Spiritual Direction

Dhagpo Kundreul Ling's community of lamas, druplas, monks and nuns is a direct result of the activity of the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and Gendun Rinpoche. At present the centre is under the spiritual authority of the 14th Shamarpa, Chökyi Lodrö, and the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje who is destined to become its spiritual leader. The community is also intimately linked to Dhagpo Kagyu Ling, the Karmapa's European seat, which is directed by Lama Jigme Rinpoche.

" In the person of Jigmela, I give you my heart.
In the person of Gendun Rinpoche,
I give you a pure jewel. "
16th Gyalwa Karmapa


The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa:
Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
Holder and spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, he was born in Tibet in 1924. He fled his country in 1959 and settled in the Sikkim region of northern India. During the 1970's he made three journeys to Europe and the USA in order to give westerners the chance to receive and practice the Buddha's teachings. He founded a great number of Dharma centres throughout the world. He died in Chicago, USA in 1981.


The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa:
Trinley Thaye Dorje
The successor of the 16th Karmapa, was born in Lhasa Tibet in 1983. Since 1994 he has been residing in India, firstly in the Karmapa Institute in New Delhi, and since 1998 in Kalimpong. He is presently pursuing his education which includes Buddhist studies, meditation, languages and general lessons. At the same time he receives all the transmissions destined for a Kagyu lineage holder. Once his training is accomplished he will demonstrate the complete spiritual activity specific to the Gyalwa Karmapas.


The 14th Shamarpa:
Chökyi Lodrö
He is the current holder of the Karma Kagyu lineage. He assumes the position of regent during the transition period between two incarnations of the Karmapa . The Karmapas and Shamarpas are intimately connected, alternately acting as master and disciple for each other through the centuries. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche was the founder of Dhagpo Kundreul Ling along with Gendun Rinpoche. He has taken charge of the centre's spiritual direction since Gendun Rinpoche's departure.


Lama Gendun Rinpoche:

A monk, yogi and accomplished meditation master, he was born in 1918 in eastern Tibet. He remained in retreat for much of his life in both Tibet and India. The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa gave him the entire transmission of the Kagyu school, thus making him an authentic lineage holder. In 1975 he came to settle in the Dordogne region of France at the request of the Karmapa, where he taught the Dharma to a large number of practitioners and sympathisers. In 1984, he moved to Auvergne in order to direct the retreat centres and hermitages.

Gendun Rinpoche contributed greatly to the implantation of the Buddha's teachings in Europe. His mission was to fulfil the execution of the Karmapa's wishes. He left his body on the 31st October 1997 having accomplished this task.


Lama Jigme Rinpoche:

Jigme Rinpoche was born in Kham, Eastern Tibet, in 1949. When the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1955, he moved to Tsurphu, the monastery of the Karmapas in Tibet, and eventually, in 1959, together with the Karmapa and many other high lamas and tulkus of all ages, he moved on to Rumtek in Sikkim. In Rumtek, H.H. the Karmapa founded a monastery in order to preserve the teachings, and it was there, together with all the regents and important tulkus gathered there by the Karmapa, that Jigme Rinpoche received all the transmissions directly from him.

In 1974, during his first visit to Europe, the Karmapa designated Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in Dordogne, France, to be the central seat of his activity, headed by Jigme Rinpoche as his representative. He also asked Gendün Rinpoche and Pawo Rinpoche to go there and help in bringing about the 5 wishes.

In addition to receiving all the main transmissions and teachings from the Karmapa, Jigme Rinpoche was very close to and spent a lot of time with Gendün Rinpoche, Pawo Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche and Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche, receiving many teachings and initiations from them as well. Jigme Rinpoche also received numerous important transmissions from Dudjom Rinpoche, the previous Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, the previous Khandro Rinpoche and the previous Gyatrul Rinpoche.

When H. H. the 16th Karmapa appointed Jigme Rinpoche as his European representative, he said: " In the person of Jigme Rinpoche, I leave you my heart", and it is in this spirit that Jigme Rinpoche today continues his activity in Europe, travelling extensively, visiting and teaching in the centres and inspiring all those who come into contact with him.

What is a Dhagpo Lama ?

A Dhagpo lama is a drupla who completely dedicates his life to spiritual activity within the heart of the Dhagpo Kagyu Mandala. A lama will have developed qualities enabling him or her to transmit the teachings they have received and to guide beings on the path to enlightenment.

The qualities of a lama are are shown through their actions and the recognition of their peers. The term "lama" is more than a mere title as it expresses the qualities of compassion, kindness and wisdom developed by the practitioner. A lama is an authentic example for beings and a source of inspiration for practice.

Dhagpo lamas and druplas continue their daily personal practice in order to remain continually in the lineage's stream of blessing. Lamas continue to work on themselves spiritually through regular retreats, study and involvement in community life and activities.


The responsibilities of Dhagpo Kundreul Ling's lamas and druplas include: the transmission of Gendun Rinpoche's teachings, the training of the student practitioners, the organisation and supervision of retreats, and the management of the monastic hermitages and various affiliated centres.

Gendun Rinpoche himself designated the lamas who would be responsible for the main positions within the community.

What is a Dhagpo Drupla ?

A Dhagpo drupla is an ordained or lay practitioner who has completed one or more three-year retreats under the direction of Lama Gendun Rinpoche or his lamas, and who has put the teachings received into practice. This person has received and practised the entire transmission of a yidam as well as the Six Yogas of Naropa.

This training allows the practitioner to develop towards the activity of teaching by becoming a lama or to opt for another activity according to individual aspirations and qualities. One becomes a lama depending on the activity that one develops. As druplas deepen their commitment and their understanding of the Dharma, increasingly confidence is shown by their students.


The "Lama Council" (a council of peers) that makes the decision about whether to give drupla the status of "lama" with full responsibilities.