A Brief Biography of Choeje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Choeje Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in Ladakh, the eldest of four siblings in the family. His native place is Upper Drongpa, which comes under the province of Dokham Nangchen in Eastern Tibet. He was enrolled in the Tibetan Children’s Village School for his primary education. As a child, he had a keen interest to be ordained but his parents did not allow him as he is the eldest of the family. Several years later, his parents finally granted their permission for him to become a monk. At the age of 14, he was ordained in the presence of His Eminence Choeje Lama Chime Rinpoche. He completed his monastic education under the care and guidance of H.E. Choeje Lama Chime Rinpoche according to the Karma Kamtsang tradition and later, he was appointed as an Umze (chant master) of the monastery. In 1987, he had the opportunity to be with Chime Rinpoche during his visit to Tibet to renovate the monastery. During that time, he visited the sacred places of Tibet along with Rinpoche. Those places include Lhasa, Tsurphu, Sakya, the Three Seats (Sera, Drepung and Ganden Monasteries) and some other places of Upper Ngari. Thereafter, he served the monastery in different capacities in Ladakh.
In 2003, he completed the traditional three years, three months and three days retreat in Pharping, Nepal under the guidance of Venerable Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche. The place ‘Pharping’ itself has its own religious significance, as it is believed to be the place where a sacred cave of Guru Rinpoche known as Asura is located. There is a self-arisen Tara and also a place considered to be the holiest place of Vajrayogini. The great Kagyu translator, Marpa Lotsawa Chokyi Lodro was said to have resided there for some time. In such a holy place, Ven. Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche conferred empowerments, transmissions and explanations to Choeje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, akin to pouring the contents from one vase into another.
In 2006, considering the pathetic condition of the Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery in Ladakh, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa appointed him as a Resident Lama of Karma Kagyu Dharma Society based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The centre was founded by H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Since then, he has been serving humanity selflessly in general and the Buddha Dharma in particular which was highly appreciated by H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa.
On 1st July 2014, he was appointed as the Distinguished Lama of Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery, Ladakh. He was also appointed by H.H. Karmapa to be in charge of the monastery together with Mr. Tsering Dhondup. Then on 20th September 2014, he was bestowed the title of Choeje Lama.