Venerable Lama Karma Samten
Venerable Lama Karma Samten is a monk in the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in West Tibet, his parents originally were from East Tibet. At the age of 5 he went to stay with his uncle in a cave. He learnt to read and write and studied the preliminary Buddhist philosophies here. He also discovered a taste of solitude.
At the age of 10 years the Chinese army invaded Tibet in 1959. He managed to escape with his family and other Tibetans through Nepal to India. Many people died on the way, including his whole family of 5 sisters, 4 brothers, father and mother. He was the sole survivor.
In India, he joined a Tibetan refugee camp and worked on the roads. In 1963 he took the Noble Vow from Ven Khenpo Chime Rinpoche, a Sakya Abbott and received all his Buddhist philosophy teachings from him. At the age of 21 yrs he took full ordination in the Karma Kagyu tradition from the Very Ven Khyabje Kalu Rinpoche, and went directly into 3 year retreat, for 3 years, 3 months and 3 days. He completed this 3 times in succession.
He wanted to continue in retreat but in 1980 HH 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rang Jung Rigpe Dorje, the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, sent him to New Zealand as resident Lama of the New Zealand centre. He established a traditional temple, built the biggest Buddha statue in the Southern Hemisphere, and 8 stupas. He also developed a traditional Tibetan healing clinic. He retired in 2004 and now concentrates on his personal practice and international teaching program through his organization Dharma Chakra Dhana Paramita. His teaching tours include visits to New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and India.
Lama Samten is an artist and musician. He has recorded several CD’s of traditional chants and prayers for his students including the 2004 Grammy Award winning “Sacred Tibetan Chant, the Monks of Sherab Ling Monastery” on the Naxos World label. He is the author of many books including “Living with Death & Dying” and other traditional Tibetan Buddhist commentaries for practice. His teachings in English are known for their direct and earthy manner, sprinkled with a sense of humor.
Special Thanks to Kate (Catherine Raynor Brown) for the biography