Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
Eldest son of the renowned Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche is the current holder of the Shambhala lineage. A far less controversial man than his father, he spends his time traveling and running the Sakyong Foundation. Sakyong is a bestselling author who has won awards for a few of his books such as Ruling Your World and Running with the Mind of Meditation. The latter book’s title is literal as it offers a unique blend of spiritual and physical practice. Saykong is an enthusiastic runner having participated in several marathons that support fundraising for Tibet. Sakyong Mipham leads Shambhala activity across the West. Working closely with leaders and teachers, he blends Eastern and Western traditions in the dharma. Being raised with European and Western education and working off of the foundation his father created, Sakyong has transformed the West’s perception of Buddhism.
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India to the West
Sakyong was born in Bodhgaya, India 1962. Bodhgaya being the village in which the Historical Buddha attained enlightenment. His mother was a nun that went by the name Konchok Paldron and his father is the famous Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Born Osel Rangdrol Muko, Sakyong spent his childhood in a Tibetan refugee village in India with his mother. His father left to study at Oxford University when he was one year old. Though at the age of seven they reunited as Sakyong traveled to Samye Ling, the first Tibetan retreat center of the West. His father was a co-founder of the center. He spent a brief time in Scotland since Chogyam Trungpa left for the United States in 1970 where Sakyong would join him two years later.
It wasn’t until 1979 that Chogyam Trungpa officially gave his son the title of Sawang (earth lord) which officially established him as the future heir of Shambhala and a future Sakyong (earth protector). When Chogyam Trungpa then passed away in 1987, Saykyong (then Sawang) traveled to Nepal where he studied with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Dilgo Kheyentse was the head of Nyingma School at the time and the two studied together for three years. During this time Chogyam Trungpa’s primary student, Osel Tendezin, succeeded the Shambhala lineage in the West. A man possibly more controversial than Trunga, Osel Tendezin died in 1990 of HIV/AIDS. In 1995, Sawang Osel Rangdrol Mukpo was recognized as the incarnation of Mipham the Great, one of Tibet’s greatest lamas who had been acknowledged as the reincarnation of Buddha Maitreya. Maitreya is the future Buddha, successor of Siddhartha Gautama, who will teach the pure dharma. Soon after the recognition, Sawang was then titled Sakyong by Penor Rinpoche.
Return to Tibet
Sakyong traveled to Tibet in 2001 where he was received by thousands as both the Sakyong and Mipham’s reincarnation. It was immediately requested that he resume his father’s position as Abbot of the Surmang monasteries and its people. He was also asked to a lead an orphanage, an Institute, and the Weyen and Khamput monasteries. Accepting responsibility for all, the Sakyong now supports them through the the Konchok Foundation. The foundation is one of few permitted by the Chinese government to aid community growth and health among monks and nuns in Tibet. He returned to Tibet and the communities under his care three years later after a visit in India where he met Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Sakyong continues to visit to this day.
A Sakyong’s consort is referred to as the Sakyong Wangmo. The first Sakyong Wangmo was Diana Mukpo, Chogyam Trungpa’s wife and the second is Sakyong Mipham’s wife. Khandro Tseyang Ripa Mukpo is the daughter of Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. The two were married in Halifaxx, Nova Scotia on June 10, 2006. Khandro Tseyang Ripa Mukpo received her title as Sakyong Wangmo in 2008 at a ceremony by Penor Rinpoche. Since the marriage, they have had three daughters. Drukmo Yeshe Sarasvati Ziji Mukpo was born August 2010 marking the first heir. The second, Jetsun Yudra LhamoYangchen Ziji Mukpo, was born March 2013 and Dzeron Okar Yangchen Ziji Mukpo was born April 2015.
The Sakyong lives a very different life from his father, the avid drinker. Both adored the arts and were/are considered poets, artists, and authors though this is where the similarities end. Enthusiastic about physical activity, The Sakyong bases a lot of his teachings, including a book, on the meditative benefits of activities such as running. Apart from his personal dharma work, he vigorously supports other organizations that share the Shambhala vision. The Sakyong is an adored teacher and leader by the Buddhist community, living a compassionate life centered on benefiting humanity.
- Kate Mattes
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