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Buddhadharma : Fall 2013
FALL 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 77 Growing up in rural northern India amid the Tibetan diaspora, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche was always fascinated by Amer- ica, but he never dreamed he would one day wind up living there, leading a vibrant sangha of dedicated practitioners. Yet by his early twenties he had met and mar- ried an American, Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, and the two were living in Nepal, where she was teaching English. In 1989 their lives took an unexpected turn when Mattis-Namgyel, at home with their newborn son, realized she would have to resume teaching at the American Cultural Center to keep the working visa that allowed her to stay in Nepal. She was reluctant to leave her infant to return to work. Meanwhile, a visitor from Naropa University offered Kongtrul Rinpoche a teach- ing position there. “We decided to move to the States,” says Mattis-Namgyel. “We hadn’t enter- tained the thought until then.” Thus the seeds were sown for the establish- ment of Mangala Shri Bhuti (MSB), Kongtrul by Michael Haederle Rinpoche’s flourishing network of retreat and study centers. “His teacher had told him to go be of benefit where he could and share the teach- ings,” says Sasha Dorje Meyerowitz, MSB’s vice president for development and a longtime stu- dent. “It was just a twist of fate that we all ben- efited from.” Twenty-five years later, Kongtrul Rinpoche and Mattis-Namgyel are both well-known teach- ers and authors who travel widely to deliver Bud- dhist teachings. While he continues to spend part of each year in India, Kongtrul Rinpoche seems at home in the West, delivering his practical, acces- sible dharma discourses in public settings and Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, and their son, Dungse Jampal Norbu (Top) View of Samten Ling retreat lands and new temple under construction near Crestone, Colorado MANGALA SHRI BHUTI PROFILE