Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche is the abbot of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s unique and progressive monastery, Chökyi Gyatso Institute (CGI), in eastern Bhutan. The more than 150 monks living at CGI receive a rigorous shedra education and also learn numerous rituals, perform drupchens, and carry out the practice lineage of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche, also known as Meme Lama, teaching at CGI. Photo courtesy of CGI’s Facebook Page.

Rinpoche is also known as Meme Lama, which means grandfather in the Bhutanese language, because he was recognized as the incarnation of Lama Sonam Zangpo, who was a great yogi from Bhutan and was Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s maternal grandfather. Rinpoche trained at some of the Himalayan region’s best institutes and studied Sanskrit in Varanasi. He is married and recently became a father.

To celebrate his joining the KF board of directors, Noa Jones interviewed Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche.

Khyentse Foundation: Welcome to the board of directors. All of us at KF are so happy to have you on board. What is your overall impression of the foundation?

Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche: Thank you. I am delighted to be a part of the Khyentse Foundation team. For me, KF is a model organization working genuinely to carry out the wishes of our Rinpoche and for the Buddhadharma. I feel like a tiny frog from a small pond when I think of the vast oceanlike vision and philanthropic activity that Khyentse Foundation carries out. The KF team members, many of whom have been there from the very beginning, are truly inspiring, and those who joined later are also selflessly working hard. I feel that KF is an inspiration to many.

KF: Rinpoche’s vision is so vast, and the foundation is really active. How do you plan to get up to speed on all the activities?

Rinpoche: Yes, you are right. That being the case, at this point, I honestly don’t know myself. But I aspire to assist KF in whatever small ways I can.

KF: How has KF affected your work or studies?

Rinpoche: Khyentse Foundation supports Chökyi Gyatso Institute, where I am posted as a principal right now, in many ways. We are very grateful to KF for all their help and support. Also, a few years back, I completed a three-year Sanskrit course in Varanasi, which was financially supported by Khyentse Foundation.

Interior photo of CGI, courtesy of Pawo Chonying Dorji.

KF: What are your thoughts on Buddhist education for children?

Rinpoche: If we are concerned about the future of Buddhadharma, we must definitely reflect on how we are going to give our children Buddhist education and values. How are we going to inspire them to study and practice Buddhadharma, and how will we prepare them for the worldly responsibilities? How can we, at the least, make them truly feel Buddhist? People are becoming more and more materialistic. Distractions are becoming awfully stimulating and attracting, it is difficult not to get caught up in them. How are we going to nurture the seed of Buddhadharma in the minds of our children? Buddhist education for children, therefore, is indispensable in this day and age. I feel that having favorable conditions for the children to study Buddhadharma itself will ensure, to a certain extent, the continuity of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni.

KF: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us as you join the board. We look forward to working together to inspire the study and practice of Buddhadharma for many years to come.