Biography of Ven. Choje Lama Shedrup
Venerable Choje Lama Karma Shedrup Chogyi Senge Kartung was born in east Tibet, in Kham Nangchen, at a place called Chodrak. It is an area which is considered a very important pilgrimage area, as it is one of the holy places of mahasiddhas including Padmasambhava and also an area in which the consort of Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal is believed to continually manifest.
Due to this and the special abilities of Choje Lama's mother, who was a great Vajrayana practitioner, many people in the area regarded her as one of the Tsogyal emanations. The local monastery is of the Karma Kagyu and Bah Rum Kagyu lineage, one of the Kagyu Schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Choje Lama's grandfather, Kagyu Karma Tashi Gyalsay Zhinpin Chogyi Lodro Pal Zangpo (Lama Karta), was one of the main lineage holders of the Bah Rum Kagyu.
Both of Choje Lama's parents were considered noble and great practitioners and were well known in the area where they were farmers until 1959 when the communist Chinese invaded the country. Many of Choje Lama's family lost their lives during this time. Choje Lama and some of his family were able to escape by embarking on a very difficult journey from east Tibet to India. Arriving at the border, many other Tibetans were there waiting to gain entry. Conditions were poor, disease rampant, and as a result further members of his family died.
Soon after arriving in India Choje Lama's family met Dr Namkha Dorje and then Choje Lama was able to enter Karma Tharjay Chokhorling Monastery. Choje Lama then spent many years studying under the abbot Lama Dodhe Rinpoche, the great accomplished Mahamudra master Lama Karten Rinpoche and many other Rinpoches. He also received many teachings and empowerments from His Holiness 16th Karmapa, Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche and many other Kagyu Rinpoches and lineage holders of Nyingma, Sakya and Gelugpa.
Later Choje Lama completed the traditional three-year retreat under Khabje Kalu Rinpoche along with many other retreats. For many years he ran the monastery and supervised the administration of further monasteries. Following the wishes of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Venerable Choje Lama Shedrup came to New Zealand with Venerable Lama Samten as representatives of His Holiness 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, and to be one the resident teachers at Karma Choeling Buddhist Monastery in Kaukapakapa.
Since this time his dharma activities to serve the lineage have flourished in Australasia and worldwide under the guidance of the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa and His Holiness 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, fulfilling their wishes to benefit others.