Odiyan Retreat Center


Beyond the beliefs of any one religion, there is the truth of the human spirit. Beyond the power of nations, there is the power of the human heart. Beyond the ordinary mind, the power of wisdom, love, and healing energy are at work in the universe. When we can find peace within our hearts, we contact these universal powers. This is our only hope.

Remarks by Tarthang Tulku at Bodh Gaya International Peace Ceremony


Odiyan is the brainchild of Tarthang Rinpoche, by a large audience known as Tarthang Tulku. His students and followers call him Rinpoche.

Tarthang Rinpoche (1936) was born in in the mountains of Golok, in North-Eastern Tibet. As a very young child, hardly two years old, he was recognized as a tulku and given the name Kunga Gellek. The Sutrayana and Mantrayana master Tragyelung Tsultrim Dargye (b. 1866) who recognized him, made predictions about Rinpoche’s future mission as a servant of the Dharma.  He instructed the parents in the special education and training of young tulkus.

Thus, Rinpoche’s education began at an early age. Over the years he received blessings, teachings, and initiations from the greatest masters of the 20th century: Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, Zhechen Kongtrul, Adzom Gyelsey, Bodpa Tulku, and others; altogether thirty-one teachers.



In 1958, just before the Chinese red army invaded Tibet, Rinpoche followed his root guru, Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, to Bhutan and Sikkim. For many years, he was unable to return to his home country.

In 1963 he was appointed by Dudjom Rinpoche as the representative of the Nyingma tradition and given the position of research fellow at Sanskrit University in Benares, India. Six years later, in 1968, Rinpoche chose an auspicious new direction, and left for America with the wholehearted intention to bring the Dharma there.


One of the first highly educated Tibetan lamas in exile to take up residence in the western hemisphere, Rinpoche chose California as his headquarters. He has lived here ever since and has established the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center in 1969 in Berkeley. With the full support and blessings of Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, he began to unfold a vision of ‘wisdom in action’ that would eventually generate over twenty different organizations, with a significant impact on the transmission of Dharma to the West and the restoration of Dharma in Asia.