Yeshe Khorlo’s Previous Resident Teacher
From 1998 to 2009, Lopon Phurba Dorji served as Yeshe Khorlo-USA’s Resident Teacher and Retreat Master and from 2009 to 2012 as the Dorje Lopon for Gangteng Monastary, Bhutan. Lopon was born in Gangteng Gompa, Bhutan in 1955, the year of the Wood Sheep. From an early age he studied under the great Nyingma teacher, Khenchen Daser Rinpoche, in Tharpaling Bhutan, one of the historical seats of the Omniscient Longchen Rabjampa. In 1986, Lopon and is cousin, Lopon Drukda, under Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche, established the first Rigzhung Shedra (Buddhist College) at Gangteng Monastery, where he served for five years as the dean of Buddhist Studies. Then, at the request of Gangteng Rinpoche, Lopon went to Mysore, India to study under H.H. Penor Rinpoche, Khenchen Pema Sherab, Khenchen Tsewang Gyamtso and Khenchen Namdrol at Ngagyur Nyingma University. Lopon received the complete transmission empowerment tradition of the Peling cycle as well as the Peling Chokhor empowerment from H.E. Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche and H.H. Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, in addition to extensive empowerments and transmissions from H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and H.H. Tenzin Dondrup Rinpoche.
Following this period of intensive study, Lopon returned to Rigzhung Shedra in Bhutan at the request of Gangteng Rinpoche where he taught for two more years. After that H.H. Tenzin Dondrup Rinpoche and H.E. Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche directed Lopon to complete the traditional three year retreat, in which they gave him the complete Peling teachings on Maha, Anu, and Ati yogas. When he finished the retreat they appointed him to be retreat master for the following three year retreat in Gangteng Gompa.
In April 1998, Lopon traveled with Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche to the United States. At the end of the Dzogchen retreat in Crestone, Colorado, Lopon was installed as the Resident Teacher of Yeshe Khorlo-USA. Since coming to the United States, Lopon has guided and overseen the development of Choying Dzong, the Yeshe Khorlo Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado, which has included the construction of a Bhutanese style lhakang (temple) and four solitary retreat cabins. In 2012, after completing the duties of being the Dorje Lopon at Gangteng Monastery, Bhutan, and over ten years of teaching in the United States, Lopon resigned from Yeshe Khorlo to focus on his personal practice.