Rinpoche is one of the greatest living masters of Tibetan Buddhism.
He was born in 1933 in eastern Tibet in a family of great practitioners
and recognized at the age of 3 as an important reincarnate lama. From
that age onwards, he began his studies in Buddhism. He took ordination
with the great master Pabongka Rinpoche at the age of 6, and received
many teachings from him.
At the age of
15, Rinpoche entered the monastery of Sera Je near Lhasa and over the
next 14 years mastered all the philosophical teachings required for
highest monastic title of Geshe Lharampa - a qualification that normally
requires 30 years of study. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama completed
his studies in 1959, Choden Rinpoche was one of the official examiners
chosen from many thousands of monks to debate with His Holiness.
When the Chinese
occupied Tibet in 1959, Rinpoche was arrested and spent several months
in prison. Eventually, as a result of some sickness he was able to persuade
the Chinese that he was an invalid and spent 19 years in a small room
with no window, doing retreat with his mind, without the support of
any ritual objects or texts. In 1985, Rinpoche left Tibet to settle
at Sera Monastery in India and pass on the teachings.
He is considered
one of the last great masters - particularly famed for his pure moral
conduct - and has traveled worldwide at the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche
to pass on his insights. In the West, he has inspired many Western students
to ordain and follow his example.