Venerable Kenchen Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa
Venerable Khenchen Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa Rinpoche was born in 1931 in the town of Sakya in Tibet. At the age of seven he started his religious education in the monastery Sakya Thubten Lhakhang Chenmo, the headquarter of the Sakya tradition. ln the first year he received the basic education and learned many different texts by heart, which were studied and recited in the monastery. After various preliminary studies he devoted himself to the five major subjects: Pramana (Logic), Vinaya (Monastic Discipline), Madhyamika (the Philosophy of the Middle Way), Prajnaparamita (the Perfection of Wisdom) and Abhidharma (Philosophy).
During this study period of twenty years he also received the entire Lamdre teachings at the age of seventeen and undertook various retreats. Then he successfully passed the Kachu exam. At that time he also led the annual Vajra-Cham dances of the Sakya monastery, which took place on the last day of the recitation of the entire Kangyur. At the age of 20 he took the highest Bhikshu vows. Finally he completed his studies and was awarded the Geshe Rabjampa title, the highest level degree of the Monastic University. Then he started to teach his own disciples. Meanwhile he himself received further instructions on the Thirteen Golden Dharmas and other texts.
1960 he left Tibet and went to Indian exile. After three years in the Sakya Guru monastery in Darjeeling he could continue his studies at the school for young lamas in Dalhousie. 1967 he was sent to the Tibetan Institute in Rikon, Switzerland, by His Holiness the XIV Dalaï–Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile. His teaching activities expanded, he gave instructions to Tibetans of all age groups in Switzerland as well as Europeans in the Buddhist centres he had founded. 1974 he prepared an exhibition on Tibetan culture at the University of Zurich for six months. 1988 he went to Sarnath to a meeting with His Holiness the XIV Dalaï–Lama, His Holiness Sakya Trizin and the High Lamas of all traditions, which was repeated in 2000 in Dharamsala. 1999 he was the first to give instructions on Buddhism at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. In the year 2004 he successfully undertook a six-month Hevajra retreat.
In the year 2010, in a ceremonial act during the Lamdre teachings in Kuttolsheim, His Holiness Sakya Trizin bestowed the honoritic title of Khenchen to him, which means Great Abbot. On this auspicious day of Chökhor Düchen, which celebrates the Buddha's first turning of the Wheel of Dharma, the teaching on the Four Noble Truths, His Holiness the Sakya Trizin wanted to show his great appreciation and to express his best wishes to Khenchen Lama Sherab Gyaltsen. Amipa. He emphasized that Khenchen Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa had undertaken extraordinary efforts over the period of half a century and was still doing, that he had established many Buddist Centres, had helped a great number of people, had supported monasteries in Tibet, India and Nepal and so many monks and nuns. With words of deep recognition His Holiness Sakya Trizin invited all participants to join in his great gratitude to Khenchen Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa and in his big joy to bestow the honoritic title of Khenchen to him − who already holds the title of Rabjampa (Geshe), Doctor of Higher Sciences − and at the same time to offer him a long–life ritual wishing him all the best and great success for the future.
With the conferment of the title of Khenchen the short form of addressing Khenchen Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa is Khen Rinpoche.