Venerable Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel, the spiritual director of Land of Compassion Buddha, was born in Litang, Tibet in 1931. At the age of five, he began on his own initiative to wear the maroon robes of a monk. He formally entered Litang Monastery at the age of nine. Then subsequently entered Gaden Jangste Monastery and after 20 years of studying and practicing Sutrayana and Tantrayana, Rinpoche was awarded the degree of Lharampa Geshe in 1976. In 1992, he was awarded the degree of Ngarampa Geshe from Gaden Monastery. He taught at Namgyal Monastery, Nechung Monastery, and the Tibetan Library in Dharamsala. Rinpoche was appointed by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama as the abbot of Gaden Jangtse Monastery in 2001 and after serving the monastery for 7 years, he completed his tenor as the Abbot of Gaden Jangtse Monastery in June of 2008.
In addition to becoming a highly recognized scholar and teacher, Khensur Rinpoche has demonstrated an equally profound commitment to practice. Before the Chinese invasion of Tibet, he pledged to complete 100,000 full prostrations in front of the Natural Body of Lama Tsong Khapa at Gaden Monastery in Tibet, and completed them within one month. In a similar demonstration of his commitment to Dharma, in 1987, advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Khensur Rinpoche, at the age of 56, left India to teach in the United States, even though he spoke no English. In the United States, Khensur Rinpoche has established centers in San Diego and Los Angeles, and travels to other states to teach as well. In addition, he has established dharma centers in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to benefit as many people as possible.
As a teacher, Rinpoche places strong emphasis on the practice of Dharma both “on and off” the meditation cushion. Students are advised to complete their Preliminary Practices (Ngondro) and to maintain a disciplined daily practice, with equal focus on rejoicing in joyous effort. Equally emphasized is the practice of compassion in action towards others with constant mindfulness and awareness of cause and effect. Rinpoche encourages his students to memorize texts, especially “The Three Principal Path” by Lama Tsong Khapa and “The Heart Sutra” and to use these precious teachings to evaluate their daily activities.
As a master of Highest Yoga Tantra, Rinpoche gives initiations as requested by his students. The initiations are from all classes of tantra, and can be accompanied by profound and detailed commentaries. For example, out of his extraordinary kindness, Rinpoche has offered the initiations of Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, Cittamani Tara, Heruka Chakrasamvara, and Vajrayogini, along with lengthy commentaries and teachings on Guru yoga and deity yoga practices. In addition, Rinpoche holds frequent retreats, which he personally leads, to give students the opportunity to learn the practices correctly and deeply. Regularly scheduled sadhana practices include Yamantaka, Vajrasattva, Amitabha, Cittamani Tara, Avalokiteshvara, and Nyung-Ne.
Visitors to the Land of Compassion Buddha will find that Khensur Rinpoche is highly accessible. As one student has remarked, “Whether Rinpoche is giving formal teachings or simply walking around, he is always teaching through his powerful compassion, immense wisdom and profoundly skillful means.”