Biography of Ven. Khenpo Dakpa Woeser

Ven. Khenpo Dakpa Woeser has been the resident lama at Sakya Tsechen Ling Institute since 1991. He was born on 8 September 1939 in Mi, a small village close to Sakya, into the Kyab Shenpa family of farmers. Tashi Wangdu expressed great interest in the profound spiritual tradition of his native Tibet at a very young age. In fact, several members of his family were assiduous practitioners. One of his brothers became a monk, while his grandfather was a "Goroum", an appointed Mahakala ritual master, for over 33 years.  

At the age of seven, Tashi Wangdü joined the sutric school of the Sakya Monastery, Chöde Lho, where he received his current ordination name - Dakpa Woeser. Six months later, he joined the Sakya tantric school, Chöde Chang. His training and education in Tibet were very rigorous. At the age of eight and a half, he passed his Vajrakilaya exam in the compassionate presence of His Holiness the fortieth Sakya Trizin, Ngawang Thutob Wangchuk. For the next thirteen years, the three-month study semesters at the tantric school alternated with the strenuous examinations. He gained a complete mastery over the scriptures, rituals and sacred dances of different deities, such as Mahakala, Vajrayoghini, Vajrakilaya, and many others. During his stay in Sakya, he also completed various retreats: a nine-month Hevajra retreat, three-month Vajrakilaya, Mahakala, Virocana, and other retreats.   

In 1959, he took the Bhikshu vows from the eminent master, Lhatang Khenpo Rinchen Sangpo.

He left for India later that year. In India, he stayed at the Ghoom Monastery, close to Darjeeling for 32 years, where he shared a small wooden attic dwelling with three other monks. The entire monastic community was continuously blessed by the magnificent teachings of Khenpo Sangyé Tenzin, who in 1989 was pleased to receive an invitation extended to Lama Dakpa by Khenchen Sherab Rinpoche to come to Sakya Tsechen Ling in Kuttosheim, France.   

In the meanwhile, His Holiness the Sakya Trizin conferred upon Lampa Dakpa the title of Chöpön, and invited him to be part of his retinue in the role of the shrine keeper during three-to-four-month Lamdre and Drubtab Kündü teachings in Dheradun and Ladakh.

He arrived to France in 1991, and took residency at Sakya Tsechen Ling. He served Khenchen Sherab Rinpoche with an unshakable determination for over 23 years.

His daily schedule includes an early morning Tara ritual and an afternoon Mahakala ritual. He observes special practice days in accordance with Tibetan calendar, and often retreats on these occasions for three to five days to perform additional prayers and rituals.

Venerable Lama Dakpa Woeser often confers teachings, and regularly visits Yeshe Chöling Sakya Centre in Freiburg (Germany), where he performs different rituals, such as the Tara ritual.

On 29 September 2015, while he was visiting the Guru Sakya Monastery in Darjeeling, His Holiness the Sakya Trizin conferred upon him the title of Khenpo. In 2015, he also started giving initiations.

“Lama Dakpa Woeser, the resident Lama at our Dharma center (Sakya Tsechen Ling) in France, has been exerting himself in the training of holy Vinaya (the monastic discipline), and is accomplished in the ritual tradition of the great masters of the past. He also diligently studied the traditions of both sutra and tantra under the late Khenchen Sangye Tenzin, and has thus become examplary in terms of knowledge and conduct in all regards. On top of that, he also took special care of this monastery (in Darjeeling) by offering his financial support.

For these reasons he has been nominated Khenpo and shall from now on receive the honour and respect due to this position and shared among the Khenpos of the glorious Sakya tradition.

From the side of the owner of this title and befitting his newly gained status, it is also important he increases the kind of efforts he displayed in the past in terms of service offered to the community, which definitely was of great benefit to the teachings and the monasteries.” 

This was written by the Sakya Trizin at the Darjeeling Guru Sakya monastery Do-Ngag Norbu Ling on 29 September 2015.

Ven. Khenpo Dakpa left his body on 29 November 2017, while was meditating in his room in a very peaceful and mindful way. Earlier that morning, like any other morning, he performed the Green Tara Ritual.