Lama Karma Tsultrim Rinpoche (aka Sidney McQueen-Smith, M.D., or as he is affectionately known to his friends, ‘Lama Sid’) was first ordained as a monk of the Theravada order at Wat Mahatat in Thailand in 1968. His teachers at that time included the renowned vipassana-master Chao Khun Rajasiddhimuni. Following his ordination Lama Tsultrim studied and practiced the strict discipline of a monk in Thailand for two years, learning the Pali language, and engaging in an intense daily regime of vipassana meditation practice. His lengthy practice of meditation bore fruit, but upon his return to his homeland in 1970, he found it necessary to give back his robes and re-enter lay life as there was no support for Buddhist monastics in Canada at that time. Fortunately, prior to his return, while in Calcutta, India, he had met and become a student of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, spiritual head of the Ka’gyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Thanks to the guidance he’d received from His Holiness, he was able to continue practice, applying techniques of yoga and tantric practice designed specifically for people of lay status. It was thus that he learned of the value of many practices unique to Tibetan Buddhism.
After settling down in Canada, Lama Tsultrim studied to become a medical doctor, graduating with an MD degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1977. Throughout the years to come, Lama Tsultrim combined the life of a doctor with that of a siritual practicioner. Lama retired from medical practice in 2008.
Lama Tsultrim was installed as a Lama by his root master Namgyal Rinpoche in Ontario in the late seventies, and is a holder of the Namgyal lineage. Lama has received innumerable empowerments from a long list of eminent masters, including His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, Kyabje Namgyal Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and Ayang Rinpoche. Upon his retirement from medical practice in 2008, he dedicated himself to teaching the Dharma in Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, where he lived for a number of years prior to coming to the Hermitage on Denman Island. Wishing to return to monastic life, he received full Bhikshu re-ordination in 2011 from his root master, His Eminence Tai Situ Kentin Rinpoche at Sherab Ling Monastery in India. Shortly thereafter Lama Tsultrim received the title of “Rinpoche” (lit., precious one) from the latter in recognition of his position in the Ka’gyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Lama Tsultrim now lives in semi-retirement on the Hermitage property, and continues to teach Buddha-Dharma to all who come in search of his knowledge and guidance.