A most rare and engaging picture of Lama Zopa Rinpoche (see below). When he was barely four, He was recognized as the reincarnation of the Sherpa Nyingma yogi Kunsang Yeshe, the Lawado Lama. 

Rinpoche was born in 1946 in Thami, not far from the Lawado cave, in the Mount Everst region of Nepal, where his predecessor meditated for the last twenty years of his life.

From time to time whilst giving teachings at various centers around the world, Rinpoche would tell stories of his childhood; in Thami, and after that in Tibet, where he went when he was ten.

Rinpoche went to India when Tibet fell to the Chinses and in India Rinpoche met Lama Thubten Yeshe, with whom he would remain as heart disciple until Lama passed away in 1984.

Click here for Rinpoche's stories of his early life:


The life story of the Supreme Liberator, KUNZANG YESHE or LAWADO LAMA. Written by the heart disciple and closest attendant of the LAWADO LAMA, Lama Nyowang Chopel who lived with lama for several years and was the only one present at the time of lama's death.

The LAWADO LAMA'S BIRTH PLACE - At the south of Upper Tibet is the hidden country of the great Guru Padmasambhava, the well known Snow wall of Khumbu. The Khumbu valley is ten days walk NE of Kathmandu and its main village is Namcha bazaar. The country is divided into two valleys. Lawado is in the Thami valley NW of Tibet.

THE LAMA'S DHARMA PRACTICE - The Lawado Lama relied on different Spiritual Masters, from whom he received vast and profound full empowerment and oral transmissions of many of the secret yogic practices and prayers. In many instances the Lawado Lama received profound Mind Instructions, and invaluable commentaries on various texts.

The list of the Lawado Lama’s empowerments, oral transmissions is long and awesome. Lama Kunzang Yeshe was a Ngagpa lama, married with a son (Karma Tenzin) and daughter named Dikyi. The Lama’s daughter became a nun. To support his family, Lama became a merchant.

After a pilgrimage to India, Lama built a retreat house below a monastery. But when the house was completed, lama thought, " from the four elements I have no fire problems and no water problems. However when he looked to the mountain above his house, a superstition arose in his mind. Right above the monastery there is a big rock called the HORSE BODY which looks like a horse head. " If there is a landslide this rock will roll down and hit my Retreat. So he went up and built a wall below the rock. Still he got sick, and decided to move…

THE LAWADO CAVE - Nearby at the other side of the river in the middle of the mountain, there is a greatly blessed attaining place of holy beings called Happy Cave, or magnificent cave of the Attainments. It is a very beautiful great rock shaped like a stomach, just below the mountain pass. The local people called it Lawado ( the radish stone) or Rawudo ( the goats stone) because it was used to store radish and to protect shepherds and goats from rain and snow.

Lama Kunzang Yeshe went to the place and, by digging out the earth, enlarged it very much. People used to tease him saying that the whole rock was going to fall on him. However he dug out the earth and found a beautifully shaped stone cave with various signs. Therefore the lama said it was a self created cave and had been given to him by Guru Padmasambhava himself.

In the KadamZang Lingma, a very secret terma of Padmasambhava, it is said:" A wide and great stone cave below the mountain pass. Above it are three rocks shaped like heads. It is the happy cave, shaped like a human head.And similar to the Cool grove Cementery.

Lama Kunzang saw this text and used the cave for mediation. Eventually he left his old meditation place his wife and children and moved permanently to the Lawado Cave where he experienced many things … and did many different Retreats..

Above: Rinpoche as a young monk. .

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