Pema Khandro is a scholar and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the founder of the non-profit organization Ngakpa International and oversees its projects, the Dakini Mountain Retreat Center, the Buddhist Studies Institute and the Yogic Medicine Institute as well as Ngakpa House, a charity which supports the education of children and elders in the Himalayas.
Pema Khandro is an authorized Lama and lineage holder of the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages and one of few westerners recognized and enthroned as a tulku, a Buddhist leader who carries on the lineage of a predecessor.
She ordained in the Nyingma tradition and was authorized to pass this non-monastic lineage of ordained Buddhist Yogis, also known as naljorpas and ngakpas on to her students, a task which she has been dedicated to since 1999.
Her work is also academic. She spends her days studying Tibetan Buddhist history and researching the philosophical tradition of the Buddhist Yogis, non-celibate contemplative adepts of Tibet. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a a master’s degree specializing in the study of Tibetan Buddhism and is currently at the University of Virginia where she is completing a Phd specializing in Buddhist Studies. She speaks English, Tibetan, Chinese and Spanish languages.
As a teacher of Vajrayana, she specializes in Dzogchen, a contemplative and philosophical tradition which emphasize cultivating awareness and presence as the goal of the path. Pema Khandro also specializes in teaching Chod and the other esoteric Buddhist practices for lay people and householders which focus on direct access to cultivating intrinsic wisdom.
Pema Khandro emphasizes the importance of the body-mind connection, natural health and nutrition. She is certified as Tibetan Naturopath and Ayurvedic practitioner, and three times certified as an advanced hatha yoga teacher. She has led dozens of courses in nutrition, yoga teacher trainings, yoga therapy trainings, meditation trainings and courses in natural medicine for health practitioners from every field.
Today, Pema Khandro continues to be an advocate of the relevance of traditions of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis as Buddhism takes shape in North America. She runs a residential center, leads a thriving community, runs a clinic and Ngakpa Intl, the non-profit organization which oversees Dakini Mountain, the Yogic Medicine Institute and the Buddhist Studies Institute. She teaches courses regularly, pursues research projects and continues to cultivate a close relationship with her students and friends who work together in Ngakpa Intl and the North American Community of Buddhist Yogis.