Brief Biography of the Director of Karmae Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies-
Khenpo Kalsang Nyima
Khenpo Kalsang is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, scholar, teacher, meditation master and an international leader of Buddhism.
Rumtek, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute’s Director, Venerable Khenpo Kalsang Nyima, graduated from the Kagyu Choede Gochey Gephel Monastery’s Retreat Centre, having completed his practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa.
He took the ordination vows at the age of 17 and moved into a monastery, where he began learning and practicing the various traditional chants and rituals.
He joined the Zonsgar Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies in India and after completing nine year-long courses of Buddhist philosophical subjects, he took the responsibility of a Disciplinary Master. Thereafter, Khenpo taught Buddhist philosophical subjects to the monks of the Zonsgar Insitute for two years. In the inauguration of Zonsgar Chokyi Lodro Monastery, he received his Khenpo Degree from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Due to a great need of a teacher in Rumtek Shedra, the director at the time, H.E Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche summoned Khenpo to Karmae Shri Nalanda Institute, at the main seat of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje to teach the monks as a Khenpo (Abbot) in the year 2004.
Arriving in Rumtek, he taught the monks Madhayamika and Prajnaparamita subjects in the monastic institute, for seven hours daily. In 2005, in order to develop the education and instill the interest in literature among KSNI’s students, he initiated and brought forth the publication of the magazine “The Pleasure Park”.
In 2007, Khenpo Kalsang Nyima was appointed as the principle of KSNI by H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche and the General Secretary Dilyak Drubpon Rinpoche. He shouldered all internal and external responsibilities.
Khenpo Kalsang Nyima renewed the custom of bestowing introductory Dharma teachings to the public by the Institute’s senior monks during the summer retreat periods. He initiated these teachings in four different languages: Tibetan, English, Bhutia and Nepali. He pioneered the Institute’s student picnic after the annual examinations, inviting all monks of the monastery and Rumtek’s lay community members, as was done during the time of H.H. the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa. The elder members praised this, remembering the gathering celebrations of bygone days.
For the purpose of preventing the students from wasting time and wandering outside, as well as making food, drink and other necessities easily available, Khenpo Kalsang Nyima established the Institute’s Coffee Shop and Book Shop.
To increase the number of students enrolling in the Institute, improve the standards of meals and to enhance the providence of medical expenses for the monks, Khenpo Kalsang Nyima was successful in finding finances. For the purpose of improving the education, he invited qualified Khenpos and teachers to the institute. Because of such dedicated work, the number of students has increased from 95 in 2007 to 260 today.
In 2008, Khenpo Kalsang conducted a grand Silver Jubilee Celebration for the establishment of the institute by His Holiness the 16 Gyalwang Karmapa. The immensely successful event was honoured by the presence of governors and respected guests from Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. Consequently, Rumtek’s Institute is widely renowned.
His new publication of a grand Silver Jubilee commemoration book of the Institute’s historical documents and records is an important source of research for the future.
Khenpo Kalsang Nyima sent graduate students from the Shedra to monasteries and Dharma centers in East Asian countries: India, Nepal and Bhutan as well as western countries, in accordance with their individual invitations. Thus, vast benefit was attained for the Dharma teachings and also for sentient beings.
In 2011, when Sikkim was hit by an earthquake of high magnitude, both the old and new Institute buildings were damaged badly. Khenpo Kalsang Nyima, taking great responsibility upon himself, appealed for assistance, and was therefore able to conduct the necessary renovations and construct a new building.
During holiday times, as beseeched by Dharma centers and devotees, he visits Asian and Western countries like Hong Kong, U.S, Israel, Taiwan and Canada and gives Dharma teachings to the public, creating an atmosphere of unity, harmony and tranquility. The disciples attain unprecedented mental peace and well-being. In Israel, 2015, he was granted a prestigious Iraqi Jewish Parliament Award. The donations gathered during the teaching events in were given to the Institute towards funding of the monks’ food and medical expenses.
Since 2004 Khenpo Kalsang Nyima has been performing the overall Chief Disciplinary Master position for the annual International Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya. In accordance with the wishes of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, he applied tireless effort to the reformation of the conduct of the ordained Sangha. Subsequently, he received high regard from His Holiness the Karmpa and his regents, as well as immeasurable respect and appreciation from the ordained and lay community.
In 2016, Khenpo Kalsang Nyima was requested by His Holiness the Karmapa to take part in the scholars’ discussion about the difficult and vital points of “The Jewel Ornament of Liberation”. He gave his presentation in relation to his life’s experience and practice in the presence of high Lamas, Tulkus, Khenpos and ordained Sangha. Thus, he was praised by His Holiness the Karmapa and scholars from other sects.
When there was a financial crisis and scarcity of food for the monks in the Institute, he went for alms of rice into the villages. As a result, the crisis was resolved.
In 2016, His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, who conferred matchless guidance, Dharma discourses and financial kindness for many years, reached the ripe age of 60 and due to his unstable health, took leave from directorship of the institute , according to the retirement rules of the Government of India. Following that, His Holiness the Karmapa and the then Director of the Institute, His Eminence Gyaltsap Rinpoche approved unanimously to appoint Khenpo Kalsang Nyima as the new director of KSNI.
In conclusion, Khenpo Kalsang Nyima is grateful for the great care and divine compassion of His Holiness the Karmapa and the advice and guidance of KSNI’s previous Director, His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche as well as the financial support from the Tsurphu Labrang (Karmapa’s Office of Administration) to the Institute. In addition, due to his skillfulness in dealing with his colleagues of high, low and middling rank, his stand for truthfulness, caring for all with loving-kindness, tolerance and an open minded attitude during times of difficulties and adverse conditions, working tirelessly without any financial reward, the altruistic Khenpo Kalsang Nyima deserves his present status as KSNI’s Director and a leader of Tibetan Buddhism in the world.