Candice O'Denver, Founder

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Lama Candice


LINEAGE 

Candice Rinpoche has extensive empowerments, transmissions and permission to teach Dzogchen. Candice Rinpoche's root teachers are H.H. Minling Trichen Rimpoche and Venerable Wangdor Rimpoche. Below are the namtars (sacred biographies) and lineage histories of H.H. Minling Trichen Rimpoche and Venerable Wangdor Rimpoche.

Namtar of Venerable Wangdor Rimpoche

Venerable Wangdor Rimpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist monk and teacher (lama). Through decades of solitary meditation, retreats and practice he has achieved the state which Buddhists call realization and is respected worldwide as a teacher and a master of "Direct Mind Perception" which is Dzogchen meditation. Lama Wangdor has a profound commitment to making Buddhist and Dzogchen philosophy, teachings and transmission accessible to everyone with a sincere interest. He has taught and given empowerments around the world over the past five decades but always returns to his simple hermitage in the Holy Caves of Padmasambhava between trips.

Wangdor Rimpoche’s home monastery is Drukpa Kagyud and he holds Nyingma and Kagyu, Dzogchen/Chagchen lineages and is considered a Rime (eclectic) teacher. He teaches from heart texts on Dzogchen, plus the Maha-ati and Mahamudra yogas which he has received and holds in lineage from his principal teachers: His Holiness Dudjom Rimpoche, His Holiness 16th Karmapa Rigpa Dorje, His Eminence Thuksey Rimpoche, Nyapla Jangchub Dorje Rinpoche, Khunu Lama (His Eminence Tenzin Gyeltsen Rimpoche), Scholars Chonchok Sumon Khenpo of Trungpa Rimpoche's line, and Pumdong Key Rimpoche. Rimpoche’s root guru is Khenpo Chunchog of Zigar Monastery who was one of his two primary teachers during his twelve years at Zigar Monastery in the first two decades of his life.

Wangdor Rimpoche is confirmed to have received the authentic lineage transmission of Dzogchen (Great Completion) from the great master His Eminence Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche (Khunu Lama) through direct mind perception and realized the essence of the teaching as one state of knowledge and love beyond all limitations. This realization has remained a characteristic feature of Wangdor Rimpoche’s way of teaching throughout his life. Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche also was a foremost teacher of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche would encourage people to make every moment of their life a retreat. This was Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche’s form of retreat. Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche did not engage in conventional wisdom about long retreats of even one day in length. He stated it essential to make every moment of life a retreat, the entirety of life a permanent retreat. This means creating space in the unruly mind, allowing it to slow down and experience a greater clarity, so its negative aspect declines and its positive aspect grows. Whenever this happens, we are in retreat. Labeling a specific period as “retreat” can provide a different emphasis for our practice, but this is not necessarily one that is entirely beneficial. Instead, if one appreciates the potential for every moment to be retreat, life naturally becomes powerfully rooted in Dharma and most beneficial.

Wangdor Rimpoche has spent more than 50 years meditating in the caves first used by the Tibetan saint, Padmasambava, above Lotus Lake (Tsol Pema) in the Himachal Pradesh region of Northern India. In solitary retreat during the early years, he was eventually joined over time by more than 50 cave-dwelling yogis and yoginis who look to him for guidance and support.

Beginning in the 1970s, with the guidance of one of his principal lama’s His Holiness 16th Karmapa Rigpa Dorje, he constructed Zigar Monastery in Tsol Pema. Wangdor Rimpoche also built a retreat center on the mountain, available to practitioners of all lineages and nationalities, projects which have taken over 40 years to complete. During this time period, Wangdor Rimpoche also built a monumental statue of Padmasambhava. The statue is stuffed with relics of Padmasambhava himself as well as many others of the Dzogchen, Nyingma and Kagyu lineages.

History

Wangdor Rimpoche was born into a family of nomads, the Hara clan, in Kham, Eastern Tibet, and given the name Jangchub Nyima. When pregnant, his mother dreamed that Tara came to her, placing a right-turning conch shell swirled with rainbow light into her hand. Tara instructed, “Keep this for me.” She then flew off into the sky. The mother recognized the dream to be a sign related to the promising birth of Rimpoche and his precious life of sublime qualities and activities. The conch shell is one of the eight auspicious symbols of Tibetan life, an energetic signature and investiture of the pervasive sound of Dharma bringing benefit and enlightenment to all.

As Tibetan nomads, Rimpoche’s family traveled from place to place in Tibet, setting up camp in yak hide tents and living a life of community in the country of Degi. When Rimpoche was four or five, he was sent to live in a cave with his mother’s brother, a Dzogchenpa named Metog. There he quickly learned letters and reading.

Since this early experience living in a cave, Rimpoche has spent most of his life in retreat. Solitary retreat in caves has been interspersed with receiving monastic teachings, empowerment and transmission from his principal teachers. As a lama, he considers himself Rime and spreads the Dzogchen, Nyingma and Kagyu lineages, and he has traveled and taught in Tibet, India, Nepal, South America, Europe and the USA.

Wangdor Rimpoche’s own monastic education began near age seven when his family decided he should enter Zigar Drukpa Kargyud Monastery in Kham, which housed 300 monks. The monastery is located in Dege, Kham and faces the sacred mountain called Demche.

Rimpoche immediately ran away from the monastery and to his family’s camp site. It was a full day’s walk and when he arrived the entire group had moved on and were nowhere in sight. However, an uncle traveling with the community to the distant site had a premonition to return to the former encampment. There he found Rimpoche simply sitting and waiting. Rimpoche was returned to Zigar Monastery where he lived and studied until age nineteen.

Rimpoche’s family regularly visited him at Zigar Monastery. From the monastery, he traveled back and forth to see them.

During his early years at Zigar Monastery, Rimpoche further learned letters, reading and writing from the monk Tenju. He studied the Vinaya and was inspired to become a lotsawa (scholar). Rimpoche had two scholars as everyday teachers, Khenpo Karma Tsetin and Khenpo Chunchog. He was instructed in the sutras and tantras and mastered the Tibetan language, grammar and poetics. Eventually he was initiated by Trongru Gyatrul and given the religious name Rigzen Wangdzok Dorje, the same name he was given at ordination.

During this period, Rimpoche began to learn the fundamentals of the Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingma Schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He excelled as a student, initially proving his abilities by memorizing a voluminous text within a few months. He received encouragement from his teachers due to his overall potential, unique abilities and ease of study.

At Zigar Monastery, he met Zigar Rimpoche and one of his principal teachers, HE Thuksey Rinpoche, who had been living at Zigar Gonpa since he was little more than an infant and spent most of his time in continuous meditation. Thuksey Rinpoche was the son of the tenth Gyalwang Drukpa and the grandson of the great Dzogchen master Tokden Shakya Shri, who confirmed Thuksey Rinpoche as his precious heart son. While meditating at Zigar Gonpa, Thuksey Rinpoche finally was persuaded by his students to leave his external retreat and come out into the world to teach and benefit beings who were desperately in need. Thus while a boy, Wangdor Rimpoche began to receive teachings from Thuksey Rinpoche.

Wangdor Rimpoche’s Drukpa Kargyud lineage, transmitted from HE Thuksey Rimpoche, has come to this day from Vajradhara, to Tilopa, to Naropa, to Marpa, to Milarepa, to Gampopa (who founded all the Kagyud orders), Kargyud), and from him the Drukpa Kargyud order continues.

Until age 19 Rimpoche was a student of two Dzogchen lamas, his root guru Khenpo Chenchog at Zigar Monastery and Karma Setin who lived at the top of an adjacent cliff. At age 19 Rimpoche left Zigar Gompa wandering about for 1-1/2 years to many sacred sites in Tibet until he reached Lhasa where he met up with Zigar Rinpoche again.

While in Lhasa Rimpoche had a dream that a great red wave mounted from the north and swept away Lhasa. He perceived the dream as a sign and warned Lharka Omba Iharka, who was Zigar Rinpoche’s brother and in charge of his caravan, that they must leave Lhasa immediately due to the warning foretold in Wangdor Rimpoche’s dream. Rimpoche could not convince him and he could not convince Rimpoche to wait with them. Then Wangdor Rimpoche fled Lhasa beginning his travels from Tibet to India. Everyone who stayed in Lhasa was killed by the Chinese.

Rimpoche traveled from Lhasa on the long trek to India with a friend Tranam. They came to Drukchen Rinpoche’s monastery where Thuksey Rinpoche was staying. Here they heard Lhasa was lost to the Chinese and the road onward had been closed but Rimpoche and Tranam and a few friends made it past the blockades by claiming to be simple pilgrims.

They left the monastery with 10 mules, one carrying Thuksey Rinpoche, others carrying supplies. Getting past the first border and its closed road they lost 7. Three were left, Thuksey Rinpoche rode one. But they came upon a place where mules could not go, and traded them for food with others they met on the trail.

Then the group hired mountain men to carry Thuksey Rinpoche (who was very large) and they carried him for one day, but then ran away saying he was too big and it wasn’t worth any money to do more. About a dozen remained in their party but the Chinese Army were coming quickly behind, and would catch them at the rate Thuksey Rinpoche would go. Wangdor Rimpoche would not leave his master behind in Tibet to an unknown fate and decided to stay with him while others fled, fearing for their life. Wangdor Rimpoche simply refused to go on without Thuksey Rimpoche, so he proceeded to carry his master the entire distance from Tibet to India on his own back.

On the way to India, sometimes the group fell and folded down into gorges. Sometimes it rained and they slipped and slid in mud.

On the journey they came upon many uncivilized places where people had no clothes and stone tools. They came upon places of thieves where they would steal the blanket around them while they slept. There, if some food was left at night, they were so tired and slept so deeply, in the morning the food and the pot they cooked it in were gone.

Wangdor Rimpoche states that carrying Thuksey Rinpoche from Tibet to India was his greatest accomplishment of his life because his master was the head of the Drukpa Kagyud lineage and was the only mind and heart-holder of many significant teachings, empowerments and transmissions that would have been silenced had Thuksey Rimpoche not reached India.

In a written account of the journey from Tibet to India by the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, he stated that Wangdor Rimpoche is a “genuine master of meditation and active in benefiting beings through his skills of direct instruction and was one of those who served immensely on the difficult journey from Tibet to India. Ordinary people, even youngsters with nothing on their back had great hardship to cross certain bridges made out of a single tree log, tens of metres high. If one falls off, there is not much hope to survive. Many died on their way with all sorts of hardship but Lama Wangdor carried Thuksey Rinpoche on his back all the way to India with a pure heart. Thuksey Rimpoche’s relative body was not at all a small size, much bigger than Lama Wangdor himself, who is about 5 feet 8 inches tall.”

Upon reaching refuge in Assam, India, above Bodhgaya, everyone was ill and transported by Indian officials to the hospital that could best care for the individual refugee’s ailments. Rimpoche had TB and was airlifted to Bombay, where he was treated for one year.

After recovering from the journey, Thuksey Rinpoche was entrusted with the duty of resettling the Drukpa order as refugees in the middle of nowhere, and of looking for the reincarnation of the 11th Drukchen. The amount of effort that he put into rebuilding, not only the external constructions but the inner constructions of people's discipline, is really something beyond imagination. Only with base in profound compassion is one able to carry out this kind of responsibility.

After Wangdor Rimpoche recovered from TB, he left Bombay on pilgrimage. He visited Bodhgaya and other sacred places of India for a time, practicing awhile in each until he came to the holy cave where Guru Rinpoche taught the Princess of Sahor, Mandarava. As it happened, the cave was empty. Rimpoche asked the local villagers of Tsol Pema if he could stay there, if anyone lived there. They said the sadhu who lived there had left a few days before. Wangdor Rimpoche has kept the cave as his primary residence since that time for over 55 years.

Wangdor Rimpoche’s Nyingma lineage transmitted by HH Dudjom Rinpoche comes to this moment from their first meeting in Tsol Pema. Under the instruction of Dudjom Rinpoche, they together built the Tso Pema Nyingmapa Gompa, dedicated to the Dudjom Tersar Lineage. Wangdor Rimpoche is a formal lineage holder of the Dudjom Tersar Lineage as confirmed in Dudjom Rinpoche’s last will and testament.

Dudjom Rimpoche, one of Tibet’s foremost yogins, scholars, and meditation masters was director of the Nyingma lineage at the time. Dudjom Rinpoche’s father was Khengen Tulku and his mother was Namgyal both 'blood lineage' holders of great Tibetan lineages.

Wangdor Rimpoche’s Notable Students

Wangdor Rimpoche has confirmed and authorized the following seven students, designated by location, to hold and carry lineage empowerments, reading transmissions, and pith instructions of Dzogchen, Chagchen, Mahasandhi/Atiyoga and Mahamudra: 

Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia
Lama Candice (Padma Khandro Rinpoche) 

India and West
Lama Lena (Yeshe Kaytup) 

Zigar Gonpa, Tibet
Khenpo GeyjaLama Atsong 

Zigar Gonpa, India
Zigar Rinpoche 

Ladahk, India
Chokyong Palga Rinpoche

Holy Caves of Padmasambhava
Lama Lena (Yeshe Kaytup) Ani Bumchang

 

Lineage History

Padma Khandro Rinpoche (Lama Candice) received the authentic Dzogchen lineage transmission in its entirety and was confirmed in his namtar as a Dzogchen successor to Venerable Wangdor Rimpoche who received the authentic lineage transmission of Dzogchen (Great Completion) from the great master His Eminence Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche (Khunu Lama) through direct mind perception and Wangdor Rimpoche realized the essence of the teaching as one state of knowledge and love beyond all limitations. This realization has remained a characteristic feature of Wangdor Rimpoche’s way of teaching throughout his life. Also Wangdor Rimpoche is a named lineage holder of Dudjom Rinpoche’s Dudjom Tersar lineage. Dudjom Rinpoche received bloodline lineage from his father Khengen Tulku. Dudjom Rinpoche was part of the Kanam clan, rulers of the kingdom of Powo, and a descendant himself of the early kings of Tibet. Namgyal Drolma, Dudjom Rinpoche’s mother, was a descendant of Ratna Lingpa. Additionally, Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche was a foremost teacher of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche would encourage people to make every moment of their life a retreat. This was Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche’s form of retreat. Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche did not engage in conventional wisdom about long retreats of even one day in length. He stated it essential to make every moment of life a retreat, the entirety of life a permanent retreat. This means creating space in the unruly mind, allowing it to slow down and experience a greater clarity, so its negative aspect declines and its positive aspect grows. Whenever this happens, we are in retreat. Labeling a specific period as “retreat” can provide a different emphasis for our practice, but this is not necessarily one that is entirely beneficial. Instead, if one appreciates the potential for every moment to be retreat, life naturally becomes powerfully rooted in Dharma and most beneficial. Tenzin Gyeltsen Rinpoche (Khunu Lama) was an illustrious disciple of the supreme incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö and Shenpen Chökyi Nangwa (Khenpo Shenga Rimpoche who carried lineage directly from Orgyen Tendzin Norbu, a foremost disciple of Patrul Rimpoche. Patrul Rinpoche’s principal teacher was Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu, a great master who was one of the foremost students of Jigme Lingpa. Jigme Lingpa was the illustrious disciple of Longchenpa through a series of visions and Longchenpa was the notable student of Rigdzin Kumaradza. Kumaradza carried lineage from Melong Dorje and the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje. Longchenpa and Rangjung Dorje shared a particularly close relationship since they both counted Kumaradza as one of their root teachers and studied together. The Karmapa Rangjung Dorje is responsible for introducing Dzogchen vocabulary into the Mahamudra tradition. Melong Dorje was the lineage successor of Trulshik Senge Gyaba who was the heart disciple of Guru JoberGuru Jober was the nephew and main disciple of Drupchen Khepa Nyima Bum who carried lineage from his father Zhangton Tashi Dorje and Guru Shyangtön Tashi Dorje who both were the heart disciples of Chetsün Sengé Wangchuk who received lineage from Dangma Lhundrup Gyaltsen and attained rainbow body, vanishing into the sky in a cloud of rainbow light at death. Dangma Lhundrup Gyaltsen, who received lineage in one-to-one transmission from Drom Rinchen Bar, who received lineage from the teacher Be Lodro Wangchuk, were granted the complete, uninterrupted transmission of authentic pith instructions from India and Tibet, with nothing left out, like one vase being filled from another. Be Lodro Wangchuk was one of the early Tibetan Dzogchen masters who received lineage and rainbow body of great transference from Nyang Tindzin Zangpo. Nyang Tingdzin Zangpo was one of the five Tibetan disciples who received Dzogchenpo from Vimalamitra in strictest secrecy in the room known as Ütsé Barkhang in Samye Monastery. Nyang Tingdzin Zangpo was the first Tibetan to accomplish the attainment of dissolving into a rainbow body of light at death. Vimalamitra/Mahavajra was a great Indian master who brought Dzogchen to Tibet holding lineage from Sri Simha. Padmasambhava was the heart son of Sri Simha who carried Dzogchen lineage to Tibet and is considered by adherents as a second Buddha. Sri Simha conferred the Eighteen Dzogchen Tantras to PadmasambhavaSri Simha was a principal disciple and dharma-son of Manjusrimitra in the Dzogchen lineage. Padmasambhava came to Tibet from India in the early eighth century CE and received the transmission of the Dzogchen tantras directly from Garab Dorje's wisdom form. Manjusrimitra was the chief disciple and carried lineage from Garab Dorje. Garab Dorje received the Dzogchen lineage in mind-to-mind transmission from the Five Buddha Families, Vajrasattva and Vajrapani, Samantabhadra/Samantabhadri thus Dzogchen is carried unbroken to this very day.

 

Namtar of His Holiness Minling Trichen Rinpoche

The Birth of His Holiness

The 11th Mindrolling throne holder, Trichen Jurme Kunzang Wangyal was born to the 10th Mindrolling Trichen Jurme Dondrub Wangyal and Yum Dawa Drolma (his mother), on the eighteenth day of the first lunar month of the iron sheep year.

Education, Empowerments & Root Guru

His Holiness received extensive teachings and empowerments from many exceptional Tibetan masters. Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodro, Sechen Kongtrul the great, Minling Chung Rinpoche, Minling Khen Rinpoche, Sechen Rabjam Rinpoche, Dordzin Namdrol Gyatso, Dordzin Dechen Choedzin and Gelong Kunzangla are some of the renowned masters with whom he studied. His Holiness’ root guru was Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö from whom he received the precious instructions on the Guhyagarbhatantra and its various commentaries. Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Rinpoche proclaimed His Holiness as having greatly excelled in the understanding and practice of these precious teachings and instructed him to teach it eleven times to fortunate and worthy students in future.

Retreats, Writing, and Terma Discoveries

After studying many years with great Tibetan Buddhist masters, Rinpoche spent more than 14 years in retreats, accomplishing many practices. Among wondrous signs he composed many teachings and discovered the terma of Jigten Wangchuk Pema Garwang, the Great Compassionate One.

1959: Escape from Tibet

The parinirvana of the 10th Mindrolling Trichen took place when Rinpoche was only seven years of age. During the years which followed, Rinpoche continued his studies and began fulfilling his responsibilities as the next throne holder. The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 and its consequent circumstances obstructed his official enthronement. At the request of his sangha and family members, His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen escaped from Tibet at the age of 29.

Rinpoche spent some time in Bhutan and then traveled on to India. He met and lived with the great master His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, who had been a friend to the 10th Mindrolling Trichen.

Enthronement of the 11th Mindrolling Trichen

In 1962, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche and His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche performed the formal enthronement ceremony of His Holiness as the XIth Mindrolling Trichen in the presence of many renowned teachers and dignitaries at the Zangdok Palri Monastery in Kalimpong. In Kalimpong, while working closely with H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, H.H. the 16th Karmapa, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and others, Rinpoche actively participated in establishing the Dharma in India. He organized many great assemblies, initiations and teachings.

Establishment of Mindrolling Monastery in India

In 1976 Rinpoche moved to Dehra Dun, India and took his seat as the head of the Mindrolling Monastery in exile where he continued to benefit sentient beings by turning the wheel of Dharma. His presence in the world has inspired others to maintain the selfless and compassionate pure path. His efforts mostly concentrated on propagating the vision and advice of the great Dharma King Chögyal Terdag Lingpa to ensure the purity of the teachings and to maintain the samaya.

Renowned within the Tibetan community as an emanation of Padmasambhava, His Holiness the XIth Mindrolling Trichen has been revered and respected throughout the Buddhist world as a great Mahasiddha and one of the great accomplished masters of this century.

Trichen Dorje Chang, as he is known to many, lived with his family and the Mindrolling Sangha in Dehra Dun until his parinirvana.

The Parinirvana of His Holiness

At 7:00 in the evening of the 3rd day of the 1st month of Miracles in the year of the Earth Mouse (9 February 2008), without even the slightest discomfort, with a face even more radiant than before, and with a smiling countenance, His Holiness the 11th Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche gazed lovingly at all those surrounding him. Then, with the aspect of resting, Kyabje Mindrolling Trichen Jurme Kunzang Wangyal displayed the final activity of transferring his enlightened intention to another realm, in order to turn the minds of those to be tamed towards the dharma. (Provided by Mindrolling Monastery.)

Lineage History of His Holiness Minling Trichen Rinpoche