Leading Faculty

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, two world renown Buddhist teachers, share the primary leadership and teaching responsibilities at Nitartha, including curriculum design and teaching the principal Buddhist courses at the Summer Institute. Rinpoche and Acharya graduated with high honors from the nine-year training program at Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Rumtek, Sikkim, India (an affiliate of the Sanskrit University of Varanassi).

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Buddhist teacher teaching Buddhist studies to two students.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Nitartha’s president and spiritual director, founded Nitartha Institute under the guidance of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, two of the leading contemporary Buddhist teachers of the Karma Kagyü and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is renowned as one of the foremost Buddhist scholars of his generation in the Kagyü and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He is a graduate of the Karma Shri Nalanda Institute at Rumtek and has completed courses of study in English and comparative religion at Columbia University. Rinpoche is an accomplished meditation master, calligrapher, visual artist, and poet. He travels and teaches widely and is well-versed in Western culture and technology. He is known for his warmth, humor, and lucid presentation of Buddhist teachings in a manner relevant to contemporary life.

Recent Publications

  • Wild Awakening: The Heart of Mahamudra and Dzogchen
  • Penetrating Wisdom: The Aspiration of Samantabhadra
  • Mind Beyond Death
  • Rebel Buddha
  • Emotional Rescue

Further Information

Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen

Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Buddhist teacher teaching Buddhist studies to two students.
Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen was born in Nepal and entered the monastery at age thirteen. In 1981, Lama Tenpa and Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche enrolled in the first class of Rumtek Monastery’s Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim, India. Acharya excelled in his Buddhist studies at the Institute, under some of the greatest living masters in the Kagyü lineage. Under the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, he completed a three-year retreat in Pullahari, Nepal.

Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen was the resident teacher at H.H. the 17th Karmapa’s TTC in Hamburg, Germany. Acharya has also served as a faculty member of the Religious Studies Department at Naropa University, where he specialized in teaching graduate courses in Tibetan tradition based on Nitartha Institute’s curriculum.

Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen works closely with Ponlop Rinpoche in all aspects of leadership for the Institute, especially in the design of our curriculum. After Ponlop Rinpoche, Acharya is the Institute’s most revered teacher and teaches regularly around the world.

Visiting Acharyas

Visiting Acharyas who are also graduates of Karma Shri Nalanda Institute often teach Buddhist courses in the foundation, intermediate, and advanced programs at the Summer Institute. Visiting Acharyas have included Acharya Kelzang Wangdi, Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen Negi, and Acharya Tashi Wangchuk.

Year-round Faculty

Nitartha’s year-round Buddhist teachers are highly educated and long-term students and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, with many years of combined experience teaching advanced courses in Buddhism and meditation. They are skilled in engaging students and bringing the Buddhist teachings to life by pointing out their practical applications to our lives and our meditation practices.

Teachers in Training

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is committed to training Buddhist teachers as an essential key to establishing the living Buddhadharma in the West. Nitartha’s Teachers in Training program is for approved students who have completed the Foundation and Intermediate curricula and who are passionate about teaching the Nitartha curriculum.


Guest Faculty