Ripa Ladrang

The Ripa Family (c) 2009 by Christoph Schoenherr

The Ripa Ladrang is the residence of His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, his heirs and family members. ‘Ripa’ is the name of the Lineage and ‘Ladrang, bla-brang’ refers to the residence of the Lama or the holder of the lineage tradition. The descendants of family Lineages are considered particularly strong vehicles for transmitting the teachings because the imprints of the ancestral teacher’s blessings are held in both the body and mind of the present lineage holders. In addition to the Ripa family lineage, it is also very auspicious that His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche’s maternal great-grandfather was Drubwang Shakya Shri (1853-1919), a highly accomplished master in both the Drukpa Kagyü and Nyingma traditions. Shakya Shri was also famous for rebuilding the Great Stupa of Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal during the early 20th century.

The Ripa family line began during the 12th century as a hereditary lineage in the Barom Kagyu tradition, but it became firmly established with its present name ‘Ripa Ladrang’ because of the Ripa Pema Dejed Rolpa (1803-1880), who was renowned in the 19th century, as a Tantric mystic and a revered Terton. He was recognized as the reincarnation of the highly accomplished Tantric master, Ripa Pawo Tinley Dorje, and became the 1st Ripa throne-holder and 2nd Ripa Tulku.

The 2nd Ripa Lineage holder was Drubwang Ngedon Gyatso (1844-1901), the son of Ripa Pema Dejed Rolpa and his consort Sangyum Kartso. He was a powerful meditator who gave empowerment and instruction widely.

In the beginning of the 19th century, there was Jigme Tsewang Chokdup (1891-1954), the 3rd Ripa lineage holder, an emanation of Guru Dorje Trolo, one of the Padmasambhava’s wrathful manifestations. He was renowned for this compassion and the blessing power of his speech. According to a prophecy made by Padmasambhava, by marrying a highly accomplished Yogini named Sangyum Palden Tsomo, the grand-daughter of Togden Shakya Shri, their union would bring a powerful spiritual potency to the Ripa lineage tradition, and further established its commitment to encouraging high spiritual attainments among the non-monastic community. It also led to the birth of the late Drubwang Azin Rinpoche or Ritrul Rigzin Choegyal (1933-1997), the 4th Ripa Chogtrul and elder brother of the present 4th Ripa lineage holder, His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, a living Terton of our age, who has discovered and codified volumes of hidden Mind Treasures.

At the present time, both the Ripa lineage holder and the Ripa family is headed by H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and his sons, heir Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, and Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche. His Eminence’s seven children are all involved in preserving and propagating the teachings of the Ripa lineage. In Tibet, his son Dungsey Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche oversees Rigon Tashi Choeling at Nyima-Phug. Dhungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche is known for his socially engaged activities, his fluency in English, and his lively, direct, fluid, humorous, and down to earth teaching style.

Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche, is recognized as an emanation of Hayagriva. Currently, he is the Executive Head of Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery in Nepal. He is widely renowned for the beneficial blessings of his ritual presence in the many Drubchod and Drubchens performed annually at the Ripa Monasteries. His Eminence’s three eldest daughters, Semo Sonam Peldzom, Semo Pema Dechen, and Semo Sonam Palmo are all accomplished singers and dancers in the Gesar tradition and help their father with his activities in Asia and the West. His Eminence’s youngest daughter, the Sakyong Wangmo, Dechen Choying Zangmo, is the wife of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and a principal figure in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition.