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Buddhist Masters


The eminent Tibetan Buddhist teachers pictured below have blessed Sunray Meditation Society with their presence and teachings.  Click on their names to see more detail on the Vajra Dakini Nunnery website.

HH Chetsang Rinpoche
Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche
Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen
Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche
Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche





Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita
perceives that all five skandhas are empty and is saved from all suffering and distress.

Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form.
That which is form is emptiness,that which is emptiness form. The same is true of feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness.

Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear,
are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease. Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes
and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness. No ignorance and also no extinction of it,
and so forth until no old age and death and also no extinction of them. No suffering, no origination,
no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain.

The Bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita and the mind is no hindrance;
without any hindrance no fears exist. Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in Nirvana.

In the three worlds all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita and attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi.

Therefore know that Prajna Paramita is the great transcendent mantra, is the great bright mantra,
is the utmost mantra, is the supreme mantra which is able to relieve all suffering and is true, not false.
So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra which says:

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

Translation by the Kuan Um School of Zen


Sunray Buddhist Traditions

Sunray is the meeting place of three wisdom streams: the Ywahoo lineage of the Ani Yunwiwa (Cherokee) people, and the Tibetan Buddhist schools of the Nyingma and the Drikung Kagyu.

The meetings of Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo with Buddhist lineage heads H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche fulfilled prophecies on both side: Buddhism would flourish in the land of the red people; the true brothers of the East, wearing red hats and coats (such as Tibetans monks wear), were relatives bringing medicines needed in this time of purification.

Before and after these meetings, Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo received visions and teachings from Buddhist saints. Guru Padmasambhava (the 9th century Buddhist Tantric master) instructed that in the ultimate view, the display of Sunray’s diverse activities was the manifestation of his Dzogchen vision of Buddhism in this time and place. He offered to her the design of the future monastery.

Directed by Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo, Sunray has been offering training in these lineage streams for thirty years. The Buddhist curriculum was first guided by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, through the kindness of Khenchen Palden Sherab and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Rinpoches, and then since 1986, by H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche.  H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche recognized Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo’s son as Changlochen Rinpoche, one of four tulkus (reincarnated lamas) of Drikung Til monastery, the heart center of the Drikung Kagyu lineage.  At that time, Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo pledged to build a monastery so that western tulkus and monastics could be trained in the West and their activities supported.

In 1984 Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo established the Medicine Wheel Mandala Society to focus on the Buddhist stream of teachings.  First Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, then Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche offered regular teachings and the society met biannually to study together, with people coming from throughout the United States.  In 1997, Bhiksuni Nyima Drolma received novice ordination from H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche.  She committed to actualizing the vision of Ven. Dhyani Ywayoo and H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche.  In 1999 H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche sited the monastery and a Peace Stupa on land within the Peace Village. In 2001, Sunray, guided by Lama Palden and Drupon Samten, built and consecrated a Peace Stupa. In 2002 Khenmo took full ordination in Taiwan and 2004 was installed as the Khenmo or abbess of Vajra Dakini Nunnery by H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche at the Drikung stupa in Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha Sakyamuni.

Vajra Dakini Nunnery is a contemplative community of ordained women, and a place of training and practice for monastics and lay practitioners, women and men, old and young. Part of the Drikung Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, Vajra Dakini welcomes practitioners from all lineages. At the time of the consecration by H.H. Drikung Kabgyon Chetsang Rinpoche, the nunnery officially receives the lineage blessing to open and begin its work serving the Dharma and the community. 


Buddhist teachings offered at Sunray*

HH Chetsang Rinpoche, the Drikung Kyabgon, head of the Drikung Kagyu lineage 

1986 Vajrayogini, Chakrasamvara Mahamudra and Ngondro Teachings and empowerment

1994 Kunrig Empowerment; Amitayus long life; Bodhicitta teachings

1999 Serkangma, Green Tara & Drikung Tara prayer, Mahamudra Teachings


Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, Pema Sangdzin Khandro

1984 Medicine Wheel Mandala Society forms

1986 - 2003 Annual Yeshe Tsoygal/ Vajrayogini teachings begin

1994 Vajrasattva teachings

1995 Yeshe Tsogyal 3 month retreat 

1996  Prajnaparamita teachings

1997  Vajrasattva teachings

2000 – 2002 Teachings on "The Nature of Mind"


Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche: senior Khenpo of Jangchunb Ling, the seat of the Drikung Kagyu in India; founder of the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, MD

1989 "In Search of Stainless Ambrosia" teachings

1993 Jewel Ornament of Liberation teachings; White Tara Empowerment

1995  Chenrezig Empowerment and teachings

1996 Green Tara Empowerment and week-long ngon dro teachings

1997 Amitayus empowerment and "special Ngon dro" and Illusory Body teachings Refuge and Lay ordination vows

2000 "Transformation of Suffering" teachings, Jambala empowerment; Consecration of stupagrounds

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche: Drikung Kagyu lineage

1997 Milarepa empowerment and week-long teachings; Charkasamvara empowerment


HE Ontul Rinpoche: Drikung Kagyu lineage

1998 Chod teachings and empowerment; Shakyamuni Buddha empowerment


Ven. Ayang Tulku Rinpoche: Drikung Kagyu lineage

1984, 1987 Powa, Chod, Miarepa

1996 Vajrasattva empowerment and teachings; Achi Chokyi Drolma empowerment and teachings


Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche: Nyingma Lineage

1981 Sakyamuni Buddha teachings and Empowerment

1983 Powa Empowerment

1984 Ngondro Empowerment

1985 Yeshe Tsoygal Empowement

1989 Display of Wisdom of Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal

1990 Guru Dragpo empowerment

1991 Vajrasattva empowerment and Ri wo Sang Cho (Mountain of Burnt offerings) teachings

1992 Vajrayogini empowerment

1993 Medicine Buddha empowerment and teachings

1995 Tibetan Fire Puja teachings

1996 Prajnaparamita teachings

2001 Yeshe Tsogyal empowerment and teachings 


Drupon Samten and Lama Palden

2001 Construction and consecration of a "Peace Stupa" on the Peace Village

* This list of teachings is incomplete, and will be updated when we can.  


DRIKUNG KYABGON, Konchok Tenzin Kunzang Trinley Lhundrup (Chetsang), was born to the prominent Tsarong family in Lhasa, on the 4th day of the 6th Tibetan month in the Fire Dog Year, 1946.  At Drikung Thel, Drikung Kyabgon was formally enthroned. From H.E. Lho Drongdrul Rinpoche, he received all the Drikung transmissions and all the Drikung Kagyu Dharma Protector's empowerments.  At the age of eleven, Drikung Kyabgon gave his first public teachings and transmission of the Great Drikung Phowa, during the Monkey Year ceremonies.

In 1956, Drikung Kyabgon's parents fled to India. He stayed behind at the Drikung monastery. In 1959, Communist China closed the monastery. Fortunately, he was adopted by his former tutor, H.E. Gyabra Rinpoche. In 1969, he was assigned to a farm in the countryside, working fifteen hours a day of hard physical labor. In 1975, he set out alone to cross the border of Tibet into Nepal. 

Although Drikung Kyabgon had lived an "ordinary lifestyle", he had strictly kept his monk's vows.  In 1978, he decided to go back to India and resume his monastic lifestyle once again. Drikung Kyabgon did the three year retreat at Lama Yuru Monastery, under the guidance of the Meditation Master, Kyunga Rinpoche.  In 1985, Drikung Kyabgon received full monk's ordination from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, during the Kalachakra initiation in Bodh Gaya.Drikung Kyabgon received teachings and initiations from many highly accomplished lamas and Rinpoches of different traditions. From His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama he received ChakraSamvara, Kalachakra and Yamantaka initiations and teachings.  From His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa he received Milarepa empowerment, Six Yogas of Naropa and other teachings.  From His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche he received the Dam-Ngak-Zod (transmission and teachings from the eight schools of Tibetan Buddhism), Nging-Thig­-Yeshe and Yeshe-Lama (the highest Dzogchen teachings), Gyachen-Ka-Zod (the ten knowledge's) and Gyu-Sangwa-Nyingpo. 

Drikung Kyabgon founded the Drikung Kagyu Institute, at JangChub Ling, where 150 monks are educated in basic education and religious philosophy, a nunnery to educate and support nuns, Songtsen Library where documentation materials on the ways of living, philosophy and religious thought of the peoples of the Himalayas are to be centrally registered. In addition, he founded a retreat center for traditional training of Lamas in three year retreats and is currently building a University for higher studies in philosophy.

Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, Pema Sangzin Khandro (her Tibetan name and title), Founder and Spiritual Director of Sunray, holder of the Ywahoo Lineage and Chief of the Green Mountain Ani Yunwiwa. Her training to carry the ancestral traditions began in early childhood, under the direction of her grandparents and elders.  As repositories of the sacred knowledge of their people, they passed to Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo the spiritual duty and blessing to carry the traditions on which the work and teachings of Sunray are based.  The elders foresaw Ven. Dhyani’s duty to be involved in the manifestation of world peace, and that this work would bring many people and nations again to see the clear light of right relationship.

“The Ywahoo lineage was established 2,860 years ago by the “Keeper of Mysteries,” the Pale One, a great teacher whose name is spoken only in ceremonies.  When the people had forgotten their original instructions, neglected their spiritual duties, and become warlike, the Pale One came to rekindle the sacred wisdom fire. Born in a miraculous manner, his body emitted great light, he appeared in many places at once and he spoke the language of all creatures. The teachings of the Pale One flourished throughout the Americas. He re-established the building of temples and schools, reformed the priestcraft training, and gave methods for cultivating and maintaining peace within individual, family, clan, nation, and planet.

There have been twenty-seven Ywahoos entrusted to maintain the teachings, to ensure methods of stabilizing the mind in times of confusion. These teachings were passed to Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo from her grandfather, Eonah Fisher (Bear Fishing), who received the teachings from Eli Ywahoo, his father-in-law, who was Ven. Dhyani’s great-grandfather, and from her grandmother, Nellie Ywahoo. From the time when she was a child Ven. Dhyani was aware of great beings in other dimensions. Thus she knew Milarepa , Guru Padmasambhava and Dorje Chang as teachers before being formally introduced to Buddhism. She also received important teachings from Grandfathers Mad Bear Anderson, David Monongye and Phillip Deer, and Twyla Neitsh.