In Rinpoche's room, 2001

Outside the main shrine hall, 2005

Pong Re Rinpoche is featured in the award-winning documentary "Kiwi Buddha".


The following comments of the previous Pong Re Rinpoche are from the previous Pong Re Rinpoche's disciple Lama Lodro.

The previous Pong Re Rinpoche first went to a Nyingmapa Monastery called Kathok for several years to study philosophy and other subjects. After that he went to Palpung monastery and mostly stayed there. Even when monks from his monastery of Pong Re came to request him to return, he sent them back and said he preferred to remain at Palpung monastery.

Pong Re Rinpoche was full of richness of knowledge and wisdom. He was very precise and traditional when performing rituals and so forth, never adding or changing anything or taking any shortcuts, just always in accordance with tradition, a real perfectionist. He was skilled in the traditions of Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyu with a very sharp mind and a photographic memory. He never forgot anything.

Pong Re Rinpoche was very tolerant and beneficial to many sentient beings and completely grounded in inexhaustible bodhichitta, compassion and loving-kindness. For example, one time when there was a very bad contagious plague and nobody, not even doctors or Lamas would go there, he went. Then through his Chod practice and blessing the water with mantras he completely dispelled all the disease and no more people died and everybody was healed.

Pong Re Rinpoche had a huge book of prayers, which he practiced every day, never missing a single day. He would wake early and also not go to sleep until after completing all his practices regardless of how busy his day had been.

Pong Re Rinpoche was the regent of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche in Palpung monastery.

On the day of his passing, which was in mid-winter, there was thunder and lightning which usually never occurred at that time, also many amazing rainbows appeared and also earth tremors.


The present Pong Re Rinpoche was born in Auckland, New Zealand on the 25th day of the 10th month of the Kalachakra calendar. His mother, Sonam Chozom, received many auspicious dreams beforehand which she reported to the resident Lamas of the New Zealand Karma Kagyu Dharma Centre, Ven. Lama Samten, (her uncle), & Ven. Choje Lama Shedrup, (the father of the child), who had also experienced extraordinary dreams.

When Lama Samten and Lama Shedrup were in Tsurphu Monastery for the enthronement of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, they requested Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa for a name for the unborn child, and when the Lamas looked at the name, "Karma Kunsang Thubten Dorje", they noticed that it was unusually long and also a boy's name. Later Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa was to comment to Lama Samten that he had dreamt of the boy many times.

As he grew older it became clear that Karma Kunsang was no ordinary child, for instance upon waking he would sit upright in a state of meditation, and if left undisturbed would sit like that for a long time. Not only his close family noticed his special qualities, but many who came in contact with him were struck by his natural poise, calmness and caring nature for someone so young.

Early in 1999 he met with Chamgon Tai Situpa at Palpung Sherabling in India and was officially recognized as the reincarnation of Pong Re Tulku Rinpoche. His full name is "Karma Kunsang Thubten Dorje Lungtok Nyima Pal Zangpo" and he was enthroned at Palpung Sherabling by Chamgon Tai Situpa in mid-2000 accompanied by his mother, the New Zealand Lamas and centre members in the first enthronement to take place in the main monastery.

Following his enthronement Pong Re Rinpoche returned briefly to New Zealand, where he was met by a throng of media interest as the first high Tulku born in the Southern Hemisphere. The celebration tour with Pong Re Rinpoche around New Zealand and his return to Sherabling was recorded in the award winning documentary "Kiwi Buddha." This has been screened repeatedly around the world and also featured on the National Geographic and Discovery channels.

Since late 2000 Pong Re Rinpoche has lived and studied full time at Sherabling and in March 2007 he began the traditional 3 year and 3 month retreat there, which he completed in 2010. Following that he was appointed Vajra Master at Sherabling. In addition to now leading many of the main ceremonies at Palpung Sherabling, Pong Re Rinpoche is presently undergoing intensive study of Buddhist philosophy under the guidance of his root guru Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa.

The great qualities of compassion, wisdom and knowledge of the previous Pong Re Rinpoche are clearly evident and blossoming in the current Pong Re Rinpoche. He has a great thirst to learn new things in order to benefit others, in particular he is interested in different languages. He is fluent in Tibetan, English and Hindi and has begun learning Mandarin and French. Above all is his strong devotion to his root guru Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, and his main wish in this life to serve and fulfil the wishes of Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa.

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