One of several Tibetan lamas known as a Tulku (incarnated being) who brought traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings to the West in the wake of the Chinese takeover of the country. He came to the United States and settled in the San Francisco Bay area early in 1969, bringing with him his wife and a collection of rare Tibetan sacred texts.
With the help of a small group of students, he soon established the Tibetan Nyingmapa Meditation Center in Berkeley. Nyingmapa is one of four Tibetan Buddhism sects with an ancient tradition. It was founded in the eighth century C.E. by Guru Padmasambhava and Shantirakshita. The literature of Nyingmapa is classified as Kama (oral tradition from master to disciple) and Terma (secret books originally concealed by Padmasambhava, such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. )
Known generally as Rinpoche (precious master), Tarthang Tulku teaches the advanced system of Buddhist doctrine known as Vajrayana. It embodies some teachings of tantra, but is essentially directed at enhancing degrees of understanding and awareness.