Venerable Professor Samdhong Rinpoche was born as Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin in 1939, in the Tibetan province of Kham. At age five, he was recognized and enthroned as the reincarnation of the fourth Samdhong Rinpoche. He began his monastic studies at age 12 at the University of Drepung in Tibet and eventually obtained a Doctorate in Buddhist sciences at Gyutö Monastery, Dalhousie, India in 1970. In 1959, Rinpoche fled to India to escape the repressive Chinese government in Tibet. There, he was commissioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to serve as a teacher to monks in exile. He was appointed director of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi in 1988 and remained there until 2001. On July 29, 2001, Rinpoche was named Kalön Tripa, or Prime Minister of the Tibetan Exile Government, the first political leader to be directly elected by the people in exile.
He is an eminent and distinguished scholar, teacher and philosopher, and a life-long campaigner for Gandhian principles especially that of non-violence or peaceful resistance.