THE ABBOT: VEN. KHENPO TSEWANG RIGZIN
Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Rigzin was born on 28 June 1957 in the village of Phuwa in Chhonup, Mustang. He spent his childhood in Mustang and was ordained as a monk at the Namgyal Monastery at the age of 8. Eventually, at the age of 20 he went to India to seek further Buddhist education. With the blessings of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, the head of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche, Ven. Tsewang Rigzin was accepted at the Ngor monastery in Manduwala, Uttarakhand, India. Having studied in India for over 25 years thus far, he concluded his higher Buddhist studies at the Sakya College, Uttarakhand, India, in the course of an additional 9 years. He then completed the traditional three-year retreat at Tsechen Samten Shedrup Phuntsok Ling Retreat Centre, Manduwala, Uttarakhand.
In 2004, as per the instruction of H.H. the Sakya Trizin, Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Rigzin moved back to Mustang to assume the responsibilities of the monastery. Returning to witness the difficult lives of the people and the need for quality education- both modern and philosophical- he pledged to build a school to impart traditional Buddhist monastic education alongside modern education to the local children of Mustang, as well as those from the rest of the Himalayan regions of Nepal. He has since founded the Pal Ewam Namgyal Monastic Schools, Mustang and Pokhara; as well as the Pal Ewam Namgon Nunnery Schools, Mustang and Pokhara. The schools today, are homes to almost 70 monks and 35 nuns.
Khenpo Tsewang Rigzin plays a vital role in the subsistence of the schools, hence in the preservation of the Buddhist monastic way of life in Upper Mustang.