Keith Dowman

Keith Dowman

A cultural refugee from his native England, travelling overland Keith Dowman arrived in Banares, India, in 1966. Apart from an occasional foray back to the West he has spent a lifetime in India and Nepal, not always in Tibetan refugee society, engaged in existential buddha dharma. He has lived as a yogin, monk, pilgrim, and then as a householder, and as a scholar and poet free from any institutional or political constriction. He now teaches dzogchen, the quintessence of buddha-dharma, throughout the world

In India in the ‘sixties he was fortunate enough to encounter the grandfather-lama refugees arriving in India in the wake of the Chinese invasion of Tibet. In those heady years when the old lamas were totally receptive to the solicitation of western disciples seeking confirmation of the validity of their existential trajectories, he received initiation, empowerment, pith instruction and personal guidance from Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje and Kanjur Rinpoche Longchen Yeshe Dorje, who became his root gurus, Many other Nyingma lamas and lamas of other schools, notably the Eighth Khamtrul Rimpoche and the Sixteenth Karmapa Rikpai Dorje. As Chogyal Namkhai Norbu remarked “In communion with many great masters [Keith Dowman] has fortuitously absorbed the realization of Dzogchen.”

In the ‘eighties he translated various Vajrayana texts and when Tibet opened three years of seasonal trekking in central Tibet resulted in a pilgrims’ guide to Tibet. More recently, he has concentrated exclusively on the translation of Dzogchen texts, in particular, Natural Perfection and Spaciousness, two of the Treasuries of Longchenpa. Likewise, although he has taught Vajrayana since 1992, more recently he has focussed entirely on Dzogchen. He lives a peripatetic lifestyle teaching the radical Dzogchen derived from the early Nyingma tantras that is free of the tendency toward the spiritual materialism so evident in western Buddhism, a dharma easily assimilable into Western culture.

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