His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa was born in 1978 in a small forest village close to the border of Tibet at 12,000 feet in the province of Arunachal Pradesh in India. His early years were spent in school, playing with his three siblings and many friends, and helping his mother with her work as a laborer. When he was eleven years old, he was officially recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Sakya Trizin as the reincarnation of Dorje Dhenpa Kunga Namgyal, holder of the Sakya Dzongpa lineage, following predictions from both these masters. This did not surprise the young Rinpoche, because he always knew he would be a monk. His late teacher, Lama Jampal Choesang, had been eagerly requesting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to locate and identify the reincarnation of Rinpoche's predecessor, Dorje Dhenpa Jampal Lungthok. Lama Jampal and all the Sangha of Gongkar Choede waited for twenty-seven years until finally His Holiness made the announcement as to where to find the Lineage-holder's reincarnation.
Preparations were made and he was sent to Sakya College in 1989. At first, he was schooled in basic Sakya rituals, and then he joined his class in 1990. Special permission had to be obtained, as he was the youngest student to ever be admitted to the college.
After he was officially recognized by Their Holinesses, he became a monk in 1989. He received his preliminary vows from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and later novice monk's vows from His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche. He later received full Bhikshu ordination from His Eminence the late Chogye Trichen Dorje Chang.
Rinpoche studied Buddhist philosophy for nine years under the late Khempo Migmar Tsering, the principle of the Sakya College, and earned both the Shastri degree (equivalent of B.A.) and Acharya degree (equivalent of M.A.) He graduated from the college in 1999.
A plot of land was kindly given to Rinpoche while he was still a student by the Tibetan Community of Laldang, near Dehra Dun in 1994. For the next nine years, Rinpoche and his monks helped to build the current Gongkar Choede Monastery, which was possible thanks to the kind support of three principle donors and many benefactors. His Holiness the Dalai Lama presided over the inaugural consecration in March, 2003. Rinpoche has just turned twenty-six years old.
Rinpoche has received innumerable empowerments, initiations and teachings from His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, as well as His Eminence the late Chogye Trichen Dorje Chang and His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche. In the years following graduation from Sakya College he has fulfilled many retreats and has learned all the ritual practices and so forth that are at the heart of the monastic way of life.
In 2012 Rinpoche married as have other previous Gongar Dorje Dempas' of His lineage. He in now living in Taiwan, teaching and traveling extensively. His Eminence has spoken out with courage about many social problem including mental and physical abuse. While these despicable events are not new to our time, it is time to bring them out into the light of day and search for forgiveness and healing. His Eminence brings a relevance and candor along with His very deep understanding of the Lord Buddha's Teachings.