Ari Bhöd was founded by Venerable Lama Chödak Gyatso Nubpa Rinpoche to preserve the ancient Nyingma wisdom tradition of Tibet. The Nyingma tradition, known as the Ancient One, is the original Vajrayana tradition developed in Tibet by the great spiritual adept Padmasambhava in the ninth century. These teachings were preserved in Tibet in an unbroken transmission for more than one thousand years, until the middle of the 20th century. Its benefits have stood the test of time, the methods proven effective in bringing forth positive qualities, especially altruism and compassion. It is our aim to preserve, in a living environment, all essential aspects of this endangered world heritage so that it remains a source of benefit for future generations of Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike.

Established in 2003, Ari Bhöd — The American Foundation for Tibetan Cultural Preservation — is a 501-(c)(3) non-profit organization that operates through a core group of both full-time and seasonal volunteers, diverse in culture, age, skill, and life experience, unified by the motivation to preserve this endangered cultural and spiritual tradition and engage in its legacy of peace. Ari Bhöd brings together people from all walks of life to work alongside authentic Tibetan Lamas, monks and master artists to preserve this vanishing culture.

Following the inspiration and direction of Lama Chödak Gyatso, Ari Bhöd is committed to the highest standards with respect to accuracy, authenticity and attention to detail in preserving this priceless heritage.

In this tradition, teachings are passed down from a lineage master to the students of greatest capacity in an uninterrupted chain from one generation to the next. Each holder of the lineage, after receiving the teachings, practices them until he or she displays clear signs of understanding and mastery. This is considered the most important aspect of the authenticity of the Tibetan lineage tradition and teachings.

Many of the authentic lineage masters who were fully educated in Tibet before going into exile in 1959 are now very elderly or are already deceased. These remaining treasured masters and teachers hold this lineage in the form of mastery of its methods, texts, verbal teachings, art and architecture, which together are the embodiment of the Nyingma tradition. Tragically, with every passing day there is genuine danger of losing more essential aspects of this heritage. Every facet of this tradition offers an abundance of time-proven methods for working with our minds to impact our world in a positive and transformative way. Ari Bhöd was founded by Lama Chödak Gyatso to bring this legacy of peace from its birthplace in Tibet to America where it can be protected and transmitted to the wider world.

“Due to the nature of impermanence, the sad situation is that Tibet’s national identity has come to a point of being lost. The one positive aspect of this is that Tibetan culture and values are being spread the world over.

Through the cultivation and practice of compassion, the entire nation of Tibet (previously like any other nation) and its people had become transformed—the people were very much contented with what they had. This precious culture is a world heritage. It is a classic example of a state of peace.

We want to preserve this while we have the capacity. There is a sense of urgency because the holders of these keys to happiness are ageing. We have such limited time—we have to move fast before it is lost.”

—Lama Chödak Gyatso Nubpa