Kalu Rinpoche

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Kalu Rinpoche
English Phonetics Kalu Rinpoche
Sort Name Kalu
Kalu Rinpoche Montpellier 1987 Wikipedia.jpg
Other names
  • ཀར་ལུ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཀརྨ་རང་བྱུང་ཀུན་ཁྱབ
  • kar lu rin po che karma rang byung kun khyab
  • kar lu rin po che
  • khyab rje rdo rje 'chang kar lu rin po che
  • ka.rma rang byung kun khyab
  • Karma-raṅ-byuṅ-kun-khyab-phrin-las
Alternate names
  • Karma Rangjung Kunkhyab
Birth:   1905
Death:   1989
Place of birth:   Treshö Gang Chi Rawa district in the Hor region of Kham, Eastern Tibet.

Tibetan calendar dates

Primary Language:   Tibetan

Biographical information

Kalu Rinpoche was one of the most prominent Tibetan lamas of the twentieth century, active in both exile communities and in the West. As a young man he spent over a decade in isolated retreat, coming out only to serve as retreat master at Tsādra Rinchen Drak. Although never formally enthroned, he was commonly recognized as a reincarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul. In exile he settled in India, where he was a primary teacher to many contemporary Kagyu lamas and served as the main propagator of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition. In the later decades of his life he traveled multiple times to Europe and North America, where he established dharma centers and three-year retreat centers and initiated the translation of Kongtrul's Treasury of Knowledge into English. (Source: Treasury of Lives)


  • Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism: The Gem Ornament of Manifold Oral Instructions Which Benefits Each and Everyone Appropriately. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2004.
  • Luminous Mind: Fundamentals of Spiritual Practice. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1996.
  • Gently Whispered: Oral Teachings by the Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche. Compiled, Edited, and Annotated by Elizabeth Selandia. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1995.
  • Excellent Buddhism: An Exemplary Life. Translation from Tibetan into French by François Jaquemart. English Translation by Christiane Buchet. San Francisco: ClearPoint Press, 1995.
  • Profound Buddhism: From Hinayana to Vajrayana. Translation from Tibetan into French by François Jaquemart. English Translation by Christiane Buchet. San Francisco, ClearPoint Press, 1995.
  • Secret Buddhism: Vajrayana Practices. Translation from Tibetan into French by François Jaquemart. English Translation by Christiane Buchet.San Francisco: ClearPoint Press, 2002.
  • The Dharma: That Illuminates All Beings Like the Light of the Sun and the Moon. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1986.
Wiki Pages

Buddha Nature Project
Person description or short bio
A new biography is available on Treasury of Lives (February, 2021)

An important modern meditation master and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. Recognized as an incarnation (sprul sku) of the Karma Bka' brgyud master 'Jam mgon kong sprul, Kalu Rinpoche was ordained at the age of thirteen by the eleventh Situ Rinpoche. Kalu Rinpoche began serious meditation study at an early age, undertaking his first three-year retreat at the age of sixteen. He also received the transmission of the teachings of the Shangs pa sect of Bka' brgyud. He later served as the meditation teacher at Dpal spungs monastery. Following the Chinese invasion, Kalu Rinpoche left Tibet in 1962 and first stayed at a small monastery outside of Darjeeling, India. He later settled in Sonada, West Bengal, where he built a three-year retreat center, teaching there before traveling internationally for ten years (1971–1981). In 1971, he traveled to France and the United States, at the request of the Dalai Lama and the Karma pa, in order to educate Westerners in Buddhism. During those ten years, Kalu Rinpoche founded many meditation and dharma centers in Canada, the United States, and Europe, with his main meditation school in Vancouver, Canada. Kalu Rinpoche led his first three-year retreat for Western students of Tibetan Buddhism in France in 1976. His full name is Kar ma rang 'byung kun khyab phrin las. (Source: "Kalu Rinpoche." In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 410. Princeton University Press, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n41q.27.)

For a recent publication about the life of Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, which contains accounts written by others about him, his writings—including his autobiography, songs, poems, essays, letters, and his own guru yoga—and translations of oral teachings, see Lord of the Siddhas: The Life, Teachings, Paranirvana and Legacy of Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, 2019. https://www.namsebangdzo.com/Lord-of-the-Siddhas-p/9780692160442.htm

For information about the 2nd Kalu Rinpoche, Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche, see, https://paldenshangpa.org/his-eminence-the-2nd-kalu-rinpoche/

Expand to see this person's philosophical positions on Buddha-nature.

Is Buddha-nature considered definitive or provisional?
All beings have Buddha-nature
If "Qualified", explain:
Which Wheel Turning
Yogācāra vs Madhyamaka
Zhentong vs Rangtong
Promotes how many vehicles?
Analytic vs Meditative Tradition
What is Buddha-nature?
Svātantrika (རང་རྒྱུད་) vs Prāsaṅgika (ཐལ་འགྱུར་པ་)
Causal nature of the vajrapāda


Kalu Rinpoche
Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche
Rangjung Kunchab
H.H. Kalu Rinpoche
kar lu rin po che
khyab rje rdo rje 'chang kar lu rin po che
ka.rma rang byung kun khyab
kar lu rin po che ka.rma ran byung kun khyab
mkhan po kar lu ka.rma rang byung kun khyab
Other transliterations in use:
WorldCat: Karma-raṅ-byuṅ-kun-khyab-phrin-las
Karma-raṅ-byuṅ-kun-khyab-phrin-las, Khenpo Kalu


b. 1905 in the district of Treshö Gang chi Rawa in the Hor region of Kham
d. May 10, 1989

Other Biographical Information[edit]

Online Bio and links to his sangha: http://www.kdk-nyc.org/hh-kalu-rinpoche

Wikipedia entry


Scan of Kalu Rinpoche Hand Written Tibetan Lesson


Writings About Kalu Rinpoche[edit]