Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced the ancient wisdom of Mahayana Buddhism, as well as the Vajrayana tradition of the Longchen Nyingthik, for over 30 years under the guidance of her teacher and husband, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. After meeting Rinpoche in Nepal in 1985 she became his first Western student. She has been intimately involved with Rinpoche’s work in bringing Buddhist wisdom to the West, in particular the development of Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the Longchen Nyingthik lineage. She is also a founding member and teacher of Wilderness Dharma Movement and on the advisory boards of Prison Mindfulness Network and the Buddhist Arts and Film Festival.
Elizabeth has an academic background in both Anthropology and Buddhist Studies, but her learning is also grounded in practice. After many years of solitary retreat, Rinpoche appointed Elizabeth as Retreat Master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, Mangala Shri Bhuti’s retreat center in southern Colorado. Elizabeth is the author of The Power of an Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom and has written a new book: The Logic of Faith: the Buddhist Path to Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt, which will be released in February 2018. She has edited Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche’s two books, It’s Up to You and Light Comes Through, and teaches the Buddhadharma throughout the United States and Europe.
Elizabeth helps demystify some of the most common misconceptions about Buddhist teachings and practice, while maintaining a deep respect for the tradition she comes from. She is known for her willingness to question the entire path in order to reach a place of genuine understanding, and asks audiences to engage in the practice of open questioning with her while she takes a fresh look at the assumptions and beliefs we have about spirituality. She is known for her interest in the wisdom aspect of the teachings – the insight into dependent origination and emptiness – and her ability to clearly elucidate these teachings and their application using contemporary and fresh language, without watering down their meaning.
When she is not traveling, she enjoys riding her horse through the vast plains of the San Luis Valley in Crestone, CO.