu in 1982. As perthe Royal Command of Third Druk Gyalpo, the then Kidu Lyonpo (Minister of internal welfare) Tamzhing Jagar supported Rinpoche as patron (Jinda) at that time to upkeep and run the Phajoding retreat centre. After successfully completing the three year retreat courses at Phajoding under the guidance of Rinpoche, by 1986 Rinpoche started another three year retreat courses at Hongthso Goenpa. This was initiated mainly as per the instruction passed on to Rinpoche by the late Lama Sonam Zangpo.

Rinpoche has been popularly known for his profound learning and yogic realization and as a retreat/meditation master of remi (non-sectarian). He also received teachings from His Holiness Je Khenpo Kinley, the 68th Chief Abbot of Bhutan and became one of his profound and beloved yogic disciples.

From the age of thirty-four, as his master believed he should, and upon requests of the local community, Rinpoche has ever since tirelessly been spreading his precious and sacred Dharma teachings, particularly in Eastern.

Bhutan, where he has constructed and renovated over fifteen retreat centres. Moreover, he has always successfully and progressively defended the

equality between nuns and monks in the way they are treated and the opportunities they are afforded.


In recognition of his accomplishments and service, Rinpoche was conferred Yogic Daken, a special recognition from His Holiness the Je Khenpo, 70th Chief Abbot of Bhutan Trulku Jigme Choedra on 28th December 2009 during the annual Moenlam Chenmo in Tashigang, the first ever of its kind in Bhutan to be bestowed on an individual. The Daken is a unique white and orange linings robe symbolizing a great Chag-Dzog (Mahamudra and Dzogchen) yogic Master. Led by Ven. Dorji Lopen Rinpoche Kinley, Dzhung Dratshang conferred Tashi Khadar from the sacred Machen of Punakha Dzong, right after Je Khenpo bestowed Yogic Daken.