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Rinpoche ( Tibetan རིན་ པོ་ ཆེ ZWPY Rinboqê , Wylie rin po che , THL Rinpoche [ rinˈpotʃe ]; also: Rimpoche , Rinpotsche , Rimpotsche ) is a Tibetan honorary title that is mostly used for a lama or other dignitary of Vajrayana . The word is made up of rin (po) , 'value', and che , 'size', and therefore literally means 'precious' (cf. / rin chen po / 'great value', / rin chen / 'Rinchen' ( Proper name) or 'precious'). The title is mainly used for trülkus (i.e., persons recognized as the reincarnation of a previous master), but abbots and teachers who have acquired particular wisdom in this life may also have this title.

The term "Guru Rinpoche" ('precious guru') refers specifically to the yogi Padmasambhava from Kashmir, who was given special importance when Buddhism was officially introduced in Tibet in the 8th century. The term “Je Rinpoche” ( precious master ) refers to the great reformer (Je) Tsongkhapa , who through his movement of “virtue” (Tibetan dge ) established the Gelug school (Tibetan dge lugs ).


  • sub voce 'rin po che', 'rin chen', etc. In: The Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English Dharma Dictionary . Eds. Rangjung Yeshe Translations and Publications in cooperation with the Karma Kagyu Buddhist Network (RYTP-KKBN), 1996-2000. nitartha.org