Kushok Lobsang Dhamchöe was born in the remote valley of Kyedong. Kushok was orphaned at four years old. His Aunt cared for him within the sacred valley until he escaped from Tibet in 1963. Kushok’s paternal uncle was Drakar Rinpoche Tendzin Norbu, the 16th reincarnation of the Drakar Rinpoches. This monastic lineage is a combination of Kagyu and Nyingma. After Kushok’s uncle’s death the 17th Drakar Rinpoche was discovered at the direction of the previous Karmapa, who named him. He now resides in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kushok’s uncle’s lineage is revered and treasured, and is unique to the valley of Kyedong.
After escaping Chinese Communist occupied Tibet, Kushok enrolled at Kalimpong Central School for Tibetans in India. He received his monk’s vows from the great Tibetan master Kyapje Song Rinpoche. But after only a few years the school closed from lack of funding and Kushok was left homeless. He spent several years working and living in Clementown, India, and then traveled to Dharamsala. He was accepted at Namgyal Monastery, the personal non-sectarian monastery of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Kushok obtained his Geshe degree from the Council of Religious and Cultural Affairs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1991. He became an expert in Buddhist scripture, ritual, philosophy, chanting, meditation, ritual dance, and the intricate arts of sand mandala and butter sculpture. Kushok’s primary teacher was His Eminence Lobsang Nyima Pal Sangpo, the 100th holder of Ganden Tripa.
In the year 2000, after 30 years of study and service in India, Kushok moved to Edmonton at the request of Gaden Samten Ling to become the society’s spiritual director. Since then he has nurtured the vision of the society’s founding teacher, Geshe Ngawang Kaldän, and Gaden Samten Ling has grown under his constant guidance and care.