Namgyal Rinpoche & U Thila Wunta Sayadaw
Our spiritual roots are through the illustrious Canadian-born Namgyal Rinpoche (George Dawson) and the Burmese meditation master U Thila Wunta Sayadaw.
George Dawson awakened through the Western Mysteries while living in London, where he met the visiting teacher Sayadaw in 1958. Dawson moved to Burma and studied under U Thila Wunta and Mahasi Sayadaw in Bodh Gaya, Rangoon (where he was ordained as Ananda Bodhi), Bangkok and Sri Lanka.
Ananda Bodhi left the East in 1962, teaching at the London Buddhist Vihara and founding Johnstone House in Scotland, which he gave to Chogyum Trungpa who renamed it Samye Ling.
Anandabodhi returned to Canada and founded the Dharma Centre of Canada outside Toronto. His teaching methods included international travel with students; in 1968 and 1971 he traveled with about a hundred students to India and Sikkim, where they met the Tibetans. He was recognized by the 16th Karmapa, Kalu Rinpoche, Sakya Trizin Rinpoche and others as an embodiment of Namgyal Rinpoche, and received transmissions of the Karma Kargyu lineage.
Over the years he included the Western Mysteries, science, psychology, art, music, exercise, travel and other methods in his teaching repertoire, becoming one of the main voices of Tibetan Buddhism in North America along with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Some of Namgyal’s students started centers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Central America as well as Canada and the US. His modern and eclectic approach is carried on throughout the world, with Clear Sky and Dharma Japan embodying this multiversal vision as well.
A luminary amongst Lamas, Namgyal Rinpoche was acknowledged by His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, Head of the Sakyapa Tibetan Lineage in his Vajraghoshanam (Diamond Declaration), addressed to the Buddhist Community of Canada and written by him in July of 1978, which says:
In inaugurating the Sakya Society of Canada I wish especially to acknowledge the pioneering contribution of the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche to the effective establishment of Tibetan Buddhism in Canada. Because of the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche’s long and intimate association with the teachers and teachings of all four Tibetan orders, including the Sakyapa, and his valuable insights acquired through his training as a Vajrayanist meditation master, I am pleased to appoint him a Spiritual advisor of the Sakya Society of Canada.