Mitra Karl was born in Munich, Germany, and originally trained as a physician before becoming a Buddhist translator and teacher. After completing five-years of training in Buddhist philosophy, he went on to receive Buddhist and Tibetan language training, as well as study Tibetology, Buddhology, and Sanskrit. In 1989, Karl began serving as a translator, interpreter, and Buddhist teacher in Europe, India, and Nepal. He is the author and translator of several Buddhist books, including The Center of the Sunlit Sky, The Heart Attack Sutra, and A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart.
Mitra Karl first met Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 1986 during Rinpoche’s first European teaching tour. He served as Rinpoche’s personal translator during his tours in Europe from 1999 to 2005. In 2006, Karl moved to Seattle where he currently works as a Tibetan and Sanskrit translator.
Mitra Karl supervises Nalandabodhi’s Path of Study courses, leads Path of Study classes, presents weekend courses and open house talks, offers teachings to practice communities, and provides personal guidance as a Practice Instructor. He also teaches weekend seminars and courses at Nalandabodhi centers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
Mitra Karl is especially enthusiastic about the teachings on Mahamudra, Dzogchen, Yogacara, Buddha Nature, and the doha (songs of realization) tradition. Currently, Karl is focused on translating the collection of Indian Mahamudra texts compiled by the Seventh Karmapa, which includes the vast majority of songs of realization in the Tibetan canon.
The “Mitra” title: In 2005, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche empowered a group of his long-time students to be senior teachers of Nalandabodhi. He gave each of them the title Mitra, which is drawn from the Sanskrit term Kalyanamitra, “spiritual friend.” The Mitras guide Nalandabodhi’s three paths of Study, Meditation, and Mindful Activity and teach throughout the world.