Ligmincha International Board of Directors


The Ligmincha International Board of Directors met for the first time in June 2014 at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Shipman, Virginia, headquarters of Ligmincha International. The formation of the new board is one of many steps in the process of Ligmincha’s becoming a truly international organization. The board replaces and is the expansion of the former Ligmincha Institute Board of Directors. 

View Bylaws of Ligmincha International

The role of the Ligmincha International Board of Directors is twofold:

  • The board works with Ligmincha's Spiritual Director Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche to understand his vision and priorities for Ligmincha International. It then develops policies and procedures based on his guidance for the international community of practitioners.
  • The board listens to the voices of the sanghas and individual practitioners around the world and works to ensure that Ligmincha is supporting them as fully as possible.

H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak RinpocheDirector Emeritus
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal RinpocheFounder and Spiritual Director
Rob PatzigBoard Chair, USA
Anneke DekkersThe Netherlands
Patti GiftUSA 
Frank Jeri Gomez—Peru
Carlos MaderoMexico
Justyna PrzondoPoland
Gabriel RoccoUSA
Pam RodeheaverUSA

Yongdzin Tenzin NamdakYongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche
Director Emeritus
His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoch's root teacher and mentor, is revered as the most senior teacher of the Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition and is considered the world's foremost expert on Bon. His Eminence was born in 1926 in the Kham province of Eastern Tibet, was awarded his geshe degree in 1952 and was elected to succeed his master as lopon (principal teacher) of Menri Monastery in Tsang province. He helped build the first monastic community in India in Dolaji. Later he established Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal, one of the two main Bon monasteries outside Tibet providing comprehensive study of the broad spectrum of Bon teachings and traditions. Read more  

TWR close-up 35 x 5Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Founder and Spiritual Director of Ligmincha International

Founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is a highly respected and beloved Tibetan Bon Buddhist teacher to students throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. Also an acclaimed author, Rinpoche was born in Amritsar, India, not long after his parents escaped their Tibetan homeland in 1959. He received his geshe degree, an 11-year course of traditional studies equivalent to a doctorate in philosophy from Western universities, at the Bon Dialectic School of Menri Monastery. Tenzin Rinpoche founded Ligmincha Institute (now Ligmincha International) in 1992 in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in 1998 established Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Shipman, Virginia. He is renowned for his ability to convey the ancient wisdom of Bon Buddhism in a way that is highly relevant to Western students. Read more
Rob PatzigRob Patzig, President and Board Chair
Rob Patzig, President of Ligmincha International and Chair of Ligmincha International Board, first encountered Bon in 2007 and immediately found his spiritual home within the lineage. He has served as Chief Financial Officer for Ligmincha and Serenity Ridge since 2012. Rob teaches yoga in the tradition of Dharma Mittra. Previously he spent 19 years working as the Chief Investment Officer and a Senior Manager for Third Security, LLC, an investment firm, and before that he was an instructor of English at Virginia Tech. He has a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in literature from Virginia Tech. He and his wife, Eileen, live in Blacksburg, Va.

Anneke DekkersAnneke Dekkers
The Netherlands

Anneke Dekkers met Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche for the first time in 2005 and immediately felt a deep sense of truth in his words. She became treasurer of the board for Ligmincha Netherlands in 2009 and board chair in 2012. In her work life, Anneke began as a child psychologist in a variety of settings with children from birth through age 18 living in problematic situations. Since 2007 she has worked at the Comprehensive Cancer Centre The Netherlands in the department of palliative care. 

Patty GiftPatty Gift

Patty Gift is Vice President, Editorial, at Hay House and former editorial director at One Spirit and Quality Paperback Book Clubs.




Frank Jeri GomezFrank Jeri Gomez

Frank Jeri first encountered Bön in 2010 and immediately felt a deep connection with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and his spiritual lineage. He has served as board member for The 3 Doors since 2015, and currently offers 3 Doors teachings as a presenter and seminar leader. Professionally, Frank works as Wellness and Development Director for the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences He holds master´s degrees in business administration and in management and leadership. He and his wife, Eli, live with their daughter Muriel in Lima, Peru.



Carlos MaderoCarlos Madero 

Carlos Madero encountered the dharma in 1995 and received teachings from several lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He met Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche in 2003, and in 2006 became director and founder of Chamma Ling Torreon, home of the first Bon stupa in the West. He is an umdze (meditation leader) and provides guidance and organizational support for the sangha in Torreon. From 2010 to 2012, Carlos was director of Ligmincha Mexico, organizing the completion and consecration of the Bon Stupa for World Peace in Chamma Ling Valle de Bravo He has been an adviser for Ligmincha Mexico since 2012 and is on the board of Ligmincha Mexico.


Justyna PzondoJustyna Przondo

Justyna Przondo has been a student of Tenzin Wangyal Ronpoche since 2003. In 2012 she became board chair of Ligmincha Poland. She has a graduate degree in sculpture and painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland. Justyna has an artist studio where she creates ceramics and jewelry. 



Gabriel RoccoGabriel Rocco

Gabriel Rocco is a senior student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, the mind-body health specialist at the Wellness Community in Philadelphia, staff instructor for the University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Stress Management and a therapist in private practice. He received his master of arts in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University. Gabriel co-designed the curriculum and is a U.S. teacher for The Three Doors Academy, a three-year training program that presents experientially-based teachings and meditation practices to support connection to one’s sacred body, genuine speech and luminous mind. He was on the Ligmincha International Board of Directors for 18 years, where he served as chair.  


Pam RodeheaverPam Rodeheaver

Pam Rodeheaver has been a student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche since 1994 and served as treasurer of Ligmincha International from 1995 through 2014. She served on the Ligmincha Council for many years and now serves on the Serenity Ridge Executive Committee in addition to the Ligmincha International Board. Pam recently retired from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where for 32 years she was a medical researcher and manager of a wound healing lab in the Department of Plastic Surgery. For 10 of those years she also worked with UVA's Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, conducting clinical research on the healing effects of electromagnetic modalities, yoga, massage and sound frequencies in various patient populations.




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A Letter from the Ligmincha International Board Chair:
On Coming Together to Support Rinpoche and Bon Worldwide

Rob PatzigDuring the first week of summer retreat, the new Board of Directors of Ligmincha International met at Serenity Ridge. Accepting Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s invitation to join him on this new international board are Anneke Dekkers from the Netherlands, Nathalie Duchanois from France, Carlos Madero from Mexico, Robert Patzig from the U.S, Justyna Przondo from Poland, Pam Rodeheaver from the U.S. and Oliver Wirtz from Germany. Gabriel Rocco, who has served on the board of Ligmincha Institute for 18 years, will continue to serve on the new International Board. While Nathalie and Oliver had to participate via Skype, all other members were able to come to retreat and participate in person. H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, who has been on the board of Ligmincha Institute since Ligmincha was founded, is now an emeritus member of the Ligmincha International Board of Directors.

The formation of the new board is only one of many steps in the process of Ligmincha’s becoming a truly international organization. Over the last three years, a group of volunteers have worked with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche to write new bylaws. The bylaws describe the purpose of Ligmincha and, broadly, the organizational framework for accomplishing our mission. The mission is threefold: to preserve the traditions and teachings of Tonpa Shenrap and the lineage of Bon; to support the work of our Spiritual Director, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, in all ways; and to provide support and resources for practitioners and students of Tibetan Bon Buddhism.

Organizationally, Rinpoche is the center of an expanding mandala of (currently) 40 practice centers and communities around the world. The International Board’s mission is to understand Rinpoche’s vision for the community, as well as the needs of practitioners and centers, wherever they may be located, and to create a plan to ensure that the vision can manifest and practitioners be supported.

There is far more work to be done than the board can accomplish on its own, and so two councils will provide support. One is the Mandala Council: a group of leaders (chosen by Rinpoche) from many different sanghas who will come together to share the successes, challenges, knowledge and needs of the communities they represent. The goal of the Mandala Council is to provide greater independence and more opportunities for growth for each center by supporting one another. Just as we come together to practice in part because we can find more support for our own progress by asking questions, sharing our experiences and supporting one another, so too can each center support and nurture the others. More details will be shared soon when this group is formally created.

The second council is the Ligmincha International Council. This will consist of sangha members selected by Rinpoche, nominated by the board or by regional sanghas because of their expertise and experience in particular areas. The purpose is to provide the skills, time and resources to ensure that Ligmincha International can meet its mission. The activities of this council will change over time based on the needs of the organization as a whole, but it will include activities as diverse as developing practice and educational materials, monitoring the financial status of Ligmincha, marketing and social media development, fundraising, etc.

Coming together to work and support Bon, our Spiritual Director and our international community of practitioners is an evolving process. As we continue to implement and refine this new structure, it is important that we hear from many different voices and consider different perspectives within our community. I look forward to working with each of you, to listening to your ideas, needs, concerns and advice, as we work to build an enduring home for Bon in the Western world under the guidance and direction of Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

Yours in Bon,

Rob Patzig, Chair
Ligmincha International Board of Directors

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