Logo International Kalachakra Network
   Kalachakra Network

Venerable Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche


   Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche
Click to enlarge image
(Photo: courtesy Wolfgang Saumweber)

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was born in 1926 in the Amdo region of eastern Tibet. He is also known as Je Losang Jigme Damcho Pelsangpo.

At the age of 8, he was recognized by the tenth Kirti Rinpoche as the first reincarnation of Khensur Kramcho Phuntsog (Tsatrug Geshe Tsang), the former abbot of Taktsang Lhamo (Kirti Monastery in Amdo, Tibet). At the age of 9, Rinpoche took ordination as a monk and he received his first Kalachakra empowerment in 1941.

He was appointed the abbot of Taktsang Lhamo (Kirti Gompa in Amdo) in 1955, and a year later he made the arduous journey to Lhasa to continue his studies at Drepung Monastery to avoid the political instability posed by the Chinese in the Amdo area. During this period, he became tsen-shab (debate partner) to Kirti Rinpoche, debating with him and reviewing his daily teachings.

After escaping from Tibet, following His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1959, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche taught Tibetan orphans at the Tibetan Children's Village, Dharamsala, India, and later spent many years in retreat. For health reasons, he was advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to end his solitary retreat, and since then Rinpoche has been teaching the Dharma worldwide, for example in Australia, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, United States, India, Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Lithuania and South Africa (and probably more).

Rinpoche holds a unique lineage of explanation of the main commentary to the Kalachakra tantra (Stainless Light or Vimalaprabha), and as such is one of the lineage lamas from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Rinpoche has given the Kalachakra empowerment at least 19 times.

He has also given the transmission of the Stainless Light Commentary seven times, these transmissions were (from the Land of Medicine Buddha website):

  1. Given to Serkong Thukse Rinpoche from Ganden Jangze Monastery. Transmission took place in Dharamsala over a 6 month period.
  2. Given to Serkong Thukse Rinpoche, in Dharamsala over a 2 month period. This second transmission was necessary since Serkong Rinpoche needed to be cleaer about the finest points before passing on the lineage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
  3. Given to Pang Nang Rinpoche (also known as Kangyur Lama) from Loseling Monastery, Tehor Khamtsen. Transmission took place in Dharamsala.
  4. Given to Bakula Rinpoche from Ladhak. Transmission took place in ?
  5. Given to the Abbot of Kirti Taktsang Lhamo Monastery. Transmission took place in Dharamsala.
  6. Given to Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in New York.
  7. Given to 60 participants in Dharamsala, during the summer of 2000, including Jangze Chozen Rinpoche, Jato Rinpoche (the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery) and other 12 lamas.

At the end of that last transmission, His Holiness invited all participants in the Palace and offered blessed objects such as thankas, statues and photographs to all. Special thanks-giving offerings were presented to Rinpoche. His Holiness requested Rinpoche for a private transmission of the Stainless Light Commentary that can be completed gradually over the period of 4-5 years due to limitations imposed by His Holiness’ very busy schedule. It was at the end of this transmission that His Holiness praised Rinpoche for his humble character and commented on how many sentient beings were being benefited by Rinpoche’s travels and teachings all over the world. His Holiness recognizes Rinpoche as one of His lineage lamas.

Rinpoche has fallen seriously ill mid 2006, and he passed away on December 16, 2006. We kept a regular update of his illness and passing away at Rinpoche's Health Page.

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche   

At the age of 45, he began a fifteen-year meditation retreat in a small stone hermitage above Dharamsala, "big enough for a bed, prostrations, and a stove". Seven years were spent in meditation on Lam Rim, 3 years on the 'Seven Point Thought Transformation', and some generation and completion stage tantra. Two years were spent only on generation and completion stages, and during the final 3 years, Rinpoche repeated all of the above. Rinpoche put an end to his retreat only after His Holiness the Dalai Lama requested him to come out of retreat and teach.

Currently, Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche is abbot of 'Kirti Monastery' in Dharamsala.

Rinpoche is a very important lineage holder in the Kalachakra tradition, as after the invasion of the Chinese in 1959, he was the only living Master who held a rare lineage of the 'Vimalaprabha'; a very important Kalachakra text. As such, he is also teacher of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche:
"(He) is a great Kadampa who shows real Kadampa Tradition...so completely renounced. There's not one slightest worldly activity, not the slightest eight world dharmas, no self cherishing thought. Even talking, everything is as much as possible pleasing to sentient being's minds."

Since the late 1980's, Venerable Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche has been teaching worldwide, like in Australia, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, England, Singapore, Taiwan, United States, Russia, Lithouania, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Brazil.

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche passed away on 16 December 2006, and will be dearly missed by many students around the world.


Realm of compassion of all Victorious Ones of the three times
Compassionate deity playfully manifesting the major and minor marks
Treasure of compassion, fortunate destiny of the migrators of the Land of Snow,
Please enable the accomplishment of these pure prayers.

Profound, fearless intelligence of pure wisdom
Eloquent speech of the sublime Dharma
Spreading like a smiling garland of gentle waves
Treasure filled with a wealthy abundance of instructions
The virtuous friend, the great ocean
You are the one I miss from the heart.

Recollecting all qualities of your Holy Body, Speech and Mind
In distress I single-pointedly request:
Please, our Protector, in all lifetimes
Never let us slip from the lasso of your compassion.

Alas! Lacking the virtuous friend who is the sole Refuge
The teachings of the tender Saviour, Lama Tsong Khapa will end.
Migratory beings' happiness will darken like shadows of a setting sun.
Therefore you must come to relieve this sad and urgent plight.

Training over an extensive period of time
You took responsibility for performing the great activities
Of the Buddha's Teachings as well as those of transmigratory beings,
And generated completely the full capacity of the Holy Mind.
Yet do you comprehend the nature of our devastation?

For we, the ignorant thick-skulled ones, are abandoned to a forlorn place
While you enjoy the spheres of bliss and peace!
In this period when five degenerations' faults gather and explode
It is now especially critical that you adopt the armour of zeal.
Since this is the promise of the Heroic Sons of the Victorious One
Quickly reveal again the Emanation Body's Holy Face.

Already the time of the Buddha's teachings has reached the end of the five-hundred.
Almost all the Great Holy Beings who could wishfully descend to this world
have departed to the Sphere of Peace (Dharmakaya).
We, pitiful fledglings, find ourselves left behind - bereft and alone.

Please recall the commitment generated in your Holy Mind:
To assume responsibility to uphold the Lamp of the teachings of the land of Rongchen (region of Amdo).
Smiling face of the Supreme emanation, the creator of day,
Like the rising sun come quickly without delay.

Not degenerating qualities acquired across lifetime's trainings
The smile of the white cooling moon of explanation and attainment
Our only friend who cultivates the Kunu (flower) of the Victorious One's teachings
May the youthful moon of your unmistaken manifestation immediately appear!

Protectors of the words of the Lamas
Guardians of the Buddha's teachings
Special watchers over what has been requested
Great Victorious Active Heroes
And all Powerful Protectors
Please impel the unmistaken incarnation to arise.

In short, by the power of the incontrovertible dependent arising
Of the students' fervent faith,
Together with blessings of the Protectors of the Three Sublime Ones,
Like a wish-fulfilling jewel may our prayers without exception be instantaneously accomplished!


I, the student disciple bearing the name of the incarnated Thashel Kirti, Lozang Tenzin, having heard that at the age of eighty one the incarnation of the Great Virtuous Friend Tsatrug Geshe Tsang, the Holder of the Lineage of the Near Instruction, the Great Abbot Vajradhara Jetsun Lozang Jigme Damcho Pel Sangpo had seriously ailed and Gone Beyond, felt impelled to compose this requesting prayer titled The Persuasive Drum Sound of the Sphere of Great Compassion invoking the blessings of the Quick Return of the incarnation of the great virtuous friend Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche. May my incontrovertible pure prayers to the Three Supreme Ones in general and to the Supreme Arya the Great Compassionate One in particular, be accomplished as here expressed.

It was written in the village of the Sublime realm of Bodhgaya on the 15th of the ninth month 2006.

The most devoted protector, Alak Rinpoche, attendent of Kyabje Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche whose name is extremely rare to mention and who is the embodiment of and kinder than the Buddhas of the Three Times, and the Translator Voula who offered him so many years of service requested me, the Mickey Mouse , Thubten Zopa to translate this Requesting Prayer. With the help of the Venerable Nun Jane, Venerable Tenzin Namdak and Ross Moore I have done so with devotion. Due to the merits may all sentient beings of this world be able to soon see the Smiling Face of the Unmistaken Incarnation, and enjoy again the nectar of Kyabje Rinpoche's teachings, in order to achieve Enlightenment as quickly as possible.

Sera Je Monastery , South India, January 2007.

Note: above prayer is now also available in Polish, Portuguese, Spanish (another Spanish translation here) and in Vietnamese.

Prayer with combined guru yoga for quickly receiving the blessings of Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche, Venerable Losang Jigme Damcho Pelsangpo, who holds the treasure of the lineage of oral instruction.

To you glorious lama, whose body is the embodiment of the three refuges,
who rests on lotus and moon (disks) upon a lion throne on the crown of my head
I pray that you please remain with me inseparably as my refuge and protector,
and bestow one me supreme and ordinary siddhis.

I prostrate to you, lama Kalachakra who spreads the festival
of immaculate dharma (damcho) with fearless (jigme) confidence
having seen the salient points of the teachings
of Losang [Drakpa], the second conqueror, exactly as they are.

I offer you an ocean of inner, outer and secret offerings,
and sincerely confess my negativities and downfalls accumulated from beginningless time,
I rejoice in the activities of your holy body, speech and mind
and urge you to turn the wheel of dharma till the end of cyclic existence.

I dedicate my entire accumulation of pure virtuous actions of the three times
so that in all my future rebirths I will not be separated
from your lotus feet even for an instant,
and that the actions of my three doors will only become the cause for pleasing you.

This ground anointed with perfume, strewn with flowers
adorned with Mt. Meru, four continents, sun and moon,
I offer visualized as a buddha field.
May all sentient beings enjoy this pure land.

I pray to you, unequalled glorious lama,
the protector who disseminates the scriptural and realized immaculate dharma (damcho)
with the fearless (jigme) lion’s roar of excellent explanation.
and with an excellent intelligence (lodroe) that is glorious and pure.

I pray to you glorious lama, whose kindness
excels that of the buddhas of the three times and the ten directions,
you are inseparable from the all-pervading lord, the primordial Buddha:
please bless my mindstream.

I confess all my transgressions of pratimoksha, bodhisattva and secret tantric vows
that occurred when my three doors were controlled by karma and affliction,
and promise to guard them in future.
Please purify and cleanse my vows with the nectar of your compassion.

Bless me to pacify all adverse conditions for practicing dharma,
to establish all conditions conducive for dharma according to my wishes,
and to establish the foundation of the two purposes
through study, reflection and meditation on the vast and profound noble path.

At the time of the joyous occasion
of the total defeat of the host of barbarians by Rigden Rudra
may you, venerable lama, and your spiritual children
engage in the Dharma of the great vehicle.

Through the might of white virtue illustrated by this prayer
may I never be separated from your lotus feet in all my successive lifetimes,
may I be able to please you by practicing in accordance with your advice
without ever thinking about my body or life.

In brief, may your life, lama, be stable,
may your teachings and practice of sutra and tantra spread in the ten directions
and may every direction be completely filled
with perfect virtue and goodness for the environment and its inhabitants.


This prayer called “Prayer with combined Guru Yoga for Quickly Receiving the Blessings” [was composed for] the abbot Tsang who is now widely known as Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche. He is the re-incarnation of the Tsatrug Geshe Tsang, the previous abbot of the great seat of Taktsang Lhamo (Kirti Monastery in Tibet). This holder of the treasure of the oral tradition, the great virtuous friend called Je Losang Jigme Damcho Pelsangpo, now has reached eighty-one years of age, a time of potential illness in the twelve year cycle. Therefore the general assembly of Kirti Jepa Dratsang (Kirti Monastery) has strongly urged me to compose a new prayer for his long life. I didn’t see any great need for composing a new long life prayer when one already exists.
One should examine whether one strives to accomplish his instruction or make pleasing offerings to him while discriminating him as ordinary, even though one has a dharmic connection with him and he has actual attainments. Those who take no interest in examining what demarcates a lama and a student, or how faith and respect should be practiced towards a lama who one is dharmically related to, may strive in long-life prayers and establish some measure of general virtue, but no potent result will issue from that. Therefore, if those students within the family of internal and external disciples with a dharmic relationship with Tsenshap Rinpoche, recite many times this long life prayer and combined guru yoga, with faith recalling the qualities of his holy body, speech and mind, the relationship of pure faith that exists between the lama and his students will be enhanced, and unexcelled benefit arise. With this in mind I, Losang Tenzin with the name of Kirti tulku, composed this prayer during an approximation retreat in Bodhghaya. I dedicate the virtue of writing this as the cause to be happily taken care of by immaculate, glorious lamas.
26th August 2006

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and Alak Rinpoche
at the Jerusalem wailing wailing wall, Israel, 2006