About Us

Samye Hermitage New York is a center for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Situated on 25 acres in the rolling hills of Upstate New York, the natural beauty of our surroundings provides a perfect backdrop for deepening our inherent wisdom, compassion, and dignity through classes, retreats, and communal service. We strive to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for visitors and practitioners of all backgrounds and interests, while maintaining a commitment to the Buddhist values of non-harm, compassionate activity, and clear insight to our true nature.

Our Lineage

Historically, our teachings and practice derive from Shakyamuni Buddha, who turned the wheel of Dharma in India more than 2,500 years ago. The Buddhist tradition was passed down through generations of dedicated practitioners, monks and nuns but also lay people, and was firmly established in Tibet in the 8th century.

The transmission of the Buddha’s teachings was a project sponsored by the king, Trisong Detsen, and was supported by one of the top scholars of Nalanda Monastery in India, Shantarakshita, as well as one of the most impressive yogis of the realm, Guru Padmasambhava. These three great masters founded Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist institute in Tibet, from which the Nyingma (Old School) tradition Tibetan Buddhism derives. This tradition comes down to us through a succession of masters, and our center practices the those handed down by the great 18th-century treasure-revelear Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa.

Along with the exile of the Tibetan people in mid-20th century, the renowned meditation master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who was the main lineage-holder of Chokgyur Lingpa and both an attendant and teacher to His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, founded Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Boudha, a quiet village to the northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal. This monastery now educates hundred of monks, lay people of all nationalities through Rangjung Yeshe Institute, and serves to spread the Dharma through teaching and service.

Our center was founded as Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Cooperstown in 2009, as a gift to Chokling Rinpoche, the son of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and his son, Phakchok Rinpoche, who now serves as our main spiritual guide and director. In 2022, Phakchok Rinpoche gave our center a new name — Samye Hermitage New York — align our work more closely with the Samye International Mandala, and specifically Samye Institute, which is the main source for his educational programs. Samye Hermitage New York continues to host daily and special monthly sessions of traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice, as well as weekly classes on meditation and Buddhist philosophy. During the summertime, we offer longer-term retreats guided by senior teachers, and welcome retreatants to join our community of service and spiritual growth. Check our programs page for details.

Our Teachers

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche was born in 1981 and is a lineage holder of the Profound Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa from the Nyingma School of Early Translations and one of the throne-holders of the Riwoche Taklung Kagyu Lineage. Phakchok Rinpoche’s primary root gurus are his grandfather, the late Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and late Kyabje Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. Phakchok Rinpoche has received a traditional education from the Dzongsar Shedra in India, the complete Chokling New Treasures lineage from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Kyabje Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche, and the Great Perfection lineage from Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. Rinpoche’s teaching style is direct, addressing…

Tulku Migmar Tsering

Tulku Migmar Tsering is a master of the Chokling New Treasures lineage of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in Nubri, Nepal in 1975 and began his training at an early age after having been recognized as a reincarnate lama. Tulku Migmar began his formal education in 1983 at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Kathmandu. Through the years, Tulku Migmar proved to be an outstanding practitioner, mastering all of the elaborate vajrayana rituals and sacred arts so essential to the Chokling New Treasures tradition. Tulku-la completed a 3-year retreat under the close guidance of his root guru,…

Our Instructors

Andrea Sherman, PhD

Andrea Sherman, PhD, is a gerontologist, educator, trainer and end-of-life doula, and is co-author of Transitional Keys: Rituals to Improve Quality of Life for Older Adults. She is Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and New York Academy of Medicine, former Curriculum Consultant to the Bronx VA, and National Center for Creative Aging, and teaches Aging for Beginners at Westchester Meditation Center. As an educator her focus is on palliative and end of life care.

Joie Szu-Chiao Chen

Joie is a PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies at Harvard University, where her research looks at the confluence of various modes of learnedness in Tibetan Buddhism, in particular how the language and visual arts play into the formation of a learned Buddhist person. She holds a BA in Film Studies and English from Yale University and an MPhil in Tibetan & Himalayan Studies from the University of Oxford.

Lori Solensten, MS

Lori Solensten, MS, is a counselor with Helios Care, a local hospice and palliative care agency. She provides patient and family support, as well as bereavement counseling, all of which she considers to be sacred work. Lori also has an extensive background in business, soul coaching, feng shui, art and facilitating women’s circles. Helios Care is a local hospice and palliative care agency which can be reached at 607-432-5525 or via their website at http://www.helioscare.org

Matthew Zalichin

Matthew Zalichin began studying Buddhism as an undergraduate in 1971. His teachers include many of the past and current century’s most eminent Tibetan lamas of all main lineages, but principally the Kagyu and Nyingma through his two root gurus Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, whom he met in 1977. He has, for the most part, practiced as a householder in North America, and from roughly 1981-2000 focused on ngondros, various yidam practices, and dharma center administration while working full time, raising a family, paying mortgages, and so on. Authorized as a meditation instructor in 1981, he taught meditation,…

Michael Friedman

Michael Friedman has spent 50 years in an intensive study of philosophy in general and the nature of mind in particular. He completed the traditional three-year retreat in 1989 in Dordogne, France under the guidance of H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Taklung Tsetrul Tulku Pema Wangyal, and at present teaches weekly at Samye Hermitage New York.

Oriane Lavole

Oriane Lavole is a PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies (Religious Studies Department) at Stanford University. Her research centers on the role of sacred sites in the tradition of the New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa. In parallel, Oriane continues to work as a translator and interpreter of Buddhist texts and teachings from Tibetan to English. She has been interpreting for Phakchok Rinpoche and other Chokling Tersar lineage masters and scholars and has been a part of Samye Translations and Publications (formerly Lhasey Lotsawa) since 2015. Oriane also occasionally produces translations for 84,000 and Khyentse Vision.

Sophie (Shu-chin) Wu

Trained in Chinese intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Sophie teaches Asian history and philosophy, including Buddhism, as an associate professor at Agnes Scott College. Her current academic research focuses on Chinese and Tibetan independent films and contemplative education. As a longtime student of Buddhism, Sophie is a board member and meditation instructor for Phakchok Rinpoche’s organization. She lives in Atlanta with her husband. In her (imaginary) free time, Sophie enjoys home-roasted coffee, nature hikes, and traveling.

Tsunma Jamyang Donma, RP, CRPO

Tsunma Jamyang Donma, RP, CRPO is a certified clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor. She serve as Lead for Spiritual & Religious Care and The Mindfulness Project at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada and is an ordained Buddhist nun. Tsunma provides ongoing support to patients, families, and staff, as well as on-call throughout the hospital as needed. She is also an active supporting participant in the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at SickKids. Originally of the Anglican Christian faith, she took ordination as a Buddhist nun, within the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana tradition. Tsunma has over 25 years’ experience in…

Our Staff

Peter Woods

Executive Director — Peter completed a degree in Philosophy at University of Virginia in 2009, and later earned a Master’s in Religion from Yale Divinity School in 2015. He went on complete Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s Translator Training Program and Master’s in Buddhist Studies as a Tsadra Scholar, living in Nepal from 2015 to 2019. Peter works with Samye Translations and their Nekhor project, and serves as executive director at Samye Hermitage New York.