His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche is a Drikung Kagyu lama who was known in the thirteenth century as the Siddha Gar Chodingpa, a heart disciple of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon, founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. In ancient India, he had incarnated as Mahasiddha Aryadeva, the lotus-born disciple of the great Nagarjuna. In the seventh century, he was known as Lonpo Gar, the minister of the Tibetan Dharma King Songsten Gampo.
Garchen Rinpoche was recognized and enthroned in eastern Tibet by the former Drikung Kyabgon Zhiwe Lodro. When he was seven, he was brought to Lho Miyal Monastery, which he administered from the age of eleven. Studying and practicing under the direction of the Siddha Chime Dorje, Garchen Rinpoche received vast and profound instructions on the preliminary practices (ngöndro), the fivefold practice of Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa.
In 1957, he was put into prison for labour reform together with many other Rinpoches. During the period of labour reform, there was once a famine. Due to the lack of food, each person was only given a small piece of steamed bread each day. Many people died of starvation. Rinpoche could not bear to witness all this suffering. He gave away all his food to others. He did not eat anything for two or three weeks. During the 20 years of labour reform, he practised diligently, without lying down at night. He survived two near-death experiences, due to the blessings of the Dharma protectors. Although he had gone through such tormenting experiences, he does not have any hatred. Instead, he often says "I am deeply indebted to the Chinese. Without them, without suffering, I would only be a rough person who is full of jealousy and defilements and who does not know how to meditate or practise the Dharma." Rinpoche's compassion and wisdom are truly great.
Drubwang Rinpoche has revealed that Garchen Rinpoche's accomplishment in Mahamudra has gone beyond the level of "One-Taste Yoga".
Garchen Rinpoche's teachings are concise and directed at helping us to understand our true nature. Rinpoche is very considerate and humble to all people regardless of position, age or gender. He is extraordinary in this age of degeneration.
Garchen Rinpoche is known for his vast realization, as well as for his great kindness.
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