In 2001, Tara Wangchuk, a native Minnesotan in her mid-fifties who’d been a Tibetan Buddhist nun for nearly 10 years, began a curious claim.1 It started quietly but gradually became louder and bolder. At the small talks she gave, Tara began telling attendees that, even though she appeared to be an American woman, she was in fact a Tibetan man.
Tara claimed her teacher, well-respected Tibetan lama Domo Geshe Rinpoche, had transferred his consciousness to her. No mere act of channeling, he had performed the yogic feat of permanently taking up residence in her body. This was not just with her permission – it was at her request. Even in a tradition as magical and mystical as Tibetan Buddhism, one finds few examples of such a story.
It isn’t surprising that in the following years, she gained critics. What may surprise you is that she gained some devoted followers.
I was one of them. As an ordained member of her community and part of her inner circle for over 10 years, I knew Tara during most of her current career as Domo Geshe Rinpoche – from the earliest public events until just a couple years ago. I took teachings with her, lived with her, worked to bring more students into her fold, and stood by her side as she tried to gain recognition within Tibetan Buddhism. Even though I learned and had valuable growth experiences in her group, I also witnessed the extent of her public claims and her private behavior. At a certain point, I simply couldn’t lend my name to her her and her organization any longer.
This site was created to inform the public of Tara’s claims about herself and her ethics as a spiritual teacher and public figure. It will will provide a summary of how she says she became Domo Geshe Rinpoche, her search for recognition, including relevant responses from the Tibetan Buddhist community, and how she has responded to criticism.
The TLDR version is this:
- Her story of becoming Domo Geshe Rinpoche has a number of red flags.
- No Tibetan lama has officially recognized her, yet this hasn’t stopped her from claiming to be recognized.
- In responding to critics, she and her organization have shown a lack of consistency, honesty, and – in some cases – maturity.
- She has made numerous grandiose statements about her enlightenment and that of her students.
In collecting the material for this site, I’ve been grateful for the collaboration of another ex-member of her group, who was also ordained with her, lived with her, and shared many of the same experiences with her that I did. This friend helped confirm, complement and correct my memories of Tara.
This site allows Tara’s words to speak for her whenever possible. We believe drawing from her own words provides the most powerful and incisive view into her character – particularly her further claims.
If you have relevant information regarding Tara Wangchuk, or would like help healing after leaving her organization, we welcome you to contact us.