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The Founding of Sakya Dokho Choling

chokynyimaTulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche arrived in United States in 2003 at the invitation of the University of Virginia (UVA) at Charlottesville, where he served a term as a “Visiting Professor” and advised on Tibetan religious literature. Towards the end of his term at UVA, due to causes and conditions, he met His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, a highly-regarded reincarnated lama of the Drikung Kagyu tradition, known for his vast Compassion and Wisdom, at the Drikung Mahayana Center in the Washington D.C. area. His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche and Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche both had studied under the great Nyingma Master Khenpo Munsel. Upon meeting, the two highly realized masters spontaneously ignited an ageless friendship. In an act so selfless during his teachings, Garchen Rinpoche publicly introduced Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche and encouraged his students to receive teachings from him.

Based on His Eminence’s recommendation and Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s own radiant presence, the Drikung Mahayana Center sponsored a series of teaching events with Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche in summer 2003. The purpose of these events was to receive the nectar of blessings that flowed spontaneously from Rinpoche’s lips, and for the events to become a way for Rinpoche to raise awareness and much needed help for his ailing Dokho monastery in Tibet, which traces its origins back to Chögyel Phakpa, one of the Five Founders of the great Sakya Tradition. Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche was also invited and taught in other parts of the country. Late in summer 2003, Garchen Rinpoche himself invited Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche to the Garchen Institute in Chino Valley, Arizona. There, being humble as he is well known for, Garchen Rinpoche offered his own throne to Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche to teach his students!

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In 2003, Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche met His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche, a full lineage holder of the Sakya Tradition, at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Seattle. Following the meeting, Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche received a letter of support from His Holiness Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche. The year 2003 also marked the auspicious year in which His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the current Head of the Sakya Order, visited North America to bestow teachings and to consecrate Tsechen Kunchub Ling, his North American seat in Walden, N.Y. Following a meeting between His Holiness Sakya Trizin and Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche in New York City, His Holiness Sakya Trizin recognized Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche as a “genuine reincarnate lama of the Sakya tradition,” and offered his full support towards Rinpoche’s efforts to rebuild the Dokho Monastery, home to almost a thousand monks. His Holiness Sakya Trizin also said “in light of [Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s] knowledge and experience, it would indeed be invaluable for students of the Dharma to receive teachings from him.”

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Just a few days before leaving the United States in 2003, Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche announced his intention to establish his very first dharma center in the West. He named this center Sakya Dokho Choling, after his own Dokho Monastery in Tibet. Sakya Dokho Choling, which is considered a branch of the Dokho Monastery, is located in Germantown, Maryland. Nyima Rinpoche decided to establish his first center on the East Coast of United States because, as he said, the sun rises in the East.