The Venerable Lama Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche was born in 1941. On the morning of his birth a small snow fell with the flakes in the shape of lotus petals. He was raised in the village of Joephu in the Dhoshul region of Khampa in eastern Tibet near the sacred mountain Jowo Zegyal. The family was semi-nomadic, living in the village during the winter and moving with the herds to high mountain pastures where they lived in yak hair tents during the summers. The monastery for the Dhoshul region was called Gochen and his father's family had the hereditary responsibility for administration of the business affairs of the monastery. His grandfather had been both administrator and chantmaster in charge of the ritual ceremonies.
Beginning education at age four, his father taught him to read. At age six he started learning the chants and ritual ceremonies. At age seven he started studying at the monastery and began ngon dro practice. Later that year he went on his first retreat for one month.
At the age of twelve he went to Riwoche monastery, which was one of the oldest and largest monastic institutes in eastern Tibet. Here he was trained to become the next abbot at Gochen. He completed his studies just as the Chinese invasion of Tibet reached that area.
In 1960 he and his family were forced into exile. They left in the middle of winter and were captured and escaped three times during the journey. His sisters died during the escape and his mother died shortly after reaching India. He and his father and younger brother lived in refugee camps in India. He was eventually appointed to teach at Sanskrit University in Varanasi and was also a founding member of the Institute for Tibetan High Studies, where he was head of the Department of Nyingmapa Studies.
In 1980 he made his first trip to America. In 1984 he moved to New York to work closely with H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche, head of the Nyimgmapa lineage. In 1985 he founded the Dharma Samudra Publishing Company and has subsequently published a Tibetan edition in eleven volumes of the termas of Tsasum Lingpa. These teachings were held at Gochen monastery, which was founded by Tsasum Lingpa. After the Tibetan diaspora he searched through the refuge communities in India, Nepal and Sikkim to locate and assemble these texts.
In 1988 he and his brother, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, founded the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center, which is incorporated as a nonprofit religious organization. The Padmasambhava Buddhist Center now has chapters in several cities in the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico and in Moscow, Russia. The primary centers are in New York City and at Padma Samye Ling in Delaware County, New York, where a retreat and study center is being built. He has taught in Tibet, India, Nepal, England, France Belgium, Australia, Canada, Russia, Puerto Rico and throughout the United States.
Khenchen Palden is the author of six works in the Tibetan language. These include a book of poetry titled Ornamentation for the Public Ear, a grammar text called Explanation of Tibetan Grammar, two works dealing with philosophy, Clearly Establishing the Buddha and His Teachings as Without Error through Clear Reasoning and The Essential and Profound Meaning of Madhyamika, a work on logic, Madhyamika and tantra entitled The Flaming Light of the Sun and the Moon, and finally a history book called The History and Life Stories of the Masters of the Late School of Tibetan Buddhism, dealing with the 11th to the 15th centuries.
His works in English include The Light of the Dharma; The Prajnaparamita, The Six Perfections; and a commentary on the Heart Sutra entitled Ceaseless Echoes of the Great Silence. He is currently at work on commentaries on dream yoga and ngon dro practice titled The Dark Red Amulet. He is also completing an autobiography. His book The Flaming Light of the Sun and the Moon is currently being translated by the Nalanda Translation Committee in Boulder, Colorado. The Light of the Dharma and The Prajnaparamita, the Six Perfections have been translated in Spanish and are currently being translated into Russian.
He is also working on building a monastic university on a piece of land near the Deer Park in Sarnath, India. He maintains a travel schedule that includes yearly stops at each of the Padmasambhava Buddhist centers, including trips to India, Puerto Rico and Russia.