Where did you grow up? I was born in the border region between Nepal and Tibet, high in the Himalayas. When I was 11, I moved to northern India.
When did you become a Buddhist and why? I was born into a Buddhist family, with the distinguished teacher Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche as my father and many other great practitioners as my relatives. I guess I would say that I formally became a Buddhist when I was 9. I was having panic attacks, and I felt that Buddhist practices would help. In the end, the panic attacks brought me deeper into Buddhism.
What’s your favorite breakfast on retreat? Tsampa, a roasted barley flour that you can mix with things like fresh butter, dried fruit, nuts, and milk.
What’s your daily practice? I reserve the first few hours of the morning for formal meditation and try to have moments of recognition of my experience throughout my day.
Favorite aphorism? “You’re perfect. Right now, right here.” This phrase comes from my father and stays with me during everything I do.
What’s the longest you’ve gone without meditating? How do you get back on track? When I travel, I sometimes don’t have time to do formal meditation for weeks. When the traveling is over, I make it a point to create time for formal meditation as soon as possible.
Book on your nightstand? I have two books with me at all times—one is on Mahamudra, the other one is on Dzogchen. I used to have paper copies, but now I’ve downloaded them on my phone.
What do you like to do in your free time? Physical exercise, like hiking and walking. During the pandemic, I also took up gardening.
Coffee or tea? Coffee, especially black coffee.
Most used emoji? 🙏
What would you do if you weren’t a Buddhist teacher? I might have become a scientist.
Join Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche this January for Tricycle’s Meditation Month. Sign up at tricycle.org/mm22 for a free 31-day meditation challenge featuring weekly guided practices.
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