Luang Por Liem (left) and Luang Por Anek hiked in the Columbia Gorge during their visit to Portland.

(From left to right) Jasper Hunt, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, LiAnne Hunt, Eagle Hunt, and Ryan Hunt. The Hunt family came from Idaho to attend teachings.

Fortunate Ones Once Again: Lama Tharchin Rinpoche Visits Nalanda West

Don’t be fooled by his tiny stature: Lama Tharchin Rinpoche’s powerful presence radiates enormous warmth. The second he appeared at Seattle’s Nalanda West on the Friday evening of his weekend teachings, hundreds of people fell silent, sensing this energy. Many in the audience sported ear–to–ear smiles at seeing an old friend after a decade’s absence from Seattle, while others were in awe at their first-time encounter, whispering, “Wow...who is that?”

Residing in Spokane in the late 80’s, this Dzogchen (Great Perfection) master provided for many Buddhists across the Northwest their first introduction to the Dharma. Lama Tharchin belongs to a householder lineage that was considered the largest community of non-monastic practitioners in Tibet. Training in the monastery of his root teacher, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, he underwent more than seven years of strict retreat.

Lama Tharchin taught on the Heart Jewel for the Fortunate Ones: A Pointing out Instruction for the Great Perfection that was composed by Dudjom Rinpoche. People were drawn from across the Northwest to experience this rare teaching, with one participant traveling from as far away as Texas.

The visiting monastics watched salmon climb the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam.

Translator Lama Ngawang Zangpo with Lama Tharchin Rinpoche at Nalanda West.

“We were indeed fortunate ones to see Lama Tharchin Rinpoche in Seattle again and to see dear old friends from several sanghas,” commented Barbara Berger. “The blessing flowed not only in Rinpoche's words but in his presence. He embodies the all-embracing kindness and profound awareness we all seek.”

Len Hilgermann from Sakya Monastery was overcome with gratitude. “We were together once again, sitting at the feet of this beloved teacher, a lama who has such purity and sweetness, and our hearts filled with joy.”

Attentively sitting by Lama Tharchin’s side was Lama Ngawang Zangpo (Hugh Leslie Thompson). For those of us perplexed by the miraculous ability of translator–beings like Lama Ngawang, it was a delight to observe him stare into space and, without any note–taking, render profound teachings into impeccable English. Occasionally, Lama Tharchin would slip into English with laughter in his voice, transmitting the deepest of Dudjom Rinpoche’s own essential points directly to the listening fortunate ones. Delighted at the warm response, Lama Tharchin intends to return within the next year.


Lama Tharchin Rinpoche taught at Nalanda West in Seattle during the last weekend of April. He lives in California at Pema Osel Ling. To learn more about Lama Tharchin, see his biography at the Vajrayana Foundation Website. For information about his teaching schedule at locations around the Northwest, contact Susie Iverson at

Contributor: Caterina de Re.
Photos: Courtesy of Kunzang Laurie Brown; Susie Iverson.