On Thursday, April 1st, 2021, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche passed peacefully at his home in Bearsville, NY.
Bardor Tulku Rinpoche was born in 1949 in Kham, East Tibet. At a very early age, he was recognized by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa as the third incarnation of Terchen Barway Dorje. He received training in Tibet until the Communist invasion of 1959. Like many Tibetans, Rinpoche escaped to India. When his party arrived in Darjeeling, India, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa was notified that Rinpoche had safely made his way out of Tibet. Filled with joy at the good news, His Holiness arranged for Rinpoche to be brought to Sikkim, and continue his training at Rumtek Monastery.
After completing many years of study and practice, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche accompanied the 16th Karmapa on his world tours in 1974 and 1976. In 1977, His Holiness asked Rinpoche to remain in the United States. The following year he moved to Woodstock, NY to help build and teach at His Holiness’ first monastery in North America, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD).
Bardor Tulku Rinpoche served KTD and its affiliate KTC centers for over thirty years. In 2000, with blessings from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa and His Eminence the 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche established Raktrul Foundation in order to help rebuild Raktrul Monastery in Tibet and provide educational facilities for monks, nuns and the lay community. In 2003, Rinpoche established Kunzang Palchen Ling (KPL), a Tibetan Buddhist Center in Red Hook, New York. Based on nonsectarian principles, KPL offers Dharma teachings from all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and serves as a base for preserving and bringing to the West the terma teachings of Terchen Barway Dorje.
Rinpoche lived with his wife, Sonam Chotso Lama in their home across from Magic Meadow with their three daughters, Karma, Chime and Rigdzin who all attended Woodstock Elementary School and Onteora Jr/Sr. High School. He was a kind and supportive husband and father who was beloved by the Woodstock community. He enjoyed playing board games, going for walks at the reservoir, and befriending and feeding the local chipmunks. He also loved playing with his two young granddaughters, Uggi and Baby T. He welcomed everyone, no matter if they were Buddhist or not, and always was concerned for their wellbeing. He loved the Woodstock area, with its mountains and felt it was sacred. He traveled all over the world to teach Dharma and nurture the practice of Dharma students. He took part in the Woodstock ’94 Music Festival opening ceremony, sharing Buddhist chanting with the attendees. He helped to host numerous Buddhist teachers when they visited the Hudson Valley, such as HH 14thDalai Lama, HH 17thKarmapa, HH Sakya Trizin, HE Tai Situ Rinpoche and many others.
In 2020, Rinpoche completed the construction of Kunzang Palchen Ling, which continues to uphold the teachings of his lineage and provide a base for the activity of his caring Dharma community. Due to Rinpoche’s vision and experience, KPL is a stunning example of what a Dharma center can be in the U.S. It is also a magnificent site of great blessing, containing many statues of Buddhas and bodhisattvas that Rinpoche worked tirelessly to collect. He lived his life benefitting beings and serving the Buddha Dharma. His many devoted students wish for his swift rebirth, enthronement and the continuation of his activity.