Board of Directors

The Dharma Sanctuary Board of Directors

Lama Karma Rinchen:

Lama Rinchen Photo

Lama, as he is affectionately known, is resident director of Kagyu Thegchen Ling in Honolulu.  Lama came to Hawaii in 1977 at the request of his teacher, Kalu Rinpoche to fulfill the wishes of many students who wanted a resident teacher.  Around that time numerous other lamas of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage were opening up centers in the U.S.  In addition to looking after the Honolulu center, Lama Rinchen is director of Karma Jur Med Ling in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Lama Rinchen is from Gyarong, an area in eastern Tibet not far from the large Chinese city of Chengdu.  As a young man Lama completed the three year retreat at Palpung Monastery in nearby Kham..  He is particularly close to Tai Situ Rinpoche, as well as numerous other Karma Kagyu lamas.  In 1959 he escaped from Tibet and lived in India until his posting in Hawaii.

Lama Rinchen, having spent many years as spiritual director of the Honolulu Dharma center, is now passing on the torch to Lama Tempa from Bhutan.  Lama Rinchen plans on more time for retreat, traveling and teaching, and more stupa building!

Andrew Fitts

Andy Fitts Photo

Andrew lives on the island of Kauai with his wife, Prairie and is resident director of The Dharma Sanctuary.  He has been following the Tibetan Buddhist path since the mid 70’s, having taken refuge with Dudjom Rinpoche in 1976.  From 1980 until 2000 he lived in Boulder, Colorado and studied under Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, completing a masters degree in Buddhist and Western Psychology at Naropa University in 1982.  In 1987 he met Kalu Rinpoche and his devoted disciple, Lama Karma Rinchen.   From that moment, he and Lama developed a close association, with a similar desire to build stupas.  In 1995 Andrew began receiving teachings from Sogyal Rinpoche, and has been active in supporting the Rigpa sangha, organizing a stupa building project in July 2006 at the Lerab Ling temple in France.

Andrew was an owner and president of a wholesale clothing company in Boulder for 20 years.  He sold his interest in this business in 2001 and moved to Kauai to dedicate himself to the vision of The Dharma Sanctuary, to immerse himself in the world of tropical botany, and to fulfill his wish to build stupas with Lama Karma Rinchen.

Mark Van Wagner

Mark photo

Mark lives on the island of Kauai, having built a home near the Kauai Peace Park.  He has been a student of Sogyal Rinpoche since 1980, and has been an instructor in the Rigpa sangha for ten of those years.  Mark was instrumental in helping establish Rigpa centers in both Chicago and Boulder, and has helped with Rigpa building projects in both France and at the Tenzin Gyatso Institute in upstate New York.

Mark holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1982.  He is an accomplished artist and entrepreneur with a background in real estate.  Mark brings his management skills to the Foundation, helping organize sangha participation at the Peace Park.

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