Our Founder

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, also known as Khyentse Norbu and Thubten Chökyi Gyamtso, is a widely respected Buddhist scholar and teacher from the Rimé (nonsectarian) lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Also an acclaimed filmmaker and author of several books, Rinpoche is known for his modern, progressive, and sometimes provocative approach to teaching the dharma.

Rinpoche was born in Bhutan in 1961 to a family of yogis, poets, and meditation masters. At the age of five, he was recognized by H.H. Sakya Trizin as the reincarnation of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, himself an emanation of the great 19th-century Tibetan master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. The name “Khyentse,” often equated with the Rimé movement, is the union of two Tibetan words, khyen (མཁྱེན་པ་,“ken,” or sometimes “chen”) and tsé (བརྩེ་བ་, “tsay”), meaning “wisdom” and “compassion.”

In 1968, Rinpoche was sent to the Palace Monastery in Sikkim for rigorous training in philosophy and ritual, where he studied with some of the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist masters of our time, including H.H. Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche and Lama Sonam Zangpo (Rinpoche’s paternal and maternal grandfathers), H.H. the 16th Karmapa, his main teacher H.H. Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, H.H. Sakya Trizin, and many others. Rinpoche continued his studies in Buddhist philosophy and theory at Sakya College in Dehradun, India, where he received further Vajrayana empowerments and instruction from highly esteemed yogis and masters.

Rinpoche is responsible for the care and education of approximately 3,000 monks at several monastic institutions in Asia: Dzongsar Monastery and Dzongsar College in Derge, Sichuan, China; Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute in Chauntra, Himachal Pradesh, India; and the Chökyi Gyatso Institute for Buddhist Studies in Dewathang, Bhutan.


In addition to the monastic community, Rinpoche guides hundreds of thousands of students in about 40 countries around the world. As an author, filmmaker, and benefactor, his many creative and philanthropic endeavors extend beyond traditional efforts through an ever-growing mandala of activities.

In addition to Khyentse Foundation, through which Rinpoche implements his vision for preserving and promoting Buddha’s wisdom, the Khyentse mandala includes several other organizations. Siddhartha’s Intent focuses on arranging, recording, and archiving Rinpoche’s many teachings and activities. 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha spun off from Khyentse Foundation as an independent organization dedicated to the translation of Buddha’s teachings into modern languages. Lotus Outreach gives at-risk women and children in Cambodia and India access to education, healthcare, and safety. Middle Way Education focuses on all things related to Buddhist education for children.

Following in the footsteps of the great lineage masters who preceded him, Rinpoche is a beacon for those seeking the truth. A “Khyentse” in the literal sense of the word, Rinpoche embodies wisdom and compassion in action.