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Tibetan Buddhist Monk Finds Home and Success in Arkansas

Khentrul Lodro T’haye Rinpoche. From arkansasonline.com

Khentrul Lodro T’haye Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk born in the mountains of Tibet, has found both a home and a growing audience for his teachings in rural Arkansas. Kentrul has spent 20 years in the United States and has recently released The Power of Mind: A Tibetan Monk’s Guide to Finding Freedom in Every Challenge (Shambhala 2022).

Khentrul began his monastic career at the age of seven, taking novice ordination and living with his maternal uncle, Terton Jigme Dorje, at Katog Mardo Tashi Choling in Amdo, Tibet. He was recognized as the reincarnation (tulku) of Drubtop Namkha Gyamtso of Katog Monastery by His Holiness Katog Mokṣa Rinpoche. A master in the Nyingma lineage, he has earned the Khenpo title—held to be the equivalent of a Ph.D. in Buddhist Philosophy) three times.

His travels to the US some 20 years ago were met with obstacles and great compassion. “I didn’t speak a word of English when I arrived in this country. Not even ‘Hello,'” he said, speaking through his interpreter. “It was quite an experience to land in this country and know absolutely nothing. I didn’t know anybody personally,” he said. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Paloma Lopez Landry, who had studied Tibetan in Nepal, met him at his final destination in California and has been translating for him—including his current book—ever since.

Today, he can understand a great deal of English and sometimes doesn’t need translation or clarification for questions from students, but he prefers to answer in Tibetan.

In his newly released book, Khentrul offers a guide to mind training (lojong) for modern readers.

“Peace and happiness can be attained, but not by searching for something in the outside world. Peace and happiness are found within ourselves,” he writes in the introduction. “If our minds are disturbed, we can never find lasting peace and happiness.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

The book has garnered endorsements from actor Michael Imperioli, who earned an Emmy for his portrayal of Christopher Moltisanti in HBO’s “The Sopranos” as well as psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach.

Since moving to the US two decades ago, Khentrul has developed a global audience. He oversees groups across North America and others in Australia and South Africa. His home in the US is at Katog Choling in rural northwest Arkansas near the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. The center is a three-hour drive from Little Rock, AR.

Describing how he came to rural Arkansas, Khentrul said, “I was looking for a place in the United States to have a retreat center . . . and we were looking all over.” he added, “One of the issues on, say, the East Coast or the West Coast, is it’s very expensive.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

From katog.org

They were seeking something with, “a natural environment with trees and water and mountains, and ideally, beautiful,” he said. Somewhere rural but not “so remote that we couldn’t get there from anywhere.” Kentrul noted, “I had various friends and students looking around and a couple of them made a trip to the Ozark Mountains, and we got much more than we could have ever wished for. We love it there.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Khentrul stresses the importance of inner practice as the key to awakening. “External circumstances can only get rid of so much suffering and can only give us so much happiness, and it’s very limited,” he said. “We actually have a capacity for working with our mind to free ourselves from suffering and find true happiness.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

A recent promotional tour for his book has taken him to New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and Fairbanks Alaska. He will spend some time in Arkansas for a book festival, speaking at 1 p.m. (CDT) at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock, AR and again at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) at the Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville, AR, before setting out again on a tour that will take him to Miami, Oxford University in England and London.

Read more

Buddhist monk, author of new book, finds home in the Ozarks (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
Khentrul Lodrö T’hayé Rinpoche (Shambhala Publications)
Katog Choling

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