Ngodup Paljor

Ngodup Paljor Paljor was born in Dzonga, Western Tibet, around 1945. He became a monk at Dzonga Chode Monastery as a small boy, but when the Chinese occupied Tibet in 1959 he fled to India with his family. In his short life, he was a Tibetan monk, a Thai Theravada monk, translator for the Dalai Lama in Thailand, assistant professor of Tibetan studies at the University of Hawaii, a longshoreman, a Master Gardener, and a poet.

He graduated from Mahamakut Buddhist University in Bangkok, Thailand, with a bachelor’s degree in Buddhist psychology and philosophy. He was fluent in Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali, English, Sanskrit and Pali and was studying Japanese. He worked briefly in Hawaii as a translator for Nechung Rinpoche and Lama Karma Rinchen. After accompanying Nechung Rinpoche to Alaska, in 1978, he gave back his monks vows and returned to Alaska.

In 1979 he married Denise Lassaw and together with Dharma friends they created Khawachen Dharma Center, a remay center that invited teachers from different traditions, and the Alaska Tibet Committee, to educate Alaskans about Tibet. Paljor introduced Alaskans to Buddhist practice and Tibetan culture. Paljor published a Xeroxed poetry magazine called Silent Moon inviting submissions from across Alaska. On October 25, 1988 Paljor was killed while working as a longshoreman in Anchorage.

Paljor’s dedication and enthusiasm for the Dharma inspired many people to practice and find their own paths. From the seeds of Khawachen several other dharma centers sprouted and are still flourishing in Alaska. Denise continued to invite Tibetan Lamas to teach in Alaska, and also continued the work of the Alaska Tibet Committee for many years. She now lives in the Pacific North West and is a writer and mini-art historian. She published a collection of Paljor’s poems titled Songs of A Wild Yak, which is available on Amazon, and is working on a history of Khawachen.

For further information on his life and poetry, or for permission to publish these or other poems, please contact his wife Denise Lassaw at [email protected]

Ngodup Paljor on TibetWrites

Poems [10]

All the poems here were written in the early 1980s. They are part of a collection which was published as Songs of a Wild Yak

Ngodup Paljor - Songs of a Wild Yak
  • Dharmakaya Morning / The blue Dharmakaya / Noon
  • Nobility Wandering in the woods / Inhaling the tranquillity / Of nature
  • Mountains Denali – the mountain endowed / With beauty and charms
  • Way of the Clouds The wish of my Amala / Was for me to become / A Buddhist monk

  • Alaskans Yes, Alaskans, we’ve driven enough plastic vehicles, / Yet they failed to take us to the Virgin Mother Land.
  • Homer Homer – the land gifted / With boundless natural beauty
  • Retreat Now the wish of a poor poet / Is fulfilled
  • Lost Since I lost the hiking trail / I sat under a virgin spruce tree
  • Inheritance When my father left his body / I inherited a wooden cup
  • Bamboo Flute When my bamboo flute’s / Sound was deep


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    Paljor and Denise met and were married in Anchorage Alaska in 1979, not 1983. After Paljor’s death Denise kept Khawachen Dharma center alive for more than 10 years., continuing to invite Buddhist teachers to Alaska. She also continued to work for the Alaska Tibet Committee which Paljor and she founded in 1979.. Khawachen inspired other dharma centers in Alaska. It did its work. Denise has now moved on to other adventures.

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