My name is Karen Liljenberg. I was born in 1957, in Bootle, Merseyside. I attended local state primary and secondary schools, where, with the generous help of some dedicated teachers, I first developed my lifelong interest in ancient cultures, languages, and spiritual traditions. I went on to study Classics and Archaeology at Girton College, Cambridge, graduating in 1979. Having taught myself Welsh, I then moved to Wales where I learnt to play traditional music on various instruments while working in the fields of archaeology, lexicography, and language teaching. I also began to publish some of my own poetry, with a collection appearing in 1992 ("Bóand's Hostel", Sheela-na-gig Press).
In 1992 I decided to look into Tibetan Buddhism, and began learning Tibetan. Attracted right away to Dzogchen, I soon became a student of Sogyal Rinpoche (founder of Rigpa and author of the "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying"), who I accompanied on a group pilgrimage to India and Sikkim in 1994. I then returned to India alone to teach English as a volunteer to the monks at Dzogchen Monastery, near Kollegal. With assistance from a kind sponsor I was able to pay them a second visit, and spent about nine months there in total, gradually improving my spoken Tibetan in the process.
While living at Dzogchen Monastery I got to know Khenpo Tenzin Nyima, as he was then called. He subsequently moved to Brussels and was recognised as Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche, setting up his own Dharma organization there. He became my second main teacher in 1998.
Having obtained a CELTA certificate in London in 1996, I moved to Brussels and made my living there by teaching English. I began doing Tibetan-English translation and interpreting work for Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche and several other lamas, including Dakpa Gyaltsen Rinpoche from Mindroling Monastery in India.
In March 2013 I was awarded my PhD from SOAS. I am now writing up my doctoral research on a group of early Dzogchen texts with a view (hopefully) to publication. I am also translating sutras for the 84000 Project