Traktung Rinpoche (a.k.a. Stuart Kirkpatrick) is the leader of the Ann Arbor-based Vajrayana Buddhist community at Tsogyelgar Dharma Center.

Traktung Rinpoche is believed by some to be the reincarnation of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, a Tibetan mystic who lived in the 19th century, who was in turn an emanation of Dorje Trollo.

In the 1990s, Traktung Rinpoche was known as Swami Prem Pranama, and the Tsogyelgar Dharma Center property was known as the Crazy Cloud Hermitage.[1]

The office of the Dalai Lama has refused to recognize Traktung Rinpoche as the reincarnation of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje. [1,2] In 2002, Traktung Rinpoche responded to this in an interview [2]:

I: And what about this question of the Dalai Lama's recognition?
TR: "There is simply is no 'what' about it. What does the Dalai Lama have to do with it? Namkha Rinpoche, who is the holder of the family lineage of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, recognized me. Namkha Rinpoche, who was recognized by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche as a tulku of Trak Ngak Lingpa, has also become my student and accepted me as his root Lama. End of story. Either he is right or wrong -- I have to decide for myself and decide what it means to me. Frankly, I do not see how it concerns anyone else -- unless they have some connection with Do Khyentse. Namkha Rinpoche has great affection and respect for the Dalai Lama as both Lama and King. I however have nothing in particular for or against the Dalai Lama. He is not my Lama or my King, nor am I a rock star groupie."

Traktung Rinpoche was born as Stuart Alan Kirkpatrick, the son of former U.S. ambassador to the UN and neoconservative Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and Evron Kirkpatrick.

References and Notes


I had little idea what to expect. The entrance hall was already hung with dozens of coats as I came in, and the meeting hall, colorfully decorated with Tibetan wall coverings, was packed with over 60 people, mainly sitting cross-legged on the floor, some in chairs against the back wall. The two lamas entered, their palms pressed together, fingertips pointed upward, in a traditional Eastern greeting. They were dressed in broad, white skirts with maroon sashes slung over their shoulders. Lama Traktung Rinpoche was a heavy-set man in his early forties, with fair skin, blonde hair, a moustache, short-cropped goatee, and wearing a pair of ivory earrings. A'dzom Rinpoche, who preceded him to the dais, was also very fair-skinned, almost Nordic in appearance. The assembly bowed and began a chant that lasted for five or ten minutes, some with liturgical books open before them, but most singing the Tibetan words by rote in remarkable unison.

P: Tantra is the hot blood of spiritual practice. It smashes the taboo against unreasonable happiness; a thunderbolt path, swift, joyful, and fierce. There are many different types of paths. Some touch you like a gentle spring rain, but Tantra is the wild summer thunder storm churning with creation, destruction, bliss and emptiness. Tantra is a wild mother tiger - if you approach her with right motivation, right intention, and integrity, she'll suckle you at her breast; but if you come to her in a sloppy way, she'll rip apart your body-mind, eat you for dinner, and shit out what's left.


Tsogyelgar Dharma Center. (2007). Tsogyelgar Website. Accessed 11/20/07 from

Traktun Rinpoche, Dharma Dictionary.