Derek Kolleeny, Senior Teacher
While reading The Dhammapada in Irvington High School in the spring of 1976, Derek realized that he was a Buddhist, and after reading Meditation in Action and Myth of Freedom he realized that Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was his teacher. Upon graduating from high school the next year, he attended Naropa Institute in the summer of 1977 in order to meet Rinpoche, but found that he was in retreat. Derek entered Rinpoche’s world by taking refuge with Rinpoche’s Vajra Regent that summer, and finally met Rinpoche the following Spring.
He decided to study Buddhism and its languages in college. At Harvard, he studied Tibetan and Sanskrit with Professors Daniel Ingalls, Masatoshi Nagatomi, and Gary Tubb. For three summers he also studied Tibetan and Sanskrit at Naropa Institute with John Rockwell and Bill Ames, among others.
After graduation, he moved to Boulder, Colorado and joined the Nalanda Translation Committee, initially joining a small group led by John Rockwell on retranslating Trungpa Rinpoche’s Sadhana of Mahamudra. He also participated in working sessions with the group on the Shentong Senge Ngaro and with Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche on The Treasury of Knowledge. Derek then settled into the group working on The Life of Tilopa by Wangchuk Gyaltsen, with Lama Ugyen Shenpen and Scott Wellenbach, serving as the project coordinator for some time.
These days, Derek is not an active member but remains connected in various ways. Having pursued another career, he has not had time for translation work, but has made it his goal “to get as many folks as possible to read some of the incredible books that are being translated by translators today.” In particular, he focused on the study of the five texts, or more broadly the five core topics they present, which are the core of the traditional Tibetan Shedra curriculum. In 2004 he started the RimeShedra.NYC as a group dedicated to studying advanced classical Buddhist texts to the extent they are available in English translation.
On the side, Derek obtained and MBA from Columbia Business School in 1990 and since then has worked as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, Controller, and CFO at a number of companies and not-for-profit organizations. He lives in Sleepy Hollow, right across from the headless horseman cemetery.
You can reach Derek at email@example.com.