Sönam Tobden

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Biography of Khenpo Sönam Tobden

Khenpo Sönam Tobden was born in 1978 in Kunjo in Eastern Tibet. At the age of thirteen he entered the Kyipo Monastery and took ordination according to the Nyingmapa tradition. Four years later, he entered the Ramgo Chötrul Shedra, then the Palyul Shedra, two of the most prominent philosophical schools in Kham.

From a very young age, he felt intense devotion for Kyabje Penor Rinpoche whom he considered his root teacher. With the intention of meeting him, he left home at the age of twenty, without telling anybody. With the help of a group of refugees, he crossed the Himalayas and arrived in India.

It has now been ten years since khenpo Sönam Tobden entered Penor Rinpoche's monastery of Namdroling, near Mysore in South India. Since then he has studied under the guidance of Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, Khenpo Namdrol and Khenpo Pema Sherab, the two greatest senior Khenpos of the Nyingma lineage.

Last year he completed his nine years of shedra studies and began to teach texts such as Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara based on Mipham Rinpoche's commentary to the younger generation of monks.

This year in Pharping, Khenpo is teaching for the first time at the Rigpa shedra, on Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara.