Outstanding people

Trogawa Rinpoche 1932-2005

bsam ‘phel nor bu khro dga’ bo rin po che

Early Training

Ven. Dr. Samphel Norbu Trogawa Rinpoche was one of the most respected senior practitioners of Tibetan medicine of our present time. Rinpoche was born in 1932 in Lhasa, Tibet. At an early age he was recognized as the incarnation of the famous Lama physician Drag-Lhong Gomchen Paljor Gyaltsen (brag lhong sgom chen dpal ‘byor rgyal mtshan) by H.E. Reting Rinpoche (rwa sgreng rin po che), the regent of Tibet.

The first incarnation dates back to Drapa Ngonshe (grwa pa mngon shes, 1012-1090 ) the great terma revealer of the main medical text, known as the Gyu Zhi.


Trogawa Rinpoche.

Rinpoche was mainly educated in Lingbu Monastery at Gyantse until the age of 15. He then travelled to Lhasa for medical training from the renowned Dr. Rigzin Paljor Nyerongsha (rig ‘dzin dpal ‘byor nye rong zhar), a holder of the Chagpori lineage teachings, who himself had studied under Dr. Jampa Thubwang Taykhang (ta’i ‘jam pa thub dbang), the private physician of the 13th Dalai Lama. To become a Tibetan doctor Rinpoche completed a rigorous nine year apprenticeship under Dr. Rigzin Paljor Nyerongsha.


New incarnation of
Trogawa Rinpoche.

In 1956 Rinpoche traveled to India following his main spiritual teacher, Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro ('jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse chos kyi blo gros, 1893-1959), an accomplished Rime (non-sectarian) lama under whose guidance he practiced intensively. Later, Rinpoche studied Dharma and meditation from many highly qualified lamas and since then practiced medicine and meditation throughout the Himalayan region.

Teaching at TMAI.

In 1964 Rinpoche joined the new Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (Men-Tsee-Khang) in Dharamsala at the request of HH the Dalai Lama. In 1967 he had to retire on account of ill-health and then went into retreat. During this time he realised that the Chagpori lineage was in danger of disap-pearing, since he was one of the very few of those physicians who had left Tibet, and so he decided to try and preserve that special tradition and established a new institution in exile.


Rinpoche became known in the West after traveling extensively in Europe and America in the early 1980’s. In 1983 he was one of the principal speakers at the 1st International Convention on Tibetan Medicine held in Italy. He continued making regular visits to Europe and America throughout the rest of his life giving initiations, teachings and treating patients.

Rinpoche also worked closely with the amchis of Ladakh and Bhutan, travelling regularly to the summer camp with the Ladakhi amchis and setting and supervising the examinations at the Institute of Traditional Medicine of Bhutan.

Inauguration of Chagpori in Darjeeling

After more than a decade of planning and fundraising, with the help of his family, the Tibetan community and international supporters, Rinpoche finally was able to launch the Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute at Darjeeling in November 1992 with a small pharmacy, an outpatient clinic and a college for medical students under his guidance.

Passing away

Rinpoche passed away on 11th May 2005 at Gangtok, Sikkim. With his passing, not only has one of the last teachers of the original Chagpori lineage left us, but also a teacher who was a wonderful example of simplicity and compassion.

Incarnation of Trogawa Rinpoche recognised!

On 9th November 2014 Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche (skyabs rje rdo grub chen rin po che) recognised the Yangsi or new incarnation of Trogawa Rinpoche. He has been born as the eldest son of Trinlay P. Trogawa (mkhrin las khro dga’ bo) and Seldon Trogawa (gsal sgron khro dga’ bo) in the 2006.

A small ceremony was held at Chorten Gonpa, Sikkim, India, in this regard.

Useful links:
Official web-site of Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute: http://chagpori.org/index.html

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