Ven. Thamthog Rinpoche was born in 1951 in Lithang, eastern Tibet. When he was six he was recognized and reconfirmed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and by the tutor of His Holiness, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, as the reincarnation of the Twelfth Thamthog, abbot and spiritual guide of three monasteries in Lithang. As a child he devoted himself to study at the monastery of Sera Je in Tibet and, in exile, after 1959 he continued his studies at the monastic university of Sera Je in the south of India. In 1982 he obtained the highest degree in Buddhist studies—Geshe Lharampa.
Afterwards he entered the tantric monastery of Gyümed to widen his knowledge of tantra. Rinpoche has received the entire transmission of common and secret teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from his two tutors and from other authoritative masters of Tibet.
Since 1987, when he settled in Italy at the request of his master Geshe Tenzin Gonpo, he lives and teaches at the Ghe Pel Ling Institute in Milan and, at regular intervals, he teaches to his disciples scattered in Tibet, India, United States, Canada, Japan and in major European countries. Currently he is spiritual guide of Ghe Pel Ling Institute in Milan, of Kalachakra Centre in Ventimiglia and Ciang Ciub Centre in Sondrio.
In the twenty years he stayed in Milan, Rinpoche has proven himself to be, in fact, a true, great Dharma Master. From a doctrinal point of view, he has taught an increasing number of Italian disciples the complete path shown by the Buddha.
His teachings are always given with extreme care and attention to ensure they are understandable to Westerners without detracting from the original meaning. Despite the growing number of disciples, he always maintains a relationship of affection, caring for them in every way, using sweetness or severity as required, showing that a qualifed Dharma Master with true compassion will show different aspects according to the needs of the students.
In 1993, he returned to Tibet, where he visited a great number of monasteries and villages, giving teachings, empowerments, commentaries and oral transmissions, for a period three months, to an audience that when up to ten thousand people.
During his 1996 trip, Rinpoche again took care of his people, giving other teachings and trying, in particular, to teach the value of Buddhist ethics to many young people who were engaging in negative actions such as drinking alcohol, stealing or hunting. Thanks to the confidence in the value of the Rinpoche and his lineage, there has been a very positive response and a decrease of these destructive attitudes. Also during this trip, Rinpoche made a gift of a thousand statues of Tara and donated all the money he received to charity.
In 2000 and 2004, along with numerous disciples and Italian friends, Rinpoche travelled back to Lithang and, as during previous trips, gave away any offering he received, and took care of the needs of the population. Ven Thamthog Rinpoche has given rise to various charity projects including the reconstruction of the hospital, school and hostel of Lithang. Due to his tireless work, the Institute has grown increasingly, becoming a point of reference for those seeking a more authentic and spiritual way to live their lives. Rinpoche has many disciples: in addition to one hundred thousand of Tibet, he also has many students in Sera, Drepung and Gaden, India, and many others in the United States, Canada, Japan and major European countries.
In August 2009, the Venerable Lama Thamthog Rinpoche was appointed abbot of Namgyal Monastery by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and since then resides in Dharamsala, India. The Namgyal Monastery (which occupied an entire wing of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet), is now situated opposite the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, is the personnal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and provides facilities when His Holiness is teaching. Namgyal Monastery is the home of hundreds of monks of all schools of Buddhism who wish to deepen their knowledge and practice of the Kalachakra Tantra and the complex rituals that accompanies this important initiation.
source: http://www.gpling.org/thamthog-rinpoche.html (google translated from Italian with some additional editing).
Official Ghe Pel Ling Institute website (in Italian): http://www.gpling.org/index.html