Born in the year of the Water Monkey during the twelfth month of the lunary calendar (1932), His Holiness Penor Rinpoche was the 11th Throneholder of the Palyul Lineage until his parinirvana in 2009, and was the Supreme Throneholder of the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism from 1993–2001. Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche was an incarnation of Vimalamitra, was considered one of the most renowned Dzogchen masters of Tibetan Buddhism, and was often referred to in this lifetime as a “Living Buddha”.
Recognized at the age of four by the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche (Thubten Chokyi Dorje) and Khenchen Ngagi Wangchuk , he was formally enthroned by his root teacher, Thubten Chökyi Dawa and Karma Thekchok Nyingpo the fourth Karma Kuchen Rinpoche. His Holiness trained at the Palyul Monastery in Tibet, studying and receiving teachings from numerous masters and scholars, including the Fourth Karma Kuchen, the 10th Palyul throneholder, who prepared him as his successor.
In 1959, His Holiness left Tibet and eventually settled in South India at Bylakuppe, where he established the Namdroling Monastery. During the 1970s, His Holiness began training Khenpos in the Palyul Nam Chö cycle of teachings, and as a direct result during his life in exile, was able to ordain more than 10,000 monks and nuns, thereby making a priceless contribution towards the stability of the Vinaya vows and the Vajrayana path of Tibetan Buddhism.
At the invitation of Gyatrul Rinpoche, His Holiness made his first visit to the United States in 1985 He came again in 1997, and during his visit founded the Palyul Retreat Center in the small rural community of McDonough, NY, where he gave traditional instruction and training to Western students every summer until 2008. Additionally, His Holiness traveled extensively throughout the world, granting major empowerments and transmissions, including the Rinchen Terdzö, the Kalachakra Tantra, the Guhyagarbha Tantra, the Namchö revelations, and the complete cycle of Ratna Lingpa’s revelations, the Nyingma Kama.
On March 27, 2009, His Holiness entered into Parinirvana at his residence at Namdroling Monastery, India.