Lama Kunzang Rinpoche (Rodney P. Devenish) is an elder Lama in the Namgyal lineage (rnam-rgyal snyan-rgyud) of the Ka’gyu Buddhist school of Tibet, a nine hundred year old school of Buddhist spiritual practice, yoga, and meditation. He was a direct student of the late great Karma Tenzin Dorje Namgyal Rinpoche (1931-2003) and continues the non-sectarian, distinctly Western spirit of his teacher’s universalist approach to Buddhist meditation.
Lama’s involvement in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition began in Scotland in 1964 with the Vajracarya Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987). As a young English student of the Vajracarya Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche over a six year period, living in the same house with him until Trungpa Rinpoche’s departure for America, provided an exceptionally deep experience of the rich Ka’gyu tradition of meditation. During the time that he was with Trungpa Rinpoche, Lama Rodney also received intensive training in other Asian traditions of meditation including Mahamudra in the Sechen tradition with Akong Tulku; specialized Vajrayana practice from Benchen Lama Chime Rinpoche; Vipassana Meditation from the Theravada-master Chao Khun Sobhana Dhammasudhi, a Thai monk; and Zen practice under the guidance of Sochu-san, a monk from Kyoto, Japan.
In the winter of 1969-70, Lama began his apprenticeship as a teacher of meditation in Toronto at the direction of the Venerable Kyabje Namgyal Rinpoche. Later in 1970, in Ontario, he was installed as a Lama by the Venerable Benchen Chime Rinpoche in the presence of his beloved root master, Namgyal Rinpoche. In 1972 the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, along with Lama Gyaltsen granted him the authority to begin teaching Mahamudra.
Lama lived as an ordained Buddhist monk for ten years, spending considerable time in many isolated, wilderness meditation retreats, alone amidst forest and mountains – often during winters, isolated for three to four months at a time by depth of snow. He has travelled in India, Nepal and other places throughout Asia, studying Buddhism, yoga and meditation. Lama Rodney is today a respected elder and spiritual guide for a number of younger meditation teachers and yoga instructors.
During the 90’s, Lama and his wife led a meditation center in San Francisco at the behest and on behalf of another of his spiritual teachers, the great Dzogchen-master Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche. During the years that he studied with Khenchen, Lama received teachings and practices pertaining to the Nyingma school of Tibet, particularly those of the eighteenth-century wisdom-master Kunkhyen Jigme Lingpa. These practices were combined with translation work and study of both the Ka’gyu and Nyingma tantras.
Lama Rodney is the author of three books on the subject of Buddhist Meditation and is known as a skilled teacher of meditation as taught within the Karma-Ka’gyu yoga tradition. Lama has been teaching at the Hermitage for more than ten years now and is revered and loved by his many students.
Lama Rodney is a true jewel in our midst, a man with presence like no one I have known. He is the mainstay of the Denman Hermitage, and I would unreservedly recommend this humble individual to anyone, Westerner or otherwise, who is ready to develop a serious meditation practice in order to achieve spiritual awakening. ~ B. R.
There are very few truly wise meditation masters in the West. Author, Tibetan scholar, humanitarian, and exceptional meditation teacher, Rodney Devenish, is one of them. I wish you every opportunity to learn from him whenever you can. ~ C. M.