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Largen Lama

Largen Lama is Yongdzin Rinpoche’s attendant, and in this role, has spent a lot of time at Shenten. He learned French very quickly and became friends with many western students who lived nearby or who came to Shenten for retreats. Now, he resides back at Triten Norbutse where he devotedly cares for his master, but he likes to visit Shenten when he can. He keeps connections with people in Europe, Mexico, the U.S., and other countries, using socialusing the social media and sharing wonderful photos of everyday life with his beloved master, Yongdzin Rinpoche.


Largen Namgyal Tsuldim was born in 1990 in a remote Himalayan village called Bijer in Dolpo district, located near the Bonpo Samling monastery, one of the oldest Bon monasteries in the Dolpo Mustang area.
His father, Ringdzin Gyaltsen, and his mother Pema Khandro decided, before his birth, that if the new born baby were a girl she would stay with the mother. And if it were a boy, he would stay with the father.
His parents separated soon after he was born and very soon after his mother abandoned the family to return to her native village, far from Bijer.
His father remarried and had another son with his new wife and couldn't take care of young Largen. Subsequently Largen had to learn to take care of himself. He lived on the street and begged for food and clothes. At night he slept with the goats. Life was very hard for the young boy. Sometimes his grandmother took care of him and fed him. The young boy was however very fortunate not to get sick, as he had no access to healthcare or health facilities.
One day, a group of Austrian researchers from Vienna arrived in the village.
During their first visit they decided to help two young boys and took them to Triten Norbutse monastery in Swayambounath in Nepal, to be taken care of. During their second visit they decided to again help two other small boys and also take them to the monastery.
A Dzogchen practitioner, called Yungdrung Dargye, that lived in Samling monastery humbly requested that they take Largen to Kathmandu, explaining his difficult situation. He was only four years old when he went with the two Austrians and accompanied by Phuntsok, a young monk from the monastery.
He said goodbye to his father, but sadly his mother never came to see him.
Largen arrived at Triten Norbutse Monastery in 1993 and took refuge with Yongdzin Rinpoche at the tender age of four. Yongdzin Rinpoche was like a father for him. He took care of him from an early age, teaching him meditation.
For the first time, he had a plate of food every day. At the time he arrived at Triten Norbutse Monastery, the Philosophical School had not yet been established and so Yongdzin Rinpoche taught all the monks living there, about 10 in total. He also received his education from Khenpo Nyima, the abbot at the time, who taught him the basics of Tibetan reading and writing. Largen then joined the Geshe class in the philosophical school, and during the following six years he learned Tibetan grammar, philosophy and other subjects more in depth. He became an attendant to the older monks.
During his time living in the monastery his father came to visit, however Largen did not recognise him.

Largen has a natural talent for languages. He started studying English with an American woman who stayed in Nepal for 3 months every year.
After six years of study Largen decided to postpone the Geshe programme and he became Yongdzin Rinpoche’s personal attendant. He became the new cook and started taking care of Rinpoche when he was 18 years old.

In 2007 he undertook the grueling journey back to Dolpo for the first time since his departure. He didn't know the way to the village and he travelled alone. It took him seven days travelling by bus, plane and by foot. As many tourists visit the area, he reached the village by following the horse tracks.

He then met his estranged mother and his brother for the first time. He was not able to recognise them at all. He stayed in his father’s house for one night, but he didn’t feel comfortable in the house. He decided to leave the house and stayed at Samling monastery, just outside the village, together with Yungdrung Dargye, the old monk that first requested the Austrian group to take him to Kathmandu. Largen felt a deep sense of gratitude to the monk who had helped him all the years before and served him and took care of him during the next days. He was happy to stay in the monastery and he only went back to visit his village a few times, when people invited him to their homes.

He then learned that his father and his wife were separated, and his father offered him his share of the inheritance left to him by his grandmother. Largen refused to take anything, saying that he didn't need it. His father was very upset and cried remorsefully.
Largen’s father died in 2012. He had a drinking problem. Once while he was drunk he fell and broke his leg badly. Largen collected enough money to take him to Kathmandu for treatment but his father obstinately refused to leave the village. Largen then arranged for him to receive treatment from the local Amchi, a traditional Himalayan doctor. His wife and son didn't help him but the people from the village did and eventually he died there.
From time to time people from Largen’s village visit the monastery in Kathmandu.
A few years ago he learned that he also has a sister and a brother. One day an Ani (nun) arrived at the monastery. Somebody told him that she was his sister from his mother’s side. She is 34 years old now and is living and studying in India, at a Nyingma nunnery.
Her story is similar to his own: her father didn't accept her, and an aunt helped her. She worked as a maid for a family in the village for 6 years, until fortunately her aunt took her to a nunnery in India.

Largen traveled to Europe for the first time in 2008, accompanying Yongdzin Rinpoche. He stayed in France on his first visit for three months. He then returned again in 2008, 2011 and 2013 taking care of Rinpoche at Shenten Dargye Ling and also traveled with Rinpoche when invited to other places in Europe for teachings.

Since 2013 Largen returned to France and Europe with Rinpoche as his faithful care taker and cook supporting Rinpoche and always by his side to provide assistance until 2018.
Largen started studying French more intensively when he stayed in France at Shenten and returns annually.

Largen is always very approachable and kind, friendly and helpful to all Rinpoche’s students and those who wish to practice and learn from Rinpoche.

He is now 32 years old and has a good grasp of English and also of French. He will continue to improve his English and French language skills and is always curious to learn.

Largen still plans to pursue his Geshe education in the future. Currently he is still joyfully attending and taking care of Yongdzin Rinpoche full time at Triten Norbutse monastery in Swayambounath, as Yongdzin Rinpoche is now 97 years old. Particularly during these challenging times in the world, Largen takes great care of Rinpoche and is always by his side.

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