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Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel was born in the Northern Indian province of Himachel Pradesh into a Tibetan family, the son of Neten Chokling Rinpoche and Mayum Tsewang Paldun. Recognized as an incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, a great scholar and meditation master in 19th century Tibet, he grew up in a monastic environment and received extensive training in all aspects of Buddhist philosophy and practice.
In 1989 Mr. Namgyel moved to the United States with his family and in 1990 began a five-year tenure as a professor of Buddhist philosophy at the Naropa Institute. He founded Mangala Shri Bhuti at this time, an organization established with the vision of furthering the wisdom and practice of the Longchen Nyingtik, Khyentse, Kongtrul and Choling lineages. Mr. Namgyel travels widely throughout the world teaching and furthering his own education.
Deeply interested in activities that express the natural state of mind for which all meditation aims, Mr. Namgyel admired the work of Kandinsky and Picasso in his first encounters with Western art. Trained in the traditional Tibetan arts of calligraphy, music and ritual dance, he began painting in the mid-1990ís under the guidance of the French abstract expressionist painter Yahne Le Toumelin. Out of all the Western traditions, abstract expressionism caught his attention due to its acceptance of formless technique, which closely mirrors the relaxation of strict discipline found in advanced meditation.