Kagyu Puntsok Gatsal Choling, (Excellent garden of the Buddhadharma), is a Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Center under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness Guru Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche. Tai Situ Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat in northern India, and it has centers in Asia, Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia; he is also the spiritual director of the Palpung monastery in the Kham region of Eastern Tibet. Tai Situpa also founded the Maitreya Institutes in different locations in the world.
Hampton Roads Buddhism (a.k.a. Kagyu Puntsok Gatsal Choling) is one of the Palpung Centers of Tai Situpa in the U.S.A. We are also affiliated with Kagyu Thubten Choling monastery in New York where there is the Maitreya Center, both of which are directed by Tai Situ Rinpoche.
We are a community or sangha of Tibetan Buddhists in the Hampton Roads area, and we were established in 1997 after one of Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s new students from Virginia Beach, Jeremy Stowell , invited Rinpoche from the New York monastery to teach in the Hampton Roads area. Lama Norlha Rinpoche, during his visit to this area, recommended that a formal Dharma Center be established and gave his instructions and blessings accordingly. He named the new Dharma Center Kagyu Phuntsok Gatsal Choling.
Lama Norlha Rinpoche has been an internationally known meditation master. He was asked by his root guru, The Lord of Refuge, Kalu Rinpoche, as well as the last Gyalwang Karmapa to come to the United States about 40 years ago and to bring the Buddhadharma in the context of the Karma Kagyu lineage to New York as well as up and down the East Coast. Lama Norlha Rinpoche did this and currently has many Dharma Centers in this country stretching from Florida to New Hampshire. He started the first three year retreat in North America and there have been hundreds of graduates from these retreats who have learned these sacred and profound teachings. Lama Norlha Rinpoche has directed monasteries in Tibet and has personally supervised the building and subsequent development of Korche Monastery for men and established the first women’s monastery in Tibet, Kala Rongo , both of which also have major teaching centers (shedras) . He established schools for hundreds of children in Tibet as well as many medical clinics in parts of Tibet that had little or no medical care. More recently, Lama Norlha Rinpoche and his staff of other Lamas have developed a ten year program of graduated teachings (The Dharma Path Program) which is open to all his students. This is especially suited for students who have been unable to participate in the traditional three year- three month retreat on the campus at the monastery.
There over the years have been regular visits to our Dharma center by Lama Norlha Rinpoche and his staff of Lamas, wherein there have been teachings in meditation and all aspects of the Buddhadharma. He has also taught at Old Dominion University to their Spiritual Studies students.