The Official San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the Historic Nechung Monastery, Dharamsala India











Our Teachers



Thupten Ngodrup was born on July 13, 1958, in Pari, Tibet. As a child he was artistically gifted, and had great compassion for others. In 1966, he and his family escaped Tibet by way of Bhutan to arrive in Dharamsala, India. In Dharamsala, he took ordination as a monk at Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling Monastery in 1970 at the age of 12. Nechung monastery is an institution that has been closely affiliated with the Tibetan Government and the succession of Dalai Lamas for centuries. It was just beginning to get reestablished, and Thupten Ngodrup was one of the first wave of new monks. Due to his qualities and artistic abilities, he quickly rose to the position of the Chief Ritual Assistant to the Nechung Protector while in trance.


After the passing of Lobzang Jigme, the previous Medium in April 1984, there was a gap of three years when there was no presence of a Medium for the Nechung Oracle. The Nechung monks and the Tibetan community requested for the rapid appearance of a new Kuten in daily prayers. On March 31, 1987, the Venerable Thupten Ngodrup entered into his first spontaneous trance, during Drepung Monastery’s annual offering ceremony to the Protector at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala. He displayed signs that he may indeed by the next Nechung Kuten.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama advised that he conduct an extended retreat and engage in special meditations and rituals and ripen and stabilize his abilities. On September 4, 1987, he was fully recognized to be the Medium of Nechung the Tibetan Oracle. The Nechung Kuten is an important figure for the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism, and holds a position of great responsibility in the Tibetan government.


Nechung Buddhist Center's Resident Monk

Ven. Ngawang Khenrab,

Ven. Ngawang Khenrab received his novice monk's vows from the Drepung Monatsery in Tibet from the renowned Master Geshe Lamrimpa. Later in India he received the full ordination of a Bikkshu from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence on March 2nd, 1996. He finished his Bachelor's Degree in Prajanaparamita, a total duration of  nine years of philosophical studies: six years of prajnaparamita studies and three years of logic and reasoning studies. Though Ngawang Khenrab-la has finished his traditional studies in India, he began his studies while still in Tibet.


Before coming to the US in 2005, Ven. Ngawang Khenrab completed his tenure as the Disciplinarian at the Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala. The board of directors there requested he extend his tenure, as he pursued his duties with such tenacity and excellence. He fulfilled a total of three years as Disciplinarian of the monastery before coming to the US to fulfill our request for a resident monk.


Since his arrival to our Center in 2005, Ngawang Khenrab, our resident monk, has “hit the ground running” and become quite busy providing all kinds of pujas and services for our Nechung friends and members. Ven. Ngawang Khenrab has been doing house and business blessing ceremonies, special pujas and prayers for kids, marriage, and sick and dying people.


To schedule an appointment for a puja or blessing,  please contact the Nechung Buddhist Center at  510-525-8425.


Visiting Lamas


Ven. Nechung Rinpoche

The current Nechung Rinpoche was born in Lhasa in 1985. He went to school in Tibet for some years before coming to the Nechung Monastery in 1993. At that time the 14th Dalai Lama and the Nechung Oracle mutually recognized him as the reincarnation of the previous Nechung Rinpoche who passed away in 1982.


Ven. Khen Rinpoche (Geshe Thubten Dawa)

His Eminence Geshe Dawa, the Sixth Abbot of Namgyal Monastery
His Eminence Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Dawa (alias Geshe Sonam Sangye), a former abbot of Namgyal Monastery, Dharamshala, India, was born on January 1, 1931, into the family of Shabnang Nyangru in the Kongpo Gyada District, Tibet. His father was Alok and his mother was Lhamo.  He enjoyed his childhood until 11 years old. From age 11 to15 he went to school and later joined Kongpo House of Gaden Jangtse College of Gaden Monastic University, Lhasa. He received his ordination from His Eminence Sonam Namkha then abbot of Gaden Jangtse College and received the name Sonam Sangye. For the next four years he focused on memorizing ritual prayers and texts of the College and when he was 19 begun his study of Buddhist metaphysics, including the Basic Debate Form (Collected Topics), with many qualified teachers.  At 24 he stood for his board debate examination on the Second Level of the Perfection of Wisdom Studies and the following year (25 years old) he received full ordination from His Most Eminence Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, the Senior Tutor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who presided over his ordination ceremony consisting of required monastic faculty.


In 1959, when the political situation in Tibet changed, he was in the new course/class on the Middle Way Philosophy and upon his escape to India he continued his monastic education at the Gaden Monastic University re-established in South India. He stood for his board debate examination on Vinaya in the new Assembly Hall of Gaden University.  In 1976 he successfully completed his board examination for Master’s Title organized by the High Level Gaden Education Board.  Having diligently studied Buddhism for 30 years, he earned his Geshe Lharampa Degree (the Highest Degree equivalent to Ph.D in Divinity in USA) in 1979. During the course of his Geshe study he also served his monastic college in the capacities of Manager and Treasurer for 6 years.  In 1980 he moved to Namgyal Monastery in Dharamshala as His Holiness had appointed him on the Teaching Faculty of the monastery.  He taught the Namgyal monks for seven years until 1987.  In 1987 His Holiness appointed him on the Teaching Faculty of Buddhism at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives for Western Students and taught there for 18 years.  During this time he also taught Buddhism to the monks of Nechung (State Oracle) Monastery.  In 2004 His Holiness appointed him to be the sixth abbot of Namgyal Monastery where he took upon himself the responsibility of teaching Buddhism and overseeing monastic discipline.  In 2009 he pleaded His Holiness for his permission to resign from the post of the abbot in order to visit his family and relatives in Tibet.  His Holiness praised him for his marked contribution in teaching Buddhism and overseeing discipline at the Namgyal Monastery and happily granted him permission for resignation.  Presently, he resides at the Kongpo House of Gaden Jangtse College of Gaden Monastic University, South India. H.E. Khensur Rinpoche also taught and led retreats at the Namgyal Institute in Ithaca, NY, and various Tibetan Buddhist Centers in U.S.A. He had also taught in South Korea. He has many Western and Eastern students.

Ven. Geshe Lobsang Khenrab

was born in 1932 in Tibet. In 1956 he joined Drepung Monastery. In 1992 Geshe-la achieved the title of

“Geshe Lharampa.”


His Eminence Khamtrul Rinpoche

is a renowned Dzogchen master of the Nyingma tradition as well as a scholar of sutra, tantra, astrology and medicine. Rinpoche is the 4th incarnation in a lineage of scholars from Kham, Tibet.


Geshe Gedun Samdup

joined Gaden Jangtse Monastery in 1971, later achieving the degree of Geshe Lharampa. Geshe-la has been living off and on in the Bay Area, generously giving teachings and leading pujas teachings at our Center.


Ven. Geshe Tenzin “Karma” Choephel


Ven. Dhubthob Rinpoche

was born in 1929 in Lhoka Draknang, south of Lhasa. In 1937 at the age of seven, Rinpoche was ordained a monk and entered Drepung Monastery where he continued his studies for the next 22 years.






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Nechung Buddhist Center · NEW ADDRESS As Of July 15 2017

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