Ven. Khenpo Karma Tashi, a son of Mr. Sonam Tenzin Gurung, was born on 18th July, 1966 in Tinki VDC, Manang, Nepal.
Khenpo entered Thrangu Tashi Choling Monastery, under Namo Buddha Buddhist Meditation and Education Center in Boudha, Ward No. 6, Kathmandu District, Bagmati zone, Nepal and became a monk at the age of twelve in 1978. After entering the monastery, Khenpo began his monastic education in Tibetan studies of the scriptures and Buddhist rituals.
In 1981, Khenpo went to Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for higher Buddhist studies at Rumtek in Sikkim, India. At the Institute, Khenpo studied five major Buddhist texts of Sutra namely Madhyamika Philosophy, the Prajna Paramita Sutras, Abhidharma Gosh, the Vinaya and the Dialectics and Logic, advanced levels of Tibetan grammar and composition, and Buddhist debate practices for ten years.
After Completion of the ten-year course of Higher Buddhist studies, he was given the title of “Khenpo”. This title is given as a master’s degree in Buddhist Philosophy, similar to a PhD. in Theology.
Khenpo took full ordination of monk (Gelung Vows) from Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche in 1992.
As Khenpo Tashi was skilled in both Buddhist philosophy and meditation, Thrangu Rinpoche appointed him as the main Khenpo/ Teacher for the two monastic colleges, Namo Buddha Institute at Namo Buddha, Kavre district, Nepal for nine years and Vajra Vidhya Institute in Sarnath, Varanasi, U.P. India for four years since 1992.
In 2004, Khenpo entered the traditional three-year retreat at Thrangu Sekar Retreat Center in Bhaktapur, Nepal and completed it in 2009.
The traditional three-year retreat is divided into two parts: preliminary practice and the actual practice. The preliminary practice includes going for refuge, which is recited along with one-hundred thousand prostrations; the practice of Vajrasattva, to pacify negative karma from the past and present afflictions; the practice of Mandala, to increase the accumulation of merits that create conducive conditions for the experience and realization to arise in one’s mind stream; and the practice of Guru Yoga, to receive blessings from the Lama/Master. In addition, these practices include the practice of Kagyupa’s most important masters including Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa and Karma Pakshi, the second Karmapa, and the practice of Mind-training, to give rise to the motivation for Bodhicitta, loving kindness and compassion.
The actual practices are from the great classes of Tantra with general practice of the generation stages of the Yidam deity, and especially, those practices Lord Marpa Lotsawa received from Naropa i.e. Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini. There are also important deity practices like the Red Chenrizik, Amitabha and White Tara. The generation stage is brought to perfection based on the accomplishment of the outer, inner and secret practices. The completion stage is practiced based on the profound path of method, including the practices of Nadi, Prana and Bindu found within the Six Yogas of Naropa. After having been introduced directly to the nature of the mind itself, one practices Mahamudra.
The necessities of staying in retreat is so that the lineage does not in any way deteriorate and, in particular, the blessings within the lineage remains unbroken. In three years, the best retreatants fully accomplish the practices while the average ones attain qualities, such as the signs of heat, and the lowest ones, without error, enters the door to the path leading to liberation and omniscience. In these ways, the retreats are endowed with many special benefits.
Having completed the traditional retreat, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche appointed him as a Khenpo/ Teacher of Thrangu Monastery in Vancouver, Canada in 2010. Khenpo has also taught Buddhism to Westerners and has traveled many countries in the past with Rinpoche.