The Yogini Project Interview with Sangyum Kamala Rinpoche

Sangyum Kamala Rinpoche


Sangyum Kamala was born in the village of Pangi, near to Manali, in the northern Indian State of Himachal Pradesh into an extraordinary Dharma lineage. Her father, Tulshuk Lingpa, (pictured above) was renowned as a Terton in the Nyingma Lineage. He journeyed in Sikkim and propagated the Buddhist teachings throughout Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim and India in both conventional and charismatic styles. Her mother, Phunsok Choedon was a great practitioner and dakini who devoted her entire life to Dharma practice. When she passed away at age 83, her body remained in meditation for 7 days, and a circular rainbow appeared in the sky over her room.

Sangyum was raised in an environment infused with Dharma practice, the blessings of faith and the power of Secret Mantra. She met her root Guru HH Dudjom Rinpoche together with Chatral Rinpoche in Simla at age 13. Her father was also a student of HH Dudjom Rinpoche, and her grandfather was Gyachok Lingpa, a famous Terton and doctor from Golok, Serta, and was a student of Dudjom Lingpa. At the age of 20, she married Chatral Sangye Dorje, the greatest living Dzogchen master today. They have now been married for 50 years.

During her entire life, especially the half century spent with Rinpoche, she has received an uninterrupted stream of Dharma teaching and transmission, and has practiced mainly in the Dudjom Tersar and also in the Longchen Nyingtik traditions. Sangyum Rinpoche has constantly supported the retreat practice of countless sublime yogis and yoginis throughout Nepal and India under the guidance of Chatral Rinpoche, and especially she has demonstrated her deep compassion by caring for the humblest of the humble in both material and spiritual ways. She carries on Chatral Rinpoche’s example of freeing lives every year in Calcutta by releasing millions of fish into the Ganges and has constructed numerous stupas, prayer wheels, and other holy supports in both India and Nepal.

Sangyum has 3 daughters. The oldest and youngest are both married to tulkus, and the middle is unmarried. She has two granddaughters.

Photo by Yvon Chausseblanche at the time of The Yogini Project Interview with Sangyum Kamala, September 2012.