About me

I received my monastic vows on July 4th, 2022, from His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche at Rumtek Monastery – giving me my novice-name Karma Ösung Gyaltsen. I am, thus, a Tibetan-Buddhist novice in the Karma-Kagyü lineage, and also a student of the great master Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and a member of the international community he founded, Nalandabodhi.

From moment to moment, I do my best to support the activities and mandala of my root teacher as well as my direct guide and teacher, Acharya Lhakpa Tshering. My focus, currently, is also on studying the works of the great master Gampopa, the Tibetan language, and the Vinaya, alongside the daily practices and responsibilities of monastic life.

I started writing daily notes at the age of 17 and never stopped writing since. Though part of me is drawn toward solitude and simply wandering by myself (after all, there is so much I have yet to learn), another part of me realizes that passing on the dharma (Buddhist teachings), for the benefit of everyone, also entails sharing and engaging actively with others in today’s world. In fact, in the Vinaya, this is also part of a wandering monastic as a way to serve the community. Creating this website is one way in which I genuinely hope to accomplish this aspiration.

If you find anything of help on your own path towards a meaningful life, compassion, and freedom, please use it and put it into action. If not, please put it aside. Furthermore, I apologize for any possible errors and harm caused by my writing. I genuinely hope that you will find your own path, fulfilling the aspirations that are part of your spiritual journey. And like you, all living beings.

With that, we can keep in mind that one hundred years from now it does not matter what kind of clothing we were wearing, what house we lived in, or how much money we possessed. If we did everything we could not to cause any harm, and leave the world a better place since we were born, even if making a positive difference to only one other being, it would have been a meaningful life.

Short Biography
I grew up in a little village in the countryside, in the province Fryslân in the north of The Netherlands (Europe). I was taught to be part of an ethnic group called The Frisians and thus learned two languages: Frisian & Dutch. This experience has always made me sensitive & curious about minorities, diversity & the art of expressing yourself through language.

Religion was strongly part of my childhood in both my education and upbringing in the catholic tradition. In addition, I and my three brothers did a lot of sports and went on many adventures in Europe (e.g. climbing mountains, canoeing on wild rivers) till our parents divorced when I was 13. We continued to live with our mom. Life changed in many ways. Despite difficult times, we were all fortunate to do well in education throughout our childhood.

I decided to study sports-marketing & management (at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) when I was almost 17. Though I enjoyed that – and also had some part-time related jobs related to it – the big questions of life that I knew from the world of religion were always beneath the surface.

The book Sophie’s world, which I read during my studies, together with contemplating & writing about life as I was living alone in ’the big city’ of Rotterdam, lead me to study philosophy and a strong wish to teach it. After all, an unexamined life was not worth living – according to Socrates. And how, I wondered, can we possibly find meaning and have a happier world if we don’t ask the big questions?

Thus it happened: I studied philosophy (at the University of Utrecht) and taught the subject at secondary school for seven years at Wolfert (in Rotterdam); was part of the board of the organization for philosophy teachers for secondary education (VFVO) & Dutch Centre for Philosophy with Children (CKN); published with a friend two books about philosophy and well-being in education & upbringing. I felt very fortunate and joyful.

At the same time when I read Sophie’s world, I also learned about Tibet, the xivth Dalai Lama and Buddhism. Meditation became directly part of my life with my first long relationship that lasted about six beautiful years. We travelled to India in 2011 together and did a Tibetan-Buddhist retreat in Dharamsala. Soon I became a Buddhist practitioner. At first, this meant that I was looking for ways to make this part of my life in The Netherlands. Among other things, volunteering in prison & becoming a mindfulness trainer for both adults (tradition of MBSR) & young adults (.b – mindfulness in schools project). During this period I also studied Buddhist philosophy as a member of Nalandabodhi and became a student of the founder of that group & Buddhist teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche.

However, all kinds of events brought me in 2017 on the journey that I had wished to make for many years: travelling to Tibet. This gave my life a new direction. Started by a new romantic love I decided to live in Jerusalem and do a master’s in Jewish studies (which includes the other two Abrahamic religions) at the Hebrew University. I felt at home in Jerusalem, and am deeply affected by the relationship & life I had in ’the heart of the world’. However, my own heart kept pointing in a different direction and I could not ignore the voices within myself…

…Thus, travels to the United States, in particular Nalanda West in Seattle (one of the centers of Nalandabodhi and main seat of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in the western parts of this world), I found myself studying Tibetan at Sarah College (India), and now continue my wanders through this world, following the monastic ethical conduct and practices as taught by Buddha Shakyamuni and recorded in the Vinaya while also supporting my teachers, sangha, and beyond. The leap into the unknown of being a monastic in today’s world is scary at times, but also joyful and full of wonder.

Read more about my novice ordination, the spiritual journey, and my path here.