Khenpo Pema Sherab was born in 1936, at Riphu, a place in Dege Jomda, in the Kham Province to Dorje Dhondup and Tse Tso. When he was eight, he studied reading and writing Tibetan from his uncle Lama Choesang while herding cattle. At fourteen, he went to Lhasa and studied under masters and scholars of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. While receiving teachings, he rendered service to his teachers and studied with great enthusiasm, day and night.
In 1953, Shechen Kongtrul Rinpoche bestowed novice vows upon him. In 1959, he fled from Tibet to India. He met H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, from whom he received most of his teachings including the Guhyagarbha Root Tantra, Longchenpa’s Treasury of Pith Instructions, Kagyud Ngag Dzod (Treasury of Tantra teachings of Kagyu Lineage), Rinchen Terdzod, Jigme Lingpa’s Yonten Dzod (Treasury of Enlightened Qualities), Lochen Dharmashri’s Explanation on Ngari Penchen’s Three Vows entitled, Fruit of the Wish-fulfilling Tree, Patrul Rinpoche’s Words of My Perfect Teacher, and many other sutra and tantra teachings.
On various occasions, he has received many teachings including the Rinchen Terdzod Empowerments and its oral transmission from H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and H.H. Penor Rinpoche. He received all the teachings related to Jang-ter (Northern Treasure Teachings) from H.H. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche.
In 1968, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche invited him to come to Namdroling to teach the Dharma. Though at that time, the institute has not established, Khenpo spent a few years teaching the traditional common and uncommon fields of study to small monks of the monastery.
Since the establishment of the institute in 1978 until 2003, for 25 years, Khenpo Pema Sherab has been teaching in this institute out of compassion and kindness to the students. During his tenure, he has wholeheartedly rendered his priceless service without thought of eight worldly concerns and has stayed in the institute all these years, forbearing all hardships for the preservation and dissemination of Buddha’s teaching in general and the Nyingma doctrine in particular.
The teachings that he has dispensed include the common traditional sciences of Tibetan grammar, spelling and poetry. Among the uncommon traditional studies, he has taught primarily the Thirteen Great Treatises, Jigme Lingpa’s Yonten Dzod (Treasury of Enlightened Qualities), Mipham Rinpoche’s Osel Nyingpo; a commentary to Guhyagarbha Tantra, Longchenpa’s Ngalso Korsum (Trilogy of Resting in the Nature of Mind), Do Tshog Chen Dupa (Sutra that Gathers All Intentions and Great Accumulations), Rongzom Mahapandita’s Thegchen Tsul Jug (Entering the Mahayana Path), Mipham Rinpoche’s Gal Len Nam Sum (The Trilogy of Replies to Criticisms) and many other teachings that illustrates the distinct view, meditation, conduct, and fruition of the Nyingma Lineage.
For the benefit of future generations, he has composed many books on Buddhist philosophy including a biography of Guru Padmasambhava, an Exposition on Two Truths, Lorig and Tagrig, Sun of Mind; an exposition of Logic and many others. All in all, he has taken the responsibility to manage the institute with great compassion to this day. Hence his kindness is unfathomable.