Trijang Buddhist Institute (TBI)

Trijang Buddhist Institute (TBI) located at Northfield, Vermont in the United States, is where Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, the incarnation of one of the most important and prominent lamas of Tibetan Buddhism in the modern era, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, eventually retreated to after coming under tremendous pressure for refusing to cease his practice of Dorje Shugden after a ban on the Protector practice was decreed.

Although not a monastery per se, Trijang Buddhist Institute is nevertheless an important seat within the Gelug lineage fully authorized by the 101st Ganden Tripa to preserve, represent, and transmit the Buddhist teachings of the Gelug tradition. If the previous Trijang Rinpoche was described as “a vast reservoir from which all Gelugpa practitioners of the present day received ‘waters’ of blessings and instructions” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, then it is from here that Dharma continues to set its high water mark by virtue of its principal resident-Spiritual Director.

Letter of Authorization from the 101st Gaden Tripa, the then Head of the Gelug Lineage, to Trijang Buddhist Institute. Click to enlarge.

TBI is unique in that whilst preserving the complete teachings of the Dharma in the Gelug tradition, it has as its goal to spread the principles of Tibetan Buddhism to interested people, both of religious and non-religious backgrounds, and to work for the good of all sentient beings. Today TBI offers a wide range of classes and activities ranging from the study of the Tibetan language and culture, courses on pujas and meditation, and intermediate studies of the Dharma right up to advanced Vajrayogini retreats. In this way, TBI’s draw of people to the Dharma is eclectic and diverse.

H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche with some of the resident monks, administrators and students of TBI. Photo courtesy of

Clearly, TBI is recognized by many as an institution that correctly upholds the rudiments of Dharma and has even received His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s blessings. One of TBI’s precious objects of veneration is an autographed photo of His Holiness addressed to TBI with His good wishes and prayers for the Dharma to flourish.

Autographed picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered to TBI

Translation of dedication on photo

This object of veneration is offered to Trijang Buddhist Institute with the prayer that the Buddha’s teachings flourish, that all sentient beings may obtain the treasure of the Dharma, and that they may live in happiness and virtue. Signed: Dalai Lama, Buddhist Monk. May 9, 2007

It is noteworthy that although the Dalai Lama initiated the Dorje Shugden ban in 1996 supposedly for the reason that the Protector practice is not in accordance with the Dharma, TBI was very well received by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the then 101st Ganden Tripa Lungrik Namgyal Rinpoche in 2007 and 2009 respectively, despite H.H Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche’s continued propitiation of Dorje Shugden.


History of Trijang Buddhist Institute

Trijang Buddhist Institute was once home to Seitz Dairy Farm. In its early days, TBI was known as the Institute for Visionary Leadership, first founded by Rae Ann Barkley in 1986. Barkley taught classes at Norwich in peace education and service leadership. She was a disciple of the Venerable Domo Geshe Rinpoche, and it was under Domo Rinpoche’s guidance that the Institute for Visionary Leadership was relocated to Northfield in 1995, where TBI now is. Over the years, the center expanded to its current 354-acre plot through progressive donations and support as TBI continued to establish itself within the local and global community.

Barkley was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist Nun, Ani Tsering Lhamo by Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche and it was her wish that TBI be offered to Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche to fulfill his mission of benefitting all sentient beings. Barkley passed away in March 2004, and 6 months later, the Institute for Visionary Leadership was formally gifted to Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche and became known as the Trijang Buddhist Institute.

The buildings on the estate have been restored and beautified, including the 1790s farm house that now serves as the home of TBI’s resident teachers. A barn circa the 1880s has been refurbished and partitioned and now serves as the Gompa, Bookstore, Office and Dining Hall complete with a commercial kitchen.


Spiritual Director of Trijang Buddhist Institute

Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche was born on 15th October 1982, as the reincarnation of the late H.H. Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, one of the foremost Tibetan Buddhist Masters of our time. Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang was a heart disciple of the great lama H.H. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and amongst his many great deeds, he was also the philosophical assistant and then the junior tutor to the 14th Dalai Lama.

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is well known for editing Pabongka Rinpoche’s Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – one of the most-studied Lam-Rim texts in the Gelugpa lineage. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche also authored the definitive text on Dorje Shugden, entitled Music Delighting An Ocean of Protectors.

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was also the root guru to many great masters such as Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Geshe Rabten, Lama Yeshe, H.E. Gangchen Rinpoche and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, just to name a few.

In his present incarnation, Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche is the 18th incarnation of an eminent line of Buddhist masters. This supreme reincarnation was discovered in a Tibetan family in Northern India and was officially recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama on 23rd April 1985.

Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche studied under many esteemed gurus and his root gurus were the erudite Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. At present, Trijang Rinpoche is furthering his studies under the guidance of H.E. Dagpo Rinpoche and H.E. Yongyal Rinpoche with the assistance of a study helper, Geshe Lobsang Phuntsok.

How blessed the Buddhist world and the people of Vermont are, to have this eminent high lama, Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, return to turn the wheel of Dharma. And how fortunate that a stalwart of such an important practice as Dorje Shugden’s is beginning to teach again, both at TBI and around the world.

Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche’s Recent Teachings
  1. Trijang Rinpoche in Mongolia 2014
  2. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche leads Vajra Yogini Fire Puja
  3. H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche accepts Tenshug from Shar Gaden
  4. Trijang Rinpoche Confers Oral Transmission of Dorje Shugden
  5. Trijang Rinpoche Confers Initiation in Europe
  6. Trijang Rinpoche Confers Dorje Shugden Initiation in Mongolia


Resident Teachers and Staff in Trijang Buddhist Institute

While many Dharma classes are conducted by Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche personally, he is ably supported by two qualified Geshes (holders of the equivalent to a Doctorate in Buddhism).


Geshe Lobsang Sopa

Geshe Lobsang Sopa, a contemporary of Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, is a highly accomplished Geshe who completed his studies in all aspects of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. As a young boy, Geshe Sopa received his ordination vows and studied in Ganden Shartse Mahayana University.

Throughout the years, Geshe Sopa received countless teachings from great masters such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche, and many others.


Geshe Lobsang Phuntsok

Geshe Lobsang Phuntsok was born in 1969. He started his education in a Tibetan school for seven years before joining Ganden Shartse Mahayana University at the age of 12.

It was at Ganden that Geshe Lobsang Phuntsok was ordained as a monk by Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. Throughout Geshe Phuntsok’s monastic studies, he received guidance from illustrious teachers such as Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Sharpa Chojay Lobsang Nyima Rinpoche and Geshe Tendar.

Geshe Phuntsok completed his monastic studies and was one of the brightest Geshes in Ganden Shartse. He was later selected to assist Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche in Trijang Rinpoche’s studies of philosophy in Europe, and has continued to assist Trijang Rinpoche till today in TBI, Vermont. Besides his passion and dedication to teaching Buddhism, he is also skilled in creating sand mandalas and in Tibetan ritual arts as well as chanting.


Geshe Cheme Tsering

Geshe Cheme Tsering is a highly qualified Buddhist teacher. He studied in the Central Institute of Tibetan Higher Studies from 1972 to 1976 before joining Ganden Shartse Norling College as an ordained monk from 1976 until present.

Geshe Cheme received his “Geshe Lharampa” degree in March 1996, the highest degree awarded by a Tibetan monastic university after 15 years of intensive studies. In May 2007, Geshe Cheme Tsering was invited to TBI to take up a post as a Resident Teacher, and officially assumed this position on September 16, 2008.

Geshe Cheme has a diverse role and is a valued member of TBI. Besides being skilled in performing sacred rituals, guiding meditation classes, introducing Tibetan Buddhism to new members of TBI and chanting prayers, Geshe Cheme is highly praised in his skill to translate Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche’s teachings in the English language.


Venerable Tharchen Lobsang

Venerable Tharchen Lobsang studied in the Tibetan Children’s Village School in Dharamsala from 1962 to 1974. At the age of 15, he was ordained by Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. Since then, he has studied Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy at Ganden Shartse University in south India, where he received many great teachings from many great Buddhist masters.

When the current incarnation of Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche was recognized by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in 1985, Venerable Tharchen began attending to the young Trijang Rinpoche until the present. In TBI, besides attending to Trijang Rinpoche, he gives Tibetan language classes.


Mrs. Kunsang Dechen

Mrs. Kunsang Dechen was born in Leh/Ladakh India. She is the daughter of Venerable Drigung Rinpoche and Gangchen Drolma. Kunsang has two siblings, an elder brother, the recognized Kagyupa Lama Ayang Dupchen Rinpoche, and a younger sister, Dolma Lhamo.

Kunsang finished her middle school education in Leh/Ladakh and her high school education in New Delhi. Following that, she went on to the all women’s Jesus and Mary College at the University of New Delhi, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2002.

In addition to her regular education, Kunsang Dechen has received many Tibetan Buddhist teachings and initiations, has assisted in the translation of Buddhist texts to English from Tibetan.

She has also coordinated and performed meditation retreats, understands and observes monastic protocol, and performs many duties such as corresponding with other Tibetan spiritual leaders, all of which qualify her to perform official Temple duties and rituals and assist the Dharma teachers.


Venerable Tashi Jamyang

Tashi Jamyang was born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1933. At the age of five he was offered to Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang by his parents. Under the guidance of Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang he studied in Nyarong Sha school in Lhasa for eight years.

At the age of fifteen he was ordained as a Buddhist monk by Rato Chuwar Rinpoche. In 1959 he fled from Tibet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. Since then he attended to Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang and now to Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche.


Events in Trijang Buddhist Institute

TBI is a non-profit educational and religious organization and conducts events and teachings throughout the year. For detailed timing and dates on their activities, please visit the TBI website’s activity calendar.

You may also contact TBI via their website for more information.

May many more Dharma centers manifest in the world and share the same vision as TBI, and may everyone meet, be protected and guided by the king of Protectors, Dorje Shugden himself.



Trijang Buddhist Institute
210 Morning Star Lane|
Northfield, Vermont 05663 USA

Telephone: 802-485-4140 (8 am – 6 pm EST)


Many great masters have kept their practice of Dorje Shugden strong. Here we see Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, meeting with Kensur Lati Rinpoche and Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. The Tibetan leadership forced Kensur Lati Rinpoche and Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen to give up the practice, but they went to meet Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche in 2000, a sign that they still had great faith in Dorje Shugden. Why else would they meet a Dorje Shugden lama? Despite the ban enforced by the Tibetan leadership, they held their own views strongly. Click on image to enlarge.

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9 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Undying devotion elucidated by all the resident teachers at TBI, serving their previous guru, Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, to the present incarnation, Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche. I loved reading about TBI and how the staffs at TBI, are continuing to serve and assist Trijang Rinpoche in his present incarnation’s works. It must be awesome to have the merits to always be connected with one’s gurus and continue the same works. Sometimes it baffles me how it occurs, but there is indeed no denying that one’s mindstream will always remain, where ever it goes.

    The history and culture of TBI is so rich. Rae Ann Barkley (Ani Tsering Lhamo), did a great deed in offering her center to Trijang Rinpoche to continue turning the wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    Also, the endorsement but Gaden Tri Rinpoche as well as H.H. Dalai Lama, shows the world that they both recognize the works of Trijang Rinpoche and the benefits he will bring to all sentient beings. If they did not think Trijang Rinpoche could uphold the lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa and spread it to the 10 directions, they would not have written the letter or signed the photo respectively to show support. Since they did, it means both Gaden Tri Rinpoche and His Holiness endorses and are in line with Trijang Rinpoche’s works and practises, including the practise of Dorje Shugden. So what makes HH ban Dorje Shugden, but endorse, through the picture, the works of a Dorje Shugden lama? I smell the contradiction here, and again..the lies of His Holiness.

  2. Dharma spreads when someone ‘gives’ up land to a great spiritual being like Trijang Dorje Chang. Having visited Shar Gaden once before I found out that When Trijang Rinpoche was in Gaden threats was made on the young Trijang Rinpoche which was why he had to exile himself from his home in Gaden.

    If His Holiness the Dalai lama was adamant to stamp out Dorje Shudgen practice, he would not have given his blessing to TBI and also had an audience with Trijang Rinpoche. It was a well rehearsed thing that the dalai Lama did. Its all a divine play.

  3. many CTA and the tibetan Community are still ignorant about the fact HH Dalai Lama gives blessing to Trijang Rinpoche for the practice of Dorje Shugden. HH Trijang Rinpoche reincarnation and works is being recognized and infact Trijang Rinpoche Dharma activity is flourishing by the day together with the practice of Dorje Shugden in increasing together as well.

  4. This is such a bullshit thing you guys are posting to preserve or uphold th practice of Shugden or Dolgyal. His Holiness never banned the practice but rather requested all Tibetan to reconsider its practice it had been evidently harming the Tibetan issues. You guys need to stop cussing around. Look at your own guru, did he ever recieve a good formal Buddhist education? Sadly no. I feel so sad to know that all your lama does is giving initiations and empowerments. There are no concrete videos of him giving a proper teaching anywhere.

  5. The Buddhist world and the people of Vermont are blessed to have this eminent high lama,Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche,who returned to turn the wheel of Dharma to benefit sentient beings .How fortunate that a stalwart of such an important practice as Dorje Shugden’s is beginning to teach again, both at TBI and around the world.

  6. Dear

    Thank you for this article about Trijang Buddhist institute. I rejoice for their growth. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche had a very challenging life back in India due to his perseverance in Dorje Shugden practice. He received many threats to his life and that is the reason for his leaving India with few attendants and started over in overseas. During that dire situation, he still persevere to the practice that he had done in his previous lives.

    It is definitely due to the help of Dorje Shugden that Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche can set up a thriving Dharma centre in the United States.


  7. It nice to see the right motivation in starting a centre to benefit people and grows as a result. And, it becomes more meaningful and powerful when it is offered up to an attained master to further the cause.

    Very happy to see many qualified teachers teaching dharma at Trijang Buddhist Insitute. Surely the dharma will spread and benefit more sentient beings.

    May Trijang Buddhist Institute continue to flourish and spread the Buddha dharma to the ten directions.

  8. The current incarnation of Kyabje Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche was recognized by HH 14th Dalai Lama and he is well known as Dorje Shugden practitioner. Now his Trijang Buddhist Institute openly continues the practice in the United States. The most motivating and encouraging was Trijang Buddhist Institute are fully authorized by the 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal to preserve, represent, and transmit the Buddhist teachings of the Gelug tradition. This encouraging development is definitely helps to may spread Tibetan Buddhism and Dorje Shugden across the world for the benefit of all sentient beings.

  9. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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