forced him to leave Tibet with a few attendants, first travelling to Bhutan and then to Sikkim, where he joined the 16th Karmapa who had also left Tibet. The time of hardship and struggle to survive as a refugee was complicated by illness at an early age. After his recovery, he went to live at the newly constructed Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the new seat of the 16th Karmapa. He received his formal religious training under the guidance of the 16th Karmapa until 1975 when, at the age of 22, he assumed his own traditional responsibilities. He established his first monastic project, called Sherab Ling, at the request of his Tibetan followers who had settled in northern India. Sherab Ling is developed on 30 acres of land located in the Himalayan foothills of north India and is now a lively monastic community with approximately 100 monks of all ages who are engaged in traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices. The surrounding Indian and Tibetan communities also participate in handicraft, art and health programs designed for lay people.
In 1980, he made his first tour to European countries at the request of Buddhist organizations, and since then has travelled widely in North America, Europe and South East Asia lecturing on Buddhist philosophy and meditation. In response to Western interest in multi-culture activity and spirituality, he founded Maitreya Institute in 1984, an organization based on the principle of multi-discipline. It now has branches in Honolulu, San Francisco and Paris. He visited his homeland, Tibet, in 1984 for the first time since 1959. During his visit, he ordained more than 2,000 men and women and presented a plan of suggestions to the Chinese authorities for the rebuilding, preservation and propagation of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. He is the author of Way To Go, an introduction to Buddhist philosophy and practice, and Tilopa, a study of a tenth century Indian Buddhist master. He is currently involved in the advancement of inter- faith and inter-cultural humanitarian efforts. As a person concerned for the future well-being of the planet and its people, the Tai Situpa both organizes and participates in events and conferences in many countries, attempting to make compassion and wisdom a part of the vision of life on earth.